Learning how to build your own camper van can be tough if you don’t have any building experience or haven’t spent much time living off grid before now. And then there’s the daunting task of finding the best equipment to kit it out with. Which are the best campervan toilets, what is the best campervan insulation, how many solar panels do I need; these are the questions that keep many of us awake at night, the thousand-and-one Amazon reviews that we read the day before still swirling around our heads as we try to make sense of all of these different van life costs. Luckily, Van Clan are here to help, and we’re passing on our knowledge and our own personal experiences to help you choose the best items for your camper. We’ve listed 10 of the Best Campervan Heaters on the market today, ranging from the biggest to the smallest and the cheapest to the absurdly expensive. 

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Choosing the Best Campervan Heaters can be tricky if you’ve never thought about heating before. Should I go for gas or diesel, will a portable heater be good enough? We’re going to answer these questions and more, as well as throwing in a few curve balls along the way. So strap yourselves in as we dive straight into the first fiery product on our Best Campervan Heaters list!

10 Of The Best Campervan Heaters For Your Next Camper Conversion

1. Coal Fire

PRO’SCON’S
Adds a rustic feel to any camperNeed somewhere to store coal
Great heat source that doesn’t
use electricity
Hard to get insurance
Doubles up as a cooking applianceHave to empty out ash
Can be kept in all night
through winter
Not good for stealth camping

Self-built campervan conversions are pretty unique; no two are completely alike, and each owner has a different idea about how the layout should look. One thing that crosses everyone’s minds at some point is ‘should we get a coal fire in our camper’. We had that thought right at the beginning of our build and acted upon it immediately, purchasing a stove before we even had our flooring or insulation! 

Having a fire in our van was incredible, and it made it feel very cosy when it was lit on an evening while we sat in front of it eating our tea or warming our toes by the flames after walking home through the snow. Cutting a hole in the roof for the chimney to pop out through was quite daunting, but the whole thing was a great talking point and both kept us warm and helped to cook our food too. 

If bought through a local supplier, coal can be a very inexpensive fuel. We used smokeless coal and managed to keep the fire in all night long, giving us a toasty home even while it was snowing outside. It doesn’t use any electricity or tap into your diesel or gas supply, making it a stand-alone heating source that you can rely on time and time again. 

You will notice, however, that I talk about out fire in the past tense. After enjoying it for a year, we removed it in October 2018 as it was impossible for us to get full 365-day European insurance with a stove fitted. We ended up putting the next item on our Best Campervan Heaters list in our van instead, but I am incredibly glad that we had the experience of having a fire while we were living the van life in England. Having a large chimney sticking out of the roof of your van does make you quite visible, however, especially for the first few minutes when smoke billows up from your kindling. Coal is not a renewable energy source either, making it a non-environmentally friendly option. You could choose to burn fallen logs and branches, but they won’t stay in as long overnight. 

2. Planar 2KW Diesel Heater

Image result for planar diesel heater
PRO’SCON’S
Low diesel and energy
consumption
Cost can be high for fitting
Quickly heats up your van
No messing around with lighting fires
Timer function turns
heater on at certain times. 

Can be hooked up to separate
diesel tank

Built-in fan for warmer days

If you don’t want to faff around lighting fires when you return to your rolling tiny house, then the next item on our Best Campervan Heaters list will be right up your street. After much deliberation and after contacting multiple companies, we settled on a Planar 2KW Diesel Heater with an exhaust muffler as our new heat source. While it might not look as cool as our fire, I can guarantee you that you will never get bored by the novelty of having instant heat. Having a heater that comes on ten-minutes before your alarm goes off is brilliant, and the best part is that it uses the energy that our solar panels produce!

The Planar 2KW has lots of different functions for such a cheap heater, but it’s made incredibly well and does the job perfectly. We hardly ever take our heat output up past 3 and our van is usually toasty within a couple of minutes. Planar do both a 2 and 4 KW option, so it depends on how big your van is and the type of climates that you’re going to be heading into. Our 2KW uses 0.1 litres of diesel per hour on the lowest setting, but if you’re worried about installing it into your existing diesel tank, then you can always add a secondary tank specifically for your heater. 

The downside to getting a diesel heater is that the cost of fitting can be initially quite high, especially in bigger cities. I asked around 30 different companies to help me install mine and received quotes that averaged out around the £1k mark. In the end I asked a guy at the local coal garage in my mum’s village, and he charged just under £200. Job done!

3. Propex Air Heater

PRO’SCON’S
Low energy consumptionCan quickly use up your gas supply
Can be installed out of sightSome people report more
of a wet heat than diesel heaters
Multiple outlets allow for custom
hose positions

User panel gives you
control over settings and functions

Can be hooked up to a
separate gas tank

Propex Air Heaters have been considered by many to be the Best Campervan Heaters for decades. Whether you mount them under your floor or in a cleverly placed cupboard, these heaters can both heat the air inside your camper and act as a fan on hotter days. These heaters are a solid choice for anyone who is planning on spending long lengths of time in colder climates such as the ski slopes in France or a ‘Game Of Thrones’ style winter in Yorkshire, and some of the more expensive models have multiple outlets so that you can shoot hot air up underneath your mattress or into the back of your van, decreasing the chance of damp and keeping air circulating through your build. 

Like the Planar diesel heater, the Propex uses very little electricity when running, making it a great choice for anyone who is travelling in a van and considering off grid living. You can hook it up to a separate gas tank from the one that you use for cooking, and you don’t need to worry about the risky business of drilling down into your fuel tank to fit it. 

One of the major downsides is that it can blow through your gas supply very quickly. We have friends who are constantly having to replace their gas cylinders in winter because the Propex drains them dry within a few days. Obviously this will all depend on how much gas you are planning on using and the size of your bottles, but it’s worth thinking about if you’re planning a long trip. 

4. Webasto Diesel Heater

PRO’S CON’S
Trusted brandExpensive heater
Can be installed out of sightYou will enter the
‘Webasto vs Eberspracher’
debate arena for the rest of time.
Multiple outlets allow for custom
hose positions 


Seven day timer

Large technician network and
easy to repair


Before I dive into telling you about this Webasto heater, I first need to use a Street Fighter analogy to explain the competition between two of the diesel furnaces on our Best Campervan Heaters list. 

Imagine that on one side we have a Webasto Heater called ‘Ryu’, and on the other side, we have an Eberspracher system called ‘Ken’. Both have that awesome ‘Hadouken’ move, both wear a similar looking toga, and both do exactly the same thing. Now, if you’re a Street Fighter fan you’ll no doubt favour one of these two characters over the other, for no other reason apart from personal preference. This exact same reasoning divides campers over whether Webasto or Eberspracher are better machines and has done for decades. Now that you understand this most touchy of subjects, lets crack on with taking a look at the heater itself. 

The Webasto Diesel Heater is one of the most commonly installed diesel heaters, hailed by many as one the Best Campervan Heaters of all time. With multiple outputs, a remote control for adjusting the temperature from bed, timing functions, and a worldwide network of trained fitters and engineers, it’s the perfect choice for anyone who gets hot under the collar when worrying about how they’re going to keep warm on the go. 

Webasto heaters are renowned for being quiet and economical, two of the most sought after criteria for anyone wanting to build a stealth camper van. The model we’re focusing on for the purpose of this article has a 2KW output just like the Planar, and a very low fuel consumption of 0.12L per hour on the lowest setting. You can have access to a seven day timer and the heater comes with all of the necessary fuel pipes, exhaust pieces, and standard installation tools for fitting to your camper. 

The major downside to Webasto systems is the cost, but they do come with a guarantee and a wide network of engineers who know how to fix them. Heater models can reach thousands of pounds in price, whereas my little Planar cost £500 and came with 3 year warranty from the company and all of the necessary attachments and extras. In many ways you are purchasing a product with a trusted name, but the Amazon reviews don’t lie – this is a serious bit of kit that will keep you warm and toasty all year round. 

5. Bovado Comfort Heater

PRO’SCON’S
Automatic overheat preventionNo automatic shut off when
knocked over
Can be installed anywhere and
moved to the users specification
Manual control nobs – no digital
settings
Easy to operate and simple to set up
Portable

Ceramic heaters have been used in homes all across the world for centuries, and early examples of this heating system can still be found in old Slovakian houses (that’s today’s fact of the day!). The Bovado Comfort Heater makes our list of Best Campervan Heaters due to its portability, its simplicity, and its ability to warm up any space with ease. Using a fan to distribute the heat created, it spreads heat evenly throughout your tiny home rather than just warming up one single spot (which is usually taken up by the cat or dog!). It’s perfect for using while cooking and then hoisting up onto your bedside shelf, and it’s small enough to sit underneath your digital nomad workstation while working too. 

Bovado have made this heater super simple to operate with the use of an analogue thermostat, and the fan settings can be adjusted depending on how much heat you want to blast out into the room. The body of the unit stays cold even when on so there’s no chance of burning yourself as you pick it up, and the automatic heat shut off system will stop it from bursting into flames when the unit reaches volcano eruption point. 

The bad news is that you have to have this heater plugged into a power source to run, but the 6” power cord isn’t likely to take up much room on your kitchen worktop. While it turns off when it gets too hot, it doesn’t turn off when knocked or tipped over, so it’s not a good solution for keeping you warm while you’re asleep. People are bound to disagree with this last comment, but we’re all about safety first when it comes to living in a van here at Van Clan. 

6. Mr Heater

PRO’SCON’S
Used by thousands of AmericansTemperamental at higher
altitudes
Approved for both indoor
and outdoor use
Short running time when
burning at max temperature
Auto shut off if tipped over
Low gas consumption at lowest level

If you’re one of our American vandwellers, then the chances are that you will have come into contact with a Mr Heater appliance at some point in your life. While I haven’t seen many of these over in England or Europe, we do get tonnes of recommendations from our readers over the pond, and after doing a little bit of research it’s not hard to see why! This Mr Heater deserves a place on our Best Campervan Heaters for a number of reasons, the first being that it’s completely portable and can connect to a propane tank for indoor or outdoor use. Now you can add a bit of extra heat to your pitiful campfire and keep your toes toasty while watching a film all with the same device!

Unlike the Bovado Comfort Heater, this Mr Heater device comes with an auto shut off that will turn the heater off if the device is tipped up or knocked over, which will give you piece of mind and reassure you that you’re not going to burn your van down if the dog bumps into it. It’s made from a combination of steel, nickel and plastic, making it a pretty durable little device too. It’s small enough to be able to be carried from camper to camper if you’re visiting friends, and has officially been classed as a ‘clean burning’ device. 

One of the downsides to this Mr Heater furnace is that it can be a little temperamental at higher altitudes. If you are planning a ski trip somewhere in the mountains above 7’000 feet, then there is a chance that it might shut off or stop working, leaving you to feel a little bit like a snowman as you try to figure out where you left your winter mittens and long johns. There’s also the fact that this heater needs to run off propane, and if you use the same bottle that you use to cook with, then you could end up blasting through it very quickly. If you have the space for multiple gas bottles, then it would be a good idea to have a specific one for your Mr. Heater; that way you don’t have to go hungry and live off cheese sandwiches when the cooking gas runs dry. 

7. Camco Catalytic Heater

PRO’SCON’S
Heats up to 290 square feetPiezo Ignition has a 20’000
click limit
Can be mounted or used as
a portable heater
Billed as a secondary heat
source only
Auto shut off safety system
Produces no harmful levels
of Carbon Dioxide

The next product on our Best Campervan Heaters list is the Camco Catalytic Heater, sometimes known as a wave heater. For those of you who are unfamiliar with wave heaters, they are an efficient way of creating heat through flameless technology. Just like the way that we feel warmth from the sun, this Camco heater radiates heat directly to people, objects and floors without heating the space first. You don’t need to wait for the air around you to be heated up, meaning that you get rid of those winter blues quicker and begin to feel like you’re being hugged by all of your warm clothes at once. Objects that take on these heat rays then proceed to heat the area around them, covering all bases at once. It’s pretty technical stuff, which is why Camco nabbed a spot in our Best Campervan Heaters list. 

This heater utilises a safety shut off valve and boasts a 99.8% efficiency rating, which I think we can all agree is pretty efficient! There’s no need for a battery connection for the ignition, making this a low energy consumption and low-cost option for anyone who’s planning on taking an off grid adventure to colder climates. There’s no fan or blower noise either, giving you perfect piece and quiet in your tranquil affordable tiny homes

It’s hard to find some bad things to say about this heater, but in the interest of being fair to the other products on the list, I will do my very best. The Piezo ignition only lasts for 20’000 clicks which might seem a lot at first, but if you’re looking for something that you can use over and over again in frosty weather, then you will soon start to rack up those click numbers. It’s also not the best looking radiator in the world, and due to the nature of the device, you would have to have it on show while using it. If you have created a zen space inside your Volkswagen Bus Camper or your Sprinter Camper Van, then the chances are this heater might not fit into your overall design. Have a think about whether form is more important than function before you click the buy button. 

8. Eberspracher Diesel Heater

PRO’S  CON’S
Trusted brandExpensive heater
Can be installed out of sightYou will enter the
‘Eberspracher vs Webasto’
debate arena for the rest of time.  
Multiple outlets allow for custom
hose positions 



Seven day timer


 
Large technician network and
easy to repair 

The Eberspracher D2 is a very fuel efficient piece of kit with some of the best safety standards in the business. It uses an independent heating system and can be installed on any land or sea vehicle, and can also be installed near dangerous substances without causing any harm to life. There are a number of operation modes and timers that you can sift through and set to your own personal specifications and a number of different models available in various cost brackets. You can choose from single output models that effectively heat a single space, to multiple output heaters that you can use to send air to different locations inside your tiny home. 

The major downside to this heater is the cost. Like the Webasto range, Eberspracher systems are expensive to purchase and install. It does come with a 36 month warranty and a trusted name behind it, but it still does essentially the same thing as the Planar but with more bells and whistles for added comfort. Who will be the champion? You decide. HADOUKEN!

9. Suburban NT-30SP Electronic Ignition Ducted Furnace

PRO’SCON’S
Auto closes gas when no flame
is detected
Not portable
Warms up to 2000 square feetNot something that you
would install as a novice
Incredibly durable systemMore Expensive option 
Can be hidden out of sight
Long lasting and durable

The next heater on our Best Campervan Heaters list is a study looking furnace that slightly resembles one of those little speedy droids on the Death Star. This propane powered furnace has some seriously impressive stats, the first one being that it can warm up to 2000 square feet. That makes it a perfect choice for anyone who is thinking about an alternative living lifestyle in a tiny eco house, as well as campers, small travel trailers, and the ever-popular luxury RV

The Suburban furnace uses electronic ignition to get the heat party started, so there’s no faffing around with matches or clickers that refuse to start. This heater can heat multiple rooms in your RV at once, so there won’t be any change in pressure or condensation as you step from room to room. It’s also a great way of keeping air circulating and stopping windows from misting up on chilly days. 

The main downside to this heater is that it can use up a heck of a lot of gas. You would definitely need to install a separate tank for this to run off, so if you favour micro campers over a monster camper, then this probably isn’t the heater for you. The set up can be both more costly and harder to install than other heaters, and it’s not portable. If you’re completely new to installing big appliances like this, then we would recommend hiring a professional to help you out or choosing one of the portable options above. 

10. De Longhi Dragon 4 Oil Filled Radiator

PRO’S CON’S
Safe appliance with no
naked flame
Has to be plugged in
24hour timerLong cord could be
a nuisance
Heats any room quicklyMight drain batteries
quickly
Portable

Long lasting and durable

 

The final product on our Best Campervan Heaters list is something that every office worker will have huddled behind at some point in their life. It’s not an option that many people would initially think of when looking for a heat source for their RV, but it certainly is a valid one that you could consider for your next build. This De Longhi Oil Filled Radiator can heat up to 75 cubic metres and comes with a 24 hour timer for automatic turn on and switch off. If you’re somewhere with a lot of sun, then this could be a great option if you’re planning on keeping it plugged in all of the time.

The amount of heat that an oil filled radiator can produce is surprising, and it can get to hot temperatures very quickly. They’re very safe as the oil is inside the radiator itself, so there’s no flame or hot wires that can come into contact with flammable surfaces. There’s also no fan to keep you awake while you’re trying to catch some sleep, making this a great option for any full-time long-term vanlifers out there. This De Longhi radiator has a 10 year guarantee and also utilises a new heat cell design that disperses heat quicker and warms your room 25% faster than older models!

The major drawback to this method is that you have to have it plugged in all of the time, and while it won’t draw masses of AH from your batteries, you would still need a pretty big set up to have this going 24/7. There’s also the annoyance of having to have a cable dangling over your floor and work surfaces. It’s not small enough to be able to sit up on your bed either, so if you have a smaller camper then you might end up struggling to find space for it. 

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