6 Best Heaters for Power Outage Situations

Josh Mitchell

Written By

Josh Mitchell

Expert Reviewed By

Holly Curell

Last Updated On

“If you make a purchase using our provided links, we may receive a commission. Learn more here.

One of the most important things you can do for your home is secure alternative heating while your electricity is out.

I've worked with many alternative heaters and know which will work best in an emergency.

In this guide, I’ll introduce you to the best heaters for power outages and help you prepare for the next blackout.

Quick Glance - My Recommendations

Mr. Heater F232000 MH9BX Buddy...

Mr. Heater F232000

My #1 Choice

Mr. Heater F274830 MH18BRV Big Buddy Grey...

Mr. Heater F274830

Recommended For Large Spaces

Avenger FBDTP15 Infra-Red Tank Top Outdoor...

Avenger FBDTP15

Budget Unit

6 Best Heaters For Keeping Warm During An Emergency

The US alone has 3,500 power outages a year, impacting millions of households.[1]

Aggressive storms, wind systems, freezing weather, or a system overload can leave you without electricity for hours, and proper preparation can be the difference between life and death during a power outage.

1. Mr. Heater F232000

4.7

Overall Score


Energy Efficiency

5.0

Current Progress
Current Progress
Current Progress
Current Progress

Heating Ability

4.5

Current Progress
Current Progress
Current Progress
Current Progress

Value for Money

4.5

Current Progress
Current Progress
Current Progress
Current Progress

Who is the product best for?

The Mr. Heater F232000 is best for homeowners in cold areas who need a reliable emergency solution.

Pros
  • High-quality and reliable
  • Safe - with a built-in oxygen sensor
  • Lightweight and portable
  • Powerful heating to quickly heat an enclosed space
  • Easy to refill
CONS
  • Shorter run time
  • No fan - the heat is focused in one place

Mr. Heater F232000 is ideal for blackouts. It gives off a lot of heat and has more than enough power to warm a medium-sized room until the electricity comes back on.

What really impressed me about this heater was the quality. It’s sturdy and reliable, with a heating mechanism that takes seconds to have an impact.

It’s also very safe, with a built-in low oxygen shut-off sensor that kicks in before it becomes dangerous. It’s even available with a carbon monoxide sensor if you want more protection.

Mr. Heater F232000 low oxygen

The performance and features are impressive, but this heater is also easy to use.

It's even simpler than the Mr. Heater F274830 and less experienced homeowners should be able to get it working quickly.

It only has a 6-hour max run time (4 hours on the higher settings), but I found it easy to refill.

The heater takes 1lb propane canisters that are cheap and easy to find, and you can get it running again in just a few minutes.

This alternative heating system is a great all-rounder and is the best indoor heater for power outage.

If you want to feel fully prepared for an outage, this is the heater I recommend.

Feature

Details

Heating Output (BTUs)

9000

Fuel Type

Propane

Heating Type

Radiant

Coverage (square feet)

225-250

Max. run time

5-6 hours


2. Mr. Heater F274830

4.7

Overall Score


Energy Efficiency

4.5

Current Progress
Current Progress
Current Progress
Current Progress

Heating Ability

5.0

Current Progress
Current Progress
Current Progress
Current Progress

Value for Money

4.5

Current Progress
Current Progress
Current Progress
Current Progress

Who is the product best for?

The Mr. Heater F274830 is best for large homes that need fast heating.

Pros
  • Fast and powerful heating over a large area
  • 4 fan speed settings to raise the temperature
  • Low-oxygen shut off
  • Large propane tanks for a longer run time
  • Affordable
CONS
  • Complicated pilot light
  • Fairly noisy fan

Those with a larger house (or large designated heating room) will benefit from the Mr. Heater F274830.

The speed of operation impressed me during testing, and I found it heats much quicker than other propane heaters.

The fast heating doesn't just come from the fuel or efficient system - but from the fan.

Unlike the Mr. Heater F232000, it has a separate fan mechanism to push the heat around the room, making it much more efficient.

It may not have the raw power of the Avenger FBDTP15, but the design means it has almost the same impact.

Aside from the impressive coverage, it also has built-in safety features and a large propane tank that provides a good run time and protects against outages that last longer than usual.

Mr. Heater F274830 8-9 hours
My only criticism of the heater is that I did find the pilot light a little complicated, and it took me longer to get the heater working.

The instructions aren't great either, so I would not recommend it for those with limited experience.

However, there's no denying it is an amazingly effective heater for a power outage.

If you have a larger home or live in cold conditions where you don't want to risk being without heat for too long, this is the heater I recommend.

Feature

Details

Heating Output (BTUs)

18000 (depending on the model)

Fuel Type

Propane

Heating Type

Radiant

Coverage (square feet)

450

Max. run time

8-9 hours


3. Avenger FBDTP15 – Budget Indoor and Outdoor Heater

4.6

Overall Score


Energy Efficiency

4.8

Current Progress
Current Progress
Current Progress
Current Progress

Heating Ability

4.0

Current Progress
Current Progress
Current Progress
Current Progress

Value for Money

5.0

Current Progress
Current Progress
Current Progress
Current Progress

Who is the product best for?

The Avenger FBDTP15 is best for heating less-covered areas like garages, barns, or construction sites on a budget.

Pros
  • Effective heating indoors or outdoors
  • Great for longer outages
  • Fast acting - 3 fan speed settings
  • Easy to use
  • Safety features included
CONS
  • Heavy and not very portable
  • Needs to be match-lit
  •  Slightly awkward to refill

Usually, more powerful heaters cost more - but the Avenger FBDTP15 breaks the rule.

This heater is far cheaper than the Mr. Heater models but produces more BTUs than most other heating equipment.

It uses convection rather than a radiant system to produce heat.

This makes it effective indoors and outdoors because it can transfer heat over a larger area even through cold air. 

The coverage is impressive, but what really impressed me about this gas heater was the run time.

Even on the highest setting, it lasted over 15 hours in my lab and even outlasted the Mr. Heater F274830 thanks to the energy efficiency of the model.

This continuous heating makes it a great alternative heat source for longer power outages.

One thing to note with this heater is that it does need to be match-lit, so make sure you have some available in case of emergencies.

The Avenger FBDTP15 gas heater offers effective heating indoors or outdoors. If you want a backup heater on a budget, this is the one I recommend.

Feature

Details

Heating Output (BTUs)

15,000 (with more powerful options available)

Fuel Type

Propane

Heating Type

Convection

Coverage (square feet)

300-350

Max. run time

36 hours


4. Dyna-Glo WK11C8

4.5

Overall Score


Energy Efficiency

4.5

Current Progress
Current Progress
Current Progress
Current Progress

Heating Ability

5.0

Current Progress
Current Progress
Current Progress
Current Progress

Value for Money

4.0

Current Progress
Current Progress
Current Progress
Current Progress

Who is the product best for?

The Dyna-Glo WK11C8 is best for homeowners who experience frequent outages.

Pros
  • Great for frequent use
  • Disperses heat and light in all directions
  • No fumes and built-in safety precautions
  • Cheap to run
  • Larger coverage area
CONS
  • Not very portable
  • Needs routine maintenance
  • More expensive upfront

If you need a heater that's ready to go time after time, look no further than the Dyna-Glo WK11C8.

The kerosene heater is powerful and long-lasting, making it perfect for areas with regular power outages.

Kerosene is a powerful fuel but less used than gas or liquid propane because of the potential risks. However, Dyna-Glo has shown just how effective it can be.

This unit is able to radiate heat in all directions, giving it more coverage than the Mr. Heater F27830 or Avenger FBDTP15 and enough heat to warm a large room.

Dyna-Glo WK11C8 11 hours

It also simultaneously spreads light, like a mini campfire or alcohol heater, lighting your home during a blackout.

Despite the heat and light, there are no noticeable dangerous fumes.

The clean mechanism used by Dyna-Glo needs very little ventilation (there’s even a ventless option), and it even has built-in safety precautions for extra protection.

I found refueling the Dyna-Glo slightly challenging compared to other brands, and I had to follow the instructions carefully.

It's okay once you get the hang of it, but I would advise practicing before you have an outage.

This kerosene heater is more expensive than some propane heating sources, but it's one of the cheapest to run.

If you suffer from frequent outages, this is the model I recommend for keeping your family warm.

Feature

Details

Heating Output (BTUs)

10,500

Fuel Type

Kerosene

Heating Type

Radiant

Coverage (square feet)

500

Max. run time

11 hours


5. DEWALT DXH12B

Battery Operated Heater

4.4

Overall Score


Energy Efficiency

4.8

Current Progress
Current Progress
Current Progress
Current Progress

Heating Ability

4.5

Current Progress
Current Progress
Current Progress
Current Progress

Value for Money

4.0

Current Progress
Current Progress
Current Progress
Current Progress

Who is the product  best for?

The DEWALT DXH12B is best for those with less experience who want a simple heater.

Pros
  • Super simple
  • Clean fuel
  • Built-in fan to heat faster
  • 2 USB ports to charge devices
  • 2-year warranty
CONS
  • Expensive
  • No batteries included

The DEWALT DXH12B is one of the most convenient heaters on the market.

There are no cables, no awkward connections, and no pilot light. It all works at the push of a button.

I got it unboxed and working to raise the temperature in under 2 minutes. This simplicity makes it the ideal solution for cold conditions where you need fast heating.

Battery heaters don't always make great backup heat sources because they don't pack the punch of propane or kerosene heating sources, but the DEWALT impressed me.

It managed the temperature well in my medium-large test lab and ran consistently for over 4 hours.

It doesn't have the same run time or power as the Avenger FBDTP15, but it's better than most other electric backup heating options.

It uses a built-in fan to help dissipate the heat faster, has a kick-stand to set it up where needed, and has 2 USB ports for charging.

DEWALT DXH12B USB ports

It also has a tough outer casing that can stand up to heavy use.

These features make it a versatile and durable heater well-suited for emergency heating.

The only downside is that it is pricey, even more expensive than the Dyna-Glo, but the performance does justify the cost.

If you aren't comfortable with propane or kerosene heaters, I recommend this user-friendly battery option.

Just note that it doesn't come with batteries, so you have to buy them separately.

Feature

Details

Heating Output (BTUs)

12,000

Fuel Type

Battery (with propane option)

Heating Type

Radiant

Coverage (square feet)

350-400

Max. run time

7 hours


6. Mr. Heater F215100

Best Seller Personal Propane Heater

4.3

Overall Score


Energy Efficiency

4.5

Current Progress
Current Progress
Current Progress
Current Progress

Heating Ability

4.0

Current Progress
Current Progress
Current Progress
Current Progress

Value for Money

4.5

Current Progress
Current Progress
Current Progress
Current Progress

Who is the product best for?

Mr Heater F215100 is best as an emergency heater for small spaces, single rooms, campers, or tents.

Pros
  • Compact and portable
  • Versatile
  • Affordable
  • Built-in safety features
  • Easy to refill
CONS
  • Low coverage
  • Pilot light can blow out - not suitable for windy conditions

Only some people need a big, bulky emergency heater.

If you live alone or in a small home, the Mr. Heater F215100 personal heater offers a more practical and affordable option.

It can heat a small space for hours with an impressive heat output and run time for a smaller model.

It's also compact and lightweight (under 10 pounds) with a handle that makes it easy to move to where needed.

What I really like about this personal heater is the simplicity. It has a single on/off button and is easy to refill.

It may not have all the bells and whistles of the Mr Heater F274830, but many people value the straightforward controls.

The Mr. Heater F215100 is also safer than other space heaters. I tested it in a small space with my oxygen sensor, and it barely produced any fumes.

It also has a low-oxygen sensor built-in, giving extra peace of mind when using it in a small space.

It can't generate heat like Dyna-Glo kerosene heaters or larger propane heaters and won't heat a larger space.

However, you can maximize the benefit by utilizing the portability, moving it exactly where it is needed in your home to minimize heat loss.

It's particularly good at helping to maintain your body heat while you wait for the electricity to come on - helping to protect younger children or vulnerable adults.

Mr. Heater F215100 for body heat

This simple, non-electric heater is small, reliable, and more affordable than other space heaters.

If you have a smaller area and want focused heat, this is the heating equipment I recommend.

Feature

Details

Heating Output (BTUs)

3800

Fuel Type

Propane

Heating Type

Radiant

Coverage (square feet)

90-100

Max. run time

5-6 hours


Comparing Best Heaters For Power Outage Situations

Preview

Name

Rating

Fuel Type

Max. run time

Price

Mr. Heater F232000 MH9BX Buddy...

Mr. Heater F232000

4.7

Propane

5-6 hours

Mr. Heater F274830 MH18BRV Big Buddy Grey...

Mr. Heater F274830

4.7

Propane

8-9 hours

Avenger FBDTP15 Infra-Red Tank Top Outdoor...

Avenger FBDTP15

4.6

Propane

36 hours

Dyna-Glo WK11C8 Indoor Kerosene Convection...

Dyna-Glo WK11C8

4.5

Kerosene

11 hours

DEWALT DXH12B Portable Heater

DEWALT DXH12B

4.4

Battery (with propane option)

7 hours

Mr. Heater F215100 MH4B Little Buddy 3800-BTU...

Mr. Heater F215100

4.3

Propane

5-6 hours


Caution: Always Use Non-Electric Heaters in Well Ventilated Rooms

Using an alternative heating solution in a room without adequate ventilation can be hazardous to your health.

Important Note:

Gas heaters can emit harmful chemicals into the air, limiting your oxygen intake.


This can cause serious side effects and can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning in extreme situations.[2]

Follow these rules to keep you and your family safe:

  • Never use the heater in a small, unventilated space
  • Open windows and doors, and use fans to increase ventilation
  • Turn off the heater when not needed or when you’re asleep
  • Install a carbon monoxide detector

All the gas heaters listed above have low oxygen sensors as a safety feature and shut off automatically if pollution levels get too high.

I recommend looking for this safety feature in every gas heater you buy.

TL;DR: Be particularly careful with gas heaters due to the risk of carbon monoxide poisonings associated with them. Provide ample ventilation. 


What To Look For When Choosing Alternative Heating Options

What Kind Of Alternative Fuel Is Available To You?

Heaters use different fuels to provide heat.

The fuel a heater uses impacts the efficiency, effectiveness, and function of the machine, so it's an important consideration when selecting an emergency heater.

The table below gives a summary of each alternative fuel type and the pros and cons for each:

Propane - What is it?
  • Propane is a flammable gas stored in pressurized tanks. It's regarded as one of the best alternatives to electricity and is commonly used for heating, cooking, and power generation.
  • It's used for outdoor and indoor heaters, heat pump space heaters, and catalytic heaters.
Pros
  • Provides instant and powerful heat
  • Easy to store and use
  • Wide variety of propane heaters to choose from
  • Example text
  • Example text
CONS
  • Requires ventilation
  • Potential house fire risk - must be handled with care

Who is it best for?

Propane heaters, like the Mr Heater F232000, are best for homeowners who want reliable and affordable alternative heat sources.

Kerosene - What is it?
  • Kerosene is a liquid flammable similar to diesel. It’s typically used in space heaters.
Pros
  • Powerful fuel for heaters
  • Affordable and readily available fuel
  • A kerosene heater will last a long time
CONS
  • Bad odor and potentially toxic fumes
  • Potential fire hazard and must be handled with care

Who is it best for?

Kerosene heaters, like the Dyna-Glo, are best for rural homeowners who need a strong backup heating source and have plenty of ventilation.

Wood - What is it?
  • Wood, or wood pellets, is the traditional fuel used for generations.
  • Wood pellets are typically used in a wood stove.
Pros
  • Wood pellets are cheap and easy to find.
  • Wood burns easily in wood stoves and provides an efficient alternative heat source
  • Convenient (providing you already have a wood burning stove)
CONS
  • Requires an installed wood stove or pellet stove, which can be expensive.
  • Wood-burning stoves/pellet stoves require a lot of ventilation.
  • Pellet-based fuel must be handled and stored carefully.

Who is it best for?

Wood is only really suitable as a heating source for homeowners with an existing wood-burning stove (or pellet stoves) as they can be expensive.

Wood heaters are best for warming one room in your home.

TL;DR: You must choose an emergency heater with a fuel type that is readily available to you. They all have different pros and cons.

Heating Capacity and Coverage Area of Space That Needs Heating

The output of electric heating appliances and alternative heat sources is measured in BTUs (British Thermal Units).[4]

The higher the BTUs, the more heat produced, and the greater area it can cover.

Generally, kerosene heaters will produce the highest BTUs (over 130,000 BTUs per gallon), with propane and diesel close behind.

However, it isn’t just fuel that influences the heat output and coverage - the size, design, and specifications of the heater matter just as much.

The BTUs and coverage area should be on the packaging of every heater. I recommend measuring your space and then finding an appropriate heater to manage it.

Useful Tip:

If you only want alternative heat sources for a power outage, you should aim to heat a room, not your whole home.


If you try to heat your entire house, you'll burn through fuel far too quickly.

If you need to cover a large area, I recommend the Dyna-Glo kerosene heater. If you have a smaller room/home, I recommend the Mr Heater F215100.

Are There Any Battery-Operated Space Heaters?

Battery-operated space heaters are available and can be effective alternative heat sources. Here are the pros and cons:

Pros
  • Simple and safe
  • Portable and wireless
  • Quiet operation (depending on the model)
CONS
  • Limited run time - usually only last a few hours
  • Lower heat output than other fuels
  • Expensive

The DEWALT DXH12B battery-operated heater is a great emergency heat source. Still, most other battery-powered heaters don't have the run time for longer power outages.

I only recommend using battery-operated heaters if you experience short and infrequent outages.

If you choose a battery-operated model, always check if it comes with batteries.

Many models don't, and you need to purchase them separately to be fully prepared for an outage.

TL;DR: Battery operated space heaters have short run time and cost more.

Frequency and Length of Power Outages and Heater Run Time

The average length of a power outage in the US is 3.5-7 hours, but some may be much longer.[5

You need a heater that can provide enough heat to cover the gap.

For short and less frequent outages, I recommend the Mr. Heater F232000 or the DEWALT. These can keep you warm for 4-6 hours and will work consistently every time.

If you experience more extended outages, I recommend a heating system with a longer run time, like the Mr. Heater F274830 or Avenger FBDTP15.

It may also be worth investing in a few emergency heaters if you experience frequent power outages or at least stocking up on extra fuel.

What is Your Overall Budget?

An alternative heater for a power outage can cost anywhere from $40-$500.

Generally, the higher the heating capacity, the higher the price, though battery-operated heaters tend to be more expensive and have lower capacity.

If you have a tight budget, I recommend the Avenger FBDTP15. It offers high-performance heating without costing a fortune.

Remember, this heater is protecting you during an emergency, so don't hold back from spending a little extra on a heating system that is up to the task.

TL;DR: Depending upon you budget you can decide on whether you need a small or a large heater. Also take into account the running costs.

Other Factors to Consider

What Kind of Warranty is Provided?

A warranty will help to protect your investment.

Some heaters (like the DEWALT) have a 2-year warranty, but it varies depending on the fuel type, make, and model. 

I recommend finding a heater with at least a 12-month warranty.
Is the Unit Portable?

A portable heater is more versatile, allowing you to heat the areas that need it the most and store it when it's not in use.

Most of the space heaters listed above are easy to move, but the Mr. Heater F215100 is the most portable.

It's lightweight, compact, and has a sturdy handle, making it the best portable emergency heater for a power outage.

Safety Features

Alternative heat sources often come with safety risks attached, particularly with gas heaters.

Important Tip:

The safety features on a heater help to keep you safe and are essential if you have kids or pets.

I recommend looking for heaters with auto shut-off, tip-over, and overheat protection at a minimum.

It’s also worth considering models with low oxygen sensors (like all the propane and kerosene heaters listed above) for added safety.

Ease of Use

If you have a power outage, you don't want to spend hours setting up the heating.

A simple model can save valuable minutes and keep your house warm when the power trips.

If you have less experience with home appliances, I recommend the Mr. Heater F232000 or the DEWALT DXH12B. They will give you no-fuss heating in minutes.

TL;DR: Depending upon you budget you can decide on whether you need a small or a large heater. Also take into account the running costs.


How We Review & Rank Our Product List

At Air Conditioner Lab, our team follows a similar process when evaluating all products reviews before formulating our final lists for readers.

We begin by gathering data sources directly from brands, e-commerce platforms, online retailers and press releases.

These are then added to a master file we use to compare features specifications from all humidifier models. You can access this Heater Sheet Here.

Next, we narrow down all the products on the market by evaluating user reviews, ratings and feedback from a wide variety of online and in-person sources.

Our team then discusses and co-ordinates our first hand experiences using these products, as well as gather independent opinions and feedback through Youtube and customer reviews.

Common Questions

What Materials Can Keep Heat In?

Fiberglass, foam board insulation, thick floor rugs, and spray foam all have a high thermal mass and can all help to retain heat in a room.[6]

Pipe wrap insulation (particularly rubber pipe insulation) around water supply pipes can also limit heat loss.

What is The Cheapest Way to Heat a Room Without Electricity?

Passive solar heating (hot air from sunlight) is the cheapest way to heat a room. Other cheap options include using natural gas heating (cheap fuel), using a small propane heater with a heat pump, or insulating water pipes, walls, windows, floors, and doors.

So, Which Emergency Heater Is Best?

The best emergency heaters are completely reliable and provide fast and effective heating.

All the heaters above fit the bill, but the Mr. Heater F232000 is my top pick because it’s safe, sturdy, and consistent. It won’t let you down when it matters most.

However, the emergency heater you choose will depend on your needs, and there’s something for everyone.

My #1 Recommendation
Mr. Heater F232000

  • High-quality and reliable
  • Safe - with a built-in oxygen sensor
  • Lightweight and portable
  • Powerful heating to quickly heat an enclosed space
  • Easy to refill

References: 

  1. https://www.popsci.com/story/environment/why-us-lose-power-storms/
  2. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/carbon-monoxide/symptoms-causes/syc-20370642
  3. https://www.hse.gov.uk/construction/healthrisks/cancer-and-construction/diesel-engine-exhaust.htm
  4. https://www.eia.gov/energyexplained/units-and-calculators/british-thermal-units.php
  5. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/increasing-power-outages-dont-hit-everyone-equally1/
  6. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thermal_mass 
Was This Article Helpful?
YesNo

Josh Mitchell

Founder

Josh Mitchell
My name is Josh and I am obsessed with home appliances. From portable AC units to heaters and air purifiers, I enjoy testing, learning and using these devices to improve the air quality inside my family home.

My Favorite Home Appliance?

Midea U Shaped Window Air Conditioner

See Our Editorial Processes

Meet Our Team

Share Feedback