Dometic makes great, reliable RV air conditioners like the popular Dometic Harrier model. So, if you’ve narrowed a decision on a new purchase down to this brand, you’re off to a good start.
However, you still need to decide on the best model. The Dometic Harrier was released in 2016 and is tipped to be the latest and greatest rooftop air con unit in the market. But the Aircommand Ibis 3 has been an Aussie favourite for some time, and for good reason.
(note that in early 2019, the Aircommand Dometic Ibis Mk4 model was released in Australia, which is an updated version of the Ibis Mk 3. We have written a separate in-depth article about the refinements Dometic have made to improve the Ibis in this latest version 4 model: you can read the ARTICLE HERE)
This article looks at the Dometic Harrier VS the Aircommand Ibis 3. Which one has got the edge?
Let’s get straight down to the bottom line. The Dometic Harrier and Aircommand Ibis 3 are actually pretty comparable when it comes down to price. There isn’t much in it (around $100). And both come with a 3-year warranty. This means choosing between them really does depend on what you want from your RV air con unit.
The Dometic Harrier is said to be suitable for vehicles up to 7.5 metres in length, compared to 6.5 metres for the Aircommand Ibis 3. That’s because the Dometic Harrier is not only more powerful, it’s the most powerful in its class. Take a look at the numbers:
- Compressor capacity 3.7 kW
- Cooling capacity 3.1kW
- Heating capacity 2.8kW
- Compressor capacity 3.2 kW
- Cooling capacity 2.7kW
- Heating capacity 2.4kW
The Dometic Harrier Inverter fits 360 × 360 mm and 400 × 400 mm roof openings straight out of the box. No need for extra components or accessories. For some RV owners, this could be the clincher!
The Ibis 3 is also easy to fit and maintain – not to mention, it looks super stylish. It’s an ultra-thin, low profile unit which reduces drag on the roof, and reduces the risk of damage from overhanging obstacles while driving (think low hanging branches…). A revolutionary weather collar improves the seal on the roof while reducing the amount of sealant required to install. Best of all, the Ibis 3 adjusts to suit your RV roof thickness with a self-adjusting connecting duct, so you can enjoy a simple one-click system.
Where the Dometic Harrier really stands out is with the highly efficient inverter technology. This is the first use of an inverter compressor for an RV and it’s a big deal.
First, it eliminates the typical start-up issues you might have when running an air con unit from a generator or restricted current supply. With a low start-up current, you can run it off a 2000w generator. It’s also extremely quiet, even when running at top speed.
And there’s more… The Dometic Harrier has three blower speeds, remote controlled oscillating vents, timer function, sleep mode and cold plasma air purification. The sleep mode is brilliant for RVs, as it reduces the compressor and fan speeds while you’re sleeping. This means no noisy, vibrating air con to keep you awake. The air purification is also a big plus if you’re likely to travel to areas with low-quality air (not to mention it will remove unwanted cooking odours!).
That’s not to say the Ibis 3 doesn’t have its own fair share of top features. It too has the sleep mode, remote control operation, timer and dehumidifying function. Plus, the premium quality generator start technology is included as standard, so you simply need to check with your generator supplier for compatibility. The Ibis 3 also has an electronic defrost, handy for low temperatures and note that the lastest version of the Ibis has an upgraded inside plenum featuring a 4 way air directional plenum whereby all four louvers can be closed independently allowing the user to control the air flow direction within the van.
With a variable speed compressor, the Dometic Harrier slows down or speeds up to maintain the output as needed. This reduces energy consumption to the absolute minimum required, while keeping the noise and vibration down too.
The Ibis 3 is also incredibly efficient, thanks to the unique ‘S Flow’ air distribution which provides more air, more efficiently. The airflow is 780 m³/hour compared to the Dometic Harrier at 649 m³/hour. Plus, the Aircommand Ibis 3 boasts whisper quiet operation even on high fan speed – at least 8dB(A) quieter than the original Ibis model. Another great feature is the heating mode; the reverse cycle heat pump gives unmatched efficiency.
Both the Aircommand Ibis 3 and Dometic Harrier can operate between minus 2 and +52 degrees C. That’s an incredible range, and makes either a great option for Aussie roadtrips in harsh conditions.
Both the Dometic Harrier and Ibis 3 are two of the most popular RV rooftop air con models. The Dometic Harrier is newer, has all the bells and whistles including inverter technology to help reduce power start up requirements, and it has slightly greater cooling capacity. But the Ibis 3 model is tried and tested in the Aussie environment: so if you have an offroad RV, then the Ibis Air Command is the best choice. At the end of the day, you need to look closely at the specs to choose the ideal unit for you and your vehicle.
Don’t Forget though! Since Dometic bought Aircommand a few years back, they got to work quickly and in early 2019 released the Dometic Ibis 4 Aircon model – we take a good look at this latest version in our article here: The Latest Caravan RV Air Conditioner: Dometic Ibis 4 Review.