The refreshing, cool air of an air conditioner can be key to your onboard comfort. This buying guide will help you to understand the different features and benefits of air conditioner models; allowing you to choose the ideal unit for you and your vehicle!
Not all vehicles are compatible with every type of air conditioner:
Insulation strengths of individual models can vary and so we recommend speaking to your authorized dealer or service center for the best advice according to your specific vehicle.
A vehicle’s length also influences air conditioner choice; powerful units being needed for large internal spaces. In some cases, more than one unit is used.
Air conditioners are either designed for installation on the vehicle’s roof or inside an internal storage compartment.
Rooftop air conditioner
Rooftop air conditioners are positioned over the window in your vehicle’s roof. For installation, the roof must be flat and have sufficient space.
Under bench air conditioner
An under bench air conditioner is located inside the vehicle – under a bench or in a compartment. It is ideal if your vehicle’s roof is curved or crowded with other devices.
The “cooling capacity” of an air conditioner (sometimes referred to as pull down power) indicates the speed at which it cools air. This feature is measured in British Thermal Units per hour (BTU/h). If you want to feel a drop in temperature as quickly as possible, then choose an air conditioner with a high cooling capacity.
Low-hanging obstacles such as bridges make the clearance height of your RV well worth considering. An obvious solution is to choose an under bench unit which will not add any extra height to your vehicle. However, an aerodynamic, low-profile rooftop unit can add as little as 25cm to your vehicle’s clearance height, making them a great option too.
Although rooftop units are placed over the vehicle’s roof window, there is no need to lose natural light from your RV interior. If you’re someone who values natural light, you’ll appreciate an innovative rooftop air conditioner designed with integrated window.
Air conditioners can do more than cool air. Depending on where you are travelling to, some additional functions may come in handy. It is also recommended that you consider the power sources of the destination you will travel to and ensure your air conditioner is suitable for use there.
Due to the fact heat rises, we recommend under bench air conditioners for best heating results. The heat is distributed far more effectively from under the vehicle which offers the added advantage of less energy consumption.
However, be warned, an air conditioner's heater is not sufficiently powerful for use in temperatures close to freezing. For effective heating in cold climates, we advise using a specialist heater.
If you’re likely to travel to areas with low-quality, polluted air then you may be grateful to have an air purifier function on your air conditioner. It will also remove odours from storage or mishaps in the kitchen!
A select few air conditioners can do it all: cool, heat and purify. If you are likely to travel long distances in your RV and experience a range of climate conditions, then an all-in-one air conditioner ensures you will always be comfortable.
An air conditioner that saves power: saves money and the environment too! It’s an attractive quality in any electrical device.
This depends on the size of your vehicle. Larger RVs (over 8m) may need more than one air conditioner to cool the entire vehicle.
The position of your air conditioner and whether it is ducted or non-ducted is also influential. Ducted systems, which can be used with both rooftop and under bench air conditioners, allow cool air to be effectively distributed around the entire vehicle. However, rooftop units may also use non-ducted systems. The more limited distribution range of a non-ducted system may mean you require two separate units to provide cool coverage throughout the vehicle.
Air distribution boxes have flexible vent number and position options, offering you air circulation control. Choose to have vents, potentially rotatable, on any side of the unit and up to two on the back side. Give some thought to when, where and why you’ll appreciate your unit’s cool refreshment most.
For climate control while you’re on the move, a DC kit enables mobile operation from the 12 V vehicle battery.
We hope this guide has given you a better understanding of the type of air conditioner you want to buy. Now you have the knowledge, why not make use of our interactive tool? Answer a few questions and we’ll suggest the air conditioner for you!