With more caravanners than ever taking the plunge and enjoying some off season touring, portable heaters are becoming crucial caravan accessories. So to help you choose the best heater for your caravan holidays, Practical Caravan has put a collection to the test.

Here we review the Kobe KBE-828-0130K, which costs £40. With a maximum output of 2000W, and hook-up friendly reduced levels of 750W and 1250W, this heater’s attributes may sound quite familiar. Add in the built-in timer, a thermostat and the choice of absolutely silent running or rapid fan-assisted heating, and this looks like a good alternative to our group product test winner, the Sealey CD2013TT, because it offers users great flexibility and has a wide range of features.

Size-wise, this and the winning Sealey heater are very similar, but the Kobe has a clumsier, more bulky shape. However, in favour of the Kobe is the fact that it comes with brackets allowing permanent wall mounting. Either way, the KBE-828-0130K’s four-star rating proves that our testers think this is a good product.

As well as the Sealey CD2013TT and the Kobe KBE-828-0130K, we tested another Kobe product, the KBE-828-0140K. We also reviewed the Outwell Etna, the Kampa Diddy, the Clarke OFR9/90, the rather clever Dimplex Pro Series Self-Righting heater, the stylish Dyson AM05, the Screwfix 44164Draper’s 02714, the Argos 415/1364, the compact Sealey CH2013, the competent Kampa 1500W and two fuel heaters from Japan, the Zibro RS24 and Zibro LC30. Read our reviews to find out which of these portable heaters will best suit your touring needs.

But what do you need to consider when you’re shopping for a heater for your van?

Size matters. When packing for your caravan holidays, cramming everything you need in safely and securely can be tricky and something of a jigsaw puzzle, so you want to make sure that you don’t buy a portable heater so large that it’s difficult to pack and store. In addition, you’ll want something that won’t take up too much space when in use and that’s not so heavy that it is hard to move and position. The stability of the heater when in use is also important.

The presence of a few key features can make a big difference when using your heater on site, in terms of convenience and flexibility. Has the heater you’re considering buying got a timer function? You don’t want to leave a heater on unsupervised overnight, but neither do you want to wake up to a freezing van and need to get out of bed to turn it on.

You also want to be certain that the heater you’re buying can do what you want it to – in other words that it has the oomph to keep you warm no matter what time of year you head out in your caravan. But at the same time, as different campsites have different outputs on their electric hook-ups it is helpful if the heater you buy can be adjusted to suit the available amperage.

The type of heater you choose might also depend on what you want from it. Electric space heaters are simple and easy, but if you’re heating an awning or if your caravan is poorly insulated, a radiant heater might be a better bet. Some heaters also have fans to force air through them – and if the heaters have a fan-only mode it can be used to cool you in the summer, so you’ll get more use from it and thus better value for money.