The Best Portable Propane Heaters for 2020
Whether you spend a good amount of your time camping in the outdoors or are simply looking to warm your living room during the winter months, a portable propane heater is something you should consider investing in.
This unique appliance acts as a clean and inexpensive heating source that doesn’t produce any smoke while also saving a lot in heating bills.
While propane heaters can be used indoors, they can also be used in the great outdoors
How do you know the right model for your needs and what features make portable propane heaters good?
In this article, we review the best portable propane heaters for your buying convenience!
- The Best Portable Propane Heaters for 2020
- Portable Propane Heater Buying Guide
- Portable Propane Heaters – Reviews
- Mr. Heater F232000 MH9BX Buddy
- Dyna-Glo BFSS30LPT-2P Liquid Propane Vent Free T-Stat Wall Heater
- Mr. Heater Corporation Vent-Free Radiant Propane Heater
- Mr Heater MH60QFAV 60,000 BTU Portable Propane Forced Air Heater
- Texsport Portable Outdoor Propane Heater
- Mr. Heater MH30T Double Tank Top Outdoor Propane Heater
Portable Propane Heater Buying Guide
When searching online for the portable propane heaters, you’ll want to ask yourself a few questions before purchasing, such as:
What Type Should I Buy…Convection or Radiant Heating?
The majority of portable propane heaters in the market generate warmth either by convection or radiation.
Both these heating technologies offer unique benefits, which will ideally suit you depending on the location you plan to use the propane heater.
Convection heaters are preferred for indoor use because the warm air created is not lost in the elements like it happens when used outside.
On the other hand, radiant propane heaters make a great option for outdoor use, more so in a wide-open area.
These heaters use a specialised heating element that can reach very high temperatures. The element starts to generate infrared heat that travels through the air to heat any object in its vicinity.
Overall, this method proves to be efficient for outdoor heating because no heat is lost in the air.
Best Size for a Compact Propane Heater?
The best compact propane heater should be large enough to cater to your heating needs. However, you should be careful not to choose a size that will undermine its portability.
As such, you want to try and balance between size and portability to find the ideal heater for your requirements. The challenge with choosing a larger model is that it can be difficult to carry, especially if you’re buying it for a camping trip.
If you are getting a convection heater, you want to find a unit that will easily warm the space you’ll install the heater.
Most models offer some guidance in terms of the number of BTUs the heater can generate and the size of the area it can effectively heat.
Overall, it is recommended that you go for a heating unit that is larger than what you need to keep from overworking it.
Meanwhile, the right radiant heater size will mostly depend on how away from the heater you are and the number of people that need warmth.
For most models, the heat is produced evenly in a circular pattern, although some brands may allow you to focus the heat generated in a specific direction.
This will come in handy if you don’t want to waste any energy warming the woods while camping.
What Safety Features are Essential in a Portable Propane Heater?
Almost all portable heaters you consider will come with a fair share of safety features.
You want to watch out for things such as a tip detector, which turns the heater off when it falls over. This serves to prevent the risk of the flame coming into contact with any combustible material.
Some units may also have a low oxygen detector that will extinguish the internal flame when the air inside the room becomes toxic from the exhaust gas as a result of poor ventilation.
This is especially important for a heater being used in enclosed spaces, such as a garage, with limited ventilation.
You can also check for a thermostat or alternative temperature settings that let you control the amount of heat generated.
The current portable propane heaters on the market have shown to be more versatile compared to specialised indoor heaters since they allow you to take the warmth anywhere and everywhere you go.
They also enable you to generate just the amount of heat you need to remain warm and cozy.
Portable Propane Heaters – Reviews
Mr. Heater F232000 MH9BX Buddy
If you’re looking for a fuel-efficient and reliable unit, this is probably one of the best compact propane heaters currently in the market.
The Mr. Heater F232000 MH9BX is the ideal heating source to carry on your camping adventures. It comes with a small and lightweight build and needs very little propane to last longer than you expected.
The MH9BX was built for outdoor use! It generates warmth through a radiant heating system, meaning it warms up objects directly as opposed to heating the air first.
This portable propane heater can treat an area as large as 225sq feet. The benefit here is that it helps you save energy and protects you from direct propane flame exposure.
A small tank is attached to the heater, which can carry one gallon of propane. This is enough fuel to allow the heater to generate warmth for 3 continuous hours, resulting in a fuel consumption rate of 4000 BTU.
Given that a single tank of propane can produce heat for 3 hours, even at high temperatures, the MH9BX is among the most efficient units you can find.
Despite being conveniently lightweight and portable, this propane heater is durable enough to cope with constantly being moved around. It features a steel, plastic, and nickel construction, and comes with essential safety features like an automatic shutoff.
This jumps into action whenever the heater is knocked over, when the pilot light is extinguished, and when the oxygen levels are low, to keep you safe whenever you’re using the unit.
Another thing to note is the inclusion of a swivel regulator, which allows you to adjust the level of warmth as necessary. Furthermore, a fold-down handle at the top makes this the most practical portable option for a heater.
With so many features, the Mr. Heater F232000 MH9BX has proven to be a crowd favorite, especially among farmers who want to warm their livestock inside a barn.
On the downside, this heater should not be used inside a camping tent or similar structures. This is because it can easily cause flammable material to catch fire, which will significantly undermine its safety. Otherwise, the MH9BX will make the perfect choice for outdoor use!
Dyna-Glo BFSS30LPT-2P Liquid Propane Vent Free T-Stat Wall Heater
The BFSS30LPT-2P can produce 24000 to 30000 BTUs to offer sufficient warmth to cover up to 1000sq. ft.
This makes it the appropriate option for a large apartment or small home since it can treat all the rooms in the house as opposed to just one specific area.
A thermostat control knob is included on the device to let you adjust the heat level to your preference while the propane produces nice blue flames that enhance the aesthetics of your interior space.
This heater can easily be mounted on the wall, but if you don’t fancy that kind of installation, the BFSS30LPT-2P comes with legs to make it a freestanding unit instead.
The only thing is that you will have to buy the legs separately. AT 24.5lbs, this is not the most portable heater you can find, and that is why it is designed to be used inside the house.
However, it can be a great supplement to your home’s heating needs and significantly drive down your heating bill.
It is powerful enough to warm multiple rooms in the house and comes with a one-year warranty for parts and labor. If you still want more coverage, you can buy extra fans to sort this out.
Mr. Heater Corporation Vent-Free Radiant Propane Heater
One look at the Mr. Heater Corporation Vent-free Radiant Propane Heater and you’ll be forgiven for thinking it’s from the ‘80s.
The retro design of the heater gives it a classic look that you can easily pick out of the crowd.
Designed to transfer heat energy directly to objects, this is the best portable propane heater to buy if you don’t want a puff of air blowing on your face!
The heater is compact and lightweight for convenient indoor use. Despite its small frame, this machine can produce 10,000 BTUs, which is adequate to cover a 250sq.
ft area. It also boasts a 43-hour runtime, making it the perfect substitute for your home’s heating system on those chilly early mornings and cool evenings. The package comes with durable plastic legs, as well as mounting hardware, that makes for effortless free-standing setup.
The CSA-certified device also features an automatic shutoff that is triggered when an internal sensor picks up low oxygen levels. This is an essential safety feature that prevents propane leaks and eventual contamination of the air inside the room.
Even if you’re not in the room, you can rest assured that the Mr. Heater Corporation Vent-Free Radiant Propane Heater won’t put your home at risk.
The heater uses electronic ignition to enhance its overall ease of use. This also means that individuals with pyrophobia don’t have to deal with flames or fire.
However, you should note that there is a 4500ft altitude restriction if you want this model to run effectively. In the ideal situation, it is the perfect heating source for your home when the cold starts to bite!
Mr Heater MH60QFAV 60,000 BTU Portable Propane Forced Air Heater
This powerful propane heater was designed to warm up an extensive outdoor area within a short amount of time. It uses the principles of forced air and convection to generate heat, which operates by sucking in air and forcing it out over a heated filament to provide warmth to the adjacent environment.
Thanks to the forced air operation, the Mr Heater 60,000 BTU Variable Propane Forced Air Heater has the ability to heat up to 1500sq. feet; almost three times the coverage of a standard apartment.
Given how far it can “shoot out” the hot air, this unit is perfect for outdoor usage or people working in vast spaces such as a warehouse. It is also what makes it popular among road and construction workers, as well as package handlers in airports.
The Mr Heater propane heater produces 60.000 BTUs, making for a very powerful performance. It comes with variable temperature settings to allow you to adjust the warmth to your preference.
The base is also adjustable, which means you can manage the direction in which the air blows and even focus it on an area that needs heating to avoid wastage.
You just need to turn the dial to start the heater, making for user-friendly operation.
On the downside, this propane heater will empty the propane reservoir like nobody’s business. A 20lb tank will keep the heater running for just 11 hours on the maximum heat setting, so it might be slightly more expensive to run than the other models in our review. It is also advisable that you don’t stand directly in front of the heater as it can get too hot for your comfort.
Lastly, the Mr Heater 60,000 is one of the best portable propane heaters out there thanks to its small size and only 11lbs of weight. However, it boasts a sturdy frame made out of steel and durable plastic. You’ll also like its playful “canon-like” look!
Texsport Portable Outdoor Propane Heater
If your budget is limited, this will be a nice option that won’t dent your pockets. Despite this, it comes with a range of essential features that should impress you.
The Texsport Portable Outdoor Propane Heater features a single radiant heater and connectors to let you affix a 1lb propane tank for it works. For enhanced stability, the device comes with an extra base to keep it from tipping over.
In the event you knock the heater over, an automatic safety shutoff is integrated to instantly turn off the heater.
This happens by the propane valve sealing itself so that there is no more gas being released. The shutoff helps to prevent the leakage of the flammable gas and possible fire breakout. Given its compact build, the Texsport is one of the most portable propane heaters in the market.
It was built for outdoor uses and the company suggests it will best be suitable for situations such as hunting, camping, hiking, and similar outdoor adventures.
A single propane tank should last you between 2 and 3 hours while the heat produced can cover an area of up to 300sq, ft. This means it will serve you best when there isn’t much movement. It is also simple to operate and proves to be fuel-efficient.
Finally, Texsport designed this heater with a steel and copper finish for a durable construction to cope with tough outdoors.
It will best serve one or two people, and an aluminium reflector is included for additional comfort and user-friendliness.
Mr. Heater MH30T Double Tank Top Outdoor Propane Heater
This particular propane heater comes with a simple yet interesting design. It looks like a robot with two glowing red eyes when it’s on.
Without the propane tank, the MH30T only weighs 5lbs, making for a lightweight portable propane heater that you can carry anywhere.
It uses radiant heating filaments, which are affixed on top of a propane tank to generate warmth.
This simple model will be a great choice for campers, hunters, and other outdoor enthusiasts who don’t move around a large area in the course of their adventure.
The heater features a durable metallic build and comes with a one-year warranty, although you shouldn’t worry about any components breaking down easily on this unit.
The manufacturer used steel as the main building component and the MH30T operates quietly to prevent being a nuisance. You can connect it to a 5-20lbs propane tank, allowing you to determine the right weight for your intended use. The heater will also run continuously for up to 3 hours on a single gallon of propane, which makes it pretty fuel-efficient.
On the downside, this heating unit may prove a little bit expensive.
However, it will serve you diligently once you bring it on your camping trip. If you can get over the pricing hurdle, the Mr. Heater MH30T Double Tank Top Outdoor Propane Heater is one of the best portable propane heaters you can find!
There is our roundup of the best compact propane heaters on the market, we hope this has been a useful resource! Please see our FAQ’s below for any further questions!
Are Propane Heaters Dangerous?
Most people are afraid of handling propane but a basic compact propane heater should not be a cause for concern when used appropriately. The only risk remains that propane is a highly flammable gas, and that is why it requires specialty containers to be transported. Mishandling can have grave consequences, so you shouldn’t let any children and amateurs come close to your propane heater.
Apart from being safe during routine use, most of the best portable propane heaters come with a couple of safety features to ensure that there are no unexpected accidents.
Among the most common is the automatic shutoff, which usually cuts off the valve releasing the propane from the tank so that the flame is extinguished. This ensures that no flammable gas is released and the risk of a fire is significantly reduced.
Depending on the brand of heater you acquire; several factors can lead to the automatic shutoff going off. For example, some heaters will automatically shut off when a built-in sensor detects low oxygen in the room. This seizes continued release of the gas which can easily fill up the room and result in asphyxiation for the occupants. In some cases, the heater also shuts off when it is knocked over.
Do Propane Heaters Need to be Vented?
Ventilation is very critical in a propane heater; it just cannot be over emphasised! You need to understand how these devices work, especially if you plan to use the one you just bought inside the house.
Propane needs oxygen to burn, which also keeps the gas from combusting on its own.
Lack of oxygen results in leakage of propane and as soon as the door is opened and some oxygen runs in, the ignition can be deadly.
So, it should be noted that portable propane heaters need sufficient ventilation when used indoors. Makes sure the windows are wide open, every once in a while, to allow for a continued supply of air for safety and proper functionality. But when you’re using your heater outside, no special venting is required since the supply of air is unlimited.
Assuming you’ve installed your outdoor heater in a garage to warm up your working space.
If you notice any excessive smell of propane, you want to open the garage door wide for some minutes to let in air as you check for possible gas leaks.
Failure to do this could be the start of an unfortunate ending.
Are Portable Propane Heaters Safe for Indoor Use?
Although electric indoor heaters are a safer option for indoor use, propane heaters may also be used inside the house, as long as you’re taking all the necessary precautions to keep your household safe. For example, you need to ensure that there is sufficient ventilation as earlier mentioned. Also, you want to select a unit with enough safety features to reduce the risk of accidents.
Finally, as long as you’re aware of the power of the device and how vast of an area it can heat up, it shouldn’t be a problem using your portable propane heater insider. Remember to keep it away from children and amateur users!
How Can You Stay Safe When Using Propane?
Propane is a safe and versatile fuel when used properly, but it can be a nightmare when mishandled. Most gas-related accidents come about as a result of someone deliberately choosing to avoid the recommended standard safety procedures. You want to consider the tips below when handling portable propane heaters:
- Don’t store the propane tank inside the home or in the basement
- Don’t store the propane tank inside a car when traveling
- Avoid using items that need an open flame inside your home
- Never used a propane heater designed for the outdoors inside
- Always keep the tank secured so that it doesn’t tip over while being transported
- Contact a professional to connect the propane tank for you
- In case of a gas, vacate everyone in the premise and open the doors and windows
- Remember to always perform a leak test before lighting up the propane heater to avoid undue release of the flammable gas
If you’re concerned about your household’s safety when using a portable propane heater, then you might want to have a propane gas detector installed inside your home. This will let you know of any gas leakages well in advance so that you act appropriately before the situation gets risky.
Aside from the basic rules mentioned above, try not to handle any fires near the propane heater. This means any cigarette lighters, matches, and such devices should be off-limits, especially when the propane heater is in use. Finally, you should always contact a professional when in doubt!
Are Propane Heaters Efficient?
Propane appliances generally go a long way to reduce the energy costs inside your home. They offer better comfort and value for money compared to other heating sources. This is because propane heaters burn clean and come with high efficiency. Typically, less than 10% of the fuel is wasted in its combustion process. The current models of propane furnaces have an efficiency rate of around 97%!