How To Get Hot Water In A Camper?

How To Get Hot Water In A Camper?

water heater for camper

When you purchase a camper, one of the first things you might be thinking of is how to get hot water in a camper. If you are not, its probably the second thing on your mind when it comes time for a shower.

There are several different options to choose from but we will be discussing five of them.

All five ways have their own advantages and disadvantages which we will discuss briefly before giving our best recommendation. First though, lets take a look at some statistics:

Choosing one of these types of water heaters to put in your camper is the easiest way out.

Here are the five main type of water heaters for campers
  • Electric Water Heaters In A Camper : Electric water heaters work by pumping cold water into an exposed coil that heats up once exposed to the warm air inside the camper. These heaters are relatively cheap to buy but use a lot of electricity, making them one of the most expensive options per gallon of hot water. You can usually purchase these heaters at most big box hardware stores.
  • Propane Water Heaters In A Camper : Propane water heaters work by heating cold water as it flows through a small propane-powered furnace. These heaters are more expensive to begin with but use much less fuel meaning they will cost you less in the long run for hot water. Some campers come with these standard, whereas others can be purchased and installed later on if your budget allows for it. On average propane costs around $11 per gallon (which equates to 30 litres). These types of water heater can usually be purchased at most RV dealers or large camping supply stores.
  • Solar Water Heaters In A Camper : Solar water heaters have been rising in popularity over the past couple of years. This is likely due to the increase in awareness of solar energy and global warming. Solar water heaters work by using the suns rays to heat up a fluid (usually anti-freeze) which then flows through a small radiator inside your camper. This type of water heater can be installed on trailers, fifth wheelers, and campers. There are two main types of solar water heaters, active and passive. Active solar water heaters use pumps and controllers to move the heated fluid around, where as passive systems rely on natural convection currents to circulate the hot liquid.
  • Cartridge Water Heaters In A Camper : Cartridge water heaters work by using a small cartridge filled with heating elements that convert AC current into DC current to create heat. The main benefit of these heaters is that they are incredibly reliable and don't require much maintenance.
  • Heat Pump Water Heaters In A Camper : Heat pump water heaters are by far the most expensive option but also the most energy efficient. These heaters work by drawing fresh air over a cooling coil, which cools it down and then passes it through a heating element to warm up the air again. The heated air is then blown over the water to heat it up. You might want to choose this type of water heater for your camper if you want to save energy.

Heat Pump Water Heater Pros

This type of water heater heats the water up very quickly and can also be used to cool down the water in summer, which is convenient while camping. It is also possible to use it as an air conditioner, although this would reduce the life of the compressor considerably.

Heat Pump Water Heater Cons

The downside is that these heaters are expensive, although they will pay for themselves over time due to their high energy efficiency. Another issue with them is that they are noisy when compared to other options like electric or tankless heaters. They are also incredibly sensitive and tend not to last long exposed to large fluctuations in temperature.

RV Propane Water Heater vs RV Electric Water Heater

The main difference between these two types of water heaters is that the propane heater is more reliable and produces hot water faster than an electric heater. Propane heaters also tend to use less energy and produce less waste, although they can be a bit dangerous due to their need for very high temperatures. Electric heaters are safer and generally simpler in design; however, they take longer to get hot water and cost significantly more in power expenditure.


Getting hot water in your camper is a stressful situation. Many take showers with cold water, and others wait until they get home. With a little know-how, you can easily solve your problem. You have the option of installing a larger water tank or installing a small heater. If you choose to install a heater, there are many types of heaters available and varying levels of installation difficulty. There is no one-size-fits-all solution, so it all depends on what type of camper you have and your personal preferences.

If you can't take cold showers anymore and want an easy fix, the best option may be to install a bigger fuel tank.

The main advantage of using an electric heater is that it does not rely on petroleum products like gas or propane do which makes them cleaner and safer. They also tend to last much longer than other types of heaters even when exposed to large fluctuations in temperature. This is because they have a "steady" temperature, so they don't have to work as hard or as often.

Most RV water heaters are safe for short-term use only because of the risk of overheating. When using one for an extended amount of time, it may be necessary to install a special switch which will automatically cut off the heater if it fails or starts malfunctioning. This is especially important if you are not plugged into shore power.

About Author:

image of Kevin Pommells

Hi, I'm Kevin Pommells, a lover of camping and the great outdoors as everyone says nowadays. I'm also a passionate soccer fan and the proud owner of, a website dedicated to helping campers and outdoor enthusiasts make the most of their adventures. With years of experience exploring the wilderness and a deep love for the sport of soccer, I'm always looking for new ways to combine my two passions and share my knowledge with others. Follow me for tips, tricks, and insights on all things camping and outdoor recreation.

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