AC On-the-Go: Best Portable RV Air Conditioners (2019)

Air conditioning is a must have for anyone experiencing a heat wave or traveling through some unforgiving weather. Not having access to anywhere you can cool yourself down can make you extremely uncomfortable and can even be deadly.

Having a portable air conditioning unit will help ease this discomfort. The following article will guide you in buying one of the best air conditioners on the market.

Comparison Chart of the Best Portable Air Conditioners

Product

Our Rating

Price

Honeywell Portable Air Conditioner

Honeywell Portable Air Conditioner, Dehumidifier & Fan for Rooms Up to 400 Sq. Ft with Remote Control, HL09CESWK

Honeywell MO Series Compact 3-in-1

Honeywell MO Series Compact 3-in-1 Portable Air Conditioner White/Blue

Honeywell MN12CES 12000 BTU

Honeywell MN12CES 12000 BTU Portable AC, Dehumidifier, Fan for Rooms Up To 400-550 Sq. Ft. with Washable Air Filter, Thermal Overload Protection, Remote Control

NewAir AC-14100E 14,000 BTU

NewAir AC-14100E Ultra Versatile 14,000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner

Honeywell 525 CFM Indoor Outdoor Cooler with Fan & Humidifier

Honeywell 525 CFM Indoor Outdoor Portable Evaporative Cooler with Fan & Humidifier, Washable Dust Filter & Remote Control, CO30XE

Honeywell MN10CESWW 10000 BTU

Honeywell MN10CESWW 10000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner, Dehumidifier & Fan for Rooms Up To 350-450 Sq. Ft. with Thermal Overload Protection, Washable Air Filter & Remote Control

LG LP0817WSR 115V with Remote Control

LG LP0817WSR 115V Portable Air Conditioner with Remote Control in White for Rooms up to 150-Sq. Ft.

BLACK + DECKER 8,000 BTU BPACT08WT

BLACK + DECKER BPACT08WT Portable Air Conditioner, 8,000 BTU

How Does a Portable Air Conditioner Work? 

Portable air conditioners work similarly to refrigerators, the only difference being the cool down the room instead of what’s inside. Air conditioners will send chemicals to the compressor mechanism as a low-pressure gas. They enter as a cold gas and leave compressed together as a high-pressure hot gas.

The condenser then uses metal fins to reduce the temperature which then turns into a liquid. This liquid drips off a cold coil and then is evaporated, collecting heat from the air which more fins help with a process called thermal exchange. So the cold air is replaced with the hot air, and the cycle continues.

Benefits of Investing in a Great Portable Air Conditioner

There are many benefits of using a great quality air conditioner. You should be able to live in comfort without ever having to sweat profusely because you don’t have a quality air conditioner. Some benefits include:

Easy Setup

Being able to set up your portable air conditioning unit should be as simple as plugging it into a socket and letting it do its work. However, this isn’t always the case with cheaper models. A portable air conditioner will also get rid of the hassle of installing a full air conditioning system into your RV.

No Noise

You’ll not be distracted by that horrible buzzing noise that the cheaper models make. In a perfect world, your conditioning unit should make no noise whatsoever. However, many standard and cheap models make so much noise you can’t hear yourself think. Investing in quality will ensure you won’t need to suffer ever again.

Portable

A high-grade quality portable air conditioner is going to be suitable to travel around with you. It should be light and easy to carry. However, cheaper models on the market make this a difficult feature to find. Some brands will advertise them as portable air conditioners when they actually weigh too much to carry.

Quick Take - The Best Portable RV Air Conditioners

Review of the Best Portable Air Conditioners for RV

The most important part of the article is the main review of some of the best quality products on the market. We will discuss their different features and capabilities to give you an idea of what you could be buying.

Honeywell Portable Air Conditioner, Dehumidifier & Fan for Rooms Up to 400 Sq. Ft with Remote Control, HL09CESWK

Pros

  • Quiet
  • Multiple settings
  • Can work up to 400sq
  • Works as an effective dehumidifier

Cons

  • Requires more maintenance

This 9000 BTU AC unit will be able to cool any room up to 400sq effectively. The powerful air-flow will be able to regulate your RV temperature effectively as well as help from the adjustable temperature function that can be customized via the remote control.

Other remote functions include a sleep mode and an energy saving mode. The internal fan has three separate speeds that will produce 45db of noise, which is under the recommended limit of 50. Not only is this product an AC unit, but it also works as a dehumidifier that can consume up to 80.1 pints of liquid per day with the added advantage of a continuous drain hose.

Bottom Line

An effective AC unit that doubles as a dehumidifier that can consume up to 80.1 pints of water per day with the use of the continuous hose. The AC unit is effective for up to 400sq with 9000 BTU. The multiple settings including the timer, temperature controls, energy saving settings are helpful for any RV owner.

The overnight mode will allow you to sleep comfortably thanks to the low 45db noise. The only downside to this product is that it will require more maintenance than what a standard AC unit needs which is at least once every year. 

Honeywell MO Series Compact 3-in-1 Portable Air Conditioner White/Blue

Pros

  • 350sq
  • 192 CFM
  • 10,000 BTU
  • Three in one

Cons

  • Noisey

This three in one device isn’t just an AC unit but also operates a fan and a dehumidifier. Providing three times the value of only a basic AC unit. This product is designed for rooms up to 350sq with a BTU rating of 10,000.

With an amazing air flow rate of 192 CFM the unit can operate at a noise of 53db at any time. The auto evaporation cooling system means that there aren’t any buckets of water needing emptied other than when the humidity is exceptionally high. The four wheels and light weight of the product make it more than easy to move around.

Bottom Line

This three in one product will provide you with three times the value for up to 350sq. The air-flow of 192 CFM is incredible for any AC unit. The four wheels and portable design allow for easy transportation between parts of the RV. The auto evaporation means that you won’t need to keep emptying buckets of water from the dehumidifier constantly. The only downside to this product is the noise that it makes, this is most likely due to the three in one function which might be a lot for it to handle.

Honeywell MN12CES 12000 BTU Portable AC, Dehumidifier, Fan for Rooms Up To 400-550 Sq. Ft. with Washable Air Filter, Thermal Overload Protection, Remote Control

Pros

  • Remote
  • Easy clean filter
  • Continuous Drain
  • Covers a large area
  • Dehumidifier consumes up to 66 pints per day

Cons

  • The hose could be longer

This AC unit can cool rooms of up to 550 square ft with a BTU rate of 12000. With many other AC units, thermal overload is a real problem and worry for many RV owners. This product has specific protection against this problem. The washable dust filter is an added bonus, many AC unit owners usually struggle to clean their’s out effectively.

The product also comes with a remote control that can help you customize any settings on the AC unit. These settings include the speed of the fan which you can use when the temperature is becoming hotter. The timer can also be used for when you leave your RV for a few hours. The dehumidifier can also help during any humid days by consuming up to 66 pints of liquid from the air every day, the continuous drain option allows for your device to be running 24/7.

Bottom Line

This product certainly covers a large area and not only cools the air but can remove up to 66 pints of humid air from your RV every day. The continuous drain feature means that the dehumidifier liquid tray won’t need emptied and can run 24/7.

The full device can be controlled via the remote control that can also change different settings like the timer and energy saving modes as well as the three different fan speeds. The only downside is that the hose used for the dehumidifier isn’t that long and will only reach to around 4ft.  

NewAir AC-14100E Ultra Versatile 14,000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner

Pros

  • Remote
  • Covers 525sq
  • Efficiency booster
  • Maintains ideal temperature

Cons

  • Heavy product

This slimline AC unit can fit in the smallest of spaces. The lightweight design and indents will allow you to move the device around easily. The unit can effectively cool air in an area up to 525sq and can automatically maintain your ideal temperature with thanks to customizable settings.

The easy to use wireless remote will provide you with even more comfort by choosing any of the multiple settings like sleep mode or even the timer. The efficiency booster is a simple bucket that you fill with cold water that will increase the effectiveness of your air conditioner by cooling faster and lasting longer.

Bottom Line

This device can fit inside the smallest of spaces with its slim and compact design. This unit can successfully cool an area of around 525sq with the help of the efficiency booster, to use this device all you need to do fill it with cold water, and you’ll almost instantly start to feel the difference.

The remote control can help you set different settings like the timer and energy saving mode. The only real downside with this product is the weight of it. Thankfully this device does come with wheels. However, don’t expect to be carrying it around easily.

Honeywell 525 CFM Indoor Outdoor Portable Evaporative Cooler with Fan & Humidifier, Washable Dust Filter & Remote Control, CO30XE

Pros

  • Ice compartment
  • Effective for up to 320sq ft
  • Work best in hot/dry climates

Cons

  • Constant water and ice refilling

The manufacturer states that this product is best used in the southwest and midwest regions of the US as it provides the best performance in climates where humidity levels are 60%. The method of cooling through water evaporation is used by this AC unit and will be effective in areas of up to 320sq ft.

The AC unit lists plenty of extra features via the remote control such as the low water alarm that will notify you when it needs to be refilled, the energy saving timer, the adjustable humidification knob that will allow you to set the humidity at the level you like. Other functions such as the ice compartment will gradually introduce colder air to the AC air flow.

Bottom Line

This AC unit works well in dry/humid environments like the American midwest and will be effective for up to 320sq ft which is a great distance to cover. The added ice compartment will allow the AC to add cooler air for a longer period steadily.

The remote features like the low water alarm will notify you when the ice needs replaced or the water is low in the tank. The problem with this is that you’ll need to constantly keep refilling the compartments with ice and water which can become expensive or a pain after a while.

Honeywell MN10CESWW 10000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner, Dehumidifier & Fan for Rooms Up To 350-450 Sq. Ft. with Thermal Overload Protection, Washable Air Filter & Remote Control

Pros

  • Easy clean
  • Dehumidifier
  • Multiple features
  • Thermal protection
  • Works up to 450sq ft

Cons

  • Short Hose

This unit can cool rooms up to 450sq ft and has decent thermal overload protection for when those hot days take its toll on your AC unit. Overheating is a serious issue, and this protection can literally save lives. The easy clean filter makes your maintenance process far easier.

A window set is included with the product which means you’ll be spending no time trying to find all the different parts to make this AC unit the most effective possible. The hose length for the AC is 4ft which you can attach to any door or window.

The added bonus of remote control is also something you’ll be able to enjoy with different settings such as three fan speeds and a 24-hour timer. The three in one device will ensure your comfort with the dehumidifier being able to remove up to 66 pints of fluid each day with the option of a continuous drain.

Bottom Line

This effective AC unit will be able to work up to a decent 450sq ft that’s some of the largest areas covered by an AC unit. With cooling a large area such as that, drawing in heat will take it’s toll on the device and will require the best protection, the patented thermal protection will ensure the safety of yourself and the AC if the product ever decides to overheat. The easy clean filter makes your annual maintenance that little bit more smooth.

The different features like the three fan speed and timer can all be controlled via the remote control, this isn’t much of a surprise as mostly all modern AC units have these. The dehumidifier is also included in different models of the same range, being able to consume 66 pints per day of liquid is great but even better when you never have to change it. The only downside that is noticeable is that the hose is quite short at only 4ft, this seems to be a running theme with this range and should be improved.

LG LP0817WSR 115V Portable Air Conditioner with Remote Control in White for Rooms up to 150-Sq. Ft.

Pros

  • LED screen
  • Remote control
  • Different settings
  • Auto-swing feature
  • Efficient dehumidifier

Cons

  • Heavy
  • Doesn’t cover a great surface area

This AC unit will help drastically cool down an area up to 150sq ft. This device has a sleek and compact design that will allow you to place this anywhere around your RV. The device has an 8,000 BTU and will cool any spot within the RV with the help of an added feature called auto-swing, this feature will ensure any hot spots become cold spots by circulating it far more effectively than other brands.

Other settings include a scheduled cooling time which will automatically turn on when you say so. It’s also important to monitor your device with the help from your LED screen that shows you all of the relevant information.

The remote control included will allow you to switch between different fan speeds and cooling speeds. Not only is it an AC unit, but doubles up as a dehumidifier which will remove up to 75 pints of water every day, this water is then used by the evaporation system to help cool the surrounding area.

Bottom Line

This AC unit doubles up as an efficient humidifier, with all the standard features plus a few added extras like the auto-swing feature. We’ve not yet seen anything like the auto-swing on this list yet, this helps combat any hot spots within the RV. The LED screen will display any information such as fan speed, temperature and things like that. The remote control also includes all this information but just makes it easier to play around with.

The dehumidifier can capture around 75 pints of water per day which is then recycled by the evaporation system to help cool the 150sq ft. The downside of this product is something that it should be great at, and that’s the lack of area it can cover. The 150sq ft isn’t a lot compared to others on the market that can reach up to 450sq ft. However, for most RV’s this should never be a problem. Not only that but this product weighs around 50 pounds which is a lot heavier than most other products on the market.

BLACK + DECKER BPACT08WT Portable Air Conditioner, 8,000 BTU

Pros

  • LED display
  • Dehumidifier
  • Easy clean filter
  • Multiple controls
  • Lightweight design

Cons

  • Very loud
  • Doesn’t cover a large area

Cooling an area equivalent to 150sq ft, this AC unit will be able to keep you and your family comfortable during the hot summer months. All it takes is an open window for your hose to fit through, and you’re on your way to a cool RV.

The easy clean filter means that you’ll be able to get rid of any dirt and particles from your filter by just rinsing it under the tap. The compact and light design allows you to easily slide this AC unit anywhere with the four wheels attached, all while blending easily into the background.

The different controls that are placed along the LED display will allow you to accurately set how long you want the AC running, sleep mode or to simply monitor any information like the temperature on one part of the device. The AC also comes with a built-in dehumidifier and fan system that will remove humidity in the air and cool the area with the same liquid that it consumes. The noise created by the system is around 75db when on the highest setting.

Bottom Line

One thing that you can say about this device is that the lightweight design will prove a helpful ally when trying to find space. This AC unit will fit into any crack in your RV with the help of the four wheels attached and the slim design. The LED screen and multiple different features allow you to monitor and change the temperature around you accurately.

The efficiency of the dehumidifier is also a great asset as it’ll get rid of any hot air while recycling that liquid to further cool the air via the AC. The only downsides to this unit are that it can become fairly loud when operating on the highest setting as well as not being able to cover a large area like other brands.

What to Look for in a Portable Air Conditioner

Thanks to the many brands that manufacture portable air conditioners, you’ll realize that finding the best one isn’t an easy task. Thankfully, we’ve compiled a list of features and functions that we believe make a decent portable air conditioner into the best.

Weight and Portability

Like we mentioned earlier, portability, weight and overall design of the portable air conditioner is a huge factor in making this product a great one. Your device should come with a few wheels that allow you to move it around easily.

As well as, handles and a compact design that makes it fit into any environment. The weight is a huge factor; also, you’ll want a conditioner that’s light enough you’ll be fine carrying or wheeling around. Indents are also helpful as this provides extra grip, this design could replace the need for handles.

Remote Control

Having a remote control makes the experience a lot easier. If you’re busy making dinner and you can feel the heat starting to get to you, simply grabbing the remote control and adjusting the fan settings could make the world of good. If you don’t have a remote, walking over and changing the settings manually via the buttons and dials just isn’t practical in such a modern time. It won’t be the end of the world, but it’s still a great feature to have.

Added Functions

You’ve got your box standard portable air conditioners that provide one service, and that's cooling down the hot air, and that’s great. However, added features like energy saving mode, faster fan speeds or automatic timers can make a huge difference in making your RV experience a comfortable one. If you are willing to pay for the extra abilities, they’re more than worth it.

How to Clean Portable Air Conditioners

To ensure your portable air conditioner is clean and effective for years to come, you’ll need to conduct some maintenance on it regularly. Cleaning it out can be simple if you follow the correct steps, so we’ve made a step by step guide on how to do exactly that.

  1. You’ll need to find a flat, stable surface to lay your AC down on. Once you’ve sorted that it’s time to remove the cover and place it to the side with any screws you’ve removed also. You don’t want to lose these.

  2. Take a cups worth of bleach and then pour it inside the drain tray so it can start cleaning out any of the sludge. You should leave the bleach reacting for around 10 minutes and then begin spraying down the full air conditioner with a hose.

  3. Wait until the full conditioner has dried out and then to be 100% safe, you’ll want to give it another rub down with a clean cloth. Rinse out the tray that has bleach and sludge inside and then you should add more bleach allowing it to sit for another ten minutes. Once times up, rinse it out and dry it.

  4. Once the device has air dried, screw the housing unit back on and plug it back into the socket to test it out. It’s vital that the full AC has had time to dry, turning it on while still wet could be risky. If you carry out this cleaning process properly, you’ll only need to clean your AC once every year.

Conclusion

By this point in the article, we hope that you’ve learned a few things about what makes a great portable AC unit. If you don’t buy anything from this list, at least you’re now equipped with the information to go ahead and find something that suits your taste.

People Also Ask

An important section for anyone that might feel confused about certain terminology or topics we’ve discussed in the article. We’ve compiled some of the most asked questions and answered them to the best of our ability.

Do All Portable Air Conditioners Have to Be Vented Out a Window?

You will need to vent most portable air conditioners out into the open. To cool the room effectively, you’ll need to let the hot air outside. You can do this via the window, an open door or make a hole through the wall.

How Much Power Does a Portable Air Conditioner Use?

Different brands will offer AC units that consume more or less power, the amount of energy absorbed depends on the features it provides and how efficient it can run. You’ll always see the power consumption one the information description.

What Size Portable Air Conditioner Do I Need?

The larger the AC unit, the more effective it usually is. However, larger AC units will be far heavier and less portable. You should choose an AC unit depending on the size of your RV, for every 200 sq. ft. you’ll need at least 4000 BTU.

How Often Do You Have to Drain a Portable Air Conditioner?

Like we mentioned before, you should be draining this tray out once every year. Every time you clean it, you should be doing this.

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