Different Types of Space Heaters for RVs 2551

With winter right around the corner and temperatures in some areas of the country starting to take a nosedive, many RVers are thinking about either outfitting their rig for the winter months or prepping it for storage and a long hibernation until springtime.

If the former applies to you, then shopping for a space heater for your RV might be one of your next moves. Even if you don’t plan on RVing during the winter months, a space heater can help you get the most out of fall and spring months by keeping things toasty.

Why Space Heaters Makes Sense

An RV parked on a lot with snow all around

When the temperature drops, you turn to your RV’s furnace. While your furnace will certainly do the job of heating up your living space, it will also drain your propane tanks and likely use electricity at the same time to circulate that hot air.

For this reason, many RVers turn to space heaters. You may find a space heater can sufficiently heat your living space while using far less energy. With that in mind, let’s take a look at your space heater options for your home on the road.

Space Heater Options for RVers

There are two main types of space heaters. Those that run on propane and those that run on electricity. If you want to reduce propane usage, an electric one is what you want, especially if you’re at a full hook-up campsite. If you don’t usually have access to ample electrical power, get a small propane unit.

Electric Space Heaters

A person warming their feet by an electric space heater

Space heaters powered by electricity come in a variety of options. You have infrared heaters, ceramic heaters, oil-filled heaters, and micathermic heaters. Generally, these fall into one of two categories: heaters that radiate heat or those that have a fan to force hot air out and circulate it around the room.

Radiant heaters do an excellent job of providing consistent heat in a quiet and extremely efficient manner. They don’t heat a room quickly, but once heated, the room will stay at a more consistent temperature. Some people love them while others prefer the more immediate heat provided by a model with a fan.

The NewAir 400W Portable Space Heater is a good option for an electric heater that offers radiant heat. It features a tall and slender oil-filled design, a very low energy draw, heats approximately 40 square feet, and is affordable. That means you could easily use a couple of them for different spots in your RV. It comes equipped with a built-in thermostat and a tip-over safety switch.

Heaters with a fan generally use heating elements like ceramic. These heaters do an excellent job of providing heat quickly. However, they aren’t perfect and tend to use slightly more energy. They’re also louder and the fan kicks on and off frequently.

If you’re interested in heating a room quickly, get a heater like the Comfort Zone Mini Fireplace Heater. It provides immediate heat from a compact unit with three heating settings. It also has overheat protection and a tip-over safety switch. The fan helps circulate the heat around your RV, unlike a radiant heater, meaning you can cover a larger area with one unit.

Propane Space Heaters

A propane tank that can be used for a space heater

Do you love boondocking? A propane space heater is probably your only option if you don’t have access to an electric power hook-up. The good news about these models is they work wonderfully, and new models are safe for indoor use. Generally, you’ll find radiant propane space heaters as they work extremely well, though some have a built-in fan to circulate the air.

One that I recommend is the Mr. Heater Big Buddy Portable Indoor Propane Heater. It can run off two one pound propane tanks and heat up to 450 square feet via three heating settings. It also comes with an oxygen depletion sensor and a tip-over safety shut-off feature, so you don’t have to worry about it once you turn it on.

A small propane heater can be a great supplement to your RV’s standard furnace or be used on its own. Some older RVs and smaller models lack standard furnaces, and that’s where a small propane heater can make all the difference.


Do you use a space heater in your rig? If so, what do you recommend? Leave a comment below.

4 Comments

  1. Good day to all.The factory fitted heating system fitted to our motor home which is a Swift champagne is the Truma combi 6 heating system which heats the water and blows hot air around the van , the unit is very efficient. On occasion when we need some instant heat we use a mini ceramic two speed electric fan heater when on electric hook up and also when we are sat in our full sized awning. This heater can also blow cool air as well.

  2. Two ceramic heaters, front / rear, 29 ft Class C, 30A. 8 years in Illinois. Doesn’t get any parts hot enough to start a fire. Should last at least 2 winters until the fan bearings squeal or the wire insulation goes.

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