Best RV Heaters: Keep Your RV Warm, Dry, and Mold-Free

Love RVing all year round? A spare or backup RV heater is a must

TheDrive and its partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links. Read more.

RVs, campers, and boats are notorious for attracting mold.  A good RV heater is a must for keeping your RV dry and cozy in cooler weather. An RV heater is also important in protecting your appliances from damage due to condensation and below-freezing temperatures. Check out some of the best RV heaters on the market. 

  • Best Overall
    Camco Olympian Wave-3
    Summary
    Summary
    The Camco Olympian operates on low-pressure gas. It can be wall-mounted or used as a portable unit. No electrical drain or battery connections make it ideal for an RV.
    Pros
    Pros
    It’s very efficient. On its maximum heat setting, a 20-pound propane tank lasts around 160 hours. On the low setting, it runs for around 300 hours. Since it’s a non-powered radiant heater, it’s perfect for going off-grid.
    Cons
    Cons
    Might emit a chemical smell during the first few uses. With a large RV in colder conditions, two units may be required.
  • Best Value
    Mr. Heater Buddy
    Summary
    Summary
    Don’t let the small size of this heater fool you: while it only measures 15 by 11.5 by 9.6 inches, it provides enough heat to warm up 225 square feet. It is safe and quiet.
    Pros
    Pros
    Mr. Heater has an easy-to-use digital dial. Included are convenient handles for moving it around. There is an auto shut-off if it’s tipped over, if the pilot light goes out, or if it detects low oxygen levels. A great optional air purifier is available.
    Cons
    Cons
    A common problem is issues with the filter system. Some users complain of poor customer service.
  • Honorable Mention
    Lasko Ceramic Portable Space Heater
    Summary
    Summary
    This personal space heater is great for small areas. It comes fully assembled. It has a 1,500-watt ceramic heating element with 11 different temperature settings. Features a cool-touch exterior.
    Pros
    Pros
    Its compact size and convenient carry handle allow it to be easily moved from the kitchen to the bedroom or anywhere else. An overheat protection feature ensures this heater does not overheat.
    Cons
    Cons
    It does not have a safety off switch in the event it tips over. It’s not suitable in large spaces at high heat.

Tips

  • At some point in your RVing adventures, you will probably run into cold weather and your onboard furnace will not turn on. An RV heater makes a great backup, so it makes sense to have one for emergencies.
  • A built-in RV furnace’s electric fan blower can be very loud. If you’re having a cold night, the blower can be very irritating as it cycles on and off all night. If you’re off-grid, it will run your batteries down.
  • In the winter, a low-heat RV heater is a must to keep mold at bay and water pipes from freezing during unexpected cold snaps. Even Florida experiences occasional below-freezing weather. 

FAQs

Q: Why do I need an RV heater when my unit has a built-in furnace?

A: Built-in furnaces are gigantic energy hogs that are heavy users of both propane and electricity. Most portable RV heaters are much more fuel-efficient and are a good energy-saving device for even casual RVers.

Q: I only use my RV in the summer months. Why would I need another RV heater?

A: Some locales can have unseasonably cold weather even in the summer, particularly at higher elevations. In the winter, an RV heater on minimum heat can keep mold at bay and prevent freezing during cold snaps.

Q: Which is better; propane or electric RV heater?

A: This depends on where you are. Propane and electricity costs vary all over the country. The big plus with propane is its portability if you enjoy backwoods RVing away from hookups and the grid.

Final Thoughts

We found the Camco Olympian Wave-3 to be the best all-around heater for most RVs and campers due to its good performance and durability. You can save money with our efficient budget pick, Mr. Heater Buddy.