pop up camper air conditioner

The 8 Best Air Conditioners for Pop Up Campers

Peter Wade

Summer is an excellent season to hit the road on pop-up campers. But due to the high temperatures during the dog days, it’s essential that RV enthusiasts pick up a decent AC before heading out.

With a capable air conditioner to keep the interior cool, everyone should be able to enjoy themselves to the fullest even under the blazing sun. Still, while most RVers understand its importance, finding a solid pop-up camper air conditioner remains a challenging job as the market features numerous models.

Types Of AC For Pop-Up Campers

Manufacturers of air conditioners introduce lots of models annually but every AC may be classified into three types: window-mounted, roof-mounted and portable. Having a firm grasp on the characteristics of the types is the key to getting a good pop-up camper air conditioner for your RV.

1. Rooftop-Mounted AC

Popular and practical, roof-mounted air conditioners tend to be the top choices of various RVers from novices to veterans. Being mounted on the rooftop, units of the type run quietly and fill the interior of RV with cool airs. 

Advantages:

Being mounted on the roof, rooftop-mounted units take up space inside the RV so you have all the interior to yourself and fellow travelers. Additionally, after installation, roof-mounted models don’t need to be removed prior to moving.  That means there is no need to pay attention to the air conditioner of the type as you move between campsites. Featuring powerful outputs, roof-mounted models have extended cooling areas and keep the temperature at reasonable levels during hot days. Noise level is low which ensures negligible disturbances.

Disadvantages:

Roof-mounted units often cost a lot in terms of acquisition, maintenance and repair which turns away many enthusiasts of RVing that have tight budgets. Also, if you select a roof-mounted AC, it’s essential to ensure that the roof of your recreational vehicle could support its weight. In the case that the weight of the air conditioner approaches the load limit of the roof, it’s strongly recommended that you add roof supports.

2. Window-Mounted AC

Secured to the windows of the vehicles, window-mounted air conditioners often receive positive remarks once it comes to installation. In most cases, RVers would be able to install units of the type by themselves, a major plus for people that wish to cut expenses. 

Advantages:

Since window-mounted air conditioners don’t take up space inside the campers, they prove to be excellent options for small rigs with modest interiors. Additionally, made to plug into standard wall receptacles, units of the type only take a moment to set up so they adapt well to a wide range of camping settings. Positioned outside of the vehicle, window-mounted AC let RVers save space and escape noise.

Disadvantages:

Window-mounted models have a shortcoming: RVers must take them down before hitting the road. Furthermore, the output of these air conditioners tends to be mediocre compared to rooftop AC.

3. Portable AC

Designed to be light as well as compact, portable air conditioners allow RVers to move them around without much hassle. If you purchase a portable AC, you could get cool airs regardless of your location. 

Advantages:

Units of the type come at affordable prices so they match the wallets of most budget-minded owners of RV. Also, portable models arrive fully assembled so there is nothing to do besides plugging them in then start enjoying yourself.

Disadvantages:

Portable models have to be put inside the vehicle and the result is a loss of precious space. In addition to that, because the units stay inside the RV, quite a few RV owners complain about the loud operation of the AC. A few units even require users to put them near windows because they utilize vent lines to expel hot airs from the interior.

Comparison Chart of Best Pop Up Camper Air Conditioners

#Pop Up Camper ACPriceOur RatingsType
1Dometic Brisk II Air$$$$$*****Rooftop-Mounted
2Airxcel Mach 15$$$$$*****Rooftop-Mounted
3Arctic King WWK05CM91N$$*****Window-Mounted
4LG LW1016ER$$$****Window-Mounted
5Midea MAW10R1BWT$$$*****Window-Mounted
6Black + Decker BPACT10WT$$$****Portable
7RolliCool COOL100H$$$***Portable
8SereneLife SLPAC10$$$*****Portable

You like to make an informed investment but don’t have the time and patience to check every AC? In the case that is your current predicament then this article could be your solution. Down below, you would be introduced to the specifications and reviews of top-rated AC for pop-up campers.

For the sake of convenience, the following air conditioners have been classified based on type.

Best Rooftop-Mounted AC For Pop-Up Campers

1. Dometic Brisk II Air

Dometic Brisk II Air
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Specification:

  • Cooling Capacity: 15,000 BTU  
  • Dimensions: 27.6 x 29.6 x 13.9 Inches
  • Weight: 77 Pounds

Why We Love It

Boasting large air openings for optimal airflows and cooling, Dometic Brisk II Air is undoubtedly the leading pop-up camper air conditioner in its class. Rated at 15,000 BTU, the Dometic AC proves capable of keeping the interior of standard RV cool in summer travels. In addition to that, thanks to the custom wrap-around shroud and carbon steel base, Brisk II Air holds itself together well on the road. Unsurprisingly, full-time RVers that desire long-lasting air conditioners tend to hold Dometic Brisk II Air in high regard.

With dampening brackets, dual rubber bushings and long copper lines, the unit from Dometic consistently keeps noise to the minimum. As a result, RV owners could enjoy the cool airs without having to put up with a loud AC. Also, since it uses the environmentally-friendly 410A refrigerant, Brisk II Air is considered to be the all-time favorite model of eco-conscious people. Finally and above all, the installation of Brisk II Air of Dometic is relatively straightforward so you may set it up on your own in the blink of an eye.

As for aftermarket support, Dometic back its air conditioner with a 2-year protection plus warranty which speaks volumes about the performance of the AC.

Pros:

  • Light but rugged
  • Top-notch airflows
  • Undemanding setup

Cons:

  • Quality control is less than ideal
  • Some RVers report receiving damaged units

2. Airxcel Mach 15

Airxcel Mach 15
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Specification:

  • Cooling Capacity: 15,000 BTU  
  • Dimensions: 38 x 26.1 x 13.8 Inches
  • Weight: 85 Pounds

Why We Love It

Designed with a ⅓ HP fan motor, one of the biggest motors used in air conditioners, Airxcel Mach 15 delivers cool airs at 320 cubic feet per minute. That is more than enough to keep the average campers cool during the dog days. Due to the integration of high-quality evaporator and condenser coil, the heat dissipation of Mach 15 is second to none. In terms of durability, the Airxcel unit packs gas-flux brazed joints and an all-copper tubing so it’s able to run reliably in a wide range of conditions.

In the factory configuration, Airxcel Mach 15 would be an excellent companion for RV enthusiasts that want to escape the heat. But if you fit the Airxcel heater assembly to Mach 15, it should keep you warm in the cold months too. About the cost, the air conditioner of Airxcel seems to be a costly model and you have to pay more to pick up the heater assembly since it’s optional. Nonetheless, considering its solid values, Airxcel Mach 15 remains an outstanding pop-up camper air conditioner that RVer could count on.

Mach 15 arrives with all required components, therefore, mounting it on the average recreational vehicle is a walk in the park. Still, as the AC from Airxcel is a bit heavy, it’s a good idea to ask for assistance.

Pros:

  • Nice warranty
  • Marvelous cooling capacity
  • Aerodynamic shroud

Cons:  

  • High-priced
  • Kind of cumbersome

Best Window-Mounted AC For Pop-Up Campers

3. Arctic King WWK05CM91N

Arctic King WWK05CM91N
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Specification:

  • Cooling Capacity: 5,000 BTU  
  • Dimensions: 13.19 x 15.98 x 12.05 Inches
  • Weight: 39.6 Pounds

Why We Love It

Compact and light, Arctic King WWK05CM91N is well-received by many RVers that own small pop-up campers. In spite of its modest profile, the Arctic King AC could cool spaces up to 150 square feet in size. Packing an assortment of fan and temperature settings, WWK05CM91N makes sure that people feel comfortable on hot days. Furthermore, Arctic King WWK05CM91N operates in a quiet manner so you don’t have to worry about nerve-racking noises while using it.  

Accompanied by mounting accessories and a manual that contain detailed instructions for installation, the air conditioner from Arctic King only takes moments to set up. That being said, to let the mounting screws go in smoothly, it’s strongly recommended that you make pilot holes on the window frames beforehand. Featuring a basic mechanical control dial, Arctic King WWK05CM91N allows RVers to regulate its functions without much hassle. Available at a good price, the Arctic King AC is also highly sought after by budget-minded RV owners.

One interesting feature of Arctic King WWK05CM91N is the auto-restart: If power is cut all of a sudden then the Arctic King air conditioner would automatically go back to work under the previous settings once power resumes.

Pros:

  • Lightweight
  • The price is fair
  • Intuitive installation

Cons:

  • Inconsistent performance
  • The compressor needs some work

4. LG LW1016ER

LG LW1016ER
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Specification:

  • Cooling Capacity: 10,000 BTU  
  • Dimensions: 22.20 x 23.62 x 15.00 Inches
  • Weight: 73.0 Pounds

Why We Love It

Engineered to meet the Energy Star standards set by EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), LG LW1016ER is truly unmatched if it comes to power saving. Needless to say,  RVers that wish to cut down the utility expenses often think highly of the LG AC. Moreover, boasting an output of 10,000 BTU, LW1016ER possesses an impressive cooling area: 450 square feet. Hence, LG LW1016ER should be capable of keeping the interior of campers cool as outside temperature reaches intolerable levels.  

Because of the user-friendly remote, it’s a breeze to adjust the air conditioner of LG to individual desires. In fact, you may apply changes to temperature, fan speed and so on at will. It’s worth noting that a 24-hour on/off timer is present too so managing the runtime of LW1016ER is a piece of cake. Regarding endurance, the LG AC utilizes premium anti-corrosion coating, a nice tough for those that travel year-round. The filters of  LG LW1016ER happen to be washable as well which ensures simple maintenance in most cases.

Besides blowing out cool airs, LW1016ER could dehumidify the inside of your rig by getting rid of excess moisture. So if you go through high humidity regions from time to time, LG LW1016ER is the best pop-up camper air conditioner for you.

Pros:

  • Noise level is low
  • Versatile and flexible
  • Good values for the price

Cons:

  • Poor instructions
  • Delivery is mediocre  

5. Midea MAW10R1BWT

Midea MAW10R1BWT
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Specification:

  • Cooling Capacity: 10,000 BTU  
  • Dimensions: 21.89 x 18.98 x 14.65 Inches
  • Weight: 63.9 Pounds

Why We Love It

By combining three functions (air conditioning, dehumidification and fan) into one unit, Midea MAW10R1BWT is second to none in terms of adaptability nowadays. Able to keep the users comfortable in various weather conditions, MAW10R1BWT is a superb air conditioner that everyone could put to good use. Since all required mounting accessories come alongside the Midea AC, installation is a cakewalk. Additionally, there is no need to make substantial modifications to the window frames so as to accommodate MAW10R1BWT.

Due to the inclusion of the EcoSave functionality, the air conditioner from Midea allows itself to shut off after it gets to a set temperature. That means by using Midea MAW10R1BWT, you would simultaneously save quite a few and protect the environment. MAW10R1BWT also features a sleep mode that automatically regulates the temperature throughout the night to match your sleep cycle. Last but not least, the Midea AC packs a low noise level so it’s a fine choice for people that seek a quiet pop-up camper air conditioner.

To reassure RVers of the quality of MAW10R1BWT, Midea backs it with a 1-year part and labor warranty. If your AC fails due to manufacturing defects within the warranty period then you could claim a free replacement.

Pros:

  • Economical
  • Reliable and dependable
  • Silent operation

Cons:

  • Inadequate customer service
  • Some units arrive with damaged shrouds

Best Portable AC For Pop-Up Campers

6. Black + Decker BPACT10WT

Black + Decker BPACT10WT
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Specification:

  • Cooling Capacity: 10,000 BTU  
  • Dimensions: 16.5 x 11.5 x 26 Inches
  • Weight: 52.9 Pounds

Why We Love It

Made to offer immediate and uninterrupted comfort, Black + Decker BPACT10WT earns lots of praise from RVers, novices and veterans. Being a portable AC, BPACT10WT could be quickly repositioned so it’s possible to get cool airs as you loiter in the interior. By creating steady and powerful airflows through vertical motion, the Black + Decker air conditioner keeps temperature inside the RV stable. Furthermore, since its refrigerant is R410a, Black + Decker BPACT10WT proves itself to be an environmentally friendly AC.

As for the control, BPACT10WT accompanies a full-function remote that lets you customize its performance to your preferences. Thanks to the LED display and symbols on the unit, it only takes a glance to determine the running setting of Black + Decker BPACT10WT. Featuring cooling, dehumidification and fan modes, the air conditioner of Black + Decker should be able to meet a wide range of requirements from the users. As BPACT10WT comes at a reasonable price as well,  it’s definitely a solid AC for typical vacations.  

For maintenance, Black + Decker BPACT10WT boast slide-out air filters that RVers could rinse and wash under a faucet. Thus, BPACT10WT is a fitting pop-up camper air conditioner for those that frown at maintenance-intensive AC.

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Sleek profile
  • Coverage is outstanding

Cons:

  • Unresponsive customer service  
  • The exhaust hose should be lengthened

7. RolliCool COOL100H

RolliCool COOL100H
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Specification:

  • Cooling Capacity: 14,000 BTU  
  • Dimensions: 14.2 x 16.5 x 28.4 Inches
  • Weight: 62.0 Pounds

Why We Love It

Powerful and multifunction,  RolliCool COOL100H of Rollibot is a modern air conditioner engineered to meet modern pop-up campers. With a cooling capacity of 14,000 BTU, the Rollibot AC is superior to the average portable air conditioners regarding output. Depending on the surrounding conditions, RVers could switch between air conditioning, dehumidification and fan modes at a moment’s notice. To cycle the operating modes, owners of campers have up to three options: remote, smartphone and voice control (Amazon Alexa).   

Using eco-friendly R410A refrigerant and reusable filters, the Rollibot AC is known to have minimal impact on the environment. So if you decide to go green, you should think about adding RolliCool COOL100H to your shortlist. As for its portability, the RV-rated air conditioner from Rollibot boasts rugged caster wheels. Because of that, moving RolliCool COOL100H around is undoubtedly a walk in the park. Since it’s also made of first-class materials, the Rollibot unit takes on bumps and vibrations without falling apart.

Since Rollibot offers all the parts and hardware, the installation of RolliCool COOL100H lasts for just a few minutes. Follow the instructions in the manual and cool air would fill the interior of your rig before you know it.

Pros:

  • Robust construction
  • Advanced and stylish
  • Marvelous handling characteristics

Cons:

  • Unsecured filter guards
  • Less than ideal window adapter  

8. SereneLife SLPAC10

SereneLife SLPAC10
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Specification:

  • Cooling Capacity: 10,000 BTU  
  • Dimensions: 17.4 x 13.4 x 32.1 Inches
  • Weight: 55.1 Pounds

Why We Love It

Possessing a compact and slim body, SereneLife SLPAC10 is seen as the ideal pop-up camper air conditioner for RVer that like to travel light. Due to the integration of top-grade rolling wheels, the SereneLife AC boasts impressive portability compared to the traditional air conditioners for recreational vehicles. For cooling, the 10,000 BTU output of SLPAC10 guarantees that everyone inside the RV feels comfortable during the hottest summer days. Packing a low power consumption, the air conditioner of SereneLife is economical to run too.

Since it carries a built-in dehumidifier, SereneLife SLPAC10 is particularly well-suited for locations that have high humidity levels. By removing excess moisture in the air, the SereneLife AC prevents the spread of allergens, mites, mildew and others. Through the digital touch button control panel on the unit, you could monitor key readings and apply adjustment at will. Also, SereneLife SLPAC10 is accompanied by a handy remote so you could manage its operations without having to get up.

As proof of confidence, SereneLife even backs SLPAC10 with a market-leading 100% money-back guarantee. That means if you find the AC of SereneLife inadequate for your camper, you could ask for a refund.

Pros:

  • Fast cooling
  • Multiple settings
  • User-friendly control

Cons:

  • A bit loud in use
  • Blow circuit breakers on occasions

What Size AC Do You Need?

To deduce the amount of BTU needed to keep your camper cool, all you need to do is to multiply its square foot area by 20. That is going to help you narrow down the number of units to check and save a lot of time. Of course, if you like to play it safe, feel free to increase the recommended BTU rating of the AC slightly as a precaution.

For example, the overall size of your pop-up camper is 25 x 40 feet and its square foot area is 1,000 ft2. The recommended rating for the AC of your recreational vehicle would be 20,000 BTU (1,000 x 20).

What To Consider In A Pop-Up Camper Air Conditioner

Overall, if you know what to look for, it’s a breeze to find a pop-up camper air conditioner that meets your personal preferences. So to make a worthwhile purchase, it’s strongly recommended that you remember these criteria.

BTU

For your information, BTU (an acronym for British Thermal Unit) indicates the cooling power of air conditioners: as the BTU rating rises, the amount of heat removed also increases accordingly. To determine the ideal BTU rating for your future air conditioner, it’s of utmost importance to take the dimensions of your camper into account. If you own a compact rig, you could opt to get models with standard ratings. On the other hand, if you happen to have a huge pop-up camper and wish to stay cool, go for high BTU air conditioners.

Consumption

It’s common knowledge among RV owners that once it comes to power-hungry appliances on recreational vehicles, air conditioners often take the top spots. Hence, if you intend to purchase an AC for your pop-up camper, you must think about power consumption. Having a powerful air conditioner means nothing if it consumes way too much electricity and leaves the rest of the appliances on your rig underpowered. So before picking up a particular model, you need to ensure that your recreational vehicle is able to power it.

Noise

All air conditioners on the market make noises in use but it’s worth noting that certain models possess reduced noise levels compared to others. Thus, if you want to enjoy cool airs and have peace of mind at the same time, you should prioritize units that run relatively quietly. Usually, air conditioners of recreational vehicles that feature noise-reduction designs and sound-muffling materials operate in a silent manner. Still, to be on the safe side, it’s widely advised that you check out reviews of customers to see if they complain about noise.

Maintenance

Machines require periodic inspections and repairs to stay in working order and the same applies to RV-rated air conditioners. Of course, you can always bring your recreational vehicle to the local auto shops and let the professionals take care of the AC maintenance. That being said, as an RVer, you likely have an assortment of expenses to cover. Thus, why don’t you buy a no-nonsense conditioner that you could maintain on your own and save some bucks for more pressing needs?

Price

Different RVers often have different ideas regarding the cost of AC: many opt to get expensive units while others seem to be willing to settle for low-priced models. In general, unless you have first-class requirements, there is no need to grab a premium AC and empty your wallet in the process. If you look around hard enough, you would be able to come across decent units that come at affordable prices. However, you have to steer clear of dirt-cheap air conditioners as the manufacturers of such machines often cut corners to keep the price down.

How To Add Air Conditioning To A Pop-Up Trailer

The installation procedures change from model to model, hence, it’s of utmost importance that you refer to the owner’s manual while adding an AC to your camper. Nonetheless, if you need pointers, follow the steps down below.

Note: To prevent incidents, you need to cut the power supply and disconnect the battery prior to AC installation.

Step 1: Unbox The AC

Overall, depending on the weight of the air conditioner, you may want to ask another person to help you lift it out of the packaging. Instead of putting the AC on the ground, it’s strongly recommended that you consider laying clean clothes underneath. Moreover, keep an eye out for tubes, connectors, wirings and so on during the unboxing. Such components require delicate treatments: one mishandling and the AC could experience a wide range of issues in use.

Step 2: Drill A Mounting Hole

As pop-up campers usually come without provisions for air conditioners, you need to create a hole to attach an AC to your rig. To preserve the integrity of the camper, you must analyze the composition of the exterior before powering up your drill. Also, it’s a good idea to deploy your RV on level surfaces to minimize movements and improve drilling precision. For your safety, you should arrange wood pieces in parallel around the drilling site to get a grip of yourself.

Step 3: Mount The Air Conditioner

Again, it’s nice to have a helping hand around as you move the AC and associated components into the hole on your camper. Refrain from dragging the air conditioner since that is going to cause damage to the lower end of the unit. Place the AC in a vertical manner so its cord is able to fall inside your pop-up camper. So as to bring the air conditioner to center, you could gently wiggle it until everything is to your satisfaction. Afterward, fix the air distribution box and connect the power cord to the central connector.

Step 4: Go Through The Wirings

Now you need to connect components of the AC with suitable wires so to avoid messing up the wirings, follow instructions in the manual. In addition, be thorough once it comes to the lengths of the wires: if you leave the wires too stretched then they would disconnect soon. Aside from that, you should also cover all of the wire connections in insulation tapes. Exposed connections lead to an assortment of hazards that put you as well as your pop-up camper at risk.    

Step 5: Reconnect The Power Supply

Assuming that you nail the wirings, your air conditioner is essentially operational and the only thing left to do is to reconnect the battery and turn on the power supply. That being said, for good measure, inspect the wirings, connectors, sockets and so on one more time for odd signs. If nothing is out of the ordinary, proceed to hit the circuit  breaker and enjoy the long-awaited cool airs

Running An AC Pop-Up Camper: Tips And Tricks

  • Look For Shaded Parking Spaces: Parking under the blazing sun would lead to temperature spikes which force your AC to work extra hard so as to cool the interior. If you wish to simultaneously cut the utility bill and extend the lifespan of your air conditioner, you should park your camper in shaded spaces. By getting your RV out of direct sunlight, you don’t have to turn the thermostat all the way down just to keep yourself cool.
  • Change The Air Filters Periodically: Over time, all kinds of things could accumulate all the filters of air conditioners and obstruct the flows of airs. Because of that, to make sure that your AC operates at peak performance, you need to change its air filters from time to time.
  • Think About Insulating The Interior: Typical pop-up campers nowadays have less than ideal insulations. Therefore, to get the most out of your AC, you must insulate its interior to keep cool airs in and shut hot airs out.

Also in RV Appliances, we’re providing thorough reviews and buying guides which help RV campers have peace of minds choosing the best RV air conditioner, best RV microwave convection ovens, best RV vacuums, best RV dehumidifiers, best RV washer dryer combo, best 12V refrigerators, best RV vent fan on the market today.

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