Best Marine Air Conditioner in 2023
A Marine Air conditioner which pulls the heat from the air by transferring the heat in the cabin to the refrigerant gas within the air conditioner. A Marine air conditioner then transfers the heat from the refrigerant gas to the sea water.
When looking to install a new AC unit every boaters often wonder who makes the best Marine Air conditioners. Most Marine Air conditioners of all major brands are solid and will do descend job as long as they are installed in a proper way.
Here we have prepared a comparison of some of the most popular brands of marine air conditioners in 2020, Using the information gathered through our years of experience in selling marine AC.
We are mainly concentrated in the most positive features and feedback ,least number of complaints and the quality of support a company provides should problems arise with their units.
Also here we are listing the self-contained Marine AC units of all brands in the comparison because these are generally the most used units.
K2 AIRSYSTEMS – Best Marine Air Conditioner in 2023
After much research and discussion, we can confidently support K2 AIRSYSTEMS recommendation as the best marine air conditioner on the market for 2023.
WHY WE CHOOSE K2 AIRSYSTEMS AS THE BEST MARINE AIR CONDITIONER
- K2 AIRSYSTEMS uses stronger materials than other brands when it comes to corrosion-resistance and ability to thrive in the marine environment (titanium coils for instance are much more corrosion-resistant than the more commonly used copper coils, which often have serious, irreparable issues down the line due to corrosion).
- Energy-efficient, environmentally-friendly and quiet
- Compatible with cables and controls from other major brands
- Industry standard 2-year warranty
- Priced very attractively (lower than most other major brands for comparable models), without sacrificing quality
MARINE AC ANALYSIS - PROS AND CONS OF EACH BRAND , TOP UNITS SOLD AND FEED BACK FROM REAL BOATERS
K2 AIRSYSTEMS Marine AC units are built with quality materials designed to resist the harsh marine environment – such as much more corrosion-resistant titanium coils as opposed to copper coils – and compatibility features – such as ability to use most major controls from Dometic, Cruisair and Marine Air units.
K2 AIR SYSTEMS marine air conditioners are cheaper than comparable models of the same BTU capacity from other major brands.
Pros of K2 AIRSYSTEMS
- Titanium coils provide corrosion resistance not found in copper coils of other brand A/C systems
- Stainless steel pan
- Low price point compared to other similar quality models
- Excellent drop-in replacement, compatible with controls and cables from Dometic, Cruisair, Marine Air and Micro Air units
- Compact, lightweight
- Warranty only two years
- Blower cannot turn more than 170 degrees
What Boaters Have to Say About K2 AIRSYSTEMS
“Purchased an A/C from K2 AIRSYTEMS back in May, has worked like a champ.
-capn_silva, The Hull Truth, 1,214 posts
“I had a Cruisair stowaway turbo (16000 BTUs) go bad after many years of good service. Was considering purchasing one of the newer Dometics, but have heard quality of their units has reduced in recent years.
I was between choosing a Webasto FCF and a K2 AIRSYSTEMS unit, and decided on the K2 AIRSYSTEMS. Buddy of mine installed one early this year, and is content with it. Low price point, solid looking unit, good replacement option for cruisair (I was able to use the same SMXir control from my cruisair).
I like the titanium coils. My cruisair’s compressor actually failed because of a hole in the rusted condensing coil.”
Founded in 1901, Stockdorf, Germany-based Webasto has been manufacturing cooling, heating, ventilation, roof and convertible roof systems for the marine and automotive industries for a long time now.
Webasto is family owned and has 50+ locations around the world (more than 30 of them production sites), as well as a large dealer network to provide products, installation and support services. Research and development is carried out in Stockdorf, Germany.
- I found many excellent reviews, very few negative reviews found
- Known to be quiet from what we know and what other boaters have said
- 2 year free replacement warranty if it can’t be repaired
- A wide network of authorized repair shops
- Will come out to boat to do repairs, no need to ship unit unless completely necessary
- Painted with marine grade paint – extends unit life
- FCF Platinum and Classic models assembled in China, with a mix of German and Chinese components
- 20 – 30% heavier than Dometic units of the same capacity
- Not a composite pan, stainless steel pan (adds weight)
- Fan runs continuously; I saw that some boaters don’t like this
Feedback on Webasto by Real Boaters
“Just called TS at Webasto. First was very impressed to immediately reach a tech that was able to answer all my questions and then some…”
“….Well if I spent a couple thousand on a piece of equipment and it had a problem while under warranty it seems like a pretty big imposition on me as the customer to have to ship the unit to the factory for repair. Not sure of the policy on this but if I have to pay for that it’s a couple hundred round trip shipping, depending on where I’m located. That would put a pretty big premium on a free warranty repair.
Most companies have a dealer/support network and have local reps that will handle repairs. Webasto if the unit can’t be repaired on the boat will ship you a new unit at their cost. That sounds like a good way to handle it to me.”
-skipmac, CruisersForum, 14,497 posts
“- UPDATE – I ended up going with the Webasto 16000 FCF primarily because of space. It had the smallest footprint and the best price. I ended up getting the unit at West Marine on a price match. With the price match I was able to get a 4 year “on the boat” warranty for less than the normal West Marine cost of the unit alone. So far the unit works well. Currently it is putting out 40-45 degree air at the vents and is extremely quiet. I am happy with my decision at this point and hope to get many years of reliable service out of it. it does have the fan issue others have mentioned (fan runs non-stop) but I actually prefer that.”
-SeaBreeze, Cruisers Forum, 169 posts
“I have Webasto 16k units for 6+ years. One quit due to trying to start off an inverter I think but was replaced at extremely low price. Customer service has been good. I run the compressors off 50hz with no problem in Europe but keep the blowers and pumps on 60hz per their recommendation. Controls however are not as sophisticated as more expensive units – e.g. can’t blower on and off independent of compressor.”
-Ostinato, Cruisers Forum, 497 posts
With headquarters in Solna, Sweden, Dometic was introduced as a brand to the US in 1968. Dometic purchased Cruisair and Marine Air from Taylor Made in 2003, and sold their marine air conditioners under both brand names until combining both under one Dometic brand name starting in 2016.
Dometic sells food & beverage, climate, power & control solutions for RVs / mobile homes, trucks and boats. Dometic is a very well-known and established marine AC brand, having sold tens of thousands, if not more, units over the years.
Pros of Dometic Marine Air Conditioners
- Huge support network
- Purchased Cruisair and Marine Air, and offer a wide variety of models and AC types
- Compact, lightweight
- 2 year warranty, first year labor second year parts
- Composite pan on DTU, light and rust resistant
- Sound cover available for compressor
- I came across a significant number of complaints from boaters online as to reduction in quality and shorter life spans of units built in recent years (to be taken with a grain of salt, as more units are sold than other brands)
- Control sold separately on DTU
- Not painted with marine-grade, rust resistant paint
- Coil copper not painted – easier to rust
- Mostly manufactured in China (not always a bad thing, but perceived as a con for many), assembled in the US
- Condensing coil located where intake comes in – makes filter hard to clean
- Heat from coils gets pulled in by blower; doesn’t dissipate
Feedback on Dometic Marine Air Conditioners from Boaters on Top Boating Forums:
“Since Dometic bought CruiseAir their units are not lasting but about 3-4 years top. My boat neighbors are very unhappy. These units start to leak Freon though water heat exchange bundle. Unrepairable, seems that Dometic is using a much cheaper heat exchanger since they bought.”
Username: -KadeyKrogen38, Forum: Cruisers Forum, Posts: 1,467
“No more Dometic for me, had to replace same unit 3 times in 4 years due to condenser failure…”
-R2boat, Cruisers Forum, 107 posts
“Guess my Dometic is a fluke, but I have a Vector Turbo 8k BTU unit and a March pump and never had a problem with either. It is very quiet and the composite pan doesn’t rust. Now ten years old…”
“….Might be that Dometic has more complaints due to more units sold. Plus people tend to post about problem with units, and be silent on trouble-free ones. Everyone expects trouble-free to just the the norm”
-sailjumanji, Cruisers Forum, 1,467 posts
“I have two units aboard my 45 foot sailboat. The after unit is a Mermaid, which replaced a Mermaid unit, that failed – compressor locked up after seven years. The forward unit is currently a Webasto, which replaced a Dometic which failed at less than three years – the electronics went bad. The Dometic was professionally installed, and I had to change out the thermostat during that three year period twice. The Webasto has been in for two years and runs like a top.
The Mermaid had to go back to the shop for an electrical problem, which they could not duplicate. Rather than argue with m about the problem, they replaced the unit completely. It is noisier than the Webasto, but that may be because of differences in the installation.
I outdone definitely consider another Webasto, probably consider another Mermaid and never have another Dometic.”
-CaptFrankM, Cruisers Forum, 143 posts
“Stay away from Dometic.”
-#1Stunner, The Hull Truth Boating Forum, 2,651 posts
“I have installed two a/c on my 36 from scratch, never had a/c before. One was a Flagship Marine 18,000 btu and would not recommend. The 2nd one a 10,000 Btu, Marine Air by Dometic and cannot say enough positive things..
Rotatable discharge, Three different spots to take your condensate line from, the thermostat is a sensor in the return air so no issue with mounting the control panel anywhere you want and the panel to connect your Electric and lines to the water pump are on a cord so you can also mount that in a convenient place.
Only in two years so long term can’t say.”
-Bill R., Trawler Forum, 67 posts
“I replaced two 16k btu units last fall with Dometic Turbos -. very quiet and not power hogs, as recommended by Larry M.”
-Erben Renewal, Trawler Forum, 12 posts
“I may have a Dometic Turbo 16k btu unit new in box for sale, if interested PM me. I currently have four Dometic Turbos on my boat and they work well.”
-mystery, Trawler Forum, 762 posts