One of the delights of taking a caravan on holiday is the fresh air, and it’s never more enjoyable than in the quiet of the evening. Nothing beats settling down under your awning for a few drinks or a meal, or to simply sit around, relax and chat, and it’s all the better if you have heating. You will, of course, have heaters in your caravan so it can be cosy and warm in there, but what about outside, under your awning? You definitely need an awning heating system!
Before you consider what awning heater you need to think about whether you want a caravan side skirt to help keep the heat in and which size awning you have.
There are many options for awning heaters that you can hang or mount outside – and some of those we have chosen are also certified for use indoors – so let’s check out the best we could find, and see if there’s one here that would do the job for you.
1: Firefly Silver Infrared 1.5kW
This model, from the extensive Firefly range, is electrically powered, so you need a hook-up for it to do the job. It is designed for patio use as a patio heater – and you could make use of it at home if you wish on your patio – and is perfectly suited for use in awnings. It’s also certified for use indoors as well as out, so you get even better value for money and extra heat for your caravan.
It hangs from a chain, and is finished in a nice sliver shiny surface that is rather attractive, and heats by way of a 1.5kW halogen element which promises around 3000 hours of use, so that’s a lifetime for most caravans. The element also provides light, and the durable aluminium casing will last the distance. Cheap to run – the makers claim 18p per hour – and convenient, it’s sensibly priced and will give you plenty of heat for a comfortable evening under the awning. Infrared heaters are a great choice.
Key Features – halogen, 1.5kW, electric, aluminium, attractive
2: Firefly 2kW Wall Mounted
We’ve chosen a second model from the Firefly range to demonstrate a different concept, that of the wall-mounted infra-red heater. This one can provide up to 2kW of heating power – or as little as 650W if you want less – and also provides light thanks to the silent and efficient heating elements. It comes with fittings to attach to a wall permanently, but can also be used occasionally and is suitable for awnings.
Electric again, this one needs to plug in, it is quick to heat up and cheap to run – infrared heaters are by far the most cost-effective method – and also easy to use. It is worth remembering that it does need to be under some form of cover, as it is not waterproof. This one comes from an extensive range of such heaters so Firefly is a brand worth checking out, and it is competitively priced for a quality item.
Key Features – wall mounting, suitable for awnings, not waterproof, infra-red, 2kW
3: Leisurewize Oil Filled Radiator
If you’re looking for a simple solution to your awning heating, what about this neat and compact oil-filled radiator? Now, these are not the most efficient forms of heating – and they take a long time to get up to speed – but this one is cheap and cheerful, and will provide you with sufficient heat for sitting outdoors as long as the weather is not absolutely freezing!
It is a 700W model so is perfectly capable of providing additional heat for your caravan, too, and it’s a simple plug in and go model with a variable heat dial and simple on and off switches. The 7 elements give off plenty of heat, and it uses low enough power to not trouble your supply, but it’s not as attractive as some of the awning heaters we have featured, and may cost more to run.
Key Features – oil filled, electric, 700w, 7 elements
4: SunGas Heater
So let’s say you’ve pitched your van somewhere remote, quiet and beautiful, and you want to keep your battery power for lights. What do you do for heat? You use a gas powered awning heater such as this inexpensive and simple model from SunGas. This one uses universal gas canisters you can buy all over the world and has instant on and off, and is very versatile and compact too.
This high-performance gas heater can provide up to 1kW of heat – thanks to a reflective dome that directs all the heat towards you – and is safeguarded by a cage across the flame area. It’s small, will last a long time and cheap to run, and also cheap to buy. The only warning we would give with this is that as it is a love flame it needs to be used under supervision, but bar that it’s a great choice of awning heater and for other uses, too.
Key Features – gas, universal canister, easy to use, cheap, 1kW
5: Explorer Fan Heater 500W
Back to electric awning heaters with this one from Explorer, and it’s a slightly different concept to those we have seen so far. In fact, it’s a simple fan heater – the sort you may use around the home for occasional heat – and is a 500W model. That’s not the most powerful we’ve seen here but for use in a small awning – or in your caravan – it will do a decent job, as long as you have the electric power source it needs.
It is light and compact, so perfect for a caravan or awning, and also features an auto-off function for if it gets too hot, which is a nice and welcome safety feature. This one will not be as cost-effective as the halogen infrared heaters we listed earlier, but for additional and occasional heat we see no problem with it, especially at what is an excellent price.
Key Features – fan heater, electric, 500W, cheap, overheat protection.
6: Kampa Diddy Portable Heater
Our final choice, from the Kampa range which includes a variety of camping products, is this electric ceramic fan heater, and it’s worth a closer look if you are happy with this type of heater as it is very cheap indeed. This one has special ceramic elements that are very efficient, and is designed for use in compact spaces so would be perfect for a caravan, or an awning, or even in a tent if you have the power source.
It’s very small and – at 1500W – powerful for its size and price. In fact, at the price, we reckon buying two would give you enough heat for even a good-sized awning. It’s easy to use with an adjustable heat selector, and is very effective given the type of heater it is. Fan heaters are not to everyone’s taste, but the simple fact remains this one is powerful and very cheap, so it’s certainly worthy of a second look.
Key Features – fan heater, ceramic, 1500W, compact, price
That’s six very usable heaters that you can put in your awning for a little extra heat, and enjoy those evenings with a bottle of wine long after dark! Is there one here for you, and which would we recommend? Let’s consider the options!
First, let’s address the one problem that is always evident with caravans and awnings: power. You most likely have a power supply from a leisure battery or similar, or you may have settled at a site that offers you a mains electricity supply. That being the case, five out of our six selections will work for you.
If you don’t have electricity, or want to save what you have in your batteries, then the only one you can use is no. 4, the SunGas heater. It operates from a standard gas canister that you can buy at any hardware or camping store, and that is universal pretty much across the world, and provides you with a sensible amount of heat, too, so you might want to check it out further in case you end up somewhere with no mains power supply.
Back to the electric models, then, and there are a couple we like. The first one we recommend you look at more closely is the last one on the list, the Kampa fan heater. It’s cheap, it’s simple and yet it’s also surprisingly powerful and effective, and if a fan heater suits you, then we can’t see anything wrong with what is a superbly priced little heater.
Our favourites, however, are undoubtedly the two Firefly models which are both infrared heaters. One hangs from above, the other mounts on a wall or can be stood down, and both feature very efficient and cheap to run halogen elements that are ideal for use in awnings and caravans. You may pay a little more for these, but they come highly recommended from many satisfied users.
So, check out our selection of awning heaters again, and get yourself one so you can enjoy those evenings under your awning! If you want your awning to be even cosier, then get yourself some carpet for your awning.