Do you have a small space you need cool but don’t have a ton of space? On our site we mainly cover recreational vehicles, and there are many different small AC units used in this space. No matter if your cooling an RV, small room or even a single cabinet, let’s take a look at some of the smallest air conditioners available.
Why Would You Need a Portable Air Conditioner in An 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.
How Powerful Are Small AC Units?
The smallest AC units are not very powerful coming in around 2500BTU. However they also only draw a few hundred watts. If power consumption is a problem a small unit in a small space might be a good idea.
While this is the smallest end, the most commonly available AC units get as small as 6000 – 8000 BTU. You will find these ranging from portable units to window units.
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, they can help. The smallest portable air conditioners perform well in the conditions for which they’re designed.
Typically, compared to mini-splits or even window units, portable air conditioners tend to perform worse per BTU because some of their heat is rejected back into the room. Heat is lost in the hoses to the exterior and also in the design where the evaporator and condenser are so close and in the same unit.
There are some really great window or even micro mini-split units however that are quite efficient and good choices for small spaces.
Looking for a dehumidifier? Check out the 6 Best RV Dehumidifiers and Why You Need One.
6 Best Portable Air Conditioners for Tight Spaces
RV air conditioners can make your travels more pleasant and allow you to camp out longer in warm climates. If you don’t have a lot of extra space in your RV, we’ve got you covered! Check out our top picks for the smallest portable air conditioners on the market.
1. Zero Breeze Portable Air Conditioner
Dimensions: 10.06 x 20.03 x 11.23 inches
Hands down one of the smallest AC units available is the Zero Breeze Mark 2. This unit is a true small AC unit nd by small, we mean small—like a single room of an RV, a tent, or a camper van. This unit has a cooling capacity of 2,300 BTUs and is suitable for spaces up to 50 square feet.
The unit does have very good dehumidifying properties which help to keep a space far more comfortable overnight. The unit only draws a bit over 200 watts at max power which makes it capable of running on battery. A battery is available for the unit but only provides about 3 hours of run on max power. To get more runtime an additional external power supply will be needed but a 1kwh power pack keeps it going all night.
We have tested this AC in a 12 x 12 room with its hoses attached, but it only took the edge off of the heat. However, it did a good job of dehumidifying. In a one-room tent this unit actually performs pretty well. To make the best use of this unit in a tent half the unit needs to be inside the tent with the other half out. This can be accomplished by zipping it through a door. The air intake needs to be inside the tent to take full advantage of the dehumidifying. Its very important that it be angled back to properly drain the water it collects, outside.
Keep in mind that when operating this unit or any portable unit with hoses attached to move hot air outside it will decrease its capacity as some heat is re-radiated back into the room.
2. Ukoke Window Micro Mini Split
About: The Ukoke air conditioner is a unique solution that can help to install in small spaces that are nonstandard. Its a two-piece unit that’s connected together by hoses and wires. Because of the flexible hose, this unit might fit a window type that other units will not.
We have tested this unit and have found its performance excellent. This unit is not only very efficient (around 600 watts running full load) but also crazy quiet! We measured the inside sound at 36Db! Far quieter than its documentation states.
The documentation is a little lacking and even wrong about a few things but its pretty easy to figure out. The one thing we had to figure out was to open the outside drain plug on the back of the unit so it can pump out condensation.
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Pro Tip: If you live in a dry climate, a swamp cooler may be a more cost-effective cooling option than a traditional air conditioner. Discover the 5 Best Evaporative Swamp Coolers for Your RV.
3. BLACK+DECKER 8,000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner
Dimensions: 16.5 x 11.5 x 26 inches
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 8,000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner is a more compact unit, yet can still cool a space up to 350 square feet. If you want to squeeze an air conditioner in a tight space, 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 condensation out of its vent hoses. Overall this is a popular AC unit we have seen used in many RVs.
- Portable AC: Use this personal air conditioner (15.3” x 14” x...
- 3-in-1: Our 4,100 BTU DOE (8000 BTU ASHRAE 128) air conditioner...
- Impressive Features: Set the temperature just right with this ac...
Pro Tip: You can take the wheels off most small portable air conditioners to make them even shorter!
4. Honeywell 9,000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner
Dimensions: 18.9 x 15.7 x 31.3 inches
If you have space, a powerful full-size portable air conditioner may be a good option for an RV or tiny home, too.
Honeywell is a well-known and trusted brand. The Honeywell Portable Air Conditioner has three fan speeds, so you can adjust it to your needs. It features digital controls, sleep mode, and a remote control with a digital display. There’s also 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. Then, 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 it’s ready to use 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).
5. Midea Inverter Air Conditioner Unit
About: The Midea Inverter Air Conditioner is both quiet and energy-efficient and a unique U design. This 8000 to 12,000 BTU window unit has plenty of cooling capacity for many small spaces and weighs about 59 pounds. Additionally, this air conditioner is Wi-Fi enabled, meaning you can control it remotely.
The design of this unit is unique and may not fit some windows, but it might be just right for a few. The U-shaped design allows a window to close between the unit. This means (depending on your window situation) your window can still open, allowing fresh air in, even with the window unit installed. This U-shaped design works best with RV windows that slide up and down to open rather than side to side.
This unit is fully variable on all fans and operates similarly to a true household mini-split. This makes the unit crazy quiet and efficient. We love the soft startup and soft whir this unit makes and think its an excellent option if you can fit it.
Dimensions (LxWxH): 21.9″ x 19.17″ x 13.26″
- ULTRA QUIET - The U-shape design of Midea U Smart Inverter AC...
- MORE THAN 35% ENERGY SAVINGS - With the advanced DC Inverter...
- SMART CONTROL - Midea U Smart Inverter AC is Wi-Fi enabled and...
Pro Tip: Keep cool, even when camping, with one of these 6 Best Tent Air Conditioners to Stay Cool While Camping.
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 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 travel in comfort all summer long!
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