RV Air Conditioner Buying Guide
The refreshing, cool air of an AC after a day of adventures under the hot sun can be key to your onboard comfort. Dometic is an industry leader for RV air conditioner units and is focused on creating products that not only exceed consumer expectations, but listen to the customer’s voice and needs above all else.
This buying guide will help you to understand the different features and benefits of Dometic’s air conditioner models, the broadest line on the RV AC market today, so that you can choose the ideal unit for you and your vehicle.
Dometic RV Rooftop Air Conditioners
Dometic Air Conditioners come in 4 different series - varying in height, weight, airflow, BTUs, noise level as well as industry leading design - and are all designed for you to adventure in comfort.
For the RV Open Roaders
Our FreshJet AC unit is the newest model. Quieter, colder, and higher performing. Sleek design and lighter weight, combined with increased cooling capacity, reduced noise, and optimized airflow make the FreshJet 3 the most innovative AC on the market.
- 13% greater cooling capacity than most current rooftop air conditioners
- Features E-coating, a specialized epoxy polymer coating for HVAC coils
For the Offgrid Opportunists | For the Offgrid Explorers | For the Explorers on Wheels
Enhanced performance and quieter cooling. The Brisk II Evolution is lightweight, durable, and efficient so that your RV can take you wherever you wander.
- With a lower amp draw and enhanced coils, enjoy more efficient cooling performance
- EPP Foam housing reduces weight and increases cooling power
For the Rugged Vanlife Wanderers
Works harder and lasts longer - the “workhorse” of our fleet. With faster cooling and a more reliable and durable build, the Blizzard NXT lets you enjoy cool air for years of adventures to come.
- Larger evaporator coils remove heat quickly and cool the air faster than most models
- Polypropylene shroud & base are ready to withstand any adventure you take this AC on
For the Avid Adventurers
The Penguin II is our lowest profile to date, and is the high performing AC solution to all of your hot and humid camping needs.
- Low Profile
- 13.5k includes pre-installed multi-zone CCCII control board (heat pump)
Air Distribution Box
With a non-ducted application, you will need an air distribution box installed in your ceiling. This is where the air pulled from outside cycles through your AC unit and exits as cold air into your RV or camper.
Dometic offers manual air distribution boxes with knobs you twist to set your temperature, or an electric air distribution box that is compatible with one of our wall thermostats.
AC Accessories & Parts
Here are a few features to consider when purchasing a new AC unit for your RV
Height & Weight
Height: It’s important to know if the added height of a rooftop AC is going to be an issue for your specific rig. If your RV is already reaching maximum height limits for common driving areas, it might be useful to consider a unit that is described as “low profile” like the Penguin II.
Weight: While weight mainly comes down to preference and vehicle size, a lighter weight unit can be beneficial to reduce drag and therefore save on gas mileage. If this is important to you, consider a lighter option when choosing your RV AC unit.
All of Dometic’s ACs are some of the quietest available, ranging from 58 to 62.2 dB. For perspective, the conversation level at a restaurant is around 65 dB.
However, if noise is a top concern, consider the FreshJet AC unit, which is our quietest model, with one-third less perceived noise than most competing rooftop air conditioners.
BTU stands for British Thermal Units and refers to the overall cooling capacity of an air conditioner, or the speed in which it is able to cool down your space.
If you want to feel a drop in temperature as quickly as possible, then choose an air conditioner with a “high cooling capacity” (15,000 BTU or more). Like the Blizzard NXT 15K
If you have a smaller rig or won’t be in extreme heat, you can save a little bit of money and power by opting for a model with fewer BTUs (13,500 BTU or fewer). Like the FreshJet3 Series 13500 BTU
Ducted / Non-Ducted
All of Dometic’s AC Units can be installed with a ducted OR non-ducted application, depending on your size and vehicle type.
Non-Ducted air conditioning units blow air directly out of the ceiling through a large vent, or distribution box, that sits directly below the AC unit on your roof that is pulling air from outside. This is very similar to a window AC unit you may have at home.
These will be more common in a smaller vehicle like a camper van, a class B, or a truck camper. These can still perform great in larger vehicles, but you may find you want multiple units to cool multiple rooms if the vehicle is very large.
A ducted RV air conditioner distributes air through vents placed in various areas throughout your RV using installed ducts to carry the air from the main unit. These work similar to a central AC system you may have at home.
These are usually more common in class A or higher-end, larger fifth wheel campers, as they do a better job of cooling a larger area since the AC can travel through the vents. However, they can also be installed in smaller vehicles.
Manual vs Electrical
A manual AC will have controls mounted right onto the air distribution box installed in the ceiling of your vehicle. An electrical AC will be operated from a wall thermostat that is installed separately.
Dometic offers a 2 Year+ Warranty on all AC units, as well as specific extended warranties for parts and labor.