Investing in a portable cooling unit for your car can create a comfortable cabin environment when driving in sweltering weather. It’s also ideal if your vehicle’s AC malfunctions frequently or is unreliable. Moreover, the best portable AC for vehicles can dehumidify the air in your car and improve its quality.
However, hundreds of brands all claim to offer the best features. That’s why picking only one can be super tricky. No worries, though. I’ve looked into the most popular options to bring you this list of the most recommended portable AC for vehicles.
Here, you will find specific models for passenger cars, trucks, or RVs. I’ll also get into the features to consider before buying a portable AC for a vehicle. So, without further ado, let’s look at the top portable car air conditioners to take with you this summer.
Things to Consider Before Buying a Portable AC for Vehicle
The first thing you’ll want to be familiar with is the different types. You will encounter electric fans, rooftop air conditioners, stand-alone ACs, handheld designs, bucket coolers, and evaporative air conditioners.
Electric Fans: A portable electric fan is ideal for small cars since it’s easy to move from one location to the other. It’s also cheap compared to other portable ACs. What’s more, it consumes the least amount of energy, which is ideal if you want to conserve energy.
Bucket Cooler: This portable vehicle air conditioner is bulkier than an electric fan. However, it is more capable of cooling your vehicle than a fan. It needs to fill it with water and ice and turn it on to receive a cool breeze.
Most bucket coolers are battery charged, but they can also power through your car’s cigarette lighter.
Evaporative Units: This cooler evaporates cool water, bringing down the air temperature. It does this by pulling in the stale air, moving it over a rigid cooling pad, and evaporating cool water.
Rooftop Air Conditioners: These are for RV and camper installations. They can also work as window AC units since they come complete with their evaporator, compressor, and thermostat controls. Rooftop ACs are installed permanently and require refrigerant, thermostats, and temperature sensors.
Wearable and Handheld Designs: These are ACs that you can take with you outside or place on the dash or armrest for instant cooling. Personal air coolers are usually cordless and powered by rechargeable batteries for a wire-free experience.
Portable air conditioners for vehicles are tiny, and that’s why you’ll want to pick a unit that can work well with the vehicle you need cooling. For example, an electric fan can work well in a small passenger car, but it may not suit a large fifth-wheel camper.
Still, it’s better to go for a small unit that your car can accommodate without taking up extra room.
This feature describes how powerful the unit is. On regular air conditioners, this feature is measured in BTUs. This feature is important in RV ACs because you want something to cool the entire RV. The higher the BTU rating, the higher the cooling capacity of an air conditioner.
However, because of their small size, a car and truck portable AC’s cooling capacity is determined by the area it can cool in ideal conditions.
Portable air conditioners can be noisy. Nonetheless, the best AC’s have a noise control feature so that the noise coming from the model is background noise. A noise-free unit can guarantee a comfortable trip if you’re concerned about noise. The most comfortable noise level is less than 50 dB for personal ACs and less than 56 dB for RV ACs. This noise is going to be a background hum that’s way below normal conversation.
Except for providing you with cool air, portable ACs also have extra functions. Some can remove bad odors, while others can restart automatically as soon as the temperature reading goes up. Some humidify the air, so your skin does not dry out.
To this end, it’s best to look at the features you need in a unit before choosing a brand. Remember that more features attract a higher price tag than a basic fan.
It’s essential to look at the value of a portable air conditioner. Note that a typical one-room air conditioner will cost more than a small car AC. Hence, the bigger the area you need to cool, the higher the price tag.
Secondly, the number of features you need will determine the price tag of any particular car air conditioner. Lastly, the brand name also plays a part in how much you pay for a unit, and renowned brands have highly-priced units, unlike less-renowned models.
Most portable car ACs will have a 30-day return period and a warranty of up to two years. The vital aspect of a guarantee is that some manufacturers require registering the AC once you buy it. Otherwise, you may not claim a refund or repair without registering. Others, on the other hand, require the original receipt. Hence, it’s best to go through the warranty requirements after buying the product.
Best Portable AC for Cars & Trucks
Quick Comparison Chart
|Dimensions (L x W x H)||Power Source||Voltage||Noise Level|
|Ontel Arctic Air Cool||2 x 20 x 1 inches||USB rechargeable||N/A||<40 dB|
|Wemordu Portable AC||5.4 x 3.7 x 7 inches||USB rechargeable||5 volts||36 dB|
|Evapolar evaCHILL||7 x 7 x 7 inches||Corded electric||5 volts||<40 dB|
|HueLiv Portable Air Cooling Fan||6.1 x 5.2 x 5.2 inches||Cigarette lighter||12 volts||<40 dB|
|FiveJoy 12V Portable AC||10.5 x 3.5 x 5.5 inches||Cigarette lighter||12 volts||<50 dB|
|XOOL Electric Car Fan||10.43 x 5.47 x 5.31 inches||Cigarette lighter||12 volts||<50 dB|
Why I Chose Ontel Arctic?
This cooling device will bring down the air temperature around you by 20 degrees. I like that it is horseshoe-shaped and the same size as a pair of headphones. As such, it is easy to wear it around the neck. Thanks to its lightweight design, you can drive without feeling like something is weighing on your neck.
Ontel Arctic Air Freedom requires charging using a USB cable, and you get up to six hours of cool air on a full charge. It also has three fan speeds for your convenience. Also, it is wire-free so that no wires will disrupt your drive.
- It takes up little space
- No lumpy buttons
- Three different fan speeds
- Purifies air as it cools it
- The highest setting offers only an hour of use
Why I Chose Wemordu Personal AC?
One of the best portable ACs for vehicles is the Wemordu model. It has four functions for such a small unit. This model will not only cool the air around you, but you can also place it on the dash or armrest and use it as a fan.
Furthermore, it humidifies the air and prevents your skin from drying out. Lastly, this AC will also emit light that you can use instead of turning on the cabin lights. Rated at only 3 watts, this model is very energy efficient, and it does not use a refrigerant; that’s why it uses little energy.
- Only two buttons
- Ultra-quiet operation
- Three adjustable speeds
- High-speed fan
- Holds charge for two hours at the highest setting
Why I Chose Evapolar evaCHILL?
This personal cooler is also ideal for a single person. Thanks to its small size, you can place it just about anywhere in your car or truck for comfortably cool air. Evapolar plugs into a dash-mounted socket/cigarette lighter so it’s easy to use.
With the humidifying function, you’ll be able to use it in dry climates where dry air can leave your skin crackly. It has a tank where you fill it with water, and you control it with a single button. It’s also not loud so that it will not distract your drive.
- Controllable air flaps on the front grille
- Spout prevents spillages
- Handle for portability
- No oscillation
Why I Chose HueLive Car Fan?
This car fan provides excellent and powerful vehicle ventilation. Combined with its ultra-quiet operation, it’s every driver’s dream come true on a hot summer day. HueLiv will keep you and your passengers cool since it oscillates 360-degrees to deliver cool air throughout the cabin.
HueLiv can also fit any car since it mounts using a strong suction cup. It’s easy to install firmly on the window or windshield. Plus, it connects to a 12V DC cigarette lighter socket. You’ll never worry about battery life.
- Connects through cigarette plug
- Durable plastic design
- Oscillates 360 degrees
- Not best for temperature above 100°F
Why I Chose FiveJoy?
The two fan heads on this device are powerful enough to cool a medium-size car to a large vehicle. These fans are efficient such that they provide instant cooling the moment you turn them on. While they can move lots of air, FiveJoy only uses 6.5 watts of power.
In addition, they use a cigarette lighter plug, meaning they can easily connect to any vehicle. I like that they are relatively easy to place on the dashboard or armrest since 3M adhesive stickers keep the base securely in place. Lastly, two-speed settings ensure that you can keep the car cool in summer, and you can also use it to defrost the windshield in winter.
- Dual heads rotate 360 degrees
- Energy efficient
- Space-saving design
- Easy, one-button operation
- Loud at 50 dB noise level
Why I Chose XOOL Electric Fans?
XOOL fans have dual heads that install easily in the rear to cool your passengers. These fans are installed without any tools so they are ready to use out of the box. XOOL fans also connect to a cigarette socket and come with a 5.87ft. cord with black clamps to tie extra wire.
These fans are your go-to if your car’s air conditioner is not sufficient to cool kids and pets in the back seat. You can rotate both the fan heads and the base to achieve the best placement for cool air. The stepless speed regulator does not have a speed limit to maximize comfort.
- Low noise level
- Easy to install
- No speed limit
- Removes moisture from car interior
- Small fan blades
Best Portable AC for RV
Quick Comparison Chart
|Dimensions||Fitting Area (Sq. Ft.)||Noise Level (dB)||Key Functions||Power Consumption|
|Whynter Portable AC||16 x 19 x 35.5 inches||500 sq. ft.||<56 dB||Air cooler |
|MIDEA Portable AC||12.56 x 24.96 x 12.96 inches||150 sq. ft.||51 dB||Air cooler |
|BLACK+DECKER Portable AC||16.5 x 11.5 x 26 inches||150 sq. ft.||51 dB||Air cooler |
Why I Chose Whynter ARC-14S?
Whynter ARC-14S is a solid portable air conditioner for your home on wheels. It boasts 14,000 BTUs, which can cool large fifth-wheel campers with interiors of up to 500 sq. ft. The AC produces noise below 56 dB, meaning it will be a background noise that will not disturb your peace. In addition, it includes wheels that make it easy to move to a different location.
I also like that Whynter is not a power hog. Unlike other 14,000 BTU ACs, it only draws 1300 watts. It can remove extra moisture from the air; hence it’s a good option for humid climates like Florida.
- Offers digital and remote control
- Wheels for easy rolling
- Eco-friendly refrigerant
- Quite heavy at 80 pounds
Why I Choose MIDEA MAP05R1WT?
MIDEA’s portable AC unit has a 6,000 BTU rating and can cool an RV with an interior of 150 sq. ft. It can keep a teardrop camper or small trailer as comfortable as possible between 62°F and 86°F. The AC has three operating modes, including a three-speed fan and dehumidifier.
MIDEA MAP05R1WT features a 24-hour timer that you can program to start and stop when you need it. The model comes with an exhaust hose and window kit so that you won’t return to the store. Plus, it has a removable and washable air filter for reusing.
- Compact and lightweight
- Three functions in one
- Easy to control LED and remote control
- 24-hour adjustable timer
- The internal thermostat does not display room temperature
Why I choose BLACK+DECKER BPACT08WT?
BLACK+DECKER BPACT08WT has three functions, but unlike its competitors, it does not blow cold air directly at you. Using the fan setting feels like a cool breeze, but it will not leave you freezing. The air conditioner has electric controls, a 24-hour timer, and a sleep mode. When you switch on the sleep mode, it will save energy, plus you will not deal with any noise as you sleep.
I also like that the unit has caster wheels and side handles to improve portability. And as you know, Black+Decker has some of the highest quality products so that you can depend on this unit for a decent period.
- Sleep mode saves energy
- Full window kit included
- 24-hour timer
- Includes reusable filter
- No Wi-Fi connectivity
Other types of Air conditioner for RV
LG 8,000 BTU 115V Portable Window-Mounted Air Conditioner
Why I Chose LG 8,000 BTU Window-Mounted AC?
Nothing beats exceptional cooling power on an AC that you can control from the comfort of your phone. Add that to its quiet operation, and you have a winner in a mid-size class A or class C motorhome. This LG AC also supports Hey Google and Amazon Alexa for voice commands.
Once you install this AC in a window setup, all you have to do is wash the removable filter for maintenance. It has three operating modes; fan, dehumidifier, and room cooler. The LED shows you the current room temperature, and it has a timer to set it when you want to turn it on and off.
- Three fan speeds
- Auto restarts after a power outage
- Wi-Fi enabled and included a remote control
- The highest fan setting is loud at 60 dB
- Installation instructions could be better
MIDEA 5,000 BTU Portable Window Air Conditioner
Why I Chose MIDEA 8,000 Window AC?
Choose from seven temperature settings with MIDEA 8,000 window AC. While it is a small AC, it can cool an area up to 150 sq. ft. hence it’s ideal for small and medium-sized campers. It brings down the temperature quickly thanks to its high-quality R410A refrigerant.
There are two fan speeds and two cooling speeds to meet your RV’s cooling needs. This portable AC can keep the interior cool and comfortable, whether in a Class B motorhome or a travel trailer. In addition, it has low energy needs so that it won’t rack up your camper’s energy requirements.
- Seven temperature settings
- Includes all mounting accessories
- Reusable filter
- Does not take regular filters
- Can be noisy in a small RV
FRIGIDAIRE 5,000 BTU 115V Portable Window AC
Why I choose FRIGIDAIRE 5,000 BTU Window AC?
FRIGIDAIRE is one of the quietest window ac. Without distracting noise, you can use it in a teardrop camper, a tiny RV, or a Class B motorhome. It is a manual unit that needs setting the temperature, and you’ll never have to mess with it again. Hence, it’s for those who don’t want to go back and forth changing the temperature setting on their air conditioner.
Apart from a low noise rating, this air conditioner draws only 450 to 500 watts during continuous use. It uses less energy than your typical window-mounted AC. In addition, it has adjustable panels, so you can extend the side panels to achieve the best fit.
- Extra-long power cord
- Maintains preset temperature
- Auto restart after restoring power
- Easy to clean reusable filter
- Manual operation
In summary, the best portable AC for a vehicle will cool your car and provide extra features to keep you comfortable. You can find various types, including individual units to large models for large motorhomes. This list offers the best attributes for each model to help you make an easy choice.
Are you ready to pick a portable air conditioner for your car, truck, or RV? These brands are the only ones you’ll need.
You may concern: 4 Causes Smell Like Vinegar In Car and Quick Steps To Remove