5 Popular Van Life Heaters To Keep You Unbelievably Warm

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When you’re living in a van, there’s no room for cold feet! Van life can be incredibly rewarding, but it can also be tough when the temperatures drop. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of the top 5 heaters for van life to keep you warm this winter.

Whether you’re looking for compact diesel heaters, electric heaters, or propane heaters to fit in your campervan or a more powerful option for a larger van or your bus conversion, we’ve got you covered. So read on to find out which heater is best for you!

What Are the Best Van Life Heaters?

It’s simple: the best van life heater is going to be the one that keeps you warm in the coldest climates you visit—deciding which heating fuel you prefer or is easiest to procure while on the road is easy.

Then comes the installation, but if you’ve converted your van, RV, or schoolie yourself, then this project is a walk in the park. So, read on to see which heater options will work best for you.

And What are the Top 5 Heaters?

Our Top Pick

best van life heater

Espar Airtronic S2 D2L ($1,120)

The Eberspacher Espar Airtronic S2 is a reliable, fuel-efficient diesel air heater and has been a popular choice for van conversions. It works as an independent and extremely efficient heating system meaning you can stay warm and cozy in even the coldest temperatures!

While the cost of purchasing and installing the air heater may appear high initially, it runs on a low-cost fuel that quickly pays for itself due to the energy-efficient design. Moreover, its direct heating capabilities make it ideal for tightly enclosed spaces within the confines of your van.

One potential downside to consider when using this diesel heater is its noise level; be sure to consider any noise pollution issues that may arise if you plan on visiting or parking in residential areas. Additionally, due to its simplicity of design, this type of heater can require more maintenance than other stoves or heaters.

Overall, while there are some drawbacks to using an Eberspacher Espar Airtronic S2 in your converted van, those invested in comfort will find it an invaluable addition!

Runner Up

best van life heater

Webasto Air Top 2000 STC – Gasoline model ($1,500)

Webasto Air Top 2000 STC – Diesel model ($1,500)

When considering which heater to install in your van conversion, the Webasto Air Top 2000 STC is an excellent choice for providing amazing comfort and convenience. This heater is highly efficient, with fast warm-up times and operating temperatures up to 104° Fahrenheit.

It is both quiet and low maintenance, making it ideal for use in a turbulent living environment. Also worth noting is its air-purifying properties – the exhaust of this heater releases minimal fumes, making it easy on the environment!

Despite these advantages, needing fuel to run may not always be accessible on long journeys. Furthermore, purchasing a second-hand model may result in outdated parts or other issues down the line. However, the pros outweigh the cons when using this heating appliance in your converted van.

Budget Option

best van life heater

Mr. Heater Big Buddy ($150)

If you are looking for a reliable, user-friendly heater to use in your converted van, Mr. Heater Buddy might be a great choice. These portable propane heaters have various helpful features and accessories to make the heating experience easier.

One definite plus is that it can quickly heat large spaces, making for a much more enjoyable ride overall. Another benefit of Mr. Heater Buddy is that it’s easy to use; turn the knob, you can buy the one-pound bottles off the shelf, and you’re good to go; plus, they are portable van heaters.

Despite its advantages, such as its simple design and portability, there are some drawbacks to consider when using this product in your van: one downside is its low energy efficiency; still, it does an excellent job of releasing heat throughout the room, given its size and simplicity.

Additionally, many users report that if not properly vented, this heater can cause toxic fumes to build up – though fortunately, this problem can be avoided if you keep an eye on ventilation while using it!

Warning: Proper ventilation is required when using this as a heat source within your living space

Alternative Fuel Source

best van life heater

WINNERWELL Nomad Medium Stove ($360)

These wood-burning stoves are an ideal option for heating your converted van if you like the idea of using wood as your fuel. Its 8,000 BTU rating means it packs a good punch in terms of heat output and has an adjustable burner that can be fine-tuned so you can get the perfect temperature.

Plus, it has a foldable design, so if you ever go off-roading, it won’t take up too much space. One of the cons of using this stove is requiring proper ventilation to minimize carbon monoxide buildup. It must be installed outside or near an external wall vent.

Additionally, users should ensure they regularly clean the tube and filter as there may be a build-up due to oil fumes and metal shards from food being cooked in the stove’s pot. Taking care of these components will help ensure your stove runs safely and efficiently.

Warning: Proper ventilation is required when using this as a heat source within your living space

More Than Just a Heater

best van life heater
Van Life Tech

Van Life Tech Hydronic Heating System ($12,495)

A hydronic heating system provides an effective, efficient, and flexible solution for both space and potable water heating. This type of system operates much like a car’s heating system, where “coolant” is circulated through the heater core to warm up your vehicle’s interior.

However, ordinary automotive antifreeze is toxic ethylene glycol; in contrast, hydronic systems use a non-toxic glycol solution to ensure that the heat transfer fluid remains totally separate from the automotive coolant. Hydronic heating is a great option if you’re looking for a safe and economical way to heat your van.

The System is designed to provide maximum comfort and convenience. It offers up to ~17,000 BTU of energy for both space and domestic water heating, which is more than two times the amount of energy a typical “D2 Air Heater” (~7200 BTU) installed in vans.

The exterior environment, flooring material and the interior air temperature must be considered when installing this system. The installer will set the floor minimum and maximum temperatures according to the type of flooring used – typically 65 – 90F. The end-user can set their own desired indoor air temperature, usually around 70F.

To keep the minimum floor and air temperatures at optimal levels without exceeding the max floor temperature set-point, The Controller fires up the boiler, which powers the Hydronic Radiant Floor system.

Electricity is the key factor in determining how much fuel a system requires, and in this case, the electrical demand is low and consistent. We estimate that it will take between 30-70 Watts of DC power for our system to run at peak efficiency – and no inverter is needed!

Regarding fuel consumption, you can expect between 0.07 and 0.16 gallons per hour under heating demand conditions. In freezing temperatures, our System and controller will cycle for 10-12 hours in a 24-hour period for an estimated use of 1/2 gallon of fuel daily – making it a highly efficient solution that keeps costs and energy usage low.

best van life heater
Van Life Tech

What Is the Best Heater for Van Life?

The top spot goes to the Espar Diesel heaters. With the efficient blower system combined with high altitude capabilities and a longer life motor, it is no wonder this little unit is a must-have in your camper van, RV, schoolie, or minivan, for that matter.

Whatever means of transportation and living quarters you use to get you outdoors, the Espar is sure to keep you warm on those cold nights!


If you are an adventurer in several climates across the US or some other wonderful place around the globe, then you’ll need heat to keep warm in the colder regions. There is nothing worse than having a great day in the outdoors, coming back to your campervan and being chilled the entire night.

Plus, if you plan on registering your vehicle as an RV, a heating source is one of the qualifying factors in most, if not all, 50 states. So, do yourself a favor, check out each of our options above, and decide which one best fits your needs, then go forth and explore my friends!

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