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5 Best Diesel Heaters for Van Campers

5 Best Diesel Heaters for Van Campers

If you don’t want van life to end when the temperatures drop, you might want to consider a diesel heater. For van lovers, this can mean camping in four seasons while staying warm. Today we’ll share how a diesel heater for your van can be a game-changer for when and where you camp! Let’s dive in!

What Is a Diesel Heater? 

While a few different types of fuels heat van campers, a diesel heater is considered the best. These heaters can use very little power and a minimal amount of fuel to heat a van.

These efficient heaters make camping in cold climates not only tolerable but quite comfortable. If your van camper runs on diesel fuel, you can tie your diesel heater directly to your main fuel tank. This system means you won’t need to carry additional fuel, and as long as you have diesel for your van, you’ll stay warm.

campervan in camping in snowy winter
Enjoy exploring in every season with a diesel heater.

How Does a Diesel Heater Work?

Diesel heaters draw fuel directly from the vehicles diesel fuel tank to burn it. They include a fan to blow out exhaust and draw in exterior air. This burn cycle takes place in a seperate chamber from the inside camper air.

Air inside the camper is drawn in a seperate chamber that exchanges heat with the burning diesel fuel to heat the van.

It doesn’t take much for these compact van campers to heat up. These efficient diesel heaters use very little space and fuel to keep vans nice and toasty.

van diesel heater installation exhaust
Most of the time the heater is installed under the van. Note the silver pipe in this picture is the exhaust. Make sure it exits away from windows and doors.

What to Look for When Buying a Diesel Heater

One of the most important aspects to look for when buying a diesel heater is the size of the unit. You want to ensure that the heater can warm your van but is not too big for a tiny space. If you buy too big or too small, you will waste money either way.

It’s also worth noting that diesel heaters make a lot of noise. The larger the unit, the less it will need to work, but the louder it will be. This means if you sleep lightly, get the appropriately sized diesel heater for your van. You don’t want to lose sleep to stay warm.

Also, consider the maintenance costs involved with a diesel heater. Diesel burns much dirtier than other fuel sources but works more efficiently. Look at the recommended maintenance schedules and expenses involved. You want a heater you can rely on that won’t cost you a fortune to maintain.

EVERYTHING you need to know about DIESEL HEATER’s | Caravan’s, RV’s, motorhomes and camper trailers

Keep in Mind: A good heater is just one aspect of RVing in cold weather so we put together the ultimate list of Cold Weather Camping: How to RV in Winter.

5 Best Diesel Heaters for Van Campers

Now that you understand what a diesel heater is and why we think you need one, let’s look at a handful of options. These are some of the five best diesel heaters for van campers. Let’s get started!

1. Webasto STC 2000

The Webasto STC 2000 is one of Webasto’s most popular items. This diesel heater can produce 7,000 BTUs and uses one gallon of fuel in 22 hours. It comes in both gasoline and diesel, but we think you’ll love the efficiency of the diesel version.

The low maintenance design means more time using your van camper and less time sitting in the shop. It has multiple modes, such as recirculation and fresh air. This powerful diesel heater will do an incredible job keeping your space warm.

2. Webasto Evo 40

Webasto’s EVO 40 is a whisper-quiet diesel heater. Webasto has heard the noise complaints from those camping in their vans and improved the fuel dosing pump to make this heater run incredibly quiet. While other diesel heaters will struggle at higher elevations, the EVO 40 has an automatic altitude compensation for up to 7,218 feet. 

You won’t have to worry about using a ton of fuel either, with the low setting using 0.07 gallons per hour and the high setting using 0.15 gallons per hour. This means if you run the heater for 12 hours, you’ll use slightly less than two gallons of diesel. You can stay warm, and it won’t cost you a fortune in fuel.

Webasto Air Top EVO 40 4kW 13650 BTU Gasoline Gas...
  • UK distributor for Webasto. Genuine UK dealer guaranteed...
  • Whisper quiet heating - now improved further with quieter fuel...
  • Automatic altitude compensation up to 7,218 ft (2,200 m)

3. Espar Airtronic D2

The Espar Airtronic D2 is a forced air heater that offers 7,500 BTU output and four different heat levels. The central unit relies on an internal temperature sensor to turn on and off. You can also get the recommended external temperature sensor to help control location-specific climates. 

This heater can operate effectively at 7,200 feet elevation, but an additional high altitude kit will let you take it even higher. This heater can run for 24 hours on a single gallon of diesel fuel. 

Eberspacher Espar Airtronic D2 Air Heater 12v...
  • Eberspacher Airtronic D2 diesel-fired self regulating air heater...
  • Easy Start Select Controller - 221000341300
  • All electrical harnesses and connections
Cold Snowy Camper Van Heater
While diesel works more efficiently, it also burns much dirtier than other fuels.

4. Espar Airtronic S2

The Espar Airtronic S2 has 7,500 BTU of heating power and an automatic altitude adjustment. It can keep your van warm at just over 9,800 feet in elevation. The stepless motor and silent fuel pump make it easy to get a good night’s rest. You won’t wake in the middle of the night each time your heater kicks on.

The Airtronic S2 uses a more reliable brushless motor that lasts longer and works more efficiently. This environmentally friendly motor has a lifespan of 5,000 hours. It’s a formidable contender for the best diesel heater available.

Eberspacher Espar Airtronic S2 D2 L 12V 2.2kW...
  • Diesel fired air heater with 2.2 kW 7500BTU heating power.
  • Automatic altitude adjustment - up to 3000m above sea level. No...
  • Get a better nights sleep, with the new stepless motor and silent...
Diesel Heater Control Panel
Keep in mind: Diesel heaters do make a lot of noise while in use.

5. Budget Diesel Heater for Van Campers: 5KW Diesel Heater

While the other diesel heaters on our list can cost upwards of $1,000, the 5000W diesel heater for van campers costs less than $150. This incredibly efficient heater will use just more than two gallons of fuel if left running 24 hours straight.

The independent heating device helps prevent carbon deposits in your engine. This means a longer-lasting and better-maintained motor that will last for years. You’ll love the remote control feature, which means you can warm up your van before hopping in at the end of the day!

Pro Tip: Unsure if a diesel heater is the one for you? Consider propane, but first make sure to read: Are RV Propane Heaters Safe?

The Best RV Winter Setup: How to RV in Winter and the Gear That Will Keep You Cozy Warm!

Are Diesel Heaters Safe?

Yes, if used correctly. You should vent diesel heaters outside like most heaters. This minimizes the potential of a severe or deadly incident for anyone in your RV. Many of these manufacturers pride themselves on being efficient and safe.

An Effective Upgrade

A diesel heater for your camper van can be an effective way to heat your tiny home on wheels. This is an upgrade that you’ll be thankful you have when you need to use it. Say goodbye to multiple layers and frostbitten fingers. You’ll be comfy-cozy as you enjoy your camper van.

Do you have a diesel heater in your camper van? Drop a comment below.

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Tom & Caitlin Morton of Mortons on the Move gave up the stationary life for one where they are constantly on the move. They are full-time travelers, television hosts, and digital media producers.
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Sunday 27th of November 2022

Hi Mortons! The link to the budget diesel heater is no longer valid. Do you have a recommendation for a budget diesel heater? Thanks!

Chris P Moss

Sunday 2nd of January 2022

I bought one of the cheaper diesel heaters when they were $89 free delivery 4 hears ago , and its being Jan 2 2021 and were about to be hit with 7 inches of snow im glad i have it, it has ran flawlessly for 4 years and if this one ever breaks i will happily buy another 1

Mortons on the Move

Friday 7th of January 2022

That's awesome! Thanks for sharing your experience.

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