Best Heaters for RVs 2020 – Reviews & Comparisons

Last Updated on March 26, 2020

rv heater

There are several different types of RV heaters, including oil, electric, and gas. There are also portable types, ones that are hard-wired into an RV, and others that are made to be efficient and durable. They keep you warm and comfortable during the winter and protect your appliances from damage. One glance at the market for heaters, though, and you’ll see that there are so many different options — you might have a hard time narrowing it down.

We’ve made your job easier by creating a list of reviews of the best heaters for RVs. There’s also a buying guide so you know what features and options to look for.

A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites

ModelPriceWarrantyEditor's Rating
Mr. Heater F274830
Mr. Heater F274830 MH18BR(Best Overall)

Check Price
3 Years4.90/5
Caframo Limited
9206CABBX
Caframo True North Heater(Best Value)

Check Price
5 Years4.65/5
Camco 57351
Camco 57351(Premium Choice)

Check Price
1 Year4.60/5
Fochea Portable
Ceramic Space Heater

Check Price
1 Year4.35/5
Lasko CA20100
Lasko CA20100

Check Price
3 Years4.30/5

The 5 Best Heaters for RVs

1. Mr. Heater RV Propane Heater – Best Overall

Mr. Heater F274830 MH18BR

Our best overall choice is the Mr. Heater RV Propane Heater because it heats spaces up to 450 square feet. It uses propane and is approved for indoor and outdoor use, which is good for RVs and while camping. It has several safety features, such as turning off if the heater is tipped over, the pilot light goes off, or it detects low oxygen levels. It also has a control knob that allows you to choose low, medium, or high heat.

This heater tends to use a large amount of propane, though, especially when you have it on high heat. Because of this, you should bring plenty of fuel when you travel.

Pros
  • 4,000 to 18,000 BTU radiant heater
  • Clean-burning
  • Approved for indoor/outdoor use
  • Several auto shut-off safety features
  • Low-, medium-, or high-heat control knob
  • Connects to a propane tank
Cons
  • Uses too much propane

2. Caframo Limited True North Heater – Best Value

Caframo True North Heater

The Caframo Limited True North Heater is one of the best heaters for RVs for the money. It has a slim and compact design that not only makes it portable but also ensures that it will fit in any size RV. It has an anti-freeze setting that allows it to continue to work even in very cold conditions. We found it to be quiet, especially on lower settings. The built-in thermostat works just like the one at home. Once it reaches the temperature you set, it has an auto shut-off.

We found the dial controls to be flimsy, so when you set the temperature, it often changes without you knowing. It also draws quite a bit of wattage, especially on higher temperature settings.

Pros
  • Slim and compact design
  • Anti-freeze setting
  • Built-in thermostat
  • Quiet
  • Portable
  • Auto shut-off once the temperature is reached
Cons
  • Flimsy dial controls
  • Draws a large amount of power

3. Camco 57351 Catalytic Heater – Premium Choice

Camco 57351

Our premium choice is the Camco Wave-8 Gas Catalytic Heater because it can be adjusted from 4,200 to 8,000 BTUs, which gives you a great deal of flexibility. It can also be wall-mounted or used as a portable unit. It’s a wave heater, so it operates on low-pressure gas. The heater is also equipped with a safety shut-off valve that prevents accidental fuel discharge. If you’re bothered by noisy fans and heaters, then you’ll appreciate that this type of heater is completely silent.

If you have a large RV, then this unit will likely not have enough BTUs to fully heat your living space. The quality of this heater is also questionable because the legs that must be used for the portable unit do not fit properly — you’ll be forced to drill new holes. Its heat output also isn’t that powerful. Because there’s no fan to distribute the warm air, it doesn’t do a great job of heating larger spaces.

Pros
  • Adjustable from 4,200 to 8,000 BTU/hour
  • Can be wall-mounted or used as a portable unit
  • Wave heater that operates on low-pressure gas
  • Equipped with a safety shut-off valve
  • Completely silent
Cons
  • Not enough BTUs for a large RV
  • Poor quality
  • Poor heat output

4. Fochea Portable Electric Heater

Camco 57351

For a portable, oscillating option, we recommend the Fochea Heater. It heats up fast thanks to its ceramic heat technology and can be used as a fan in the warmer months. It’s extremely quiet, which is great if you’re sensitive to noise. As for safety features, it will shut off automatically if the unit is overheating or tipped over.

For larger spaces, though, this heater doesn’t work well. It’s best as a personal space heater. The unit is advertised as having an automatic thermostat, but it actually only has a low/high dial. This heater also isn’t terribly efficient. It tends to run constantly without much heat to show for it.

Pros
  • Heats up fast
  • Extremely quiet
  • Overheat and tip-over protection
  • Portable and oscillating
Cons
  • Doesn’t have an actual thermostat as advertised
  • Not efficient
  • Best as a personal space heater

See also: Our reviews for the best budget space heaters of the year


5. Lasko CA20100 Fireplace Heater

Lasko CA20100

For an aesthetically-pleasing option, the Lasko Ultra Ceramic Fireplace Heater can make your RV look cozier with its fireplace-like design. It’s slim and portable, with an easy-grip handle. It has self-regulating ceramic heat so you don’t have to worry about having to continually adjust it. The cool-touch window ensures that no one will burn their fingers or hands on the flame. Lastly, it has three heat settings: high heat, low heat, and flame only.

As beautiful as it is, unfortunately, this heater doesn’t heat well. For larger spaces, the heater won’t be able to warm the entire room. Although this heater should be silent, we actually found it to be quite noisy. It’s also cumbersome and not very durable, since it breaks easily. It doesn’t last long before it stops working altogether.

Pros
  • Space-saving design with an easy-grip handle
  • Self-regulating ceramic heat
  • Cool-touch window
  • Three settings: high heat, low heat, and flame only
Cons
  • Unit is short-lived
  • Noisy
  • Not durable
  • Does not heat well

Buyer’s Guide

There are different types of RV heaters, and it’s important to know what features to expect from each. We’ve included a buying guide to help you determine the best RV heater for your needs.

Types of RV Heaters

There are three different types of RV heaters: gas, electric, and oil. The safest type of heater is electric because it has the least risk for being a fire hazard. Usually, a fan is needed to spread the hot air throughout the RV. There are also portable models that allow you to move your heater wherever you need it in your RV.

  • Gas-powered RV heaters are extremely good at warming your RV quickly and efficiently. However, fuel can be costly. It can also emit a chemical or unpleasant smell. Gas is flammable, so these heaters can pose a fire risk.
  • Oil RV heaters work by burning oil instead of gas. Unlike gas, however, oil takes longer to burn and isn’t flammable, which means it has less of a fire risk. Oil-powered heaters are usually used for radiators in RVs.

Required Maintenance

If you don’t want to spend a great deal of time performing maintenance on your RV heater, then it might be best to look into a portable heater. These require little maintenance, and the troubleshooting is much easier to handle.

Efficiency

A heater’s BTU is important in order to determine how big a space it can heat up. If you have a smaller RV with only 150 square feet of space, then you’d need a heater with around 5,000 BTUs. For 300 square feet of living space, you’d need 7,000 BTUs.

It’s also important to know how fast the heater can warm up your RV. You want one that can heat your space quickly without having it constantly running. The less power or fuel it can use, the more efficient and cost-effective it will be.

Durability

Since you could be traveling in an area that doesn’t have easy access to someone who could fix your heater or to a store to buy a new heater if yours gives out, it’s important to have a quality unit in the first place. You want it to be long-lasting and reliable. It should also be durable and not sensitive to temperature changes.

Safety Features

Built-in safety features are essential with heaters since they pose a safety hazard. Some have an auto-shut-off function if tipped over, which is especially helpful for portable heaters. Others have a fuel valve that closes when the pilot light goes out so you’re not still pumping gas out. There are also ones with built-in carbon monoxide sensors.

Power or Fuel Consumption

It’s important to know how much energy or fuel is needed to heat your space. You want an efficient heater, but you still need to know how much fuel to bring. You don’t want to be at a camp somewhere without easy access to fuel and run out in the middle of the night.

Conclusion

Our best overall choice is the Mr. Heater RV Propane Heater because it comes with numerous safety features, including auto shut-off in case the heater tips over, the pilot light goes out, or carbon monoxide is detected. It can also heat a large space, so it’s appropriate for larger RVs.

When it comes to best value, our choice is the Caframo Limited 9206CABBX True North Heater because of its slim, portable design. The built-in thermostat allows the unit to shut itself off when it reaches the set temperature, which saves you time and effort.

We hope our reviews and buying guide for the best RV heaters have helped you narrow down your own list of choices. Armed with all this information about RV heaters, you can find the best one for your needs.


Featured image credit: hop100k, Pixabay