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Regardless of how well-insulated your camper van or RV might be, sometimes nothing will stop the cold air from penetrating every corner of your mobile home in winter.
Campers and RVs are designed to safely transport you across the country to explore the beauty that America has to offer, but what’s the point if you’re too cold to enjoy anything?
There’s only so much a hot water bottle, multiple layers, and hot drinks can do. Even electric heaters aren’t powerful enough to heat the majority of a camper or RV, so what else is there to look for?
If this sounds like a problem you’re facing, we’ve got you covered. The answer to your problem is a mini stove! Mini stoves for camper vans or RVs come in either a wood stove or propane stove heater design, both of which have their pros and cons. We have found a mix of the best mini wood stoves and mini propane stoves to suit every mobile home.
We have also compiled a handy buyer’s guide to help you understand the importance of mini stoves, how to install them, and how to keep warm in winter. Let’s get started!
Best Winter Mini Stove For Your Camper Van or RV
1. Our Top Pick: Fltom Wood Burning Stove
When it comes to easy installation, versatility, and affordability – this mini wood stove has it all. A lot of people who own camper vans or RVs will often bring a tent with them to further immerse themselves into the scenery, but in winter, the temperatures can be near freezing. That’s where this product comes in – this is a portable wood stove that can be used pretty much anywhere.
This handy product requires natural fuel from firewood, sticks, and anything wooden. The ventilation is vertical through a flue pipe, which can be adjusted to different heights depending on where it is (tent or camper). It burns these fuels quickly and reaches a high temperature to provide warmth to both indoor and outdoor spaces.
The standout feature of this stove is the multi-function aspect. Not only does it work as a heater, but the flat top can be used as a cooking surface. This means that if you’re really struggling with the warmth, your mini stove can heat up some hot water whilst it warms the camper. It also works to cook food, so you can spare some energy on your built-in stove.
- Versatile – Can be used in both indoor and outdoor camping spaces such as camper vans or tents
- Multi-functional – Works as a heater and a cooking surface
- Eco-friendly – Uses natural fuel such as firewood
- Burns wood fast – Unless stuffed with wood (not recommended for airflow), this stove burns the fuel quickly
- High Heat Output: the stove can quickly reach a temperature, act as a heater to provide warmth and heat to a space in outdoor camping trips.
- Sectional Stove Pipes: 6 pieces pipe, the maximum height is 4.69 feet, diameter is 2.36inch / 6cm. The height can be adjusted to suit different space, like tipi-tent or tiny house.
- Multi-function: The flat top of the stove is your cooking surface. The wood burning stove can be used to cook just about anything a you can cook on the range in your kitchen.
- Easy to Use and Safe: Camping wood stoves use natural fuel sources like firewood, twigs, wood chips etc. Be vertically vented by running the flue pipe out of the top of a tent.
- Detachable and Portable: The whole stove adopts a detachable design scheme. You can easily remove the collapsible four legs and chimney pipes, it's easy to store and carry.
2. Best Quality Mini Stove: Drolet HT3000 Wood Stove
For some, the priority for finding a good heating source is to find a product made of high-quality, premium materials. This Drolet wood stove is made for durability with its thick steel frame that looks as good as it works, which is essential for wood stoves that pose a fire hazard.
This wood stove comes with a pedestal which not only provides some height to the stove (ideal for keeping the floor underneath from overheating) but is also equipped with an ash drawer for easy ash removal.
This is a wood stove that uses natural fuel sources and has an impressive burning time of up to 10 hours. Due to its safe and durable design, this means you can keep the wood burning whilst you sleep without worrying about fire hazards.
Whilst the price point is much higher than the other products on our list, this is an extremely high-quality wood stove that is appropriate for regular homes and mobile homes alike.
- Premium-quality – Made from thick steel of the highest quality to keep the fire inside
- Pedestal included – Handy pedestal comes with ash drawer for easy ash removal
- Long burn time – Burns wood for up to 10 hours
- Expensive – High price point for a high-quality product
- Included: pedestal with ash drawer, ceramic glass, ash lip, air damper
- EPA 2020 approved - Average particulate emissions rate 1.32 g/h - Non-catalytic
- Maximum log length 22" - Heating area 1,000 - 2,700 Ft2 - Maximum heat output 110,000 BTU/h (32.2 kW) - Overall firebox volume 3.5 - Maximum burn time 10h
- Steel thickness : body 3/16" / top 5/16" - Certified for mobile home and alcove installation
- Proudly made in Canada - Limited lifetime warranty
3. Most Affordable Mini Stove: Vsanstar Mini Propane Heater
For campers on a budget, finding a mini stove that is both affordable and efficient can seem a daunting task. That’s where propane heaters come in!
This Vsanstar product is a handy little heater made of a sturdy stainless steel that is ideal for indoor and outdoor heating. Despite the stainless steel material, this mini stove has a vented design that both distributes heat evenly and prevents a hot-to-touch feel.
This is a useful portable heater that is best suited for small camper vans and those who enjoy camping in a tent. It will need a hot source such as a fire or stove, which is then generated through the heater to dissipate heat. It can be used to warm an area and to cook food or heat drinks, which also helps to keep you warm.
- Affordable – Don’t break the bank for this mini heater and no installation fees
- Versatile – Suitable for indoor and outdoor use
- Durable – Lightweight and hardy stainless steel material
- Heat source – Needs a burner stove or fire as a heat source
- QUALIFIED MATERIAL: The mini heater is made of premium stainless steel, anti-rust, sturdy, heat-resistance and durable for long term use.
- GOOD DESIGN:The vent design helps the furnace dissipate heat evenly, thereby obtaining a better heating effect. The groove design at the bottom can make the heater stand more firmly
- KEEP STABLE ON FLUE BOTTLE: There are four slots on the bottom, fit gas burner perfectly and stand stably on it.
- EASY TO CARRY: Portable and lightweight, with a bag for easy carrying and storage. Suitable for outdoor camping activity.
- HANDLE DESIGN: With a handle for taking the hot stove from fire to protect your hand from scald
4. Smallest Mini Stove: Samovar Turkish Heater Wood Stove
If you’re looking for a mini mini stove for your small camper van or RV, this is the ideal stove for you. This Samovar product is designed similarly to a Turkish tea kettle, which works to boil water through wood or coal burning. Not only does it produce heat in a space, but it also works to provide hot and comforting drinks.
At 13” tall with a 10” diameter, you won’t have to sacrifice time and energy on time-consuming installations on stoves that often take up a lot of room. The hot water reservoir can hold up to 4 liters of water, which is ideal for making tea or heating a hot water bottle.
This mini stove requires wood or charcoal as its heat source, which is an energy-efficient and eco-friendly option compared to propane heaters. All of the parts can be disassembled by their metal handles, which means they can be used as a mini stove, a water heater, or a barbecue.
This is ideal for those who want to explore the outside as well as the comfort of their camper van, as it can be used in indoor spaces as well as tents and boats.
- Small and lightweight – Space-saver and portable design can be carried anywhere
- Versatile – Can be used to heat water, a tent, or camper van, and can be used as a barbecue
- Authentic – Handmade Turkish tea kettle design
- Not for big campers – Due to its size, it won’t heat up a large RV or camper van space
- SEMAVER TEA TURKISH HANDMADE CHROME SAMOVAR &TEA KETTLE & HOT WATER HEATER
- Samovar Free Energy Water Heater 4L /150 Oz Semaver Samovar Boat Camping Hiking Hunting Yachting Tea Kettle Urn Tea-urn BBQ
- DIMENSIONS: Hot water reservoir volume: 4 liters (150 oz) Total weight: 2 kg Height: 13 inches (33 cm) -Diameter: 10 inches -Chimney: 5 inches (13 cm ) BBQ
- PACKAGE INCLUDES: 1 piece BBQ 1 piece water reservoir with cover - 1 piece chimney - 1 tap with seals and one nut
- DESCRIPTION: - Traditional Turkish Samovar - Usable with wood/kindling or charcoal - Has metal handles - Has a hot water tap - Samovar is used to boil water and brew tea using the teapot on top - The top compartment can be removed so that the bottom part can be used as a BBQ - Keep heat for a long time - It is very useful in tents, campers, boats etc
5. Best Propane Heater: ProCom Propane Wall Heater
Okay, so technically this isn’t a mini stove, but hear us out. Wall-mounted propane heaters can be an excellent heat source for a camper van or RV because they don’t pose as much of a fire hazard as wood stoves.
This is an affordable propane heater (although keep in mind the price of gas) that can be easily installed on a wall. Mounting a heater on a wall is often much better than leaving it on the floor because it will disperse the heat at a higher level which will then fall into the room. As for the fuel source, this product is compatible with natural gas or propane depending on preference.
One problem with wood stoves is that you can’t easily control the temperature. This propane heater, however, offers five heat settings that can be adjusted by a rotating knob. This adjustability feature is what makes this product so appealing to mobile home owners because they can keep it on at a low heat (which saves gas) throughout the night.
- Wall-mounted – Takes up minimal space and easy installation
- Adjustable – Five heat settings can be controlled by a rotating knob
- Fuel source – Works with either propane or natural gas
- Price – Whilst affordable, potential buyers must consider the price of gas
- Liquid propane Gas infrared wall heater operates at 6,000 BTU
- Heater Uses liquid propane Gas and is vent-free
- Equipped with manual controls and push button piezo ignition
- Comes with a cool touch cabinet and can easily accommodate a 150 sq. Ft. Space
- Infrared heat warms People and objects in the room first, and operates similarly to the sun's radiant heat
Best Winter Mini Stove For Your Camper Van or RV Buyer’s Guide
What is a mini stove for a camper van or RV?
Mini stoves come in the form of a wood or propane heater. These appliances are small and are installed in camper vans or RVs to provide a permanently installed source of heat. They are usually a more cost-effective option to regular heaters, as they work to heat up the entire camper van or RV rather than its immediate area like a regular heater.
Due to the installment process of mini stoves, it’s not easy to find these appliances online. It’s generally recommended to buy all of the pieces in-store, so buyers have a better sense of what size they require.
Despite their name, mini stoves aren’t designed to cook food like a regular stove. This is a common misconception with newbies to the mobile home world. However, mini stoves are great for boiling and heating up water or food, which can help towards providing warmth.
Mini stoves aren’t an essential purchase for those who use their camper van or RV in the summer and fall months. Even if you only intend to go camping once or twice in winter, a regular portable heater will suffice. However, if you’re one to take your camper van or RV to wintery landscapes across the country every year, a mini stove is an ideal investment.
Wood Stove vs. Propane Stove
The main types of mini stoves for camper vans and RVs come in the form of either wood stoves or propane stoves. Both have their advantages and disadvantages, but generally speaking, wood stoves are the best option.
Whilst expensive, wood stoves are a long-lasting appliance that works to keep your camper van or RV warm and cozy in the winter months. Mini wood stoves provide dry heat which helps to remove the moisture from interior camper vans and are generally the most eco-friendly option. Their fuel source is natural, as they just require firewood, sticks, wood chips, and anything wooden.
However, as mini wood stoves don’t rely on outside oxygen, you will need to provide a ventilation system. This can range anywhere from cutting small holes in your camper van to leaving your window open. This sounds almost sacrilegious and redundant to providing warmth, but the CO2 emitted from the fire needs to escape somewhere.
The biggest disadvantage to mini wood stoves is the fire hazard. In small spaces like camper vans or RVs, you will need to take the necessary precautions to prevent fires from starting.
Propane heaters may seem like the cheaper option, but you will have to consider the price of buying gas – which is certainly more expensive and burns quicker than firewood. However, propane stoves are usually more versatile than wood stoves, as they can often be used in indoor and outdoor spaces.
They can often be mounted to walls, which is a quick installation process and a space-saver. However, the heat they produce won’t provide warmth for an entire RV, as they can only warm up the immediate area in a small space.
How to Keep a Camper Van / RV Warm in Winter
Whilst a mini stove is a great way to keep your camper van or RV warm in winter, there are lots of other tricks and hacks to avoid freezing temperatures. Here is our list of top tips!
- Insulate the space – Insulation is the first step to providing warmth to a camper van or RV. You should use insulation boards on the floor, ceiling, walls, and doors, along with foam insulation. Not only will this retain the warmth inside your camper, but it will help to cool the space down in summer as well!
- Dress appropriately – This seems fairly obvious, but it’s much easier to cool down than to warm up. You should invest in high-quality thermals and wrap up before it gets cold – especially at the night. Wearing multiple layers will retain your body heat for longer than putting on a thick jumper when you’re already freezing.
- Cover windows – If you have a heater or mini stove, you should probably avoid this step as they need a ventilation system. However, if the heater or stove isn’t in use, make sure to cover your windows with curtains or blankets. A lot of cold air comes from windows, regardless of how thick or glazed they are!
- Hot water – Hot water will be your new best friend in a cold camper van or RV. Make sure to fill up your hot water bottle to keep in your bed so you can curl up in an already warm bed. Also, hot drinks are great for heating your body up quickly!
- Back-ups – Always bring a variety of back-ups. You will thank yourself for bringing extra sleeping bags and blankets, even if the temperature doesn’t get too cold. It’s better to be over-prepared than under-prepared, after all!
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you put a wood stove in a van?
Mini wood stoves are ideal for vans and RVs. These are (mostly) permanently installed appliances that use an eco-friendly fuel source to warm up any mobile home.
These should be installed by a professional due to the complex ventilation system they require, which is usually achieved by cutting a hole in the roof of the camper van or RV for the pipe. You will also need to keep a window open to allow the CO2 emitted from the fire to escape.
Do wood stoves save money?
Whilst it depends on how often you use the wood stove, wood stoves can be a brilliant money-saving option for heating camper vans and RVs.
The initial purchase and installation fees can be fairly pricey, but the money is worth it if you like to take your mobile home out in the winter months. The more you use it, the more the appliance is worth.
Also, wood stoves use a natural fuel source of wood, which is much less expensive than propane or natural gas. They are the most environmentally friendly and energy-saving option.
What is the best way to heat a camper van?
The best way to heat a camper van is to invest in a good heating system. This can range anywhere from a portable electric or propane heater to a mini wood stove.
For those who use their camper vans only a handful of times in winter, you’re less likely to need a mini stove. For those who take their camper van out in winter a lot, a mini stove can be a great installment that will provide permanent warmth to the interior.
Other ways to heat a camper van include proper insulation and covering the windows. It’s much easier to retain heat than to create heat from no heat source, which is why well-insulated walls, floors, ceilings, and walls are essential.
This will also help to keep the camper van cool in the warm months, so it’s a win-win situation! The best way to insulate your camper van is to use rugs on the floor, curtains on the windows, and insulation boards on the walls and ceiling.