Unlike industrial propane heaters, a normal indoor and outdoor household propane heater is meant to heat only a relatively small area like a living room or small patio.
That’s why the majority of propane heater buyers prefer to buy a portable propane heater. Portable propane heaters are characterized by its size (normally small-ish), weight (normally under 10 lbs) and mobility (it has wheels if it’s large and/or heavy).
The 5 Best Selling Portable Propane Heaters:
For your convenience, the below list shows the 5 best selling portable propane heaters available for sale on Amazon.com. The list is automatically updated once a day.
- 4,000- to 9,000-BTU radiant heater for spaces up to 225 square feet. Approved for indoor/outdoor use; clean-burning; nearly 100-percent efficient
- When operating the heater at altitudes over 7,000 FT above sea level the heater may shut off.
- Auto shut-off if tipped over, if pilot light goes out, or if detects low oxygen levels. Fuel Consumption/Burn Rate (Gal/Hr) at 4000 BTU = 0.044 Gal/Hr, at 9000 BTU = 0.099 Gal/Hr
- 4, 000, 9, 000, or 18, 000 BTU per hour
- Heats up to 450 sq. ft.
- Hi-Med-Low heat settings
- Indoor-safe portable propane heater for rooms up to 95 square feet. THIS UNIT IS NOT INTENDED FOR GOLF CART USE OR FOR MOTORIZED VEHICLES.
- Continuous odor-free, 45-degree heating angle. Maximum Elevation (Ft) 7000 Feet. Automatic low oxygen shut-off system (ODS)
- Simple on/off buttons; uses 1-pound disposable propane cylinder (not included). Run time at minimum btu and maximum btu is 5.6 hours. Do not operate heater in any moving vehicle. This...
- Sport Type: Camping & Hiking
- Ideal for golf carts
- Durable stainless steel burner
- Pressure regulator on/off control valve adjusts burners up to 3,000 BTUs
The 5 Best Portable Propane Heaters:
Below we have listed and reviewed the 5 best value for money portable propane heaters currently on the market. We review and update these products on a regular basis.
Mr. Heater MH18B Portable Propane Heater Specs
|Heat Output||4000-18 000 BTU|
|Dimensions||11.9 x 19 x 17.5 inches|
This is in a way a double product. It’s an amazing portable heater, and an amazing indoor heater as well. If you’re looking for a slightly more powerful product, then check out Mr. Heater MH18B. This brawny portable heater can generate anywhere between 4,000 and 18,000 allowing it to heat up spaces as large as 300 feet.
Note: The new version is available here.
It features a clean-burning system and is 99% efficient. However, the heater can’t operate at altitudes over 7000 ft, so all you mountain people can keep on looking. It features a pilot light that automatically shuts off if there is a lack of oxygen and will also shut off automatically if it’s tipped over. The control knob offers multi-level adjustment in the form of off, low, medium and high power.
Mr. Heater MH12B Hunting Buddy Portable Propane Heater Specs
|Heat Output||6000-12 000 BTU|
|Dimensions||10.2 x 15.5 x 16.5 inches|
Because Mr. Heater’s products are so good, we simply had to include another one. The Mr. Heater MH12B Is another very powerful and very neat portable propane heater, able to generate even more BTUs than its smaller brother.
MH12B can generate up to 12,000 BTUs and is up to par with some of the wall-mounted models on our other list. The product operates off a 1-pound cylinder, but, with an appropriate hose and filter, you can connect it to a 20-pound cylinder. Just like its brother, the heater features the same knob, with the same adjustment levels, off, low, mid and high. It also features the same auto-off features.
Stansport Portable Outdoor Infrared Propane Heater Specs
|Heat Output||3100 BTU|
|Dimensions||8.8x 5.5x 5.5 inches|
A very convenient and affordable heater, this heater from Stansport has a very neat carry handle and a nice little stand. It’s sturdily built, ready to take on whatever the outdoors can throw at it.
It produces about 3,100 BTU, making it a good addition to your camping equipment, and a perfect way to keep yourself warm while camping during the colder months. It has simple controls, and you can turn it off, set it to low, medium or high at your discretion. It also has a rear cage for safety purposes.
Texsport Sportsmate Portable Propane Heater Specs
|Heat Output||3000 BTU|
|Dimensions||27.4 x 19.3 x 18.8 cm|
The Texsport Sportsmate is a similarly efficient and powered product. The heater can generate up to 3,000 BTUs, but it doesn’t feature multi-stage controls like the Stansport. Instead, it has a valve, so it offers a little bit more control and an opportunity for fine-tuning.
The product has a slightly larger tank (16.7 oz, whereas Stansport had a 13.7 oz tank), and features an auto-shutoff valve for safety reasons. The burner is made out of stainless steel, while the base is made of molded plastic. Just like the Stansport, Texsport also features a steel cage. The product is optimized for use in golf carts.
Pro-Temp 60,000 BTU Variable Propane Forced Air Heater Specs
|Heat Output||60 000 BTU|
|Dimensions||20 x 11 x 15 inches|
If you’re looking for more power then the Pro-Temp 60 000 BTU variable portable propane air heater is your best choice. This beast can produce up to 60,000 BTUs, making it one of the most powerful heaters on our list (there’s a 150 000 BTU option, but the reviews aren’t great).
The Pro-Temp is a beast when it comes to heat output, but it’s simple, easy to use and hook-up, and comes with a regulator and a 10-foot-long hose. The blower spreads the heat over a wide area, ensuring you’re good to go even in the largest of cabins. As for safety features, it’s got tip-over shut-off and a back pressure switch.
Portable Propane Heaters Buying Guide
Having the ability to quickly generate heat anywhere you go can make any camping, hunting or fishing trip much more comfortable in the colder months. Modern portable propane heaters can provide this heat and have advanced to the point where they are safe and very easy to use. Most models use a small propane cylinder for fuel and can be used almost anywhere you need a little heat.
With the wide variety of these systems available on the market today, there are a few things you’ll need to consider before purchasing one to be sure that it fits your needs.
Convection or Radiant Heating?
Most portable propane heaters generate their warmth in one of two ways. They either rely on convection or use a radiating element to warm you. Both of these technologies have their advantages and the one you choose is based mostly on the type of locations in which you’ll be using the heater.
A convection heater is a very simple device that creates an internal flame and then directs the heat produced to the air around the heater. This heat will uniformly warm an area and can be a great choice for areas that are slightly enclosed. While not all of these heaters are certified for indoor use, many can be used safely in an area that is shielded from the elements.
The reason these work so well in this type of area is that the warm air they produce will be lost in the open spaces outdoors. Even though you can huddle in close to the heater, the warm air it creates will be drawn away with the next breeze. Most indoor heaters use this technology since the air is fairly stationary inside a home.
A radiant heater is a better choice for outdoor use, especially if you’ll be in a wide-open area. This type of heater uses an internal flame to heat a specialized element to very high temperatures.
When this element gets hot enough, it starts generating infrared heat that can travel through the air and heat any object it touches. This is a very efficient method of outdoor heating since none of its energy is wasted on heating the air between you and the heater.
Size Versus Portability
While most of these modern portable propane heaters can generate far more heat than older models, you’ll want to make sure you choose one that is large enough for your needs.
The challenge is that these heaters are available in very large models that make their portability harder. If you purchase one of the larger units, it may be too big to safely heat a smaller area.
With a convection heater, you’ll want to try and find one that can easily heat the area where you are expecting to use the heater. Most models provide some guidance on the number of BTU’s they generate and the rough size of the area they can be expected to heat. It’s always better to buy a heater that is slightly larger than your needs to avoid overworking it.
Radiant heaters are more dependent on how far away from the heater you expect to be and the number of people you hope to keep warm. Most models of radiant heaters broadcast their heat evenly around the heater in a circular pattern but some models allow you to focus their heating efforts in a particular direction.
This can be helpful if you want to locate the heater at the edge of a campsite and not waste energy heating the woods.
Essential Safety Features to Look For
Any portable heater you’re considering will provide a number of safety features. These should include a tip detector that turns off the heater if it falls over. This eliminates the danger of the internal flame coming in contact with combustible materials.
Some models feature a low oxygen detector that extinguishes the flame if the air in a room becomes toxic from the heater’s exhaust gas due to poor ventilation. This feature is especially important if these heaters are used in a garage or an area with limited ventilation.
Most models of heaters also include thermostats or other temperature settings that allow you to manage the amount of heat they produce.
Modern portable propane heaters are more versatile than specialized indoor heaters and allow you to take the warmth they produce with you. Most models are designed to be rugged and easy to use. They will allow you to quickly and safely generate all the heat you’ll need to be comfortable, wherever you happen to need it.
Frequently Asked Questions About Portable Propane Heaters
There are plenty of small details to know and to take into consideration when you opt for a portable propane heater so you would always be ready for anything when using it. Knowing what is safe and what is not around one is crucial as well as staying safe around propane in general.
So in this next Frequently asked questions part we are going to cover the basics and all you might want to know before investing in a portable propane heater.
How to Light a Portable Propane Heater?
This might sound quite easy as a step but you need to know all the necessary precautions when lighting up a propane heater since flammability or potential gas leaks may lead to devastating results. As soon as you open your valve control knob by turning it, propane will start to flow into the heater.
There is usually a start or light button you’d need to push and turn to set up the heater for lighting up. Alongside this button there is usually an igniter that gives out a spark and makes sure, as soon as gas starts flowing towards it, to create a flame and light up the heater.
Once this is done you would want to hold the knob for about half a minute to make sure the flow of propane is stable and set the heater to the desired level.
How to Fix a Portable Propane Heater?
There aren’t too many things that can go wrong in a propane heater but knowing how and what to troubleshoot safely to determine what the issue might be, is key to better using your portable heater. The most common issues with propane heaters are connected to the pilot and, in most cases, it is the standing pilot which is the issue.
Usually, when the pilot is working as intended, the flame coming out of it as the propane ignites is blue. If the flame is orange or yellow the pilot is in need of cleaning which can easily be done with a needle when the heater is off and just poking it into the tip of the tube. In most cases where this fix doesn’t work, the issue is with the thermocouple.
The thermocouple is responsible for the safety of gas release so no unburnt gas is released which may result in catastrophic results. If the thermocouple doesn’t get hot enough from the pilot when it is ignited, it won’t release gas from the valve so no flame would come out and you wouldn’t be able to fire up the heater.
Another issue might be that the thermocouple is too far away from the flame as it wears out with time. If the problem is this the part can be easily changed with a new one.
How to Vent a Portable Propane Heater?
Proper and adequate ventilation is crucial if you are looking to use a propane heater inside. If you want to heat up your garage or an outhouse, or fish house, small hunting cabin, whatever the case maybe it is imperative that you have proper ventilation.
Here’s a great article detailing gas heater safety.
If you are working the heater up to 11 in a small place it will suck some of the oxygen and you need to make sure to have a window or door open at times if not always, in those cases, in order for the heater to breathe. It is important to look for the heaters with the most safety features if you consider using a propane heater indoors.
As we just noted above, while electric indoor heaters are the safer choice, a propane heater can be used indoors as long as you know what you are doing and take all the necessary precautions for safe use as well as choosing a heater with plenty of safety features so you can prevent any mishaps.
As long as you are aware of how powerful your heater is and how big an area you are looking to heat up, you shouldn’t have a problem using one inside with proper ventilation
It might seem like we’re overdoing it with the ventilation advice but it is so important to be aware of how propane heaters work and especially if you are looking to use one inside.
Propane eats up oxygen. Propane heaters need air in order to keep themselves regulated and not combust from lack of oxygen like when we see a gas leak in a house and as soon as someone opens the door the gas just combusts because air gives it life literally.
So it is important to know that propane heaters don’t need special venting when used outside because air is always out there, but when used indoors, keeping a window open or opening a door every once in a while to let some air in and help the flow is essential for proper functionality and safety.
For example, if you are looking to heat up your garage with an outdoor heater just make sure your smell is on point and if you notice any excessive heavy propane smell open the garage for a bit and let the airflow for a bit and vent out, while you check for any potential gas leaks.
In our opinion, the best value for money portable propane heater is the MH18B Portable Propane Heater from Mr. Heater. It’s affordable, safe, powerful for it’s size and very efficient.