Is the MaxxFan Deluxe good – Our Verdict.
Ok, let’s get straight to the point…
Is the MaxxFan Deluxe any good? Well, yes. Yes, it is. We flat-out loved our MaxxFan Deluxe. It did everything that we expected it to do and did it well.
Sure the MaxxFan Deluxe costs a bit more than other fans (such as the Fan-Tastic Fan), but once we actually hit the road on our adventure, it would easily have been our most used item in the van.
We had Our MaxxFan on all the time. No, really. All. the. Time.
The MaxxFan was quiet (especially on lower speeds), and had a low power draw, so we never really gave its power consumption a second thought.
The operation of the fan was easy peasy, and the rain hood was an absolute blessing.
Honestly, being stuck in the van on a rainy day with no ventilation would have been a nightmare!
The MaxxFan Deluxe installed in the ceiling of our van
Key features of the MaxxFan Deluxe that we loved.
Let’s dive into some of MaxxFan Deluxe’s Key Features.
Built-in Rain Cover
In my opinion, the MaxxFan rain cover is the biggest thing going for this fan over its competitors.
The rain hood on the MaxxFan deluxe is well built, easy to operate (in our model, it had an automatic opening and closing), and does a hella good job keeping the rain out but the fresh air coming in. We never had one instance of rain coming in, and we had it open in some pretty horrific weather, where we would leave the MaxxFan Deluxe open all night half expecting to wake up to a puddle on the floor. Never happened. Not once.
Exhaust and Intake
The ability to set the fan to exhaust mode was a game changer for us. When we first used the fan after hitting the road, we used it in intake mode, the mode most common to all fans. It pushes air from behind the fan into the van (exactly as a desk fan would). But, what we discovered was that we got better circulation from actually having the fan on exhaust mode.
We discovered was that we got better circulation from actually having the fan on exhaust mode.
We would open a window at the rear of the van, and when on exhaust mode, air would be pulled into the van through our open window, then travel through the van before being pulled out of the fan set to exhaust mode.
We had done a fair bit of research around strategic fan placement and window placement with this in mind but were absolutely delighted to see just how well it worked.
The MaxxFan Deluxe benefits from having 10 different speeds to choose from, this is another great win over their competitors, some of which only have three speeds.
It just gave us much more control over the climate in the van, how much noise the fan-created (faster = louder) and how much energy was used. We typically used the fan no higher than 80% speed as that gave the best “bang for buck” as far as energy consumption goes. The fan was actually quite effective at lower speeds, and at 30% speed was whisper quiet.
Highly efficient 12v power
As far as power consumption is concerned, the MaxxFan Deluxe is very efficient. Couple this with the previous point of 10 selectable speeds and you have a winner-winner chicken dinner when it comes to managing your power consumption.
Automatic Thermostat Settings
The thermostat feature in the MaxxFan Deluxe meant that we actually could set a room temperature we wanted to achieve, and the fan would manage its use to achieve and then maintain this temperature. Obviously, it isn’t conditioning the air like an air conditioner, so this feature has certain limits. We found it effective in overnight use to maintain a certain temperature while we were sleeping.
Removable bug screen
This is a beauty. It stops all sorts of creepy crawlies from getting into the van. Removing it and cleaning it is a breeze. That being said, the only time in over three months that we had to clean the screen was when we got caught in a dust storm and ended up with red dust through the van… that was fun… The removable bug screen wasn’t the only thing we had to clean that day.
Our Ford Transit van parked up with the MaxxFan Deluxe installed. Notice the back window is open slightly. This allowed the MaxxFan to create a slight breeze through our van.
Do You Even Need A Fan In Your Van?
The short answer is yes. Yes you do need a fan in your van. Why? Well, there are a number of good reasons, but let me give you 5.
Airflow in your van or RV is essential. Not only does airflow keep the air from going stale, and your living space feeling stale, but airflow actually helps to remove pollutants in the air, and helps discard any odours that come from living in confined spaces. Overall airflow helps to keep the inside of your van a clean and healthy place to live.
Condensation can quickly accumulate in small living spaces such as the inside of a van. This comes from our natural body heat,, breathing, and also from activities you do within the van such as cooking and boiling water.
If not properly dealt with (good airflow – see point one!) condensation can lead to mould taking hold inside your van. This can get into your fabrics and even lead to rust on the inside body of your van. It can also lead to serious health ramifications, as breathing mould spores can lead to respiratory illness. This is why airflow is so important, and having a roof fan is the key to good airflow.
This one is especially important to anyone cooking inside of their van with a gas burner. A roof fan is brilliant at vacuuming out nasty gasses such as carbon monoxide and dioxide which can build up from tasks such as cooking dinner and boiling water. To be most effective, you need a fan that can be set to exhaust mode (such as MaxxFan Deluxe).
- Climate control
A roof fan is a godsend in warm weather. We would often go out for a day trip or to spend time on some adventure, and when returning, we would find the whole van hot and muggy. With our roof fan, we would simply open the windows and then crank up the roof fan in exhaust mode. Within 30 seconds all of the hot air would be sucked out of the roof fan and replaced by much cooler outside air.
When you have a roof fan you may not feel the need to open a window at night, which could invite curious and dangerous strangers.
Or, when you go out for a day trip, knowing you’ll return to a hot van, you are not contemplating leaving a window open to keep the van cool. Instead, you can just leave the roof fan running, or blast all of the hot air out instantly when you return.
Which MaxxFan Model is Best?
The best MaxxAir MaxxFan model on offer is the MaxxFan Deluxe. It is the bees-knees, the ducks-nuts, and, for us, it totally lived up to the hype.
Now that you know the MAxxFan Deluxe is best… which model of MaxxFan Deluxe do you get?
Put simply, the best versions of the MaxxFan Deluxe are the 7000K and 7500k versions.
The difference between the 7000/7500K and the 5100/6200K models is the electric opening and remote control inclusion.
Now, I’ve seen some other blogs talk about how they went with the cheaper models because they didn’t think the electric opening was necessary. After using our fan everyday in our Ford Transit van, I disagree wholeheartedly.
We had the electric opening 7000K model and it was glorious. We would simply turn the fan on, using the remote, or the buttons on the fan itself, and the rain dome would rise all by itself. It goes from being a 10 second of winding the rain dome open, to a single button push. This doesn’t seem like much I know, but you will be turning the fan on and off multiple times a day, every day. So simple things like that add up.
We had the electric opening 7000K model and it was glorious.
Why we chose the MaxxFan Deluxe 7000K Model.
The reason we chose a MaxxFan Deluxe for our van was three fold.
1. We had seen them everywhere, on all of the major van conversion websites we were following and knew the MaxxFan Deluxe 7000K was the gold standard of roof fan.
2. We knew we were going to be traveling through some really hot climates on our big van life adventure, so we didn’t want to scrimp on the things that would enable us to not only make our living quarters bearable, but actually enjoyable.
3. We didn’t want to have to manually open the rain shield everytime we wanted to use the fan. Only the top tier version has the automatic opening and closing.
Where on your roof should the MaxxFan go?
Ok, this is super important stuff. In order to maximize the effectiveness of your MaxxxAir MaxxFan Deluxe you need to carefully decide where you are going to install the MaxxFan. You need to consider its location in relation to a couple of things.
How does Window Placement affect the MaxxFan Deluxe?
The MaxxFan is most effective when separated from your windows by as much internal area as possible.
Think about this example. It’s hot as hell in your van, you crack your window and turn on your roof fan, which is positioned in the van roof right next to the window. When you set the MaxxFan to exhaust mode (in my opinion the best way to operate the roof fan) the fan will suck cool, fresh, clean air from outside, through the window and then… straight out the roof fan. Whoops.
Now think about this example. Same situation, but now your roof fan is at the other end of the van from your main window(s). Now when you open the window and turn your fan on, the MaxxFan will pull that same cool, fresh, clean air from outside, but now it will pull it right through the van living space, actually making an impact on the internal comfort of your van. It is for this reason that I suggest you place your MaxxFan as far away from your main window as feasible.
MaxxFan installation location in relation to your Kitchen.
In our very own Ford Transit campervan conversion we installed the MaxxFan Deluxe above our van kitchen space. This way we could use the fan as an exhaust when cooking, and allow all of the smelly, humid cooking air to be sucked out of the van space straight away. This means no smelly clothes and no condensation build up within the van. Gold!
A quick note on roof fan location.
I personally believe that the MaxxFan’s relationship to your windows is more important though. If you have no windows installed near the rear of your van, then I would actually consider installing the MaxxFan at the rear of the van. This way you can open the side door, or a window at the front of the van and have air circulation throughout the whole van space.
This is where we installed our MaxxFan Deluxe.
Our main window was in the back right corner of our Ford Transit Jumbo campervan. It was above our van kitchen and our living table (a Lagun table – which are awesome in their own right!). We then installed our MaxxFan as far forward in the van as we could. Now we could open the back window and have cool, fresh air being dragged through the entire van living area. This was especially magic at night, as the MaxxFan would pull air in over our bodies, keeping us cool on those sweltering nights.
In our van we also had a Caframo Sirocco II 12/24V Fan. This would also help create circulation in the living space.
MaxxFan Deluxe Dimensions
The MaxxFan Deluxe dimensions are 22-1/2 long x 16-1/2 wide x 5-inches tall when closed (9.3-inches tall when open)
What size hole does the MaxxFan Deluxe fit?
Good news, a MaxxFan Deluxe fits the industry standard van and RV roof opening of 14W x14L inches. 355x355mm in metric measurements.
How much does a MaxxFan Deluxe weigh?
The MaxxFan Deluxe weighs in at 11.9Lbs or 5.4kg fully installed.
How thick does the roof need to be to support a MaxxFan Deluxe?
The MaxxFan Deluxe model needs a minimum roof thickness of 1 inch (25mm). Roof width needs to be kept below 3.5 inches (90mm).
If your roof is below 1 inch in thickness (as every van roof will be) you need to create more thickness (like we did in our Ford Transit campervan conversion). Totally doable. Our thickness was created by our insulation and interior ceiling cladding.
You can also add beams or framing strips when installing your roof fan. Framing strips will provide additional support. This is beneficial when installing in a part of the roof that has wide gaps between any sort of structural support.
It is recommended by the manufacturer of the MaxxFan that the fan be installed in a location where the van’s structural support beams are no more than 18 inches (460mm) apart. In our installation spot at the front of our cargo hold, we were fine as the van support beams were closer together than 18 inches.
What is the MaxxFan Deluxe Rain Shield?
The MaxxFan Rain shield is a high-density polypropylene shield that sits atop the roof fan mechanism. It allows the MaxxFan Deluxe to continue to function in both intake and exhaust mode no matter the weather.
No competitor fans, such as the Fantastic Vent Fan have this ability. The Fantastic Fan has a rain sensor, which will automatically close the fan lid, but, once this happens the fan loses its ability to intake or exhaust air.
How to clean the MaxxFan Deluxe
Cleaning the MaxxFan Deluxe is simply a matter of turning the 4 mounting knobs to the side and removing the inner mosquito screen. This allows access to the fan. Simple and easy.
CAUTION: When you remove the mosquito screen on your MaxxFan Deluxe, make sure to have power to the fan turned off.
Also, it is recommended by the manufacturer that nothing more than a mild detergent solution is used when cleaning.
How to set the timer on a MaxxFan Deluxe
It is currently impossible to set a timer on the MaxxFan Deluxe. The closest thing you can do to setting the timer, is use the AUTO setting. In this setting, you simply set a temperature you wish to achieve and when reached the fan will either lessen its fan speed, or turn off completely.
Which Way Should a MaxxFan Deluxe Face?
The MaxxFan Deluxe roof fan should be installed in a way that situates the vent grille to the rear of the van. Installing it this way will ensure that rain will not be able to be pushed through the grille and down into the interior of your van.
How much light does the MaxxFan Air let in
I can only speak from our experience. We had the MaxxFan Deluxe 7000K. This features a white rain shield. It is a solid plastic with 100% opacity, so, even though it is white, when closed very little light comes in, and what does come into the interior of the van is a diffused light. If you see sharp rays of sunlight streaming into your van through the MaxxFan Deluxe, you’ve done something dramatically wrong during the installation process!
Can You Use MaxxFan Deluxe While Driving?
Yes, you can still use the MaxxFan Deluxe while driving.
The design features strong dual lifting arms which, when activated, will fully support the rain shield lid. The lid and lifting arms are all very strong, enabling them to withstand high winds caused by high driving speeds.
If you are going to drive with your MaxxFan Deluxe, make sure that the rain shield lid is fully opened, as this enables the dual lifting arms to be fully extended and at their maximum strength.
Best Wire Gauge for MaxxFan Deluxe
What is the best wire gauge to use when installing a MaxxFan Deluxe? Well, it is actually dependent on a few factors.
Such as – How far away from your fuse box does the wiring have to travel to power the MaxxFan Deluxe?
If your wiring needs to run a long way, then you will likely need a thicker gauge of wire.
This is due to the fact that in thinner wires, the electrical energy dissipates quicker or meets more resistance (a phenomenon called voltage drop) and you can end up in a situation where the intended power you need does not reach the fan.
Also, if your wiring is too thin you can end up doing real damage, not only because voltage drop can cause poor performance in your electronics, but also because you can start an electrical fire.
Are there any other powered electronics utilizing the same circuit?
If you have other appliances like lights or USB plugs running off the same circuit, then you need to pick the size of wire that accommodates for all of the devices to be running at the same time.
In the example of our van, we used 12 gauge wire. Our wire run was a bit over 5 yards (this is the distance from the fuse board to the fan, and back again).
The MaxxFan air only draws 5 Amps so 16 gauge wire may be ok. We went with 12 gauge because of the length of the run, and the piece of mind that having thicker gauge wire affords.
MaxxFan Deluxe Wiring Diagram
MaxxFan Deluxe power consumption (how many watts does MaxxFan use?)
The MaxxFan Deluxe uses 0.1 Amps on its lowest fan speed setting and 2.8 Amps on its highest setting.
Expert Tip – Want to still run your roof fan effectively and conserve power? Read on.
Here is a quick physics lesson to help show you how you can run your fan in the most efficient manner.
The affinity laws are a set of mathematical laws that define the relationship between electrical power and speed. The law states that power is exactly equal to the cube of speed.
For instance, running the MaxxFan Deluxe in speed mode 10 costs 36 watts per hour, yet running it in speed 8 costs only 18 watts. This is a 50% saving by dropping the speed by only 20%! Brilliant!
So, in order to make your MaxxFan more efficient, try not to run it above speed setting 8. This way you will effectively double the amount of run time you can get out of the fan, and only have to sacrifice 20% of the fan’s performance.
Plus, to be honest, the fan is so powerful we never really wanted to run ours above speed 6 or 7. And, the higher the speed, the noisier the fan, so lower is better on so many levels.
The different MaxxFan Deluxe speed settings and examples of use.
Speed set to 0
If we weren’t actually running the fan, we would still have it open a lot of the time. Especially in
colder weather when we didn’t really want to fully open a window or a door, but still wanted some fresh air to make its way into the van.
Speed set between 1 and 3
This speed is what we would run the fan at throughout most nights when the weather outside was temperate.
By setting the MaxxFan to exhaust mode and cracking our rear window a little, we would create a lovely little draught of air through the van.
The low sound of the fan at these speeds was actually quite soothing to sleep to.
Speed set between 4 and 6
This speed was best on hot days when we wanted to really feel the draught coming through the van. At this level, the sound of the van fan definitely starts to become noticeable, though not imposing.
Speed set between 7 and 10.
7 is about the max we would ever run the fan. Usually, we would only every go above 7 for a short time. An example of this would be when we return back to the van on a hot day.
We would open the door and windows and then set the fan on the exhaust to speed 10.
This would suck all of the hot air out in a matter of seconds, completely changing the temperature within the van.
Another time we ran the fan at high speed was when cooking something smelly in our kitchen, as it would suck the odours out straight away.
At this level, the van is making a fair amount of noise and is definitely noticeable. Though not unbearable.
Roof fan exhaust vs intake. Which mode is most effective?
In our experience of living on the road in our converted Ford Transit camper, we found that the exhaust mode was the most pleasant and effective mode to set the fan to.
When set to exhaust mode, the fan did a better job of replacing the occupied room air within the van, which would contain increased CO2 levels, allergens and other impurities, with fresh air from outside of the van. In order for the fan to achieve this, we would need a source from which the roof fan can pull fresh air. So, we would open a window, this way the fan would pull air in through the open window while sucking the old air out.
The same is true in reverse, when we opened a window and had the fan in intake mode, fresh air would come in through the roof fan, and the old air would be pushed out the window. However, we found that this didn’t seem to happen as efficiently or effectively as when the fan was set to exhaust.
One positive that makes the intake mode of a roof fan better than the exhaust mode is that, when the fan is set to intake and is pushing air into the van, it is making the air pressure in the fan higher. This means that it is harder for insects and bugs to fly into your van through the windows.
Whereas in exhaust mode, those same bugs and insects are actually pulled into the van.
The Best MaxxAir MaxxFan Deluxe Alternatives
There is no doubt that the MaxxAir MaxxFan Deluxe is the king of the roof fan jungle. But, what if you didn’t want to spend that much money. What are the alternatives to a MaxxFan Deluxe. Read on for what I think are 3 good roof fan options to explore.
What if you didn’t want to spend that much money?
1. Dometic Fan-Tastic Vent 1200 review
Speed Control: 3-speeds
Intake and Exhaust: Just intake
Remote Control: No
Rain Protection: No
Positives of Fan-Tastic Vent 1200
The price is Fan-Tastic (excuse the pun). But, seriously, the price is pretty darn good.
The Fan-Tastic 1200 roof fan costs $149.95.
The MaxxFan Deluxe costs $449.95.
That is a massive saving of $300 that could easily go into other parts of your van conversion.
For that great price, you still get a powerful 3-speed motor that is more than capable of circulating air within a van space. In fact, the Fan-Tastic Vent is capable of putting out 920 cubic feet per minute. This is comparable to the MaxxFan Deluxe. This means you are not skimping on circulation power if you purchase this fan.
Negatives of Fan-Tastic Vent 1200
The main negative is the fans missing rain shield. This means that if it is raining outside, the fan lid needs to close.
You can still run the fan, but it will work more like a ceiling fan, simply moving the already existing air in the van around, as opposed to introducing fresh air from outside. This can really be a buzzkill on rainy days, as you are cooped up inside the van with stale air.
Also, the fact that this fan only has three speeds means you cannot micromanage your comfort as well as you can with other fans with more speed control. By comparison, the MaxxFan Deluxe has 10 speeds. This lack of speed choices also means you cannot be as efficient with power as you could with more speed control options.
2. Maxxair MAXXFAN 4500K review
Speed Control: 10-speeds,
Intake and Exhaust: Yes, both.
Remote Control: Yes
Rain Protection: No, but will close when raining as it has a rain sensor.
Positives of the MaxxAir MaxxFan 4500k
This is a great choice for a midrange fan. It doesn’t have all of the bells and whistles of the MaxxAir 7500k but it doesn’t carry the expensive price tag either.
For $200 and change, the MaxxFan 4500k gives you 10 speeds to choose from. This is great because you get more climate control, and can be more efficient with your power use.
The built-in thermostat means that you can set a room temperature you want to achieve and the fan will speed up/slow down until that climate is reached.
This model MaxxFan has a rain sensor that will automatically close the vent once it senses rain. This means you can leave the vent open when you leave your van and not come home to rain inside.
Another winning positive of the MaxxAir 4500k is that it comes with remote control. It is one of the cheapest remote control roof fans on the market.
Negatives of MaxxAir MaxxFan 4500k.
The big negative is that this fan cannot operate properly in rainy weather. Sure, there is an automatic sensor, but it still closes, and you are still stuck in your van in shitty weather with no real airflow. Not somewhere I’d like to be.
This is a great choice for a midrange fan.
Is the MaxxAir MaxxFan 4500k a good buy?
Yes, for the price you are getting a lot of positives.
That being said, I just can’t see why someone paying $200 odd dollars for this fan wouldn’t just cough up and pay an extra $100 for the MaxxFan Deluxe. It has all the positives of this fan, plus the rain shield which means it can operate in all weather conditions. This is so important to long-term van living.
And I guarantee, the first time you are stuck in the van for a few days in bad weather, you will wish you just went out and bought the better fan option (MaxxFan Deluxe).
3. Heng’s 71112-C review
Speed Control: 1 speed
Intake and Exhaust: Intake only
Remote Control: No
Rain Shield: No
Positives of Heng’s Fan
This is a super bottom-dollar budget fan. So, of course, there are going to be some tradeoffs. That being said, the fan does still manage an acceptable amount of airflow – especially for smaller vehicles. It is only $26.
For $26 it makes a great secondary fan (especially if you are going for a stealth van style and don’t want windows) though I wouldn’t be relying on it as my primary fan, no matter my budget.
Negatives of Heng’s Fan
We understand that this fan is super basic, so we can’t exactly critique it the same way we can the MaxxFan range. Though, I really cannot see why someone would go to the effort of installing this fan. For an extra $85 or so you can get the Maxxair MaxFan 4301K. Then you get 3 speeds and 12-inch blades (instead of 6-inch blades of the Heng’s) which equals a tonne more ventilation power.
The MaxxFan Deluxe is a seriously good roof fan, and well worth stretching the budget to accommodate.
We used ours every single day, and it made our life on the road so much more comfortable.
There are other alternatives, but the reality is that you definitely sacrifice a lot with a lower price point.
No matter where you go on your van life adventure, you will almost certainly face inclement weather. On these days, when it is raining and you are cooped up inside the van, you will wish you had the MaxxFan Deluxe and its amazing rain shield.
That’s it for this article. I hope this helps you to make the right choice when it comes to van roof fans.
If you would like to know more about our very own van build, check out our Ford Transit Van Conversion here.