There is no doubt that when there is no air-conditioning, it can become uncomfortably hot when you are traveling or camping.
The good news is it doesn’t have to be this way. There are many products on the market that will cool down a space using 12-24 volts DC.
These units work by using batteries and can be very efficient. There is a variety of ways in which they work. For example, some cool by using ice put in a large container and using a fan to simply blow cool air from the unit.
The more expensive units are standard air conditioners that work by using a DC compressor and can push out cold air like any other A/C unit would but powered by a battery.
A third option is to use a swamp cooler unit which works very well in dry climates where humidity is not high.
Evaporator units work by using water that is pumped up and dripped over pads that air is blown through with a fan and will cool down an area greatly. These are very common in the Southwest where it is a dry climate.
Below are some of these different types of 12-24 DC volt cooling units that are currently available.
As always, be sure to read the reviews on Amazon, forums, or elsewhere to be sure a unit is a good fit for you.
*This post contains affiliate links.
Our Picks for Best Battery Powered Air Conditioners 2023
- EENOUR QN650
- Zero Breeze
- 12V 24V Electric Air Conditioner
- 5-Gallon Bucket Air Conditioner
- Personal Evaporative Air Cooler
The EENOUR QN650 is a portable 24 volts DC air conditioner unit.
It can connect to a 24 volts DC battery or 100-240 Volts AC.
It is rated to use 200 watts and has a noise level of 50db which is good.
This makes it a good unit in many scenarios from using solar panels to cool a small space to using a generator while camping.
The unit weighs 31.1 pounds and is fairly easy to move about where needed.
Zero Breeze manufacturers several portable air conditioners including the Zero Breeze Z19-Y, Zero Breeze Z19-B, and the Zero Breeze Mark 2.
The Zero Breeze is likey the best cooling unit that operates on DC voltage, but unfortunately also costs the most.
It is a small portable air conditioner that has a rated 1100 BTU of output.
The Z19-Y model is rated for 1100 BTU that can cool a space of roughly 50 feet, which makes it ideal for small spaces such as tents.
It also has USB charging ports, aBluetooth music player, and LED lights.
The Zero Breeze Z19-Y uses 12-volts 12.5 amps to operate.
For someone serious about cooling a mobile space, Zero Breeze units is worth a look.
12V 24V electric air conditioners for RVs, trucks, construction vehicles, excavators, harvesters, agricultural machinery (12V)
12 and 24 DC powered air conditioners are available that can be retrofitted into campers, trailers, vans, or any mobile vehicle.
They require some skill to install and are not ready to go but can work well in some scenarios.
For example, if you have a camper with no AC and want to add in a cooler, a 12-24 volt retrofit kit may work for you.
5 Gallon Bucket Air Conditioner – Ice Model (Black)
Five-gallon bucket air conditioners have become very popular, with many YouTube videos on how to build one.
They are simple units with a bag of ice placed inside and a 12-volt DC fan that blows out cold air.
They do require ice to work but do work until the ice melts.
If you are a handy type of person and have a spare 5-gallon bucket and 12-volt DC fan, they are easy to build.
Personal Air Conditioner, Portable Air Cooler, Mini USB Evaporative Air Circulator Humidifier, 3 Wind Speed Adjustable, Desktop Cooling Fan for Home Office Outdoor Travel, 7 Colors LED Ambient Light
There are many evaporative air coolers, with some that work from 12-volts DC.
Evaporative air coolers work very well when the air is dry but not so well in humid climates.
They work from the effect water has on cooling a surface when it evaporates.
If you live in a climate such as the American southwest an evaporative cooler will work very well.
If you live in a humid climate, another option will be better.
SmartDevil Small Personal USB Desk Fan,3 Speeds Portable Desktop Table Cooling Fan Powered by USB,Strong Wind,Quiet Operation,for Home Office Car Outdoor Travel (Navy Blue)
Small cooling fans can also be bought which can help cool a personal space down.
They are not the most ideal units since they only blow air but are very low-cost and better than nothing.
WoneNice Portable Small Fan & Mini-air Conditioner, Runs On Batteries Or USB-Blue
The WoneNice is a small and low-cost evaporator cooler system that uses water to cool.
It can be run on batteries or even a USB port with a small fan blowing out cool air.
Evaporative units do not cool well in humid environments but work very well in dry climates.
Is there a heat an air unit that runs off a battery for my deer camper.
I need battery operated air con for canopy on my truck. Ldv
What can you suggest please
I am from South Africa
Want battery powered portable AC for under $200 for car to keep it cool during hot weather while at work
Did you figure anything out?
I need the price for camping 12volt
I need an ac unit to run in my van while I am moving since the front and rear ac is not working and parts are no longer available.
Are there any after market add on units that will work for my 95 chevy g20 conversion van or a portable unit that will cool good while I am moving in the van.
Need 12volt ac unit to comfortably cool my 89 Chevy g20 Sport Van while driving,parked ,camping etc.(factory unit too costly to repair,would still be inadequate)live in South West (would consider hybrid systems ie.ac & evap cooler.Thankyou
I want a mini a/c unit that I can use in the back of my van. My van has a/c and can be turned on with engine running, but when stationary the a/c hose gets so hot that the ends melt. Lol…
I need something I can put in the back of the van independent from the van power to cool me off when I need to rest between jobs.
Im looking for a battery operated Cooling system for small truck camper shell where my dog travels, I drive 2004 Ford Ranger.
PS: Im ok with money well spent, want it to be effective and safe.
If you are so inclined, I may have a solution for you…. However, it can get pricey, but if you are like me, and always in my van (for work) then this might be for you. At pretty much any big box store, you can find a small window ac unit. 5000 btu or less. The one I installed was 130.00 at Lows.. yes it’s misspelled so nobody gets butt hurt. Anyway, depending on what kind of van you have, I had a Chevy express before my transit, and this ac ,when powered by a 1000 watt pure sine inverter, and in conjunction with 200 watts of solar, and a 100ah agm battery, kept my van like an igloo during the hottest days. And I live in Florida.. it’s HOT. Now, you might say, that stuff is too expensive, or I don’t know how to install it, Yada yada yada. Well, when you spend enough days changing shirts, sitting by fans blowing hot air, trying anything to stay cool, then you will spend the 130.00 for the ac, 150.00 for the pure sine wave inverter, 250.00 for the solar kit, 250.00 for the battery, finally you will spend 100.00 on wiring, etc. you can hook this system up, and if done correctly, you can sit in comfort without turning on your van. Keep in mind, you will have limited use, I let my run until it died, and it ran for around 10 hours, during the day, and with the ac on high. Now, you can add add dc/dc charger, or battery isolator switch, for around 50.00. I would recommend it. It just charges your house battery so you don’t kill your starter battery. I don’t have pics of my first setup, but I cut a hole in the rear door of the van, framed it in, and sealed it up with spray foam. Oh, unless your van has been insulated really well, you can’t expect this to be as effective as you w at it to be. My name is Eric Gifford, and I like to convert vans on the side. I have done several and they keep getting better each time. GiffDesigns at gmail dot com is email, if you have any questions. I’m always around to help. Good luck! Giff.
living in the south, i want a battery operated air condition when storms take out our electricity or the condo shuts it down for repairs…i suffer from the heat, and i am a senior citizen….
sincerely and with thanks, eg
Did you receive a reply? I would like to know the same thing. thank you
I would like to know how much?
We have a 1999 Dodge Durango with the heater chore broken and live in Phoenix!!! Ouch. The air conditioner blows cold air but only through the defrost vent? Is there a flap or something that is stopping the cool air from blowing outward? Or, does the whole front of the inside of the car need to be taken out? Is there a portable air unit one could suggest until we can get this fixed or is the flap blocking the cold air fixable without tearing the car apart?
sounds like a vacuum problem. A vacuum hose may have become disconnected and the system has defaulted to Defrost. Most cars default to defrost when a component in the climate system fails.