13 Best Camping Air Conditioners and Complete Buying Guide

If you’re in the market for a camping air conditioner but you haven’t been reading reviews, you are in for a shock…they are generally dismal.

The market is flooded with low-quality, over-priced, and over-promising products that won’t cool you down much more than a simple fan.

Here, we’ve assembled honest reviews of some of the most popular camping air conditioners. The goal here is not to sell you anything, but to provide accurate info to help you make a buying decision AND give you an idea of what to expect if you do decide to buy one of these units.

13 Best Camping Air Conditioners and Complete Buying Guide

Table of Contents

A General Warning

All camping air conditioners we have found receive very negative reviews and most of them contain the same complaint – that the unit isn’t as effective as expected.

This is a result of over-expectations of the current technology of small, portable cooling devices.

The reality is that there isn’t a very small unit that can run on batteries or a car outlet that can effectively cool a good-sized tent or RV.

There are some units, however, that are very portable and feel better than just a fan when blowing on you. There are others that are a bit bigger and can take your tent down a few degrees.

I still think some of these camping air conditioners will help you stay cool when camping in the summer but it’s good to set your expectations before purchasing one and before spending too much money on one that disappoints.

How to Use This Article

We’ve broken down these products into four types of air conditioners:

  1. Small Personal Camping Air Conditioners
  2. Medium-Sized Fan Camping Air Conditioners
  3. Medium-Sized Plugin Camping Air Conditioners
  4. Window-Mounted Camping Air Conditioners

The first two categories – Small personal and Medium-Sized Fan Camping Air Conditioners – can run on batteries, a USB outlet, or a car outlet. Accordingly, don’t expect these to cool any sized area, despite what they claim. These are better used to blow directly on yourself to cool you down.

The next two categories – Medium-Sized Plugin and Window-Mounted Camping Air Conditioners – can cool an area pretty well. The downside is that they require electricity.

If you’re wondering why I have included window-mounted air conditioners here, some tents actually make a place to put an air conditioner right outside your tent. This is what it looks like:

A tent with a vent hold for an outside window-mounted air conditioner
Image credit: The Florida Explorer

Small Personal Camping Air Conditioner

ENKLEN Portable Air Conditioner

ENKLEN Portable Air Conditioner

The Claims

The mini air cooler not only provides cool air, but it claims to filter out odors and dust in the air. This is especially good for sleeping and people with respiratory sensitivities.

The convenient thing about this portable air conditioner is that it is powered by USB so you can use power banks, laptops, and other devices with USB ports to power it. It consumes very little energy compared to other AC units.

The downside of using low energy is that you get little cooling. This AC unit is not really made to cool any amount of space, but works best for just blowing air directly on you.

Details

  • Powered by: USB
  • Weight: 2 lbs.
  • Area it claims to cool: ~ 45 sq.ft
  • Dimensions: 8.1″ x 8″ x 6.3″
  • Current price: $59.99
  • Amazon rating: 2.8 (36 ratings)

Reviews

The reviews on this particular air conditioner are not good. Most people complain about the size and power, saying that the device is small, does not work as claimed, and that it’s just a very expensive version of a fancy fan.

Most of the good reviews recommend that is should be used indoors for the maximum effect and taking it outdoors just doesn’t work.

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Zero Breeze Mark II

Zero Breeze Mark II

The Claims

With the Zero Breeze Mark II, you can provide a comfortable temperature anytime, anywhere. The air conditioner is very compact and lightweight, so it is easy to carry.

Unlike a conventional fan, the Zero Breeze Mark II is a true portable air conditioner with a patented compressor that can lower the ambient temperature by 30ºF / 16.7 ° C.

The battery system provides up to 5 hours of cool. In addition, USB outlets allow you to charge a smartphone and even a laptop from the batter. A warm LED light provides ample lighting for the tent.

The patented noise reduction technology allows the Zero Breeze Mark II to operate at 40-50 DBA, considerably more quiet than most AC units. It sounds ideal to use in tents and small spaces but read the review section before purchasing.

Details

  • Powered by: Battery
  • Area it claims to cools: 60 sq.ft
  • BTU: 2300
  • Noise level: 52 DBA
  • Weight: 16.5 lbs
  • Dimensions: 18″ x 11″ x 7.5″
  • Current price: $1,399
  • Amazon rating: 2.3 (26 ratings)

Reviews

Reviews of this product are quite dreadful. Most customers complain that it doesn’t work as it should, providing little cooling power. It breaks easily and isn’t worth the money.

There are positive reviews as well but for the remarkably high price tag on this product, why take the risk? The current price of the product is $1,399.

Ontel Arctic Personal Air Cooler

Ontel Arctic Personal Air Cooler

The Claims

The Arctic Air is an evaporative cooler so it requires water and will also humidify the air.

You will simply need to fill it with water and plug it into any standard wall outlet or USB port. It runs up to 8 hours per fill.

One of the most important features is that this cooler is very quiet. The whisper-quiet fan and soothing night light make it perfect to use throughout the night.

Details

  • Powered by: USB
  • BTU: Not reported
  • Weight: 3 lbs.
  • Noise level: 48 – 52 DBA
  • Area it will cool: ~ 45 sq.ft
  • Dimensions: 8″ x 8″ x 10″
  • Current price: $33.54
  • Amazon rating: 2.9 (3,787 ratings)

Reviews

As with most of the small personal air conditioners, the reviews of the product are not that good and many of the complaints are similar.

It has received lots of complaints that it’s not that effective and not able to cool down the area that is written in the description. This same complaint is found for all personal-sized air conditioners.

Some of the customers also complain about poor product quality as well as bad customer service. Most of the reviews say that the water leaks and the device is easily breakable.

Some of the positive reviews suggest that customers who wrote bad reviews didn’t get the idea of the device and have too high of expectations.

They say that it is a better version of a fan and does its job pretty well, therefore other buyers should not expect the device to be as effective as a big air conditioner.

My final thoughts on this product are that it is slightly better than a fan. It will not cool a tent on a hot day but feels pretty good when it’s blowing on you. Also, it’s pretty cheap so it’s not surprising it breaks easily.

If you purchase this product hoping to cool a large area on a hot day and expect a rugged, well-built machine, you will be disappointed. However, if you need something for personal use, you might be happy that the air from this is cooler than a regular fan.

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Medium-Sized Fan Camping Air Conditioner

Arctic Cove MBF0181

Arctic Cove MBF0181

The Claims

The Arctic Cove introduces the 18-Volt 2 Speed Misting Bucket Top Fan. Keep in mind, this is a mister and not an air conditioner so it might get a little wet if you want to use it indoors.

We are including it among air conditioners because it has received positive reviews as an option for keeping cool outside.

The Arctic Cove 18-Volt Bucket Top Misting Fan includes a new hi/lo switch for adjustable fan control which controls the amount of mist. The fan speed runs on a separate switch with hi/lo options as well so you can control the mist and fan speed independently.

This camping mister is quite portable, however, you do need a water source – either a bucket or a hose. You will have to buy a 5-gallon bucket separately if you plan on using it when you don’t have access to a garden hose.

Details

  • Powered by: Battery
  • BTU: Not reported
  • Weight: 7.6 lbs.
  • Area it will cool: ~ 500 sq.ft
  • Dimensions: 15″ x 12″ x 13″
  • Current price: $170.99
  • Amazon rating: 4.2 (126 ratings)

Reviews

This device is one of the most highly reviewed on this list and portable cooling units we have come across. Most of the customers are pretty satisfied because they say that the product is exactly as it is described.

According to the reviews, this device is very good outdoors as it cools down a pretty big area and is very effective. The main complaint among negative reviews is that the battery dies too fast.

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Bucket Breeze

Bucket Breeze

The Claims

Bucket Breeze is an excellent way to cool a small area like a room, a small shop, and of course one of the most efficient ways to cool a tent while you are camping.

The Bucket Breeze is a lightweight, small footprint cooler that runs on eight AA batteries or plugs in using a 12-volt adapter (included) if you have access to electricity.

The cooling power comes from a gel-based refrigerant that you must freeze before use. It is said that after you freeze the bottles, they will last for 10 hours.

Besides the bucket itself, the Bucket Breeze comes with:

  • The bucket lid
  • 175 CFM fan
  • 12-volt adapter
  • Battery housing
  • Gel-based refrigerant
  • Containers for storing the refrigerant

Details

  • Powered by: Battery or Wall Outlet
  • BTU: Not reported
  • Area it will cool: : ~ 30sq.ft
  • Weight: 10 lbs
  • Dimensions: 12″ x 12″ x 24″
  • Current price: $149.95
  • Amazon rating: 2.5 (4 ratings)

Reviews

Negative reviews complain that the power is pretty low, leading some customers to be unhappy with the efficiency of the product. In their opinion, this device doesn’t actually work as it should and can only cool down the nearby area.

Positive reviews note the durability of the product and that it is not easily breakable.

Of important note, there is not a lot of information about this product on the Amazon listing and absolutely no information (just pictures) on their website. I am always skeptical of products that put little-to-no effort into presenting their product online, as it may be indicative of the effort they put into quality control and customer service.

It is for this reason and the poor reviews, we do not recommend this product.

IcyBreeze Cooler

IcyBreeze Cooler

The Claims

The two-in-one IcyBreeze utilizes cold water in the bottom of the tub to serve as a cooling agent. It does not contain Freon, nor does it produce exhaust heat, so it can be used indoors or outdoors.  

The IcyBreeze can dispense cold, dry air up to 35 degrees below the outside temperature. The three-speed fan produces currents up to 25 mph, providing maximum cooling relief.

The IcyBreeze claims to be perfect for campers, boaters, recreational sports, family sports, pilots, surveillance professionals, and tailgaters. I give the IcyBreeze marketers extra points for considering surveillance professionals when coming up with that list – very creative.

Details

  • Powered by: Battery, car charger, or wall outlet
  • BTU: Not reported
  • Weight: 16 lbs.
  • Area it claims to cool: ~ 30sq.ft
  • Dimensions: 23.5″ x 16.25″ x 18.5″
  • Current price: $289.99
  • Amazon rating: 3.6 (36 ratings)

Reviews

This device has received good reviews from both Amazon and their own webpage. Most of the customers say that it is not noisy and easy to use. They say that it is a good choice if you want to cool down a small area like a small shed or tent.

Since the device doubles as a cooler, it is very comfortable to use on hot summer days to keep your beverage and yourself cool.

Negative reviews often involve the battery not lasting long enough (common complaint among all these devices) and that you have to change ice very often. There are also complaints that the device is overpriced, given its simplicity. So if you’re handy, you could save some money and make a similar device at a fraction of the price.

TIP: Be sure you select whether or not you want a battery pack with the device. There are options to buy with or without the battery pack.

So if you don’t want to build your own, the IcyBreeze is a decent option but a little pricey. Just don’t expect the battery to last too long and bring extra ice in a separate cooler if you’re planning on using it for long periods of time.

MightyKool K2

MightyKool K2

The Claims

The MightyKook K2 uses water for cooling (evaporative cooling) and plugs into a 12-volt outlet. It comes with a converter to plug into the wall as well.

MIghtyKool K2 functions with water or ice so it continues to cool even after the ice melts (although it’s better with ice). Some of the other cooler-style camping air conditioners depend on ice and stop cooling once the ice melts.

Note the size of this unit as it appears larger in the pictures than it actually is.

Details

  • Powered by: Car outlet or wall outlet
  • BTU: Not reported
  • Area it claims cool: ~ 30sq.ft
  • Weight: 4.9 lbs.
  • Dimensions: 12″ x 11″ x 8″
  • Current price: $297.99
  • Amazon rating: 4.0 (25 ratings)

Reviews

The reviews of this product are generally positive. Customers are satisfied with the quality and they say that the device is the same as it is described.

About one in six reviews is negative and mostly complain about the efficiency of the unit (a common complaint for all portable air conditioning units). Some complain about the long-term durability of the product, but it comes with a two-year limited warranty so you should be protected against defects during that time period.

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Ryobi 18V ONE+ Cooling Cooler

Ryobi 18V ONE+ Cooling Cooler

The Claims

The Ryobi 18V ONE+ can act as a 50-quart cooler for food and drinks, and double as an air cooling unit. The cordless convenience makes this an awesome option for keeping cool on the job site or at any outside event.

The 18-Volt ONE+™ Cooling Cooler is sold as a kit with the P102 battery and P119 charger.

A point of convenience with this cooler and other Ryobi ONE+ products is that they all use the same battery. That means that every 18-Volt ONE+™ blue or green tool, as well as this cooler, works with any 18-Volt ONE+™ battery.

Details

  • Powered by: Battery
  • BTU: Not reported
  • Weight: 35 lbs.
  • Area it claims to cool: ~ 30sq.ft
  • Dimensions: 18″ x 20″ x 30″
  • Current price: $199
  • Amazon rating: 2.2 (5 ratings)

Reviews

Despite its appeal, the reviews are pretty dismal. Most of the reviews left by customers are negative, saying that the device is easily breakable and the quality is lower than expected.

It’s also hard to believe this design will allow it to cool any sizable area. Nonetheless, most complaints are about the quality so we cannot recommend this cooler.

Medium-sized Plugin Camping Air Conditioner

Uninex KoolZone Spot Cooler

Uninex KoolZone Spot Cooler

The Claims

With the Nakatomi X KoolZone Spot Cooler, you can provide a comfortable temperature anytime, anywhere in your house. The air conditioner is very compact and well designed, so you can place it anywhere you want.

The conditioner cools the whole area of 75 sq.ft without any problem.  The patented noise reduction technology allows the Nakatomi X KoolZone Spot Cooler to operate at 60-62 DBA, which is ideal for use in different types of rooms.

Details

  • Powered by: Wall outlet
  • BTU: 6143
  • Weight: 58.8 lbs.
  • Noise level: 60 – 62 DBA
  • Area it will cool: ~ 75 sq.ft
  • Dimensions: 27″ x20″ x 12″
  • Current price: $644.99
  • Amazon rating: 3.8 (12 ratings)

Reviews

The reviews of Nakatomi X KoolZone Spot Cooler on Amazon.com are pretty good. Customers are satisfied with the quality and design of the product. Most of them say that the device is effective in high humidity areas and can cool down more than just a 75 sq.ft area.

According to the reviews, it cools down the room quickly and the temperature is stable during the time the device is on.

The main complaint among negative reviews is that the price is very high and the device is not worth that much. Also, some customers complain that Nakatomi X KoolZone Spot Cooler is not very effective outside and only works well inside a building.

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Black & Decker + Heater

Black & Decker Air Conditioner and Heater

The Claims

The device cools, dehumidifies, circulates air in the summer, and provides heat during those cold winter months. Offering immediate, uninterrupted comfort, this Portable Air Conditioner features easy-to-use LED electronic controls and is quiet while you sleep (75dB on high setting).

This unit keeps a room, home, bedroom, apartment, dorm or garage that is approximately 300 – 350 square feet or any 15′ x 20′ room pleasant and comfy during the summer months when the heat sets in.

Doubling as a heater, it also keeps a room that is approximately 225 – 375 square feet or 18′ x 21′ room warm in the winter.

This unit makes a good camping air condition or camping heater…provided you have access to electricity to run it.

Details

  • Powered by: Wall outlet
  • BTU: 14,000
  • Weight: 52.9 lbs.
  • Noise level: 65-75 DBA
  • Area it will cool: ~ 350 sq.ft
  • Dimensions: 16.5″ x11.5″ x 26″
  • Current price: $407.00
  • Amazon rating: 3.8 (698 ratings)

Reviews

Most of the reviews for this product are positive. Some customers say, that the best thing about it is that there is no negative pressure, it simply converts inside heat to cool air while blowing hot air outside. And also the fact that it comes with a remote is very convenient.

Many customers comment about the good design, customization, originality, and ease of control.

Negative reviews complain about the noise it makes, and there are several complaints that the product is delivered to them in a damaged condition. The unit is backed by a one-year limited warranty and five-year warranty on compressor parts so you should be covered.

Emerson Quiet Kool Portable Air Conditioner 

Emerson Quiet Kool Portable Air Conditioner

The Claims

Emerson Quiet Kool portable air conditioner provides flexible, energy-saving, spot cooling. With the included window venting kit, it can be easily installed and put into operation anywhere.

Using auto evaporation technology, this particular portable air conditioner also functions as a dehumidifier by reducing unwanted moisture in the air without any necessary drainage.

Easily cooling a room up to 300 square feet, convenient features include a remote control, 24-hour on/off timer, and sleep mode.

Details

  • Powered by: Wall outlet
  • BTU: 8,000
  • Weight: 52.9 lbs.
  • Noise level: 52 DBA
  • Area it will cool: ~ 150 sq.ft
  • Dimensions: 17.31″ x12.8″ x 36″
  • Current price: $359.99
  • Amazon rating: 3.9 (204 ratings)

Reviews

The reviews for the device are mostly positive, with customers saying that the product is easy to install and works well. Customers also like that fact that it has sleep mode as well as eco mode.

Most of the positive reviews mention the high quality of the product and its ability to cool down a larger area than expected.

As for the negative reviews, many spoke about the remote not functioning well and poor design of controls on the top of the machine. Many complain about the complicated manual and bright panel light, which disturbed their sleep at night. Also, there are reports that the customer service is less than stellar.

Window-Mounted Camping Air Conditioner

Frigidaire Window-Mounted Mini-Compact Air Conditioner

Frigidaire Window-Mounted Mini-Compact Air Conditioner

The Claims

Frigidaire’s FFRA0511R1 5,000 BTU, 115V, window-mounted, mini-compact air conditioner is perfect for cooling a room up to 150 square feet.

The washable mesh filter with side, slide-out access reduces bacteria, room odors and other airborne particles for a healthier, more comfortable environment.

Low power start-up conserves energy and saves you money, plus effortless restart automatically resumes operating at its previous settings when power is restored.

The mini-size is what makes it a good choice for a camping air conditioner.

Details

  • Powered by: Wall outlet
  • BTU: 5,000
  • Weight: 41 lbs.
  • Noise level: 51-55 DBA
  • Area it will cool: ~ 150 sq.ft
  • Dimensions: 15″ x 16″ x 12″
  • Current price: $255.79
  • Amazon rating: 4.0 (3,903 ratings)

Reviews

Customers are generally happy with their purchase of this unit. Positive reviews speaks about the product’s quality.

Negative reviews complain that the device is too lound and has a low product life. Some of the customers say that the product works well the first year, but is completely useless next year. The product is covered by a one-year limited warranty and four years on sealed parts so this may be a concern.

hOmeLabs Window Mounted Air Conditioner

hOmeLabs Window Mounted Air Conditioner

The Claims

There is nothing like entering a nice, cool room on an extremely hot day. Relax in comfort that you can fully control with window AC unit. This particular window AC is equipped with easy-to-use, mechanical rotary controls, 7 different temperature settings, as well as dual cooling and fan settings.

It also features full-width, two-way airflow to direct that refreshing, cold air wherever it’s needed. This empowers you to reach the optimal temperature at any moment, from making sure your room is comfortable for guests, to blasting air directly at your face after a workout.

Details

  • Powered by: Wall outlet
  • BTU: 5,000
  • Weight: 36.5 lbs.
  • Noise level: 58-62 DBA
  • Area it will cool: ~ 150 sq.ft
  • Dimensions: 16″ x 15.4″ x 12″
  • Current price: $229.99
  • Amazon rating: 4.2 (959 ratings)

Reviews

This item is among the highest-rated camping air conditioners on this list. Customers say that it cools the desired area very fast and has a very low noise. They also say that the quality is very good, the device is compact, and not difficult to move around.

Some customers complain about the short lifespan of the product. Most of them say that the device is very good to use for some time, for a season or a month to be specific, but after that it just stops working.

Making your Own DIY Camping Air Conditioner

If you checked out some of the Medium-Sized Fan Camping Air Conditioners, you probably noticed they are pretty much just coolers that blow air through ice. You can absolutely make one of these yourself if you’re a little bit handy!

If you don’t want to go through the trouble or don’t have the right tools (you will need some power tools), don’t feel bad. I get it. Check out my cheap alternative below.

Rather than describe how to make your own DIY camping air conditioner, this YouTube video does an excellent job of showing you how to do it:

A Cheap Alternative

So maybe you’re dismayed about the price tag and reviews of the camping air conditioners (I don’t blame you) and you don’t want to build your own.

Have you considered a spray fan? Super simple, super cheap, and soooo much better than just a fan. It may not look like much but when you’re out in the sweltering heat, this thing looks like an oasis.

See On Amazon

Conclusion

Most people are very disappointed after buying a camping air conditioner because the price tag and promises made by these products mislead customers into over-expectations about how well they will perform. The truth of the matter is that air conditioners require a lot of power to cool even a small space, especially if that space is poorly insulated (like a tent).

If you want to get your tent cool, you’ll need electricity to run a mid-sized unit or window-mounted unit. Otherwise, you should expect to use a small personal camping air conditioner or a fan-based unit to blow directly on you rather than cooling a tent or small room. Also, don’t expect the batteries for these units to last all day. That being said, the small personal units are a bit pricey for what they provide.

Are you headed to the beach? In that caase, you need to read The 19 Best Beach Camping Tips, Tricks, and Hacks for an Awesome Trip.

So you like to camp in the summer? Did you know that you can stay toasty warm camping in the winter with a tent with a stove jack?

How about some Pinterest pins so you can save this post for later?

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