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Best 12v Fan For Camper Van in 2022 (Reviews and Comparison)

One of the most challenging things about van life (or any mobile life) is locking down an effective cooling system. It would be nice if air conditioning were accessible everywhere, but most systems draw too much power to be efficient when boondocking or dry camping. 

Running the generator is an option, but they can be noisy and thirsty. A 12v fan is a great alternative and a perfect accessory for any campervan vehicle setup.

There are plenty of 12V fan options out there, but nothing is more frustrating than buying a fan that isn’t powerful enough to push air effectively. Of course, it needs to be efficient, so it doesn’t drain the camper’s batteries and is portable enough to carry onboard easily.

With all that in mind, we’ve compiled a list of the best 12v fans on the market, perfect for keeping you comfortable no matter where your travels take you. So whether you’re hitting the road this summer or just need a little relief from the heat, we’ve got you covered.

best 12v fan for camper van cover

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RoadPro RP-1179 Car Fan, Heavy Duty, 12V, Metal

RoadPro RP-1179 Car Fan
  • Power Source: DC
  • Voltage: 12V
  • Weight: 1 lb
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Maxx Air 00-07500K MaxxFan Deluxe with Remote - Smoke

Maxx Air 00-07500K MaxxFan Deluxe with Remote
  • Power Source: DC
  • Voltage: 12V
  • Weight: 5.23 lbs
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HOLMES Heritage 4-Inch Mini USB Desk Fan, Brushed Copper

HOLMES Heritage 4-Inch Mini USB Desk Fan
  • Power Source: USB Mini B;
  • Voltage: 12V
  • Weight: 2.77 lbs
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FiveJoy 360 Degree Rotatable Car Fan - 12V DC Electric 2 Speed Dual Head Fans, Quiet Strong Dashboard Cooling Air Circulator Fan for Sedan SUV RV Boat Auto Vehicles Golf or Home

FiveJoy 360 Degree Rotatable Car Fan
  • Power Source: DC
  • Voltage:12V
  • Weight: 1.1 lbs
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O2COOL 10-Inch Battery Operated Fan - Portable with Internal Rechargeable Battery, Multiple Power Options - AC/DC Adapter, USB Port for Emergencies, Camping, Travel, Indoor and Outdoor Use (Orange)

O2COOL 10-Inch Battery Operated Fan
  • Power Source: Built-in battery; AC; DC; 8 D-cell batteries
  • Voltage: 12V
  • Weight: 3.53 lbs
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RoadPro RP-1179 Car Fan, Heavy Duty, 12V, Metal

Features

  • Power Source: DC
  • Voltage: 12V
  • Weight: 1 lb

For heavy-duty 12V fans, the RoadPro RP-1179 is our top pick. This fan has a 7.5-inch diameter that is small enough to mount almost anywhere while still large enough to move plenty of air around.

The fan has high- and low-speed settings you can easily switch between, and the 10 foot DC power cord gives you plenty of opportunities to find the best position for the fan.

The permanent mounting of the fan means you can set it up anywhere in your van without worrying about it detaching and falling off.

What We Like

While there are plenty of other fans on the market at the same price point, it is rare to find one with complete metal construction. The RoadPro RP-1179 is metal down to the blades, which will last ‌ longer than plastic fans.

The 10-foot cord is also great for mounting it anywhere in your van. The cord is still short enough to allow for safe usage but long enough that you won’t need to start splicing just to mount the fan where you need it.

While the fan is still on the smaller side, it has four blades that work well to push air at both the high and low settings. You can get plenty of use without taking up much space at all.

What We Don’t Like

While the metal construction is fantastic for durability, it leads to more noise than you would get from a plastic fan of the same size. This isn’t a problem for regular use, but individuals more sensitive to sound might not appreciate the noise level.

The fan can also be difficult to work on, and we would like to see more ventilation on the motor. There is no way to remove the blades, and if the fan breaks down, you will have more trouble working back behind them.

Pros

  • No splicing needed. The 10-foot power cord plugs right into a lighter socket or adapter for quick and easy installation. There is no need to cut and splice when installing, so the fan works well as a short- and long-term solution.
  • Moves plenty of air. The 4 fan blades and thin metal cage work well to push air through the fan.
  • Simple 2-speed settings. You don’t need to fiddle with a dial to reach a specific fan speed. The RoadPro RP-1179 features a convenient toggle switch to set the speed or turn the fan off.
  • Permanent mounting. The RoadPro RP-1179 includes all the hardware you need to permanently mount the fan in your camper van.
  • Rotates 170°. The swivel-ball base lets you turn the fan in almost any direction, bringing airflow where you need it most without relocating the fan.

Cons

  • Blades are not removable. The durable metal blades are not removable, making it difficult to work on the fan if you should ever need to.
  • Noisy. Because the fan is completely metal and works on a swivel base, you might experience more noise than expected.
  • Motor not ventilated. We like to see fans with more ventilation around the motor to increase motor health and longevity.
Maxx Air 00-07500K MaxxFan Deluxe with Remote - Smoke

Features

  • Power Source: DC
  • Voltage: 12V
  • Weight:  5.23 lbs

The MaxxFan Deluxe 7500k is a great choice for anyone looking to enhance the existing vent on their camper van. This vent roof fan fits any standard 14 in x 14 in roof opening, and it includes everything you need for a simple installation.

This type of fan really takes advantage of an existing feature of your setup. It easily transforms the vent into a powerful fan while protecting your rig and the fan from potential rain.

You can easily switch between a 10-speed exhaust and intake fan to move air in or out of your camper van. The roof fan also uses a thermostat to allow exact control over the climate.

What We Like

We appreciate that the MaxxFan Deluxe 7500 comes with all the mounting hardware you need to install it. Even if you opt to have someone else does the installation, having all the hardware keeps installation expenses low.

This fan keeps a low profile and holds securely using two struts. You don’t have to worry about the  MaxxFan Deluxe 7500 rattling in higher winds or while you travel, and it doesn’t create an eyesore on the top of your camper van.

The fan features 10 fan blades that work well at keeping the noise down. Other vent roof fans (or fans in general) with fewer fan blades are likely to make more noise and disrupt your peaceful environment.

What We Don’t Like

While the fan comes with all the hardware needed to install it, you still need to have roof sealant on hand for seamless installation. This isn’t a significant cost, and you might have some on hand anyway, but it can be an extra hassle.

Many MaxxFan Deluxe 7500 owners have issues with the fans going into protection mode as batteries charge, and the MaxxFan warranty department recommends using a voltage regulator to prevent this from happening. This is another expense and more work to cover to unlock the extensive benefits of this vent fan.

Pros

  • Can use when raining. Because the MaxxFan Deluxe 7500 has an incorporated cover, you can still use the fan while it rains to keep your living area cool.
  • Ten-speed fans. Multiple fans work well at multiple speeds to cool your space quietly and effectively.
  • Exhaust and intake features. The MaxxFan Deluxe 7500 can draw fresh air in or move musty air out.
  • Thermostat. A dedicated thermostat takes the guesswork out of reaching a comfortable interior climate.
  • Remote control. No need to jump up to turn the fan on or off or adjust the temperature. The remote control allows for quick and easy adjustments.

Cons

  • Need to purchase roof sealant separately. Roof sealant may not be much, but it is an easy component to overlook. Remember to purchase separately.
  • Lose natural lighting of vent. Because the fan installs in the vent, you lose any skylight features and natural lighting.
  • May need a separate voltage regulator. The MaxxFan Deluxe 7500 is prone to issues with voltage above 13.2V, and the only solution for this is installing a separate voltage regulator with the fan.
HOLMES Heritage 4-Inch Mini USB Desk Fan, Brushed Copper

Features

  • Power Source: USB Mini B; 
  • Voltage: 12V
  • Weight: 2.77 lbs

For a sleek and stylish fan, the HOLMES Heritage Mini is a small-but-powerful choice. This table fan packs a lot of power into its 4-inch design. Instead of a dull plastic housing, the HOLMES Heritage Mini uses a brushed copper finish for an elegant look.

This fan is a great choice for the bedroom because it does not take up much space and is very effective at circulating air. You can use it to keep cool as you relax or for some gentle background noise without moving anything out of the way or dedicating a lot of space to the fan.

What We Like

The HOLMES Heritage Mini does a great job of packing more power into the small, 4-inch size. The fan is also pretty quiet, so you can use it as a personal cooling device without bothering those around you.

The USB cable on the Mini lets you plug it into any USB port. You can use it with a wall adapter anywhere in your rig, but you can use it with your laptop as you work or outside with the right power banks.

The overall design of the HOLMES Heritage Mini is much more attractive than other plastic mini fans. This might not bother everyone, but the simple details are great at sprucing up space and keeping certain aesthetics intact.

What We Don’t Like

While the USB is great for versatility, this is also where our main complaints come from. The HOLMES Heritage Mini does not come with an adapter for the fan, so you need to scrounge up one of your own or purchase a new USB adapter.

The fan also uses USB Mini-B style, which is far less popular than other choices (such as micro-USB cords). If you lose or damage the cord, it will be more difficult to find a replacement.

The fan only has one speed, and that might not be adequate for hotter or more humid climates.

Pros

  • Small size. The HOLMES Heritage Mini can fit pretty much anywhere you need it without issue.
  • Beautiful antique look. The brushed copper finish creates an elegant piece that blends well with most style choices.
  • Tilt-adjustable fan head. You can easily adjust the fan head to hit as directly or indirectly as necessary.
  • Easy on and off. The fan features an easy manual on and off switch.

Cons

  • USB adapter not provided. Will need to have one on hand or purchase another USB adapter.
  • One speed. You cannot adjust the speed to the situation.
  • USB Mini B cords are less popular. If the provided cord is damaged or lost, you cannot easily swap it with other cords at hand.
FiveJoy 360 Degree Rotatable Car Fan - 12V DC Electric 2 Speed Dual Head Fans, Quiet Strong Dashboard Cooling Air Circulator Fan for Sedan SUV RV Boat Auto Vehicles Golf or Home

Features

  • Power Source: DC
  • Voltage:12V
  • Weight: 1.1 lbs

Not only is the FiveJoy 360 rotatable, but it features two fans for complete coverage. These fans move independently of each other, and you can adjust the airflow to reach different areas of your van.

The fan takes up minimal space, and it comes with two adhesive stickers to allow for easy installation on almost any surface. It also features a 10-foot adapter cord, so you can mount it almost anywhere with no trouble.

What We Like

One of the unique features of the FiveJoy 360 is the dual fans that can face any direction. Most other fans only have one adjustable body, and you would need to purchase two separate units to cover the same area.

With the FiveJoy 360, you only need to worry about hooking up and mounting one body, but you can still cool multiple areas. This is great for cooling multiple persons or areas in your camper van.

The fan takes up little space for as much as it offers, and the complete dimensions are 8 in x 5.5 in x 3.5 in. The 10-foot cord is more than adequate for mounting anywhere in your rig.

The included adhesive pads make mounting a breeze, and you can even mount it upside down (although we recommend reinforcing this mount with zip ties or something sturdier).

What We Don’t Like

While the long cord is great for cross-van mounting, it causes issues when installing closer to the power source. You can bundle the cord as needed, but this creates an eyesore and it is still easy to tangle.

The product name claims that the dual heads have 360° rotation capabilities, but the fans really only swivel up and down. It is more difficult (sometimes impossible) to swivel them sideways.

You should also be sure of installation before mounting the fan. The included adhesive pads will only work once. If you need to remove or relocate the fan, you must purchase additional adhesive pads or find a different way to mount.

Pros

  • 5 blades. While most smaller fans use 4 blades to push air, the FiveJoy 360 uses 5 for more effective and quiet cooling.
  • Quiet airflow. Even though there are two fans blowing air, this fan is not noisy. The adhesive mounting also diminishes operational noises.
  • Plenty of mounting options. Adhesive stickers allow you to mount the fan without using power tools, and you are not limited to areas you can screw into or valuable surface space in your rig.

Cons

  • Cord might be too long for most uses. The 10-foot cord can quickly become a nuisance if it’s not bundled up.
  • Fans do not accomplish 360° rotation. You should not expect a full range of motion from these fans.
  • Adhesive is not reusable. You need to have additional adhesive pads on hand or another mounting method in mind for relocation.
O2COOL 10-Inch Battery Operated Fan - Portable with Internal Rechargeable Battery, Multiple Power Options - AC/DC Adapter, USB Port for Emergencies, Camping, Travel, Indoor and Outdoor Use (Orange)

Features

  • Power Source: Built-in battery; AC; DC; 8 D-cell batteries
  • Voltage: 12V
  • Weight: 3.53 lbs

For versatility, the O2COOL 10 Inch Battery Operated Fan comes out on top. Not only can you use this fan in your van with AC or DC adapters, but you can use the built-in battery or 8 D-cell batteries when you do not have access to a power source.

This fan is great for emergencies, and you can also take it outside for a cooler experience with nature.

The O2COOL 10 Inch Battery Operated Fan automatically adjusts to the most efficient power source available. It includes a built-in USB port to charge phones or other mobile devices in an emergency.

What We Like

We love the versatility of this fan. Not only can you use four different power sources, but the fan automatically switches to the most energy-efficient option available without prompting. It won’t waste any batteries you have installed when hooked up to a power source, keeping them ready for off-grid use.

While this is not the smallest fan, it still fits 10-inch blades in a sleek casing. These blades are fantastic at moving airflow efficiently and quietly, and the fan does not bubble out like many competitors.

The stabilizing feet can be added or removed as needed, giving you more options when setting the fan up or storing it.

What We Don’t Like

The versatility does a lot to make this the best battery-operated fan, but we would still love to see a longer lifespan when operating off the battery alone. Depending on how long you use the fan and how fast you have it blowing, the built-in battery may not be adequate.

We recommend having a complete set of D cell batteries on hand until you determine whether the fan can operate long enough to meet your needs.

Pros

  • Multiple power source options. You aren’t limited to any one power source, and the fan can work pretty much anywhere.
  • Built-in USB port. Charging your devices in an emergency is a breeze.
  • 10-inch blades. The long, thin blades move plenty of air and keep you cool.
  • 2-speed options. These give you more control over temperature and battery consumption.
  • Detachable base support. Legs remove for quick and easy storage.

Cons

  • Does not last long on built-in battery charge. You should get a good feel for how long the fan will work for you.
  • Can not run on high with built-in battery. Often, the ‘high’ setting is inefficient when using the built-in battery alone.
  • Costly with external batteries. D-cell batteries are not cheap, and you will want to keep them on hand for this fan.

Why Do I Need a 12V Fan for My Camper Van?

Your camper van has two electrical systems.

The 120V AC system (shore power) activates when you get the chance to plug into a power source, and it feeds your appliances and recharges your reserve batteries. Unfortunately, you won’t always have access to this power and need a more efficient system for cooling your camper van.

Your 12V DC reserve batteries power appliances in between, including any cooling devices. A 12V van will not pull too much energy, and it lets you cool down the van (and yourself) pretty much anywhere. This cuts down costs and keeps you from running a generator just to keep cool.

What Makes a 12V Cooling Fan Better Than Other Cooling Fans?

You have more options for cooling fans, including 5V, 24V, and 48V varieties. A 12V cooling fan matches most battery systems better than other choices.

Running a 5V fan with a 12V supply will run the fan twice as fast, causing it to overload and fail. If you run a 24V or 48V fan, it might not spin as fast (if it runs at all).

With the usual battery setup in a camper van, 12V fans operate with the most efficiency, allowing them to run for longer without stunting the operation of the fans.

How Many Amps Does a Fan Require to Run on a 12V Power Supply?

The answer to this question depends on the fan in use. Most fans provide this information, and you can expect an amp requirement of 12 to 25 from a fan running on a 12V power supply.

When the Amps are not provided, you can use the formula:

  • Amps (A) = Watts (W) / Volts (V)

Just plug in the provided information and complete the calculation to get your answer.

Conclusion

Regardless of what you need to cool your camper van, the RoadPro RP-1179 Car Fan is an optimal choice. Not only is it ready to be mounted anywhere in your van, but the heavy-duty construction will ensure it outlasts other fans by years.

Keeping your rig cool is essential to maintaining peace, and choosing the right fan will make a world of difference.

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