A best tent air conditioner is the perfect solution for a hot tent at night. A portable air conditioner that you can bring into the tent with you to keep it nice and cool so you are not kept awake by the sweltering heat when camping.
If you shop around you’ll find a difference in the air conditioner units available. You’ll find differences in:
- Energy Efficiency
- Cooling ability or Coverage
- BTU Requirements (500 BTU)
- Advantages and Disadvantages of a Battery Powered AC
- Other Features and Functions
As long as your campsite is powered, you will find the best tent air conditioner for you here on this guide. We would also recommend having a portable power source when camping such as a generator to power your AC.
Check out the article and if you have any comments about the products featured here then please feel free to share them below.
Table of Contents
- Quick Picks: Best Tent Air Conditioner Reviews
- #1 Image Portable LED Camping Lantern with Ceiling Fan
- #2 LifeSmart Indoor/Outdoor Portable Air Cooler
- #3 EdgeStar AP8000W Portable Air Conditioner
- #4 CCH YPLA-08C Portable Air Conditioner
- #5 Whynter Digital Portable Air Conditioner
- What to Look For In The Best Tent Air Conditioner
- Why Not a Battery Powered Air Conditioner?
- Using an Air Conditioner when Camping
Quick Picks: Best Tent Air Conditioner Reviews
*All links above will take you to the latest prices on Amazon.com or you can read our best tent air conditioner reviews below.
This first product is simplistic but it’s a perfect solution for those who don’t have a power supply available in their tent.
It’s a simple fan that can be hooked onto the ceiling of your tent or placed on the floor and tilted into the angle that you prefer.
When hanging from the ceiling the fan also doubles up as a handy LED light giving you greater visibility inside your tent so it’s easier for you to get do some reading or any other things you need to get done when it’s too dark.
There’s a switch on the product itself that allows you to change between low and high powered mode and to turn the light on and off. It only required 1 D battery which grants you up to 5 hours use in high speed, 15 hours in low speed or 20 hours of light.
Altogether this is a simple yet effective solution for cooling your tent on them hot days and nights if you haven’t got power into your tent. For that reason it makes it our list of one of the best tent ac units!
It’s not going to have the most powerful cooling capacity but if you’ve no other option than this highly rated and recommended tent fan is perfect!
The LifeSmart EXcool is the best tent ac also doubles up as a handy, portable evaporative air cooler.
It absorbs the heat from the air without any reliance of chemical refrigerants like traditional AC unit would use.
You will need to plug it into a power supply and fill the water reservoir but after that it’s just a case of selecting a speed and it can get to work.
It’s only 21 inches high, weighs 10 pounds and a power consumption comparable to a 40 watt light bulb which makes it perfect for cooling a small enclosure like a tent, especially if you have your own power generator.
If you fill this best tent air conditioner unit with just 1 gallon of water, it will be able to keep the air in the tent cool for up to 10 hours, so it would last for more than the night’s sleep that you need.
To top it off, the product is made in the USA, so a purchase would mean that you are supporting home grown industry and it’s also safe around pets and kids. There’s also no additional maintenance or cleaning requirements.
The Edgestar is another great tent ac unit. It is much more powerful and highly rated AC unit so far!
It’s fantastically compact being only 24.75 inches tall, but unfortunately it is a little heavier; weighing in at 56 pounds.
Despite its weight, making it a bit more cumbersome for your camping trip, it’s got a great cooling capacity and can cool an area up to 225 square feet.
There are three speed setting for the fan and the direction of the air flow can be altered, allow you to optimize airflow within your tent or camper.
Since it is, technically an evaporative cooler, it does come with an exhaust pipe which you’ll want to direct outside of your tent so that it can dispose of the condensed water that it produces.
The device does also double up as a dehumidifier and it’s quite efficient at doing so with a 50 pints per day capacity.
It contains a removable filter that can be cleaned but that’s about all the maintenance it will need. Although the product can be a little loud, it’s very highly rated among previous buyers who are very happy about buying this portable AC unit.
Another option for a compact tent air conditioner is the one offered by CCH which is also highly rated by previous buyers who praise it.
Particularly for it being relatively quiet, with one review stating that it’s quitter than the box fan that they had in their bedroom.
It’s only 47 pounds in weight and can cool air within a 250 square feet; perfect for a tent or even a camper van.
The filter is re-washable so you don’t need to worry about having to buy replacements for it but the unit does need to be vented in the same way as the EdgeStar.
This product has a nice user interface with LED touch controls that allows you to change between the two fan speeds and two cool settings as well as to activate the 24 hour timer feature. It also has a remote control so you don’t even have to reach for the device to change the settings.
The Whynter Digital Portable Air Conditioner may be slightly heavier than the others with a weight of 69 pounds but it operates quietly and is up to large tasks as it can cool an area up to 400 square feet.
It can achieve this because it has a powerful fan which promotes an airflow of 155 CFM or 264m3/h.
Even though it’s got a great cooling capacity and runs quietly, despite its powerful fan, it’s still perfectly compact enough to fit into a tent, camper van or vehicle and has a relatively low power consumption.
It’s also got a dehumidification mode too which can extract up to 76 pints of excess water from the air in 24 hours making it efficient and great value for money.
The control panel on the front of this unit makes it really easy to use and it has a remote control too, so you can adjust its mode and fan speed settings without having to approach the device.
What to Look For In The Best Tent Air Conditioner
Staying out in the great outdoors is a great way to enjoy nature, and your favourite hobbies such as hiking and fishing. Waking up to enjoy the sunrise is just one amazing part of the outdoor adventure but to enjoy it fully, it’s best to have had a good night’s sleep.
In locations that have a particularly hot summer where the nights are humid and unbearable it’s so uncomfortable to try to get to sleep, especially in an environment you’re not used to. It’s smart to have a tent AC unit handy if you know your vacation could potentially be ruined by hot, humid and sleepless nights.
It can be quite difficult to choose the best air conditioner to have in a tent, but the most logical choice on the market are the portable evaporative coolers. This is because of the following characteristics that they have:
They’re normally compact and lightweight in comparison to other options such as small AC units making them less effort to carry around, can fit in your tent and not get in the way.
Most campers don’t have access to a power supply or what access they do have is pretty limited. An air conditioner with a low power consumption is great as you can save on fuel for your generator.
Some come with the option to dehumidify the air as well as cool it which makes the inside of your tent feel fresh and cool compared to outside. This just maximizes your comfort and gives the device much better value.
The portable air conditioners work perfectly for small rooms typically up to 250 feet and this is perfect for a tent. Any more than that would be a waste of power and less would not be effective at all, but it does depend on the space it’s required to cool down.
The cooling capacity is directly affected by the power and performance of the fan. The higher a fan’s ability of moving air, measure in Cubic Feet per Minute (CFM).
There are a couple of drawbacks to be expected from the tent air conditioners but only a few. They need refilling with water once it’s used up, most need to have the condensate ventilated and they also usually require a power source. Other than that, they remain the best choice for campers.
Why Not a Battery Powered Air Conditioner?
It does sound tempting to get yourself a smaller, battery powered air conditioner and use that instead of having a generator or ensuring the camp site has an accessible power supply. Although it does sound like a good idea, battery powered air conditioners are not as effective at cooling as air conditioner units.
All products within the heating and cooling industry are rated by their BTU’s (British Thermal Units) which is a measurement of how much heat they can take out of the environment per hour. Battery powered AC units have a very low BTU rating and would not work well at cooling a tent.
As you can see from the info below, you’ll need a unit with at least 8,000 BTU’s to cool an area of 200 square feet. An average camping tent is typically 150 square feet so a BTU rating of 5,000 would be required.
- 8,000 BTUs will cover 200 sq. ft. (1,600 cubic feet)
- 10,000 BTUs will cover 300 sq. ft. (2,400 cubic feet)
- 12,000 BTUs will cover 400 sq. ft. (3,200 cubic feet)
- 13,000 BTUs will cover 450 sq. ft. (3,600 cubic feet)
- 14,000 BTUs will cover 500 sq. ft. (4,000 cubic feet)
Unfortunately there isn’t a battery powered tent AC unit that has a rating of 5,000 BTU’s as that would require much greater power input than a battery can provide.
If you find that having the power supply and the portable air conditioner is not convenient enough, it would be better value for money to invest in a tent fan like the one listed above than a battery powered AC unit. Or even a small air conditioner if you have the power supply for it.
Using an Air Conditioner when Camping
It may be a little bit difficult to picture at first how you’ll use your tent ac when camping, and so take a look at our tips and things to consider to give you a heads up on any concerns.
Ventilation and Air Circulation
Ensure your AC unit is properly ventilated and able to ventilate the hot air it is producing outside of the tent. This is to prevent the ac unit from over heating and overall increases its cooling efficiency.
Some tents come with AC ports already to make it easier for you to direct the ventilation pipe. If you have an AC port tent, make sure you locate the port before ventilating the AC unit.
Keep the vent pipes of your air conditioning units straight to prevent it from overheating and maintain its cooling efficiency.
It’s quite a common mistake for people who use their tent ac quite regularly to forget to swap out the filters. If they are not changed every week, impurities from the air will begin to accrue on the filters and reduce the ability of your ac unit to cool effectively.
About the Author
Dave Miller is a HVAC technician with over 10 years in the industry. Dave created HeatTalk with the ambition for it to become a resource for individuals looking for answers, whether they be a layman, student or a professional.