I live in my DIY campervan full time and one of the most important parts of my build is my roof vent fan. It’s essential for ventilation and moisture control. I installed the MaxxFan Deluxe and am very happy with it. This is my full review after 2 years living on the road.
I remember trying to decide between the MaxxAir Fan and the Fantastic Fan when planning my van build. The Fantastic Fan was far less expensive but everything (literally, everything) that I read online were complaints by Fantastic Fan owners about how much they wished they’d “just spent the extra cash and purchased the MaxxFan Deluxe.” As a result, I purchased the MaxxFan Deluxe and am so happy with it.
Frankly, the ability to use a MaxxAir Fan in the rain (PS, you never need a fan more than when it’s humid and raining) is enough reason alone to make the purchase, but if you’d like the full MaxxAir MaxxFan Deluxe review I’ve shared my detailed experience in this article!
Why You Need a MaxxAir Fan in Your Van
Camper roof vents create air movement within your van helps with temperature control, moisture control and odor control. The best way to create airflow is by having a van roof vent fan in addition to a window that can open.
Condensation & Moisture Control
When you exhale, your breath contains moisture. The warm air from breathing hits cool surfaces in your van and turns to condensation.
Condensation is water. Water inside is bad and can lead to mold.
Instead, exhausting your air moisture with a van roof vent fan will help keep condensation from building up and creating problems inside your van.
Ventilation & Odor Evacuation
Given that we cook and shower in our vans, it’s important that we have a way to vent odors and moisture with camper roof vents. Additionally, gas stovetops and diesel heaters burn fuel that have potentially dangerous gasses from the combustion which can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning if not properly vented with a van exhaust fan.
Climate & Temperature Control
Regardless of how well you have insulated your van, a metal box in the hot sun is going to warm up. Using a max air fan helps with climate control by circulating the cooler outside air through your van roof vent fan.
While it’s unlikely, and hopefully never something you’ll experience, sometimes dangerous gasses can build up inside of a van (or any building or RV, for that matter). Having a van exhaust fan will carry away potentially harmful toxins.
Additionally, a van roof vent fan is a great way to cool your van while keeping the windows closed. Personally, I’ve been thankful for this option while traveling through places I was not completely comfortable sleeping with open windows at night.
Examples of Times When You Want a Max Air Fan for Van Life
From someone who grew up with brothers let me lend you some ideas:
- When you’re making breakfast and your travel buddy spends a little too long in the bathroom “using” your composting toilet. Gross.
- While trying to sleep at night after your dog has gotten into something that’s causing stomach gurgles. Double gross.
- After you’ve forgotten you were cooking spring rolls and burned them to a crisp.
- When it’s cooler outside your van than inside.
- When it’s raining cats and dogs, causing the inside of your van to have a humidity level equivalent to 1000 leagues under the sea.
Maxxair MaxxFan Models
There are 3 primary categories for MaxxAir MaxxFan models: MaxxFan, MaxxFan Plus and MaxxFan Deluxe.
Even though the model numbers seem random and don’t make much sense, the general gist is this:
Exhaust only, no intake feature. Limited to 4 fan speeds. Additionally these models do not have a thermostat, remote control, or rain shield (meaning they cannot operate while it’s raining), and the lid only opens manually.
Like the MaxxFan, the MaxxFan Plus cannot be operated in rain. However, two MaxxFan Plus models (4751KS and 4500K) have a rain sensor, which automatically closes the lid if rain is detected.
Unlike the MaxxFan model, MaxxFan Plus has an intake option (meaning you can reverse the fan direction), comes in 10-speed and a few of the models have a thermostat, remote control or lid that opens electrically.
All of the MaxxFan Deluxe models come with a thermostat, a rain shield that allows the MaxxFan Deluxe to operate in the rain and lids that can open electrically (push of a button vs cranking).
Every MaxxFan Deluxe model, except 5301K and 6401K, comes with air intake capabilities. Additionally, model 7500K and 7000K come with a remote!
MaxxAir MaxxFan Deluxe Features
- Built-in rain shield
- Electric opening lid
- Reversible fan direction: exhaust and intake
- Up to 10 speed fan settings
- Ceiling fan mode
- Can operate while driving
- Highly efficient 12v fan power
- Automatic thermostat settings (great for traveling with your dog!)
- Removable bug screen, no tools required
- Slim profile
- Wireless remote control (my favorite!!)
- 2-year limited warranty with lifetime limited warranty on the lid
MaxxFan Deluxe Review Comparison Chart
MaxxAir Fan Performance
Moves up to 900 cubic feet per minute (CFM). This thing can really move some air! When I crank it up to 10 there’s a serious wind-tunnel effect inside my van.
On fan controls and remote control.
After having access to the remote control, I can’t imagine having to manually push buttons on the fan each time I want to change settings (does that make me lazzzzzzy? probabbbbly 🎶).
I have a great sense of relief when I’m all tucked in cozy at night and realize I need to adjust the fan… which requires only the push of a button on the remote control and does not require me getting all the way out of bed.
The MaxxFan Deluxe power draw is between 0.1 amps and 2.8 amps depending on which speed setting is selected.
AKA super low power consumption. I could leave my MaxxAir roof fan on for dayssss without running out of battery juice.
Great! My only complaint after several months of almost constant use is that there are many teeny parts to clean (womp, womp) and the wheel bearings require a bit of WD-40 after the first month or so to keep the fan operating quietly.
Getting the Most From Your Camper Roof Vents Fan
Let’s get fancy and talk about Affinity Laws. Science!
Sounds scary, right? Honestly, it is a little intimidating tbh. I had to call my dad to clarify my research on this. (Thanks Dad!)
Here’s the simple breakdown (#3 is the most important for van life):
1. As you increase the fan speed, the flow of air increases proportionally. AKA, a linear graph. Each variable (speed and air flow) are increasing by the same amount as the opposite variable.
Takeaway: For each increase in speed (like moving from setting 1 to setting 2), there is a proportional increase in air flow. Basically, the rate of increase from a speed of 1 to 2 is the same as the rate of increase for speed 9 to 10.
2. As you increase the fan speed, there is a disproportionate amount of increased pressure created. AKA an exponential graph.
Takeaway: As you increase fan speed steadily, the pressure will increase exponentially. The increase in pressure from speed 1 to 2 is much less than the increase in pressure from speed 9 to 10. In mathematical terms: Y (pressure) = x (speed)^2
3. Lastly, (this is the one that’s important for van dwellers with limited battery power) faster fan speeds correlate with an exponentially increasing amount of power consumption. Another exponential graph.
Takeaway: As you increase fan speed steadily, the energy required to power your fan will increase exponentially. The increased amount of energy used when you change speed 1 to 2 is much less than the increased amount of energy used when you increase from speed 9 to 10. In mathematical terms: Y (energy used) = x (speed)^3
Essentially, your van exhaust fan becomes less energy efficient at higher speeds. Keeping your MaxxAir Fan at 80% speed or lower is the best way to optimize your battery power.
MaxxAir MaxxFan Review FAQs
Can You Run MaxxAir Fan While Driving? Can You Drive With a MaxxAir Fan Open?
You betcha! The twin arm design is intended to be strong enough to remain open while you’re driving.
However, I personally do not keep the MaxxAir Maxx Fan Deluxe open while I’m driving because I’m skeptical and also because I’m unwilling to pay for (and install) a new one if mine breaks.
Honestly, the install is the bigger pain point – who wants to do that while traveling?
How Much Power Does a MaxxAir Fan Use?
0.1-2.8 amps depending on speed setting
Are MaxxAir Fans Reversible?
MaxxAir MaxxFan Deluxe and MaxxFan Plus van fans are reversible. They come with the ability to intake or exhaust air. All of the other MaxxFan models will exhaust air only. Therefore, all other MaxxAir Fan models are not reversible because the air flow will only move in one direction (out).
MaxxAir Maxx Fan Deluxe Dimensions
MaxxAir MaxxFan Deluxe dimensions measure 22.5” long x 16.5” wide x 5” tall when closed and 9.3” tall when opened.
MaxxAir Fan Models – Are All MaxxAir Fans the Same?
No, not all MaxxAir Fans have the same features. There are three types of models: MaxxFan, MaxxFan Plus and MaxxFan Deluxe.
MaxxFan is the most cost effective model, and also includes the least number of features.
MaxxFan Plus models can include more speed settings, and are reversible.
MaxxFan Deluxe is the top of the line van fan and includes additional features like the ability to operate in rain, thermostat settings, remote control and more fan speed options.
Maxxair Fan CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute)
Maxxair fans operate up to 900 cubic feet per minute (CFM).
Can You Use a MaxxAir Fan in the Rain?
You can use a MaxxAir Deluxe fan in the rain. Unfortunately, MaxxFan and MaxxFan Plus models cannot operate in the rain.
Is a MaxxAir Fan AC or DC?
MaxxAir Fans operate on 12v DC.
Conclusion: Is the MaxxAir Fan Worth it? Are MaxxAir Fans Good?
Absolutely. The MaxxAir MaxxFan Deluxe van roof vent fan is undeniably worth the price bump. Fantastic Fan’s aren’t sooooo much less expensive but they are sooooo much less functional. Roof fans for vans is one category you don’t want to skimp on.
Buy a Maxxair fan for your van. If you can, get the MaxxFan Deluxe with remote. If you’re looking for the next best option that’s a little more budget friendly then the MaxxFan Plus is a great option.
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Written by Claire Fleming
I’m a travel enthusiast who spends half the year in my self-built camper van with my dog, Oscar, and the other half at my home in Raleigh, North Carolina or on international adventures.