October 29, 2016   Joe Cline

Here at 48° North, we seldom make specific product recommendations for a variety of reasons.  There are often many valid opinions on a topic, and we do not often have the ability to try a bunch and offer an objective opinion.  And, as you might guess, it can get complicated with our dedicated advertisers.  However, when something compellingly different comes our way, especially one endorsed by a legit pro, I’m happy to let you know. 

In a meeting today with Alex and Jack Wilken, who co-write our How-To column in the magazine, Alex shared his opinion about the best space heater to keep your boat warm this winter.  This came up because (spoiler alert), their article for the December issue is about how to use your 30 amps of AC shore power in the safest and most economical way.

There are a lot of heating options for boats, and there’s a wide divide between the kind of heat you would want if you were living aboard and what you need to make sure your boat stays dry and unfrozen during the winter months in the Pacific Northwest.  Alex was referencing this particular heater as a great option for the second of those two purposes – something to leave running during the periods of time you’re away from it.

Without further adieu, Alex’s recommended heater is the non-marine-specific DeLonghi oil-filled Bathroom Heater (TRN0812T).


Admittedly, there are some perfectly functional marine-specific space heaters on the market, and you may already be happy with one of them. Nonetheless, here’s why Alex thinks this one is so good:

  1. With significant experience as a boat owner and someone who works on boats full time, he has found this heater to offer the greatest amount of heat for the least amount of wattage of any on the market, marine-specific or not.
  2. One feature that Alex particularly liked was the intermittent timer (you can set it to run a lot or a little using a simple timer dial). It’s the most customizable of any heater he’s seen, and in practical application, that means it’s drawing very little energy most of the time.
  3. Additionally, there are three heat intensity settings, any of which Alex thinks will emit a satisfactory amount of heat to keep your hoses unfroze.
  4. Finally, it’s an oil-filled radiator. Oil filled radiators are safer from a fire-hazard perspective, especially around combustable materials (according to Consumer Reports). He figured it would hurt if you grabbed it when it’s hot, but it’s not going to start a fire if it gets knocked over or if you leave it running too close to a dish towel. As a bonus, at just over 18″ tall, it’s quite a bit smaller than many of its oil-filled competitors.

Joe Cline is the editor of 48° North.  Alex and Jack Wilken are the owners of Seattle Boatworks and write the monthly how-to column for 48° North.