Buyers Guide & Information

Propane Heater Reviews

We have reviewed the best propane heaters for a variety of home uses. These models offer warmth for indoor and outdoor placement.

Propane heaters are not machines made to heat propane. Instead, they are heaters that use propane as the heat fuel source. Instead of electricity, you can use propane to power your heater.

There are a lot of brands, styles, capacities, and features to choose from. This article will guide you through the labyrinth of choosing the best propane heater and show you the ideal solutions, so you get the right one for your needs.

Read on to find out everything you need to know about propane heaters.

Advantages of Using Propane Gas Heaters

  • Efficient.
    Propane is efficient, often doubling the usage time over natural gas, and doesn’t require electricity to warm a room.
  • Inexpensive.
    Propane, pound for pound, is cheaper than electricity. In some regions natural gas is more affordable but harder to find.
  • Readily available.
    You can find propane for sale almost everywhere, including gas stations, home improvement stores, and many retailers like Walmart or Target.
  • Environmentally friendly.
    Propane is non-toxic to the environment, non-caustic, and won’t spoil water or soil if spilled.

Propane Heaters Compared

Image
Mr. Heater F232000 MH9BX Buddy...
Mr. Heater F271380 MH85QFAV Forced Air...
Hiland HLDSO1-GTHG 91-Inch Tall Quartz Glass...
Dyna-Glo Delux RMC-FA125DGD 70,000 - 125,000...
Dyna-Glo IR18PMDG-1 18,000 BTU Liquid Propane...
Pleasant Hearth VFS2-PH20DT 20,000 BTU 23.5...
Model
Mr. Heater F232000 MH9BX Buddy...
Mr. Heater F271380 MH85QFAV Forced Air...
Hiland HLDSO1-GTHG 91-Inch Tall Quartz Glass...
Dyna-Glo Delux RMC-FA125DGD 70,000 - 125,000...
Dyna-Glo IR18PMDG-1 18,000 BTU Liquid Propane...
Pleasant Hearth VFS2-PH20DT 20,000 BTU 23.5...
Type
Portable Radiant
Forced-Air
Quartz Glass Tube Flame
Forced-Air
Infrared Radiant
Real Flame
BTU
4000 – 9000
50,000 – 80,000
40,000
30,000 – 300,000
18,000
20,000
Area
225 sq. ft.
2125 sq. ft.
10 sq. ft.
1350 sq. ft.
700 sq. ft.
700 sq. ft.
Price
-
-
-
-
-
Image
Mr. Heater F232000 MH9BX Buddy...
Model
Mr. Heater F232000 MH9BX Buddy...
Type
Portable Radiant
BTU
4000 – 9000
Area
225 sq. ft.
Price
-
Price
Image
Mr. Heater F271380 MH85QFAV Forced Air...
Model
Mr. Heater F271380 MH85QFAV Forced Air...
Type
Forced-Air
BTU
50,000 – 80,000
Area
2125 sq. ft.
Price
-
Price
Image
Hiland HLDSO1-GTHG 91-Inch Tall Quartz Glass...
Model
Hiland HLDSO1-GTHG 91-Inch Tall Quartz Glass...
Type
Quartz Glass Tube Flame
BTU
40,000
Area
10 sq. ft.
Price
-
Price
Image
Dyna-Glo Delux RMC-FA125DGD 70,000 - 125,000...
Model
Dyna-Glo Delux RMC-FA125DGD 70,000 - 125,000...
Type
Forced-Air
BTU
30,000 – 300,000
Area
1350 sq. ft.
Price
Image
Dyna-Glo IR18PMDG-1 18,000 BTU Liquid Propane...
Model
Dyna-Glo IR18PMDG-1 18,000 BTU Liquid Propane...
Type
Infrared Radiant
BTU
18,000
Area
700 sq. ft.
Price
-
Price
Image
Pleasant Hearth VFS2-PH20DT 20,000 BTU 23.5...
Model
Pleasant Hearth VFS2-PH20DT 20,000 BTU 23.5...
Type
Real Flame
BTU
20,000
Area
700 sq. ft.
Price
-
Price

Important Considerations Before Buying Propane Heaters

Propane Heater Type Vs. Area

The type of heater you choose will directly correlate to what area you plan to use it in. First, a warning. Propane burns and removes oxygen. While you can use propane heaters (some models) indoors, you need to be in a ventilated area and use the safety features included (see below for more).

Tent camping or other outdoor activities are made better with a propane heater. Portable and having a high heat output, using a heater here can help you stay warm. Propane garage heaters are also a great way to keep warm in your workshop during the winter months.

BTUs Vs. Coverage Area

British Thermal Units (BTUs) are the measuring tool used to define the heaters output potential. Higher BTUs mean more heat. Finding the right BTU rating for your space will require some simple math.

You need to know the square footage of your area that needs to be kept warm. Multiply the space’s length by the width for the square footage (sq. ft.). Having this information, you can then find a heater rated high enough to warm that area effectively.

Most brands will list the BTU capacities and sq. ft. size on the packaging. If not, you can use the basic “average BTU” rule of 30 – 35 BTUs per square foot to figure out the measurements for yourself.

Build Quality

Some brands will save money by using inferior products in their construction or leaving off high-end pieces like LP gas rated rubber hoses. Before you buy, check the construction materials.

Look for reinforced corners on portable models, high-quality heat-resistant carrying handles, and powder-coated steel. If the heater uses elements for forced-air or radiant heating, make sure they are high-quality metals.

Ventilation

If you are using your propane garage heater, you need to ensure you have proper ventilation. As mentioned earlier, propane uses and removes oxygen. To be safe, you need to make sure the oxygen level doesn’t drop below the 18.5% threshold (average is 21%).

Most indoor rated or garage propane heaters will come with an Oxygen Depletion Sensor (ODS) safety shut off that will turn the unit off when O2 levels get too low. If the model you are looking at for indoor use doesn’t have an ODS, don’t buy it.

Portability & Installation

Propane heaters need to be portable. Whether you are using them in the tent or the garage, they need to be able to move around (except, of course, for installed models). Portable units should have wheels or carrying handles to assist in transportation.

For permanent models, the installation needs to be simple. Because there isn’t any electricity being used, you don’t have to worry about wiring the heater or finding an outlet. However, it does need to have proper clearances, access to the controls and settings, and should be clear of any debris or objects that may cause damage or start a fire.

Fuel Storage & Tank Capacity

Propane comes in tanks of all sizes and capacities, from 1 pound single-use bottles to 500 gallon in-ground tanks. For a propane heater, you may need to use the smaller 1 pound bottles or have a valve to connect the refillable 20 to 30 pound tanks.

Max Run Time

Each tank will hold a specific amount of propane and, therefore, will have an estimated maximum runtime. The runtime listed will tell you how long the heater will operate on that tank size if it is run continuously and on the lowest setting.

For multi-speed heaters, the runtime won’t accurately show high settings, which can be ½ to ¼ of the low setting time.

Fuel Gauge

Some tanks will come with a fuel gauge to let you know how much propane is left. There are also aftermarket gauges you can buy to add to the regulator. While it isn’t essential, if your heater comes with a fuel gauge, it will help take the guessing out of your remaining fuel levels.

Ease of Refueling

Larger propane tanks (20 to 30 pounds) are easily refilled. If you own your tank, you can have it filled at a station paying for the propane per pound or gallon. If you do not own a tank, you can pay a little more for a rental tank.

The small 1 pound tanks aren’t refillable and need to be disposed of properly when they run out of fuel. Attempting to refill them can result in a tank rupture or cause injury, leaks, and even explosions.

Safety Features
Ignition

Most heaters will use a Piezo ignition system. This is a more automatic system that creates a spark by pressing a button. Instead of holding a match or lighter to the gas valve, risking a burn, the ignition system will start the fire internally, which is much safer.

High Temperature Cut Off

Heaters get warm while they warm you; it is just a byproduct of their functionality. However, if they get too hot internally, it can pose significant problems. The motor can burn out and crucial parts can melt away.

To prevent this, find a propane heater with overheating protection. This is sometimes also labeled as high temperature cut-off, thermal protection, or thermal fuse protection. It all does the same thing, though. If the heater gets too hot, it will shut off until it cools down.

Tip/Topple Over Cut Off

Portable heaters have a high chance of being kicked, bumped, or knocked over. If this happens, propane can spill, the flame can get higher, or the unit can start a fire. The best safety measure for this is a tip-over auto shut off. If the heater gets knocked over (usually more than 35 degrees), a safety switch will release and turn the unit off.

Oxygen Depletion Sensor (ODS)

Oxygen is essential to fire. It is also essential to our lungs, especially if you wish to keep breathing. Because propane uses and displaces oxygen, it can pose a problem in non-ventilated areas.

For this reason, indoor rated heaters should have an ODS equipped. This will sample the air around the unit and check the oxygen levels. If the levels drop to or below 18.5%, the machine will shut off.

Thermostats, Timers, Remote Controls

Other features improve functionality or user experience. Thermostats allow you to set a specific temperature (or a range setting like low, high, etc.) that the heater will maintain, adjusting as needed to keep the level of warmth you have dialed in.

Timers will turn off when the timer reaches zero. While it isn’t advised ever to leave a propane heater unattended, the timer will watch for you if you forget for some reason.

Remote operation is great for installed units, so you don’t need to walk to them or (in the event of a ceiling mount) get on a stool to make adjustments. These features aren’t always available, but if your model has them, be happy about it.

Warranty

When reviewing the warranty, you need to understand more than just how long it lasts. While the coverage term is important, you also need to know what is covered and not.

It will also help you to read through the claim process. Knowing the ins and outs of that and what is required on your end will make for a better experience should you ever need to make a claim.

Price

Higher quality heaters with better safety features will cost more. However, it is important to balance cost and value. Cheap heaters can end up costing you a lot more a couple of years down the road, if they last that long.

10 Best Propane Heaters Reviewed

Our testing and comparisons bring you the best propane heaters on the market. Read our reviews below or watch our YouTube video to learn which product fits your needs.

1. Mr. Heater F232000 MH9BX

Best Portable Indoor Propane Heater
Type Portable Radiant
BTU 4000 – 9000
Coverage Area 225 sq. ft.
Low Oxygen Cutoff Yes
Timer No

The “Buddy” from Mr. Heater is the highest rated, most popular portable indoor propane heater. This model can be used inside your tent, bathroom, or garage, and it will have you warm and comfortable almost instantly.

The heater is set up to use disposable propane cylinders but has a swivel regulator so you can hook up larger tanks externally. You will need to buy a hose and filter to use the larger tanks sold almost everywhere camping equipment or propane is available.

With an adjustable thermostat you can select how much heat is produced. Choosing a range between 4000 and 9000 BTUs, the output will heat up to 225 square feet in minutes. It also has a rugged, sturdy build and enough safety features to ease your mind.

With tip-over auto shut-off, overheat protection, and ODS shut-off, you can’t go wrong. You will also get about 3 to 5 hours per disposable tank of constant use. This is more than enough time to heat your tent for sleeping, your bathroom for bathing, or your shop for some work in the winter.

The 1-year warranty is a bit disappointing. However, Mr. Heater has an excellent customer service reputation, and they enjoy making their customers satisfied whatever the cost.

What We Like
  • Piezo sparking ignition
  • Durable, high quality build
  • Multiple safety features installed
  • Indoor use approved
  • Adjustable BTU output
What We Don’t Like
  • 1-year warranty
  • Hose and filters sold separately

2. Mr. Heater F271380 MH85QFAV

Best Outdoor Propane Heater
Type Forced-Air
BTU 50,000 – 80,000
Coverage Area 2125 sq. ft.
Low Oxygen Cutoff No
Timer No

If the Mr. Heater Buddy isn’t enough for you, the 80,000 BTU forced-air propane heater might be enough to put a dent in the sun. This beast of a heater is the best outdoor propane heater currently on the market, and it works well.

Designed for use with 20+ pound propane tanks, it ships with a regulator and 10-foot hose. The simple to use controls will have you blasting heat on your patio, camping site, construction site, or workshop.

If the 50-80,000 BTU model is too much, Mr. Heat also produces a 38,000 BTU model and a 30 – 50,000 BTU unit. Regardless of which one you choose, they all come with simple controls, easy setup, and a 10-foot hose and regulator.

Thermal overload protection and quick ignition are standard on these models. You won’t have to wait for it to light, but you need to make sure there are proper airflow and ventilation. While you can use this in your garage, it is best to have the garage door open at least partially.

Rated for spaces up to 2125 square feet, you can feel the warmth instantly, and with the push-button ignition, you are never more than a minute or two away from feeling your toes again.

The Mr. Heater 1-year warranty is still a let down, but we can’t argue with performance. The F2712380 works, works well, and lasts seemingly forever. A 20-pound tank can last you through an entire workday.

What We Like
  • Thermostat included
  • User-friendly controls
  • 10-foot hose included
  • Quiet burner technology
  • Near-instant heat
What We Don’t Like
  • 1-year warranty
  • Stays hot to the touch for a while

3. Hiland HLDSO1-WGTHG

Best Propane Outdoor Patio Heater
Type Quartz Glass Tube Flame
BTU 40,000
Coverage Area 10 sq. ft.
Low Oxygen Cutoff No
Timer No

Outdoor patios are cozy, relaxing, and during the spring and summer months, you could see yourself staying outside forever. However, when fall and winter come around, you can only watch from your window, until now. The Hiland patio heater is a 91-inch, glass tube, real flame heater that adds warmth and style to your patio.

For the best propane outdoor patio heater, look no further. This model uses 20-pound propane tanks that sit inside the base, behind a pullout door for easy access. You can change the tank in under 3 minutes and have the unit back on without losing any warmth.

The 40,000 BTU unit will run for up to 10 hours on high with a single 20-pound tank. It also features a simple push-button ignition. But the best part is the Quartz glass tube that shows the flame and radiates the heat.

The heating footprint is pretty small, though, reaching about 10 square feet. For the BTU output, this is not very high. However, for a patio heater is about average and should suffice for most situations.

Because the tower is open on all sides, exposing the glass tube and flame for heat and visualization, you don’t need to worry about directing the output. It will radiate outward 360-degrees. This makes the heater ideal positions both in the middle and on the perimeter of your seating arrangement.

The 1-year warranty is short but does cover the entire unit. Should you need to make a claim or have any questions, the customer service team at Hiland will be more than happy to help.

What We Like
  • Aesthetically pleasing
  • Real flame heating
  • Wheels for portability
  • Tip-over auto shut-off
What We Don’t Like
  • 1-year warranty
  • Cover sold separately
  • Small coverage area

4. Dyna-Glo RMC-FA125DGD

Best Propane Garage Heater
Type Forced-Air
BTU 30,000 up to 300,000
Coverage Area 1350 sq. ft.
Low Oxygen Cutoff No
Timer No

Dyna-Glo holds the best forced air propane heater for your garage. The “Delux” (RMC-FA125DGD) model is a professional grade torpedo heater that uses 20-pound or larger propane tanks.

The forced-air or “torpedo” heater is designed for garage use, workshops, warehouses, and construction sites. The precision mounted central flame helps keep the heat projected where the heater is pointed and doesn’t offset or develop cold spots like some cheaper models can.

The continuous ignition works to maintain the flame and prevent burn out. It also features a thermal overload protection safety feature, which will turn the entire unit off if it gets too hot.

If this model is not to your preferences, there are other sizes available. For 1000 sq. ft. of coverage, the smaller 40,000 BTU model has one temp setting and a smaller footprint. You will also find the larger models for big spaces, such as the 70-125,000 BTU or 125-150,000 BTU models that cover up to 3500 sq. ft. and the 300,000 BTU monster that can heat up to 7000 sq. ft.

These units do have a larger flame, which heats the device as well as the air. They require more clearance in front and on the sides than most other forced-air heaters, and the airflow is from the rear needs to be wide open. Most users find that having the heater in the garage door area facing inward is the best method.

What We Like
  • Adjustable heat angle
  • Continuous ignition
  • Available in BTU ratings from 40,000 to 300,000
  • Can reach desired temp in minutes
What We Don’t Like
  • 1-year warranty
  • Requires more space around the unit than most other similar models

5. Dyna-Glo IR18PMDG-1

Best Vent Free Infrared Propane Heater
Type Infrared Radiant
BTU 18,000
Coverage Area 700 sq. ft.
Low Oxygen Cutoff Yes
Timer No

If radiant heat is more your style, Dyna-Glo can help you out with that, too. The infrared wall heater is the best vent-free propane infrared heater out there. It features a dual-installation option, simple set up, and quick-heat technology.

This model uses an infrared radiant heating system that burns propane slowly and efficiently. A quick press of the ignition button and the system starts up, warming objects in the room before the air, allowing for a more rapid heat transfer in the garage or shop.

Note, though, that the ignition is battery assisted, not electric, so you will need to have spare batteries on hand, especially in the winter months when used more frequently.

With 18,000 continuous output BTUs, the system requires a 100-pound or larger propane tank. This will mean installing and using a two-stage adjustable regulator, which is not included with the purchase (you can get them from the local gas companies, though).

There are two additional purchases worth considering. Dyna-Glo offers a stand-along foot kit so you can use this heater on the floor instead of mounted to the wall, making it more portable and efficient.

There is also a wall fan designed to use with this heater to help distribute the heat more evenly and quickly. Both kits are sold separately, but either one is a great add-on to consider.

Unfortunately, because it is Dyna-Glo, there is only a 1-year warranty, common with smaller portable units like this one.

What We Like
  • Simple installation and set up
  • Radiant heat works fast
  • No chimney or flue required
  • Push-button ignition
  • 3 setting heat control
What We Don’t Like
  • 1-year warranty
  • Must use with 100-pound+ propane tanks
  • Fan and stand-along leg kits sold separately

6. Pleasant Hearth VFS2-PH20DT

Best Propane Fireplace for Heating
Type Real Flame
BTU 20,000
Coverage Area 700 sq. ft.
Low Oxygen Cutoff No
Timer No

If you enjoy fireplace heat but don’t like chopping or storing wood, Pleasant Hearth has something you will enjoy. The best propane fireplace for heating is the VFS2 model that features dual flames and pleasing aesthetics.

The low profile design and easy ignition mean you can place this heater just about anywhere. The ignition will light the dual burner propane and produce wider flames for a full appearance when lit.

The unit doesn’t use any electricity (battery-assisted ignition)but does require a 100-pound propane tank and two-stage regulator for operation. Neither of these are supplied, of course. Once you have your system set up, though, you can have months worth of heat without raising your electric bill.

The ventless model means you don’t need to exhaust the system through a chimney or flue, and you can even move the heater to a new location of desired (and if the hoses reach). Pleasant Hearth provides a 2-year warranty and additional parts, such as a blower fan, to help the heater reach its full potential.

What We Like
  • 2-year warranty
  • Battery-assisted push button ignition
  • Zero electricity use
  • Twin burner flames
What We Don’t Like
  • Requires 100 lb+ tank and two-stage regulator

7. Mr. Heater Corporation F299720

Best Ventless Blue Flame Propane Heater
Type Blue Flame
BTU 20,000
Coverage Area 700 sq. ft.
Low Oxygen Cutoff Yes
Timer No

Mr. Heater has a wall mounted blue flame propane heater that you are going to love. This model features safety measures and easy ignition to get your garage, bathroom shop, or other spaces warmed up in no time.

With blue flame you don’t need to wonder if the heater is on or if you have propane left in the tank, as you can see it working. The 20,000 BTU unit mounts directly to the wall and can be connected to your propane tank through the wall or directly through the hose and regulator.

If you don’t want to mount the heater, your purchase includes legs that you can attach, making it a stand-alone device that is bolted in place on the floor. Because it doesn’t use electricity, it is more reliable than ever.

Unlike other propane models that work well up to 7000 feet, the blue flame models aren’t as lucky. The pilot light can go out, and the ODS can kick in (falsely) at elevations over 4500 feet. For most, this won’t be an issue, but you may want to consider a different model from this list if you are over that elevation.

The 3-year warranty is surprising from a unit this compact, but with Mr. Heater, you know you are getting a durable and reliable heater. With years of dedicated service and operation, there is nothing to worry about for a long time to come.

What We Like
  • 3-year warranty
  • Non-electric push button ignition
  • Wall or floor mounted
  • ODS shut off included
What We Don’t Like
  • Elevation can be a problem
  • Must be mounted (not portable)

8. Martin Direct Vent Wall Thermostatic Heater

Best Propane Wall Mounted Heater
Type Direct vent wall mount
BTU 8000
Coverage Area 500 sq. ft.
Low Oxygen Cutoff No
Timer No

If you are looking to heat a single room and want a beautiful way to do that, look no further than the Martin direct vent wall heater. This model mounts through the wall and requires a wall thickness of at least 4.5-inches and will offer your room sufficient heat year-round.

Whether you opt for the metallic front cover of the clear glass to watch the flames, this heating unit is an eye-catching source of heat. It connects directly to 100-pound or larger propane tanks and will keep rooms up to 50 square feet from getting chilled.

The unit’s rear is shielded, meaning it will never get above room temperature, so your paint, drywall, and other mounting surfaces are free from burns, scorching, or marking.

You will also find that this model features the Piezo ignition system so it doesn’t need electricity, batteries, or any other power source. Press the button and adjust the thermostat to your desired temperature and let the heater do the rest.

With a 1-year warranty, there is room for some complaint. However, the wall mounted heater is perfect for daily use in rooms, garages, shops, or offices and will keep you warm in the winter for years to come.

What We Like
  • Easy template installation
  • Piezo ignition
  • Metallic or clear glass front options
  • Modern chic stylish design
What We Don’t Like
  • 1-year warranty (Lifetime corrosion)
  • No additional safety features

9. Camco Olympian Wave 3

Best Propane Heater for Camping & RVs
Type Catalytic
BTU 3000
Coverage Area 130 sq. ft.
Low Oxygen Cutoff No
Timer No

The Olympian Wave 3 from Camco is the best propane heating option for campers and RVs. This unit mounts to a wall, door, or side of the camper and produces a radiant catalytic heat without flames, motors, or fans.

You can quickly heat spaces to 130 square feet and do so in complete silence. The loudest part of this heater is the Piezo push button ignition. Once lit and working, you won’t hear a thing. This makes it great for napping, reading, or having a conversation inside your RV when it is too cold outside to sit on the porch.

The installation is a simple DIY project that shouldn’t take much more than about an hour, even if you have to cut an access hole for the heater. Direct propane line connections require a filter and regulator, which should already be installed in your RV or camper.

The 1-year warranty is a little light in coverage terms but will hold up long enough for you to realize that it is reliable, durable, and works perfectly. If you need more, just check your neighbors the next time you pull into a rally or RV campsite. You will find more Olympian heaters out there than almost any other model.

What We Like
  • Piezo ignition
  • Silent operation
  • DIY install
  • Rapid heating without fans or motors
What We Don’t Like
  • 1-year warranty
  • Must vent the RV or camper

10. Pro-Temp PT-18-PCH-A Cabinet Heater

Safest Propane Garage Heater
Type Radiant
BTU 18,000
Coverage Area 450 sq. ft.
Low Oxygen Cutoff Yes
Timer No

When you are working in your shop, worksite, or garage, you want the safest propane garage heater money can buy. The Pro-Temp cabinet heater is just that. This rugged and durable heater is made from the highest quality parts and has an impressive diamond plate design.

Featuring a non-electric Piezo ignition, you can light this heater at least 20,000 times before you ever need to think about replacing the ignition. Even then, the radiant cabinet heater will remain working and producing heat for several more years to come.

This model includes the regulator and hose, so all you need to provide is the fuel. It can accommodate disposable tanks inside the cabinet, or you can use the swivel regulator to attach larger tanks externally.

When on and running, you can control the heat with a three-setting thermostat dial, giving you exactly the amount of heat you need. There aren’t any louvers or directional plates, though, so you can’t control where the heat is directed.

However, this cabinet model is highly portable, with a rolling stand that features locking caster wheels so you can set it, face it, light it and forget it. The 1-year warranty is a bit disappointing, of course, as we would like to see more. Though you most likely won’t need the warranty at all unless there is a problem right out of the box.

What We Like
  • Tip over auto shut off and ODS equipped
  • 3 heat settings
  • Piezo non-electric ignition
  • Locking front caster wheels
  • Rugged, durable design
What We Don’t Like
  • 1-year warranty
  • Cannot adjust output directon

Propane vs. Other Gas Heating Methods

Propane Vs. Natural Gas

Natural gas is as common as propane (if not more so). It is used for cooking, heating, and warming our water in our homes and RVs. It also powers heaters, just like propane.

The main difference is the price. In most (though certainly not all) cases, natural gas is much cheaper than propane. Sold by the gallon like gasoline, you can get more volume for the same cost compared to propane.

However, propane lasts almost twice as long for the same amount, meaning you will need to refill your natural gas tanks sooner.

The other main difference is availability. Natural gas is piped to our homes, but we can’t turn a tap and fill tanks at home. Propane is readily available up and down the road. Finding natural gas to refill a tank is much harder. For this reason, propane is a better option.

Propane Vs. Kerosene

When compared to kerosene, propane is the hands-down winner. It isn’t that kerosene is bad; it burns hot, clean, and doesn’t have much of an odor when burning. The problem is that kerosene isn’t sold or purchased as much anymore.

The once-popular rival to natural gas has since become near obsolete. This causes prices to skyrocket and supply to be more than difficult to find.

Still, there are kerosene heaters available, and if you can get your hands on one (and some extra kerosene), you will be one warm little puppy. For the cost and difficulty of finding the gas, though, propane is a much cheaper and more available option.

How to Use Propane Heaters Safely

Proper care and use are critical when dealing with gas-powered heaters. Following is a rundown of basic steps and safety precautions to be aware of.

Adding the Propane

Propane heaters will have one of two tank options. For the majority of the heaters, you will find threads to screw the 1-pound tanks directly into. You remove the cap from the propane tank, line up the nozzle with the threads and tighten the tank in place.

The other option is made for larger tanks. You are required to use a hose and regulator valve. This will connect to the tank’s valve. Once connected, you can open the valve on the propane tank and check for leaks.

Operation

Once the tank is connected, you can use the heater. You will need to make sure the propane tank valve is open (external tanks) and that the regulator is open. Once the gas is flowing, you will press the ignition button to light the pilot.

When the pilot is lit and you turn the thermostat knob, it will light the elements and begin heating. That’s all there is to it.

When you are done with the heater, you should turn the thermostat to off or “0” so the flame returns to only the pilot light. Then close the regulator valve and the tank valve, so gas doesn’t keep rushing in. After it cools, you can store the heater away.

Safety Warnings

When in operation, you need to be mindful of the heater at all times. The obvious “rules” are there, don’t leave it unattended, don’t fall asleep in a tent with the heater running, that kind of thing.

You also want to make sure you know where the heater is. Kicking it over, dropping flammable things on it (clothes, towels, napkins, etc.) can cause big problems.

If you are using the heater indoors, you also want to ensure proper ventilation and be mindful of how warm you are getting. Maintaining the room’s humidity is also as important as the oxygen.

Where to Place Propane Heaters

When installing propane heaters in your garage or sheds, you need to ensure you follow the instructions. Specifically, you need to maintain proper clearance guides for the top, sides, and in front of the heater. If the heater is designed to be placed low to the ground, that is where it needs to go. All owner’s manuals will have clearance measurements listed.

For portable or stand-alone models, you need to always keep the front and sides clear. Torpedo heaters (forced-air) need plenty of room behind them as well. Cabinet and table-top models can be placed in corners or along the walls if the intake vents are on the top or bottom.

As long as the heated areas are clear and there is plenty of airflow, you can place the heaters where they best serve your needs. Finding the best position for your heater will help maximize output and energy efficiency.

People Also Ask (FAQ)

Are propane heaters environmentally friendly & energy efficient?

Propane is very efficient and environmentally friendly. If propane spills, it will vaporize and evaporate, even in water. It won’t contaminate water or spoil, and it leaves nothing behind to be cleaned up.

How much time does a propane heater take to heat a room?

The time it takes will depend on the room’s size, insulation of the space, BTU rating of the heater, and where the heater is installed. If the heater is rated within range of the square footage for the room and properly placed, it can heat the room to an average temperature within 5 minutes.

Is it safe to leave them on overnight or when not at home?

No. Propane heaters need to be turned off before you fall asleep or leave the house. Proper use of a propane heater when warming a room or tent for sleeping is to turn them on 20 to 30 minutes before you go to bed. Warming the room and then turning them off before you fall asleep.

How do you store a propane heater and propane when not in use?

When not in use, the propane tank needs to be disconnected from the heater. If it has a valve, the valve needs to be closed tightly. The tank can then be stored in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight and in a spot that won’t exceed 120 degrees.

For the heater itself, after the propane is removed, it needs to be cleaned, and any maintenance should be completed. You can then store the heater in a cool, dry place until it is time to use it again.

Which is safer to use, a natural gas or propane heater?

When it comes to safety, it is a toss-up. Natural gas is lighter than air and dissipates much quicker than propane. However, natural gas has no odor (unless sulfur scents have been added). It is much more challenging to identify a natural gas leak, making propane a little safer.

Due to the amount of damage a leak from either one can cause, propane has a lower chance of causing major damage (only slightly lower), making it a little safer choice.

Are propane heaters safe to breathe?

You shouldn’t huff the propane tank or place the heater near your head while it is on, as the fumes can be damaging. Propane is also an asphyxiating gas. This means it displaces the oxygen that you need to breathe.

If you are too close to the propane or in a non-ventilated area, the lack of oxygen (not so much the propane) can cause a lot of harm. Propane heaters also produce carbon monoxide, which can cause asphyxiation or even death if inhaled too long.

Where is the best place to buy propane heaters?

There are several places to get good deals on propane heaters. Home improvement and box chain stores like Lowe’s, Home Depot, and Walmart will all carry a selection of propane heaters. Online sites also carry them.

However, the current top ranked places to buy are through Amazon or Sylvane. These two online sales leaders offer the most stock, most selections, and best deals on overall price, shipping, and returns.

Conclusion

When looking to heat your garage, tent, or patio, propane heaters are a viable and affordable option. Finding the best propane heater for your needs, though, can be difficult. With the various styles, types and brands, it is hard to choose.

Hopefully this article showed you what you need to know and consider when making a purchasing decision. If you haven’t picked a heater yet, we offer you another look at the Mr. Heater F232000 MH9BX. This model has everything you need to heat your space and is highly portable, rugged, and easy to operate.

Josh M
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