Best Wood Stoves For RV Camper VansElijah White
Choosing a wood stove to heat your RV can be a cozy and energy efficient option, but finding the right model for you will depend on your RV and personal needs.
The ambient atmosphere a wood stove can add to a living space is cozy and comfortable and the heat is strong and dry, perfect for keeping you and your belongings warm even in the coldest environments. However, finding a wood stove that fits your needs for features and choosing the right size of wood stove for your RV can be difficult.
A wood stove is a great choice for an extra cold environment as they heat areas well, but the model you choose will depend on how you want to use the stove and the size of the living space it will be heating. There are other things to consider with a wood stove like installation and fuel storage.
Wood stoves can make a great choice for a heating solution but there are many things to consider before installing one like the space you’ll need to heat, the amount of space the stove needs to be empty around it to safely operate, the cost of the stove and installation, and where to store or obtain wood. You should have an answer to all of these questions before you choose your stove, below I will go over some of my top picks and what they do best.
I grew up with wood stoves so I know how alluring they can be. Even with some disadvantages, the heat and comfort they provide is a unique experience that you may not be able to live without after having. I’ve looked for several stoves all with different strengths and weaknesses to discuss.
What Are The Best RV Wood Stoves
Best Overall Wood Stove For RVs
The Dwarf 3K Wood Stove By Dwarf
The Dwarf 3K is a great all around option for many small spaces. It is built out of a traditional heavy cast iron like a full sized wood stove with durability in mind. The stove also features a nice sized cooking surface on the top and a huge window to enjoy the view of your fire (two features that can be surprisingly lacking on many compact stoves).
The Dwarf 3K also has dynamic air control with three separate adjustments and a removable ash pan which means you’ll spend less time adjusting the door or scooping ashes and more time enjoying the flames.
The Dwarf also features add ons like heat shields, leg extensions, and a wood storage area that can be upgraded and tailored towards your needs. The Dwarf comes in larger sizes as well, but the 3K model is sized most appropriately for small spaces like campers and cabins.
General purpose heating needs, full time RV heat, cooking, and fire viewing.
- Heavy duty traditional cast iron design
- Add ons and upgrades available to customize
- Most like a regular wood stove out of the choices in this list
- Uses a less common size of exhaust piping
- Fairly large and space consuming
- Large door and viewing window means smoke can escape into the RV when open
Best Budget Friendly RV Wood Stove
The Mini Woodsman Stove By North Woods Fabrication
This is a great stove for anyone looking for a cheaper option. Most wood stoves are between $600 and $1000 dollars, whereas the Mini Woodsman can be found for around $400. That is a significant savings and the product is still a full sized and traditionally designed wood stove with a viewing window and large cooking surface, not a compact heat only design.
The Mini Woodsman is the perfect choice for RV goers that may plan to move their stove out at times or do not want to make as large of an investment. There are plenty of cheap stoves available, but not all of them offer a full size, full use design.
- Affordably priced
- Lightweight unit and easy controls
- Still a traditional design full capability stove
- Built from lower durability thin steel compared to cast iron
- More assembly pieces
- Simply, rough cut design
Buy It Here.
Best Luxury RV Wood Stove
The Unforgettable Fire By Kimberly Wood Stoves
The Unforgettable Fire by Kimberly Wood Stoves is not your average wood stove. That much is reflected in the design and the cost, but can also be seen in the functionality of the stove. The Unforgettable Fire was designed to pull as much heat as possible from fuel and to keep emissions as clean as possible.
The stove accomplishes this by being extremely efficient and using a double combustion chamber to first burn the wood and then burn off the smoke as well. The result is maximum heating efficiency and almost invisible smoke exiting the exhaust.
You’ll need expenses to spare to afford this wood stove, but if you want the best, most versitible, and cleaning burning stove you can find the Unforgettable Fire might be just that.
Burning fuel for maximum efficiency, heating a variety of sized spaces in very cold climates, a luxurious burning experience backed by modern engineering.
- Double combustion chamber releases almost no smoke
- Long burn time so you can sleep through the night warm
- Highly efficient at heat sinking. You can set other objects much closer to this stove than most.
- High Cost for just the base unit
- Small fuel Chamber so larger wood will need broken down more
- Initial investment and installation could total more than the cost of a cabin or RV.
Best Compact RV Wood Stove
The CB-1008 CUB By Cubic Mini Wood Stoves
A common problem with most wood stoves is that they are simply too big for a space as small as an RV. With the rise in popularity in van dwelling and tiny homes the market has changed to offer many more choices to compact RV lifers.
The Cubic Mini wood stove from CUB is my personal favorite on the list. The design is a perfect mix of traditional stove functionality and modern flexibility. The only thing keeping this stove from being the best all around in my opinion is the size of the unit. The Cubic Mini is a stove designed for small spaces and depending on the size of your RV it may not be large enough to heat the area efficiently.
The Cubic Mini features beautiful gold metal fittings and a sleek design capable of burning small logs. This stove also has a secondary combustion chamber to burn more efficiently and release less emissions.
Heating small spaces, burning wood for shorter amounts of time, use in smaller rvs.
- Small, compact size
- Highly efficient double combustion chamber
- Beautifully done fittings and a quaint aesthetic
- Small for use with cooking or fire viewing
- Only fits small pieces of wood
- Short burn time means you’ll be waking up in the night to restock the wood
Best Large Size RV Wood Stove
The Spark II By Drolet
Drolet’s Spark Two is almost a full size wood stove. This unit is still rated for use in RVs, but can heat up to 1200 square feet of space. If you need to heat an RV the size of a bus (Or an actual bus) this is a great option to get the job done.
The Spark also features a massive flat top cooking area a whole meal could be prepared on. This stove is easily large enough to overheat your RV if used in a small space. The Spark has a huge combustion chamber and ash tray at the bottom meaning you can burn large fires for long periods of time.
Heating the largest sized RVs, cooking on the flat top, burning fires for eight or more hours.
- Capable of heating a huge space
- Long lasting fires you won’t have to tend as often
- Full size cooktop and option addons
- Too large for most RV living spaces
- Extremely heavy at 242 pounds
- Large combustion zone that will leave a large open space around it in an RV
Pros and Cons of RV Wood Stoves
Now that you may have a good idea of what model of wood stove is right for you, if you are curious how some of these stoves function, the uses they have, or some of the downsides to installing and using a wood stove in an RV continue reading.
Best Things About RV Wood Stoves
Is Fuel Cheap For an RV
Some types of Wood pellets may be expensive, but often you can gather free firewood to burn in your stove at no cost. Make sure you check local laws and consult rules at campgrounds before gathering any firewood and never transport firewood from one site to another.
Do Wood Stoves Produce Good Quality Heat
The heat produced by wood stoves is extremely dry and warm. It can be very comfortable to sit and enjoy the unique qualities that the stove provides. The biggest problem with the heat from most stoves is that it can be too much.
Can Wood Stoves Heat Better Than Propane
Wood Stoves are hot! Generally the biggest thing to consider is the living space you need to heat and to be sure you choose an appropriately sized stove. A stove too big in your RV could make it unbearably hot indoors even in sub zero outside temperatures while propane may not work at all in such cold environments.
Are Wood Stoves Worth Having For The Comfort
Many people are drawn to the aesthetic and idea of having a wood stove. They bring a lot of coziness and comfort to a living area and can make a beautiful accent piece even when not in use. While a pricy investment, they can last a lifetime.
Worst Downsides to RV Wood Stoves
Are Wood Stoves Expensive
Most of them are. Keep in mind when choosing a stove that you’ll also need to buy exhaust piping and other fittings along with it. If you are not comfortable cutting a hole into your RV you may need to hire someone to install it as well.
How Do You Install a Wood Stove
Any wood stove needs at least a fireproof hearth to rest on and a properly installed exhaust. This means doing minor masonry work and cutting a hole in the top of your RV at minimum.
Do You Need to Gather Wood Everytime You Want To Use A Wood Stove
You may be able to store a small amount of wood somewhere but generally speaking owning a wood stove means gathering wood either from outdoor harvesting or from a shop.
Can You Leave A Wood Stove Burning If You Are Not Home
This is one main disadvantage of a wood stove. It is never a good idea to leave a fire unattended in your home. When you return home you may have to build a fire and wait for your living space to heat.
RV Wood Stove Alternatives
If none of these options fit your needs you may want to consider other RV heating methods
Central Heat Propane Furnace
This is probably what is already installed on your RV if it has any heating features already. A Propane furnace works similarly to a propane oven except that a blower will be pushing the heat throughout the RV.
Gas buddy propane heater
If your RV has no heating unit and a gas stove will not work for you then a Gas-Buddy type portable propane heater might be your next best option. These can be connected to large or small propane tanks and come with a variety of heating element sizes for different sized living spaces.
About THE AUTHOR
My wife and I bought a broken down 1984 Chevy A-Class 26ft RV and restored it back to working order. Now we both work remotely and live in it full time with our pet cats with the freedom to explore.Read More About Elijah White