5 Best Camper Van Propane Heaters for Van Life in 2024

The open road, the freedom of van life, and the thrill of new horizons – it’s a dream many chase. But when the sun sets and temperatures drop, the need for warmth becomes undeniable. That’s where propane heaters step in, becoming a game-changer for those journeying in campervans and RVs. In this article, we reviewed five of the best propane heaters for van life with campervan or RVs that guarantee to keep you warm and comfortable during your off-grid van adventures.

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Our Top Picks for the 5 Best Propane Heaters for Van Life With Campervan Or RV

1. Best Overall: Mr. Heater F232000 MH9BX Buddy

2. Best Compact Option: Mr. Heater F215100 MH4B Little Buddy

3. Most Powerful OptionMr. Heater Vent-Free

4. Best Budget Option: Flame King GS4200EP

5. Best Quiet Option: GASLAND MHA18B

What Is the Best Propane Heater for Van Life with Campervan or RVs in 2024?

Selecting the ideal RV propane heater can be a pivotal decision for those embracing the RV lifestyle, especially for adventurers keen on exploring regardless of the season. Furthermore, a top-notch propane heater not only ensures a cozy and comfortable environment within your motorhome but also plays a crucial role in your overall travel experience. Moreover, this choice demands a balance between efficiency, safety, and convenience, considering the unique constraints of space and ventilation in RVs. In this exploration, we delve into the nuances of finding the best propane heater, tailored to enrich your RV journeys without compromising on safety or comfort.

1. Best Overall: Mr. Heater F232000 MH9BX Buddy

Quick Specifications

  • Brand: Mr. Heater
  • Type: Indoor-Safe Portable Propane Radiant Heater
  • Dimensions: 7.7″D x 13.4″W x 15″H
  • Heating Coverage: 225 sq ft
  • Voltage: 110 Volts
  • Amperage: 12 Amps
  • Weight: 10.6 pounds
  • Special Features: Low-oxygen safety shut-off system, Piezo igniter, accidental tip-over safety shut-off.

In our experience with the Mr. Heater F232000 MH9BX Buddy, we’ve found it to be a beacon of warmth and reliability. Its design and features clearly reflect a deep understanding of what we, as users, seek in a propane heater. Whether we’re setting up camp under the stars or need a reliable heat source on a job site, this heater has consistently met our expectations. The safety features, in particular, give us peace of mind, knowing that we’re shielded from potential hazards.


  1. Versatility: Designed for a range of environments, from tents to job sites.
  2. Safety Mechanisms: Equipped with a low-oxygen safety shut-off system and an accidental tip-over safety shut-off.
  3. Efficient Heating: Capable of heating an area up to 225 square feet.
  4. Variable Heating Options: Users can select between 4,000 or 9,000 BTU per hour based on their requirements.


  1. Duration: A maximum BTU run time of 3 hours necessitates periodic monitoring of propane levels.
  2. Weight: Weighing 10.6 pounds, it requires a stable placement.

The Mr. Heater F232000 MH9BX Buddy stands as a testament to the brand’s dedication to delivering high-quality heating solutions. Its features and design are aligned with the requirements of modern users, ensuring both functionality and safety.

2. Best Compact Option: Mr. Heater F215100 MH4B Little Buddy

Quick Specifications

  • Brand: Mr. Heater
  • Dimensions: 11″D x 11″W x 11″H
  • Heating Coverage: 95 sq. ft.
  • Voltage: 110 Volts
  • Weight: 5 pounds
  • Special Features: Portable, Low-Oxygen Safety Shutoff, Lightweight, Tip-Over Protection, Floor Mount.

In our ventures, we’ve often sought a reliable source of warmth, especially during those unexpected cold snaps. The Mr. Heater F215100 MH4B Little Buddy has been our go-to solution. Its compact design and efficient heating capabilities have consistently delivered the comfort we crave. Whether we’re nestled in our tents or working late in our workshops, this heater has proven its worth time and again. Furthermore, its safety features, such as the low-oxygen shut-off system, give us the peace of mind we need, ensuring our adventures remain both warm and safe.


  1. Compact and Efficient: Ideal for spaces up to 95 square feet.
  2. Safety First: Equipped with a low-oxygen safety shut-off and tip-over protection.
  3. Versatile Usage: Perfect for tents, workshops, patios, and more.
  4. User-Friendly: Simple on/off buttons and compatibility with 1-pound disposable propane cylinders.


  1. Limited Run Time: A run time of 5.6 hours might require frequent propane replacements for extended use.
  2. Ventilation Requirement: Needs a vent area of 4 square inches minimum for adequate ventilation during operation.

The Mr. Heater F215100 MH4B Little Buddy stands out as a compact yet powerful heating solution. Its design and features are tailored to meet the diverse needs of outdoor enthusiasts and professionals alike.

3. Most Powerful OptionMr. Heater Vent-Free

Quick Specifications

  • Brand: Mr. Heater
  • Dimensions: 23.75″D x 11.25″W x 27″H
  • Heating Coverage: 750 sq ft
  • Weight: 26.8 pounds
  • Special Features: Vent-Free Radiant Heating with Thermostatic Control and Battery-Powered Electric Ignition.

During our travels and stays in various environments, we’ve always emphasized the importance of a reliable heating solution. The Mr. Heater Corporation F299830 Vent-Free Radiant Propane Heater has been a revelation in this regard. Its ability to heat a substantial area of up to 750 square feet ensures that we’re enveloped in warmth, regardless of how expansive our setting is. Moreover, its radiant convection heating, powered by liquid propane, has consistently delivered an even and comfortable warmth. The convenience of the thermostat has been particularly beneficial, allowing us to adjust and maintain our desired temperature effortlessly.


  1. Expansive Heating: Capable of warming an area as large as 750 square feet.
  2. Efficient Power: Delivers up to 30,000 BTUs per hour.
  3. Versatile Placement: Can be wall-mounted or secured to the floor.
  4. Safety Assured: Features an automatic low oxygen shut-off system (ODS) for peace of mind.


  1. Weight: At 26.8 pounds, it’s on the heavier side, requiring a stable placement.
  2. Battery Dependency: Relies on AA batteries for its electronic ignition.

The Mr. Heater Corporation F299830 Vent-Free Radiant Propane Heater is a testament to the brand’s commitment to delivering top-tier heating solutions. Its design and features cater to both indoor and outdoor settings, ensuring consistent warmth.

4. Best Budget Option: Flame King GS4200EP

Quick Specifications

  • Brand: Flame King
  • Dimensions: 8″D x 12″W x 5.5″H
  • Burner Type: Radiant
  • Fuel Type: Propane
  • Weight: 5.5 pounds
  • Special Features: Exterior Grate Guard, Auto Tip-Over Shut Off, Built-in Safety Fuel Shut Off, Highly Efficient Steel Heat Reflector

In our quest for the ideal budget-friendly propane heater, the Flame King GS4200EP has consistently emerged as a top contender. Its design and features are a clear reflection of Flame King’s commitment to quality and user safety. The heater’s versatility has been particularly impressive, catering to a range of outdoor settings from gardens to construction sites. Furthermore, the built-in safety features, coupled with its efficient heat reflector, have ensured that we receive optimal warmth without compromising on safety.


  1. Safety Prioritized: Features like the built-in safety fuel shutoff and exterior grate guard ensure user protection.
  2. Versatile Usage: Ideal for gardens, garages, greenhouses, and even construction sites.
  3. Efficient Heating: The steel heat reflector ensures optimal warmth distribution.
  4. Long-Lasting: Can run up to 32 hours on a 20lb propane tank at its maximum heat setting.


  1. Manual Ignition: Lacks an automatic ignition system, requiring users to manually ignite the heater.
  2. Tank Not Included: Requires a separate purchase of a 20-40lb propane cylinder.

In our opinion the Flame King GS4200EP stands out as a reliable and budget-friendly heating solution on our list, tailored for those who require consistent warmth in outdoor settings. When it comes to striking a balance between affordability and performance, the Flame King GS4200EP is unparalleled. Its blend of safety features, efficiency, and durability makes it an invaluable asset for those seeking warmth on a budget.

5. Best Quiet Option: GASLAND MHA18B

Quick Specifications

  • Brand: GASLAND
  • Material: Alloy Steel
  • Dimensions: 17.5″D x 15″W x 21.7″H
  • Heating Coverage: Up to 450 sq. ft.
  • Heat Output: 18,000 BTU
  • Weight: 17.4 pounds
  • Special Features: Ultra Quiet Operation, 3 Heating Modes, Built-in Safety Features.

In our pursuit of a serene and warm environment, the GASLAND MHA18B Propane Heater has been a revelation. This heater, with its ultra-quiet operation, has ensured that our moments of relaxation and focus remain undisturbed. Its efficiency is evident, not just in its performance but also in its ability to significantly reduce our electricity bills. The safety features, including the Tip-Over and Low Oxygen Shut-off, have been particularly reassuring, ensuring our well-being even in the rare instances of accidental knocks.


  1. Economical: Operates without electricity, potentially reducing electricity bills.
  2. Safety Assured: Features like Tip-Over and Low Oxygen Shut-off enhance user safety.
  3. Versatile Heating: Offers three heating modes to cater to varying warmth needs.
  4. Aesthetically Pleasing: The tank is neatly tucked inside the cabinet, ensuring a sleek look.


  1. Ventilation Requirement: Designed for ventilated spaces, which might limit its placement options.
  2. Weight: Weighing 17.4 pounds, it requires a stable placement or careful movement.

The GASLAND MHA18B stands as a beacon of warmth and tranquility. Its design and features are tailored to meet the needs of those who prioritize both warmth and peace. Navigating through the myriad of propane heaters, the GASLAND MHA18B stands out, especially for those who value serenity. Its blend of quiet operation, safety features, and heating efficiency makes it an indispensable companion for those chilly days and nights.

What is a Propane Heater?

A propane heater is a type of heating appliance that utilizes propane gas as its primary source of fuel to produce warmth. Designed for a variety of settings, from indoor living spaces to outdoor campsites and construction sites, these heaters are prized for their efficiency and portability. Unlike electric heaters, propane heaters don’t rely on electricity, making them ideal for off-grid scenarios or during power outages. Ventilation is crucial when using these heaters, especially in enclosed spaces, to prevent the buildup of harmful gasses. Furthermore, many modern propane heaters come equipped with safety features like low-oxygen shut-off systems and tip-over protection, ensuring a safe heating experience. Moreover, given their fuel efficiency and powerful heat output, propane heaters are often favored for van life, RV travels, and outdoor adventures.

Why Are Propane Heaters Important for Van Life?

Embracing the van life or setting out on RV adventures brings with it the need for efficient heating solutions. As temperatures drop, especially during nighttime or in colder regions, maintaining a comfortable environment inside the vehicle becomes paramount. This is where propane heaters come into play, offering a myriad of benefits tailored for the nomadic lifestyle.


One of the standout features of propane heaters is their portability. Unlike their bulky counterparts, these heaters are often compact and lightweight, making them easy to move around or store when not in use. This is particularly beneficial for campervans and RVs, where space is at a premium. Furthermore, their design often allows for quick setup, ensuring you get warmth when you need it the most.


When it comes to heating efficiency, propane heaters are hard to beat. They provide consistent and powerful warmth, ensuring that the interiors of campervans and RVs remain cozy. Moreover, propane, as a fuel, is known for its high energy output, meaning you get more heat per unit of fuel compared to other sources. This efficiency not only ensures optimal warmth but also translates to cost savings in the long run.

Independence from Batteries

A significant advantage of propane heaters is their independence from electrical sources. While many heating solutions rely on batteries or electrical hookups, propane heaters operate solely on propane gas. This independence is crucial for those who venture into off-grid locations or places where electrical sources are unreliable. Not being tethered to batteries or electrical outlets gives travelers the freedom to explore more remote locations without the worry of staying warm.

For those embracing the van life or setting out on RV journeys, propane heaters emerge as an indispensable tool. Their blend of portability, efficiency, and independence from batteries makes them a top choice for ensuring comfort during your travels.

How to Buy the Best Propane Heaters for Van Life?

Embarking on the van life or gearing up for RV adventures means ensuring you’re equipped with the right tools for comfort. One such essential tool is a reliable propane heater. With the market flooded with numerous options, making the right choice can be daunting. However, with a systematic approach, you can navigate the myriad of choices and select a propane heater that perfectly aligns with your needs. This guide aims to simplify the buying process, ensuring you make an informed decision that offers value for money and optimal performance.

Identify Your Needs

Before diving into the market, it’s crucial to understand your specific requirements. Consider the space within your campervan or RV. Do you need a compact heater or can you accommodate a larger unit? Portability might be a priority if you plan to move the heater between different locations. Furthermore, assess the heating capacity you require. A larger RV might need a heater with a higher BTU rating, ensuring efficient warmth distribution.

Set a Budget

While it’s tempting to opt for the most feature-rich heater, it’s essential to balance quality and affordability. Determine a budget that doesn’t compromise on essential features but also doesn’t break the bank. Remember, the most expensive option isn’t always the best.

Research and Reviews

In today’s digital age, information is at your fingertips. Dive into product reviews and comparisons. Previous users’ experiences can offer invaluable insights into a product’s performance, reliability, and value for money. Moreover, expert reviews can shed light on technical aspects, helping you make an informed choice.

Purchase Channels

Once you’ve narrowed down your choices, consider where to buy. Online retailers offer the convenience of doorstep delivery and often have extensive reviews. Specialty stores, on the other hand, allow you to physically assess the product and seek expert advice.

Choosing the right propane heater for your campervan or RV requires a blend of self-awareness and research. By understanding your needs, setting a budget, diving into reviews, and selecting the right purchase channel, you can ensure a warm and comfortable journey throughout your travels.

How to Install a Propane Heater in a Van Safely?

As the allure of van life continues to captivate many, ensuring a warm and cozy environment within the confined space of a campervan or RV becomes paramount. While propane heaters offer an efficient solution, their installation demands meticulous attention to ensure safety and optimal performance. A hasty or incorrect installation can not only compromise the heater’s efficiency but also pose significant safety risks. This guide delves into the crucial steps to ensure that your propane heater is installed safely, guaranteeing warmth without any unwarranted hazards.

Read the Manual

Every propane heater is unique, and while general installation principles might be similar, the devil is in the details. Always start by thoroughly reading the manufacturer’s instructions. This ensures that you’re aware of any specific requirements or precautions that need to be taken for your particular model.


One of the most critical aspects of installing a propane heater is ensuring proper ventilation. This is vital to prevent the dangerous buildup of carbon monoxide, a colorless and odorless gas that can be lethal in high concentrations.

Secure the Heater

Safety isn’t just about gasses; it’s also about physical stability. Ensure that the heater is securely fastened and positioned in a location where it’s unlikely to be knocked over, preventing potential fire hazards.

Test the Installation

Before diving into regular use, test your installation. Check for any gas leaks and ensure that the heater functions as expected. This step is crucial to identify any potential issues before they become significant problems.

Installing a propane heater in your campervan or RV is a task that demands precision and care. By meticulously following the manufacturer’s guidelines, ensuring proper ventilation, securing the heater, and conducting thorough tests, you can enjoy the warmth and comfort of your heater with peace of mind.

Propane Heaters vs. Electric Heaters for Van Life

The allure of van life has led many to explore efficient heating solutions for their campervans and RVs. Two prominent options that have emerged are propane and electric heaters. While both have their merits, understanding their nuances is crucial for making an informed decision tailored to one’s specific needs and the unique challenges of life on the road.

Energy Efficiency

When it comes to energy efficiency, propane heaters often have the edge. They can deliver high BTU outputs, ensuring rapid heating even in larger spaces. Electric heaters, on the other hand, depend on the power source and might not always deliver the same punch in terms of raw heat output. However, they can be more consistent, given a stable electricity supply.

Cost Implications

Initial costs for propane heaters might be lower, but one must factor in the recurring expense of propane fuel. Electric heaters might have a higher upfront cost, especially if one opts for advanced models, but they can sometimes be more economical in the long run, depending on local electricity rates and usage patterns.

Portability and Installation

Propane heaters often score high on portability, with many models designed for easy movement and setup. Electric heaters, while portable, might require proximity to power outlets or generators. Installation for both varies, with some propane models needing ventilation modifications, while certain electric models might necessitate dedicated circuits.

Safety Considerations

Both heater types come with their set of safety concerns. Propane heaters, if not maintained, can risk gas leaks, while electric heaters can pose risks of electrical faults. However, modern models of both types often come equipped with safety features such as tip-over switches, low-oxygen shut-offs, and overheat protection.

Maintenance and Longevity

While propane heaters might require periodic checks for leaks and fuel levels, electric heaters might need lesser maintenance. However, the lifespan of both types can be comparable, with proper care and usage.

Environmental Impact

Propane heaters emit combustion by-products, albeit in minimal amounts, especially in newer models. Electric heaters, if powered by renewable sources, can have a lower carbon footprint. However, if the electricity comes from non-renewable sources, the environmental impact might be higher.

Choosing between propane and electric heaters for van life boils down to individual preferences, needs, and specific scenarios. While propane heaters offer robust heat output and portability, electric heaters provide consistent heating with potential environmental benefits, given the right power source. It’s essential to weigh the pros and cons of each, keeping in mind safety, cost, and environmental considerations, to make an informed choice.

Final Words!

Navigating the vast world of propane heaters tailored for campervans and RVs can be a daunting task. However, after delving deep into the market’s offerings, certain models stand out, not just for their heating prowess, but also for their unique features tailored for the van life experience. From heaters that boast incredible portability to those that offer unmatched efficiency, the choices are diverse, catering to a wide range of needs and preferences.

Reflecting on our list, it’s evident that each heater brings its own set of unique selling points to the table. Whether it’s the robust safety features, the expansive heating coverage, or the sheer convenience of portability, there’s something for everyone. Furthermore, while the allure of advanced features can be tempting, it’s paramount to align your choice with your individual needs, preferences, and, of course, budget.

In the grand tapestry of van life, where every inch of space is precious and every tool is meticulously chosen, the right propane heater can make all the difference. It’s not just about warmth; it’s about ensuring a comfortable, safe, and memorable journey on the open road.

Related FAQs

What are the main benefits of using propane heaters in campervans and RVs?

Answer: Propane heaters offer efficient heating, portability, and independence from electricity, making them ideal for off-grid van life and RV adventures.

Are propane heaters safe to use inside a campervan or RV?

Answer: Yes, when used with proper ventilation and safety precautions, such as low-oxygen shut-off systems and tip-over protection.

How do I choose the right size of propane heater for my campervan or RV?

Answer: Consider the space inside your vehicle and your heating needs; choose a heater with the appropriate BTU rating for efficient warmth distribution.

Can I run a propane heater all night in my RV?

Answer: While many propane heaters are safe, it’s essential to ensure proper ventilation and regularly check for carbon monoxide levels if running them for extended periods.

How often should I service or maintain my propane heater in a campervan?

Answer: Regularly inspect your heater before each use, and consider a thorough service annually to ensure optimal performance and safety.

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