SoftStartRV Review: The Best RV Air Conditioner Upgrade

SoftStartRV has dramatically changed the way people enjoy their RVs, especially in the summer. These compact units provide additional freedoms that RVers didn’t have in years past. However, there are still many RVers who are on the fence as to whether an A/C soft start is right for them.

Your RV air conditioner plays a vital role when it comes to enjoying a successful summer camping trip. Without it you and your family would suffer from those sweltering, sticky summer nights. Let’s face it, a fan can only do so much to keep things cool.

If you haven’t encountered it already, at some point in your RV adventures you WILL run into a low power situation. When you run into an issue like this, powering your RV air conditioner might not be possible.

That’s where SoftStartRV comes into play.

SoftStartRV Unit
SoftStartRV by NetworkRV

In this article we are going to answer a few questions about A/C soft starters and give an in-depth review of the unit we installed on our camper.

Let’s jump in…

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What Is SoftStartRV?

SoftStartRV is essentially a device that hooks up to your RV air conditioner compressor. It is designed to limit the initial current spike that occurs when your compressor first kicks in. In fact, these amazing little units reduce the startup power demand by up to 70%.

The initial spike that occurs when starting an air conditioner without a soft start is what causes breakers to trip and generators to go offline, which can be quite aggravating and bothersome in the summer.

Mike Sokol of is very well known in the RV community as an industry expert when it comes to anything electrical in RVs. To accurately demonstrate how SoftStartRV works, he made the graph below to show the initial current spike with, and without, this soft start unit.

The red line in the graph represents an RV air conditioner without a soft start. You can see that the initial current draw is right around 52 Amps. In comparison, the yellow line, representing an air conditioner with SoftStartRV installed, has a maximum current draw of only 24 Amps.

graph image by Mike Sokol RVelectricity

So what does this mean for you?

When you find yourself in a limited power situation, you can rest assured knowing that your RV can handle it.

For example, if you have one A/C on your rig, you will be able to stay cool and comfortable while plugged into a standard 15- or 20-Amp outlet. Think boondocking or moochdocking. Keep in mind, however, that you will need a heavy-duty extension cord. Not one of those cheapo cords from the dollar store.

If you have multiple air conditioners on your RV, you will now have the ability to run two air conditioners while plugged into a 30 Amp outlet, with two SoftStartRV units.

SoftStartRV Notable Features

  • Reduces startup power demand by up to 70%
  • Run two A/Cs on 30-Amp Plug
  • Run one A/C on 120V outlet or small inverter generator (2200W)
  • Easy to install
  • “Live” Tech Support
  • Designed for use on all RVs
  • Extends the life of your air conditioner compressor/motor
  • Reduces vibration and startup “thump”
  • No additional equipment needed
  • Built-In electronic overload protective relay
  • Compact size – 6” X 3” X 3”

What Are The Benefits Of Using SoftStartRV?

Other than the benefits mentioned above, there are many more advantages to having SoftStartRV installed on your rig.

Eliminate Nuisance Breaker Trips

Not all campgrounds are created equal. Many older campgrounds have an aging “grid” that just isn’t able to keep up with the demands of RVers.

We were staying at a newer RV resort last year and our air conditioner would trip the 30-Amp breaker periodically through the night. Luckily, the site next door was vacant, so we were able to run our power cord to that pedestal for the remainder of our trip.

If we would have had the soft start installed at the time, we could have plugged into the 20-Amp outlet and not had any more issues.

Ability To Run 2 A/C Units On 30-Amp Service

Have you ever found yourself needing to run two RV air conditioners but only have access to a 30-Amp pedestal? If so, you may have found out that starting both units is extremely difficult to do, if not impossible. Most RV owners in this situation will simply just run one A/C.

With an A/C soft start on each unit, you will have no problem running two air conditioners on a 30-Amp plug.

Ability To Run A Single A/C From 20-Amp Outlet

With one SoftStartRV unit installed on a single A/C, RV owners will be able to enjoy the freedoms of being able to stay cool while plugged into a 20-Amp outlet.

Ability To Run A Single A/C On A Small Generator

By limiting the initial starting current of an RV air conditioner, the SoftStartRV makes it possible to run you’re A/C while camping off-grid and using a small inverter generator, like the Honda EU2200i.

More Freedom To Roam

In addition to the benefits mentioned above, with a SoftStartRV installed on your rig, the possibilities are endless. You can have a nice, cool, relaxing time in your RV wherever you decide to roam.

SoftStartRV Review


Prior to doing any work on the air conditioner, the very first, and most important step is to TURN OFF THE POWER. We unplugged our camper from shore power and made sure everything was off. If you are planning to install the SoftStartRV in a public place like a campground or RV resort, I would suggest rolling up your RV power cord to make sure it doesn’t “accidentally” get plugged back in by an unsuspecting passerby.

Installing SoftStartRV
Kellie Installing SoftStartRV

The SoftStartRV comes with an installation kit that includes everything you will need to get it installed. It includes sheet metal screws, zip ties, and every electrical connector you would possibly need for your unit. In addition, additional electrical connectors are included for those of us who tend to drop things like that.

SoftStartRV Installation Kit
SoftStartRV Installation Kit Included

The tools required are fairly basic. You will need a screwdriver, wire crimpers, needle nosed pliers, and any special tools you need to remove the cover of your A/C. Our Dometic air conditioner requires an S2 square bit for the housing and a 5/16 nut driver for the junction box.

Getting the SoftStartRV installed was as simple as following 6 steps with no cutting and no splicing. The company couldn’t have made it easier to follow. However, if you run into any issues, you can contact their support team to assist you through the process.

Dometic Wiring Diagram

To find the wiring diagram for your specific unit, you will need the model number that is located in the inside cover of your A/C junction box. Once you have this number, simply visit, click on the “wiring diagram” link, find your specific unit, and download or print the wiring diagram.

If you cannot find your specific model number simply submit a tech support ticket and they will gladly create one for you.

It took us a little over an hour to install the unit with recording a video in the process. Everyone has different capabilities and skills that they are comfortable with. If getting on the roof of your RV or working with anything electrical isn’t something you feel comfortable with, by all means get someone to help you.

Testing The Soft Starter

Before you get everything closed back up, you will have to test the unit to make sure it works correctly. The included installation instructions go through the testing process step-by-step.

For our unit, we plugged the RV back in, set the thermostat to “Auto Cool” with a temperature setting of 55 degrees. After running the A/C for 3 minutes, we had to climb back on the roof to make sure the “Green” LED was lit, meaning everything is working properly.

The final step was mounting the soft start with the provided screws and adhesive tape, closing everything back up, picking up tools, and running the air conditioner for 30 minutes with the thermostat set near the ambient temperature.

Does SoftStartRV Work As Advertised?

The company’s main claim that sets SoftStartRV apart from other brands on the market is the 6 step, no cut, no splice installation, and the fact that this unit is 100% turnkey.

Both claims proved to be true. We did not have to cut or splice any wires and hooking up the soft start was completed in just 6 steps. In addition, with the installation kit included, it is 100% turnkey.

Finding out if SoftStartRV performs as advertised would require a few simple tests. Since we only have one air conditioner on our camper, we were unable to test if two units can run on a 30-Amp plug. But we were able to test the operation of one A/C on a standard 120V outlet.

After plugging in our camper to one of our house outlets, the air conditioner was able to start and run without tripping any breakers.

Would We Recommend SoftStartRV?

After installing our SoftStartRV, we would highly recommend it. Not only is the installation a breeze but it also works as advertised. If you are looking to elevate your camping experiences and explore more freedoms in your travels, you can’t go wrong with this product.

In Conclusion

Every RV owner will benefit from installing SoftStartRV on their rig. For those who only have a single A/C unit, having the ability to stay cool on a hot summer day by using a small generator or a standard 120 Volt outlet opens the door for more camping experiences.

On the other hand, for those with multiple air conditioners, not being tied to staying ONLY at 50-Amp sites will make choosing an RV site easier.

In all cases, however, having a soft start installed on you’re A/C units opens the door for more opportunities for adventure.

SoftStartRV Comparison Chart
SoftStartRV Unit

Frequently Asked Questions

post sponsored by SoftStartRV

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