The main aim of an RV or recreational vehicle is to enable you to travel to unexplored places without worrying about lodging. A few of these unexplored places have extreme climates, while others are mild. If you happen to be visiting an unusually cold area, you might require a heating system that ensures your stay in your camper is comfortable and warm. It is at this point that you need to find the best electric heater for an RV.
The majority of RVs created today come with inbuilt propane-powered heating systems. Nevertheless, numerous RVers tend to opt for heaters that are powered by electricity. Additionally, some RVs do not come with a built-in heating system. If you are searching for the right electric heater for your RV to either replace or supplement what you have, then you need to read this guide. Let us begin.
Best Ceramic Personal RV Heater
A small, cost effective heater perfect for campers, trailers and smaller RVs.Check Amazon Price
This electric heater is the perfect option for a drafty RV or if you happen to not have a built-in heater in your camper. At 7.52 inches high and 6.34 inches wide, it is a compact enough and is enclosed in a metal. It is an electric heater that uses 1500 watts, making it quite a power-hungry appliance. You have to be aware that your usage is going to be noticed. It is portable enough to be carried along to just about anywhere as long as you have an outlet or a plug.
The temperature controller can be a little hard to control given that the heater comes with two knob controls one for the fan and another for the heat intensity (low, high, and fan-only). It is a ceramic heater you can get consistent, powerful heat output in small areas. It includes an LED light to let you know when it has been plugged one.
If there is one thing I do not like about this ceramic heater, it is the fact that you can’t control the temperature setting. You only have low or high, there is no way to control just how hot the heater gets.
Best RV Tower Heater
A high quality tower heater with some good features but unfortunately lacking tip over protection (which might be fine since you likely won't be using this when moving).Check Amazon Price
If you are searching for an electric heater that embodies power and flexibility, then the Lasko 751320 Ceramic Tower has to be looked at. The 22.5-inch 1,500-watt heater has been made from high-quality materials that have been designed to withstand high heat.
The heater is made from high-grade fibreglass material which ensures that it is cool to the touch. It does come with a handle, allowing you to be safely moved around when in use.
The controls are electronic, and you have a multi-functional remote to ensure that once you set up the heater you don’t have to get up or bend down to control the settings. This is actually a great feature, particularly if you have mobility issues or you have had a long day outside. It also helps that you don’t have to get out of bed if the heater is running a little hot, you can simply use the remote to adjust the settings or switch the unit off.
It comes with a widespread oscillating feature to ensure that the temperature of the heated space is kept even. It does have a built-in fan to move the air around the room but the fan only has one speed.
If there is another feature I love about this electric heater, it is the self-regulating feature. It has a time that runs for a maximum of 7 hours which in conjunction with the adjustable thermostat, you can be sure that it will shut off once it gets to the appropriate temperature. This means you can do other things in the RV without worrying about what the heater is doing.
It has quite a lot of inbuilt safety features such as its self-regulating ceramic element, overheat protection and its housing that is cool to touch.
One feature that is glaringly omitted on this list is the auto shut off when tipped over feature.
This means that while it can stop itself from overheating, there is nothing stopping it from becoming a fire hazard once it is tipped over. This is an important feature to miss considering it has a slender and tall design that can be prone to tipping.
You might want to reconsider getting this heater if you have pets or kids camping with you during the winter.
Best Infrared RV Heater
A high-tech, modern infrared heater providing a comfortable heat that you can mount to your wall and control through a remote or an app over your WiFi.Check Amazon Price
The Heat Storm Phoenix Floor to Wall Heater is the perfect solution to any small space or small-sized RV. You get a 1,500-watt rating on this heater, which produces 5,200 BTUs of warmth making it able to seamlessly heat up an RV. It is safe and cool to the touch, especially on the grill and that makes it a great choice for small spaces, particularly, if you have children or pets moving around the RV.
You get two modes with this heater, the full 1,500-watt power mode which is signified by a red leaf and the second mode that uses just half of the power at 750 watts, signified by a green leaf. You get a heat extender with Heat Storm’s HMS patented heat exchanger technology that enables maximum heat to pass through the infrared quartz bulbs with no heat loss whatsoever.
If there is one thing you need to be aware about this unit, it is the fact that it needs to be connected to a dedicated circuit. What this means is that you need to make sure it is the only high-powered appliance connected to that circuit in your camper. If you connect it into a circuit that already has a high-powered appliance on it, you could cause your breaker to pop.
This heater has been designed to be mounted on the wall and can be controlled through your Wifi router should you choose. There is a decently sized LCD display which shows what the room’s ambient temperature and it comes with a remote control (and an app) which makes operating and adjusting the RV heater easy. No more having to get up from your comfortable position simply because you need to adjust the RV.
One thing that is missing on this RV heater is the lack of a timer.
Best Oil-Filled RV Heater
This oil-filled radiator is very safe and durable, providing a slower, silent heat source for your RV.Check Amazon Price
This Aireplus oil-filled radiator is perhaps one of the best oil-filled heaters for a camper. The way it works is by radiating heat, which in turn gradually raises the temperature of the space. A disadvantage of this method is that it does not heat up a space as quickly as other heaters on this list, however, it can suitably maintain a comfortable temperature for an extended period.
If you intend on using this heater, then you should know that it could take a bit of time to heat up your trailer. So, the best thing would be to turn on the heater 2-3 hours before you actually need to use it, or get another heater that can instantly heat up your camper and use the Aireplus to maintain the RV’s temperature.
At almost 28 inches high and 20 pounds, it is not the most compact RV heater on this list. However, it does make up for it by having wheels. This means you can roll it from one side of the camper to another.
As with all heaters on this list, it is powered by electricity, so you have to either ensure your camper can suitably power it while off-grid or know that you will need to be at an RV park to fully utilize the heater.
It makes use of 1,500 watts to power the room but it has 2 additional settings 900 watts and 600 watts. it has an Eco Mode to help lower power consumption. You can set the temperature anything from 40 to 95 degrees. You also get a remote control ensuring that you don’t have to get up through the night if you need to re-adjust any of the settings.
A great advantage of this heater is that you don’t have to refill the oil, this means no additional costs. Additionally, since there are no moving parts, you don’t have to worry about maintenance as much.
This heater is specifically made for boats, RVs and small spaces. It's great for those looking to save space who don't want to pay for the Heat Storm Wifi heater.Check Amazon Price
The Caframo is perhaps one of the smallest heaters on this list, however, it does pack a punch ensuring that your camper remains warm. Despite its size, measuring 9 inches and just under 6 pounds, it can heat up your RV effectively and fast. It is constructed using reinforced metal, making it feel firm and reliable. You get a dark powder coat finish which makes the heater look like it will last quite a while.
It is a forced air unit but it actually doesn’t get as loud as other forced air units. With the heater on the lowest settings, you get almost no noise. An advantage of this unit’s heating method is the fact that air is forced forward, ensuring that heated air is distributed further and faster in the trailer.
Factors to consider when buying an electric heater for an RV
When it comes to purchasing an electric heater for an RV, you have to consider the following:
Any type of heating system can always be a safety hazard and that is why it is important to ensure the unit you want to purchase comes with certain safety features as standard. Some of these features include an automatic shutdown when the electric heater is tipped over. Additionally, built-in CO2 and CO sensors can be quite useful. Another standard safety feature is a fuel valve that closes once the pilot light is extinguished.
You also have to consider how efficiently it can burn its fuel (should it be a gas or oil heater), or just how electricity it requires to heat up a trailer. For this, you need to keep an eye out on the electric heater’s British Thermal Unit or BTU to ascertain how large a space it can heat. For instance, heaters with 5,000 BTUs can seamlessly warm-up 150 ft2, while 6,800 BTUs can warm up 300 ft2 efficiently.
You also have to consider just how large or portable the electric heater you have in mind is. You want something that can heat up a large space without being cumbersome. You also have to consider the design, weight and if it comes with wheels. It is always better to get an electric heater that comes with functions which add portability and convenience.
How difficult would maintenance be? The electric heater you purchase for your camper has to be easy to maintain. Would you be comfortable getting an electric heater that can be maintained by a beginner, or would you want one that requires an expert for any issue? It is always best to select the easiest option, I know I did. Considering that I have almost no knowledge of troubleshooting an electric heater, I picked one that required very little maintenance.
What is your budget range? Are you comfortable spending thousands of dollars for an electric heater for an RV that has all the latest features and capabilities? Or would you prefer something that does away with the frills instead and just doing the job?
Benefits of Electric RV Heater
Here are a few benefits of getting the best electric heater for an RV:
You remain warm during winter months
This is without a doubt one of the most integral benefits of getting a heater for your camper. if you happen to be camping in the winter, your trailer’s built-in heater might not be adequate enough, especially if your trailer is not an all-weather one. An electric heater has the opportunity to make the difference. For one, it can heat up any space quickly, ensuring that warmth is spread throughout the camper.
Helps you relax
After a long day of exploring the outdoors, there is nothing like putting your feet and relaxing your muscles by the fire. You can’t have the actual fire in a trailer but an electric RV heater would do. Heat can be a major factor in helping to calm nerves, release tension and relax muscles. if you are camping during the winter, coming back to a warm RV can make all the difference.
Can be portable
An electric RV heater can be small enough that you can move them from one spot in the RV to another. Additionally, they can be securely stored when not in use.
Can protect your camper
Using an electric heater for your camper can be a great method to prevent mildew or mould from forming. Additionally, the cold weather can harm your camper, if you winter camp for prolonged periods. When you sufficiently and correctly heat your camper, you prevent it from being weather damaged.
How to safely use a space heater in an RV
- Ensure that flammable items are kept at least 4 feet away from your heater.
- If you have children camping with you in the RV ensure that they are supervised when near the heater.
- Before operating the heater, make sure you read the owner’s manual and that you follow the instructions of the manufacturer.
- If your heater does not have an inbuilt CO sensor, install one in your RV
- You should also install propane and smoke detectors
- At no point should you leave the heater running while you are not in the RV. It doesn’t matter if you are just stepping out for a second.
- Do not use a heater that does not come with the automatic shutoff feature when tipped.
- your heater has to be on a flat, solid surface.
- Before turning the heater on, make sure you check it for defects or damages. Keep an eye out for broken or loose plugs and cables.
- Don’t plug your heater into a power strip or an extension cord. make sure that it is plugged directly into a socket.
Types of electric heaters
A ceramic heater generates heat by heating up a PTC ceramic element in the heater, which then warms the air, then that warm air is dispersed into the space. There are numerous benefits to a ceramic heater:
- they have a compact design making them portable
- they can cover a larger heating area
- they do not require to be powered by any fuel
- they offer greater efficiency
A tower heater is so named because of the shape it takes. It works just like any old electric heater; however, it is taller than most heaters. Some of the benefits associated with a tower heater are:
- they do not take up a lot of space
- they can be set up quite easily
- They can heat up a space in the shortest amount of time
An infrared heater works by transferring energy from the heater to an area with a lower temperature via electromagnetic radiation. You should get an infrared heater for your trailer because:
- They have no moving parts, so maintenance is limited
- they don’t take long to warm up no matter how long they have been off
- they provide a gentle and comfortable heat
- you get instant heat
- They do not draw moisture out of the air when heating
Oil-filled heaters utilize radiant heat to heat up a space. This is done by heating fins that contain oil. It is important to note that the oil is never burnt, only heated so you do not have to replace the oil. Oil-filled heaters are great because:
- They offer better safety as there are is nothing to ignite and the heater turns off once it gets to a temperature threshold
- They can emit heat for quite a while
- Oil-filled space heaters come with few moving parts so that makes them very durable
- Given that they do not have a blower or fan, they are silent
There really is no disadvantage to using a heater in an RV. That being said, you must select the one that correctly suits your needs. For instance, if your camper is large enough to house the entire family, then you might consider getting a centralised heater instead, given that most of them won’t be in the same place all the time. If you are a solo camper, or it’s just you and your partner, then a portable RV heater is suitable for you. It can help you save quite a bit of money. All you need to do is place the heater where you are and you remain warm. When selecting the best electric heater for an RV, you have to consider quite a few factors, however, safety has to be your biggest priority.