RV Mini AC Options (5000 BTU RV Roof Air Conditioner)

Less power, more economical seems to be the trend with many RV owners these days. They want to cut their power expenses, so they replace larger AC units with smaller ones. They use less power and have more money for the things they want to do

There may be few rooftop options when it comes to 5000 BTU air conditioners. Most of the models we have seen only go as low as 12,000 BTUs.

To learn more about this topic, just continue to read our article. It may or may not bring a lot of good news as most rooftop AC units are geared for larger areas than the 200 square foot rating of 5,000 BTU units are rated to cover.

Will a 5000 BTU AC Cool a Camper?


This will depend on how you define the term camper. If you are a part of the older generation, the term camper refers to the rig you place on the back of a pick-up truck. If that is your definition, then the answer will be yes, it will.

5,000 BTU-sized AC units are rated to cool up to 200 square feet. These units may work well if you only want to cool your bedroom at night, so you get a comfortable rest. If you want to use them to cool the other portions of the larger RVs, then you would be wasting your money.

If your definition of the term camper includes those nice mini trailers that are very inexpensive to buy, these smaller units will be just as effective. The problem you will have is that most 5,000 BTU AC units are wall-mounted. They are not roof-mounted.

The latter option may be very difficult to find. Our internet search did not turn up too many models to talk about. Usually, websites say they are talking about 5,000 BTU AC units, but their top 5 lists, etc., all contain 13,500 BTU or similar units and no 5,000 BTU units.

5000 BTU RV Air Conditioner


Just about every AC unit that came in this BTU range was a side or wall mount model. Not one was listed as a rooftop unit, and even the top ten lists did not include any rooftop model that was that low on the BTU scale.

Then the other problem that you may run into is that the 5,000 BTU AC units may need more power than a simple 1000 watt generator can provide. The generator may produce 9 amps of power, but many of these AC units need more than 9 amps on start-up.

Unless you are permanently situated, a wall-mounted AC unit will not be a smart move to make. Some websites are talking about rooftop 5,000 BTU AC units, but their content is that neither website listed any prices nor brands.

They also did not list where you could get them. Then the units they recommended under their articles were not 5,000 BTU units. They were 13,000 to 15,000 BTU units. They were all priced over $1,000 as well. No 5,000 BTU AC unit should coat you more than a couple of hundred dollars.

Air Conditioner Smaller Than 5000 BTU


There may be smaller AC units than the 5,000 BTU range, but they would be less effective than the 5,000 option and cover less territory. Usually, they are described as being good enough to cool a dog house, and that is what you are going to get in terms of size and performance: small unit, small coverage.

There are some good portable models you can invest in, and they should do the trick for you. These portable units plug right into your RV outlets and cool the small area you are in at the moment.

The portable units use a lot less power than the 5,000 BTU option, but they may not be true air conditioners either. You will get a little cooler air but not as cool as an air conditioner will provide.

There are some 8000 BTU portable AC units available, and that might be a better idea than trying to hunt down a rooftop model. But going to a 2000 BTU Ac unit would not be a very good idea, especially if you will be camping in regions of the country that are extremely warm in the summer.

Smallest RV Roof Air Conditioner


We have heard that Coleman makes some fairly small roof top AC units. The ones we have read about are around 8300 and 9200 BTUs, but that information is 7 years old. The next smallest size, from current information, is roughly 10,000 to 11,500 BTUs.

But that doesn’t mean that there are not smaller units available. All the top 10 lists we have seen place the 13,500 BTU option as the smallest option you can buy. In RV forums, most people are saying you need to go to a window or wall mount model in order to get lower than those figures.

Dometic seems to only make 13,500 BTU units and up. Their cheapest model was roughly $750, and you can do a lot better on that price with a window or portable model instead.

Amazon was not a big help either as they sold mostly 13,500 BTU units as the smallest. If you are going to find one of these units, and there are experts who swear that they exist, it will take some searching to get one at the right price. Contact some RV parts and accessory dealers to see if they carry or can order a model info you.

That seems to be your best bet. If you own a larger RV, you may as well forget about buying a 5000 BTU unit because they will not be strong enough to handle the large interior.

What to Look for In a Smaller AC Unit

When you come across a 5,000 BTU AC unit, it pays to know what to look for. Even if it is the only model available, do not buy it if it doesn’t meet the following standards:

  • 1. Dimensions - height is important. You will want a low-profile model in order to make sure your RV clears any low clearance obstacles that appear in the strangest of places.
  • 2. Aerodynamics - again, a low profile model would be best to help cut down on wind resistance. The more wind resistance you get, the lower your fuel economy. Design is as important as dimensions.
  • 3. Performance - the cost is not always going to be the deciding factor. You should make sure the model you buy lives up to the advertised claims and gives you top performance every time if you can compare all the specs and see what type of performance the unit is offering.
  • 4. Installation - one thing is for sure, you do not want to tear up your RV just to install a device that provides a little comfort. The installation of the unit should be fairly easy and does into require a lot of space. Also, ease of installation will lower your installation cost and the time it takes to get the job done.
  • 5. Duct or non-duct - if your RV is duct-ready, then that should be the best option, but not all the time. This will be up to your preference in how you want your cold air delivered. Then if your RV does not have ducts, it is best not to add them. The cost is not worth it unless you want to control the airflow better
  • 6. Dual-purpose - this will depend on where you like to camp and the time of year you go camping. If you do not expect to have cold temperatures at any time, it is best not to have a heat pump accessory. If you like camping in the mountains, etc., having a heat source is advisable.
  • 7. Price - always find a unit that will fit your budget. Expensive does not always mean the unit will be top-notch or top quality. Cheap does not always mean an inferior unit. Pick the one that will save you money both upfront and in the long run.
  • 8. Brand - usually, it is best to get your unit from a company specializing in camping or RVs. Those companies know what an RV needs.

Some Final Words

If you can find a 5,000 BTU AC unit that will cut your costs, then go for it. Just do not be surprised if the coverage you get is not as good as your current AC unit. Sometimes, it is best to follow; if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Leave a Comment:

Add Your Reply