The task of setting up a campervan is a big deal for most people today, especially if you aren’t some camping expert or have little experience as regarding the procedures beforehand. Choosing the specific items necessary for building a campervan is one of the most brainstorming acts during camp preparation, but we can all settle on a common ground which is that you would need some sort of heat source to counter the cold at night, which is where the best heater for campervan comes in.
There are several heaters out there on the market to choose from for satisfying your needs, coming with different energy sources such as the electric or portable gas heater for the campervan.
There are so many factors to put into consideration before picking the type that is best for you, and we are pretty sure after this article, you would be equipped with the right information to pick either the best campervan electric heater or the best gas heater for a campervan that would meet your requirements.
Also Read: Best Heater for tent camping
Can you live in a camper in the winter?
Well, the question of if living in a camper during the winter season is actually possible is yes, it’s possible, not without some . Attempting to live in a camper during winter can be pretty dangerous, due to exposure to cold, it would only be detrimental to you if you do not follow our recommendations.
What is most important is that you are able to generate enough heat and ensure you don’t lose them to the surrounding, especially at night, when fast asleep. This is where a right heater comes into play. The manufacturer’s heat insulation build on the van is most times not enough.
Hence we recommend you make use of either solar blankets, bubble insulation, or insulation boards and could even line your windows with heavyweight thermal curtains to keep heat trapped indoors. Also, take precautions to keep essential parts of your van warm at all times.
Types of heaters for campervan ǀ Motorhome ǀ Rvs
Just like we classified in our review, heaters for campervan, motorhome, or Rvs are mainly separated into four types, which are the gas, propane, electric, and wood type.
The gas and propane types of heater generate heat through the combustion of the gas or propane, which is then released into the environment. They could pose a threat of explosion when used carelessly and have a higher running cost than the electric and wood-burning stove type. However, they generate much more heat than others.
The electric model is known for its clean source of electricity generation and is really cheap to run. Using them, however, would require constant supply to electricity, which could be an issue for cans without supply, and they don’t generate as much heat as the gas or propane type.
Woodburning stove type is the most economical and cheapest to run amongst them all, generating heat by literally burning up wood in its compartment. They require constant wood supply, though, and don’t produce a high amount of heat.
Features to consider when choosing the best campervan Heater
- Heat source:
The first and foremost thing to consider before choosing a heater to purchase on the market is the heat source. As reviewed, it could either be gas, propane, electric, or wood stove powered, and depending on the nature of your campervan camp itself, pick a device that sufficiently suits your needs.
For example, we wouldn’t expect you to pick the electric type when you don’t have a sturdy supply in your camp area or camper van, and if your van has a poor ventilation structure, be sure to stay away from gas and propane heaters with excessive emissions. You can rather just decide to make good ventilation. At this juncture, we hope you do get the point.
- Heat output capacity/ campervan size:
The heat output capacity of the device should be able to serve the size of your campervan conveniently. Getting a smaller unit than recommended is sure to leave a lot left to desire during use. In essence, the larger a campervan, the higher the heat output of the model you choose should be, and otherwise.
Considering that you would be making use of this heater in a campervan, you should know that safety is of uttermost importance, and the top two features to have as per safety, is the overheat protection, as well as he tip over function. They both walk hand in hand to avoid fire or excessive emissions that could be fatal to the human body or ruin your van.
Having a small size is very important for the heater to qualify as a campervan as well as good mobility. This ensures that the device both takes very minimal space in the van since there are a whole lot of things that would still have to fit in.
- Other automatic features:
These include the timer, auto, or ECO mode, as seen in some, digital programmable thermostats, etc. These features, though, doesn’t affect the heat capacity directly. They help to make the overall user experience an awesome and much more convenient one.
Also Check this: Best Heater for above ground pool
Top 9 Best heater for campervan
Here are the Top 3 best portable gas heater for campervan
1) Eberspacher Espar Airtronic D2 air heater 12v Diesel with 80110003 control
Special features: push start, diesel-powered, electronic control, temperature regulator with integrated diagnostics, item weight, 17.64pounds, optional 7-day timer.
Its very compact in size, although it is pretty weighty (as opposed to other heaters), it still maintain good all-round mobility. Its small size makes it easy to fit into tight spaces in the campervan. With an electronic control interface, users interact with this device has been made a lot easier to understand and hence control.
This heater is powered by diesel, which gives it enough back up to generate sufficient heat as required, to keep you warm and comfortable. Being diesel-powered, however, is sure to guarantee a higher level of running costs as opposed to electric powered, but not to worry, this device consumes very little diesel. On purchase, it comes with the whole kit required for basic installation and a disc that contains the soft copy of the installations manuals.
This complete package helps to ensure a smooth and easy installation process, and for further comfort, there exists a temperature regulator with integrated diagnostics for keeping the heat at levels you want and nothing more. With a self-regulating design, the Eberspacher Espar Airtronic D2 air heater can pretty much work without the constant monitoring and impute of a user, effectively balancing temperature levels at mid-range.
Like many other quality heaters out there, this device is pricey, costing a lot to purchase, but in exchange, it gives you more than you could ever ask for. It also comes with a manufacturer’s 3-year warranty, which covers your investment in case of unexpected events, and if you choose, you can upgrade the temperature regulator to a 7-day timer.it is also a bit noisy on starting up, but then just blends into the environment after a while.
2) Webasto Air Top 2000 STC heater Diesel single outlet 12v Kit | 4111385C
Special features: push start, diesel-powered, temperature regulator (purchased separately), item weight; 6 pounds, product dimensions; 18 x 18 x 12 inches.
This is a pretty small in size, and very compatible heater, coming with everything you would need to set up in minima time, as well as a manual to make things easier. The heater is very light in weight, with just only about 10 pounds. Hence you can be sure it would make no difference in the sum-up of total load in your campervan. Its small size also allows you to fit it into tight areas such as under a seat or wherever you would like it to be.
With an electric start, the device possesses a button that allows the user to toggle between the on and off state just at the push of a button, while also designed with simple controls for easy operation. It is diesel-powered, though, which to some extent, would increase the running of using this device, though, on the upside, it consumes very little diesel while operating. Consumption levels are incredibly as low as 0.12 – 0.24 liters of diesel per hour.
Regardless of how important a thing is, the excess side would cause harm, which in this case, is overheating. To avoid this, though, a temperature regulator which can be purchased separately has been designed with this device, in order to help the user limit temperature to a safe level. This temperature regulator also comes with an option for upgrading to a 7-day timer if you so desire.
The device is very quiet while operating, contributing next to nothing in environmental noise pollution, and can be used alongside more conventional heating systems in campervans. Though it cost a lot of cash on the purchase, the performance of this device backs it up as an assurance on quality and be sure to get good performance feedback off it.
3) Happybuy 3KW Diesel Air Heater 12V Diesel Parking Heater 3000W Diesel Heater with Knob Switch
Special features: 3kw heat output, diesel-powered, item weight 9.9 pounds, knob control, air filter, temperature-controlled digital switch, heater exhaust emissions meet Euro and American IV engine emission requirements, diagnosis function, LCD control.
Another good performing gas-powered heater on our review list is the Happybuy 3kw model. Its design is pretty small and compact as most of the heaters on our list so far, enabling them to fit into small spaces. This, however, doesn’t hinder its performance in any way, as it still boasts a good amount of heat production output; of around 3kw.
It is very light in weight, with only about 9 pounds in total, hence a good mobile device for users, and it comes with a control knob which is used in adjusting user setting to suit your specific need. At the outlet in which it releases heat, there is a stationed filter with the basic responsibility of removing contaminants, while the device itself has an LCD controller display that serves as a good HMI (human-machine interface).
This heater can be used for quick heating up of coolants used in engines in situations when temperature levels are dangerously low, in order to get them up to speed really fast and comfortably.
There also exists an exhaust pipe through which emissions are gotten rid of, and it should be channeled outwards from the van for safety. For more comfort reasons, there exists an option of remote control, which can be used to toggle the heater’s preferences from a distance, should you decide to spend that extra bucks.
In all, it is very easy to couple and installs, and as per maintenance, it comes with a diagnosis function that helps a lot in user troubleshooting in case there is a fault, hence reducing maintenance or repair duration by a large distance. Emissions released by this heater meets the meet Euro and American IV engine emission requirements for standard safe levels.
Here are the Best Propane heaters for campervan
1) Suburban (2438ABK Nt-16Seq Furnace with Black Grill
Special features: electronic ignition, 16,000 BTU heat output, item weight; 24.2 pounds, product dimensions; 23.7 x 13.7 x 11.5 inches.
Glancing at this device, it basically looks like a box with quite little dimensions, and very compact in design. It is small in size, and wouldn’t take up much space when installed in your van.
Using this heater is pretty easy majorly due to the easy start-stop electronic ignition. Even though it is propene powered, it produces a good amount of heat in a short period of time, This heat would conveniently serve a campervan.
It can be used with a thermometer. In fact, we recommend you get one, though you would have to settle for purchasing it separately. It is useful for safety reasons for monitoring temperature levels of the van.
Like most other heaters that combust some sort of fuel to generate heat, this device also does, but not to a disadvantage, as included in the package, is a vent assembly. This helps to channel waste from the heater safely outdoors, preventing the associated hazards of those emissions. With a heat output of capacity of 16,000 BTU, it boasts impressive levels for its size, and hence very suitable for your needs.
Even the best machines with top quality and features could be annoying to have around if the problem of noise exists while it’s in operation. In this machine, however, that problem does not exist, as It have been designed to work very quietly, adding next to nothing as per noise pollution in the environment while in operation.
2) Camco 57331 Olympian Wave-3 3000 BTU LP Gas Catalytic Heater
Special features: 3,000 BTU heat output, works with low-pressure gas, safety shutoff valve, automatic piezoelectric sparker, catalytic heating, product dimensions; 5 x 12 x 15 inches, item weight; 1 pound,
The Camco 57331 Olympian wave heater leaves little to admire in other heaters out there, firstly coming with dimensions that gives an initial huge sized look but only weighs 1 pound. It is very slim and comes with a design that allows you to choose to mount or just place on the floor, and being a 1 pound weight heater offers basically the best convenience as per mobility.
Using this device is very safe due to the presence of a safety shutoff valve that prevents unintentional ignitions when not in use. Coming on, however, has also been made simple with the presence of an automatic piezoelectric sparker with a lifespan of about 20,000 sparks, which is sure to get you through the lifespan of the heater conveniently. As per heat production, it generates heat by applying catalytic heating, which is 99.98% efficient compared to the flame type that is only about 45%.
The problem of byproducts such as carbon monoxide being emanated from the heater is also absent in this unit, as it generates heat in a very clean way, while the absence of any electric drain or connection to your battery means there is no battery drain of your van. It is also very quiet during operation, due to the absence of blowing fan or blower noise.
Should you require heat in specific areas of your van like directly towards your seat, you can decide to purchase the optional radiation legs, which helps direct heat to where you want. It is overall very easy and safe to use and most certainly isn’t a bad option for those looking for the best heater for campervan. It has a downside, however, of being designed for secondary heating, hence producing very low heat quantity.
2) Mr. Heater F232000 MH9BX Buddy 4,000-9,000-BTU Indoor-Safe Portable Propane Radiant Heater
Special features: 9000 BTU heat output, swivel out fuel connection, foldable handle, high-temperature wire guard, porcelain-coated heated surface, shock-absorbing ceramic burner, oxygen depletion sensor (ODS), item weight; 9 pounds.
Bearing the looks of a portable radio set, but way lighter in actual weight, the Mr. Heater F232000 MH9BX Buddy is another good source of heat for your camper van. It is small and compact in size and comes with a handle stationed across the top sides to help lift and move around. It is, therefore, a portable type and not mountable like the Camco 57331.
With an output range of 4,000 to 9,000 BTU depending on the preference of the user, this machine boasts a good heat generation capacity and can be used as the main heating source of a campervan.
It is also suitable for pretty wide spaces of up to 250sqft, which is more than enough for most campervan today. Being powered by propene, the connector to the unit is a swivel out type, hence allowing easier connection as well as the option of using a cylinder canister or larger gas source.
A good safety measure is built with the device in the presence of an oxygen depletion sensor (ODS) and a tip-over shutoff. The ODS works to effectively knock off the machine as soon as oxygen levels drop low, hence preventing emissions from the machine from causing harm to the user. While the tip over function basically works by knocking off the heater when it goes falls over to its side, preventing heat concentration on a spot that can lead to fire hazards.
This device makes use of the radiated type of heating, which is very effective for heating objects directly in the room, rather than the air like a conventional heater. The front side of the heater, whereby heat is radiated from, has been coated with a porcelain surface, which helps in efficiently distributing the heat generated over wide areas, allowing the unit heat areas far away from it.
Should you decide to camp in a pretty high area, then this heater may stop working, as it ceases to function from 7000 feet and above.
Due to vibrations that would most certainly be encountered due to being in a campervan, the ceramic burner that generates heat has been designed with a shock-absorbing material, which keeps healthy regardless of the external environmental conditions.
Finally, it comes with a one year warranty on the purchase, and the front heated surface guarded with a high-temperature wire guard to avoid contact in case you have pets or kids around.
Here are the top 3 best campervan electric heater
1) Pelonis Space Heater in Steel Cover, Portable Oil Heater
Specifications: digital thermostat, remote control feature, oil-filled radiator, digital LED display, soft-touch buttons, ECO mode, foldable caster wheels, product dimensions; 19.09 x 7.6 x 26.38 inches.
Coming down to our array of heaters, this section is for electrically powered devices, and we would be considering Pelonis Space Heater first.
This device spans pretty wide in diameters, and therefore a little large in overall size, but then moving it has been made a whole lot easier with the presence of caster wheels beneath the unit. By the side is an LED display, which shows the temperature level of the room at every instance, while helping the user interact easier with the machine.
We must say that this unit produces a very impressive heat output, and is well and capable of serving a camper van. It comes with several safety features that have been put in place to maintain a harmless environment in the van.
These features include the digital thermostat hat does a job of preventing overheating, as it opens and closes the circuit depending on set temperature levels. It also possesses the famed tip-over protection that is basic in all heaters for preventing fire hazards f knocked over.
With a specially built-in ECO mode, the device is able to work independently, effectively toggling between the on and off state in order to balance temperature at safe levels. Its body design ensures that you don’t leave with burns if you mistakenly come in contact with it, while a specially made switch for locking up the device against tampering by children is present.
Being an oil-filled radiator type, heating is much more efficient and effectively given to the bodies in the room, hence be sure to feel the heat impact faster. Having a remote control is one of the most convenient ways of using a heater, and this device doesn’t disappoint in that area. It allows you to toggle its settings from the comfort of your couch.
2) Lasko 6405 Designer Oscillating Heater
Specifications: thermostat, product dimensions; 7.2 x 7.2 x 16.18 inches, item weight; 6.5 pounds, self-regulating element, widespread oscillation, ETL approved, oscillating heater seat.
This device features a very design compared to the first electric heater, the list, which is the Pelonis. This heater is an oscillating type coming with a stand that spans about 16.05 inches off the ground, hence lifting the heater off the ground and its heat higher up the atmosphere. It is made with ceramic, and pretty lightweight, just 6.5 pounds, hence easy to move around depending on where needed.
The ceramic element built into this eater, which generates the heat, is designed to be self-regulating for the purpose of enhanced safety, while it also comes with additional protection in the presence of automatic overheat protection. This kicks in as soon as the device gets too hot, shutting it off an allowing for cool down, hence preventing damage from excess heat or fire environmental hazards.
While operating, the body remains very cool too touch, unlike some heaters that get really hot, hence it is suitable for homes with pets and children loitering around.
For ease of comfort, the control buttons are stationed at the top side of the device, allowing the user easily operate from a standing position, and if you would rather your machine run for a while then shutoff in your absence, there is a built-in timer that allows you choose its working duration for more convenience.
This, in essence, is safe to use, very efficient in heat distribution due to the oscillating function but releases only about 1500 watts of heat. You wouldn’t expect that to run the whole world now, would you? It does a pretty good job though in small spaces. Also coming along with the purchase of this machine is a three-year limited warranty.
3) COSTWAY Oil Filled Radiator Heater
Specifications: adjustable thermostat, product dimensions; 5.5 x 12 x 14 inches, item weight; 8.6 pounds, fins width 4 inches, tip-over protection, front handle, permanently sealed oil,
COSTWAY Oil Filled Radiator Heater is basically a heater designed to optimize the use of heat fins for even distribution of heat in an environment. It comes with a simple design, being kind of narrow in width but much wide in length. There aren’t exactly control buttons asides the toggle on and off switch, and an indicator light to show when powered on or off. Weighing only about 8.6 pounds, this device joins the long list of easily mobile heaters in our review.
It is built with an adjustable thermostat, for varying the heat output capacity across different temperatures to suit your needs, while also having an overheat protection put in place to help prevent highly dangerous temperatures that could be detrimental to both the user and the heater itself. The tip-over protection is also in place to shut off the device immediately it is knocked off its feet.
Due to being an oil radiated type, and the presence of fins, the device is able to evenly distribute heat to the environment on both horizontal and vertical directions from all sides. This arrange helps for a very short heat-up time as well as heating. In essence, it would take lesser time for you to start feeling the heat from this device than most heaters.
It is really quiet while operating, and has a handle at the top side of the unit that allows for easy carrying around. You do not also have to worry about the oil-filled radiator heating element, as it is permanently sealed, hence would never need replacement. With a heat output of about 700W; however, this heater is much suited to small spaces only.
Find out here the best electric space heater for RV
Here is the Best Woodburning stove heater, We’ve only got one
Summers Heat 50-SVL17 Wood Burning Stove
Specifications: EPA certified, blower, fully lined fore box, product dimensions; 4 x 4 x 5inches, 4 ounces,
The word type heater isn’t really used in recent times, as most would prefer to go for the more automated and digitized ones. They, however, are a much cheaper option than the regular type. Pretty small in size, they are designed to only take woods of 16 inches in length, and having a large glass temperature ceramic glass at the front side, through which heat is channeled outwards into the atmosphere.
With a high-efficiency design, you are sure to get a longer burn time than one normally would using a specified amount of wood, while maintaining the good level of heat expected. The device comes with a blower attached to the packaging and a really good one at that for a zero extra cost. The blower helps ease maintenance and should be used for cleaning the large high-temperature ceramic glass.
Despite being the old wood-burning stove style heater, it does really well as per emissions released. Though it releases wastes as a result of wood combustion, it does in lesser quantity than a regular stove burner would. We recommend, however, that you have proper ventilation in any area where it is used because it lacks the low oxygen detector safety system.
Being really small in size, it cannot really serve spacious areas like a really huge van, but instead suitable as a secondary heating source. It is cheap, however, and can be an option if you are really tight on budget and done need too much heat in your campervan to keep you warm.
Heating a campervan in winter: best hacks
The following tricks would help you generate and retain heat in your campervan during winter;
- Keep yourself and Van warm by installing an exterior vinyl skirting around the RV, as they are able to effectively reduce interior heat loss by up to 25%.
- Packing snow around the RV bays is also an alternative for reducing heat loss.
- Make use of solar blankets, bubble installations, etc. for further reducing heat loss.
- Use a
- Line the van’s window with heavyweight thermal curtains
- Always keep the bay that holds your tank from freezing
- Use antifreeze in plumbing systems, including the grey and black tanks,
- Get a tank heater
- Never allow the sewage tank to get frozen.
How to heat a camper without electricity?
Heating a campervan without electricity is as basic as just getting a heater with a different energy source. If you don’t have access to power, simply purchase propane or gas-powered heater type to generate the quantity of heat that you would desire. A wood-burning stove type is also a good option if you don’t require a high level of heat too.
Bottom Line: Best Campervan Heater in the winter
Due to the fact that products were segregated and reviewed based on their power sources, the verdict would also take the same shape. After choosing which type of power source you would prefer in a heater or the most suitable f0r you, just simply follow our recommendations on which is best.
Concerning gas heaters, we would recommend the Eberspacher Espar Airtronic D2, as the best device for you. This is largely due to its being very modern and several automated features like the optional timer, electronic control, and temperature regulator with integrated diagnostics. The integrated diagnostics options ensure that maintenance is never a tedious and long action. It is also easy to install, as well as being able to produce a good level of heat and very portable.
For propane heaters, on top of our list is the Suburban (2438ABK Nt-16Seq). Coming with a heat output of 16,000 BTU, it basically beats every other propane heater with that alone regardless of any other additional feature. It’s a good thing its quality doesn’t stop there though, as it also has a good vent assembly for emissions and a convenient startup process with electronic ignition with noiseless operation.
The Pelonis Space Heater comes out top for the section of the electric heaters. It is able to produce a good source of heat that would do the temperature levels in your campervan just right, as well as coming with both the tip over and overheat protection for maximum safety. It is cool to touch, has a child safety lock, and digitally-led display with thermostat for maximum user experience.
You can also decide to go for the webastro air top 2000 as a second gas heater option, the Camco 57331 for propene type, and Lasko 6405 for the electric type. As regarding the stove type heater, the Summers Heat 50-SVL17 stands out as our single recommendation.
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