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Tested: Quietest RV Air Conditioners

One of the biggest complaints about AC units in campers is how incredibly loud they are. A few nights of losing sleep will have you searching for the quietest RV air conditioners on the market.

Luckily, you can stay cool without the noise. We want to help you find a unit for you and your rig. Today, we’re looking at some of the quietest RV air conditioners. Which is right for you? Let’s look and see!

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Why Are RV Air Conditioners So Loud?

In a traditional residential setting, you likely don’t notice the hum of the air conditioning keeping you cool. However, it’s almost impossible to overlook the noise of most AC units in a camper. This is primarily due to the design of the air conditioning and the RV.

Most roof-mounted units sit on roofs with minimal insulation and separation from the living space. Very little stands in the way regarding sound-dampening when they run. Residential units may seem quieter, but stand beside one while it runs, and you’ll discover the truth.

These units must produce tons of airflow in a very small space as well, causing lots of air noise. Often, manufacturers use air conditioners with single-stage compressors as well. These compressors kick on and off and can add to the noise. Multi-stage or variable compressors can run much quieter.

In addition, many RV owners slack off on routine maintenance. Cleaning the filters and coils helps these units run more efficiently and quieter. You also don’t want to overlook maintaining the fan. As fans age, they require lubrication and inspection for wear and tear. Something as simple as a damaged fan blade can be very noisy.

RV air conditioner
Our Dometic RTX 12V unit is completely variable and can run quieter, but it still is not the quietest.

Can You Fix a Loud RV Air Conditioner?

If you’re experiencing a loud RV air conditioner, it may just be the design of the unit as many of them are loud from the factory. However, if the unit is squealing, growling or clanking, there might be something else wrong with it. Bent fans and bad bearings can cause AC units to get loud and can sometimes be fixed. These fixes, however, are best left to a professional.

There are also products you can purchase that will help quiet noisy AC units. For example, the Wacko RV AC Silencer is one to consider. This product fits Dometic, Coleman, and other standard cooling brands in campers. It basically adds sound dampening between the units fan and the living space.

Wacko RV AC Silencer Kit | 17" x 2.25" | Noise...
  • Cuts down on noise produced by your RV air conditioner
  • Made in the US
  • Air is cleaned by an air filter

Another useful product is the SoftStart RV. These may not be as simple to install as the Wacko RV AC Silencer, but they reduce noise. The SoftStart RV connects to the AC unit’s wiring to reduce power surges when starting. This can help with compressor startup clunks and make the sound less harsh. It will not help with noisy airflow, however.

SoftStartRV Soft Start for RV Air Conditioner, RV...
  • HOW DOES IT WORK?: When your RV air conditioner compressor kicks...
  • WHAT SEPARATES US FROM THE COMPETITION? It’s NOW 40% smaller...
  • TOO MANY APPLIANCES? SoftStartRV introduces cutting-edge...

Pro Tip: If your RV air conditioner isn’t working as it should, read more about How to Troubleshoot and Repair Your RV Air Conditioner.

Exterior of RV with air conditioner units
Use an RV air silencer to help the AC unit run quieter and improve airflow and filtration.

Can You Install Non RV AC Units On RVs?

It is possible to install quiet non-RV units on RVs but its almost always a custom build. Many owners, including us, installed mini split air conditioning systems on their rigs. These ductless units use indoor and outdoor components, much like residential setups. They’re typically quieter and outperform most standard RV air conditioning units.

However, installing one of these units can be a lot of work and require specific tools and knowledge. If you’re not an experienced DIYer or familiar with RVs, leave this one to the pros. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

You may also want to consider installing a window unit in your camper. These may require some modifications, but they are easy to remove at the end of summer when you won’t need to use them. These are often the choice of those doing conversion projects as they can help avoid adding height to a vehicle.

These are only a couple of non-RV AC units. Like many DIY projects, where there’s a will to make something work, there’s a way. However, ensure you know what you’re doing before starting one of these projects. If not, you may do more harm than good to your rig and your budget.

AC unit installed in RV
Some manufacturers even use window AC units in RV’s from the factory.

Stay Cool with these Quietest RV Air Conditioners

If you’re looking for the quietest RV-specific air conditioners, here are our favorites. We have personally tried most of the top brands and find these quietest to our ears. Sound comfort sometimes goes beyond decibels alone and has to do with sound tone as well. These are the quietest and best sounding in our opinion.

Houghton

Houghton makes the RecPro 13.5K Quiet AC Unit. It fits the standard 14 by 14-inch spaces for vent fans. It also comes with a heat pump to take the chill out of the air. The remote makes it easy to adjust settings and turn it on and off. 

Standard RV AC units run between 60 and 70 decibels (dB), but Houghton states this model runs at 56 dB on high and 47 dB on low. This may not sound like much, but it’s a noticeable difference. You’ll likely find you don’t need to raise your voice for conversations or adjust the TV.

These units also have a very low woosh tone instead of a higher-pitched noise. Overall even in a small space, we have found these units very tolerable, and they perform great.

On top of that Rec Pro offers 5% off Mortons subscribers with code ONTHEMOVE5.

Houghton rec pro quiet AC unit
This is one of the quietest and most efficient rooftop RV AC units available.

Aventa

The Aventa Eco and Aventa Comfort are products of Truma Air Conditioning Systems. Their low-profile and sleek design avoids adding height without sacrificing efficiency. It has 13,500 and 15,000 BTU capacities and works with ducted and non-ducted systems.

Tests reveal that the Aventa runs at 54.8 dB on low and 70.3 dB on high. While it may be as loud on high, it’s roughly 9 dB quieter than standard models on low. The tone once again is much more tolerable than standard AC models as well.

With fancy features and quality results, it shouldn’t be surprising that it comes with a premium price tag. The Aventa Eco costs roughly $2,500, while the Aventa Comfort is approximately $2,700. You can visit and have Truma factories in Indiana and Florida install your unit. Additionally, they have mobile installers that will come to you in Florida, Texas, and Arizona. Unfortunatly they do not offer DIY installations of their units.

Pro Tip: Check out our in-depth review of the Truma Aventa air conditioner units.

turma aventa cutaway showing fan
This cutaway of the trauma shows the turbine-like fan that is separate from the internal evaporator. This design makes it unique and much quieter.

Window Alternatives

Because our AC units have been so loud over the years, we have even tried window unit alternatives that are much quieter and more efficient. Here are our top quiet choices if you have the room to add one.

Ukoke USPC06C Caravan Window Air Conditioner

Since RV’s have nonstandard windows a unique solution is usually needed to use a window AC unit. The Ukoke USPC06C is very unique unit in that it is a bit like a very small mini-split with two parts connected by a set of hoses. This allows for installation in nonstandard windows.

When we say that this unit is quiet, we mean it. It hums quietly in our measurements at 38db inside. The window blocks most of the 45 db outside. Installation takes approximately 10 minutes. This is a straightforward installation, so hiring a professional may not be necessary. The roughly $500 price tag is budget-friendly. However, they go fast and are often out of stock. Therefore, customers must act quickly if one is in stock.

The Ukoke  AC unit

Midea 10,000 BTU U-shaped Air Conditioner

If you want a beefier air conditioner, the Midea 10,000 BTU U-shaped Air Conditioner is an option. It can cool up to 450 square feet, more than double the Ukoke model coverage. Its powerful fan creates an airflow that you can feel approximately 20 feet away.

This AC unit operates like highly efficient mini splits with variable compressors, inside and outside fans allowing it to find optimal cooling with the least amount of noise.

Installation is a three-step process that allows you to open and close the window. However, because this unit weighs just over 50 pounds, having an extra set of hands to help is a good idea. The U-shaped design allows it to run at a quiet 42 dB. Midea claims you’d have to run nine of their units to equal the volume of some traditional units.

Keep Your RV AC Cool and Quiet

Luckily RV technology is slowly getting better, and so are the AC units. Unfortunately, most of them are still very loud boxes, but a few options like the ones we shared are very quiet.

Which of the AC units on our list would work best for your rig? Tell us your thoughts in the comments!

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About Tom Morton

Tom, a Pacific Northwest native, is our technical genius. Born in Washington and raised in Alaska before settling in Michigan. He's the man who keeps our operation running, both figuratively and literally.

With a background in Electrical Engineering, Tom specializes in RV solar systems and lithium batteries. He made history as the first documented individual to use a Tesla battery module as an RV battery. Tom has personally assisted countless RVers with system installations and has educated thousands more through his videos and articles.

Cinematography is another of Tom's passions, showcased in his work on the Go North series. You can see his camera skills on display in The RVers TV show on Discovery Channel and PBS where he also stars as a co-host.

Tom's mechanical expertise extends beyond RVs to boats, planes, and all things mechanical. He's renowned for taking on maintenance and repair projects single-handedly and is often spotted underneath RVs, making him the technical backbone of our endeavors.

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Steve H

Thursday 17th of August 2023

Your article didn't mention two alternatives for those who live and dry camp/boondock in the arid West: 12v compressor AC units and 12v evaporative coolers (ie., TurboKool) units. Both will work, with sufficient Li battery and solar power, in the West due to 300+ days of sunshine each year and relative humidity ranging from 10-40%. A 12v compressor AC unit is little different mechanically than the 12v fridges that many (most?) manufacturers are now installing in their RVs. And, having had a rooftop, 6,500 cfm evaporative "swamp" cooler providing all of the summer cooling in our Colorado home for 46 years, I would have absolutely no concerns with replacing my RV rooftop 13.5K heat pump-AC unit with a TurboKool unit. Plus the evaporative unit uses ~10% of the electrical power of a compressor-driven, refrigerated AC unit, so it is much easier on limited Li battery capacity.

The biggest misunderstanding of evaporative coolers is that they work by air-exchange and must be vented to the outdoors. They do NOT work by cooling the air already inside the house or RV as with a compressor unit. We direct air flow in our house by opening windows or doors to exhaust the warm air and the same would apply in an RV. With a TurboKool unit, a window or roof vent MUST be opened to exhaust the warm air!

Robert Makowski

Thursday 17th of August 2023

Great article Tom and Cait, go huskies.