Best Electric Heater for RVs: Stay Warm and Cozy on the Road
Heat up your living space and never be cold again with these electric RV heaters
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PUBLISHED ON September 12, 2019
If you travel in a camper during the winter, staying warm is an important factor. One of the best ways to ensure everyone inside is comfortable is with an electric heater. These compact and lightweight units can be stowed away in the RV and are powerful enough to heat up the whole vehicle. Check out the best RV heaters to consider for your future travel excursions.
- Best OverallCaframo True North HeaterSummarySummaryComes with a built-in thermostat and is equipped with five adjustable settings and 1,500 watts of power.ProsProsThe anti-freeze mode automatically allows it to turn on when the temperature drops below 38-degrees Fahrenheit. It's made of a solid steel durable housing and can’t be tipped over due to its compact shape.ConsConsThe fan is loud and can be irritating, it may not heat up large spaces very well, and it may take a bit of time to properly warm-up.
- Best ValueAndily Electric Space HeaterSummarySummaryThis heater provides 1,500 watts of ceramic heating and includes three heating modes: high heat, low heat, and fan only.ProsProsIt comes with an adjustable thermostat and features two safety features. One automatically shuts off the system when the parts start to overheat, while the second is a tip-over kill switch to stop it if it falls on its side.ConsConsIt is not the quietest model on the market and is not as durable as more expensive models.
- Honorable MentionLasko Ceramic Portable Space HeaterSummarySummaryThis portable electric heater provides up to three ultra-quiet fan settings with 11 various temperature controls.ProsProsIt includes built-in overheat protection to ensure the heater cuts off power if the components reach dangerously high levels of heat. It’s also equipped with a cool-touch exterior feature.ConsConsThe heater does not include a tip-over kill switch. Another drawback is the thermostat does not actually include numbers, such as 72-degrees Fahrenheit, for example.
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Benefits of Electric RV Heater
- Keep warm in winter. Perhaps one of the most important factors of an RV heater is keeping you warm. In many cases, not even a travel trailer’s onboard heater will provide enough heat. However, an electric heater can make all the difference. It heats up quickly and can provide warmth throughout the entire vehicle.
- Relax your muscles. Heat is also a large factor in calming nerves, tension, and muscles. Following an exhausting day of hiking, driving, or camping in the cold can take its toll on your body, so heating up the RV is a great way to relax and calm down.
- Use them in other spaces. Electric RV heaters can also be portable. This allows you to bring them with you to the house or office if you want to use them in a different space.
- Protect the RV. An RV heater is one way to prevent mold or mildew from forming in and around the camper. The cold can also damage the RV after long periods of time. Making sure it is properly and sufficiently heated will keep it from being damaged by the temperature.
Types of Electric RV Heaters
Radiant portable heaters emit powerful infrared rays to heat up an area. While they don’t warm the actual air, their energy is focused on heating objects. One major benefit of these heaters is that they are capable of heating things rather quickly. However, they should be monitored closely.
Fan-forced heaters circulate heat by pushing air through a heated electric element. This makes for a much more slower and comfortable release of heat. They gradually warm up a space rather than heat it immediately. Therefore, the larger the area, the longer it will take to effectively warm it up.
Convection heaters use what are known as convection currents to heat up spaces; however, this does make them quite slow. However, they are more reliable in smaller spaces where they are able to warm the air more quickly. That cycle continues until the entire area is filled with warm air.
The company began as a small shop located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, more than 100 years ago. Lasko designs a wide variety selection of fans, heaters, air purifiers, and humidifiers, with one of its most popular heaters being the Lasko Ceramic Portable Space Heater.
Caframo is a manufacturing company founded in 1955 by Hans Heidolph Senior. Based in Ontario, Canada, Caframo develops and designs high-quality fans and heaters, including the Caframo True North Heater.
Electric RV Heater Pricing
- Under $30: In this price range, you’ll find a small number of RV heaters. Many will be fan-forced heaters, but you can also find others powered by different sources. Above all, you will want to focus on the quality of the heater and stay away from anything cheaply made that could be a potential fire hazard.
- $30-$100: Here is where you will find a wider selection of heaters, including infrared and fan-forced models. Higher-priced products generally include more features for your buck such as a better quality casing, heating elements, and added convenience like remote controls.
- Over $100: This price point is for anyone who needs to heat a large area quickly. These heaters are similar to heaters found in your home. They are robust, heavy, and quite powerful.
Automatic Safety Shut-Off
Many RV heaters come with their own automatic shut-off feature to control how hot they get. The auto shut-off kicks in when the temperature reaches a dangerously high level or after a specified amount of time. With an automatic shut-off, you don’t have to worry about turning it off after a certain time.
All RV heaters have their own heating options and controls. This includes adjusting the heat by choosing how high you want the temperature to go. You can either select a specific temperature or hit a few buttons to control the range of heat. Consider purchasing a heater with several options for more versatility.
Being cold is not fun, so you will want to find a camper heater that warms up quickly. Locating one that is capable of heating up instantly is the best way to stay warm, but you can also find less expensive heaters that take a few minutes to reach appropriate temperature.
A crucial factor concerning RV heaters is finding one with proper safety features. You’ll want one that has overheating protection and tip-over protection. An RV heater with these options will lower the odds of starting a fire.
- Size: If you have a smaller RV, you may not need a powerful heater. But there are also compact heaters that can put out a surprising amount of power and heat to warm up large spaces.
- Controls: Higher-quality heater models come with remote controls for convenience. While most have dials or buttons that require you to be nearby to operate them, a remote gives you the freedom to adjust the temperature from afar.
Best Electric RV Heater Reviews & Recommendations 2019
Best Overall: Caframo True North Heater
This small and lightweight electric heater comes with a built-in thermostat to monitor and report its exact temperature. It is equipped with five adjustable settings and 1,500 watts of power to give you a steady flow of hot air to effectively heat a camper. The buttons are easy to access on the top of the machine.
You can switch the settings to heat, anti-freeze, and fan only, which provides a number of ways to control the temperature. The inclusion of the anti-freeze setting automatically allows it to turn on when the weather drops below 38-degrees Fahrenheit. Its design is made up of a solid steel housing, making it quite durable. It can fit in small spaces and cannot be tipped over due to its compact shape.
One downside is it can be a bit on the loud side due to the fan noise and also with clicks and hums. So, if you have it on at night while sleeping or you are sensitive to noises, you may be kept awake by the machine. It also may not heat up large spaces very well and may take a bit of time to properly warm-up.
Best Value: Andily Electric Space Heater
Andily’s compact RV heater may look small, but it releases a large amount of heat with its maximum 1,500 watts of power. One feature we like is the inclusion of three heating modes: fan only, low heat, and high heat. Plus, power indicator lights keep you aware of when it is plugged in and powered up.
As an electric ceramic heater, it is capable of producing an abundant amount of heat quickly and powerfully. The included thermostat allows you to see just how warm it is at a glance. It also includes two safety features: The first automatically shuts the heating system down when the parts start to overheat, while the second is a tip-over kill switch to stop it if it ever falls on its side.
While it does come with a convenient handle to carry it around it, the heater may not be as durable as other brands. However, that may be due to its lower price point. Another thing to note is that it is also rather noisy as the fan remains on during operation. This isn’t that big of a problem, but it can be if you’re trying to watch TV, listen to conversations, or sleep.
Honorable Mention: Lasko Ceramic Portable Space Heater
The size of this ceramic space heater makes it extremely portable, so moving it around the RV is a breeze as is heating up any room. The 1,500-watt heater provides up to three ultra-quiet heat settings with 11 various temperature controls. Combined with the included thermostat, it gives you the simplicity of choosing the temperature you want inside the RV.
One extra safety features is a built-in overheating protector. This ensures the heater cuts off power if the components ever reach dangerously high levels of heat. It’s also equipped with a cool-touch exterior feature. This keeps the body and casing cool so you can move it around without worrying about it burning you.
One of the biggest downsides of this heater is it does not include a tip-over kill switch. You will need to keep it somewhere secure so you don’t run the risk of knocking it over. Another drawback is the thermostat does not actually include numbers, like 72-degrees Farhenheit, for example. You will need to have your own thermostat or temperature gauge to determine the exact heat inside the RV.
- When you are not using the RV heater, make sure to turn it off and unplug it. It is not advisable to leave it on without supervision for safety reasons.
- To prevent the heater from being knocked over, keep it out of the way of where people will be walking.
- Many heaters can be mounted on the wall or ceiling to keep them out of the way of pets and people.
- Monitor the heater every time you use it to ensure it is in proper working condition. A malfunctioning heater can quickly lead to a potential fire.
Q: How long does an RV heater take to heat up?
A: This depends on the heater and the space provided. While some heaters will begin to warm up shortly after you plug them into a power source, others can take several minutes before reaching the desired temperature.
Q: How long do heaters retain heat after they’re turned off?
A: Camper heaters can retain heat for a short time after they're powered off. Some may remain hot for between 15 and 30 minutes. Eventually, they will cool off, allowing you to freely move them and store them.
Q: Are RV heaters safe?
A: Some heaters are equipped with an automatic shut-off timer to prevent them from reaching dangerously hot temperatures. However, heaters that remain on indefinitely have the potential to reach high levels of heat. If one feels hotter than it should, turn it off and unplug it.
If you want to heat up your RV with an effective electric heater, consider the Caframo True North Heater.
Or, you could go for the compact yet powerful Andily Electric Space Heater for a more budget-friendly option.