Camping in the cold might sound like a fool’s errand, but with the best RV heater, your rig will offer a stunning and secluded winter oasis.
Cold-weather RVing offers the best of both worlds: a beautiful winter wonderland of views all from the cozy comfort of your warm and toasty motorhome.
That’s where the best RV space heater comes in. That heavenly setup can turn hellish if your camper heater fails on you or isn’t strong enough to heat your space to comfortable temperatures.
Even if your RV already has a heating system or furnace, a small RV space heater can make an awesome supplement, especially if you already know your existing system struggles in cooler weather.
If you don’t know where to start, right here is a good place. We’ve listed the best RV space heaters available to help make your search a little bit easier.
The best RV heaters to keep your motorhome warm
We want to jump right into showing you the best RV space heaters on the market right now.
The two main types of space heaters popular amongst full-time RVers are electric and propane. We’ll explain more about the difference between these heaters below after we run through our top picks.
For now, here are our top picks for the best RV heater:
Camco Olympian Wave [Propane]
- Type: Gas
- Price: $200 – $300
- BTUS: 3,000-8,000
The Camco Olympian Wave best RV propane heater comes in three main sizes and multiple other variations to fit into almost any RV setup. This best propane heater for an RV offers three power options: 3,000 BTUs, 6,000 BTUs, or 8,000 BTUs.
All models can either be standalone or mounted to the wall. From there, you can choose to add on a dust cover, leg stands, frustration-free packaging, and expert installation.
Since this propane camper heater is powered by low-pressure gas, the installation is a bit more complicated than simply plugging it into an outlet.
You’ll need to tap into your existing furnace or gas line to get this connected. The process is actually pretty simple, you just need to add a T connection and an additional gas line to your existing one.
If that process scares you at all or if you’re uncomfortable fiddling with something as essential as your gas line for an RV propane heater, it might be worth your while to get the expert install.
That includes mounting the heater, wiring it to an existing circuit, wiring the heater to a thermostat (another huge plus), and a unit test and cleanup.
Overall, the Camco Olympian Wave is one of the best RV heaters available; it’s extremely efficient and uses radiant heat to truly cover and warm your space. Radiant heat is similar to what you’d feel from the sun.
This portable space heater for an RV comes with an electric Piezo lighter that the company claims will last through 20,000 starts.
Many reviewers tout the heavy-duty, reliable build of this unit, and several have chimed in to note decades of perfect performance and powerful heating.
This RV propane heater might seem a bit small for its high price tag, but you definitely get what you pay for with this unit.
Honeywell oil-filled RV heater [Electric]
- Type: Electric
- Price: $50-$90
- BTUs: 5,100
This sleek little RV electric heater boasts some fancy features at a surprisingly affordable price. It has an oil-filled body and works by heating the interior oil and radiating that heat throughout the room.
A unique and awesome feature of this heater is its energy efficiency.
Not only is this best electric RV heater built with an EnergySmart® design, but it allows you to easily monitor its energy use with an indicator at the top of the control panel. On the panel, you can easily select to run the unit on its EnergySmart® setting.
You can also set the thermostat to your desired temperature and set an adjustable auto-off sleep timer.
While this Honeywell Oil-Filled RV electric heater claims a silent operation, oil-bodied machines do make noise when they initially heat up. Once it reaches its running temperatures, you can count on that silent operation to kick back in, a big benefit over noisy, fan-distributed heaters.
You can rest easy with this RV electric heater’s list of safety features, including tip-over protection, overheat protection, thermal insulated wiring, and reinforced wire connections.
Despite their safety features, always follow any safety instructions included with your unit.
Dr. Infrared RV Space Heater [Electric]
- Type: Electric
- Price: $109-$140
- BTUs: 5,200
The Dr. Infrared RV electric heater was built for efficiency. The unique Auto Energy Saving feature and dual heating systems combine to optimize this unit’s heat output.
At the same 1,500 wattage of most RV heaters, this unit claims to put out 60% more heat than its competitors.
The Dr. Infrared heater also features a state of the art blower in lieu of a fan, which is just as efficient at throwing heat while staying whisper quiet.
While this unit is still fully portable, its design feels a bit more like a true piece of furniture. Its solid wooden base would stylishly fit into any interior as a funky, mid-century modern piece.
It also has a range of safety features like tip over shut off, overheat protection, and cool to the touch encasing.
The Dr. Infrared RV electric heater has a programmable timer up to 12 hours and a remote control so you can adjust the heat output remotely.
DeLongi Radiant oil-filled RV heater [Electric]
- Type: Electric
- Price: $70-$100
- BTUs: 5,000
The DeLonghi Radiant RV electric heater features the most classic heater body and design. When you invest in a tried and tested build like this, you are buying a fair amount of reliability, too.
Especially, when it comes to a device like an RV space heater, buying something you can rely on to be safe and effective means a lot of peace of mind.
This unit does have some upgraded features added to its classic base, like a maintenance-free system that’s permanently sealed off, so you’ll never have to replace the oil within.
The Delonghi RV electric heater also boasts Comfort Temp Technology, so the unit automatically adjusts its power settings to provide the perfect amount of heat and maintain an optimal temperature.
This heater does not include a fan or blower, and some users report issues with its heat throw, which is important to consider.
If your space is rather stagnant in terms of air flow, and doesn’t have a ceiling fan or other means to circulate air, this RV space heater might not be able to distribute heat across your space as much as you’d like.
The Delonghi oil-filled heater gets mostly good reviews in RV groups and on Amazon, although a couple of reviewers said it exploded, which is worrisome.
DeLongi Mica Panel RV Heater [Electric]
- Type: Electric
- Price: $100-$180
- BTUs: 5,120
This sleek modern DeLonghi Panel RV heater is a chic way to add some heat to any space. Its panel design makes it easy to tuck into small areas, and though it comes with wheels for portability as a standalone unit, it can also be mounted to a wall for an even sleeker look.
This best RV heater features many of the standard safety elements like thermal cutoff and tip-over kill switch, but with one surprising addition.
The DeLonghi panel heater has a unique anti-freeze feature that’s perfect for cold weather RV travel. This feature is designed to prevent pipes and tanks from freezing in the cold; this can be a huge benefit and added peace of mind for any RV traveler.
This panel heater does not have a fan or blower, which makes it ultra-quiet. Despite the lack of air circulation, users and reviewers thrill over this heater’s effectiveness and heat output.
We love that this RV electric heater as an adjustable thermostat, multiple heat settings is lightweight and compact.
Mr. Buddy Heater [Propane]
- Type: Propane
- Price: $65-$100
- BTUs: 9,000
The Mr. Buddy RV propane heater packs a whole lot of heating power into a small and affordable package. Its rugged design was built to last in all types of conditions and handling. That makes this an ideal option if you plan to haul it around for a lot of different uses.
With how many thousands of heater makers and models there are on the market, those are pretty impressive titles. At 9,000 BTUs, this best RV propane heater will warm up much larger spaces than all the previous heaters on this list, and at one of the lowest prices.
Since the Mr. Buddy it is an RV propane heater, ventilation is essential and does limit its potential usage areas slightly. It can be hooked up to both propane tanks or a gas line, making it a great option for a more permanent install and for portability alike.
Keep in mind that any type of RV propane heater will increase moisture in your camper, which can mean mold. It’s important to run fans or dehumidifiers when using propane. And keep a working carbon monoxide detector on at all times.
The Mr. Buddy propane RV heater isn’t rated to work well over 7,000 feet, so you’ll want to consider another option if you’re routinely camping way up in the mountains.
Vornado Vortex RV Space Heater [Electric]
- Type: Propane
- Price: $50-$60
- BTUs: 5,100
The Vornado space heater comes recommended amongst RVers as one of the best electric heaters for an RV. This little heater works by using vortex air circulation without intense heat, similar to a furnace.
Keep in mind this does take longer to heat up a room than other types of space heaters that blast out really hot heat.
Safety features include tip over protection, a cool touch exterior and auto safety shut off.
Choose between 3 different heat settings in this RV space heater up to 1500 watts, which is equivalent to about 5,100 BTUs. You may need a couple of these heaters in different rooms of your RV if you’re in a larger rig.
This amazing little heater also comes with a 5-year warranty, which reviewers love.
EdenPure RV Space Heater [Electric]
- Type: Electric
- Price: $200-$400
- BTUs: 5,100
The EdenPure RV electric heater is another favorite we found amongst RVers. This one uses a different technology, though, and is much more expensive than other electric heaters on our list.
This RV heater uses copper helix infrared bulbs, which produce infrared heat like a sauna. Layered copper helix captures heat from the infrared bulb and sends heat out into your room.
Reviewers online claim this is a powerful little heater – one person heats a house that is almost 2,000 square feet with just two of these heaters and no other type of heating.
Each RV heater comes with a 1-year warranty and is safe around children and pets.
This is more of an investment than some other electric RV heaters on this list, but seems worth it according to reviews.
While you can purchase this space heater on Amazon, we recommend going through EdenPure’s website so you can view the latest sales and heater technology.
Suburban Furnace [Electric]
- Type: Electric
- Price: $370-$410
- BTUs: 16,000
If you’re looking for some serious heat in your RV, the Suburban furnace is your best option.
At 16,000 BTUs, this furnace will heat any sized RV, as well as some tiny homes or cabins. This is also the most expensive unit to make our list, but its efficiency will likely pay for itself in the long run as it can truly be used as a standard home furnace.
This is also the only totally not portable option on this list. Since it’s a true furnace, it requires rather intensive installation. That makes this an option for only a pretty specific type of user, and will likely be overkill for most occasional winter travelers.
|DeLonghi Panel Heater||Electric||5,120||AMAZON|
|Honeywell Oil Heater||Electric||5,100||AMAZON|
|Camco Olympian Wave||Gas||3,000 - 8,000||AMAZON|
Types of RV heaters – Gas vs. Electric
Before you pick out the best RV heater for your setup, you’ll need to figure out what type of heater works best for you. Each type of camper heater has its own ups and downs, so there isn’t a universal best RV heater, it really depends on you and your unique space and needs.
Electric vs. propane RV heaters
The two main types of camper heaters are electric and propane. One is not better than the other, they’re just different and cater to different types of travelers. We’ll start with propane.
RV propane heaters
RV propane heaters run on gas instead of electricity, so they don’t need to be plugged into an outlet or electric source to run. With the range and accessibility of portable propane tanks, these best RV heaters are a bit more versatile than electric heaters.
Since we’re talking about RV travel, most people have an electric outlet pretty easily accessible, but it’s a good thing to note if you plan to take your heater outside or on off-site boondocking camping trips.
In addition to being able to hook up to portable gas tanks, RV propane heaters can also install directly into your RV’s furnace or gas line. Either source of gas will likely cost you much less than an electric heater, as propane heaters tend to be more efficient.
Most propane heaters use radiant heat to spread the warmth, an effective and efficient way to disperse the heat. Some units also include fans to further distribute the heat.
There are a few more elements to consider with propane heaters, like the need for a dehumidifier and proper ventilation. RV propane heaters tend to throw a lot of moisture into the air, which can lead to things like mold.
A simple solution is to run a dehumidifier and make sure your area stays dry. Some RVers run fans in every room to cut back on the moisture.
Also, since propane RV heaters use true combustion to produce heat, their output can be highly hazardous. You’ll need to install these units with ample ventilation and purchase and install a carbon monoxide detector.
For these reasons, some people are uncomfortable with propane heaters, though as we’ll go on to discuss, electric heaters have their own share of hazards.
RV electric heaters
RV electric heaters run off of…you guessed it…electricity! They can simply plug into any outlet and power up. If you’re not planning to use your camper heater away from your RV’s outlets, and you’re not particularly concerned about the electric draw to your system, RV electric heaters are an extremely convenient option.
If you want to spend your time off-grid, that might make things a bit trickier. Electric heaters, in general, are not as efficient as RV propane heaters, and the power they draw might be too much for your unplugged system.
An RV electric heater tens to be less expensive upfront, which means it’s easier to purchase multiple heaters to more adequately heat a large or closed off space. Because they are less efficient than RV propane heaters, the cost to operate will be higher.
While RV electric heaters come in a ton of different types like ceramic heaters, infrared heaters, oil-filled heaters, and micathermic heaters, the main two variations are radiant heaters or ones that use fans to circulate the heat.
While radiant heat is highly efficient, a fan enables a unit to disperse heat better and cover a larger area. Fans make noise though, and can be a big downside compared to their nearly noiseless radiant counterparts.
Fans also tend to heat a room faster than radiant heat, though radiant heat can maintain a heated room better once it’s warmed.
A big benefit to RV electric heaters is that there is no fuel combustion taking place, so there isn’t carbon monoxide, dioxide, or any other nasty fumes to ventilate. That means you can put these camper heaters virtually anywhere throughout your RV.
That also makes these heaters seem much safer to most users. Though, it should be noted that RV electric heaters have some hazards, too.
Many electric heaters make use of plastic components, which are prone to melting or worse. Some people say electric heaters can catch fire, which is extremely hazardous inside an RV.
Buying a quality model and always adhering to the safety manual will help eliminate this risk.
How many BTUs do I need for my RV heater?
There isn’t a simple relationship between room size and the BTUs you’ll need to heat it, because there are so many other variables at play.
The climate you’re in is a huge factor, but also the shape and openness of your space, the insulation of the surrounding area, circulation, RV heater placement, and tons of other variables all affect the efficiency of your camper heater.
Unfortunately, that makes it a bit tricky to determine exactly how many BTUs you’ll need to adequately heat your space. An incredibly broad rule of thumb is to estimate 40-45 BTUs per square foot of space.
If you’re in a particularly small area, or you know that your RV isn’t particularly well insulated, you might want to overestimate that amount.
Conclusion on The Best RV Heaters
An RV space heater is a high-stakes purchase. Not only can it be a pretty costly upfront investment, but a poor selection can not only mean freezing temperatures but safety failure and potential catastrophe. It’s important to select the best RV heater for your space and specific needs.
Buying too much or too little, too big or too small, can lead to very undesirable results.
Hopefully, this guide has helped you figure out what type of RV heater is best for you. If you’re still on the fence or have any questions, just ask!
Let us know in the comments what information you’d like from us that can help you select your perfect RV heater.
Other posts you might like: