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Best Electric Heater for RV Living: Plug in & Warm Up

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Editors Choice

Lasko 5538 Ceramic Tower Heater

Lasko 5538 Ceramic Tower Heater with Remote Control

Topping our list as the best electric heater for RV living is the Lasko Ceramic Tower, an excellent product that can meet the demands of most RV dwellers. This portable camper heater hits the sweet spot as far as the balance of quality, functionality, and technology is concerned, and all without breaking the bank.

The unit’s functionality is key. It has enough options to be useful but not overcomplicated. The digital display is convenient for reading the temperature and other pertinent information, and the remote control is a handy addition. This model is quiet to operate, and due to the tower’s ability to oscillate, is quick to heat a room. This heater is made of durable plastic that should last a long time, however it comes with a three-year warranty in case of defects.

With electric RV heaters, technology can sometimes be overdone, after all, you only need it to warm up your space, so if it does that well everything else is unnecessary. With the perfect balance of functions to meet the needs of most RV dwellers, and at a reasonable price, the Lasko 5538 Ceramic heater wins the best RV electric heater prize.

How to Stay Toasty with an RV Electric Heater

A good, electric heater for your RV can make you feel right at home in cold weather. There are so many electric heaters for RVs on the market, and all of them claim to be the best.

We decided to do some research of our own and created this guide to choosing the best electric heater for travel trailer living. We have a list of some great choices for different RV needs to help you select the perfect electric space heater for you.

Looking for the Best RV Portable Space Warmer?

  • Why you need an electric heater for RV travel
  • What you should consider when buying
  • Reviews of the best RV electrical heaters on the market
  • Our unbiased recommendation on the best space heater for RV life

How to Shop for the Best Electric RV Heater

Before you buy a portable RV heater, there are some things you should know about it so you don’t end up disappointed with your purchase. The brands & models vary so much in areas like size, power, heat output, and type that selecting one is only smart after you’ve carefully figured out what you need from it. Below are some of the more important points that you should know before buying one.

Electric Heater Types

There are different types of electric space heaters and whilst they do the same thing (heat a space) they do it in different ways. This makes a big difference depending on where you’ll be using your portable heater.

Radiant heaters

These produce heat by heating oil or some other hot “element” and then radiating infrared heat rays into the room. They don’t heat the air but instead heat the surface of objects that the infrared rays touch (including people). Radiant heaters get extremely hot and while great at warming you, will work better when you’re in the direct path of the RV heater. For example, if you have an object in front of it – a chair, for example – you won’t be able to feel the heat. The RV portable heater would heat the chair but not much else.

Radiant heater types are better for smaller spaces and use less energy than other types. They produce a strong, penetrating heat that will quickly take off the chill when it’s cold, but these trailer heaters are slow to heat a room, and the heat doesn’t linger after you turn it off.

Ceramic heaters

This type of heating occurs when an electric current is run through a ceramic heating element, and unsurprisingly the ceramic gets hot. At the same time, cold air is drawn into the unit and when it passes over the ceramic it gets heated due to convection. This heated air then dissipates into the room naturally or can be assisted by a fan. 

A bonus of ceramic RV heaters is that the ceramic used doesn’t get hotter than 392 degrees Fahrenheit (200 degrees Celsius), providing an overheat auto shut down feature. 

Fan-assisted models are the more popular type of ceramic RV space heaters. They are quick to warm a room and also retain the room temperature. Non fan-assisted models are generally better as a desk or tabletop heater since they only heat the immediate space around them.

Wattage

The wattage can be thought of as how much power the unit has. It’s sometimes confused with how much heat is produced (see BTUs below). The size of the space you are trying to heat will determine how many watts you need from your RV space heater. Figure out the square footage of the area and multiply it by 10. This number would be the minimum number of watts your heater should have to adequately heat the space. For example, if your area is 75 square feet, you’ll need a product with at least 750 watts.

Another consideration in relation to wattage is the starting watts of your heater. In an RV, you’ll likely be using a generator for power, or an inverter to convert your DC power to AC. Inverters and generators have a maximum number of surge watts and this must be higher than your electric RV heaters starting watt rating. Keep in mind if you will have other electrical appliances plugged in at the same time. The total wattage of all the appliances needs to be below the watt rating of the generator or inverter or they won’t work.

British Thermal Units (BTUs)

BTUs can be thought of as how much heat is produced. Sometimes manufacturers list the BTU rating on the gearbox. However, if they don’t it is simple to figure out.

Firstly, as described above, calculate the number of watts required per square foot. Then multiply this figure for watts by 3.14 to give you the amount of BTUs you need to heat the space. BTUs and watts are akin respectively to the imperial system versus the metric system. You can use either measurement to determine how much power/hot air your unit will produce.

Safety Features

Portable electric heaters are less of a fire hazard than RV propane heaters or an RV furnace, but they’re still hot. They can be dangerous if they don’t have certain safety features, especially in a moving RV, where they may get tipped over. Here are a few safety features you should look out for in the safest space heater for RV living:

  • Automatic shut-off in case of tipping over
  • Guards in front of the heating elements
  • Cool-touch surface
  • Sensors to alert you to overheating
  • Logos to indicate the product has met specific safety standards such as the Underwriters Laboratory (UL), Intertek Group (ETL), and the Canadian Standards Association (CSA)

Size

The size is important, not because a bigger unit will be a more powerful heater, but because RVs are small. You don’t want a product that’s going to take up a whole lot of space. If you have a specific place in mind to put your motorhome heater, make sure you measure it, including the height, so that whatever model you buy will fit the space.

Warranty

Having a good warranty is a smart move. Sometimes things can go wrong, even with the best RV heater. Knowing that the manufacturer has your back when you make a purchase is comforting. A good warranty also shows that the manufacturer has faith that the product will last. Try to get a travel trailer heater with at least a one-year manufacturer’s warranty that’s clear, precise, and easy to find.

Price

Try not to let cost sway you too much unless you’re on a budget. Price can be misleading. The most expensive electric heaters for RV living may not be the best choice for you, so you would be simply wasting money if you invested in one. In some cases, you’re paying extra money solely for a name. If you like name brands, great. If not, you may do your wallet a favor by avoiding brand products purely for the name.

Saying that higher-priced RV electric heaters usually have some advantages and extra features that are attractive. Lower price portable heaters might be lacking in certain features, but they can still heat up a space well. A good practice is to aim for a mid-range-priced model. This way, you’re not overspending, but you also aren’t getting something cheap and low-quality.

Best Electric Heater for RV Travel – The Results

Lasko CD09250

Easy to Use

Lasko CD09250 Ceramic Adjustable Thermostat Tabletop or Under-Desk Heater, 9 Inches High, Black

This ceramic space heater from Lasko is a handy little 1500-watt model that packs a punch. It’s basic, having only two controls, but it has an adjustable thermostat control with 11 different temperatures and three different fan speeds. If you like simplicity, this is a great choice.

Convenience is what this product is all about and is incredibly portable. It’s small, measuring only 5.66 x 3.7 x 9 inches, and weighs only 3.5 pounds. It even has a convenient carry handle that stays cool to the touch, so it’s safe and easy to move around. It is manufactured well but also comes with a three-year warranty. It has built-in safety features and being ETL-listed meets North American safety standards.

One minor thing we wish Lasko would change is the red indicator light. The light indicates when it is plugged in, not when it’s on. This means that the light will always be on, and there is no reminder if you’ve forgotten to turn it off. However, this is more of a minor irritation than a problem and doesn’t affect how it performs.

  • PROs

    • Comes in two colors: silver and black
    • Has a cool-touch exterior
    • Has overheating protection
    • Good for 150 square feet of RV heat
    • Easy to Use
  • CONs

    • The handle is small and awkward
    • Doesn’t have a tip-over switch safety feature

Bottom-Line: Portable electric heater for RVs don’t come more portable than this. With its ease of use and great safety standards, the Lasko CD09250 comes highly recommended.

Caframo True North Deluxe 9206 Electric Space Heater

Best Portable Heater for RV Living

Caframo True North Deluxe 9206 120VAC High Performance Space Heater - 600, 900, 1500 W consumer electronics

This 1500-watt fan model has a unique design. It looks like a projector – flat and wide with two “feet” to stand on. The low-profile design acts as a protection feature because you don’t have to worry about it tipping over. It also makes it compact enough to fit into almost any small space in your RV.

The Caframo has a durable all-metal housing complete with “feet” and dials made of hard plastic. It’s constructed incredibly well and has an impressive five-year warranty. In addition, it’s CSA-certified and meets all U.S. standards.

The Caframo operates quietly and has a good heat output. We particularly liked the anti-freeze feature. It will automatically kick in when temperatures drop below 38 degrees Fahrenheit. This is a great product particularly suited for rugged environments.

  • PROs

    • It’s a bladeless fan model, so it’s quieter than the average RV fan heater
    • The metal housing is cool to touch
    • It has five-speed settings and an adjustable built-in thermostat
    • Capable of heating up to 150 square feet
  • CONs

    • The hard plastic on the bottom cracks easily
    • Dials are a bit flimsy

Bottom-Line: If you’re rough with your appliances, this model is a good idea for you as the all-metal housing offers protection, and the fantastic five-year warranty gives you further peace of mind.

Dyson Pure Hot+Cool™ HP04 Purifying Heater + Fan

Most High Tech

Dyson Pure Hot + Cool Air Purifier, Heater + Fan - HEPA Air Filter, Space Heater and Certified Asthma + Allergy Friendly, WiFi-Enabled – HP04

If you’re a tech-savvy person and want to keep technology on the road with you, this premium model has more features than you’d ever thought a heater could have. Not only will it heat your space, but it will purify the air at the same time and send real-time data about your air quality to your smartphone. It also doubles as a powerful fan to keep you fresh during the summer months, so you’ll not need to buy an extra piece of equipment for this.

Dyson is known for its Air Multiplier technology. The fan is bladeless, and the Multiplier technology helps to increase its speed and power. The 350-degree oscillation (adjustable from 45 degrees) ensures that it heats the whole room quickly and evenly. There is no doubt that this tech, along with the eight temperature settings it has, will keep your entire RV warm.

If that’s not enough, it comes with a magnetized remote control (the magnet is for storage on the metal casing of the unit). If you don’t like remotes, the unit can also be voice-controlled. You get all this amazing technology in a product that only measures 30.1 x 5.11 x 8.07 inches, weighs only 12.36 pounds, and has a three-year warranty. It’s portable; it’s high-quality, it’s impressive.

  • PROs

    • Has Wi-Fi capability to connect with your smartphone
    • Has Quiet Mark accreditation
    • It has tip-over safety protection (doesn’t tip easily anyway)
  • CONs

    • It’s extremely expensive
    • The “cooling” function doesn’t work as well as the “heating” function

Bottom-Line: This highly expensive product is for people who have a large budget and love technology. Most of the technology in this model is nice to have, but unnecessary for heating a space. However, who doesn’t want to say they own a Dyson?

Lasko 5538 Ceramic Tower Heater

Editors Choice

Lasko 5538 Ceramic Tower Heater with Remote Control

If you like the idea of an oscillating heater with remote control, this 1500-watt tower stack is for you. The remote isn’t magnetic like the Dyson model, but it does clip onto the back of the product for safekeeping. The elongated design makes it great for fitting into corners or tight small spaces, allowing you to run it out of the way of your everyday activities.

The heater is compact, measuring 7.25 x 8.6 x 23 inches, and only weighs 8.6 pounds. It has excellent built-in safety features that will automatically shut it off if need be including tip-over shutoff and overheat protection. Furthermore, it has a three-year warranty and is ETL-listed. 

Like the first Lasko model in the list, the handle is small and awkward. However, the exterior remains cool to touch so no concerns about accidentally touching it when moving. It has widespread oscillation, so it heats the whole room quickly and easily. Further to this the adjustable temperature controls and 8-hour timer make it a great heater for your RV.

  • PROs

    • The digital display is bright and clear
    • It’s extremely quiet
    • Can heat 150 square feet
  • CONs

    • It produces a strange smell
    • The remote labels are confusing

Bottom-Line: This is a good, all-around product. It’s not extremely technologically advanced, but it does what you need it to do with style and class.

DeLonghi Comfort Temp Portable Radiator Space Heater

Recommended

De'Longhi Comfort Temp Full Room Radiant Heater, Black

This radiant heater may not be the smallest on the list, but for a product of this type, it’s lightweight and can be handled easily. It measures 5.9 x 13.8 x 24.9 inches and weighs about 21 pounds. It takes a little effort to pick up, but with the pop-on caster wheels, it will be easy to roll around once you get it into your RV.

This heater has a three-year warranty and a sealed oil-filled system, so you don’t have to worry about refilling it. Also, the all-metal housing is rounded on the edges, so you won’t accidentally scratch yourself.

We also loved that this model can maintain an optimal temperature in your RV, which the manufacturer claims will save you electricity and therefore on your energy costs. We’re doubtful that you’ll have any significant savings, but it is nice that you can set it to a comfortable temperature and not have to worry about the unit overheating your RV.

  • PROs

    • Provides pleasant, steady, comfortable warmth
    • It’s extremely quiet
  • CONs

    • It gets really hot to the touch
    • We noticed a chemical smell on its first use

Bottom-Line: This is a good model for heating an area, not an entire room. If you’re looking to heat around your bed, or similar space only, this is a good choice

Last update on 2021-09-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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