Best Electric Heater For RV Use (Top 3 Heaters Compared)

No matter how well insulated your camper is, it can get downright cold inside in the winter months (and even cold spring and fall nights).

Even if you have a built-in furnace or heat pump, you may still need an electric heater for several reasons:

  • To provide extra heat in extreme cold
  • To heat certain areas of the RV, for example, the bedroom
  • To save on propane
  • And so on!

Whatever your reason for needing an electric heater is, we have you covered!

Below we help you find the best electric heater for RV use by comparing and reviewing the top 3 models on the market today. And check out our electric heater buyer’s guide for important buying and safety tips.

RV Heater Comparison Chart

DescriptionAwardPrice
Editor’s Choice Heat Storm Phoenix Infrared Space Heater Heat Storm Phoenix Infrared Space HeaterBest OverallSEE PRICE »
Caframo Limited True North Space Heater Caframo Limited True North Space HeaterBest ValueSEE PRICE »
Lasko Ceramic Portable Space Heater Lasko Ceramic Portable Space HeaterBest BudgetSEE PRICE »

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Heat Storm Phoenix Infrared Space Heater

  • Best Overall

Despite its smaller size, Heat Storm’s Phoenix Space Heater packs quite the punch. This heater can provide up to 5200 BTUs of heating power, which is enough to warm up any RV interior. Owing to its patented HMS technology, the Phoenix also safely produces this heat without affecting a room’s humidity and oxygen levels.

Whether you’re adjusting the heat output or monitoring the temperature, this heater’s touch control interface and LED display is easy to use and understand. It also comes with a remote control for extra convenience.

You can opt to attach the Phoenix to your RV’s walls or on the floor. Regardless of your choice, installation is hassle-free and requires no special tools.

Lastly, the heater’s infrared heating technology is extremely energy-efficient, allowing you to enjoy the comforts of a warm RV without a significant rise in your vehicle maintenance bills.

Key Features

  • Streamlined interface with remote control, touch display, and Wi-Fi smart feature.
  • Safe and efficient infrared heating with patented HMS technology.
  • Versatile and convenient installation with wall-mounting functions and removable feet

Specifications

  • Maximum Heat Output: 5200 BTUs
  • Heating Type: Radiant heating
  • Dimensions: 18.75 x 4.5 x 12.75 inches
  • Weight: 8 pounds
Pros
  • Convenient temperature control features
  • Safety features (ETL Safety Certified)
  • Light and portable frame
  • Instantaneous installation
  • Noise-free heating
Cons
  • Heat output can fluctuate occasionally
Heat Storm Phoenix Infrared Space Heater

Heat Storm Phoenix Infrared Space Heater

Price:
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Caframo Limited True North Space Heater

  • Best Value

If you’re looking for the perfect split between quality and affordability, Caframo’s True North Heater is an excellent choice. This model is capable of producing up to 5200 BTUs using forced-air heating.

The heater is compact enough to fit in smaller spaces, and its unique shape makes it impossible to tip over accidentally. Don’t be fooled by its size though: the True North Heater’s durable solid steel frame is built to last.

It is also jam-packed with useful features like easy-access temperature controls and a built-in thermostat. For settings, you can switch between fan only, heat, and anti-freeze. The latter is incredibly convenient because the unit turns on automatically when the temperature drops to 38oF.

One qualm we have with this heater is its noise levels. Because it uses forced air heating, the fan produces faint hums and clicks. This won’t be an issue, however, unless you’re very sensitive to sound.

Key Features

  • A built-in thermostat makes for easy temperature adjustment and regulation
  • Five different settings to adjust the fan speed and heat output
  • Dual overheat protection
  • Five-year warranty

Specifications

  • Maximum Heat Output: 5118 BTUs
  • Heating Type: Forced Air
  • Dimensions: 9.25 x 4.4 x 4.4 inches
  • Weight: 5.25 pounds
Pros
  • Convenient anti-freeze setting
  • Good heat output
  • Five-year warranty
  • Durable frame
Cons
  • Fans might be too noisy for some
Caframo Limited True North Space Heater

Caframo Limited True North Space Heater

Price:
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Lasko Ceramic Portable Space Heater

  • Best Budget

Despite being the most compact model in our list, the Lasko Space Heater remains a strong contender. With a small, light frame and an integrated carry handle, this portable heater is especially convenient for the frequent traveler. Regulating the temperature is also a breeze with its multiple settings and adjustable thermostat.

Because it uses ceramic heating, the Lasko Space Heater remains silent even under maximum output. The exterior remains cool even if you run it on the highest setting, so you don’t have to worry about getting burnt. This unit also comes with overheat protection that maintains safe temperatures even if left on for more extended periods.

This heater is a reliable option if you’re on a tight budget but still want a quality model. You also don’t have to worry about costly repairs or replacements any time soon because every Lasko Space heater comes with a generous three-year warranty.

Key Features

  • Adjustable thermostat with a heat dial to change the temperature to your liking
  • Multiple settings that adjust the fan speed and heat output
  • Ceramic heating provides quiet and efficient performance
  • Light and compact frame, combined with a convenient carry handle, enhances portability
  • Built-in safety features prevent the unit from overheating

Specifications

  • Maximum Heat Output: 5118 BTU
  • Heating Type: Ceramic Heating
  • Dimensions: 5.7 x 3.7 x 9 inches
  • Weight: 3.5 pounds
Pros
  • Simple control interface
  • Quiet and efficient heating
  • Affordable
Cons
  • No remote control
Lasko Ceramic Portable Space Heater

Lasko Ceramic Portable Space Heater

Price:
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Electric RV Heaters Buyer’s Guide

When it comes to getting a heater for your RV, it is imperative that you know what features are worth having. Our guide below can help steer you on the right path and make the buying process easier.

Electric Heater Types

Forced Air Heater

A forced air heater warms up an interior pushing out air that’s heated by an electric element. This type of heater is ideal for people who prefer gradual and consistent heating. This heater may not be the best choice for larger spaces because it takes longer to heat its surroundings effectively.

Caframo Limited True North Space Heater

Caframo Limited True North Space Heater

Price:
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Convection Heater

A convection heater uses convection currents to heat a room. Like forced air heating, convection heating is slow but consistent, making it more suitable for smaller spaces.

Many consider convection heaters to be a safe source of warmth because they don’t require hot coils. They are also light, small, and easy to move around your RV.

Ceramic Fan Heater

This heater, as the name suggests, uses a ceramic fan that improves its heating performance. Another great benefit of a ceramic fan is that it can provide constant warmth without getting hot enough to pose a burn risk or fire hazard.

Lasko Ceramic Portable Space Heater

Lasko Ceramic Portable Space Heater

Price:
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Radiant Heater

A radiant heater, also known as an infrared heater, does not rely on convection or fan systems to produce heat. It’s the best choice if you want very quiet heating since it doesn’t have a traditional heater’s hums and clicks.

Because of their design, radiant heaters also tend to heat up rooms much faster and expend less energy, but they are usually more expensive.

We highly recommend an infrared heater for RV use if it fits within your budget!

Heat Storm Phoenix Infrared Space Heater

Heat Storm Phoenix Infrared Space Heater

Price:
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Oil Heater

The oil in this type of heater acts as an excellent conductor that transports heat efficiently. Like models that use radiant heating, oil heaters also provide a very quiet performance. These heaters consume less energy and are less prone to causing burns or accidents.

Features To Look For In An RV Heater

Heating Capacity

Heating capacity should be on the top of your list of considerations when getting an electric heater for RV use. A unit may have many quality features but is virtually useless if it can’t provide sufficient heating.

BTUs and watts are the most common units used to determine heating power. Higher numbers equate to better heating capacities. Most brands will provide both of these units to better showcase the effectiveness of their heaters.

RV electric heaters generally have maximum wattages and BTUs of 1500 and 5000, respectively. These heating levels are often enough to warm up most RVs, but you can find many models that provide more heat if you have a larger vehicle.

Safety

Safety should also be among your top priorities, especially for appliances that produce heat. A faulty heater can damage your RV and potentially cause physical harm. This is why we recommend investing in a quality model with built-in safety features.

Many heaters come with overheating protection, cool-down times, and automatic shut-downs to prevent a mishap. To be on the safe side, we recommend that you never leave a powered heater unattended. Always turn it off when you leave the RV and before going to sleep.

Portability

A heavy and bulky heater has no place in a typical RV setting. You want a unit that is light and compact. Some heaters also come with handles to make transport easier.

With that said, bigger units usually provide more power. Depending on your needs, you may want to sacrifice a bit on portability in exchange for better heating.

Convenience

Electric heaters can come with many useful additions like built-in thermostats and multiple temperature settings. While not strictly necessary, these features might be worth the extra cost if you want a convenient and efficient unit.

For instance, you can get a heater with a remote control function, allowing you to change settings with the touch of a button. Some models can detect the surrounding temperature and automatically turn on when it gets too cold.

Power Consumption

Powerful heaters are more resource-heavy. They can take a toll on your trip’s budget if you’re not careful. For this reason, we recommend that you factor in the consumption rate when purchasing a heater.

As we’ve mentioned, some heaters (like radiant or oil) are more energy-efficient than others. It might therefore save you more in the long run to invest in a pricier model with more efficient heating.

Durability

Many RV trips involve going over bumpy and uneven roads. These continuous shocks and vibrations can easily damage a flimsy heater. You don’t have to worry about needing expensive repairs or replacements anytime soon with a quality unit.

You should always factor in a model’s design and materials to help you assess its durability. Another way to gauge the integrity of a heater is its warranty. A generous, long-lasting warranty conveys the manufacturer’s confidence in a model’s durability and gives you the confidence of safe operation.

Other Factors To Consider

Aside from its features, many other factors can influence what type of heater will suit your needs best:

The Size Of Your Vehicle

The bigger your RV’s interior, the harder it is to heat up. To compensate for the larger space, you need an equally powerful heater that can provide ample warmth.

Use the size of your vehicle to gauge what level of heating makes the best fit. As we’ve mentioned, a 5000-BTU heater is usually enough to heat most RV interiors.

How Insulated Is Your Vehicle

Just like your home, you want to make sure your RV is well insulated to hold in the heat produced by your heater, or all is for naught.

A well-insulated camper will be easier to heat and keep warm in winter, than one that is not insulated properly. And it may be able to do that with a much smaller, more energy-efficient, heater.

If your vehicle could use a little help as for insulation goes, check out our guide on how to insulate a camper for winter use.

Existing RV Heating Components

Electric heaters provide instant and localized heat that can be useful in many situations.

Even if your RV has built-in heating, you might need an extra heater when the temperature drops down too much or you need a source for localized heat, like in your bedroom.

Traveling Conditions

If you mainly travel during colder weather, you need a heater that provides enough BTUs to keep your RV warm. Conversely, getting a lower-powered heater can save you some money if you often go camping in areas with temperate or warmer climates.

A regular electric heater also dries up the surrounding air. Low-moisture air can cause dried skin, cracked lips, and even headaches. If you’re traveling in drier conditions, you might want to bring a humidifier to improve the air quality.

On the other hand, too much moisture in the air can cause condensation issues that can lead to damage. Or worse yet, mold issues. An electric heater can help warm up your camper without adding moisture to the air, unlike a propane heater. In other words, it can provide ample heat while keeping moisture out of your RV.

Your Budget

You don’t have to shell out the big bucks to get a good heater. If you do not need built-in Wi-Fi, remote control functions, and other extra additions, you can find many affordable options that will last you a long time.

Lasko Ceramic Portable Space Heater

Lasko Ceramic Portable Space Heater

Price:
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Clicking this link to make a purchase may earn us a commission at no additional cost to you.

Conversely, you might want to save up for a pricier option that comes with these convenient features.

FAQs

Why Choose An Electric Heater Over A Gas-Powered One?

Unlike gas heaters, every electric heater is clean-burning and operates at peak efficiency. More often than not, electric heating is more convenient because there’s no need for gas refills.

Lastly, portable electric heaters provide efficient, localized heating. That way, you won’t waste resources warming the whole RV if you only need to heat up a specific area.

What Is The Safest Electric Heater?

As long as you get a unit from a trusted manufacturer and follow its operating instructions, you shouldn’t have to worry about potential accidents.

As noted above, many models come with safety features that prevent too much heat from building up.

Radiant heaters are generally regarded as one of the safest forms of heating because they rely on electromagnetic waves to transfer heat instead of hot air.

Heat Storm Phoenix Infrared Space Heater

Heat Storm Phoenix Infrared Space Heater

Price:
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Clicking this link to make a purchase may earn us a commission at no additional cost to you.

Is It Safe To Use A Space Heater In An RV?

Yes, most electric space heaters are safe for RV use. With that said, every kind of heating appliance will always carry a risk. To be on the safe side, remove any flammable materials near the heater and turn it off when unattended.

Which Are Better: Infrared Or Ceramic Heaters?

It depends on your needs and preferences. Infrared heaters are more energy-efficient and don’t make any noise. They might be a better investment because they use up fewer resources for the same level of heat.

Ceramic heaters, on the other hand, are usually more affordable and portable.

Do Oil-Filled Heaters Use A Lot Of Electricity?

Most oil heaters save energy because they heat oil instead of air. The heater’s thermostat monitors the oil temperature more efficiently than a thermostat that checks the surrounding air temperature. This design is typically more effective at determining the power required to heat an interior.

How Long Does An RV Electric Heater Last?

Depending on the model and design, an RV heater can last anywhere between 5 to 25 years. Usually, smaller portable units have a 10-year lifespan, while larger ones tend to last longer with proper use.

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