The 11 Best Electric Heaters for RVing in Chilly Temps

518 shares If you’ve ever spent a very chilly night camping in your RV, you already know how important having the best electric RV heater…

RV parked in the snow by a tree in winter - the best RV heaters will keep you warm in these conditions

If you’ve ever spent a very chilly night camping in your RV, you already know how important having the best electric RV heater can be. Even if you stay warm under the covers, that heater keeps you from shivering when you get up to start your morning routine.

Just imagine a sunny, brisk morning with a cup of coffee and a blanket over your lap, with a portable electric RV heater at your feet. It makes all the difference when you’re camping inside an RV that might not be as insulated as you’d like.

The good news is there are many electric heaters specifically designed for RV use. If your RV already has a hydronic heating system or forced air furnace, a portable electric RV space heater can be the perfect supplement, especially if you already know your existing system struggles in cooler weather. 

The Best Electric RV Heaters for Winter

If you’re unsure where to start, you’re in the right place. We’ve listed the best electric RV space heaters available to help make your search a little easier.

Dreo Oil Filled Radiator

BTUs: 5,100

Watts: 1,500

Features: Energy efficient, quiet, 24H timer and remote for distant operation, tip-over switch, overheat protection, and thermal insulated wiring.

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 your motorhome. 

A unique and awesome feature of this heater is its energy efficiency.

Not only is this the best electric heater for an RV 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 adjustable thermostat to your desired temperature and set an adjustable auto-off sleep timer. 

While this G-Ocean Oil Filled Radiator 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, thermally insulated wiring, and reinforced wire connections.

Despite their safety features, always follow any safety instructions included with your unit. 

Heat Storm Infrared Heater

BTUS: 5,100

Watts: 1,500

Features: Wall mounted, WiFi-enabled (so you can adjust the temperature with your phone, cool to the touch, wall stays cool, 40 decibels

The Heat Storm wall-mounted RV electric heater is a great space-saving option for RVers. Simply install this heater on any wall in your motorhome and you’re good to go.

These heaters are energy-efficient thanks to patented HMS dual-wall technology.

The Heat Storm electric RV heater operates at just 40 decibels, filters dust and dander out of the air, and has an auto “eco-mode” to save energy and money.

Plus, these best electric heaters for an RV do a great job heating a small space. Amazon reviewers use them in motorhomes, greenhouses, cabins, and basement rooms.

Dr Infrared Heater Portable Space Heater

BTUs: 5,200

Watts: 1,500

Features: 50-80 degree thermostat, tip over and overheating protection, energy-saving with high and low settings, quiet

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 watts as most of the best RV electric space heaters, this unit claims to put out 60% more heat than its competitors. 

The Dr. Infrared electric RV 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 RV 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 for up to 12 hours and remote control so you can adjust the heat output remotely.

De'Longhi Oil-Filled Radiator Space Heater

BTUs: 5,000

Watts: 1,500

Features: Automatically maintains temperature, adjustable thermostat, user-friendly control panel, thermal cut-off safety feature

The DeLonghi Radiant best 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 the best electric heater for an RV, 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 electric RV 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 airflow, 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 RV electric heater gets mostly good reviews in RV groups and on Amazon, although a couple of reviewers said it exploded, which is worrisome.

De'Longhi Mica Thermic Panel Heater

BTUs: 5,120

Watts: 1,500

Features: Sleek flat design, can be wall-mounted, lightweight, compact, thermal cut-off, tip-over kill switch

This sleek modern DeLonghi Panel best electric 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 electric 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 add 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 portable heater has an adjustable thermostat, and multiple heat settings, and is lightweight and compact.

Vornado MVH Vortex Heater
  • Gently heat all in the air in a small to medium-sized room
  • Advanced safety features
  • 3 quiet heat settings
  • Built to meet U. S. voltage requirements

The Vornado RV 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 the Vornado RV electric 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.

The EdenPure RV electric heater is another favorite we found among RVers. This one uses a different technology, though, and is much more expensive than other electric heaters on our list.

This best electric space heater for an RV uses copper helix infrared bulbs, which produce infrared heat like a sauna. A layered copper helix captures heat from the infrared bulb and sends heat out into your room.

Reviewers online claim this is a powerful little electric heater – one reviewer heats a house that is almost 2,000 square feet with just two of these heaters and no other type of heating.

Each RV electric heater comes with a 1-year warranty and is safe around children and pets.

The Edenpure RV electric heater is more of an investment than some other electric RV heaters on this list but seems worth it according to reviews.

Comfort Zone Portable Fireplace Heater

comfort zone portable fireplace heater

BTUs: 4,095

Watts: 700 (low) to 1200 (high)


  • Produces a realistic three-dimensional flame that works on heat and fan modes
  • Features a powerful ceramic heating element
  • The body features a molded handle for easy relocation

The Comfort Zone Portable fireplace heater is the best of both worlds: it helps supplement your RV furnace while also adding a touch of ambiance. Sometimes just the visual representation of fire is enough to make your RV feel warmer (cue those funny yule log YouTube videos).

This heater provides that fire ambiance in a compact package that’s extremely affordable. The heater measures just 15.75″ x 7.875″ x 14.125″ and pulls about 10 amps on the highest setting. It requires a 120 VAC outlet for power and includes high, low, and fan settings.

The body of the heater also stays cool to the touch even when it’s set to produce heat for your RV. An d the heater’s safety features include an overheat protection sensor and a tip-over protection shut-off switch.

Comfort Glow Oscillating Ceramic Heater

comfort glow oscillating ceramic heater

BTUs: 5,120

Watts: 800 (low) to 1,500 (high)


  • Oscillates up to 80 degrees for more even hot air dispersion
  • Delivers efficient ceramic heating for up to 400 square feet of living space
  • Includes automatic overheating and tip-over shut-off protection.

The oscillating ceramic heaters from Comfort Glow are one of the most affordable options for RV heaters. The oscillating feature assists with more even heat output and distribution while the heater’s ceramic heating element delivers efficient, reliable heat.

It is also one of the most compact RV electric heater options out there, measuring just 5″ wide x 5″ long x 10.75″ tall. It comes with a six-foot power cord with a grounded safety plug to ensure safe operation in conjunction with your RV’s heating system.

Heat Storm Sahara Ultra Portable Infrared Quartz Heater

heat storm sahara ultra-portable infrared quartz heater

BTUs: 5,200

Watts: 1,500


  • Produces infrared heat like a sauna
  • Features remote control operation and automatic overheat protection
  • Offers an LED display that shows interior temperature and facilitates easy setting adjustments.

The Sahara infrared electric heaters rely on a quartz element that helps it produce the same type of reliable heat that you’d find in a sauna. It’s a long-lasting electric heater that is designed to last for up to 20,000 uses and requires AC power.

The unique LED display on this electric heater sets it apart from the competition, as most solely feature a dial that doesn’t help you monitor the specific temperature inside your RV. But this one offers a digital display and the adjustable thermostat makes it easy to dial in your desired temperature.

The heater is also built with an air filtration system that can be easily removed and washed with warm water. This filter removes impurities from the air and is designed to last for the lifetime of the heater.

At 12.5″ x 13″ x 17″, this is also one of the most compact electric heaters for an RV that you’ll find out there. It also remains cool to the touch even as it delivers comforting heat on its highest setting.

Comfort Zone Oscillating Tower Ceramic Heater

Comfort Zone Oscillating Tower Ceramic Heater

BTUs: 5,120

Watts: 1,500


  • Lightweight, compact, and affordable
  • Delivers efficient heat and offers two heat settings
  • Oscillates up to 80 degrees for wider distribution of warm air.

Any list of the best electric heater models wouldn’t be complete without another tower heater. And clearly, Comfort Zone is one of the leading providers of portable electric heaters for RV use.

This design is similar to the smaller oscillating quiet heater we highlighted above, so it delivers reliable ceramic heating while spreading it over a wide area with a tower that oscillates up to 80 degrees back and forth.

Unlike gas heaters, it’s a quiet electric heater for RV use and it includes an advanced safety system. That safe heating system features a safety tip-over switch, an overheat protection sensor, and a cool-to-the-touch body with a molded handle for easy carrying.

The tower measures 15.5″ H x 7.8″ W x 6.5″ D and weighs less than five pounds. The tall design makes it easy to store in an RV closet or behind a chair when you’re moving and it comes with a six-foot power cord to provide some flexibility when it comes to where you set it up.

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Types of The Best RV Electric Heaters Explained

As you saw from our list above, the best electric heater for RV use may come in a variety of forms: oil-filled, infrared, wall-mounted, and vortex. You might be confused about which type of electric heater to get for your RV.

Here’s a breakdown of the difference between all those heaters.

Oil-Filled Electric RV Heaters

Oil heaters are really popular electric heaters for RVs. Owners say they are soundless and heat a room nicely. Unlike heaters with fans, an oil heater slowly circulates hot diathermic oil.

The heaters use thermal convection and radiant heating to pull cool air in and push hot air out via oil-filled fins.

Many say oil-filled electric heaters for an RV are great as they are energy efficient. This type of portable heater stays hot even after you turn it off. It’s one of the best electric heaters for an RV as it works well to warm up a small space.

Infrared RV Electric Heaters

Infrared heaters use infrared light rays to heat up a space. This type of radiant heat transfers heat to nearby objects and people, which can make surfaces much warmer. Infrared is the same type of rays that come from the sun.

This type of electric heater for RV use is great for a drafty motorhome, as it will warm you up before it heats the air. One RVer says she loves using an infrared electric heater in her RV because it helps keep the floor warm.

Vortex Electric Heaters for an RV

A vortex electric heater for an RV uses forced air technology similar to using a furnace. This type of space heater doesn’t use intense heat to warm up a small space. Instead, it quickly circulates hot air throughout the room.

You’ll enjoy a quiet portable heater that efficiently heats up your RV. Vornado currently makes these vortex space heaters.

Fan-Based Electric Heater for an RV

A common type of electric heater is the small personal fan-based space heater. These won’t heat up a huge area, but work nicely in smaller spaces like bedrooms or your RV bathroom. Of course, this depends on the size of the RV you’re trying to heat.

A fan-based electric heater for an RV is just what it sounds like: a fan is used to circulate hot air throughout a room. A heating element inside the space heater is usually made of metal or ceramic.

Electric RV Heater Safety Tips

An RV electric heater on a wooden floor

While the best electric heater for an RV is an affordable and reliable way to heat your motorhome, safety is always a priority. This isn’t a “set and forget” device you can just leave on all day while you go for a hike.

We use an electric heater on our sailboat, and we are always around when it’s on. Electric heater thermostats experience something known as hysteresis, which essentially means they may not kick in until the temperature inside your RV actually dips 2-3 degrees below your thermostat setting.

So being present when your electric heater is running is imperative to safety, as well as your comfort if you need to make manual thermostat adjustments.

Here are some additional electric heater safety tips from

  • Make sure the space heater you purchase has an emergency shut-off feature if the electric heater tips over or gets too hot.
  • Have both smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in good working condition.
  • Place the heater on a hard, non-flammable surface, not on carpets or rugs.
  • Use a space heater at least three feet from combustible liquids like fuel, spray cans, or paint. These should never be inside your RV anyway!
  • Keep the space heater far away from your RV furniture or drapes.
  • Never leave your space heater unattended.
  • Make sure the cord and outlet you are using are rated for the wattage rating required for your electric RV heater.
  • Know your RV’s AC electrical limitations so you don’t overload a circuit and trip a breaker.

Power/Fuel Sources for Portable Space Heaters Explained

Before you pick out the best electric heater for your RV, you’ll need to figure out what type of heater works best for you. We’ve covered the best electric heaters for an RV in this guide, but you may also be curious about what other heaters are available.

Each type of camper heater has its own ups and downs, so there isn’t a universal best space heater for all RVs. It really depends on you and your unique space and needs. Still, it’s important to know the pros and cons of electric versus gas heaters (i.e. propane).

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 connect to a propane tank instead of running on 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 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 a propane heater, though as we’ll go on to discuss, electric heaters have their own share of hazards. 

If you want to check out a propane gas heater, a popular one is this Mr. Buddy propane space heater.

RV Electric Heaters

RV electric heaters run off of…you guessed it…electricity! They can simply plug into any outlet and power up. Suppose 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. In that case, RV electric heaters are an extremely convenient option. 

RV covered in snow - the best RV heater is essential in winter

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 an RV propane heater, and the power they draw might be too much for your unplugged system. 

The best RV electric heater tends 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 an RV propane heater, the cost to operate them 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 this 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 electric heaters seem much safer to most users. Though, it should be noted that RV electric heaters have some hazards, too.

Most portable electric heater manufacturers use 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.

FAQs About Electric Heaters for an RV

Your buying decision should be guided by as much information as possible. Let’s answer some of the most commonly asked questions about RV space heaters.

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 to maintain your desired temperature.

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.

Most of the best electric space heaters for RV use offer a heat output of around 5,100 BTUs, which is what you get with 1500 watts. The BTUs will lower depending on whether you’re using the low, medium, or high heat setting on your electric RV heater.

Small RV heaters make traveling any season easier
Exploring every season is easier with RV heaters.

Is an electric space heater more efficient than my RV furnace?

The short answer is yes because space heaters are generally more energy efficient and less expensive than an RV furnace. The biggest benefit, however, is having multiple power sources for heating your RV.

You’ll have the best RV heater that runs on electricity when you’re plugged in at a campground and you’ll be able to use your RV’s propane heater when boondocking or between destinations.

Can I plug my electric RV heater into an extension cord?

Most heater manufacturers will strongly recommend that you DO NOT use an extension cord to power a space heater. You’re better off changing the location of your heater by finding a new AC outlet that’s closer to wherever you want it to live.

In some cases, you may be able to utilize a heavy-duty extension cord in conjunction with an RV surge protector to run your electric space heater. However, you should always consult the manufacturer’s operating instructions to ensure you’re using your RV heater safely.

Can I save money by using an electric heater for RV heat?

In most cases, yes. Most RV parks and campgrounds don’t charge for electricity based on usage (i.e. you’re not “on the meter” once you plug in). So if you’re running a little low on propane, you’re better off relying more heavily on electric heat.

The only times I’ve seen campgrounds charge for electricity usage is for long-term residents paying a monthly rate to stay. In that case, purchasing propane can actually be more affordable than letting the meter run extra by plugging in a space heater.

But if you’re a weekend warrior or you’re just camping for a short period, relying on electricity is a safe bet. And it will also allow you to go longer between visits to a propane refill station or a location where you can swap out empty propane tanks for filled replacements.

Which is better: a ceramic, oil-filled, or infrared heater?

As you’d probably guess, each heater type has its specific advantages. Let’s quickly break it down:

Ceramic heaters heat a larger area, provide more portability, and they’re generally safe to use around kids and pets.

Oil-filled heaters are better for medium-to-large rooms, operate quietly, provide excellent long-term heat if you’re willing to wait for the temperature to come up initially, and are better for people with allergies because they don’t include a fan that spreads dust particles.

Infrared heaters provide quicker and quieter heat than ceramic heaters, but they do tend to consume more energy for comparable heat output.

Do space heaters emit carbon monoxide?

The good news is that the answer is no. Carbon monoxide is a gas output of heating devices that burn some type of fuel to produce heat. Your RV furnace produces carbon monoxide, and so do your refrigerator and water heater when operating on propane, which is why your RV should always be equipped with a carbon monoxide detector that has healthy batteries and isn’t expired.

Conclusion on The Best Electric Heaters for an RV

Exploring every season is easier with RV heaters. But an RV electric 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 electric RV heater for your space and desired heat output.

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 the best RV heater for your motorhome or travel trailer.

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