How to find the right air conditioner for your caravan

Blue skies and temperatures above 30 degrees: the dream for many campers. But caravans get extremely hot on days such as these. The interior becomes hot and sticky and sleeping can be a real problem. An air conditioner for your caravan is the answer. In this guide you’ll discover which air conditioning system is the right one for you.

Customer award for Truma air conditioners

What better reason to buy a Truma? Our air conditioners were twice awarded first prize at the 2019 König Kunde Award ("Customer is King").

This coveted prize is awarded every year at the Caravan Salon trade fair in Düsseldorf by German industry magazines Reisemobil International and Camping, Cars & Caravans. The winners are selected in a customer satisfaction survey, in which campers evaluate their vehicle and accessories in a range of categories.

Features, area of operation and personal needs are what count

First of all, the choice of air conditioner depends on the size and features of your vehicle:

  • How long is your caravan? Larger caravans need a more powerful air conditioner or, in some cases, several units that are coordinated with each other.
  • Where can the air conditioner be installed? On the roof or in the storage area of your caravan
  • Does your caravan have large panoramic windows? If so, it will heat up faster and therefore requires more cooling than a caravan with small windows.
  • How well is your caravan insulated? For a new vehicle that is well insulated, it is generally enough to have one low-powered air conditioner.

Before you choose a caravan air conditioner, you should also consider your next holiday destinations. After all, on the Mediterranean you need more air conditioning than in Scandinavia. But your personal preferences are also important:

  • How many people will be travelling with you?
  • Do you cook often in the caravan and does steam form?
  • Do you shower regularly in your caravan, increasing the humidity?
  • Do you prefer air conditioning in the entire vehicle or only in the sleeping area?
  • To what temperature do you want to cool the caravan?

Types of air conditioner: Compressor and evaporative air conditioners

Air conditioners for caravans differ in terms of their functions and where they are installed.

Compressor air conditioners work like a refrigerator. A refrigerant circulates in an enclosed system. The pressure from a compressor liquefies the gaseous refrigerant and feeds it to an evaporator. There, it absorbs the thermal energy from the surroundings and the temperature in the room decreases. Moisture is also absorbed from the air. All air conditioners from Truma work according to the compression principle.

Evaporative air conditioners use water as a refrigerant. The air sucked in from outside passes over a surface that is constantly moist. The water evaporates and removes heat from the air. However, evaporative air conditioners cannot dehumidify the air. Therefore, these devices are more suitable for dry regions and moderate temperatures.

The comfort zone

The correct interaction between temperature and humidity has a direct effect on your well-being. As the room temperature increases, humidity should decrease. Rooms with a temperature of 18 to 24 degrees and relative humidity of 40 to 70 per cent are considered comfortable.

Example: Temperature of 27°C and relative humidity of 65%. The comfort zone can be achieved with a compressor air conditioning system (dark blue arrow), but not with an evaporative system (light blue arrow)

Installation location: roof-mounted and storage box air conditioners

Air conditioning systems differ not only by their technology, but also by their installation location. This is already evident from the name.

Roof-mounted air conditioners are installed quickly on roof of your motor home and save space.

  • Easy to retrofit.
  • Don’t take up storage space.
  • Cool directly via the inside air distributor.
  • Outlets can be adjusted individually.

Truma roof-mounted air conditioning systems are especially quiet, light and powerful. They are available in different sizes and operating levels and can be used in many different types of vehicle, from vans to motor homes.

Aventa comfort is suitable for vehicles up to approx. 7.5 metres long. It quickly cools the vehicle interior to a pleasant temperature. Thanks to the integrated heat pump, the air conditioning system in the caravan can also be used as an additional heater during spring and autumn.

Aventa compact is especially good for vans because of its compact design. It is so small that it fits on the roof of almost any vehicle and still leaves room for solar panels, a satellite dish or a roof box.

Just like the Aventa compact, the Aventa compact plus offers the perfect combination of compact size, light weight and quiet running. But don’t let these features fool you: the Aventa compact plus has 500 watts more cooling power than its little sister.

The two Truma inside air distributors can be adjusted individually at four outlets. This ensures that the air flow is distributed evenly throughout the vehicle with no draughts. The inside air distributors are so flat that they take up hardly any valuable space inside the vehicle.

Storage box air conditioners are installed in the storage space of your vehicle. The cool air is directed upward through ducts.

  • Distributes the air flexibly.
  • Cools very quietly.
  • Shifts the vehicle's centre of gravity downward, which has a positive effect on driving properties.
  • Skylight remains.

Truma offers suitable storage box air conditioning systems for all sizes of vehicle. They can be installed so that they require very little space and have many different options to distribute cool air throughout the vehicle interior. This is done with the flexible cold air ducts that distribute the air evenly where it is needed without any draughts.

Saphir comfort RC is the most powerful Truma storage box air conditioning system. It also has a heat pump mode so that it can be used as a heater during spring and autumn.

Saphir compact is slightly less powerful than Saphir comfort RC, but still cools efficiently and reliably. It is especially suitable for small to medium-sized caravans.

FAQ: Truma air conditioners for caravans and motor homes

Aventa, Saphir, Aventa air distributor, Air distributor small – with so many different products, it can be hard to know which one is right for you. Sometimes, all you want to know is how air conditioners like these work in the first place. But help is at hand with our air conditioner FAQ.

When choosing an air conditioner for a caravan, the same rules apply as for motor homes. If you’re not keen on turning your decision into a scientific study, the vehicle length is a good rule of thumb.

Other factors include your holiday destination and the number of people sleeping in the caravan.

For particularly large caravans, we recommend combining multiple air conditioners to ensure sufficient cooling. This is not necessary if you just want to cool a certain section of the caravan, such as the sleeping area. In this case, a single air conditioner is sufficient even for large caravans.

The designation Aventa refers to Truma’s range of roof-mounted air conditioners.

Our storage compartment air conditioners are called Saphir.

These names are sometimes followed by the word compact, which indicates the smaller power version. Products with the word comfort in their name have greater power. They also feature a heat pump function. This means that they cool in summer and serve as an additional heat source during the rest of the year.

First of all, both air distributors have four individually adjustable outlets. Both therefore provide the same level of comfort. The differences between the devices can be found on the outside.

Air distributor small:

  • Slightly smaller than the Aventa air distributor
  • Requires no open space to the sides, meaning it can be fitted directly against the furniture in your caravan or motor home
  • Has removable side panels
  • Has no integrated LED lighting

Aventa air distributor:

  • Slightly larger than the Air distributor small
  • Requires clearance to furniture
  • Features replaceable air filters
  • Has integrated and dimmable LED lighting

1 Compressor
2 Condenser
3 Condenser fan
4 Supply air intake
5 Supply air outlet
6 Evaporator
7 Room air drawn in (warm and moist)
8 Evaporator fan
9 Indoor air blown in (cool and dry)

A gaseous refrigerant circulates around a closed cooling circuit. This is drawn in and compressed by a compressor (1). The high pressure causes the temperature of the refrigerant to greatly increase. The hot refrigerant is pumped into the condenser (2). Here it is cooled down by means of a fan (3) that blows outdoor air (4) over the fine structures of the condenser. In this process, the refrigerant gives up its heat to the ambient air and its temperature falls, causing it to change from a gas to a liquid. The heated ambient air escapes again (5).

The refrigerant, now in liquid form, is conveyed into an evaporator (6). Here it is vaporised by means of warm air from the room (7), which is drawn in and blown over the evaporator by a fan (8). During this process, the refrigerant absorbs the thermal energy from the surroundings, causing the temperature in the room to decrease. ,At the same time, the evaporator fan (8) conveys the cool air to the interior of the caravan or motor home (9). During the evaporation process, the refrigerant changes again from a liquid back to a gas, before flowing back to the compressor (1) to start the cycle again.

Important criteria when buying an air conditioner

A good caravan air conditioner should:

  • consume as little power as possible
  • cool quickly
  • be lightweight
  • need little space
  • run quietly

Low electricity consumption is a particular important benefit, as campsites have different fuse ratings. Not every air conditioner can be operated at sites with weak fuses. Because of this, in some cases it is not possible to use several electrical devices at once. Power consumption also depends on the ambient conditions, such as the temperature. In this context, always consider the cooling efficiency.

But the efficiency of a caravan air conditioner depends not only on the power consumption but also on the time it needs to cool the caravan. The formula for power consumption is:

Energy consumption = power consumption × operating voltage × time

The faster the desired temperature is reached, the less energy is consumed and the lower the electricity costs are.

As well as power consumption, the weight is also an important factor when buying a caravan air conditioner. After all, every additional kilogram not only affects the overall weight of the caravan but also vehicle handling and fuel consumption.

Tip: Check whether the weight details include the installation material and the air distributor. Depending on the device, this can be up to four kilograms.

A low noise level is especially important at night. This is when caravan air conditioners should run as quietly as possible, so that you and the other people at the campsite can sleep undisturbed. Storage box systems are installed in the vehicle and are therefore very quiet. The sleep function on Truma air conditioners ensures particularly quiet cooling at night.

Tip: Installing a Truma sound muffler reduces the indoor air noise of Saphir storage box systems by 50 per cent. Two Truma sound mufflers reduce noise by up to 90 per cent.

Useful additional functions

Integrated heat pump

If you use your caravan all year round, with a suitable air conditioner you can not only cool your vehicle but also heat it. Thanks to the reversible cooling circulation system, compressor air conditioners can also be used as a heater with heat pump. These devices create a pleasant warmth in the vehicle, especially during inter-seasonal periods.

Smart controls

Also make sure that your air conditioner can be operated conveniently and intuitively. Truma air conditioning systems are controlled either with a remote control or on the digital CP plus control panel. Truma also offers a smartphone app with which you can operate your air conditioner at any time. To do this, you also need the Truma iNet Box as the central interface. This networks Truma appliances with your smartphone or tablet, allowing you to easily monitor and control your appliances.

If you use a Truma Combi heater together with an air conditioning system, you can even choose the “automatic climate control” feature. The Truma appliances then coordinate with each other and you have a constant indoor climate no matter what the weather is like outside.