Summer is just a perfect time to be on the road with a popup camper. But given how unnerving the heat can be, it’s a good idea to have an air conditioner (AC) in your camper.
Not only will the AC regulate your camper’s interior temperature, but it will also refine the air. But, how can you shop for the best pop up camper air conditioners?
How to Buy a Camper Air Conditioner
Below is a step-by-step buyer’s guide that answers the question:
Step 1 – Know What Type of Air Conditioner Your Camper Needs
Though there are different models of camper air conditioners, they all fall into any of these three categories:
These air conditioners are attached to the camper’s rooftop. So, they don’t take up your camper’s inside space. That means you’ll be having ample space to accommodate your camping essentials.
These air conditioners have high power output and cooling and enjoy noise-reduction. Their concern is that they are costly to install and maintain. Additionally, your camper’s rooftop needs to be solid to support the mounting.
These air conditioners do not need any mounting. Unlike rooftop-mounted models, however, portable air conditioners tend to take much of your indoor space as they are kept inside the camper.
The chief advantage is that you can move the AC manually. That means you can use it in multiple campers. Plus, these models are quite affordable and come completely assembled.
Given that the AC is inside your popup camper, you may have to deal with the noise. So, they are not as silent as rooftop-mounted designs.
These ACs are secured onto windows. The models are generally easy to install and tend to save on indoor space. As a result, they are more suited to campers with smaller interiors.
Window-mounted air conditioners also do not suffer noise issues like portable ones. The primary concern is their output, which is just average.
Step 2 – Find the Right Cooling Capacity
Since we are talking about maneuvering the summer temperature, your AC should cool your camper’s interior adequately. That brings us to a critical terminology known as the British Thermal Unit (BTU).
Usually, a higher BTU rating indicates a higher cooling capacity. It’s typically expressed as BTU/hour. Typically, the best pop up camper air conditioners come with a cooling capacity of 13,500-15,000 BTU/hour.
Generally, going for a higher BTU rating is recommendable for massive popup campers.
Step 3 – Understand Your Power Consumption
It’s hard to talk about the cooling capacity without mentioning the power consumption. They two are siblings, and so they have to be in the same sentence.
Air conditioners can be power-hungry. So, unless you consider your camper generator’s ability to meet the power consumption needs of the AC, you may end up sacrificing other essential appliances.
So, check out the AC power consumption and confirm that your camper generator can meet it and that of other appliances.
It’s worth noting that most popup air conditioners have a power consumption rate of 1600-3000 watts. So, your camper generator should be able to support that.
Step 4 – Prioritize Air Purification
An AC doesn’t just cool the air inside your camper, but it also purifies it. However, not all of these machines have the capability. So, you have to verify it by checking out the product features.
But why is air purification essential?
It helps to get rid of odor, dust, allergens, and just about any harmful particle suspending inside your camper. Doing so ensures you breathe clean air.
So, how can you check for air purification?
Usually, pop up camper air conditioners come with an airflow rating that is about 300-400 cubic feet per minute (CFM) for standard options. That means those with a 400-plus CFM have better airflow and so they promise the best air refining.
You can also check out the airflow capability of your AC by confirming its fan power rating, usually in horsepower (HP). The rating can be a 1/3HP, 1/2Hp, and so on.
Usually, the higher the horsepower, the better the airflow.
Step 5 – Consider Noise Reduction
While noise is mostly associated with portable camper air conditioners and sometimes window-mounted options, manufacturers are doing something to eliminate this concern.
Some air conditioners employ noise-reduction technology to ensure they run silently, thus more comfortable. So, ensure you check out the product specification to confirm it.
To play safe, consider reading AC’s reviews.
Step 6 – Invest in a Low-Maintenance Option
Camper air conditioners, just like home and office ACs, need to be inspected and serviced regularly to boost their performance. It, however, doesn’t mean that you have to pay someone as it can be expensive.
How about you look for an option that you can maintain by yourself? I’m suggesting you look for a low maintenance air conditioner.
Step 7 – Pick an Easy to Install Option
AC installation is no longer a job only left to experts. Nowadays, camper ACs come with simple designs that make their installation DIY.
You should note, however, that it doesn’t apply to all ACs. So, you have to check carefully. The safer pick here will be a portable AC, which is just straightforward to set up.
As for the other two (rooftop-mounted and window-mounted), check out their reviews and video tutorials to see if you can do the installation by yourself.
The beautiful thing about this step is that it saves you money. So, why not consider it?
Step 8 – Other Worthy Considerations
Other key considerations are:
- Pick a lightweight option as it’s easy to install
- Choose a design with a quality build to guarantee longevity
- Consider function modes for the fan speed and temperature control
- Consider a model with an integrated heat pump to help heat your popup camper in the winter
Step 9 – Look for Affordable Pricing and Warranty
Lastly, you have to match the camper AC with your budget. It doesn’t mean that you have to settle for a mediocre AC just because it’s lowly priced. It also doesn’t mean that you should break the bank for a premium option.
Several excellent models come at affordable prices. So, do your homework well.
Also, consider the warranty as it is evidence of a quality purchase. Preferably, it should be two years minimally.
With the nine steps above, you can shop for an air conditioner for your popup camper. So, what are you waiting for? It’s time you use my guide to screen the various pop-up camper air conditioners on the market.