Almost any UTV can have a heater inside the cab, while some UTVs come with pre-installed heaters inside the cabs, like the Polaris NorthStar, others can easily have heaters installed into the Cab either professionally or done by yourself.
I have been one to say that the call of adventure never sleeps, and it especially doesn’t hibernate. That means no matter what kind of weather there is outside, I’m going to get my fix for adventure in, even if I freeze to death.
I have found that flicking around in the snow and ice during the winter can almost be more fun than doing so in the mud and sand during the summer. However, there is that slight problem of lower temperatures putting a damper on things.
If you’re like me and love to be in your side by side year round, then you have probably run into the problem of keeping yourself warm in during those winter months.
Luckily, unless you want to, you don’t have to rely on jackets stuffed with heat pads, professional snowmobile gear, or zero degrees weather clothing in order to keep the heat in while driving around in the winter snow.
How Does the Heater Work?
Your average UTV cab heater works in the very same way that a heater works for your car and in all honesty, is a very simple process.
The heater utilizes the same coolant that flows to the engine, however the heater would take that coolant and then run it through the heater core, of the heater.
Usually this heater is located in the dash of your car, however, for most UTVs it will be located in the most convenient spot where it can be bolted down.
Once that coolant is run through the heater core, there is a fan, usually the one used by your air conditioning, but in this case either attached to the heater kit that then blows out hot air.
Depending on the heating unit/kit there will either be fans that are attached to the heater itself, that you can then rotate and adjust, or with some kits, you can run it through the fans in the dash of your UTV, although this process is slightly more complex for a DIY project.
What You Will Need Before & For Installation
Heaters for almost any UTV are easily accessible and for the most part, aren’t too expensive to buy and aren’t too hard to set up to your standard UTV.
While there are some UTVs that come with “winterized” cabs, they are expensive and most people don’t pay the extra 5,000 dollars or up that those things cost.
A Good Cab:
Before you even begin to install a heater into your UTV cab, be sure that you have a proper cabin in the first place. Now while this isn’t necessary it is fairly obvious as to why you would need a good cabin.
If you don’t have a way to trap the heat, i.e. a solid cab, then there really isn’t a point in installing a heater, to begin with.
Now you do not need to go out and buy a $1,000 hard cab enclosure. There are plenty of light material “zipper cabins” that would do fine for trapping the heat. This here soft enclosure for a Polaris Razor XP is a prime example of a cheap enclosure that would do just fine.
Really so long as you have some sort of windshield, roof, and doors to trap the heat in then that will work as a good trap to keep the heat in.
Next, I would recommend buying a heater kit. While you can just buy the heater straight out, unless you already have them, you are going to want a lot of the hoses and accessories that are necessary to install the heater into the cab.
There are plenty of heater kits online that come with all of the hoses, zip ties, connectors, hose fittings, and other accessories that are needed for installation and they usually run around $300-500 dollars depending on the brand.
While every installation kit is different and may require different tools according to the installation instructions, there are some fairly universal tools that you will need in order to install these heaters into your vehicle.
For the most part, you will almost always need pliers, safety goggles, a torque wrench, a drill, mounting brackets (if not included in the kit), sandpaper, and a utility knife.
Some kits require that you have a hole saw, that is usually so you can run the hose, or mount various parts to the UTV so while not always necessary to have, it wouldn’t hurt to have one laying around just in case.
Top Heaters on the Market
There are a lot of different after market heaters out there that you can buy. Some come in full kits, as mentioned earlier, and others only offer the heaters themselves with perhaps a little bit extra.
As for which heater is the best of the best, supreme of the supreme, and will make you feel that you are sitting on a beach in the Bahamas even though you are actually experiencing a cold, hard, winter in Montana…. I can’t say.
I can only really list off for you the various heaters that I have found are top sellers. They all have their specifics though, seeing as some are only for Polaris & Arctic Cat, while others are for Honda, and Yamaha.
If you are looking for aftermarket heaters for your UTV, be sure to check if the heater you are buying is the right one for your specific make and model of side by side.
I’ve included some links to Amazon where you can find these various heaters.
Aqua-Hot Cabin Heaters:
These heaters come in two different sizes for side by sides. They are the AH-100 that cranks out a maximum of 4000 BTU/Hour and the AH-200 available on Amazon that puts out 6000 BTU/Hour.
A BTU (British Thermal Unit) is the amount of heat energy needed to raise the temperature of one pound of water by one degree F.
The Aqua-Hot system works off of your UTVs coolant system like we described above in the “How Does the Heater Work” section. However, this system does use a high-flow/low-amperage draw fan so that the system can be used on even smaller UTV batteries.
Also, Aqua-Hot has a patent-pending coolant diverter manifold that allows you to balance the coolant flow rate from the engine to the cabin heater. So that is a plus as well for this system.
The heater will cost about $225-300 plus an added $250 for the installation kit.
Firestorm Cabin Heaters:
The Firestorm cabin heater from MotorAlliance is another great option. Its installation kit comes with vehicle-specific mounting brackets, hosing, adjustable louvers, hose fittings, and electrical fittings.
You will have to be sure to choose your UTV model for the correct installation kit.
This heater produces around 14,600 BTU at 135 CFM (cubic feet per minute). Depending on your vehicles specific mounting bracket this kit available on Amazon will cost anywhere from $300-600.
Ice Crusher Cab Heaters:
This heater unit is a bit more compact than the others which is nice when you don’t have much more space in your cabin to begin with.
This is another kit that provides custom, laser-cut, powder-coated, mounting brackets specific to your vehicle make and model.
The heaters output here is anywhere from 13,200–14,600 BTUs, and there is also an under-hood version that produces 28,000 BTU that has ducts to the dash with closeable and adjustable heat vents.
These heaters run a bit cheaper at $325-450.
Moose Utilities Cabin Heaters:
Starting at around $525 and ranging up to $750, these Moose Utility heaters are a bit more expensive. However, they run an impressive 16,000 BTU and have a three-speed fan.
The kit comes with a defroster, hoses, fittings, and all the necessary installation hardware for an easy installation.
QuadBoss Cab Heater:
Here is another kit that is vehicle specific. Much like the other heating systems, the QuadBoss taps into the engines coolant system and uses a rear heater core with a powerful, but low-draw exhaust fan.
QuadBoss kits found on Amazon are available for Arctic Cats; Can-Ams; Hondas; John Deere Gators; Kawasaki; Polaris Rangers and Generals; and Yamaha Rhinos, Vikings and Wolverines and cost $750-850.
The Koplin heater is a smaller, 12V heater that provides 4000 BTU. Since it is so small it can fit under most dashes or on the floor. It has a variable speed fan that you won’t need to worry about draining your battery.
It costs about $629.
If you, for whatever reason, don’t want a heater in your cabin, then you could go an alternative route and buy seat heaters. Symtec heated seat kits run anywhere from $80-200.
Or if you want an entire suit that is heated, Venture Heat may provide an answer. Ranging from $190-300, Venture Heat uses heating technology to make electrically heated liners for various outerwear.
No matter what you decide to do for your UTV in the winter season, be sure to have fun, stay safe, and stay warm!