If you’re planning to enjoy your favourite shows when you’re in the comfort of your tourer, you’ll need a television. This raises the question of ‘do you need a special TV for a caravan’? If you find yourself wondering just that, we’re here to answer the question for you.

Nowadays, the best caravan TVs provide excellent sound quality and a brilliant picture, as well as allowing you to access your favourite streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime and BBC iPlayer. The viewing experience can be further improved with luxury caravan accessories such as a soundbar. So, do you actually need a 12V TV for your tourer or can you stick to a 230V domestic TV?

Fundamentally, there’s nothing to stop you from taking the TV you have at home and putting it in your home on wheels. However, we’d recommend considering a few points before you do so.

Firstly, think about the size of your screen. The television you have at home is likely to be fairly large – if you’ve invested in one of the best small caravans, for instance, a 40-inch screen is going to dominate your tourer’s interior, not only taking up a lot of space but providing you with a bad television experience as you’re quite likely to be sitting on top of it.

It’s not just your view of the screen that can be hampered, however – taking a large domestic TV away with you can also impact your caravan security. If you can’t fit it in a locker when you’re not using it, it could make it an enticing target to potential thieves.

Then you’ll need to consider how you intend to power it. As a rule, a domestic TV operates on 230V mains, so it will need mains hook-up. That’s not a problem, so long as your campsite pitch comes with hook-up, but if it doesn’t, you’re staying at a festival, or are going off-grid, it quickly becomes a problem. One workaround is investing in a small plug-in inverter. However, inverters drain a 12V battery much quicker than a 12V TV would. There’s also the added complexity of an inverter not providing a 100% efficient conversion – and that’s before factoring in the price of buying one too.

There’s the added consideration that every TV can run on DC voltage too – it will be stepped down from the mains. However, that doesn’t mean every TV can be plugged straight into a 12V socket. Adaptors can be purchased online, so check if there’s a suitable one for your TV that you can buy.

In contrast, a 12V TV will come with its own 12V adaptor, as well as being more rugged than a domestic TV.

Lastly, we’d say consider the convenience of not having to disconnect your domestic TV every time you set off on tour, before needing to reconnect it upon your return. If it’s something you don’t want to do each time, it will be well worth investing in a 12V TV for your tourer.


Taking all of this into account, we’d say the main deciding factor will be your touring habits. If you think you’re always going to stay somewhere where you can access hookup, you could get away with a domestic TV. However, you’ll have to make sure it’s the right size for your caravan and won’t result in an unpleasant viewing experience where you can barely see what’s happening.

For caravanners who want the freedom to tour wherever they want without their TV providing any added complications, we’d recommend going down the 12V route, buying a model from a reputable brand such as Avtex and Cello.

Future Publishing Limited, the publisher of practicalcaravan.com, provides the information in this article in good faith and makes no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. Individuals carrying out the instructions do so at their own risk and must exercise their independent judgement in determining the appropriateness of the advice to their circumstances. Individuals should take appropriate safety precautions and be aware of the risk of electrocution when dealing with electrical products. To the fullest extent permitted by law, neither Future nor its employees or agents shall have any liability in connection with the use of this information. You should check that any van warranty will not be affected before proceeding with DIY projects.

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