Best Tent Air Conditioners – (2021) Guide

Camping trips can seem quite exhausting if you don't have a place where you can comfortably sit, eat, and relax for some time. A tent usually comes in handy when you want to enjoy one of these things. But you don't want to sit inside a tent that is very hot and humid. Instead, you want to enjoy refreshing and cold air that will alleviate your mood and make you regain your energy. 

A tent air conditioner is normally used to provide such a luxury to people on their camping trips. Such units are lightweight and portable devices that usually offer a good amount of BTU but also prove to be very energy efficient. Moreover, they tend to be very affordable and come with eco-friendly designs that protect the environment, but more on that later.

This article will prove worth your while if you are looking to enhance your camping experience. From discussing some of the top models in the market to explaining why they are on the list, this article doesn't leave out anything. So if you are ready to explore further, continue reading ahead.

Comparison of the Best Air Conditioners For a Tent

IMAGEPRODUCT
  • As high as 12000 Btu maximum cooling power
  • Comes with a 2 years warranty included
  • Wheels included to make easy to relocate quickly
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  • Made with a strong construction for improved durability
  • Can be adjusted to 3 different speed settings
  • Compact and lightweight design for better portability
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  • Best for the Money
  • Very easy to assemble and install
  • Maximum noise level of only 62 dB
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  • Best Small Tent Air Conditioner
  • It cools, humidifies and purifies the air
  • Highly energy efficient and safe to use
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  • Best Coleman Tent Air Conditioner
  • Easy accessible controls for quick adjustments
  • Air filters are washable to keep it clean
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What Makes an Air Conditioner Great For Tent Use? 

When people think of air conditioners, they either think of a room or a hall. However, many companies out there make small-sized units that are great for tents and trailers. Here is what makes these air conditioners so great for tent use.

Portability

The best thing about all of these units is that they are extremely lightweight and come with a compact design, which makes them highly portable. You can not only take them with you on all your camping trips, but you can also use them inside your vehicle or trucks. 

Tripp Lite SRCOOL12K

Higher BTU

Smaller units are often thought to be less powerful, and hence they aren’t expected to have a good BTU. However, in most instances, that’s not really true. Most of the models on the market and in this review come with 6000+ BTU. This enables it to cool a large area in relatively less time. A consistent BTU also ensures a cool and steady temperature is maintained in your tent.

Airflow and Ventilation

Regardless of how comfortable your tent appears, you still don’t want to sleep in a fully enclosed area that is deprived of fresh air and ventilation. Many models take care of ventilation all on their own, so you don’t have to worry about airflow or ventilation. Most units powered with 12 volts tend to provide all the ventilation that you need. They also come with a smaller tube or vent that’s placed outside the tent.

Affordability

This is sort of a given, considering the smaller size of the unit. However, when we say that these tent air conditioners are affordable, we don't only mean the initial investment cost. The cost of maintaining and cleaning them is also relatively less.

What Size of Tent AC Do I Need? 

The size of the AC you need will largely depend on two things: your tent's size and the weather outside. For four people, it is safe to assume that you will need around 150 feet of space. This is assuming that every person and their luggage roughly needs 35-40 feet of space. Your AC will not only have to cover a large ground, but it will also have to cool at a faster rate. All this means you need a larger unit.

However, you don’t always have to get a large unit. There are many adequately-sized units that offer a relatively high BTU and hence possess the ability to cool a large room in less time.

If you have a tent of about 150 square feet, a unit with a BTU rating of around 5000 units will be sufficient. If your tent is around 300-350 square feet, then you will need to invest in a unit with a BTU rating of 8000. Additionally, a tent of 550 square feet will require a BTU rating of 10,000 to 16,000. 

Characteristics of Our Favorite Tent Air Conditioners

While almost all the units in this article are some of the best, you may still need to look out for a couple of features that make one stand out from the others. These features make a unit appear extraordinary, and for the best results, you definitely need to consider them. Some features to look for are:

Lightweight and Durable

More often than not, lightweight models tend to be made of non-durable materials. However, some of the most compact-sized and lightweight models are also some of the most durable ones. They are made with industrial-grade materials that provide them with unmatched strength and resistance against wear and tear.

Diversity

Air conditioners need the power to operate, and getting electricity at campsites can often be a hassle. You will often have to see how much power your unit needs and then compare it with what your campsite offers. Any good model in the market will not demand a lot of power and will be affordable to run. 

However, if you don’t want to buy a unit that runs on electricity, you can always pick one that is battery-operated. These are smaller in size and are often easier to maintain. This diversity of options hence makes the life of buyers a lot easier. 

Less Noise

People invest in tent ACs because they allow them to relax and sit inside their tents comfortably. However, the last thing they need is to be disturbed by the constant noise their unit makes. For this reason, you need to look at units with a relatively small dB that don't make a lot of noise. Some even come with additional features that prevent any significant noise production.

Review of the Best Air Conditioners For a Tent

We found many efficient models in the market, but that was not the only feature we were looking out for. We scoured the internet to find models that could offer everything that users desire.

After a lot of research, we finally found the following models on the internet for you to consider. 

Best Overall:
Tripp Lite SRCOOL12K

Tripp Lite Portable Air Conditioner for Server Racks and Spot Cooling, Self-Contained AC Unit, 12000 BTU (3.5kW), 120V, Gen 2 (SRCOOL12K) , Black

PROS

  • Backed by free tech support and a two-year warranty
  • Self-contained design allows for quick and easy installation
  • Delivers around 12000 BTU cooling power for unmatched efficiency
  • Comes with a system that protects any components from overheating
  • Remote management system is optional and allows for quick control from a distance

CONS

  • Relatively expensive than other models

What Recent Buyers Report

Of all the features that buyers complimented, the fact that this model is easy to install is what they loved the most. They love the fact that the process only requires three simple steps. There is also no need for assistance from anyone, professional or otherwise. 

Moreover, buyers love the fact that the model hardly requires any maintenance. Another feature that they praised was that the model could be operated remotely.

Why it Stands Out to Us

We like this model not only because it is one of the easiest to use, but because it offers some of the most exceptional features in the market. For starters, it can be connected to the SRCOOLNETLX accessory that allows you to control and monitor the unit from a distance. From shifting temperatures to defining threshold warnings, you can perform almost all functions remotely. The model also offers a high BTU that comes in handy during warm weather.

Another feature that stands out is the close-coupled cooling mechanism. Unlike all centralized air systems, this one delivers cold air very near to the heat load. This, in turn, prevents recirculation of warm air and improves cooling tremendously. Lastly, a compact form factor footprint allows the unit to be used at a number of different sites, including tents. 

Bottom Line

Words can't do justice to how great this unit is. The best thing about it is that it comes with a two-year warranty that enhances reliability. But more importantly, it is well-equipped to deal with the problems of overheating. So if you are looking for an excellent model that is also easy to install, you should definitely consider this one.

Runner-up:
SHSTFD Small Evaporative Air Cooler

PROS

  • Can easily purify the air to reduce excess pollution
  • LED lights make the model appear very classy and attractive
  • Allows the addition of ice cubes to accelerate the cooling speed
  • Three-in-one design that also comes with a strong humidifying purifier
  • Comes with a USB cable, an instruction guide, and a water injection bottle

CONS

  • Water tank requires frequent cleaning

What Recent Buyers Report

Buyers love the construction and the design of this air conditioner that lets them enjoy a refreshing environment inside the tent without investing too much money. They also love the exterior body that comes with attractive LED lights and helps increase the ambiance of their tents. In addition, they love the fact that they can accelerate the cooling speed by simply adding ice cubes.

Why it Stands Out to Us

There are so many features that compelled us to place this unit in the second position. This small-sized, portable unit is as good as any other when it comes to durability. Its strong build and high-end construction allow you to use it for as long as you want. 

You will like this small negative ion air cooler that also comes with a dehumidifier. This not only purifies the air inside but also ensures that the environment inside is as ideal as it can be.

Another feature that particularly caught our attention was the inclusion of the desk fan that comes with LED lights. These not only make the model appear very attractive, but the fan also comes with three different speed options, giving you the chance to set the speed as per your needs. 

Bottom Line

This is perhaps one of the most efficient units. It has a three-in-one design, which is all you need for different needs. The model is well-equipped with features that provide cooling, purifying, and dehumidification whenever you need it. On top of that, the package comes with everything that you need. From a USB cable to a water injection bottle, there is nothing that you will have to buy separately.

Best for the Money:
Uninex SAC-1800

Uninex SAC1800 Indoor/Outdoor KOOLZONE Mobile Spot Cooler, Industrial Grade, Certified, 6,293-BTU 9.55-CER, R410A Refrigerant

PROS

  • Made with industrial-grade and durable components
  • Comes with an overall low noise level for additional comfort
  • Built-in evaporator can remove any harmful particles from the air
  • Does not require any assembly and hence saves on installation costs
  • Suitable to be used both indoors and outdoors hence ensuring diversity

CONS

  • Low overall BTU

What Recent Buyers Report

It is hard to pick one or two features that buyers like more than others because they praised almost every single thing about this model. From the durable construction to greater affordability, it has certainly set a benchmark for other units in the market, something buyers strongly agree on. They have repeatedly praised the energy efficiency associated with the model. This, they, say reduces any additional cost on maintenance as well. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

Any list that mentions the best tent air conditioners would not be complete if it didn't mention this model. This air conditioner is made with industrial-grade materials and comes with ETL certification that makes it super safe and reliable to be used in the tent. Moreover, it is very eco-friendly, which means that it won't produce any harmful gases that result in ozone depletion. Another reason why we love it is that it is very portable.

In addition, this is not only a very affordable model, but it also boasts of being one of the most energy-efficient units in the market. It has a capacity of half a ton, and the noise levels are only between 60 and 62 dB. This means that you can rest inside your tent without having to deal with constant noise. 

Bottom Line

Durability, affordability, and comfort are the three words frequently associated with this unit. This exceptionally good air conditioner is made with the strongest materials and comes with a built-in evaporator that can keep your air fresh. So if you are looking to enjoy comfort and a good night's sleep without loosening your purse strings, this model is surely the one for you.

Best Small Tent Air Conditioner:
Ontel Arctic Ultra

Ontel Arctic Air Ultra, Evaporative Air Cooler

PROS

  • Does not add much to your monthly utility bill
  • Very lightweight and hence allows for high portability
  • Can easily cool, dehumidify, and purify your room simultaneously
  • Whisper-quiet fan, together with the soothing lights, add to the ambiance
  • Hydro-chill technology can pull in hot air through evaporative-air cooling filters

CONS

  • Takes longer to cool a room

What Recent Buyers Report

Recent buyers who have long been looking for models with an option for better customization absolutely loved investing in this one. They were more than happy with the diversity in speed options as they could move from high to low speed in an instant. Not just that, but according to a lot of buyers, the whisper-quiet fan and soothing lights added to the comfort and ensured that users could enjoy a peaceful sleep.

Why it Stands Out to Us

If you are trying to stay comfortable and cool inside your tent, then the best way to do it is to invest in this unit. It is not only one of the quietest units out there but also one of the most durable ones. Apart from these incredible features, the unit can easily humidify any space and hence allow you to breathe clean and hygienic air all through your camping trip. 

What stands out the most is the excellent hydro-chill technology that can pull in hot air and transform it into colder air. The evaporative air-cooling filters help in the job and allow you to keep the room's environment as fresh as possible. Another feature that you will like is the capacity. With one water fill, the model can run up to ten hours straight.

Bottom Line

With an adequately sized tent, this air conditioner will work extremely well. This model by Ontel is mainly popular for its whisper-quiet fan technology that helps enhance comfort and allow you to get a peaceful sleep at night.

Best Coleman Tent Air Conditioner:
Coleman 9430D7153

Ntp-Stag 72-0727 ADB Deluxe Chillgrille White

PROS

  • Pop-out retainer grills allow for ease of usage
  • Horizontal surface design allows for easy access
  • Touch-sensitive control knobs allow for quick transitions
  • Filters are very efficient and are easily washable to increase comfort 
  • Euro-style design provides a very refreshing and contemporary look

CONS

  • BTU rating is slightly less than some other models

What Recent Buyers Report

Coleman has been a fan-favorite brand for quite some time now, so buyers did not hesitate in buying this air conditioner. The large number of positive comments that they have is a testament to the fact that their love for the brand and the unit is not unjustified. They have praised the low-profile design and have complemented its efficient controls that allow for ease of usage. They also like the horizontal surface design that ensures easy access. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

Simple, low-profile designs are gaining more popularity with every passing day. This is because such models aren’t only very durable but also come with excellent features like efficiency and higher customization. 

This Coleman tent air conditioner stands out because of its omnidirectional louvers that are specifically designed to direct any conditioned air in the downward direction and hence directly to where the people are sitting. You can also close these louvers and direct the conditioned air towards the opposite section. 

Another feature that must be mentioned is the inclusion of an electric heat strip that makes installation easy. On top of that, the pop-out retainer grills allow for greater ease of usage. They also allow tool-free access to all the air filters placed inside the unit. These filters are easily washable.

Bottom Line

The bottom line on this one is simple; invest in this unit if you don’t have a large room and are looking for convenience above everything else. The easy-to-use and accessible knobs make handling the unit very easy. 

Moreover, the design is of prime importance to many users. The euro-style, coupled with a horizontal surface, helps make the model appear very attractive. So if you are looking to enjoy greater comfort, you should definitely consider investing in this model.

Dos and Don’ts of Using an AC in a Tent

One way to maximize the performance of any unit, especially one like an air conditioner, is to know the basics. You need to know the things you need to do in order to ensure steady and good performance. Moreover, keeping a note of these things will also help you reduce the cost of maintenance.

Dos

If you want to enhance your user experience and get the most out of your tent air conditioner, then there are certain things that you have to keep in mind. 

Maintenance

If there is one thing that will help you increase the longevity of your model whilst also maximizing performance, it is surely maintenance. Cleaning and maintaining your unit frequently will help increase efficiency. You may also need to clean the vents as well as the filters every now and then to remove any dust accumulation inside.

Checking the Thermostat

Most models come with the standard manufacturer setting, and don’t bother to change these. it can be quite tempting to keep your thermostat at the highest level and achieve the perfect cooling; however, that is not always recommended. You don't want to unnecessarily increase your bills, which is why you should lower the thermostat to at least a 23-degree mark at most times. 

Understand Your Energy Habits and Unit Specs

Knowing your energy habits can allow you to maximize comfort without spending too much money. You should not only look at the number of people you have to entertain but also the BTU rating of the unit. Once you have a thorough understanding of your needs, you can easily regulate how much you are spending on utility bills. Understanding the specs will also help you make better choices.

Don'ts

There are also some things that you should never ignore when it comes to tent air conditioners. Here is one integral point that you need to keep in mind at all times.

Ignore Vent Placement

If you have a unit that comes with vents, you may want to keep a close eye on the direction of these vents. Make sure that there is nothing covering the opening of the vents, such as furniture or a vehicle. This can seriously reduce air circulation and may result in many additional problems, such as low efficiency.

Types of Tent Air Conditioners

Once you have decided that you need an air conditioner for your tent, it is time to decide the type of model you want. There are many options available in the market, and each of these come with their fair share of both pros and cons. The different types include:

Personal or Large Evaporative Coolers 

These are easily the most popular types of air conditioners that you will find in the market. They are usually more suitable for a spacious area where they offer much relief from humidity. They will not let any particles or water molecules accumulate in the air. Instead, they will simply allow the dissipation of these particles into the outside air. So if you live in a humid climate, these units are the ones for you.

SHSTFD Small Evaporative Air Cooler (Source)

Portable Air Conditioner

Portable air conditioners aren't very popular, but they are definitely very useful for tent camping. The best thing about this type is that it is very affordable and comes with a compact body. Such units are also easy to install and very easy to move.  

However, a major downside to purchasing them is that they are a bit noisy and often don't come with good humidity and temperature control systems. 

Window Air Conditioners on a Stand 

The best thing about the units in this category is that they are made especially for such purposes. They are relatively small and can be placed on a stand easily. Moreover, they are very energy-efficient, which means that you won’t have to spend too much on utility bills. Another important advantage is that they hardly take up any space. The downside, however, is that they require a lot of maintenance and care.

Zero Breeze Air Conditioner 

As the name suggests, these portable air conditioners are easier to travel with since they are rather small and aren't very heavy. They also provide a much better cooling performance than many other types. They often come with a remote control that ensures ease of usage. On top of that, they are really easy to set up. Another important feature is the high-quality build of a dehumidifier that protects the air inside your homes.

Tent Cooling Comparisons

Ac’s are not the only option you have when you want to cool your tents. You can look for other options that may suit your needs in a much better way. Here is a comparison overview to help you make an informed decision.

AC vs Fan in Tent

Fans are much cheaper, and the cost of running them is also relatively low. This is perhaps the biggest advantage of using a fan in a tent. They are also quick at providing cool air and are also well-equipped at removing excess humidity from the air. However, their biggest downside is that they don't produce a very stark cooling effect.

On the other hand, an AC allows for greater energy efficiency and hence takes relatively less time to cool the room. Moreover, it often comes with a dehumidifier and a purifier that has the ability to perform a variety of functions at the same time.

Evaporative Cooler vs Portable AC in Tent

Both these are very popular choices among users and have their own unique features. Most portable ACs are very small and lightweight and hence are very cost-effective.

However, a major disadvantage of investing in such models is that they cannot easily cool a large tent. They also come with a BTU rating of around 5000 or less.

Meanwhile, evaporative coolers tend to be perfect for very humid weather. They use refrigerants to remove any moisture or heat from the surroundings. They also don't produce any fog or mist during their cooling. They also produce relatively less noise.

Tent AC Install

Uninex SAC-1800

You can’t enjoy the perks of having a good AC unit for your tent if you don’t know how to install it properly. There are a couple of steps that you need to follow in order to enhance the performance. Simply follow the directions mentioned below, and you will be good to go.

  1. The first step is to gather all the equipment needed for installation. You need a tent with an AC port already installed. You also need a portable unit with a battery-powered system or a generator.

  2. Place the air conditioner in the AC port and slide the tent material on all four corners of the AC, so the cooling doesn’t go out.

  3. You can also stretch the material to ensure there isn’t any space that will allow cool air to escape the tent.

  4. Use a bungee cord and a durable rope to hold the AC unit firmly in place.

  5. The tent will not support your unit, so you will need to have a plank, shelf, or a wooden block so you can place your air conditioner easily.

  6. Water is going to drip out of the air conditioner, so make sure you place a small cup or a bucket at the bottom to ensure water doesn’t seep through the tent.

These are just some of the few simple steps you need to follow. If you need additional guidelines, you can refer to the video given below.

Conclusion 

Tent air conditioners are small, portable, and extremely durable, and that's just some of the reasons why people prefer using them. They are also very affordable, and it hardly takes any money to maintain and care for them. Many people also prefer these units because they are easy to carry and hence allow for greater ease of usage.

However, all of the above-mentioned pros cannot be achieved if you don't take some time to actively review all the products in the market. You need to look at things like your tent size, the number of people, and then your budget. But regardless of the product, you buy for yourself, rest assured that you will get a relaxing day in your tent. 

People Also Ask

Serious campers will always be on the lookout for items that make their camping trip better. One such thing is a tent air conditioner, and buyers have a lot of questions about them. We have mentioned everything you need to know here so you can make an informed decision.

How to Use a Window Air Conditioner in a Tent

A window air conditioner is not very hard to use in a tent, provided you have the right setup beforehand. If you are going to use such a unit in your tent, you will need an AC port that will let you attach the unit to one side of the tent.

How Do Tent AC Units Work?

This really depends on the type of AC you are referring to. Most tents don't come with any centralized cooling system or a source of electric power. This means that you will either need a generator or an electric hookup if you want to use it. These will provide the required energy. Moreover, you may use a battery-powered unit for greater ease and convenience.

How Much for Air Conditioner for Tent? 

The cost of a unit depends on the brand you are choosing and the size. A personal evaporative cooler that cools a tent of around 20 square feet will cost around $30 to $75. If you buy a large cooler that cools a tent of up to 500 square feet, you will have to invest around $500 to $1000. A window AC can provide cooling up to 1000 square feet and will cost around $1400.

Ontel Arctic Ultra

Can You Buy a Tent With Air Conditioner Port?

There are many diverse options for tents available that come with an AC port. This is because brands recognize the need for people to feel relaxed and comfortable on their camping trips. Such units come with an AC port that makes it easier to set up an air conditioner unit.

When Using an Evaporative Cooler, Should Tent Vent Flaps be Open or Closed?

This depends on the user's choice; however, it is recommended that you keep the vents open. This will help create negative pressure inside your tent and will help remove any odors from the inside. Moreover, the opened flaps will allow you to have fresh air inside.

Is a Tent AC Safe to Use?

There is absolutely no reason why these air conditioners aren’t as safe as any other unit in the market. To keep yourself cool inside a tent, you will need a generator or an electric hookup. You will need to set these things up away from moisture or water coolers for greater safety.

How to Vent AC Out of a Tent

Not all air conditioners need vents; however, for those that do, they usually come with a flap in the cool air delivery duct. This opens up with the help of a lever that is mostly placed on the AC's control panel. This also lets in fresh air from the outside and removes any dust or particles from inside the tent.