Best RV Roof Vent Fans For 2017
Keeping air flowing through your motorhome, travel trailer, 5th wheel or toy hauler can be an issue at times, especially on a stagnant hot day. When you aren't hooked up to shore power and don't have the ability to run your air conditioning, you generally have one way to move air through your rig - an RV roof vent fan.
RV roof fans are essential for keeping moisture, smells, and heat out of your vehicle. RV fans can also sometimes replace the need for air conditioning.
Keeping moisture out with a camper roof vent fan is especially helpful in colder climates where condensation can become a problem in such a tiny area. Keeping a window open while your RV fan is on will also help get air moving around in your small space.
If your camper roof vent doesn’t come equipped with an RV fan, or it came with a ‘stock’ OEM fan, you may want to add a fan or replace your existing loud, annoying RV fan that doesn't move much air.
Many times an RV bathroom fan is not powerful enough to pull out moisture and people need to replace them with a more powerful RV bathroom fan.
RV Vent Fans Compared
Best RV Roof Fans
There are two ‘gold standards’ for RV vent fans: Fan-tastic Fans and Maxxair Fans. Both companies have their own following and both are very good brands. We outline the pros and cons of both brands below in our camper roof vent fan reviews.
RV Roof Vent Guide
Ventilation is important when you are living in a tiny home on wheels. Being able to move air through your RV when it's hot out, or if you need to air the place out in a hurry is pretty important. Here are some things to consider when shopping for the right RV roof vent fan.
Vent Fan Power Considerations
RV roof vent fans don’t use up a lot of amps. They run off of your batteries (12V) and at maximum draw the most powerful ones will pull somewhere from 3 to just under 4 amps at full speed. At lower power settings they will run a little over 1 amp.
The most powerful vent fans will pull a LOT of air around your rig, depending on the size of your rig. Some rigs have two vent fans inside of them.
With two fans, you may set up one fan up to pull air inside and the other to draw air to the outside. This can circulate the air quite well.
Other Important RV Vent Fan Considerations
There are a few important things to consider when looking for a roof vent fan upgrade:
- Options Galore
Options may include a remote control for the trailer vent fan, varied speeds, a rain cover so you may use it during inclement weather and reversible blade rotation to either pull air in or push it out.
- Size of Your RV Roof Vent
Most RV or camper roof vents come in one standard size (14x14) but if you have an existing fan to replace, always be sure to measure the hole to make sure the new one will fit. Otherwise, you had better be prepared to cut out a larger hole. (OR end up with too small of a fan to insert into the space)
- Leaving Pets at Home Alone in Your RV
Do you have pets? If so, and you leave them at home, a camper roof vent fan is crucial for their well-being. RV’s are a lot like cars in that under sunny conditions, it can and WILL heat up very quickly.
This could lead to your pet overheating. Worse, it could kill them.
A solution could be to open the windows and have a vent fan pulling air out. However, if it rains, now you have a problem. You say, "Well, get one with a rain sensor then." That could be a really, really bad idea...
- How Is a Rain Sensor Solution for Pets a Bad Idea?
You could get a fan with a rain sensor, but once it rains and the camper vent closes, your animals could be in trouble once the sun comes back out.
Often, it is reported that the vent will refuse to open again for as long as a day because the sensor remains wet when the vent is closed.
In such a case, your pet could die of overheating. We have a product recommendation for this scenario.
- Height of Your RV Ceiling
Can you easily reach your ceiling to manually open the trailer vent fan? Constantly having to get out a step stool to open/close your RV or trailer vent fan would quickly become a major pain.
If you (or your partner) cannot easily reach the trailer fan in the ceiling, you might want to consider getting a fan with a remote control.
- Noise Factor
How much time will you be spending in your RV? Will you be living in it full-time or twice a year? Some vent fans are louder than others.
One of the primary reasons people replace the factory OEM fan is because it is very loud, AND it may not move much air. Many of these OEM fans come with teeny fan blades and loud motors.
If you spend a lot of time in the RV, whether full-time or part, you need to consider how annoyed you will be with a loud roof vent fan. Climate also plays a part here.
If you will be using a vent fan as your only cooling and you will be in a very warm climate most of the time, you will have to use your vent fan during most of the day. (Don't forget to consider how many amps this will drain your battery if you are not connected to shore power.)
Can you handle the constant loud hum of a cheap fan? Remember, camping is usually an attempt to get AWAY from noise and to experience peace and quiet.
All of the above are important factors to consider before purchasing an RV roof vent fan.
Thoughts on RV Roof Vent Fans
Camp Addict Co-Founder
My travel trailer came from the factory with two roof vents. I've lived in it full-time since April 2014 and have extensively used both vent fans.
One is directly over the bed in front that has a Fantastic fan with a manually raised dome and a temperature sensor.
In the bathroom there is a cheap little Ventline fan with a 6-inch blade and a puny electric motor. It really doesn't push much air and sounds like a hive of bees.
The Fantastic Fan is great. It has three speeds and can move some serious air. Sure, you hear it when it's running, but that's because it's moving some serious air. And it loads quieter than if I had the air conditioning running.
The puny vent in bathroom moves enough air to get moisture out after you take a shower, but it takes its sweet time. If I had a real vent fan in there, I'd be a much happier camper.
I'm eyeballing the Maxxair MAXXFAN Deluxe to install in the bathroom. That is one nice unit and is what I wish I had in both my roof vent openings. The integrated rain cover is a top-selling point for me. Let me tell you why.
Both of my current vents have the typical dome cover that opens up and offers zero protection from the rain. I wanted the ability to keep them open in all types of weather, so I installed a vent cover over both.
The covers do what they are designed to do. They allow me to have my vent lids open in any weather. Water won't get in while it's raining, and that's perfect. But there are a couple of catches.
The forward vent cover is right by my solar panel. The cover looms above the panel and actually shades it at certain sun angles. If you know anything about solar panels, then you know that ANY shade kills the output. If I had the Maxxair vent fan, in the closed position there would be no shading of the solar panel and in the open position I'd be no worse off than I am now.
Another issue is that the vent covers are tall and they are always in the deployed position. They can't be retracted when there is a stiff wind out. Why does this matter? Because they tend to rattle around when the wind catches them just right. I don't know about you, but I don't sleep well when there are strange noises at night. Never mind when the wind is trying to rock the rig.
The Maxxair MAXXFAN Deluxe will have its rain cover retracted when in the closed position. This gives the wind a much smaller surface area to catch.
Oh, one last point about the Maxxair - they just look cool. I'm not a vain person, but who doesn't like a little style? Even when you are boondocking in the middle of nowhere.
RV Roof Vent Covers
If you chose to go with a Fan-Tastic Vent roof fan then it is highly advisable to purchase a separate vent cover. Seriously, if you don't go with our #1 roof fan pic you need one of these.
Why? Simple. You are going to want to keep your roof vent open in the rain. With the Fan-Tastic vents, there is zero protection from water pouring from the sky without a supplementary vent cover.
Sure, you could purchase the model with the rain sensor and hope that it works. But there are enough horror stories of them not working to give you pause.
Also, there will be plenty of times when your rig needs ventilation when it's raining. With a Fan-Tastic fan, you will need one of these covers or your rig will get wet inside.
The downside of these vent covers? They add another $50 to the purchase of your roof vent fan. They are big, bulky and unsightly. They can cast shadows on any solar panels in their vicinity. Etc, etc, etc.
Seriously consider getting our #1 rated roof fan, the Maxxair MAXXFAN Deluxe which comes with an integrated rain cover. No pricey, unsightly vent cover required.
By now you should be able to make an educated decision on which vent fan is best for your unique situation. There's not one perfect fan for all scenarios, so knowing the perks of each is key to finding the perfect fan for your rig. Get that fan as soon as possible so you can get out and enjoy your camping trips even more.
Camp on, Addicts!