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    8 Best RV Heaters to Stay Cozy Anywhere You Go

    RVs are a great way to explore the great outdoors, but they can get chilly when the temperature drops. If you’re a full-time RVer, a good heating system is essential for staying warm and comfortable during the winter months.

    But with so many different RV heaters on the market, it can be tough to know which one is right for you. That’s where we come in. We’ve reviewed some of the best camper heater options on the market, so you can find the perfect one for your budget and needs.

    Whether you’re looking for an electric heater for indoor use or a heavy-duty propane heater for sub-zero temperatures, we’ve got you covered. So read on to learn more about the best RV heaters on the market and find the perfect one for your next adventure.

    What is an RV Heater?

    RV heaters, also known as RV furnaces, are essential for staying warm and comfortable in your RV during the winter months or in colder climates. They come in two main types: propane and electric. Propane heaters burn propane gas to generate heat, while electric heaters use electricity. Both types of heaters typically have a fan or blower to circulate the warm air throughout the RV.

    RV heaters are available in a variety of sizes and heating capacities to suit different RV sizes and layouts. They are also designed to be space-efficient and energy-conscious, considering the limited space and power resources available in RVs.

    Safety is paramount when it comes to RV heaters. Many models are equipped with advanced safety features, such as automatic shut-off switches and carbon monoxide detectors, to ensure the safety of RV occupants. These features provide both warmth and comfort, as well as peace of mind.

    In short, an RV heater is an indispensable companion for RV enthusiasts embarking on adventures in colder climates or during the winter months. It transforms your RV into a warm and cozy cocoon, allowing you to savor your journey no matter how frosty the outdoors may be.

    What are the Different Types of RV Heaters?

    To find the best RV heater, it’s important to understand your options. Otherwise, you may end up with a good product that’s not right for your needs. Depending on the power source, there are two main types of RV heaters: electric RV heaters and propane RV heaters

    Propane heaters are a good choice for boondocking because they don’t require electricity. They’re also cheaper than electric heaters and can handle extremely cold temperatures. However, they can be a safety hazard if not used properly.

    Electric heaters are the most efficient and require the least maintenance. They’re not as budget-friendly as propane heaters, but they’re safer. However, electric heaters are not suitable for off-grid camping or in areas where there is no access to electricity.

    Again, there are three different variations of electric heaters:

    • Infrared/Radiant 
    • Ceramic 
    • Oil-filled

    Infrared heaters heat objects and people directly, providing instant warmth. They are energy-efficient for spot heating and portable.

    Ceramic heaters use a ceramic heating element to generate heat and a fan to distribute it. They are efficient and provide even heating, with safety features like tip-over switches and overheat protection.

    Oil-filled heaters use metal columns filled with oil to store and radiate heat. They are energy-efficient and continue to emit heat even after being turned off. They operate quietly and have safety features like tip-over switches and overheat protection.

    How Does an RV Heater Work?

    Propane RV heaters

    Propane RV heaters are a popular choice for recreational vehicles because they are efficient, reliable, and affordable. They work by burning propane gas to produce heat, which is then circulated throughout the RV using a blower or fan.

    Here’s a closer look at how a propane RV heater works:

    Ignition: To start the propane RV heater, you first need to ignite the propane gas. This is typically done using a pilot light or an electronic ignition system. Once the propane is ignited, it begins to burn and produce heat.

    Combustion: The burning propane produces heat through a process called combustion. Combustion occurs when a fuel, in this case, propane, reacts with oxygen to produce heat, water vapor, and carbon dioxide.

    Heat exchanger: The heat produced by the burning propane is then transferred to a heat exchanger. The heat exchanger is a metal component that is designed to absorb the heat from the combustion process and transfer it to the air that will be circulated throughout the RV.

    Blower or Fan: Once the heat has been transferred to the heat exchanger, it is then circulated throughout the RV using a blower or fan. The blower or fan is typically located in the heater unit and is designed to distribute the warm air evenly throughout the RV.

    Thermostat: A thermostat is used to control the temperature inside the RV. It is connected to the propane RV heater and is used to turn the heater on and off as needed to maintain a comfortable temperature.

    Exhaust: Propane RV heaters produce exhaust, which must be vented outside of the RV. This is typically done using a flue or chimney, which is connected to the heater unit and extends through the roof of the RV.

    Safety features: Propane RV heaters are equipped with several safety features to ensure safe operation. These may include automatic shut-off switches, carbon monoxide detectors, and flame sensors. These safety features help to prevent accidents and ensure that the heater operates safely.

    Electric RV heaters

    Electric RV heaters are a popular choice for RV owners because they are easy to use, don’t require any fuel storage or ventilation, and are more environmentally friendly than propane heaters. They work by converting electrical energy into heat, which is then circulated throughout the RV using a blower or fan.

    Here’s a closer look at how an electric RV heater works:

    Heating element: The heating element is the key component of an electric RV heater. It is typically made of metal and is designed to resist the flow of electrical current, which causes it to become hot. The heating element is located in the heater unit and is designed to absorb the electrical energy and convert it into heat.

    Blower or Fan: Once the heat has been produced by the heating element, it is then circulated throughout the RV using a blower or fan. The blower or fan is typically located in the heater unit and is designed to distribute the warm air evenly throughout the RV.

    Thermostat: A thermostat is used to control the temperature inside the RV. It is connected to the electric RV heater and is used to turn the heater on and off as needed to maintain a comfortable temperature.

    Safety features: Electric RV heaters are equipped with several safety features to ensure safe operation. These may include automatic shut-off switches and overheat protection. These safety features help to prevent accidents and ensure that the heater operates safely.

    The Best RV Heater Options: In-Depth Reviews

    When shopping for the best heater for RV, you will find plenty of options. So, we’ve curated this list for you to learn about the market-leading products and make the right decision. 

    Let’s dive into the brief reviews of the 8 best RV heater products in the market. 

    1. Lasko Oscillating Ceramic Space Heater

    Lasko Oscillating Ceramic Tabletop Space Heater for RV Camper Home

    Why we love it:

    Stay warm and cozy during the winter months with the space heater. With two quiet heat settings and an adjustable thermostat, you can enjoy personalized comfort in any room.

    The portable RV heater from the Lasko brand is safe to carry in your RV or anywhere you go! This versatile heater is easy to use; the temperature can be controlled while it provides a cool outlook on your space.

    You can heat up to 300 square feet of area, so it’s also good for heating your office or home. It has oscillating options for spreading the heat evenly. You’ll get so many features, yet it’s not too expensive.

    It could be the best space heater for RV within a budget. If you are still looking for something cheaper, purchase the non-oscillating model.

    Pros

    • It also functions as a fan
    • Runs quietly
    • Safe for children and pets
    • The heating element is non-combustible
    • Easy to carry everywhere

    Cons

    • Temperature control isn’t always accurate
    • The fan isn’t 100% silent when working

    2. Mr. Heater MH9BX Portable Propane Radiant Heater

    Mr. Heater MH9BX portable Propane Heater

    Why we love it:

    The camper propane heater can be used everywhere, outside or inside, and heats up to 225 square feet. The fuel burns cleanly, so there will be a minimum waste. 

    It could be one of the best RV heater units in terms of safety features. It’ll auto shut off when it’s tipped over, the oxygen level is low, or the pilot light goes off.

    You can set two types of heating settings to stay comfortable in different temperatures. Also, a full tank will keep it running for more than 5 hours, so you can sleep at night without worries.

    Pros

    • The lightweight unit is only 1 pound
    • Low-oxygen safety shut-off feature
    • Safe when tipped over
    • Suitable for outdoor area
    • Low consumption of propane fuel

    Cons

    • Can’t operate properly 7000 feet above sea level
    • It can’t cover a large area

    3. Amazon Basics Ceramic Heater

    Amazon Basics 1500W Oscillating Ceramic Heater with Adjustable Thermostat

    Why we love it:

    The small RV heater is budget-friendly and looks cool in two available colors: black and silver. It runs on electricity and is mostly suitable for small spaces. 

    The feature to set temperatures in three settings gives you the freedom to control your comfort. You can use this in winter and even fall when the weather isn’t too cold. This TUV-certified heater can easily be carried to offices, vehicles, and everywhere you go.

    Since there is an oscillating option, this heater can disperse heat evenly in the closed space.

    Pros

    • Has overheating protection
    • Auto shuts off when tripped over
    • Available in two colors
    • TUV product certification

    Cons

    • Unsuitable for the outdoors and high-humid places

    4. Lasko Digital Ceramic Tower Heater

    Lasko Oscillating Digital Ceramic Tower Heater for Home with Adjustable Thermostat, Timer and Remote Control

    Why we love it:

    Lasko brand offers the best ceramic heater for RV in this model. Unlike the first one, this heater comes with a remote control, so you can do everything from the comfort of your bed or sofa. 

    Since this heater has more features, it’s a better option if you have pets or children. It costs you more than the manual heater, but it’s worth the price! There is a timer option to turn off the heater after a specific period. 

    Pros

    • Timer to warm area for 1 to 8 hours
    • The safe exterior is okay to touch even after running long
    • Doesn’t overheat
    • There’s no noise
    • The digital display shows the temperature and settings for easy usage

    Cons

    • A bit heavier to carry
    • You cannot use it outside

    5. Brightown Portable Electric Space Heater

    Portable Electric Space Heater 1500W/750W, Ceramic Room Heater with Tip-Over and Overheat Protection

    Why we love it:

    The unit could easily be the safest space heater for RV because of the standard safety features. It eliminates safety hazards by using high-quality flame-retardant materials. It also offers overheating and tip-over protection. 

    The small heater runs at various temperatures, and you can operate it as a fan in the summertime. It’s also the best RV heater for a quiet operation since the motor keeps the noise less than 50dB level.

    Pros

    • Quiet operation
    • Quick heating feature
    • Auto shuts off when overheats
    • Auto shuts off when tilted over 45°
    • Different colors to style your interior

    Cons

    • Not suited for large area
    • You cannot use it outdoors

    6. Dr. Infrared Portable Space Heater

    Dr Infrared Heater Portable Space Heater

    Why we love it:

    The space heater from Dr. Infrared looks elegant to add a vintage charm to your RV’s interior. It’s the best electric heater for travel trailer considering you want it for a large room. 

    You can operate the unit manually or with remote control. It has several safety features, including tip-over protection and an automatic shut-off timer. 

    Pros

    • Safe to touch anytime
    • Suited for a very large room, up to 1000 square feet
    • Has a wheel to move in different rooms easily
    • Has energy saving mood to reduce electric bill
    • Timer up to 12 hours

    Cons

    • Slightly expensive 
    • Not easily movable

    7. Andily Small Space Heater

    andily Space Heater Electric Heater for Home and Office Ceramic Small Heater with Thermostat

    Why we love it:

    The electric heater is a good choice for warming up small areas. Thanks to the rapid heating option, it can heat up a small room within 2 seconds. You can switch between three heating options for the best comfort. It will also function as a fan for the summer season. 

    Like other heaters, this one also has overheating and tripping protection. Carry it anywhere you want, as it will easily fit a tight space. 

    Pros

    • Compact size can fit any tight space
    • Can warm a medium size room
    • Lightweight 
    • A carry handle for transportation
    • Quick heating within 2 seconds

    Cons

    • The cable is very thin
    • Controlling the temperature is a bit unstable

    8. Mr. Heater Indoor Propane Heater

    Mr. Heater F215100 MH4B Little Buddy 3800-BTU Indoor Safe Propane Heater

    Why we love it:

    The last heater on our list is also from the Mr. Heater brand. It looks quite different from other products in this article. The cute little heater is your quick-heating solution for tiny spaces, less than 100 square feet.

    Since the fuel burns cleanly, you don’t have to deal with any foul propane odor. This heater has a handful of safety features, including tip-over protection and low-oxygen detection. 

    Pros

    • Low-oxygen sensor
    • Auto shut-off option for protection
    • Easily portable
    • Suitable for both indoors and outdoors
    • Runs for more than 5 hours

    Cons

    • Not suited for large space
    • Won’t work in high-altitude above 7 thousand feet
    • Can’t be used in a moving vehicle

    What to Consider When Buying a New Camper Heater?

    Buying a new camper heater is an important decision, as it will play a vital role in keeping you warm and comfortable during your camping trips. With so many different types and models available, it can be tricky to know which one to choose. To help you make the best decision, here are some key factors to consider:

    Fuel source

    One of the most important decisions you’ll make when choosing an RV heater is whether to go with propane or electric. Both types of heaters have their own advantages and disadvantages, so it’s important to weigh the pros and cons carefully before making a decision.

    • Propane heaters: Propane heaters are a good option for boondocking or off-grid camping, as they do not require electricity. They work by burning propane gas to produce heat, which is then circulated throughout the RV using a blower or fan. Propane heaters are typically more efficient than electric heaters, but they can be more noisy and require proper ventilation to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.
    • Electric heaters: Electric heaters are a good option for RV parks or campsites with electrical hookups. They are easy to use and do not require any fuel storage or ventilation. However, electric heaters are less efficient than propane heaters and may not be able to produce enough heat in cold weather.

    Which type of RV heater is right for you depends on your individual needs and preferences. If you plan on doing a lot of boondocking or off-grid camping, then a propane heater is the way to go. However, if you prefer the convenience of electric hookups and don’t mind the higher cost, then an electric heater is a good option.

    Size

    The size of the heater will depend on the size of your RV and the climate you will be camping in. If you have a small RV or will be camping in mild weather, you may be able to get away with a smaller heater. However, if you have a large RV or will be camping in cold weather, you will need a larger heater.

    It is important to set a budget before you start shopping for an RV heater. This will help you narrow down your choices and choose a heater that fits your needs and price range.

    BTU output

    BTU, or British Thermal Unit, is a unit of energy equal to the amount of heat required to raise the temperature of one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit. The BTU output of a heater refers to the amount of heat it can produce. A higher BTU output means that the heater can produce more heat, which is important for larger RVs or camping in cold weather. BTU output is an important consideration when choosing an RV heater, as it determines how much heat the heater can produce.

    Propane RV heaters typically have a BTU output of 20,000-40,000 BTUs. This means that they can produce a lot of heat, which is ideal for large RVs or camping in cold weather. However, propane heaters are also less efficient than electric heaters, which means that they will use more energy to produce the same amount of heat.

    Electric RV heaters typically have a BTU output of 1,500-5,000 BTUs. This means that they produce less heat than propane heaters, but they are also more efficient. This makes them a good choice for smaller RVs or camping in mild weather.

    When choosing an RV heater, it is important to consider the BTU output of the heater in relation to the size of your RV and the climate you will be camping in. For example, if you have a large RV and will be camping in cold weather, you will need a heater with a high BTU output. However, if you have a small RV and will be camping in mild weather, you can get away with a heater with a lower BTU output.

    It is also important to note that electric RV heaters are often measured in watts rather than BTUs. One watt is approximately equal to 3.41 BTUs. So, if you are comparing electric RV heaters, be sure to convert the wattage output to BTUs to get an accurate comparison.

    Noise level

    RV heaters can vary in noise level depending on the type and model.

    Forced-air heaters, which use fans to distribute heat, are typically the noisiest, ranging from 45 to 65 decibels. Electric ceramic and oil-filled heaters are quieter, at 35-55 decibels and 20-40 decibels, respectively. Infrared heaters are the quietest, often producing noise levels below 30 decibels.

    Factors such as fan speed, insulation, and the design of the heating unit can affect noise levels. If noise is a concern, consider researching specific models known for quiet operation or using noise-canceling materials in your RV. When choosing an RV heater, compare the noise levels of different models. Look for heaters with fan speed controls so you can adjust the noise level to your liking.

    Safety features

    Safety is always a top priority, so look for a heater with built-in safety features such as automatic shut-off switches and carbon monoxide detectors.

    Overheat protection is a critical safety feature that automatically shuts off the heater if it reaches an unsafe temperature. This prevents the unit from becoming a fire hazard. Overheat protection is especially important when the heater is left unattended or operating for extended periods.

    Oxygen depletion sensors (ODS) are found on propane-powered RV heaters, such as those that use catalytic or blue flame technology. An ODS detects a decrease in oxygen levels within the RV and automatically shuts off the heater if oxygen levels fall to a potentially dangerous level. This prevents oxygen depletion, which can lead to health risks and carbon monoxide buildup.

    Besides, when using RV heaters, you should also consider to use Carbon monoxide detectors. These are not built into RV heaters, but it is highly recommended to have one in your RV. Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless gas that can be produced by incomplete combustion of propane or other fuels. A carbon monoxide detector will alert you if dangerous levels of CO are detected, allowing you to take immediate action, such as ventilating the RV and shutting off the heater.

    electric heater for rv
    Photo: iStockPhoto

    Price

    RV heaters range in price from a few hundred dollars to over a thousand dollars. The price of a heater will depend on a number of factors, including the type of heater, the size of the heater, the features of the heater, and the brand of the heater.

    Propane heaters are generally more expensive than electric heaters because they are more powerful and efficient. Ceramic and oil-filled heaters are typically the most affordable types of RV heaters. Infrared heaters are also relatively affordable, but they may not be as powerful as other types of heaters.

    Features such as thermostats, remote controls, and multiple heat settings can also increase the price of a heater. If you don’t need or want all of these features, you can save money by choosing a heater with fewer features.

    It is important to set a budget before you start shopping for an RV heater. This will help you narrow down your choices and choose a heater that fits your needs and price range.

    Once you have considered all of these factors, you can start shopping for the best camper heater for your needs. Be sure to read reviews of different models before making a purchase. This will help you get a better idea of what other campers think of the heaters and which ones are the most reliable.

    Conclusion

    Choosing the best RV heater depends on your needs. For example, if you travel to high places often, you can’t use most propane heaters since they can’t work where oxygen is low.

    Again, an indoor heater won’t be the best option for you if you spend more time outside. So, first, decide on what you really want and then get that heater for yourself. 

    If you want a performer at a reasonable price, we recommend the Lasko oscillating ceramic space heater.

    Daniel Jackson
    Daniel Jackson
    Daniel Jackson is the passionate owner and driving force behind RVing Explained. Driven by his own love for the RV lifestyle, Daniel has transformed his personal journey into a valuable resource for fellow travelers. He delves into a wide range of topics, from essential RV maintenance tips to insightful destination guides, all while providing a fresh perspective and a commitment to clear, accessible information. Daniel's content is a must-read for anyone seeking to maximize their RV adventures.
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