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.
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.
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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.
- Captures: HEPA filter captures 99.97 0.3 microns particles...
- Dyson technology helps create a healthier home
- Projects: Projects refreshed air throughout the whole room. Air...
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.
- 3-IN-1 COOLING – Evapolar evaCHILL cools & humidifies the air...
- NATURAL PERSONAL COOLING - Efficiently cools your personal space...
- 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!
- 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.
- 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.
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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