RV Heat Pump Comparison and Why Do You Need One?

Buying Guide: Perfect Size Heat Pump for Your RV

Heat pumps have become a favorite among RV owners because of their versatile use. They can keep your camper cool in the summers and warm it up in the winters. Instead of needing an air conditioner and a heater, you get two functions in one. An RV heat pump is a practical investment if you will traveling a lot and visiting places that have huge temperature differences.

What is a heat pump?

The basic function of a heat pump is to transfer heat from one place to another. There are two types of heat pumps, one is air source heat pump, and the other one is ground source heat pump, which is an also known as a geothermal heat pump.

As the names suggest, the air source heat pumps absorb heat from the surrounding air whereas the ground source heat pumps generate or absorb heat from the ground which is a major receiver of solar heat because the temperature of the ground is relatively constant.

How does it work?

A heat pump uses a small amount of energy to provide heat; it extracts heat from one place and the transfers it to another place. It is not a novel idea since it has been used for decades to warm up a place. This technology is commonly used in refrigerators and air conditioners where heat pumps operate in a cooling mode.

How does a heat pump actually work

A refrigerant helps in transferring heat through a cycle of evaporation and condensation. Basically, the compressor pumps the refrigerant from one coil where the absorption of heat takes place and releases the heat through another coil. When this process is reversed, you get cool air during the summers.

Many houses and buildings today have these heat pumps installed for an all year climate control in homes or workplaces. They are very efficient and reliable as compared to fuel because they simply transfer heat from one place to another. You are protected from carbon monoxide poisoning, which is a possibility when you use a propane space heater.

You also get $300 in tax credit if you purchase a heat pump with Energy Star designation. It is a year-round solution that works on very little electricity.

Is a heat pump the right choice for your RV?

There are a lot of factors that decide whether a heat pump is an ideal choice for your RV or not. If you are traveling to some state where the temperature drops below 30 degrees Fahrenheit, you can use the heat pump only as supplementary heating equipment. You will still need to use the furnace or a space heater to keep you warm throughout the night.

Heat pumps are more effective in cooling the RV and work like an air conditioner, but in winters, if the outside temperature drops too low, there’s nothing to pull heat from and inefficiency kicks in. If you are currently camping in a hot and humid location, using a heat pump is a great way to save money.

What are heat pump efficiency ratings?

Heat pumps, like other cooling and heating equipment, come with an Energy Guide label. It lets you know how the appliance works in comparison to a low and a high-efficiency model. Most manufacturers use Heating Seasonal Performance Factor (HSPF) for heating and Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating (SEER) for cooling.

To find the heat pump’s SEER, the tester divides cooling generated by the amount of electricity utilized. Higher the value, better is the appliance cooling efficiency. Products need to have a SEER of 13 to meet US standards.

HSPF has the same calculations, but it divides warmth generated by the amount of electricity utilized. A heat pump will only receive an Energy Star qualification if it receives high SEER and HSPF. They are usually eight percent more efficient than models without the qualification and 20 percent more efficient than outdated models.

What are things you should know while buying an RV heat pump?

If you buy a small heat pump, it won’t work efficiently. This is why it is important to understand your requirements and model features before making the purchase:

  1. Size – RVs come in all sizes, so does a heat pump. Before you select a product, work with a professional who use the Air Conditioning Contractors of America Manual J calculation formula to find a heat pump size right for your RV. It uses multiple factors including insulation, wall thickness, windows, and air filtration for the calculation.
  1. Insulation – Double pane windows offer the best insulation but if your RV doesn’t come with them, you can DIY. All you need is a double-sided tape and plastic film. Secure tape on all sides of the window and stretch the film over it. Conceal the ends properly. In just a few hours, you will notice that your RV is retaining heat better.
  1. Tax rebates and credits – Visit Internal Revenue Service and Department of Energy on the tax rebates you receive on purchasing a heat pump. If the model you are interested to buy has Energy Star certifications, it will give you a tax credit of $300. Some US states offer extra rebates on geothermal heat pumps.

Prepare your home on wheels to be as energy efficient as possible to help the heat pump function better.

Dometic 651816 651816.CXX1C0 Penguin Heat Pump

Dometic 651816 651816.CXX1C0 Penguin HP Heat Pump 15k 15,000 BTU Air Conditioner
  • Pre-Installed CB for CCC2 Tstat ONLY
  • Heat Pump/AC operational range--40-110....

The Dometic 651816 651816.CXX1C0 Penguin Heat Pump is a rooftop model known for its efficient performance and smooth features. It comes fitted with a motor and fan that uses R410A, an eco-friendly refrigerant, to cool your RV. Its EPP foam housing and rib-reinforced base pan ensure maximum cooling and durability. It is fitted with an aerodynamic shroud that reduces wind resistance and accommodates both, ducted or non-ducted system.

The heat only weighs 101 pounds and is 14″ X 14″ in size. It consumes 1,747 watts of power in cooling mode and has a cooling capacity of 4,392 watts. It is also CSA certified, making it an ideal choice for motorhomes. Dometic offers a two years warranty on labor, specified parts, and freight. This product definitely beats a space heater because it takes up least amount of space and easy to maintain.


  1. Compact size and easy to use
  2. Two years manufacturer’s warranty on labor, specified parts, and freight
  3. Uses an eco-friendly refrigerant called R410A


  1. Requires professional installation
  2. Doesn’t come with a thermostat; you will have to purchase it separately.

PIONEER Air Conditioner Mini Split Heat Pump

Pioneer Air Conditioner WYS009A-19 Wall Mount Ductless Inverter+ Mini Split Heat Pump, 9000 BTU-110/120V
  • Save money all year-round with a highly efficient ductless mini split inverter+ heat pump system
  • Ultra-silent and beautifully built: perfect for home or light commercial use
  • Use for both cooling and heating at 9000 BTU/hour with 19 SEER and 10 HSPF efficiency
  • Comes with every needed component in the box including an easy-install 16ft copper piping kit
  • Free tech support and a 5 year coverage on the parts and compressor

With a SEER efficiency of 17.0 and HSPF efficiency of 9.0, the PIONEER Air Conditioner Mini Split Heat Pump is one of the most energy-saving models in the market. It is available in a variety of differing BTUs (British Thermal Unit), so you can pick one that suits your RV the best. BTU is the amount of energy a heating unit uses to raise one degrees Fahrenheit of temperature using one pound of water. It is DIY installation unit includes 16′ installation kit, ductless indoor unit, remote controller, and outdoor unit.

The heat pump can maintain an indoor RV temperature of 62 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit. It is tested and certified by ETL and also has the AHRI energy efficiency rating. It comes with permanent washable air filters, which improve the filtering mechanism. You can choose between four operating modes including dehumidification, cooling, heating, and ventilation. Pioneer offers a two years parts warranty and five years compressor warranty on the product.


  1. Multiple sizes to choose from
  2. Easy installation
  3. Two years parts warranty and five years compressor warranty


  1. Long shipping period
  2. The remote control is infrared-based, so you need to point it at the heat pump to change modes

Senville SENL-09CD Split Air Conditioner and Heat Pump

Senville LETO Series Mini Split Air Conditioner Heat Pump, 9000 BTU 19 SEER 110/120V
  • 4-in-1 Mini Split Air Conditioner with Heat Pump. Built-In Air Conditioning, Heating (Up to 5F/-15C), Dehumidifier, Fan and Turbo Function.
  • Great for Bedrooms, Additions, Living Rooms, Garages, and Commercial Applications. Can Be Installed in Virtually Any Home, Condo or Space.
  • Whisper Technology for Quiet Operation (Low as 38dB). Energy Efficient Consumption and Engineered for the Harshest Climates.
  • 5 Year Manufacturer Warranty. Senville Trusted Quality and Design. Free Technical & Installation Support Included.
  • Includes 16 Ft. Installation Kit with Communication Cable and Copper Lines (Pre-Flared) and Remote Control. R410A Pre-Charged (25 Ft.) *Requires...

A low ambient kit, Senville SENL-09CD 9000 Split Air Conditioner, and Heat Pump have a SEER efficiency of 15. It can heat your RV at temperatures as low as minus five degrees Fahrenheit. Easy to install, the heat pump comes with a 16 feet copper line set. It is fitted with Whisper Technology that keeps its operation quiet and smooth, making it perfect for confined places like an RV.

The heat pump’s inverter compressor is from Toshiba and comes with a five-year warranty. You also get a one year warranty on parts. The package includes a remote controller that you can use to switch on and off and change the operations.


  1. Five years warranty on Toshiba inverter compressor
  2. Easy to install
  3. Works at subzero temperatures


  1. You need to buy rubber feet separately
  2. No electrical cable to connect the indoor and outdoor units

Dometic Conditioners B59516.XX1C0

Dometic Brisk II Rooftop Air Conditioner, 15,000 BTU - Polar White (B59516.XX1C0)
  • Nominal capacity, 13, 500 BTU/Hour; Installation type: ducted or non ducted
  • High-performance motor and fan
  • Electrical rating- 115V AC, 60 Hz, 1 Phase
  • Easy installation and maintenance. EPP foam housing reduces weight and increases cooling performance
  • 2 Year Protection Plus

Available in black and white, Dometic BTU Conditioners B59516.XX1C0 has an electrical rating of 1,15V AC. The heat pump is compact, lightweight, and offers extended service in extreme environments. You can either install it ducted or non-ducted. The high-performance fan and motor ensure that you are comfortable all year round.

It offers a 15 percent faster air flow and 19 percent lighter than earlier models by Dometic. It can fit easily into 14” x 14” standard vents. The more stable and stronger base pan gives the heat pump a longer lifetime. It comes with a two years parts and labor warranty.


  1. 15 percent faster air flow
  2. Two years warranty on parts and labor
  3. Lightest unit in the market


  1. Only warms until 55 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. Loud unit

Coleman Heat Pump Ceiling Unit – Non-Ducted – Heat Ready – 9630-715

The Coleman Heat Pump Ceiling Unit is a classic rooftop model that has front and rear airflow dampers, which you can control manually. It has a telescoping air chute with an outer cover that you can directly attach to the metal mounting ring corners.

The heat pump uses R-410A, an eco-friendly refrigerant, to cool down your RV. It is only available in white color and blends in with the modern interiors of your RV. You will receive a two years limited warranty from the manufacturer, RV Products.


  1. Uses eco-friendly refrigerant
  2. Complements modern contemporary interiors
  3. Two years manufacturer’s warranty


  1. Difficult to install
  2. Mounting frame and bolts included in the package but not mentioned in the details


This Mini Split Heat Pump is our top pick from the list because it is available in a variety of BTU capacities. It has a SEER efficiency of 17 and HSPF efficiency of 9. You get a remote controller to change operations and turn on and off the heat pump. The warranty is the best part. You receive a two years warranty on parts and five warranty on the compressor, which is absolutely great. In case you were to sell the RV with the heat pump, you will fetch a higher price too!