Caravan Diesel Heater vs Caravan Gas Heater

Baby it’s cold outside, but that doesn’t mean you should store your caravan until warmer weather. Get yourself a caravan heater and long may the adventures continue.

When buying your caravan heater, there’s one important question to answer: diesel or gas?

There’s no right or wrong answer. As with all caravan appliances, it depends on a few important factors, including your set-up, how you like to travel and how cold it’s going to get.

Let’s look at how they compare:

Pros of Diesel Heaters:
  • Readily available fuel source. This is a pro if you already have a diesel vehicle. The heater gets the fuel it needs for heating directly from the vehicle’s tank. This is an advantage since you can fill up with diesel at every service station.
  • Super-efficient. Caravan diesel heaters have a very low rate of fuel consumption and are highly efficient form of heating.
  • Flexible installation. Unlike gas heaters, diesel units do not have a flue that goes through the wall but rather an exhaust that goes through the floor of the vehicle. This gives greater flexibility for installation, which can also be carried out DIY without the need for a qualified tradesperson
  • Pre-warm the van. Use a diesel heater to pre-warm an RV interior while you’re still driving. Perfect for when you arrive in the high country and the temperature has already dropped!
  • Clean dry heat. Caravan diesel heaters produce a clean dry heat, which means none of the humidity and condensation that you can get from gas heaters.

Cons of Diesel Heaters:
  • Requires a diesel fuel tank. For caravans this is a definite drawback of diesel heaters and means extra cost. That said, for diesel engine motorhomes, the fuel supply is already in place.
  • More expensive than LG gas heaters. The upfront cost of a diesel caravan heater can bust the budget for some people. But it’s worth remembering that they can be a more economical option for larger vans in the long term.
  • Louder than their gas counterparts. Noise can be minimised by selecting quality units and ensuring they are installed properly.

Caravan Diesel Heaters We Recommend:

Pros of Gas Heaters:
  • Gas setup is already in place. Most caravans already have a gas cooker, water heater and maybe a three-way fridge, so the gas is already installed and ready to go. On the other hand, if you choose a diesel heater, you need a separate fuel tank.   
  • Runs independently from the engine. The heater runs straight from a gas bottle to provide an economical heat source.
  • Very quiet to run. Only the fan creates any noise. For example, the Truma Vario Eco Gas Heater boasts near silent operation for the perfect night’s sleep.
  • Cheaper than diesel. Gas heaters tend to be cheaper upfront, making them a good option for shorter trips.

Cons of Gas Heaters:
  • Regulatory requirements. A big downside to gas heaters is the regulations. They must be installed by a licensed gas fitter in accordance to gas regulations. For example, a gas heater flue can’t be installed too close to a window, door, other gas appliance inlet or outlet, and so on. For some caravans, this rules out a gas heater completely. However, it’s worth bearing in mind that Truma, a top name in gas heaters, offers extremely compact gas heaters that can be installed in almost any position.
  • Increased demand on gas supply. Although they are becoming more energy efficient, the higher demand on your gas supply could become an issue if you’re away from towns and have limited gas refill options.

Caravan Gas Heaters We Recommend:
  • Truma Vario Eco Gas Heater: This gas heater is the most efficient gas heater on the market. It is lightweight, sleek and compact, plus is very quiet at night and heats the space quickly.
  • Truma Combi 4E Kit, Gas Heater / Hot Water System: This unit is a combination air heater and hot water system for the ultimate flexibility. The heater can be operated to heat water only, heat air without water, or heat both air and water at the same time.
The Truma Combi CP Plus

Before You Buy:

When choosing between a gas heater and a diesel caravan heater, answer these questions:

  • What temperatures will you experience on your trip?
  • How big is your vehicle?
  • What’s the available space for installation?
  • Do you already have a diesel fuel tank or gas installed? Will it be enough to run a heater too?
  • What’s your budget (including installation)?

For more information on different types of heaters, check out Our Caravan Heaters Buyers Guide. Or go straight to our online store to see what heater works for your vehicle.

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