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What Are the Smallest Portable Air Conditioners for Tight Spaces?

What Are the Smallest Portable Air Conditioners for Tight Spaces?

Summer is a great time to take your RV on an adventure. While summer brings the opportunity for creating lifelong memories, it also brings in heat and humidity. Thankfully even if you lack a rooftop air conditioning unit that can keep up with the summer heat, there are options. Today we’ll look at a few of the smallest portable air conditioners that are powerful enough to help you stay comfortable this summer. 

Why Would You Need a Portable Air Conditioner in Your RV?

While it’s the norm for newer RVs to come with at least one RV air conditioner installed, many older RVs have none. It’s a significant renovation to install a standard rooftop AC unit, making the addition of one of the smallest portable air conditioners an intelligent option.

Even RVs that come with an air conditioner installed can have a tough time keeping you cool. It can be difficult for one air conditioner to keep up, especially in hot climates. Additionally, with larger RVs, one or even two rooftop air conditioners just might not be enough during the hottest months. 

built in RV air conditioner
Your built-in RV air conditioner might not be enough!

Those with a toy hauler RV might especially appreciate an additional cooling product to place directly in the garage. 

Can You Use Any Portable Air Conditioner in an RV?

You can use any portable air conditioner in an RV, though some work better than others in particular weather situations. If using a ventless portable air conditioner they use water to cool the air and the humidity will pump back into your RV.

Ventless air conditioners use humidity to cool the air and only work well in dry climates. This style would not be a great choice for those who already battle humidity in their RVs.

A vented version will typically require a hose attached to drain the excess moisture collected as a part of the process. Some vented options have auto-evaporation that will attempt to evaporate the moisture into the exhaust air.

Are Small Portable Air Conditioners Any Good?

If you want to cool an entire traditional home, this isn’t your product. If you hope to cool a small space or room, you’ll be happy. They perform well in the conditions for which they’re designed.

Typically compared to mini-splits, or even window air conditioner units, portable air conditioners tend to perform worse per BTU because some of their heat is rejected back into the room.

An added benefit to using a portable air conditioner in an RV is that some vented units also act as a dehumidifier. Adding even the smallest portable air conditioner can hugely impact your comfort. 

Looking for a dehumidifier? Check out the 6 Best RV Dehumidifiers and Why You Need One.

5 of the Best Portable Air Conditioners for Tight Spaces

Keeping cool can make the difference in a pleasant trip and one cut short out of desperation for a cooler environment. Having a portable cooling option in an RV is great but you may find that you are short on space.

Now that we’ve found an option to help keep you cool let’s look at a few of our top picks of the smallest portable air conditioners to make it happen. 

1. Dyson Pure Cool Tower

While not technically an air conditioner, sometimes you just need better airflow in the RV. Being tall and skinny this unit tends to fit well in a tight corner.

Dimensions: 7.7 x 7.7 x 40.1 inches.

The Dyson Pure Cool Tower features 10 airspeed settings letting you get the perfect airflow for your needs. This cooling tower has an oscillation setting to ensure even cooling. Plus, it comes with a remote, so you can adjust the settings from wherever you are!  

The Dyson also has a sleep timer and auto shut off. So, you can set it for a specific time to help conserve your house batteries when on an inverter. The auto shut-off can give you peace of mind if the unit tips over. 

Its cleansing abilities are a huge selling point of this portable air conditioner. The HEPA filter claims to remove 99.97% of allergens and pollutants. There’s a second layer of charcoal filter to help remove smells from the air. Users can breathe easy knowing they’re consuming cleaner air.  

Dyson Pure Cool™ TP01 Air Purifier and Fan -...
  • Captures and traps pollutants for cleaner air.
  • Purifies and cools you.²
  • 360° filtration system combines a filter to remove odors and...

2. Zero Breeze Micro Battery Powered Air Conditioner

If you really need to cool a small space the Zero Breeze Micro Air conditioner is your best bet. By small, however, we mean small – like a single room of an RV. It is unique, however, from the other smallest portable air conditioners available in that it is truly compressor-driven and vented.

Dimensions: 8.3 x 0.9 x 1.6 inches

The zero breeze unit can be battery-powered or connected to the 120V AC power system of the RV. Its cooling capacity is quite small but if you need to just take the edge off a small space and run off batteries this unit might be a great choice!

Marketed for campers and tents it’s important to keep in mind that this is a very small low powered unit and may not provide significant cooling, however, we have seen it used with success for very small spaces and one person.

3. evaCHILL Personal Air Cooler

The evaCHILL Personal Air Cooler is a three-in-one mini air cooler. This unit is a humidifier that cools by evaporation and will only work well in dry climates. The unit cools, humidifies, and cleanses the air, and can cool an area of up to 45 sq ft of space.

This makes it perfect for placing in front of a desk, bed, or couch. The portable air conditioner works with a touch of a button, allowing you to turn it on or off easily.

Dimensions: 6.5 x 6.5 x 6.5 inches

This personal air cooler functions as an air purifier, so you can enjoy clean air. Combined with the humidifier function, those who need moist, cool air will appreciate what this unit has to offer. The large water basin lets the unit humidify the air for up to nine hours. This product is small enough to set on a table or countertop. 

Evapolar evaCHILL Portable Conditioner Small...
  • 3-IN-1 COOLING – Evapolar evaCHILL cools & humidifies the air...
  • NATURAL PERSONAL COOLING – Efficiently cools your personal...
  • ENERGY-EFFICIENT & COST-SAVING – consumes 7.5W (up to 100x less...

4. BLACK+DECKER BPACT08WT Portable Air Conditioner

A traditional home-style ground-based portable air conditioner may be a good choice for an RV, but many of them are quite large and take up space. The Black and Decker ZBPACT08WT is a more compact unit, especially in its height.

Dimensions: 16.5 x 11.5 x 26 inches

If wanting to squeeze a small air conditioner, say, under a table, this one just may work as it’s only 26 inches tall.

This unit is also great for RVs as it does not require a drain and attempts to evaporate any condensate out its vent hoses. Overall this is a popular AC unit we have seen used in many RVs.

Pro Tip: You can take the wheels off most small portable air conditioners to make them even shorter!

BLACK+DECKER 8,000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner...
  • QUIET & POWERFUL - Our 4,000 BTU (8,000 BTU ASHRAE) compact air...
  • PERFECT FOR SMALL ROOMS - This floor-standing portable AC unit...
  • SIMPLE & QUICK TO INSTALL – Just wheel this portable air...

5. Honeywell Portable Air Conditioner

If you have space, a powerful full-size portable air conditioner may be a good option for a tight space, too.

Dimensions: 18.9 x 15.7 x 31.3 inches

It’s never bad to have too much cooling. Honeywell is a well-known and trusted brand. The Honeywell Portable Air Conditioner has three fan speeds so that you can adjust it to your needs. It features digital controls, sleep mode, and remote control with a digital display. There’s a washable filter to reduce the annoyance and cost of having to buy new filters. 

With auto evaporation, there’s no bucket to empty unless you’re in extreme humidity. The built-in dehumidifier removes up to 80 pints in 24 hours with a continuous drain option. You can place the unit next to a window with its 4-foot hose for drainage.

The Honeywell Portable Air Conditioner comes with a window venting kit included, so you’re ready to use it out of the box. 

Honeywell 9000 Btu Portable Air Conditioner,...
  • Included Components: Air Conditioner, Remote control, Flexible...
  • Product dimensions: 18.9" X 15.7" X 31.3" | window bracket width:...
  • 9000 btu (ashrae-128 standard)/5000 btu (doe+ 2017 standard).

6. Forest Air Portable Mini Split

If you want the ultimate in efficient cooling from a portable unit consider the Forest Air portable mini-split. Split air conditioners tend to be much more efficient because of the large condenser to reject heat. The units are also much quieter because the compressor unit is located outside instead of in a window or in the indoor unit. The Forest Air unit is designed to be portable with only a plug on the indoor portion and a permanent 10 for hose connecting the two units. It has worked excellent for us and proved to be a very compact unit.

The forest air mini split
The outdoor portion of the RV minisplit
Indoor RV minisplit
The indoor portion of the forest air RV minisplit

Indoor Unit Dimensions 40.6 x 20.3 x 40.6 cm (16.0 x 8.2 x 16.0 in)
Outdoor Unit Dimensions 53.3 x 20.3 x 38.1 cm (21.3 x 8.2 x 15.8 in)

We originally purchased this unit at Costco but since then it seems they have discontinued it. We found it on Amazon for quite a bit more, we originally paid $760.

Keep Cool With An Extra Boost from A Portable Air Conditioner!

Overall, summer warmth is excellent for swimming and boating, but it isn’t ideal for sitting inside a hot and humid RV. The summer heat doesn’t have to make you miserable when you can add one of the smallest portable air conditioners.

Choose one that fits your needs, and you’ll likely feel more comfortable all summer long!

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About Mortons on the Move

Tom & Caitlin Morton of Mortons on the Move gave up the stationary life for one where they are constantly on the move. They are full-time travelers, television hosts, and digital media producers.
They left their jobs, sold their house and possessions, and hit the road in September 2015 in their full-time “home on wheels”. Since then they have traveled the US, Canada, and even internationally by RV.
Now, they are Discovery Channel & PBS TV Co-stars of The RVers, producers of “Go North” on Amazon Prime, co-founders and instructors of RV Masterclass, and contributing authors for and an Arizona travel guide.

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Robert Leach

Wednesday 12th of January 2022

Why can't you use a propain pump instead of electric to pump the freon then all you need is a fan to circulate the air


Sunday 25th of July 2021

Hey! On the B&D portable AC unit, you posted a picture of the vent kit for the sliding window.

Where did you find a window kit with rounded edges?! Ours slide up and down but they have rounded edges like yours.

Mortons on the Move

Sunday 25th of July 2021

Our vent kit for the sliding window had square edges when we bought the unit. We cut the plastic to create rounded edges and then used tape to seal it up.

Art Krause

Wednesday 16th of June 2021

Anyone have any experience from using a mini-split for cooling in the RV?

Mortons on the Move

Wednesday 16th of June 2021

I was just about to add another unit to this list that we just tried out. It's a portable mini-split by Forest Air and it works extremely well!

Erwin Osborne

Wednesday 12th of May 2021

This article is useful, especially for those with an old RV. The portable air conditioner is a must for an RV. The list includes some important products. Honeywell Portable Air Conditioner is particularly amazing. Thank you very much for the article.

Mortons on the Move

Thursday 13th of May 2021

You're welcome! Glad you found it useful. :)


Tuesday 11th of May 2021

Single hose portable AC's are near worthless. Don't waste your money. Dual hose is the only practicalway to go. Hard to find though.

Mortons on the Move

Thursday 13th of May 2021

They are tough to find, especially in small versions. You are right tho that all that air needs to come back in from somewhere.