Campervans are more popular than ever, and with good reason! They are comfortable, convenient, and relatively low-cost. Converting a regular van into a campervan is challenging, but not impossible when you have the right tools.
Having a separate or additional rooftop air conditioner rather than just the vehicle’s built-in air conditioning is a huge advantage because it keeps your van much cooler during hot nights. Additionally, you don't have to run the vans engine to run the AC system like you would with the vehicles built in air conditioner.
Rooftop air conditioners work by taking in outside air, cooling it down, then blowing it into the van from the ceiling. At Nomadic Cooling, we ensure that all of our van rooftop AC units are quiet and effectively make the van much cooler by recycling and cooling the air.
Below we reviewed the top 8 rooftop air conditioners for vans based on affordability, efficacy, and ease of use. You can now decide which will be the best fit for your needs and the type of van that you have. Check all the details on the best rooftop air conditioners for vans below and reach out to the team at Nomadic Cooling if you need help deciding on which one to purchase. We've tested all of the AC units below in our own vans and only included the top-of-the-line options for you below.
Review of the Best Rooftop Air Conditioners for Vans
For each product mentioned, we have conducted a detailed review and listed items like price range, product dimensions, input voltage, and pros and cons so you can make the most informed decision for your needs and budget.
All rooftop air conditioners on this list from the Nomadic Cooling site come with a 1-year standard warranty and you can purchase a 1-year extended warranty, if you choose.
You can also use our pay-over-time function to help finance your rooftop air conditioner purchase. Having an air conditioner if you use your vans a lot will be a game-changer for your next trip.
This is a top-of-the-line air conditioner for the roof of your van. It is one of the newest models on the market, and it is available in a 12V or 24V. It is relatively compact when considering its features and abilities. It has an ultra-slim evaporator, a brushless internal fan, an 18cc compressor, and a 14-inch condenser fan.
The control panel is an easy-to-use vivid LCD panel with tactile buttons for fast and precise setting changes. There are three modes and five airflow levels. You can increase and decrease the temperature in one-degree increments, and it has an easy one-and-off button.
It will cost you between $3,800 and $4,600, but Nomadic Cooling has a limited-time offer where you can receive a free mounting hardware kit, a free wiring kit, and free shipping when you purchase this item.
This 12V rooftop fan costs about $5,000, but it is one of the best options for a rooftop air conditioner. It is battery-powered, the battery is not included in the price of the fan, but it is easy to install and fits any new or existing 14-inch x14-inch rooftop opening.
One notable feature of this cooling fan is that it is a standalone fan, so it does not need to be connected to the engine to operate the air-conditioner.
It is non-polluting and highly efficient. The user can set and control the temperature based on their preferred temperature, and it includes many built-in protection features to help you monitor the fan condition.
The purchase price does not include fuse breakers, batteries, or weatherproofing sealant.
This 48V air conditioning unit is perfect for people who want a lot of power from a rooftop air conditioner. It is usually $5,800, but it is on sale right now through Nomadic Cooling’s website. Remember that the purchase price does not include fuse breakers, batteries, or weatherproofing sealant.
Similar to other air conditioning units from Nomadic Cooling, this model is non-polluting, highly efficient, and has a vibration-free operation.
It operates independently from the engine and car but is remote-controlled. The remote is easy to use, and it has two modes.
These modes include powerful mode and eco mode. Powerful mode allows the AC to cool your van faster but drains the battery quicker. Eco mode is the default setting, and it uses minimal energy.
The IndelB OFF 12V air conditioner also acts as a dehumidifier for your campervan. This multi-functioning fan powers a backup battery. This eliminates the need for an inverter or generator.
It can cool and dehumidify areas up to 6 meters in an area without needing to connect to 220V energy sources or backup generators. It packs a punch without using external energy sources.
This air conditioner will set you back at about $3,000 per unit. It has two air vents, one in the front and one in the rear, and fits a roof cut out of about 15.5 inches by 15.5 inches.
Nomadic Cooling’s 2000 24V model is an excellent option for those traveling in their campervans who want to stay cool in the van. It is powered by a 24V battery and is a stand-alone model, meaning you do not need to connect to the engine to operate the air conditioner.
It is non-polluting and highly efficient at cooling the space. It is also a vibration-free unit. It has a microprocessor-controlled system that provides customization when setting temperatures.
There are also a few built-in safety features like a pressure alarm, power and voltage warning, and motor temperature protection to help you monitor the unit and keep your campervan safe.
Eco mode and powerful mode are the two settings for power and cooling output with this rooftop air conditioner. The powerful mode offers 40A max cooling at 120 degrees Fahrenheit, while the eco mode tops out at 20A-30A at 85 degrees Fahrenheit.
Nomadic Cooling is doing a limited run of these air conditioners because they are in a trial stage, and they want to receive feedback from customers on how they fit their needs before making them in bulk.
They are designed to work like others in this line, but for those with smaller campervans. Although it is smaller, it will still cost about $3,500.
Like many other air conditioners from Nomadic Cooling, this rooftop air conditioner is non-polluting and is a stand-alone air conditioner operating off of a battery.
The same built-in protections apply as other Nomadic Cooling types, and it is easy to control with the remote. It does not include fuse breakers, batteries, or weatherproofing sealant. The purchase price does not include fuse breakers, batteries, or weatherproofing sealant.
The Dometic CoolAir 2000 RTX 12V is a great option for those who want an efficient battery-operated parking cooler that is self-contained. One con to this system is that it has a 12-hour cap of providing cool air through the space. The air conditioner does offer a warning before it shuts off.
It is very quiet, and it has a high-contrast display, individually adjustable air distribution, and four operating modes. This is a great option for someone who only wants to use the rooftop air conditioner for times when they are not driving or have the van on due to its powerful but limited run time.
This air conditioner costs about $2,400, and it does not include fuse breakers, batteries, pro flex RV sealant, 4AWG wiring kit, or the installation hardware kit in the purchase price. Budget accordingly.
Similar to the 2000 RTX 12V from Dometic CoolAir, this 1000 RTX 12V is a great parking rooftop air conditioner option for those traveling in campervans. It has up to 12 hours of run time and is a quiet air conditioner, which makes it perfect for overnight use.
All the A/C components are integrated into the roof unit, and it is highly efficient, using only 19.5A power consumption in eco mode. It also features a variable-speed inverter compressor, which allows for quiet and efficient cooling.
This is one of the most affordable options on our list as it costs just over $1,500. Keep in mind that this also does not include batteries, fuse breakers, sealant, wiring, or hardware kits with the purchase price.
Helpful Tips on How To Keep Your Campervan Cool When the Temperature Starts To Rise
When temperatures inch into the ’80s, ’90s, or even 100’s, you want to do everything you can to keep the campervan cool. There are many ways to do this, but investing in a rooftop air conditioner is one of the most effective in the long term.
However, there are a few options you can use instead of the rooftop air conditioner if you prefer! Check out our breakdown of a few common options below.
Window treatments, like tinting and curtains, might be your primary source of providing privacy, but did you know they can be a cooling source as well?
Reflective window coverings and certain types of curtains can reduce the heat inside your van by 10-20 degrees! The best type of material for this is cotton or linen.
Windows with Vents
When you turn a van into a campervan you should consider putting screens or vents on windows for many reasons. One reason is to keep it cool, but another reason is to keep any bugs or animals out while keeping the windows open.
You can use sliding windows or crank-opened windows to achieve this easy in-and-out motion.
Portable Fans/Roof Fans
Portable fans or rooftop fans are excellent cooling options for a campervan. A portable fan can be plugged in when you need it and tucked away in storage when you do not.
The rooftop fan is permanently installed, which makes it something you can not store away when it is not in use, but since it is on the roof it is out of the way.
Both options are great for circulating air bringing renewed air flow to the area and cooling the area through the airflow.
Remember, a portable fan will not completely cool the inside of your van on a hot day, but it will make the inside temperature about the same as the outside temperature. Popular roof fans are the Maxxair and the Fan-Tastic.
Take a Trip to a Cooler Location
Driving your campervan to a cooler location is one easy fix for cooling off during your trip. Though this is not something you can do right away in most cases, since it takes time to drive from South to North or East to West, it is a fix that can help!
If you are in a desert state, sometimes there are mountains or other areas of higher ground that can be up to 20 degrees cooler in certain months, so if you find it too hard to sleep comfortably in the hotter van, increase the elevation, which should decrease the outside temperature.
Don’t Forget About The Insulation!
Insulation is crucial to keeping air contained. Whether you want to contain cool air or hot air, the insulation of your van is paramount to creating a temperature-controlled environment.
You can use foam board, sheep’s wool, closed-cell spray foam, or 3M Thinsulate. Make sure to research how to install each type of material before you embark on the big task of insulating your campervan!
Best Rooftop Air Conditioners for Vans: The Bottomline
The bottom line is that while there is not one foolproof method that reigns supreme for cooling a van, a rooftop air conditioner is one of the best ways to cool your campervan.
It is more expensive than other options and requires professional installation, which can be inconvenient, but it is well worth it in the end!
Though we listed eight of the best rooftop air conditioners for vans here, there is no definitive answer as to which one is the absolute best.
It comes down to how well it fits your needs, power supply, space limitations, and budget. For instance, if you already have an opening in the roof, find a roof-mounted unit that fits the space.
You should also consider your power system’s capabilities because you do not want to end up with an air conditioner that you can not run!
The key to being happy with your rooftop air conditioner purchase is to read reviews and specifications before buying. You can also consult with experts through the website you purchase on or at any outdoor and hardware store that employs experts in air conditioners.
If you are looking for quality and dependable rooftop air conditioners or are still unsure which to choose for your van, contact our experts at Nomadic Cooling through a phone call or online, and we'll be happy to help!
Nomadic Cooling is a family-owned and operated business that is solely dedicated to the pursuit of mobile lifestyles. You can trust our experts for premium advice. The company is run by people with plenty of experience traveling in vans, and we use the products we sell every day.