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Last updated: April 09, 2021
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Away from the hustling and bustling of the city, there is no better way to spend your weekend in the summer than camping by the lake, while relaxing in your hammock. However, while the scenario we described above sounds perfect, your camping tent can suddenly start feeling like hell as soon as the morning sun peaks its head. Except you’re related to Lucifer, there’re chances that you won’t enjoy being in such a situation. In that case, we will offer you a simple solution – the best tent air conditioner.
Believe it or not, tent air conditioners are engineered to make the scorching mornings more tolerable. With that said, you’d be glad to know that we’ve selected and reviewed the top six tent air conditioners on the market, just for you. The coverage area has to match the size of your tent, so we considered it for our selection. We also took the BTU level into account, as it is the performance of the air conditioner. We also checked at what temperatures it will work and how long the warranty is.
With that said, it’s worth noting that this guide is a result of several hours of research. Apart from the fact that every piece of information we’ve included in this guide is useful, we have also streamlined everything to make shopping as easy as possible for you. With our detailed comparison table, comprehensive reviews, and handy buying guide, we believe that everything has been designed to guide you toward the right tent air conditioner for your needs.
Sporting a sturdy, reliable housing, the Zero Breeze Z19-B was obviously designed for the outdoors. It comes with lots of useful features perfect for use in the outdoors or while camping with friends and family. While it doesn’t feature a rechargeable battery, it provides a wide variety of powering options, which include wall outlet USB, or a gas/propane/lithium powered generator. Plus, the unit comes with a compressor on/off button.
When you switch the button on, the unit functions as an air conditioner. However, it works as a normal fan when you turn the button off. The machine also includes an exhaust hose and drain tube that you must set up while installing it. While this may be a bit cumbersome, the unit seems durable, strong, and heavily constructed. For the exciting features, there is a Bluetooth music player on the unit, complete with song switch and volume buttons. There is also an LED lighting system and two USB charging slots, all of which you can find very helpful during camping.
In terms of cooling performance, the Zero Breeze Z19-B performs impressively. According to its manufacturers, it is capable of reducing the temperature to 72 degrees Fahrenheit in a 50 square feet close tent. Apart from that, it delivers 1,100 BTUs for efficient cooling. For safety, there is an emergency red flashing light, which shows that the manufacturers had both functionality and safety in mind.
According to Edge Star, their AP8000W is one of the smallest air conditioners in the world. Yet, it’s more than powerful. It’s capable cooling an area of up to 250 square feet while delivering 8,000 BTUs, making it ideal for big camping tents as well as truck tents. There is also a 24-hour programmable timer, which allows the unit to deliver accurate timings with the flexibleness of day-to-day programming. Added to that, its design features a three-speed fan that has directional air discharge louvers. On top of that, there is a remote control, filters, a window kit, and caster wheels to guarantee the continued supply of cool air through multiple rooms.
In terms of dehumidification, it’s capable of absorbing up to 50 pints of humidity daily, but there is an adjustable digital thermostat control to help it. The manufacturer wants using this unit to be as seamless as possible, which explains why starting it involves only a simple three-step process. First, you just need to connect the vent hose to the unit’s back. Then, you need to remove the cap from the window kit and connect it to the exhaust hose, which is the last step.
With the EdgeStar AP8000W, you can run your AC all-year-round without you needing to worry about draining the tank. That’s because it utilizes a CFC-free refrigerant, which makes it a climate and ozone-friendly machine. However, the biggest benefit offered by this machine lies in its size efficiency that makes it easy to set up and store. The only potential problem with this compact unit is that it tends to cool less when you use it in harsher climates.
Do you have two main requirements: efficiency and aesthetics? It is not always easy to bring the two together, but some manufacturers have tried it. Among them is Black + Decker. With the Black + Decker BPACT10WT, you have a powerful and chic device intended for small spaces.
It is distinguished in particular by a pleasant aesthetic. The air conditioner is multifunctional (cools and dehumidifies). It cools the room quickly. The model covers a fairly large area and the remote control is convenient when you are on the sofa and want to adjust the temperature. You’d need to empty the water once or even twice a season.
Streamlined and equipped with a chic gray control panel with easy to read blue LED lights, the Black + Decker BPACT10WT can integrate perfectly into a modern and sophisticated decoration. It will be ideal in a small cozy living room.
This is a 10,000 BTU air conditioner, and the manufacturer recommends installing it in spaces between 13 and 23 square meters, which equals 150 to 250 square feet.
One of its peculiarities is that it promotes the vertical movement of the air. Coming out of the machine at a higher height, it is distributed better in the room, in which the temperature is thus uniform. Each person, wherever they are, therefore benefits from the same conditions of comfort. Finally, four wheels are provided to allow you to move the unit.
With the Ontel Arctic Ultra Evaporative Portable Air Conditioner, it doesn’t matter how hot the weather is because you can easily create the temperature you love. Featuring the hydrocooling technology alongside the filter, you can turn hot air into an enjoyable cool breeze within a few minutes. The unit’s water cooling system doesn’t only cool, but it moisters the air as well. Besides, this unit has a low energy consumption, which is a huge plus.
Furthermore, this unit is also USB-powered, which makes it very convenient to use as you can easily plug it with your laptop or your power bank and start enjoying the cool air. In terms of coverage area, this unit has the largest on our list, covering up to 360 square feet area. This is impressive as it means the unit can be used in large rooms.
The device also has three speed settings, which means you can customize its operation exactly as you want. Plus, this unit boasts of a very low noise level, which ensures that you’re not disturbed while you sleep. However, this air conditioner doesn’t come with a remote, which makes it less convenient to use than some models on this list.
HoMedics is a very big company that is known by millions of people around the world for its high-quality air purifiers. Nonetheless, the HoMedics MyChill Personal Space Cooler shows that their expertise is not only limited to the air purifier area. This unit delivers an intense torrent of cool air where it’s needed the most. The unit creates a four-foot cooling area, which lowers the temperature of your room by up to 12 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s an awesome pick for small areas: tent cots, 4-person tents, and so much more.
In terms of versatility, not many tent air conditioners can outperform this HoMedics unit. It can be used on your nightstand, at your office, in your dorm room, or anywhere you would love to be a bit cooler. Furthermore, the HoMedics MyChill Personal Space Cooler is energy-efficient and super easy to use. You just need to add water, switch it on, and you’re good to go. However, the two speed settings it features might not be enough, especially for people looking for more flexibility.
In addition, this unit comes with a Clean Tank Technology, which helps to protect the reservoir from mildew and mold. There is also an indicator light, which informs you when the unit is out of water and when it’s time to replace the cooling media. Thanks to the fact that it doesn’t use any ozone-depleting refrigerant, this unit is environmentally friendly. In terms of shortcomings, most people won’t be pleased with the four-hour runtime.
The Evapolar evaLIGHT Personal Evaporative Air Cooler is a compact USB-powered air conditioner that naturally spreads coolness. With a coverage area of up to 45 square feet, this unit is not as incapable as its size may suggest. Incredibly, this unit can be powered by a laptop or a power bank, consuming just 10 watts of energy in the process. Besides, it also uses the company’s patented evaporation technology, which comes with many advantages that make our air cooler powerful, compact, energy-efficient, and silent.
Despite being ten times smaller than regular ACs, this device can effortlessly cool the area around you. In terms of performance, it is capable of reducing the temperature by up to 15 degrees, which is quite significant. Regardless of where you need it, it can create a natural cooling effect – just put water in the removable tank, plug in the device, and enjoy. In addition to that, you don’t have to maintain or install it – just place it wherever you want and enjoy the coolness.
In terms of power source, this air conditioner can work via any USB power supply. You can run it by using a power bank, a wall outlet, or a laptop. Meanwhile, you can control the level of the sound as you like, thanks to the adjustable fan speed. And if you’re looking to enhance the aesthetics of your house, this unit can help you achieve it. The model features a set of inbuilt LED lights that makes it a joy to behold. It’s generally an excellent unit, just that some users complain that it leaks. Besides, it has a very small coverage area.
What we liked:
It’s an energy-efficient machine
Reduces temperature significantly
Doesn’t need to be installed
Features a set of beautiful LED lights
What could be better:
Small coverage area
No speeds to choose from
Things to Consider
Most campers never think about buying a tent air conditioner because they either don’t know how to use it or they don’t even know there is such a product. Of course, while an AC unit is sure to consume more space in your tent and has higher energy requirements compared to a fan, the cooling capacity will be considerably greater. In this section, we will talk about some things you need to know before buying a tent air conditioner.
Why you might need a tent air conditioner
Our skin is our body organ that suffers probably the most during summers. It is subjected to heat, wear, tear, and dust. The skin endlessly handles the dangerous rays of the sun and the atmospheric heat. Meanwhile, it is still the part of our body that is mostly ignored. Along with insect bites and sunburn, the summer heat is capable of resulting in flushes, rashes, and other skin issues.
Our skin apart, there’s also the possibility of suffering from heatstroke and heat exhaustion. According to a report from the CDC, dangerous heat results in more than 600 unnecessary deaths yearly in the US. In fact, heatstroke is capable of causing brain damage, organ failure, and in the worst case, death.
Senior citizens, young children, and overweight people are also especially vulnerable to heatstroke. Therefore, the best way of preventing this risky condition is staying hydrated and cool during the hot summer.
For campers, one life-saving solution is buying a portable tent air conditioner. The good news is that this luxury doesn’t cost a fortune. If you are even camping in very hot climates like the dry and hot Southwest or the humid Southeast, it will be in your best interest to buy a tent air conditioner for your health.
The following are the benefits of buying a tent air conditioner:
Removes uncomfortable and unwanted heat from camping tents.
Improves the general quality of your holiday by preventing fatigue and overheating.
Prevents heat strokes and dehydration.
Guarantees safer camping vacations.
Helps to prevent sunburn by alluring you back into the tent to cool down.
Features to consider while choosing a tent air conditioner
When you are buying a tent air conditioner, there’re some characteristics you must take into consideration. Apparently, the cooling power is probably the most important factor. However, there are other important features like coverage area and speed, which can be vital when you’re planning to use the machine for on every camping trip you go on.
While some tent air conditioners are capable of cooling a full tent, some are for personal cooling only. Therefore, based on the number of people inside and the amount of insulation in your tent, your cooling has to fluctuate often. Thus, if you’re traveling alone, having only a personal air conditioner that’s blowing directly on your face might be perfect to ensure your comfort. If you are, however, taking the entire family with you, having a model with a higher capacity is perfect to cool the tent properly.
BTUs, or British Thermal Units, is an energy measure that is internationally recognized. Basically, the BTU measures the amount of heat that a unit is capable of removing from a certain space. Therefore, when you are purchasing an AC unit for your camping tent, ensure you know the BTU of the unit. For instance, the standard measure is that an air conditioner with a BTU of 5,000 will be capable of cooling a room that measures 150 square feet.
Therefore, you can choose your air conditioner from this measurement. With one unit having 10,000 BTUs, the BLACK+DECKER BPACT10WT, and the EdgeStar AP8000W with 8,000 BTUs have the highest BTUs on this list.
It is always important to also consider speeds when shopping for the right tent air conditioner for your needs. It’s always great to choose a model that has speed options, as it can be very useful especially when the weather is fluctuating. With this, if you are feeling too cold, or your friends feel too hot, you can easily adjust the speed of the machine and everybody will be happy. Make sure you go for models at least three speed settings, such as the Ontel Arctic Ultra Evaporative Portable Air Conditioner.
The working temperature is another very important factor you must keep in mind as you shop for the most suitable tent air conditioner for your camping trips. For starters, it is the range of ambient temperature in which an air conditioner operates within. Therefore, for optimum convenience, it is very important to consider the working temperature of the model you’re looking at before buying.
Dimensions and weight
Camping is ideal for unwinding and keeping your heads out of the bustling and hustling of the city. However, when it is time to set up and break the campsite down, things can become a little annoying. If you will be sleeping in your tent for one or two nights, it is unnecessary to add a huge amount of load to your luggage.
While having a big and powerful AC is fine, it’s often unnecessary for a camping trip, especially your tent has multiple rooms and you intend to use it for more than two days. Should that not be the case, you’ll need to find a small portable unit that can be easily moved around and won’t add much to your already weighty camping gear.
If it doubles as a dehumidifier/humidifier/purifier
While a tent air conditioner is meant to just function as an air conditioner, there are some models that go an extra mile in ensuring your convenience. Some models like the EdgeStar AP8000W and the BLACK+DECKER BPACT10WT double as dehumidifiers. Therefore, you could just opt for those models instead of spending extra money on a separate dehumidifier.
When buying a product, ensure you read the warranty terms thoroughly. In fact, reading the warranty terms will answer the majority of the questions you might be having. You can get in touch with the manufacturer or seller to ask any question that is related. Besides, also make sure you read the warranty’s fine print. Don’t buy the product until you have understood the warrant terms perfectly.
While most AC units just make your space cool, there are some that come with extra features. For instance, cooler AC units are capable of also keeping your food chilled while dispersing cold air. Moreover, some units come with variable fan speeds, which allows you to regulate the temperatures according to your needs. Some models even come with light features to aid night visibility if you need the machine to work all night.
Typically, air conditioning usually creates condensation, which may not allow you to feel its maximum effect. That’s why it’s recommended to buy a humidifier alongside your AC unit. Apart from making sure that the condensation created by the AC unit won’t cause too much humidity, it will also help the AC unit to be energy efficient.
On why you may need a humidifier, it’s quite simple. While cooling down your air, the ac unit tends to create dryness along the way, especially during the summer. So, in order to maintain a balanced condition, you may need to buy a humidifier/dehumidifier for your tent as well. Some advanced AC units come with both or either features nowadays though.
The ideal air conditioner for your grow tent will depend on the size of your grow tent and other devices inside the tent that could produce heat. Examples of such devices include your grow lights, CO2 burners, and dehumidifiers. Therefore, you need to consider the wattage of all the devices in your grow tent, add them up, and find an air conditioner with corresponding BTU.
Without ballasts, the closest or standard estimate of BTU in 1,000 watts should be 4,000 BTUs. With ballasts, however, there would be an extra 2,000 BTU, which means 1,000 watts would be about 6,000 BTUs. Therefore, depending on the total wattage you get, we don’t think you’d need anything less than 8,000 BTUs for your grow tent. In that case, we’d recommend the BLACK+DECKER BPACT10WT for grow tents. But that is even if you have a small grow tent.
Tent air conditioners often come with some kind of filer to get rid of airborne particles. In fact, some advanced models even feature inbuilt air purifiers along with ionizers and carbon filters. For optimal cooling efficiency and effective particle reduction, cleaning or replacing the filters in your AC unit regularly is important. Make sure you do this on a bi-weekly basis or monthly basis, based on your usage.
If your tent air conditioner comes with a washable filter, then make sure you wash it regularly. Just slide the air filter out, dip it inside warm water, add a very mild detergent, thoroughly rinse it, and then allow it to dry before putting it into the unit back. However, if it is a carbon filter your AC unit has, replace it according to the instructions of the manufacturer.
While the Zero Breeze Z19-B doesn’t cover the largest area and doesn’t have the highest BTUs, it takes the top spot on our list for being everything. Apart from being an air conditioner, it can serve as a fan, as a Bluetooth player, and as a USB charging station. Apart from that, it has a very rugged construction, allowing it to endure all the bumps and knocks that come with camping. For offering a bit of everything you may need on your trip, this model is the best tent air conditioner on our list.
Being very identical in terms of features and capabilities, the EdgeStar AP8000W and the BLACK+DECKER BPACT10WT take the second and the third spots respectively. While the EdgeStar offering 8,000 BTUs is capable to cover the same area as the Black & Decker model with 10,000 BTUs. Both also come with remote controls, which speaks volume about the amount of work that has gone into ensuring that each model offers optimum convenience.