While a quiet AC unit is always desirable, it’s much more important in an RV. After all, you’re in a small space that you want to be cool and quiet.
I’ve spent a lot of time putting together a list of the quietest RV air conditioner units. As they’re a niche product, we’ll weigh up the other important factors too.
In this article, I go over my top picks for quiet RV air conditioners. I also provide a comprehensive guide that covers what to look for and any important extras. After all, these are investment products, so you might as well get your money’s worth.
Top Picks for The Quietest RV Air Conditioner
Choosing a quiet RV air conditioner is about more than just its noise level. I’ll consider things like cooling power, energy consumption, and more, which I explain in more detail in the guide below.
Top Pick: Atwood 1507 Ducted AC Unit
- BTU: 16,000
- Ducted: Ducted (For non-ducted, check this model)
- Remote: Yes
- Weight: 84 Lbs
- Dimensions: 21.82 x 15.6 x 6.36 in.
- Warranty: 24 months (for Atwood AC products)
This AC unit from Atwood is the most powerful one on this list. It has a BTU rating of 16,000, which is more than enough to cool the inside of an RV quickly and efficiently.
While it doesn’t come with a dB rating, plenty of users reported it is much quieter than other rooftop AC units they’d used. When set to low-speed mode, the fan apparently makes almost no noise.
The unit comes with a wireless remote that allows you to control temperature, fan speed, and the sleep timer. It also has a digital temperature readout so you can know exactly what you’re setting it to.
Perhaps the only real downside is that it’s only compatible with ducted systems. So, if you have a non-ducted air conditioner system in your RV, look for a different unit. In fact, Atwood does an equivalent non-ducted model.
One feature that some users disliked is the permanent fan setting. The fan runs all the time, even when the condenser is turned off. While this isn’t a massive issue, it might seem a bit pointless.
Also, the unit doesn’t use normal thermostat wiring. However, the rest of the installation is very easy, so just be sure to get some help with the wiring if you’re unsure what to do.
- 16,000 BTU.
- Remote control and digital temperature readout.
- Efficient cooling system.
- Very quiet.
- Fan runs constantly.
- Requires specific thermostat wiring.
Top Budget Pick: Furrion FACR14SA-PS Rooftop AC Unit
- BTU: Choose between 14,500 and 15,500
- Ducted: No
- Remote: No
- Weight: 88.2 Lbs
- Dimensions: 35 x 28 x 14 in.
- Warranty: 24 months
This rooftop AC unit from Furrion is slightly cheaper than the other models on this list but still includes all the important features. It has a BTU rating of 14,500, which is enough for most standard-sized RVs.
It features a 2-fan design that helps it circulate air more quickly than other models. This also means it’s more energy-efficient, which is ideal when you’re running it off a generator.
The unit has something called VibrationSmart technology, which simply means it has rubber dampeners fitted. Its outside operating volume is 80dB, although it’s much quieter in the RV, thanks to the dampeners.
You can set the temperature range between 60 and 86 degrees F, but the unit also has technology so it can operate in extreme temperatures. This means that, even when it’s very hot outside, it should keep your RV cool.
While users reported that the unit is very easy to install, some claimed it arrived damaged. But, it appears it’s simple to order a replacement if this does happen.
Also, some users reported that the housing is a bit flimsy, which is probably why the cost is lower than others. Just be sure to take care when installing.
- 2-fan design means it circulates air quickly.
- 25% more energy efficient than other models.
- 14,500 BTU.
- Comes fitted with rubber dampeners.
- Flimsy housing unit.
- No heating option.
Dometic Brisk II Rooftop Air Conditioner
- BTU: 13,500
- Ducted: For Both Ducted and Non-Ducted camper
- Remote: No
- Weight: 54.9 Lbs
- Dimensions: 29.18 x 27.23 x 12.7 in.
- Warranty: 12 months
The Dometic Brisk II is a good pick for a quiet RV air conditioner because of its high performance and sleek design. Dometic has made various improvements to its original design, such as improved materials, better energy consumption, and a new base pan.
You can choose from either 13,500 or 15,000 BTU, which is its cooling power. The lower option will be fine for most areas, but choose greater cooling power if you’re traveling further south. You’ll notice the difference somewhere like Texas.
The AC unit comes with damping brackets, which help to reduce vibration. In turn, this cuts noise pollution massively. While it doesn’t come with a specific dB rating, the damping brackets definitely help.
You can install the unit in either ducted or non-ducted systems, meaning you shouldn’t need to make any alterations to your RV. It comes with a gasket that fits into the vehicle’s roof and is fairly easy to install.
Some users reported a rattling sound after installation due to improper alignment. The easiest way to avoid this is to get a professional to do it for you.
Also, you’ll need a specific Dometic controller for the thermostat, which you have to buy separately.
- Includes damping brackets for noise reduction.
- Available with 2 different cooling options.
- Fits both ducted and non-ducted systems.
- Installation is easy but must be done properly to avoid noise problems.
- Be sure to buy a Dometic controller unit.
De’Longhi Portable Air Conditioner
- BTU: 14,000 (8,600 BTU DOE)
- Ducted: No
- Remote: Yes
- Weight: 83 Lbs
- Dimensions: 14 x 16.3 x 31.5 in.
- Warranty: 24 months
Buying a quiet RV air conditioner doesn’t always mean opting for a rooftop unit. For example, this portable AC unit from De’Longhi can be a great option for larger RVs.
It stands on the floor and simply plugs into a regular wall outlet. It has a 51” hose that you poke out a window to let the warm air out. This makes it really easy to set up and run in an RV.
It has a noise rating of 52dB, which is up to 50% less than other portable units. In short, it’s pretty quiet and will be suitable for use while sleeping. What’s more, it comes with a whisper mode that’s even quieter!
It comes fitted with an air filter and dehumidifier option, which can be helpful in an RV. It’s also energy-efficient, another useful feature when running it off your RV’s generator.
Some users did report a rattling sound after running the unit all day, but this is easy to fix by simply giving it a break every now and then. While this isn’t ideal in hot climates, it’s not designed like a static AC unit. Plus, it should run fairly smoothly in a small space like an RV.
- Easy to set up.
- 52dB operating volume.
- Comes with a dehumidifier option.
- Can rattle if run all day.
- Unit is heavy, so perhaps not the most portable option.
Black+Decker BPACT10WT Portable Air Conditioner
- BTU: 10,000 (6,000 BTU DOE)
- Ducted: No
- Remote: Yes
- Weight: 52.9 Lbs
- Dimensions: 16.5 x 11.5 x 26 in.
- Warranty: 24 months
This portable model is a good choice for a quiet RV air conditioner. It’s compact, energy-efficient, and light enough to move around. This last feature is helpful because it’s designed to cool rooms up to 150 square feet.
It’s a floor-standing unit that comes with an exhaust hose and window adapter. You simply plug it into a wall outlet, turn it on, and it’ll start cooling. It’s really easy to control using the remote, which allows you to adjust fan speed and temperature.
The unit has an operating noise of 75dB, which is equivalent to a washing machine. It also has a sleep setting that reduces the noise, allowing you to keep it running while you sleep. For an AC unit, this is fairly quiet.
It also comes with a dehumidifier setting and an air filter, both of which are useful in an RV. Unfortunately, there’s no heat setting, but the fan setting allows you to circulate warm air already in the room.
Some users reported issues with the air direction, as it can only circulate air up. This isn’t much of a problem for cooling but can be on the fan setting. Sometimes, you want the air pointed directly at you.
Also, other users reported issues with the unit’s temperature reading, which means it doesn’t regulate its own temperature as efficiently. In short, it might have an issue in very warm RVs, so perhaps consider a different model if you’re going to hot places.
- Easy to transport.
- Quick to set up and run.
- Auto timer and sleep functions help save energy.
- Dehumidifier and air filter function help in an RV.
- No options for air direction.
- Possible issues with temperature reading.
How to Find the Quietest RV Air Conditioner Unit
Choosing a quiet RV air conditioner unit involves the same principles as choosing any quiet air conditioner unit. The only thing that goes against you is size. Generally speaking, smaller AC units will weigh less and have smaller parts, which can equate to more noise.
Average AC noise
The average air conditioner unit can emit between 35 and 82dB depending on the model and build quality. The absolute quietest RV air conditioners will emit around 35dB, which is less noise than a desk fan.
But for an RV unit, you can expect somewhere around 50dB. This is because they’re often not fitted with the same kind of sound-dampening technology.
What works in your favor is that the fans in these units are smaller. This is one major noise source and is something you can’t do much about considering all air conditioner units need to circulate air.
What Affects AC Noise Level
As with any electronic unit, an air conditioner is always going to make noise. But, knowing which parts make the most noise will help you to choose the quietest model.
Here’s a brief rundown of the main noise-emitting components of air conditioner units.
The compressor is perhaps the noisiest part of any air conditioner unit. It does the most work, as it turns the refrigerant into a gas. You’ll find most of the unit’s moving parts within the compressor, hence all the noise.
But, the compressor is usually located outside the space you’re trying to cool. This means you often don’t need to deal with the noise it makes unless you’re using a portable model.
You might already be aware of this difference if you’ve ever listened to the compressor in your home’s air conditioner unit. Indoors, it can be almost silent, but when you’re walking outside of your house you notice how noisy the compressor can be.
The fan is located in the indoor unit and is what circulates cool air around the space. On its own, a fan can emit up to 60dB, but this depends on the speed it’s running, the size of the blades, and more.
I’ve previously written about quiet fans in more detail, so check that article out for further specific information.
For rooftop air conditioner units, installation often involves bolting it to the RV’s roof. While easy installation is helpful, this isn’t ideal when it comes to noise reduction.
The bolts can create an effective transmission pathway for vibrations. As these pass into the RV’s structure, they can enter the indoor space as sound. This’ll make the AC unit sound louder than it actually is.
Fan Motor Type
A quiet RV air conditioner will use one of two motor types to blow air: Electronically Communicated (EC) or Permanent Split Capacitor (PSC). In short an EC motor can modulate the rotational speed of the fan to control the airflow. This speed variability and the technology cause EC motors to be quieter and more energy-efficient.
As opposed to an EC motor, a PSC motor doesn’t have this variability. It’s either OFF, or ON running at full capacity. The design is more primitive, and, while it does the job, you might want to avoid this one if you have the choice.
We measure an AC unit’s cooling capacity in BTU. This means British Thermal Unit, and is the amount of heat needed to raise the temperature of 1lb of water by 1 degree F.
In relation to AC, which cools the air, it refers to how much BTUs the unit can remove from the air in an hour.
So, more is always better, right? Not necessarily, particularly from a noise perspective. A higher BTU means greater air capacity but also greater noise emissions.
Also, a unit with a BTU rating too high for the space won’t work efficiently. A too-powerful unit will cool the space unevenly, leading to warmer pockets of air, as it’ll cycle on and off too often.
Most of the quietest RV air conditioners sit between 12,000 and 15,000 BTUs. This is enough to cool a room between 550 and 1,000 square feet, which is more than enough for an RV.
While this might sound too powerful, you have to factor in things like environment, sun exposure, and ambient heat. All this can add plenty extra to the necessary BTU level.
For example, you can expect to add 600 BTU per person and up to 4,000 BTU for kitchen appliances that generate heat. Considering many RVs are single-room spaces, these numbers start to make more sense.
Features to Consider When Picking a Quiet RV Air Conditioner
We can consider things like cooling capacity to be basic features. But, when choosing the quietest RV air conditioner, it’s worth thinking about extras. After all, this’ll be quite an investment so you might as well get your money’s worth.
Here are some of the extra features I recommend considering when choosing your quiet RV air conditioner.
This speaks for itself really. A remote control is ideal for any AC unit, even one for an RV. It saves you having to manually adjust settings on the unit, which is helpful when you’re in bed and you need to set the temperature.
Ideally, look for one with a digital temperature readout. This saves you having to check the unit when setting the temperature, as this removes the point of having a remote.
A sleep timer is useful if you want to save energy. You might not want it running all the time or you might want it to turn off at night when it gets a bit cooler.
We don’t need to go into much detail about what a sleep timer does – it justifies itself. It can be a useful feature in RVs for numerous reasons.
Rooftop or Portable?
A rooftop unit is designed specifically for use in vehicles and has its advantages. They’re generally more powerful and mean you won’t lose any floor space to a big, bulky air conditioner unit.
They can also circulate air more efficiently throughout the RV, particularly in ducted systems.
But, they cost more and require installation. You’ll need things like a thermostat and wiring, which you might not already have in place.
Check out this video for a brief guide on how to install rooftop AC units in an RV.
A portable model, however, is generally easier to use. You plug them in and you’re ready to go. Most are designed for use in buildings, but this doesn’t make much difference.
The most important thing to note is whether your RV has the right windows for the portable unit’s adapter. Most fit into sliding windows, so check this before you buy.
Also, a portable system will cool less space and you’ll need to move it between rooms/areas. It can take up valuable floor space, which can be a major downside in smaller RVs.
An air filter isn’t a necessary feature but can be useful when staying in an RV. As you’d expect, it’ll filter things out of the air, such as pollen, dust, and so on. This’ll help to keep the air in your RV cleaner.
As with an air filter, a dehumidifier isn’t required. But, it can be one of the best features if you’re traveling through humid areas.
The interior of an RV can get very humid considering you might have several people living in a small space. Factor in cooking, washing up, etc. and there’s plenty of moisture in the air.
Of course, when you run an AC unit, you have to keep windows closed. This means the moisture has nowhere to go and can make the space feel warmer. So, a dehumidifier can be a great help.
Most whisper quiet RV air conditioner units will run off a generator, as you’d expect. But, some can be battery powered, although this isn’t a particularly helpful feature.
If you want to run the air conditioner while driving, you’ll need to invest in a battery adapter kit so you can power it directly from the RV’s 12V battery. This means you’ll need a power inverter, which is expensive and challenging to set up.
Also, the air conditioner’s high energetic demand will drain the battery quickly. To preserve the battery capacity, you don’t want to leave it empty for too long. So, you need an inverter to charge the battery at low capacity or when in use. The inverter is the intermediate that charges your battery from a generator or from shore.
A warranty is important when investing this much money into something. Most air conditioner units come with a 2-year warranty as standard, which should cover you for breakdowns and defective parts.
It’s up to you whether you look for extended warranties, but you might be entitled to some cover through your RV insurance too. So take the time to look over your insurance contract.
Final Thoughts on Quiet RV Air Conditioners
As you can see, there’s plenty that goes into choosing the quietest RV air conditioner.
My top pick is the Atwood 1507 Ducted AC unit because it’s quiet, efficient, and easy to install. If you need a more budget-friendly option, go for the Furrion FACR14SA-PS Rooftop AC Unit instead.
If none of these meet your needs, hopefully my comprehensive guide will point you in the right direction.
Do you have a brand that’s your go-to for quiet AC units? Let me know in the comments below.