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Sunday, February 25, 2024

Zero Breeze Mark II Review: Stay Cool Anywhere with Portable Air Conditioning

The Zero Breeze Mark II is one of just a few portable air conditioners on the market that make sense for overlanding applications.

The question is, is the ZeroBreeze Mark II worthy of your hard-earned cash?

In this Zero Breeze Mark II review, I’ll dive into my history with this product, what’s changed (and stayed the same over the years), highlight some pros and cons, and share some of my experiences using it in the field, too.

Let’s get started!

Table of Contents

My History With the Zero Breeze Mark II

zero breeze mark 2 portable air conditioner

In 2019, I reviewed the Zero Breeze Mark II, a portable air conditioner that offered a great cooling solution, albeit with limitations in portability and cost. I was intrigued when the company contacted me to check out an updated version of the Mark II, claiming significant improvements over the prototype I initially reviewed.

Design-wise, the Mark II hasn’t changed dramatically. The device maintains its unique tackle-box-meets-snowblower design, measuring approximately 20 x 13 x 8 inches. The hefty 35-Ah/840-Wh battery attaches to the bottom, powering the AC on the go.

However, it continues to require a pigtail cable, an unnecessary complexity. The weight has also increased from 26 pounds in 2019 to almost 30 pounds with the battery, contradicting the company’s claim of enhanced mobility.

That said, there are notable improvements. The updated Mark II no longer requires a separate power adapter for the AC and the battery. Though simultaneous operation and charging aren’t possible, eliminating the need for two adapters is a valuable update.

ZeroBreeze Mark2 in trailer

The package now includes a drain tube to manage condensation and an additional extendable ventilation pipe, allowing for better distribution of cool air. The battery pack has also been updated to include a USB-C port, adding to the existing two USB-A ports and a 12-volt DC socket.

In terms of performance, the Zero Breeze Mark II continues to impress. It quickly dispenses cold air, effectively cooling smaller spaces. The unit’s battery life has improved marginally, with my testing showing over four hours of operation on maximum power, up from 3.5 hours in 2019. Lowering the power output can extend this run time significantly.

Despite these improvements, the question remains: Who is this device for?

While the Zero Breeze Mark II offers enhanced camping experiences, the noise output equivalent to a couple of hair dryers and a still-hefty price tag (albeit $100 less than in 2019), might deter potential users. All in all, the Zero Breeze Mark II shows promise but leaves room for further improvement, especially in portability and noise reduction.




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Zero Breeze Mark I and II Portable Air Conditioner Review

ZeroBreeze Mark2 In Car

Camping and off-grid living have gained popularity, making portable cooling solutions like the Zero Breeze Mark II more relevant than ever. The Zero Breeze Mark I was a game-changer, being the world’s first battery-powered air conditioner. However, the first model faced criticism, such as its inability to cool a whole room, its high power consumption, hot air expulsion, and fluctuating ambient temperature.

In response, Zero Breeze introduced the Mark II, a model that took all criticisms into account. Notable improvements include a power capacity of 2,300 BTU (compared to 1,100 BTU in Mark I) thanks to its new rotary compressor. The dual hose system now efficiently manages air, cooling incoming air and expelling hot air, keeping the unit cool. This air conditioner can lower the temperature of a small area by 30°F in just 10 minutes (in optimal conditions, of course), a commendable feat for a battery-powered AC.

The Zero Breeze Mark II works similarly to a traditional portable AC, with the major difference being the power source – a 24V battery instead of grid electricity. The components of the Mark II are tightly packed within a compact 20″x10″x11″ frame.

ZeroBreeze Mark2 camping

The front of the Mark II houses the exhaust from which cool air is released. An exhaust pipe is included for directing the flow of air. In the middle part, you find the expansion valve and compressor, vital parts of the power unit. The backside hosts the condenser with a dual hose exhaust system, effectively managing incoming cool air and outgoing hot air.

The Mark II comes with a significantly improved 24V lithium-ion battery, replacing the inadequate 12V battery of Mark I. With a capacity of 35Ah (compared to Mark I’s 43Ah), the Mark II battery provides a capacity increase of 76%. This upgrade aims to give around 5 hours of running time, although 3 hours is a more realistic expectation. Charging is straightforward, requiring a wall outlet for just an hour, or alternatively, a solar panel or car cigarette lighter can be used.

While the Mark II comes with substantial improvements, it’s important to consider the high cost of its battery, which is around $699. This price is significant but can be justified by the innovation and performance the battery provides to the Zero Breeze Mark II.

All in all, the Mark II model shows considerable improvements over its predecessor, offering a powerful and efficient cooling solution for off-grid conditions.

Review of Zero Breeze Mark II: Cooling Power, Efficiency, Weight and Sound, and Pros and Cons

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The Zero Breeze Mark II is intended to cool smaller spaces, making it ideal for 2-4 person tents, larger vehicles like SUVs and vans, RVs, motorhomes, and boats. As noted earlier, with its 2,300 BTU cooling power, it can decrease the temperature by up to 30 degrees in just ten minutes. While this may seem insignificant compared to larger room coolers, it is ample for a space of around 115 square feet or approximately 1,000 cubic feet of air.

The Mark II smart battery generates 240 Watts of power, giving it an impressive energy-efficiency rating of 9.6. This makes it one of the most energy-efficient battery-operated devices on the market.

When it comes to weight and sound levels, the Mark II excels. Its noise level is comparable to a standard refrigerator at 52 dB, making it a quiet companion for outdoor activities. As I pointed out earlier, the unit’s combined weight with the battery is nearly 30 pounds, so it is portable, though it isn’t the lightest thing to carry around.

Pros and Cons of the Zero Breeze Mark II

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Pros: The Zero Breeze Mark II boasts various upgrades like 2,300 BTU cooling power, a 24V lithium-ion battery, low noise level, and lightweight design. It has high energy efficiency with an EER-rated voltage of 9.6 and can be operated on battery power or via another power source. Its design is also aesthetically pleasing.

Cons: Despite the numerous advantages, the Mark II comes with a hefty price tag, owing to the advanced system used to build it. Additionally, its battery life is limited to around 5 hours before requiring a recharge.




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Zero Breeze Mark II Review: What’s the Verdict?

zerobreeze mark 2 in rv

Despite its price, the Zero Breeze Mark II holds its position as one of the best battery-powered portable AC units. Its specifications, design, and features are unrivaled in the market.

However, if the cost is a limiting factor, exploring other portable air conditioners might be a good idea. In terms of performance, it is one of the best AC units for camping, providing cooling even in places without an electrical outlet. Its compatibility with solar power makes it a top choice for camping and RVing.

The Mark II surpasses its predecessor with enhanced features, capabilities, and power. Although it’s slightly heavier and bulkier than anticipated, its power, effectiveness, extended battery life, and design make it one of the best choices for trips, camping, fishing, trailers, and RVs. This portable air conditioner is an excellent solution to beat the heat in outdoor settings.

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