If you want a radiant heater to keep you cosy on your winter caravan holidays, read Practical Caravan's review of the affordable Kobe KBE-828-0140K

Overview

The widespread availability of mains hook-ups at campsites, together with advances in the caravan industry when it comes to insulation and draught-proofing, mean that using your caravan all year round is something more and more caravanners are doing. But, nevertheless, it is a good idea to make a heater part of your touring kit if you're taking your caravan holidays in the cooler months of the year.

Of course, you don't have to use an electric hook-up. Fuel heaters have improved greatly in recent years and, with care and the right precautions in place, these can be used in touring caravans. We've reviewed the Zibro LC30 and the Zibro RS24, so check these out if you fancy a fuel heater.

However, if a mains powered heater is what you want, you need to choose between an electric fan heater and a radiant heater. Electric fan heaters are the most simple and straightforward, taking cold air in, heating the air, then releasing it, therefore gently raising the temperature of the air in the space they sit in.

Radiant heaters don't heat the air. Instead, they give out infrared rays which are invisible and which go through the air, discharging the thermal energy they carry into what is in their path, which will be you if you are nearby. These are often silent and bring the benefit of producing heat right away. On the downside, as soon as they are turned off or as soon as you walk away, the heat disappears as quickly as it came.

Once you've decided what type of heater you want to buy, what other things should you think about before spending your money? Ensure the heater you're getting has the power to keep your van warm even when it gets really cold. But also bear in mind that not all hook-ups are equal, so a heater with a variety of outputs is useful as you can adjust it according to the available amperage.

Oscillating heaters provide an even spread of heat, while products that have a fan-only mode can also be used to provide cooling in warmer months. Of course, some fans can be noisy, so this is something else to consider.

How stable is the heater when in place? How easy is it to position? And you'll also want to understand what size the heater is – too large and it might get in the way and be hard to pack and to move about, too small and it might become a trip hazard.

Here we review the Kobe KBE-828-0140K, which is a radiant heater that retails for £23. Tall halogen-tube radiant heaters like this product are common, but this is better-made and finished than most. The tubes’ protective mesh is sturdy, the switches seem to be of good quality, and we like the large carry handle.

This Kobe can be set to 400W, 800W or 1200W, and it works silently and instantly, which is great. The heat is intense — but only if you’re directly in line with the infrared rays, which is where this design falls down. Stand it on the floor and it will do a great job of heating your feet and legs. It tends to topple as well.

You might be interested in another Kobe heater (which has a confusingly similar name), the Kobe KBE-828-0130K. We've put a number of other portable heaters through their paces too, to help you find the best heater for your caravan holidays. How about the Sealey CD2013TT or the Sealey CH2013, the AM05 by Dyson, the Argos 415/1364, the Kampa Diddy, the Kampa 1500W, the Clarke OFR9/90, the Outwell Etna, the Dimplex Pro Series Self-Righting heater or the Draper 02714. We're sure you'll find something so you can enjoy touring all year round in comfort.

Verdict

We've awarded the Kobe KBE-828-0140K three out of five, as while it does produce a lot of heat, you only benefit from this if you're in line with the rays. However it is a high quality product at a good price.

Conclusion

Pros

  • It is a well built product and is silent in operation
  • At £23, it is affordable
  • It has three output settings

Cons

  • You only benefit from its heat when you're directly in line with it
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