PROS & CONS: The Difference Between Rooftop and Split System Air Conditioners? - Nomadic Cooling

PROS & CONS: The Difference Between Rooftop and Split System Air Conditioners?

When it comes to air conditioning systems for overland rigs, you’ll need to consider the unique requirements of mobile applications.  Here are the pros and cons of rooftop air conditioners vs. split systems for overland vans.

Rooftop Air Conditioners for Overland Rigs:

Pros:

  1. Space Efficiency:  Rooftop air conditioners are an excellent choice for l=overland rigs because they don’t take up valuable interior space.  This is crucial for optimizing the living or cargo area inside the van.
  2. Installation Simplicity:  Installing a rooftop unit is typically straightforward, and it doesn’t require extensive modifications to the van’s interior.
  3. High Cooling Capacity:  Rooftop units are often designed to handle the demands of mobile applications, ensuring effective cooling even in hot outdoor conditions.
  4. Maintenance Accessibility:  They are relatively easy to access for routine maintenance, which is essential for long-term reliability on the road.

Cons:

  1. Height Increase:  Rooftop air conditioners add height to the van, which can limit your ability to access certain areas or parking garages.  It may also impact the van’s aerodynamics and fuel efficiency.
  2. Aesthetics: While less obtrusive than other units, rooftop AC’s can affect the van’s appearance and potentially reduce stealth camping options.
  3. Loss of Storage Area: Takes up space on the rooftop that could be used for solar or storage.

Split System Air Conditioners for Overland Rigs:

Pros:

  1. Flexibility: Split systems offer more flexibility in where you place the indoor unit, allowing for better control over cooling zones within the van.
  2. Lower Profile: The indoor unit is typically less obtrusive and can be mounted in a way that reduces the impact on the van’s exterior appearance.
  3. Quiet Operation: SPlit systems tend to be quieter, which is beneficial when you want to maintain a peaceful living environment inside the van.
  4. Zoning: Split systems are excellent for creating different temperature zones within the van, enhancing comfort for passengers or specific activities.

Cons:

  1. Installation Complexity:  Installing a split system in an overland van can be more complicated and may require professional installation, potentially adding to the overall cost.
  2. Interior Space Utilization: The indoor unit, while more flexible, still requires some interior space and can impact the layout and storage options within the van.
  3. Maintenance Accessibility:  Maintenance and repairs for split systems can be more challenging, as the indoor unit may be less accessible.