The Dometic B59516.XX1J0 Brisk II Air Conditioner is our best rooftop RV air conditioner and it has an electrical rating of 115 volts AC and runs at 1 phase at 60 hertz. Furthermore, it can be installed ducted or non-ducted and it has a BTU per hour of 13,500 for its nominal capacity but it is also available in a 15,000 BTU unit. Being available in both black and white, it is very easy to install and maintain in general and it is backed by a 2 year warranty and has an amperage of 410 A.
Our step-up pick is the Dometic 640315CXX1J0 Penguin II Air Conditioner and this best RV AC unit has a nominal capacity of 13,500 BTU per hour. Meanwhile, the electrical rating is a 1 phase 60 hertz 120 volts AC and it can fit almost any standard roof openings measuring 14 by 14 inches. It comes with an R410A refrigerant that efficiently cools down and hastens the release of heat inside your RV or living space and it comes in either black or white. This A/C has a low profile design and is protected by a 2 year warranty.
The budget pick is the Coleman 15k Upper Unit White 48204C966 and this is a low cost upper unit RV air conditioner for the budget savers. It has a nominal conditioning of 15,000 BTU and it is ideal for a non-ducted RV. It makes up for a great replacement for an upper unit.
Table of Contents
- A Little Background
- How we picked
- Our pick
- Flaws but not dealbreakers
- Step-up Pick
- Budget Pick
- Best Non Ducted RV Air Conditioner
- Low Profile Designed Rooftop Air Conditioner
- RV Air Conditioner with Cub Design
- Power Saver Rooftop Air Conditioner
- RV Air Conditioner with Heat Pump
- Analog Control Rooftop Air Conditioner
- Best Ducted RV Rooftop Air Conditioner
- The Competition
- Other Frequently Asked Questions
- Wrapping it up
Why RV Air Conditioners are Essential
Summers can be extremely hot without a cooling system for your RV. Imagine if your car or vehicle had no air conditioning unit and it is summer – it will definitely be a blazing temperature inside due to the fact that vehicle interiors are built to be super hot inside. Without something to cool you down, you will have to constantly open the windows, which can be a threat to your security and it will also let bugs and other debris enter your RV and shake it up, especially during summer nights. Some campers resolve to using electric fans but they might only blow hot air, which is not essentially cooling as compared to an air conditioning unit.
Winters will definitely be super cold without a proper heating system for your RV. As hot as it is during summer, winters will definitely make things super cold inside your RV. Generally speaking, RVs are just like normal vehicles – they highly conduct whatever the temperature is outside. This is why you will feel twice as suffocated by the hot temperature during summer and feel super cold during the winter. If you already have an air condition unit, you can also have a heater system so that when the winter time comes, you will be heavily prepared. In fact, most people also install thermostats for convenience.
An air conditioning unit is a vital part of the RV system. This is because of the fact that majority of the RVs and mobile homes out there will be used during the summer where it’s hot, hot, and hot! You don’t want to compromise your camping and off the grid living experience so you should definitely have an air conditioning unit for your RV. It could be a new installation or a replacement. If it is already old and damaged, you should definitely replace it.
Most RV air conditioners are rooftop air conditioners and are installed overhead. Most of these RV air conditioners are also sold in the top unit only as you have to separately buy the lower unit. Some RVs already come installed with RV air conditioners but some models will require you to install one. At the very least, you should install a highly compatible RV air conditioner for your specific RV model. You should contact your RV manufacturer to see if they are selling specific RV air conditioners for the rooftop so you can settle for that instead.
The nominal capacity defines the cooling ability of any RV air conditioner. This is expressed in British thermal unit or BTU. You should look for something that is somewhere in 13,500 BTU or higher so that you will get a higher cooling capacity and energy saving feature. In regards to that, an RV A/C for your rooftop must also fit in perfectly onto your slot but also give you more air and cooling power.
How We Picked
Here are some of the guide key points that we considered when it comes to choosing the best rooftop RV air conditioner:
Rooftop RV air conditioners must have a low profile design to reduce drag and resistance. The wind dragging along when you ride on your RV and take it to highway speeds can reduce your gasoline and fuel efficiency and this is especially the case if you have a high profile and rather large design and size of an RV air conditioner then it will definitely slow down your vehicle and thus, halt your fuel efficiency and speed on the road. This is why you should get an RV air conditioners should have a low profile design and is contoured and shaped so that it will resist wind drag and get your RV moving faster without sacrificing the quality and efficiency of your fuel. Choose an RV air A/C that has a slim and low thickness.
RV air conditioners should have a standard or high amount of nominal capacity of cooling. As we mentioned earlier, BTU or British thermal unit is used to measure the cooling capacity of any RV rooftop air conditioner and just about any air conditioner for that matter. You will want to look for something that is between 13,500 BTU and 15,000 BTU as it is the standard high capacity rooftop RV air conditioning nominal capacity to help cool down your vehicle. However, always take into consideration that the more BTUs it will have, the more energy it will expend. This is why it is wise to buy something that has an energy saving capability but still does the job of cooling your vehicle down, especially during the summer heat.
RV air conditioners should fit most sizes of roof openings of RVs or mobile homes. Standard openings measure 14 by 14 inches and your chosen unit should be able to fit the installation of such. Whether you are installing a new system for your RV or you are replacing an old air conditioning system on your mobile home, you will definitely need to consider the size with regards to its cooling power and its design as well.
Do know if the RV air conditioner is ideal for new installation or just for replacement. This is because new installation RV air conditioners will come with all the needed equipment for you to install it in the first place, whereas some units are only meant for replacement and thus they lack some items and accessories for you to attach it and install it to your RV or mobile home. Go around the details of the said RV air conditioner for the rooftop unit so that you will know if it is applicable for your set up.
Know if the RV AC unit for your rooftop is for ducted or non-ducted RV conditioning. The air conditioner unit for RV rooftop has a description that will let you know if it is okay for ducted air conditioning or non ducted air conditioning. Often, a lot of various air conditioners for RVs and mobile homes are applicable for the ducted or non-ducted but some are only applicable for either one of them so you have to know first before you buy so that it will match your currently existing system for cooling.
An RV AC unit that has included or open for heating attachment should be considered. This is roughly because of the fact that, as we mentioned above, air conditioners for RVs can be used for both summer and winter and all sorts of seasons. This is why if you use your RV in the cold, you should have a heater system or attachment so that it will adapt to your current weather situation. As cars and homes have a heater system and a thermostat, there is no reason not to get one installed for your RV system as well.
Top Pick: Dometic B59516.XX1J0 Brisk II Air Conditioner
Our best rooftop RV air conditioner is the Dometic B59516.XX1J0 Brisk II Air Conditioner which has a BTU per hour of 13,500 for its nominal capacity but it is also available in a 15,000 BTU unit. In terms of convenience, it is very easy to install and maintain in general and it is available in both black and white. When it comes to its looks, it has a 19 percent lighter design compared to its older models.
The Dometic Brisk II Air Conditioner is beyond doubt a very compact design for rooftop or RV air conditioning. In terms of its effectiveness, the RV air conditioner has a 15 percent air flow increase compared to older models.
In addition to these features, the Brisk II Air Con is also highly compatible with an ADB or air distribution box that is universal and it is also compatible with a single zone LCD thermostat, comfort control thermostat or return air grill, which are products that are sold by the same manufacturer. Size is not a factor as it measures 29 by 27 inches and it will fit any standard 14 by 14 air vents.
When it comes to its expertise, the Air Brisk II by Dometic uses a center discharge for its air delivery technology. In regards to the appearance of the air conditioner, it comes with a stable base pan and an improved rigid shroud and it also has a smart design that allows for tighter specifications.
Among its included components, it has a gasket that fits to the roof. Overall, the Brisk II gives you a single replacement job for your RV air conditioning. As for its specifications in technical terms, it has an electrical rating of 115 volts AC and runs at 1 phase at 60 hertz and it can be installed ducted or non-ducted and it has an amperage of 410 A. It is currently backed by a 2 year warranty.
Flaws but Not Dealbrakers
The only concern about the Dometic B59516.XX1J0 Brisk II AC unit is that some shipping and handling problems may occur and leave dents on the rooftop air conditioner itself so the packaging when shipping needs to be protected more.
Step-up Best RV Air Conditioners
Dometic 640315CXX1J0 Penguin II Air Conditioner
The Dometic 640315CXX1J0 Penguin II Air Conditioner is our step-up pick and it can fit almost any standard roof openings measuring 14 by 14 inches. In terms of its looks, it has a low profile design. The said RV air conditioner also comes with an R410A refrigerant that efficiently cools down and hastens the release of heat inside your RV or living space.
When it comes to its technical specifications and cooling power, the Dometic Penguin II Air Conditioner has a nominal capacity of 13,500 BTU per hour. Also worth noting is that the electrical rating is a 1 phase 60 hertz 120 volts AC. You will definitely praise it for its design because of the fact that it is so low profile that it is less than 10 inches high and has a very contemporary and sleek design for the shroud. In addition and as a matter of fact, this design allows it to reduce drag and give you more mileage on your RV so you can get more fuel efficiency in the long run.
More on its design, with this air conditioner for your RV, the base pan has ribs and has been redesigned to improve the strength of your RV rooftop air conditioner. The Penguin II by Dometic runs at 410 amps and it is also available in a high capacity RV air conditioner model. Highly compact on its size, the RV air conditioner measures only 40 by 29 inches and it is okay to use on both ducted and non-ducted systems of cooling.
As a whole, the Dometic air con Penguin II gives you worry free automated cooling for your RV or mobile home and it is also highly compatible with most control kits, ADBs or air distribution kits and many more. Moreover, the SCFM or high speed is 320 at maximum and 250 at minimum while it is 310 / 230 for the high capacity model.
With this unit, you can have a multi zone CCCII thermostat control option for the high capacity model as well and you can also install an optional heating strip. It also comes in either black or white and it is protected by a 2 year warranty.
Budget Best RV AC Unit
Coleman 15k Upper Unit White 48204C966
The Coleman 15k Upper Unit White 48204C966 is easy to install on your rooftop with a minimum of 2 persons at about 3 hours. Do know that this is a low cost upper unit RV air conditioner for the budget savers and it is ideal for a non-ducted RV.
When it comes to its cooling capabilities, the Coleman Upper Unit 48204C966 has a nominal conditioning of 15,000 BTU. This RV air conditioner acts as a great replacement for an upper AC unit. It weighs 90 lbs.
Best RV Air Conditioners with Easy Installation
The Airxcel Mach 15 RV air unit is one of the best we have come across. The cooling capacity here is tremendous at 320 cubic feet per minute with a 1/3 HP fan motor. With its easy installation, this best RV air conditioner is a workhorse. Highly recommended!
Best Non Ducted RV Air Conditioner
Dometic Brisk Air II 13,500 BTU Complete
If you want a non ducted air conditioning system for your RV then you should definitely go for the Dometic Brisk Air II 13,500 BTU Complete which comes with a small heat strip. As we said, this is suitable for non-ducting RVs and it nominal capacity of 13,500 BTU per hour on its cooling capability.
On the technical side, it runs under 110V of voltage and it has a size of 28 by 24. It is okay to install on a 5th wheels sloped roof. It already comes with a gasket at the bottom of the air conditioner.
Overall, the Brisk Air II at 13,500 BTU great for both new installation and replacement installation and it definitely gives you a more comfortable sleep at night on your RV.
Low Profile Designed Rooftop Air Conditioner
Dometic Penguin Low Profile Rv Ac
A better low profile air conditioner is a good thing to save you fuel and this is where the Dometic Penguin Low Profile Rv Ac comes in. It has a nominal capacity of 11,000 BTU but also available in 15,000 BTU and 13,500 and the low profile design that is suitable for trailers, motor homes, concessions, RVs, campers and more.
This is an RV rooftop air conditioner that is more expensive and when it comes to its tech specs, it has a voltage of 120V and amperage of 14A. Going down on its looks and design, it has a smooth exterior for a better wind resistant performance. The wattage is at 2,600W and it is as large as thirty six inches.
Do know that the 15,000 BTU one has a heat pump included. As a whole, the Penguin Low Profile by Dometic is great for use on ducted and non-ducted RVs.
Best RV Air Conditioner with Cub Design
Coleman Mach 8 Cub Low Profile
The Coleman Mach 8 Cub Low Profile has 9,200 BTU for its nominal capacity and it has a thickness of only 8 inches. It also bears a very low profile design and it is a quality RV air conditioner. Do know that this is an upper AC unit only and is a great design when it comes to having a super compact RV air conditioner much like our previous pick. It is super slim and great for smaller RVs.
Power Saver Rooftop Air Conditioner
Coleman Mach III Power Saver RV
The Coleman Mach III Power Saver RV is a power saver RV air conditioner in which 2 percent more cooling than a standard RV AC unit with 13.5k BTU. It has been thoroughly equipped with power saving features as it consumes only small amounts of power and it even works in the desert and desert conditions so you can take it virtually on any type of weather system or climate.
This best RV air conditioner weighs nine lbs and it has a nominal capacity of 13,500 BTU for its cooling capacity. In addition to that, the fans have 2 speed settings and the package comes with gaskets. Most users note that this unit has been prewired with a nine pin male connector so you don’t need to do much to install.
RV Air Conditioner with Heat Pump
Mach 8 15k Air Conditioner 47024A879
The Mach 8 15k Air Conditioner 47024A879 is a heat pump included RV air conditioner that has a black colored with a sleek design. It definitely comes with a heat pump and it has 15,000 BTU for its nominal capacity and cooling power. This is a recommended an air conditioner for your RV. Overall, it is a great RV AC unit to use even for the winter.
Analog Control Rooftop Air Conditioner
Dometic 641916 15,000 BTU Penguin AC
The Dometic 641916 15,000 BTU Penguin AC comes with analog controls for the air conditioner and it also has a low profile design. It is an air conditioner for your RV and it also runs at a nominal capacity of 15,000 BTU for maximum cooling experience.
This said RV AC unit comes with a three speed blower and the wind drag is reduced due to the design of the solar panel and contoured shroud. With a height of the unit that is only 9.5 inches, the cycling blower to cool up or heat up for your convenience from 40 degrees F and above. The airflow produced is very clean and cool due to the return air filter that is washable and the unit is as wide as 41 inches and will fit any standard RV opening. It also includes a gasket.
Best Ducted RV Rooftop Air Conditioner
Atwood 15027 Ducted AC Unit
The Atwood 15027 Ducted AC Unit is highly applicable for ducted air conditioning and it has a small but convenient design. Being a rooftop RV cooler we love, for the cooling power, the nominal capacity of this unit is 13,500 BTU. It weighs 6 lbs and is a smaller and lighter capacity air conditioner for smaller RVs out there.
There aren’t much unique and worthy RV air conditioners out there, since most RVs already have them or their manufacturers provide them. Nonetheless, these were the best RV AC units we picked.
Other Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What do you need to know when choosing and buying an air conditioner for your RV or mobile home?
A: A higher BTU or British thermal unit means a better chance of surviving and cooling you in very hot places. A lot of models come in 13,500 BTU and bigger dimensions mean better cooling efficiency. Most low profile designs will reduce the drag of your RV and a heat pump is also a good addition to your RV air conditioning system. If you can, choose the best RV air conditioner similar to the brand of your RV or at least highly compatible with it and make sure that the RV air conditioner have full instructions on installation.
Q: What are some of the maintenance tips you can perform on an RV air conditioner?
A: You should look for cracks and splits in the part of the RV air conditioner that is plastic and search for signs of wear and tear. Moreover, the UV rays of the sun and other harsh weather can cause it to weaken so make sure that the air conditioning unit is still secure on the rooftop. In addition, you should check the cooling fins to prevent the instance of bent vanes that keep your A/C from cooling.
In regards to that, you can use a dull knife or comb to straighten out vanes that have been bent out. You should inspect the RV air conditioner inside the rig and ensure that there is proper load sharing. The portable generators to be used for the A/C must be at a minimum rating of 3,000 watts.
Wrapping It Up
RVs are like a second home to most families or a real and literal comfortable home for some people. An RV or any mobile home is the perfect getaway when it comes to exploring the great outdoors. From forests to camping sites to deserts to even beaches or snowy areas, an RV is a mobile home that will definitely help you relax and feel more comfortable. Some people have RVs as their permanent home and just move from place to place while some just use RVs as a vacation vehicle in case they want to go on a camping trip in the wilderness to experience the sight and sounds of nature.
Generally speaking, summer vacations are the seasons that RVs are used the most, especially for camping out. They may be able to spend on vacation time on various places such as the beach or any famous landmark or famous getaway. Some will also go for a camp in the woods or in the jungle so they can get in touch with nature. Some will have picnics and roast marshmallows over a fire. RVs are very convenient vehicles for camping because of the fact that it has everything you need to travel and relax in style as it is a mobile home that will definitely guide you to any place and have all the conveniences of a typical home.
RVs have all the amenities and comforts of a standard home. For instance, they have bathrooms and kitchens so you can cook and clean while on the go. The setting of an RV is just like a regular house except that it is compact inside a vehicle but you can still access compartments and shelves and sit on the dining table much like a restaurant or your own home. You can easily sleep on an RV because of its large size and many amenities. The lighting system is all good on any RV or mobile home and today most of these RVs will have energy saving components so that you will not drain its battery or expend a lot of energy from using electricity in the said RV.
RVs can be used all year round on any season. Even if they are ideally used in the summers, RVs and any mobile home can still be used in the winter or other seasons, so long as you properly maintain them or have properly installed equipment there. For instance, in the winter, it will help if you have a heating system just like at home and in the summer, it will help if you have an air conditioning system. The fridge must be cleaned and maintained as well so that it will not spoil food and the rest of the RV parts both interior and exterior should be well maintained. As a matter of fact, most people agree that an RV should be used many times a year because it is still a vehicle that might fail if you do not clean it up or have it properly maintained. Cars unused for years will start to have problems, so what more for RVs?
Summing it up, the Dometic B59516.XX1J0 Brisk II Air Conditioner is our best rooftop RV air conditioner that will definitely do the job in case of summer vacations and hot weather systems.
Jill Miller is the founder of Your RV Lifestyle. Trading corporate America for the open road, Jill, along with her partner Jose, began their RV journey, making an unconventional start by wintering in New Jersey. A natural adventurer, she was motivated by a desire to explore the USA and beyond, embracing the varied landscapes, communities, and cultures across the country.
For Jill, the allure of RV living was not about material accumulation, but rather the pursuit of an adventurous, fulfilling lifestyle. A lover of golf, bicycling, hiking, and line dancing, she has carried her passions across the country, engaging with them in diverse settings. Jill’s commitment to the RV lifestyle came after years of careful research, numerous consultations with RV owners, and personal trials, including living in a rental RV.