An RV is basically a tiny home on wheels ““ it likely has all the luxuries you`re used to, including a bathroom, kitchen, and sleeping quarters.
But one of the most useful single appliances is your RV stove. The ability to cook your meals in the comfort of your RV just shouldn`t be overlooked.
Whether you`re customizing a brand-new RV or updating a well-used appliance, it`s important to take the time to find the best RV stove for your needs. Today, I`ll walk you through the main types of RV stoves (including their pros and cons) followed by my top choices for the best RV stoves available today.
Here`s everything you need to know to find the best RV stove.
- Your Kitchen
- Cooktop or Range
- Types of RV Stoves
- Best Stoves
- Cooking on Your Stove
- Portable Stoves
- RV Ovens
Your RV Kitchen
The layout and design of your RV kitchen largely dictates what type of appliances, including an RV stove, will work for your space.
Your best bet to achieve the RV kitchen of your dreams is to actually buy an RV that is as close to your desired final product as possible. Even if you have to swap out some appliances, such as the stove, it prevents the need for a major overhaul.
Here are your basic RV kitchens broken down by RV type:
- Class A ““ Home to the biggest kitchens in the RV world, expect a large fridge, stovetop (often with a range), and a decent amount of counter space.
- Class B (Camper Van) ““ A miniature kitchenette, usually with a mini fridge, tiny sink, and compact two-burner stove, is the most common kitchen setup found in a Class B motorhome. Counter space and floor space are both at a minimum.
- Class C ““ Smaller than what`s found in a Class A motorhome, you can still expect a full kitchenette in a Class C motorhome, albeit on a smaller, more compact scale. A multitude of kitchen layouts are available so choose one you like from the get-go.
- Fifth Wheel ““ Most fifth wheel RVs are even more spacious than Class A motorhomes, making for even more spacious kitchens. Expect full-size appliances, including a full-size refrigerator and oven/stove combo. Some fifth wheel RVs even have a kitchen island for extra counter space to prepare your favorite meals.
- Travel Trailer ““ Expect at least a small kitchenette. But, depending on the size and layout, you might find a relatively large and spacious kitchen, even one on par with a fifth wheel trailer.
- Pop Up Camper ““ Most pop up campers have a small kitchenette. However, these are typically very compact and are usually lower (shorter countertops and shorter fridge) to accommodate the pop-down feature. Most simply have a small stove, mini fridge, and tiny sink ““ don`t expect an oven, microwave, or much counter space.
- Teardrop Trailer ““ Outdoor galley kitchens are found on some models of teardrop trailers. The very small size of these trailers eliminates the possibly to house a kitchen in the actual interior. Galleys usually include a tiny sink, tiny cooktop, and minimal counterspace. Don`t expect a fridge ““ so bring your own camping cooler!
- Truck Bed Camper ““ A pickup camper, or slide-in camper, usually has a small kitchenette. Expect it to be small and compact but still have everything you need, like a fridge, stove, sink, and sliver of counterspace.
Remember that the specific RV stove you decide on must be compatible with your RV, trailer, or camper van, including its size limitations and available fuel source.
Cooktop or Range
Your two main options for an RV stove are a cooktop or a range. Here`s the basics about each option:
- RV Cooktop ““ A space-saving countertop surface that just consists of burners (usually two or three for most RVs). The burners on an RV cooktop often have different BTUs for more control over the power output for tasks like simmering and boiling.
- RV Range ““ Basically a miniature version of your full-size stove at home. Comes with an oven and integrated stovetop. This freestanding appliance fits between two cabinets.
Although RV ranges are more versatile thanks to their built-in ovens, they take up much more space and cost quite a bit more thank RV cooktoops.
Types of RV Stoves
Deciding between a cooktop or range for your RV isn`t your only decision ““ you must also narrow down which type of RV stove is best for your RV or camper.
Here are the most common types of RV stoves, plus the main pros and cons of each:
An RV propane stove is the most common type of stove for RVs.
These appliances come stock in the majority of motorhomes and trailers. They run off of propane (or sometimes butane), the same gas that likely powers the refrigerator and hot water heater in your RV.
Propane stoves for RVs come in many different styles. You can choose how many burners you want and how they are laid out. Sometimes the cooktop is integrated with an oven as a full-blown RV range.
- Lots of Options
- Looks Nice
- RV Must Have Propane Tank
An RV electric stove is another popular option that comes stock in certain RV models.
In addition to their simplistic look and space-saving design, electric cooktops are very power efficient when you`re hooked up to RV utilities. Unfortunately, they will put a strain on your battery when you`re boondocking.
Many electric stoves actually utilize an electromagnetic field. Known as RV induction stoves, they heat up the pan without heating up the cooking surface. This is very beneficial for small spaces and even allows you to use the cooktop as extra counterspace.
- Sleek Design
- No Propane Tank Necessary
- Drain Energy When Boondocking
Diesel stoves are becoming an increasingly popular option in RVs and trailers.
They look much like an electric or induction stove but actually utilize diesel fuel to heat the cooking surface. However, there is no open flame like on propane stoves, thereby making them a very safe alternative.
A diesel stove is an excellent option for RV campers that are often dry camping without utility hookups. They are highly fuel efficient and diesel fuel is easily found (even more so than propane).
- Fuel Efficient
- Diesel is Widely Abundant
- Problems at High Altitudes
Although not nearly as common as other types of RV stoves, RV alcohol stoves are still a good choice for small spaces.
These small, compact stoves are popular on boats. They are one of the most compact and easy to install options. They don`t require a propane tank or fuel lines to operate.
An alcohol stove is also one of the safest options available. The type of alcohol used (denatured alcohol) is far less volatile than propane, all but reducing the danger of leaks.
- Easy Installation
- Small and Contact
- Low Danger of Leaks
Sink Stove Combo
An RV sink stove combo is a clever contraption that combines a sink and a stove into a single appliance.
Like alcohol stoves, sink stove combos are relatively rare in RVs. They`re more commonly found on boats. But they`re still an efficient, convenient option for some people, especially in smaller RVs and trailers.
In fact, the main benefit of an RV sink stove combo is to save counterspace. This makes them a great option for Class B motorhomes and camper vans.
- Saves Space
- Usually Runs Off Propane
- Stylish Design
- Small (Tiny Sink and Usually One or Two Burners)
Best RV Stoves
Here are a few of our top recommendations for the best RV stoves no matter the exact type you`re looking for:
1. Dometic Drop-In RV Cooktop
Dometic is one of the most well-respected names in the world of RV appliances ““ and their extensive line of RV stoves is no exception.
Although all of their products live up to their stellar reputation, the Dometic Drop-In RV Cooktop is one of the best RV stoves on the market, period.
This sleek, stylish two-burner propane stove makes it easy to cook hot meals on the road. It has one 7,200 BTU burner and one 5,200 BTU burner. The one-piece surface makes for easier cleanup and the recessed knobs are easy to use. An optional cover enables you to use the stovetop as extra counterspace.
2. Suburban Gas RV Range
Suburban is another company with a long history of manufacturing top-quality, highly-rated RV stoves and other appliances.
As one of the best RV ranges on the market, the Suburban Gas RV Range boasts all the features you need to cook your favorite meals. It`s available in two sizes (17″ and 22″) to fit your space.
In addition to the small oven (an optional full-size broiler pan is available), this gas range boasts three burners (one 9,000 BTU front burner and two 6,500 BTU rear burners). The porcelain-coated steel grate protects the burners and makes it easy to cook with cast iron, griddles, and other heavy cookware.
3. Atwood Drop-In RV Cooktop
You can`t go wrong with an Atwood cooktop for your RV kitchen.
Available in a variety of styles, including two-burner and three-burner, this compact RV stove comes with everything that you need in a very small package. Thanks to its small size, it`s a good option for smaller trailers and RVs.
The Atwood Drop-In RV Cooktop is notable for its 7,200 BTU main burner and two 5,200 BTU small burners. The temperature control knobs are sensitive and responsive. Adjust them to the exact temperature you require. The one-piece construction makes for easy cleaning while the wire guard covers protect the burners from damage.
4. Origo Alcohol Stove
As mentioned above, alcohol stoves aren`t the first choice for most RVers, but they`re a great option for those working with a small space or who prefer an alternative fuel source.
Out of the many options available, the Origo Alcohol Stove comes out on trop. Available in a handful of different styles (including one burner and two burner models), this compact alcohol stove is known for its incredible safety standards. It all but eliminates the risk of gas leaks or explosions since it uses denatured alcohol instead of propane or butane.
The stove itself can actually be installed into your RV kitchen or it can be used in right out-of-the-box as a portable, freestanding stove. The 6,800 BTU burners are capable of cooking just about any meal with ease. The stainless steel construction is durable and easy to clean off after cooking. The stove holds enough alcohol to run continuously for between 4 and 7 hours.
5. True Induction RV Induction Cooktop
You`ll be hard-pressed to find a better induction cooktop for an RV than this one from True Induction.
The True Induction RV Induction Cooktop uses an electromagnetic field to heat your pot and cook your food. The actual cooking surface remains cool to the touch. This is an incredibly beneficial feature when cooking in a small space. An induction cooktop is a safe option for smaller RVs and trailers, including camper vans.
However, one notable limitation is that this RV cooktop requires electricity. This shouldn`t be an issue for most RVers, but it`s worthy of consideration for those that go boondocking without hookups on a regular basis. The main version of the stove comes with two burners (900 BTU each). The sleek, flat surface not only looks great, but it`s also extremely easy to use and doubles as a flat workspace for your cutting board. Do note that you must use special cookware to cook on an induction stove.
Cooking on Your RV Stove
Cooking on an RV stove is a little different than cooking on a normal stove, thanks in large part to the smaller size of the stove and the kitchen itself. But with a little know-how, it`s actually quite easy to cook delicious RV meals on the road.
Here are a few of the best tips for cooking in an RV kitchen:
- Keep it Simple ““ Space is at a premium while cooking in an RV. It pays to keep meals simple to make preparation, cooking, and clean up easier. Check out our complete camping food list for simple meal ideas.
- Plan Your Meals ““ Plan your meals out before your RV camping trip. This ensures that you buy only the ingredients that you need with minimal excess. In addition to the small cooking space, there`s also minimal food storage space.
- Prep Ahead of Time ““ Most RV kitchens have minimal counterspace. This can make meal preparation more difficult. It`s wise to prep meals ahead of time, especially tasks like cutting vegetables. Or, prep meals outside on a picnic table before bringing the ingredients inside.
- Make Ahead Meals ““ Take simple and easy cooking up yet another notch by preparing make ahead meals before your trip. All you have to do is place the meal on your RV stove and voila ““ you have a delicious meal without all that messy prep work.
- Eat Leftovers ““ Prepare more food that you will eat in a single sitting so that you have leftover food to eat for lunch or dinner the next day. This limits the amount of times that you`ll have to cook on your trip.
- Minimal Cookware ““ Rather than stock your RV kitchen with pots and pans galore, invest in one or two high-quality pans and pots. Small pots and pans are ideal for smaller RV stoves, although Class A motorhomes and fifth wheel trailers generally accommodate normal cookware.
- Know Outside Temperature ““ Because RVs aren`t as well insulated as homes, and because RV stoves are against the exterior walls, the outside temperature can actually significantly affect cooking time. This is especially true when using an RV oven in cold winter conditions.
One of the best things about your RV stove is you can cook most of the same meals you`d normally make back at home!
Alternative: Portable Stove
Just because you`re RV camping, doesn`t necessarily mean that you have to use your RV stove.
In fact, I always pack my normal camping stove on RV trips. When the weather cooperates, I prefer to cook most of my meals outside instead of inside my RV. Not only does this feel more like camping to me, but it also minimizes the mess inside of my RV and reduces my fuel consumption when I`m boondocking.
What About an RV Oven?
As mentioned above in our “Cooktop or Range” section, many RVs also come with a built-in oven.
Most of the time, an RV oven comes as part of a two-in-one range that contains both a small oven and a cooktop surface with one to four burners depending on the size.
Although we focused primarily on the best RV cooktops in our review section, we did mention the Suburban RV Range. Available in several different sizes (17″ and 22″), this RV range features a gas-powered oven and three gas-powered burners.
Another great option for an RV oven is the Atwood Vision RV Range. This 21″ stove/oven combo comes with three-burners and is gas powered. It`s notable for its clean and modern stainless steel construction.
Yet another option is to invest in something like the Camp Chef Outdoor Camp Oven. This ingenious stove/oven combo uses propane to power both the oven and the two stovetop burners. It`s fairly bulky but it`s still quite portable if you have the storage space in your RV.
Other Helpful Resources
Looking for other resources on RV camping? Here`s a few of our best:
If you`re interested in renting an RV for your next trip, our RV rental tool can help. Or, check out our favorite RV rentals in your local area:
In addition to the best tent camping, our best state camping guides also list the best RV camping in each state. Here are a few of our most popular:
- Best Camping in Arizona
- Best Camping in California
- Best Camping in Michigan
- Best Camping in Utah
- Best Camping in Washington
And, if you have any additional questions about the best RV stoves or RV camping in general, don`t hesitate to reach out to us in the comment section below!