It is cheap and powerful, but read our Screwfix 44164 review to find out if this is enough to make this the best portable heater for your caravan holidays

Overview

Caravanning isn't just for the summer holidays. However, if you are planning on embarking on a winter tour, make sure you go prepared. Caravan insulation and draught-proofing have improved greatly in recent years, however it is wise to pack a few extra caravan accessories to ensure you and those staying with you can keep toasty warm and comfortable, even if the weather turns really cold.

You could opt for a fuel heater and go off-grid. The Japanese manufacturer Zibro makes some impressive products and imports them to the UK, so if this type of heater is what you're after, make sure you read our LC30 and RS24 reviews – and follow the safety advice.

Luckily, more and more campsites have electric hook-ups you can use to power portable heaters, so staying warm in your van is easier than ever without draining your leisure battery. And we've tested a range of electric heaters to help you work out which one is best for you.

Do you want an electric fan heater that heats the air, or a radiant heater? And as well as making a decision based on the price tag of the products, consider the size of the portable heater you're considering – it may sound obvious, but how truly portable is it? Will it be easy or too heavy to carry, will it be simple to stow securely in your caravan when on tow, and is it so big that it's in the way when you're using it?

You want a heater with sufficient power to keep you warm when it gets seriously chilly, but as some of the more powerful heaters use fans, you might want to weigh the benefits of this extra power against the potential extra noise generated.

Do you want an oscillating heater? These spread the heat more evenly than ones that do not move at all. In addition, a fan-only mode is desirable because it means you can use the unit as a cooling fan in hotter months, too. A built-in timer and a thermostat are further desirable features.

Other factors to consider are the stability of the heater when in use and how easy it is to position the heater where you want it.

So, what did out testers think of the Screwfix 44164, which costs just £15? It is hard to criticise a heater that kicks out a handy 2000W despite costing so little. Nevertheless, there are several reasons why other models are better suited to caravan use. First, the unit's 28cm x 26cm footprint is large, plus its ground-hugging profile makes it a tripping hazard. The fan is not very high-quality; it’s not noisy, but it makes the whole unit vibrate, which creates drumming or other irritating noises against the floor.

Those points aside, the rest of the Screwfix 44164's spec is impressive: two power levels, a no-heat fan mode, plus a built-in thermostat. It scored three out of five.

There are many other options on the market. We also reviewed the Sealey CD2013TT, the AM05 made by Dyson, the Argos 415/1364, the Kobe KBE-828-0130K and the very similarly named Kobe KBE-828-0140K, two heaters from Kampa, the Kampa Diddy and the Kampa 1500W, the Sealey CH2013, the Clarke OFR9/90, the Outwell Etna, the Dimplex Pro Series Self-Righting heater and also the Draper 02714.

Verdict

Come the end of our Screwfix 44164 review, there's no denying that this is a powerful, well specced and very, very affordable heater – but there are better options out there, we think.

Conclusion

Pros

  • It is very affordable
  • The good spec includes two power modes, a thermostat and a cooling fan setting

Cons

  • It's quite large and could pose a tripping hazard
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