There is nothing cozier on a chilly evening or a snowy winter’s day than curling up in front of a crackling fire. With these seven wood stoves, you can do just that — even inside your RV, skoolie, or van!
They create a dry heat that won’t cause a buildup of condensation, are essentially a free heat source after the initial investment (if you gather wood), and they can easily heat a small space like an RV even in the coldest of climates.
Perfect for use in a recreational vehicle or tiny home on wheels, in no particular order…
Here’s our list of the 7 best RV wood stoves:
1. Cubic Mini (Cub Wood Stove)
My friends Lindsey and Leo (@a_bus_named_sue) have the very popular Canadian-made Cubic Mini Cub Wood Stove in their roughly 90-square-foot converted 2003 International school bus, so I asked them to share their thoughts about this diminutive stove.
At only 11x12x10.5 inches and with striking gold accents, this is arguably the cutest wood stove on the market. However, cuteness aside, this stove can easily heat spaces that are less than 200 square feet, making it an excellent choice for small RVs and vans. In fact, my friends said that it sometimes heats their bus so well that they have to crack a window!
Lindsey and Leo shared the following pros and cons:
“This is our ONLY heat source so we’re quite dependent on it to provide us warmth and so far it’s been a 10/10! It’s nice to know that our heat source will never ‘break’ and that we don’t need to rely on anything mechanical to stay warm. The dry heat is also good for keeping condensation down. We love the look of the Cubic Mini – plus it’s just really fun and cozy to have a fire in a small space!
With any small stove, you don’t get much of a burn time, so you have to pay attention. We typically have to get up a few times a night to fuel the fire because it burns for about 2-3 hours with hardwood. Another con is that it takes up space when we’re not using it. That may sound silly but every inch counts when living in a small space (but it still looks cool!).”
Lindsey and Leo also said that the installation process was a breeze and that they’ve never had an issue finding wood to fuel their stove — they use compressed wood that they can get at hardware stores or they raid the Home Depot scrap cart.
Since this stove is so tiny, the maximum length of cut wood pieces is only about 5¾ inches, so compressed wood is often a better bet than sawing a tiny log into even tinier pieces.
The couple also received the Miniature Tool Kit as a gift which, predictably, is also outrageously cute but super handy as well and completes the look.
2. Unforgettable Fire (Kimberly Wood Stove)
Next I asked Jamie and Brad, who have a Kimberly Wood Stove in their 100-square-foot converted bus (@cuddle.bus), to share their experience with this high-tech stove. The Kimberly has some unique pros and cons, as outlined by Jamie:
“Pros: The biggest pro is that the Kimberly wood stove is very efficient and clean. It has a secondary combustion chamber that burns off all of the particulates, and by the time the smoke comes out of the chimney it is invisible. That means it is long-burning, and a single pressed wood log will burn through the night. It is small – designed for boats and RVs – and fits a tiny space just perfectly. It’s insulated, so the heat radiates out of the top and the front of the stove, but the sides stay cool to the touch. It looks great. Plus, you can cook on the top!Cons: The only con to the Kimberly is it is expensive. At $4,000, you get the quality that you pay for. We considered this purchase to be an investment that will last us for many years, and may outlive our current home. We travel and live in a self-converted shuttle bus. If we decide to move on from our current tiny-home-on-wheels, we can bring the Kimberly with us.”
Jamie and Brad spend a lot of time in the mountains of Washington where it’s often quite cold, so they use their stove as a heat source on a daily basis when they are not connected to shore power.
They reported that the Kimberly heats so well that, like Leo and Lindsey, they occasionally have to open a window to let out some excess heat, but it can conveniently last throughout the night, unlike the other small stoves on this list.
I also asked them what the installation process was like, and Jamie told me, “Remarkably easy! We did things ‘right’ and observed all of the safety precautions for installation, which meant using heat resistant materials and keeping a safe surrounding distance from walls and furniture.
More work went into creating the fire space itself – laying tile and insulating well. Installing the wood stove was very simple. Our Kimberly came with the bolt holes pre-cut, and all we had to do is bolt it down, and put a hole in the ceiling for the stove pipe.”
She also mentioned that they have no problem at finding wood for their stove, since they use pressed wood logs from nearly any gas station, grocery store, or home improvement store that they then cut into smaller, dense, long-burning “pucks.”
Finally, I asked if they had any other important stove-related information that they wished to share, and here is their recommendation:
“Read the manual before your first burn! Burning in the Kimberly uses a simple technique, but it’s not the same as building a fire in a home fireplace or while camping. Starting small is the key, and the manual will help you to understand how to coax the most efficiency out of your fire.”
3. Tiny Wood Stove (Dwarf 5kw)
I don’t know anyone quite so passionate about a wood stove as my friend Elizabeth. She and her husband Adam and two daughters Sadie and Wren live in a full-sized, roof-raised, behemoth of a bus (@deliberatelifebus) that is hands down one of the coziest and homiest skoolies I’ve ever had the pleasure of touring.
Since they have a larger space to heat, they chose the 22x14x11-inch Dwarf 5kw stove from the Idaho-based company Tiny Wood Stove. For full disclosure, Elizabeth does work for Tiny Wood Stove doing sales and marketing from the road, but it’s obvious, especially from her blog post about her stove, that she really is passionate about wood stoves and her Dwarf 5kw in particular.
In her post, she shares several pros of having a wood stove, including that it provides cozy ambiance and a dry heat that won’t cause condensation, fuel is generally free, the stove is safe since there are no toxic gases to leak or small/mechanical parts to break, and they can even cook on top of their stove.
As far as cons, Elizabeth noted that wood stoves require much more work than most other heat sources as far as gathering the wood and then tending the fire and regularly emptying the ashes. Other potential downsides include that sometimes smoke can be released into the bus, and a hot stove could be a burn danger for very small children.
However, the pros far outweigh the cons for Elizabeth and her family, and their Dwarf 5kw stove has kept them warm and cozy even on single-digit-temperature nights.
4. North Woods Fabrication (Mini Woodsman Stove)
I also spoke with Kels and Jay (@kelsandjay), whose beautifully converted 2001 skoolie home features a 15.5x11x11-inch Mini Woodsman stove from North Woods Fabrication. This stove is designed to heat spaces between 100 and 200 square feet, making it an excellent option for RVs and skoolies.
Kels and Jay said that the pros of their stove included the small size and easy installation as well as its ability to heat their home very efficiently. However, the small size is also sometimes a con since they need to reload the stove with wood throughout the night and it has proven a challenge to find logs that are 9 inches or shorter, especially when they are just hunting for wood on the forest floor.
Despite that, their stove was easy to install once they had all the parts gathered, and its ability to heat their 200-square-foot home in just 10 or 15 minutes makes it a winner for them!
5. Dickinson Marine (Newport Solid Fuel Heater)
Next I spoke with Laura (@mobileroamers) who has since built an incredible stationary tiny home, but formerly lived and traveled in a 75-square-foot converted van in which she had installed a Dickinson Marine Newport Solid Fuel Heater. For her, the pros of this stove were that it provided a dry heat and it was small, efficient, and had a sleek look.
The cons were that it was sometimes messy and it needed to be fed super frequently. When I asked her about the installation, upkeep, and overall effectiveness of the stove, this is what Laura shared with me:
“The installation was very simple and straightforward. It did require cutting another hole in the van roof which is always a bit nerve wracking. We also had to source a few specialty materials to create a heat barrier behind the stove. It was not hard to find wood for the stove because it just needs small bits so you could find fuel anywhere! We used the stove to burn our cardboard packaging as well. This stove can also take pellets and even coal!”
Laura also used a heat-powered fan with her stove, which moved faster the warmer it became and helped disperse the heat throughout the space instead of letting it all rise to the ceiling. She also mentioned that having a wood stove is particularly helpful for drying wet gear in a small space.
6. England’s Stove Works (Summers Heat Tranquility Wood Stove)
The uniquely shaped Summers Heat Tranquility Wood Stove from England’s Stove Works measures 21¼ inches wide by 31¾ inches tall and 15⅛ inches deep and features a built-in space for storing wood underneath it. The shallow depth of this stove lends itself to narrow spaces, exactly like an RV or skoolie, since it will not protrude as much as other stoves into the center aisle.
This stove can handle logs up to 16 inches in length and can heat spaces up to 1,200 square feet, which means that even if you lose heat through non-insulated windows or doors on your RV, you will still be kept plenty warm.
Despite the European styling and the company name, this stove is made in the United States, so you do not have to pay exorbitant international shipping prices or customs fees.
7. Drolet (Spark Wood Stove)
The Spark Wood Stove from Quebec-based company Drolet is designed to heat areas between 250 and 1,000 square feet. This is one of the larger stoves on this list at 22¼x20⅞x27½ inches, but it’s well-suited for a large RV, especially if you plan to be traveling in very cold locations. The larger size means it can accommodate logs up to 17 inches long.
The classic design of the stove combined with silver accents means it will fit beautifully into any space, no matter the style.
What is the smallest wood stove?
The smallest wood stove on the market today in terms of cubic inches of space required is the Dwarf 3kw Lite from Tiny Wood Stove, at just 10×8.5×17 inches, or 1,360 cubic inches. A close second place is the Cubic Mini Cub Wood Stove at 11x12x10.5 inches or 1,386 cubic inches.
How do you install a wood burning stove in an RV?
Most wood stoves come with their own set of instructions for installation, but the essential steps include establishing a safe zone around the stove with a heat-shielding material to protect your walls and other nearby surfaces from excessive heat or from any embers that might fly out of the stove.
Next, you need to anchor the stove securely in place so it doesn’t move as you are driving, and then cut a hole in the roof of your RV through which to route the flue pipe. Finally, you will need to think about a driving cap to put on the top of your chimney, to prevent air from rushing down the pipe as you drive and blowing ashes all over.
Are wood stoves safe in an RV?
Yes, as long as they are properly installed, vented, and maintained.
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Cat is originally from Seattle, WA but has traveled around the US and Canada full-time in a self-converted school bus with her boyfriend Aaron since April of 2018. She enjoys rock climbing, paddleboarding, hiking, and generally being outdoors!