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If you are new to RVs, you may be wondering if your RV oven requires electricity in order to work. Perhaps you are thinking about replacing your existing oven, or simply want to know how your RV oven works before making a final decision.
So, do RV ovens require electricity?
The answer depends on the type of oven that is installed in your RV. Electric ovens of course require it. Your oven may require electricity for LED displays, igniters, or oven lights, even if it is a propane oven.
But what are the different types of RV ovens, and how do you know which one will work best for you? And how do you know whether or not your RV oven requires electricity?
Let’s learn more about RV ovens together, or check out our list of some of the best RV stoves and ovens by clicking here.
Types of Ovens for Your RV
There are many different types of ovens for your RV, whether you are buying a brand new rig for updating a vintage one. Many RV owners have their preferences, but it can be difficult to know what your preferences will be if you have never shopped for an RV before. Of course, even beyond preferences, some RV ovens are better than others.
Here are some of the many types of ovens for your RV. Feel free to check out our list of some of the best RV propane grills if you think that will better suit your camping lifestyle.
Propane ovens are a fairly common type of RV oven, both in new and old rigs. They operate fairly simply, with pilot lights and connection to your propane gas supply.
Many propane ovens look like traditional residential stove tops, complete with two to four burners above your oven. Some propane ovens are more high-tech than others, offering LED dials as well as bright oven lights.
There are many things to consider with a propane oven in your RV. The first should be that your propane regulator is up-to-date and functioning properly. If you aren’t sure about the status of your propane regulator, check out our list of some of the best ones available on the market today.
Propane ovens are also tricky in that they require your RV to be perfectly level in order to work. Why might this be? Propane is a very particular gas that will struggle or potentially send too much fuel to your RV oven if your rig is not parked on a level surface.
That is why it is so important to keep your travel trailer level while you are trying to cook with your RV stove or oven. You can read all about keeping your RV level and some helpful tips by clicking here.
Propane ovens and stoves have gone a bit out of fashion from their heyday in the 70s and 80s. However, some more luxury or modern RVs still have the option to install a propane oven or stove.
These types of ovens can be invaluable for the home chef or the aspiring boondocker. Having propane as your primary fuel source means that you won’t be wasting valuable electricity while you are trying to camp off the grid.
Propane is a relatively affordable fuel source, readily available at most gas stations, and is easy to transport. It can be an easy solution to many RV appliances, especially when installed in some of these Class C RVs perfect for boondocking.
However, depending on the oven, propane ovens can be difficult to light. The pilot light is often located down below all of the cooking surfaces of the oven and some RVers complain about having to reach the pilot lights every time they want to use their oven.
Propane ovens that are sized for your RV can also be fairly expensive, difficult to install, and may not be as readily available as smaller stove top convection ovens. However, many RVers swear by these types of RV ovens, including myself!
Some RV ovens offer a propane or electric stove combination option. This can mean a variety of things, and there may only be enough electricity present in the stove to turn on an oven light or light up your LED control dials or panel.
However, some combinations may be more complicated, such as an electric oven and a propane stove top or vice versa. These ovens are more rare, and more expensive, so they may not be your first choice if you are looking to replace your old RV oven.
The value in having two fuel sources is present in many RV appliances, including some of the best RV fridges for solar power. You can check out our comprehensive list of those types of appliances here.
Dual fuel appliances are always valuable to RVers because most consumers prefer the flexibility of multiple fuel options. What if you forgot to refill the propane tanks before you hit the road? Thank goodness your oven runs on electricity as well!
Again however, these styles of ovens are exceedingly rare and could break the bank if you are planning on installing it brand new into your RV renovation.
One of the most popular types of RV oven these days is the electric or convection oven. These are available in a variety of sizes, capabilities, and budget ranges, so that you can find the exact appliance that suits all of your needs as well as your price range.
You can either purchase a larger convection oven that installs into your RVs wall, existing stove location, or elsewhere, or you can look at purchasing a smaller electric countertop oven.
This style of RV oven is readily available nowadays and therefore more often than not suits everyone’s budget. You can purchase an RV oven that is perfectly sized for your rig, complete with a stove top, or you can simply purchase a compact toaster oven that will do the job.
The main thing to keep in mind when purchasing an RV oven that uses electricity as its primary fuel source is the amount of watts or amps it needs in order to run. You should keep this in mind at all times, and maybe consider purchasing a generator that suits the size of your RV.
Obviously the type of electric oven you choose will depend on what you think you will need when it comes time to cook meals inside of your RV. Many RVers enjoy cooking over an open fire or on a propane grill outside, so perhaps a smaller appliance will suit you best.
However, if you are a budding home chef, you may want the size and capability of a larger electric oven. Note that these work best on shore power rather than on your battery power, though it would be wise to purchase an RV battery made especially for boondocking.
It is also important to note that not all electric or convection ovens run on battery power. You will need to consider this if you plan on being disconnected from shore power for some time. Always make sure you purchase an electric oven that suits your needs best.
You can always invest in upgrading your RV power system, such as getting an RV inverter and converter. You can learn more about what these do for your RVs electric system by reading our article all about them- simply click here.
The most common appliance in newer RVs these days is the microwave oven. These are traditionally similar to a home microwave, one that you might find in your current house. They are often more compact however, which usually doesn’t matter in a microwave oven setting.
Microwaves often come installed in a new RV whether you want one or not, and they are often not loaded with too many features. However, they are easy to clean, operate, and are familiar to most RV owners in general.
The main thing to consider with microwave ovens is their anticipated power use. While microwave ovens don’t use as much as an RV air conditioner (check out our RV AC generator choices here), they are usually the next biggest consumer of your RV’s electricity.
If you are planning to go off the grid, you may not be interested in a microwave oven for this reason. You may consider replacing it if you already have one installed in your RV. It often takes up more space than it’s worth if you don’t plan on using it.
However, if you are a casual cook and plan on being connected to shore power, an RV microwave may suit you and your family just fine. This is especially true if you are camping with a busy family of five and just want a familiar form of cooking!
Installing an Electric Oven
Depending on your existing RV oven location and set up, installing an electric oven in your RV may be very easy. If it is a traditional 110 volt style of oven, you will simply plug it into a nearby outlet and it is ready to go.
However, it is a 12-volt style of oven, this might be a bit more difficult to set up given the location of 12 volt wires in an RV kitchen. You may need to run more wires and hook up your oven differently than you were expecting, leading to a more complicated install.
If you are converting your propane oven to an electric oven, it gets a little bit more complicated as well. You will need to completely cover your existing propane lines and be sure that these lines are not leaking.
You should consider purchasing an RV multimeter, which is a must for any DIY RVer. This is especially true if you are dealing with electric hookups and wiring for the first time. Take your time, make sure everything is disconnected, and consider asking a professional for help.
If you have purchased a countertop electric oven, these will be the easiest for you to install. You will simply put them on your countertop and plug them in. Again, your overall electricity usage with one of these appliances is key to consider.
Given that most of these countertop ovens require a dedicated amperage of at least 10 amps, you may have to get creative with your RV extension cords. Always be aware of potential extension cord fire hazards, and check out our top picks for RV fire extinguishers just in case.
Propane or Electric Oven: Which to Choose?
Choosing between a propane or electric oven for your RV can be a deeply personal decision. You may already have a good idea about what you might prefer, but let’s go ahead and summarize the pros and cons for both of these types of appliances first.
A propane oven may be expensive up front, but the fuel source overall is not a very expensive option. This is also a preferable fuel type for RVers hoping to dry camp or boondock. Propane is portable and able to work without any other hookups besides your standard propane hookups.
However, installing a propane oven if you don’t have existing propane hookups can be very complicated. It is recommended that you seek professional assistance should you be attempting to do a renovation such as this.
Installing an electric RV oven can also be complicated if you don’t have existing wires or electric cables where you plan on installing the oven. It is also recommended that you seek professional RV repair help if you need additional wiring installed.
However, if you have experience with RV wiring, such as installing your own RV tank heaters, you may feel comfortable installing an RV oven as well. An electric RV installation is only complicated if you need the 12 V power rather than the 110 V standard outlet power.
Having a countertop electric oven is extremely easy to install, as you just plug it in when you are hooked up to shore power. But if you are planning on camping while disconnected from shore power, this style of oven may not suit your preferences.
Your budget should also be something to consider when you look at purchasing a new RV oven, whether or not it requires electricity. Many RV specific appliances cost more than you think, and this could limit your options.
No matter the decision, you can always replace or renovate in time. Every RVer has their preference, and it will depend on how you prefer to travel. If you always pull into an RV site or campsite with shore power, you can rest assured that your electric oven will work.
FAQs About Electric Vs Non-Electric RV Ovens
Still have questions regarding your RV oven requiring electricity? Here are some frequently asked questions, as well as some answers, all about this common RV appliance! Feel free to check out some of this year’s most luxurious travel trailers for some kitchen inspiration.
How Does an RV Oven Work?
An RV oven Works differently depending on what style of oven you choose. However, either way, the RV oven is designed to work similarly to your residential oven. You can cook most anything in it, so long as it is small enough to fit inside.
Propane RV ovens run off of your propane hook up, and sometimes require electricity if they have led dials or an oven light. They may also need electricity if the propane ignitor is electric as well.
RV ovens that run entirely off of electricity work with either your 110 volt shore power or your 12 volt battery power. Some RV ovens run on both, but this style of oven is rare and also can get expensive to install or purchase up front.
No matter what, RV ovens of any style are programmable to a certain temperature so that you can cook your food just as you would at home. This is beneficial to many travelers, especially those of you choosing to rent your RV off of Outdoorsy or RVShare.
Are Camper Ovens Gas or Electric?
It will depend on the camper. Camper ovens can be either propane gas or electric, and both have their pros and cons. A camper van conversion may even have a wood stove that you can cook on, and you can check out some of our favorite wood stoves by clicking here.
The most common camper oven feature will be its size. Most RV campers are compact, and anyone looking to purchase a camper will be looking for space-saving features such as compact cookware.
This is especially true if you are looking to purchase a vintage-inspired aluminum travel trailer. Some of these may not even have ovens, given the space and overall kitchen storage capacity.
Why Do Some RVs Not Have Ovens?
Some RVs may not have ovens at all anymore due to many factors. While RV ovens were a mainstay in vintage rigs such as mine, they have since fallen to the wayside primarily due to the introduction of the microwave oven.
A traditional residential oven is often too large to fit inside of an RV. Even if you find a fifth wheel or travel trailer that has two bathrooms, the kitchen is often neglected or outfitted with RV specific appliances such as compact toaster ovens.
Why might this be? Many RVers have very different expectations and ideals while they are camping or otherwise on the road. Many are looking for convenient meals, or the weather is nice enough that they can cook outdoors.
Ovens are often too inefficient for many RVers looking to camp entirely off-grid. Propane ovens are expensive to manufacture and install, so many RV manufacturers have opted for just microwave ovens and a simple stove top.
While you may prefer having a more residential kitchen inside of your RV, know before you shop that this is not the norm. You will no doubt have a microwave installed, and some hot plates or induction cooktops, but ovens are not usually a standard feature.
Can I Run My RV Oven on Solar Power?
If you have an oven that requires electricity, you can run your RV oven on solar power. However, it usually requires far more electricity than you expect and will eventually become more trouble than it is worth.
If you are curious to learn more about solar power in an RV, you can read about how many solar panels you need to run an RV fridge by clicking here. Given the average amperage needed to run convection ovens, you will need quite a few panels to make it happen.
You won’t have to worry about solar power if your RV oven is propane based. Even if it has LED displays or an oven light that requires electricity, the amount of electricity needed is negligible and solar panels should have no trouble powering these features.
Can I Use My RV Oven to Heat My RV?
It is never recommended to use your RV oven to heat your RV. This is because it often ends up being a waste of electricity or propane, and the hot surface of your oven often poses more of a danger than it is worth.
Always make sure that your RV heater is operational before you hit the road, especially if you are planning to camp in Winter. Speaking of camping in winter, you should check out some of the best travel trailers for winter as well as some of the best Class C RVs for winter.
If you find that your RV heater is broken when you arrive at camp, you can use your RV oven to warm up your RV in a pinch. However, you should never leave your RV oven unattended or on for an extended period of time.
This is why it is always best to be prepared before you set off on a camping excursion. Always pack ample amounts of clothing, and clothing that is suitable for all weather conditions. You never know how the weather will turn out while you are camping!
RV ovens may require electricity, even propane fueled ovens. You may want to consider a reliable RV battery for these appliances, especially if your RV oven is primarily powered by electricity.
There are many different oven options on the market today, so be sure to do your research and pick one that is right for you should you be renovating your RV or replacing your outdated oven!