We’ve looked at different types of AC units and air coolers to determine which one is the best tent air conditioner for camping.
We love hot summer days but sleeping in a hot steamy tent may not be everyone’s cup of tea as it can be a bit uncomfortable. That’s when a small and portable Air Conditioner comes in handy.
If you’re looking for the “coolest” camping accessory, then you’re on the right page. In this article, we talk about our favorite Tent Air Conditioners, what features you might want in an AC, how to judge which AC is best for you, and much more. So let’s start!
Our Top Picks: Camping Air Conditioner
Summer is here and so is the opportunity to camp out in the wilderness! Going on a camping trip makes our heart skip a beat because of all the excitement it brings. However, if you haven’t planned well and you don’t have all the essentials with you, it can quickly turn into one of the most unpleasant adventures.
If you don’t deal well with the heat and you can’t stand a stuffy tent, you will definitely appreciate a tent air conditioner. A portable air conditioner can not only cool down the tent, but it can also help to properly ventilate the space. The tent air conditioners below will keep your tent nice and cool during those hot, sweltering summer days so keep reading!
Best Tent Air Conditioners: Quick Answers
In this section, we take a close look at the best tent air conditioners that do pretty good job at keeping you cool and comfortable in summer.
1. Black & Decker Portable Air Conditioner
The Black & Decker portable air conditioner is powerful, lightweight, and has 3 energy-efficient functions for cooling, dehumidifying, and ventilating your tent. It comes with an exhaust hose, remote control and is maintenance-free!
With its sufficient power of 10,000 BTU, the Black and Decker’s Portable Air conditioner will keep your tent cool and breezy even during the hottest days of summer.
The unit also has an adjustable fan speed which we think is extremely useful. Upon using the different speeds, we found out that it can cool the tent as low as 65 degrees Fahrenheit.
Though the system has a sleeping mode that keeps it extra silent during the night or nap time, we noticed that it isn’t as quiet as Black & Decker claim.
However, upon comparing it to the noise coming from a window AC, Black and Decker’s AC is comparably quieter. It gives a slight ‘buzz’ sound which is not too hard to get used to.
This small 16.5 x 11.5 x 26 inches AC works best in tents with an area of 150 – 250 square feet. It is a bit power hungry at 1150 watts but if you are on a powered site, it won’t be too much of an issue.
The Black & Decker is not only easy to use but it’s also easy to clean. It comes with a remote control with a LED display that features a 24-hour timer that helps to keep the temperature under control.
Furthermore, to clean it, you just need to slide the filter out and wash it with water. Who doesn’t love easy maintenance appliances, especially while camping, I know we do!
2. Frigidaire FFRA051ZA1 Tent Air Conditioner
With its antibacterial filter, and the 2-in-1 temperature feature, even if it’s a little bit heavier, we really liked the Frigidaire’s FFRA051ZA1 tent air conditioner because it blows out warm air as well as cold and you can use it all year round!
The first feature we really liked in the Frigidaire’s AC was its quick cool and quick warm mode. If you want your tent to instantly heat up or cool down, you should definitely look at this Frigidaire air conditioner.
We also liked how the Frigidaire FFRA051ZA1 features a simple yet efficient temperature control. The AC maintains the temperature that you preset. It’s useful because no matter what condition or time of the day it is, the inside of the tent stays at a comfortable temperature.
Being in a healthy environment is at the top of our list. Especially when using an AC, we want it to blow out clean cool air rather than air contaminated with various bacteria and dust particles. That’s why really liked that the Frigidaire air conditioner has an antibacterial filter to keep the air pure. It’s really easy to clean too.
If you want to fit it into your tent with AC port, you can use the adjustable side panels which are sturdy and easy to adjust.
This Frigidaire AC uses 450 watts which makes this a better option than the Black and Decker if you plan on running it off a generator.
Though we think the Frigidaire FFRA051ZA1 has the best cooling power, it’s a bit noisier than the other units we’ve looked at.
Overall, the Frigidaire Air Conditioner has all the features you need to keep cool in your tent and best of all, you can take it with you in summer as well as winter.
3. EdgeStar Portable AC Unit
The EdgeStar Air Conditioner provides good relief on the hot and humid days. Not only is it easy to carry, but it also has a dehumidifier that works well even if the temperature is as high as 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
If you have a small tent, the EdgeStar Portable and Compact Air Conditioner could be the perfect choice. The unit is small, compact, portable, and energy-efficient. It can cool down a tent up to 150-225 square feet.
The features we liked the most in the EdgeStar are its 24-hour timer, washable filter, controllable digital thermostat, and 3 fan speeds. Moreover, the fan has directional air discharge louvers.
The integrated dehumidifier can eliminate as much as 50 pints of moisture a day. One downside though is that we found it struggles to lower the temperature effectively when there is a lot of humidity in the air.
While it may not have the best cooling power, the EdgeStar does provide some relief when the temperature is unbearably hot.
4. Melophy Portable Evaporative Cooler
This Portable Air Cooler is perfect for camping or backpacking. If you’re looking for a small, energy-saving, and ultra-quiet Air Conditioner, this may be the one for you.
This portable air cooler looks like it’s made from high-quality materials. We like that the blades are not exposed which makes it a safe and a reliable AC to use especially around children.
There is an integrated 700ml water tank in the device that can blow cool air for up to 9 hours continuously.
Whether you want an air cooler, a humidifier, or an air conditioner, this tiny 9.7 x 6.6 x 6.1 inches device does a decent job at cooling you down. Due to its small size, it can fit easily on a table or a desk and it doesn’t take up much space in a tent.
The Air Conditioner has a touch control switch with an adjustable refrigeration control. It also has an automatic oscillation system with 3 different wind speeds as well as 2 misting modes.
You can charge this Air Cooler, using the USB cable that you can plug into a power bank if you’re boondocking or using the wall adapter if you’re on a powered camp site.
Overall, we liked this little air cooler. The air that comes out of it may not be as cold as what you get with the other AC units we’ve reviewed but it still does a decent job at cooling you down when you need it, no matter where you are.
5. Trustech 2-in-1 Portable Air Conditioner
The Trustech’s 2-in-1 Air Conditioner can be used all year round. Whether you’re camping in July or in November, this little AC has got your back with its cooling and heating functions.
Not only can the Trustech’s Air Conditioner keep your tent cool during hot summer days, but it can also keep your tent warm in winter! It has 2 cooling modes (high and low) and two heating modes (750W and 1500W).
The Trustech has an air circulator fan that helps balance out the temperature in the tent so that you can get the ideal temperature in your living space. It may be small but the Trustech can spread cool air in all parts of the tent with its rotary design.
We liked that it features an automatic overheat system as well as a tip-over switch which shuts off the unit if it tips over forward or backward.
Though it’s not completely quiet, the Trustech air conditioner is considerably quiet. We found the noise coming from it not too noticeable.
It is compact and can sit in the corner of the tent without taking up much of your space. To move it from one place to another, it has carrying handles.
As a side note, when we first switched on the heating mode, we noticed a slight burning smell coming from it. This was probably due to the fact we were using it for the first time. The smell eventually went away and it worked quite while we used it.
Best Tent Air Conditioners - Buying Guide
This section includes our tips to select a tent Air Conditioner that will work best for you. We also discuss the best ways to keep cool while camping during the hottest days as well.
Factors To Consider To Choose The Best Tent AC Unit
While shopping around, you might have come across several portable air conditioners that you found could work well in your tent. But how do you select the best tent air conditioner that will satisfy all your requirements and that will cool down your tent efficiently?
If you’re still not sure which one you should get, don’t worry, we’ve got your back!
Here’s what you need to consider when looking at a portable air conditioner for camping.
One of the most crucial features to look out for in a Tent Air Conditioner for camping is if it can easily be transported from one place to another. Can you lift it on your own and place it where you need it? Or do you always need someone else to help you?
A few things that will help you judge the portability of the AC unit is its size, if it has side handles or not, and how much it weighs.
Size of Your Tent
Another important aspect to evaluate is the size of your tent. Before selecting an Air Conditioner, you need to measure the square feet area of the tent and calculate the BTUs you’ll need to cool down your tent. Buy a unit that can easily cool down that area, even at high temperatures.
Most experts suggest that an AC with a capacity of 5000 BTU is enough to keep a small-sized tent ventilated and breezy. However, if you have a larger tent, then you might need to get a more powerful AC.
For example, to accommodate 8-10 people, an Air Conditioner might need a cooling power of 8000 BTU. Whereas, a tent housing 11-14 people might need an AC with a cooling power of 10000 BTU.
Precautionary measures are extremely important when you’re using an AC in a tent. You can run into problems like overheating and spark emission. Thus, it’s important to notice if your unit has passed safety certifications against these issues.
A safe unit should have an overheating protection so that if the device overheats, it shuts off automatically. A few models, like the Trustech’s 2-in-1 Air Conditioner, have a tip-over switch that shuts the unit down immediately if it tips over. This protects the unit from any damage or malfunction.
Another important safety measure that most units have is the protection of blades or louvers. The blades are usually not exposed out in the open. This is especially useful if you have young kids running around.
You need to inspect how the device is charged. Is it charged with a battery or do you need a constant electricity supply to power up your AC? Unless you plan on having constant access to electricity during your camping trip, it’s wise to choose a rechargeable battery-powered AC.
This way, you won’t need any power hookups near your tent to keep the AC working. Although, if you choose a unit that needs to be plugged-in, you could also keep a generator and a power bank near your tent.
Unless you’re an expert installing Air Conditioners, you might find it troublesome to set up a complicated AC on your own during your camping trip. Hence, the importance of buying one that’s easy to set up and operate.
Moreover, you need to determine the type of AC unit you need. Are you looking for a floor AC or a window-mounted Air Conditioner? Which one is best for your tent?
Air Conditioners that are simply placed on the floor are easy to install due to their compact size. These types of models are ideal for tent camping.
Some ACs are mounted on the wall or ceiling. These units work just as well as the floor ones, but they are not recommended for tents. Those are more suited to campervans and RVs.
To keep the air fresh and bacteria-free inside the tent, you need to look at the type of maintenance your chosen AC requires. Most ACs have washable filters that you can take out after a few weeks or months to clean them.
These filters don’t require a concoction of chemicals to clean them, all they need is water! Just clean the filter with water and put it back inside the AC!
In short, if you don’t want to spend all your time looking after your tent air conditioner while you’re camping, look for a unit that requires the least amount of maintenance.
It’s no hidden fact that an AC makes noise. Even if you buy the quietest one, you might hear it mutter under its breath. So what’s the point of this tip if there’s no solution?
Just because it doesn’t have a clear-cut solution, doesn’t mean you should ignore it! By evaluating many models on the market, we observed that some units let out more noise than others. While some emit a soft hum, others emit a much more distinct noise that might annoy you.
So always check if your unit is quiet or not. Is the noise bearable? Or is it loud enough that you have to speak loudly to talk to your friends in the tent?
Some units have an extra feature like the Sleeping Mode on the Black and Decker’s Air Conditioner. This helps to efficiently minimize the noise of the AC while you’re sleeping.
So while shopping, always pay attention to such features!
Another feature of paramount importance for us was the cooling mode levels on the Air Conditioner. You want to choose a product that gives you at least two Cooling Modes. This way you can adjust the temperature of the tent according to your preference.
Tent Air Conditioners: Tips to Keep Your Tent Cool
Apart from an AC, there are several ways you can keep your tent at a cool temperature during hot summer days. These things will also ensure that your AC works efficiently.
Camp in the shadow of trees
One of the most effective ways to camp comfortably during the summer season is if you camp under a tree. Tree leaves provide shade which help keep the material of the tent cool during day time.
Open up Your Tent During Day
Though an AC might work just fine to ventilate your tent throughout the day, it will be able to function better if there’s no built-up heat inside the tent.
By keeping your tent open during the day, you’re allowing all the pent-up air to escape from the tent. This helps in ventilation and once you close up the tent again, you will notice that the air inside the tent is fresher than before.
Avoid Using Sleeping Bags
One of the things that we avoid doing when it’s really hot is using our sleeping bags. Sleeping bags trap heat and might make you feel sweaty and uncomfortable during the summers. We prefer sleeping on sheets as they keep us from overheating.
Also see: Best Tent with AC Port
Frequently Asked Questions: Air Conditioners For Camping
Q1. Will a tent air conditioner really work?
A portable AC can keep your tent cool during summers only if you select the right size for your tent. Like we discussed above, you need to choose an air conditioner powerful enough for the size of your tent and the number of people staying in the tent.
Q2.How noisy is a portable air conditioner?
This is a hard question to answer because of the differences in personal preference. Since portable air conditioners contain both a compressor and fan, they do make a bit of noise.
When choosing a tent air conditioner, you want to pay attention to its decibel rating (dB level). Most units fall anywhere between 48 dB (about the same noise level as falling rain) and 60 dB (same noise level as a normal conversation).
Q3. What size AC should I get for my tent?
The size of the AC is directly proportional to the size of your tent. Many experts recommend that you buy a unit that has at least 5000 BTU (British thermal unit; a unit of heat) for a medium-sized tent.
However, as the size of the tent increases, you would need an Air Conditioner with more BTUs. Thus, make sure you measure the area of your tent you want to keep cool in order to choose the right size AC unit.
Q4. Is it safe to use an air conditioner in a tent?
Yes, it’s safe to use an air conditioner in a tent. While camping, you do need an air source in addition to the vents to keep your tent cool and fresh. This is when an AC comes in.
With that said, you do need to take all the necessary precautions while using an AC unit in your tent. Afterall, It is an electrical appliance and you should treat as such.
Q5. How can I insulate my tent to help the AC?
There are several ways you can insulate your Camping tent to help the air conditioner. A few general ways to help cool down your tent during warm summer nights are as follows.
While looking for a campsite, try to locate a place that has a lot of trees around. The trees will provide you shade from direct sunlight which will help to keep the tent cool as well as aid the AC in cooling down your tent.
A reflective Sunshade always comes in handy when you’re camping. The main function of these shades is to reflect the sunlight so that it doesn’t penetrate your tent.
Put up a tarp over the tent or cover it with a flysheet to stop the sun from entering. Keep all doors, windows and openings closed.
If your tent is old and has a few holes and leaks across the seams, you can use duct tape to efficiently seal the holes. So, when you turn on the AC, the air remains inside the tent and doesn’t seep through the holes.
Buying a tent that has proper ventilation will also help your AC unit to cool down the tent faster once you start it. You can unzip your tent during the day so that the heat can escape.
Q6. Will air conditioning affect humidity inside the tent?
Air conditioning systems usually work to remove moisture from the air. They pass over melted ice and blow cool air into your tent.
However, when the humidity levels rise, most systems are unable to cope. Thus, in humid climates, your air conditioner might cancel out the cooling effect which will cause more humidity to build up inside your tent.
In a nutshell, whether your AC will increase or decrease the humidity inside a tent highly depends on the weather. If the climate is humid, the Air Conditioner might not be able to remove all the humidity from inside the tent. On the other hand, if the weather is dry, the AC will keep things fresh and cool inside your tent.
With all that said, there are plenty of other ways to keep your tent humid-free even when during a humid climate! All you have to do is open the windows and let the cool air in. That will help to decrease the humidity levels inside the tent and maintain proper ventilation.
Q7. Do you have to use an exhaust hose with a tent air conditioner?
All air conditioners need to be vented. Some Air Conditioners come with an exhaust hose, like the Black and Decker’s and the EdgeStar Air Conditioners.
You should definitely use it as the hose sends the warm air that the unit produces out of the tent so that it can actively lower the temperature inside the tent.
The easiest way to vent your portable tent air conditioner is through your tent AC port or through one of the windows.
Final Thoughts: Portable Air Conditioners
Camping is one of the most adventurous outdoor activities that you can opt for. No matter the age, everyone seems to love it, unless you can’t stand being in a hot steamy tent…
While a tent air conditioner is not on everybody’s priority list, if you don’t deal well with the heat, then you won’t regret bringing a portable AC with you.
Looking at the above products, we have to say that our favorite tent air conditioner is the Black and Decker Air Conditioner. It’s a powerful yet lightweight unit with so many features that make it the best portable air conditioner for tent camping.
We hope our article has been useful to you! Best of luck finding your ideal tent air conditioner for your next camping trip!