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What Are the Smallest Portable Air Conditioners for Tight Spaces?

What Are the Smallest Portable Air Conditioners for Tight Spaces?

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. 

Ukoke Mini Split Window Unit
Additional AC can either be much more efficient or add capacity to a rooftop unit.

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.

micro AC dehumidifier
Some portable air conditioners also act as dehumidifiers. This is a micro-unit we have that we run in tight spaces to dry them out when needed.

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.

Zero breeze room setup
This is our test of the zero breeze in a 12 x 12 room. It couldn’t keep up. Smaller spaces it does great.

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.

BLACK+DECKER 8,000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner up...
  • 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. 

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).

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″

Midea 12,000 BTU U-Shaped Smart Inverter Window...
  • 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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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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Sunday 9th of July 2023

Thank you for sharing this informative and well-written article. Keep up the fantastic work! The Zero Breeze does indeed look amazing! Looking forward to getting more info.

Mortons on the Move

Saturday 15th of July 2023

I might post a full review on the zero breeze a bit later once i have a bit more testing behind it.

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


Friday 14th of July 2023

@Luke, Why is it necessary to laugh at someone's question when obviously they didn't know the answer or they wouldn't have asked? Ridiculing people is unnecessary to answer a question and reflects on you poorly. Do better. Thanks.


Sunday 4th of June 2023

@Robert Leach, You clearly don’t understand how an ac works lmao. It’s going through a compressor to compress the Freon into a liquid. Got nothing to do with LP🤣


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. :)