It’s important to make sure you have the right kit on board to keep cosy, no matter what time of year you take your caravan holidays. And as caravan technology has improved and our tourers are better built and insulated than ever, more and more of us are hitting the road during the colder months, making portable heaters essential caravan accessories for many.

However, with so many on the market, which heater should you buy? Practical Caravan’s expert test team is here to help. We have put a host of heaters to the test to help you shop with confidence. But first, what should you be looking for when considering one?

An electric space heater is the most simple, easy option and one many caravanners will feel comfortable with. These heat the space they are in gradually, by taking cold air in, warming it up and releasing it – as we said, it is very straightforward. Some make use of natural convection, much like domestic radiators, whereas others have fans which force the air through.

Radiant heaters are another option and one you might like to go for if your caravan is a little draughty or if you want to heat up your awning, because the ongoing heat loss might be more than a space heater can contend with. Instead of heating the air, a radiant heater gives off infrared rays which give out their heat when they hit something. They are usually silent and produce heat you feel straightaway – however, as soon as you move away you’ll not feel the benefit, and as soon as they’re turned off, the heat is gone.

Another consideration is power – make sure your portable heater has enough power to keep you warm when the temperatures plummet. However, you must remember that not all electric hook-ups on campsites are 13A or more, so it is very convenient if a heater has an output that can be lowered or raised, depending on the available amperage.

Size is another factor to bear in mind, because storage space might be at a premium in your caravan, plus when you’re using the heater, you don’t want it to be too large or to get in the way. In addition, you will want to ensure that the heater is stable and easy to position.

It’s handy if portable heaters have timers, as then you don’t have to wake to a cold van and get out of bed to turn the heater on! If you’re looking at space heaters, a thermostat – which turns the heater off when the required temperature is reached, and switches it back on when the temperature falls – is super as you don’t need to turn it on and off all the time. Plus, fan-only modes are a bonus as they can provide cooling in summer.

Here we are reviewing the Kampa 1500W. And with it comes a little bit of a surprise. While it’s hardly unusual for different UK suppliers to source similar products from the same Far East manufacturers, we wouldn’t have expected a camping equipment supplier to beat one of the UK’s biggest mainstream tools outfits on price. But that’s what Kampa has done. As you can see from the photos, this heater and Draper’s 02714 (which we’ve also reviewed) are closely related. 

Spec-wise, the Draper and the Kampa heaters are just as similar: outputs of 750 or 1500W, an optional oscillation mode, a built-in thermostat and a fan-only mode. So, if this is your heater of choice, Kampa’s version is the one to have, as it is priced at £25, whereas the Draper is £33. Both scored four out of five in our test.

We also tested another Kampa product, the Diddy, which definitely lives up to its name. 

But these weren’t the only portable heaters we tested. At the end of the Clarke OFR9/90 review, the product scored four out of five, as did the Outwell Etna, the Kobe KBE-828-0130K, the Sealey CH2013 and the Dimplex Pro Series Self-Righting heater. In addition, we gave the Kobe KBE-828-0140K, the Dyson AM05 and the Screwfix 44164 three out of five, and two out of five to the Argos 415/1364. Or if a fuel heater is what you want, check out our Zibro RS24 and Zibro LC30 reviews.