Cold days are around the corner, and it is best to be prepared for them on time. You probably have a heating system which keeps your entire house warm and cozy during freezing temperatures. However, you should always have an alternative - a supplemental heating device that can be used when you need to heat just a part of your house, or you want to heat your garage, working space or even patio.
Propane heaters are an excellent choice in such situations - they are usually highly portable, work without electricity and can be used outdoors. Every household can benefit from using propane heaters, and for this reason, we recommend that you read our guide and our top five propane heaters reviews and then get one for your home as well.
Last update on 2019-06-20 at 12:04 PST - Details
What Is a Propane Heater?
As the name suggests, propane heaters heat the space up the using propane fuel. The fuel is first poured into the tank of the heater and then ignited. Ignition can be automatic or manual. Their heat output is measured in BTUs- the higher this value is, the more space you can heat.
With the exception of air forced propane heaters that we will discuss later on in the text, the propane heaters do not require electric power to work. This makes them especially suitable for emergency situations such as power outages during storms or hurricanes.
As they are also most often appropriate for outdoor use as well, many people use them as patio heaters, on camping trips or in areas detached from home such as warehouses, garages, workshops.
These heaters differ regarding shape and size, and even their intended use. Several types can be distinguished, and you should recognize the one that will best suit your needs.
The Types of Propane Heaters
There are several criteria by which we differentiate propane heaters, and we have comprised short overview that will help you get acquainted with every type of propane heater on the market.
First of all, you have to consider the location you are hoping to heat and choose the heater that will do the best job. For this reason, there are heaters that are more suitable to use inside and those that perform better outdoors.
As they are intended to be used at home, they are also designed to burn the propane almost entirely producing less harmful byproducts. They typically include numerous safety features such as an oxygen sensor which will shut off the unit as soon as the oxygen level drops below a safe limit. They must also provide better protection from the flame As to minimize the risk from accidental contact with flammable objects. It is also recommended to install a carbon monoxide detector nearby in case of failure.
Since they are always used in a well-ventilated area, they do not include all the safety features the indoor heaters do. They are typically designed to heat outdoor patio areas but can heat any small outdoor area you need to spend time in. TThese heaters are usually larger than indoor ones and can way up to 40 pounds.They are affected by many outside factors such as the wind and temperature drops, and that is why most of them heat objects and people instead of heating the air.Most often they feature an upright design and radiant technology.
Next, propane heaters can be distinguished by the type of installation and their portability:
Permanent or Mounted
These propane heaters have to be permanently mounted in a fixed position. For this reason, they normally include vents in order to get rid of the gasses produced during operation out of the heated space. As their fixture is permanent, you should carefully choose the spot to install them and be sure that they will be able to heat the desired space well enough
As the name suggests, these heaters can be moved around according to your needs. However, most of them are not vented and have to be used in well-ventilated areas. It is best always to keep a window open or use them in a space with lots of fresh air.
One of the most important features to consider is the ventilation. Propane heaters are either vented or ventless; both types have their advantages, so you have to choose based on your needs and the amount of work you are willing to do when installing the unit as the vented heaters have to be permanently mounted too.
As the name suggests, they vent the exhaust gases produced by the heater directly outside your home or other heated space. The gases can either be taken out through a vent pipe attached to the heater or straight through the wall where the heater is mounted.Many believe that this is a better option health-wise, but these heaters are usually less efficient than ventless heaters. They use more fuel to produce the same amount of heat, and their installation takes more effort, time and money.
Ventless put out their gases into the heating living space and are thus designed to burn more efficiently and create less harmful gases. They allow for a simpler installation and the same heating capacity as vented versions with less fuel used.Their greatest advantage is their portability and the fact that they can be used both in and outdoors. When used indoors, there should always be an open window or ventilation holes to allow easy air flow and avoiding the risk of suffocation. Carbon monoxide buildup can cause fatigue and even death, due to an insufficient amount of oxygen in your body.
Finally, we can distinguish three types of propane heaters based on the technic by which they generate the warmth. All of these technologies have their advantages, and you should choose the one that will best fit the location in which you will be using it:
Forced Air Heater
A forced air heater is the most common type of propane heater. It forces the heated air into the space thanks to the incorporated fan. The greatest advantage is the speed in which the heat created is distributed. This type of heater is a perfect solution if you need to heat large spaces quickly. On the downside, it cannot be used as an emergency heater as it typically requires a power source to operate the fan.
This type of heater uses convection to heat an area and requires no external power. As it warms only the air in the immediate area around the heater, it is not a good choice for bigger spaces or outdoor use as the warm air they produce will be lost.
Convection heaters create heat via internal flame. This heat is then uniformly distributed to the air around the heater. Most of these heaters are certified for indoor use, and most often they have to be used in spaces that are somewhat shielded from the elements.
Based on a radiant technology, these heaters heat nearby objects rather than the air in a room. As the sun heats the ground during cold days, a radiant propane heater can similarly warm distant objects without transferring the heat to the air. First, a specialized element inside the heater is directly heated to a very high temperature and then it emits infrared energy. None of this energy is wasted on heating the air around the heater. This energy is actually absorbed by solid objects near the heater, which in turn emit the heat and warm the space around. It is a better to use these heaters outdoor, as the generated infrared heat can move through the air to heat anything it touches
You have to decide which type of propane heater is the best for you. Your needs will dictate most of the features but be sure to get informed about all safety features and requirements as all the gas heaters carry a health-risk that should not be overlooked.
Five Best Propane Heaters on the Market Reviewed
Mr. Heater MH18B is a highly portable heater suitable for heating indoor spaces of up to 450 square feet. It includes important safety features such as a lower oxygen shut off level that will stop the heater in case of dangerous levels of carbon monoxide in your room, and also a tip-over switch which will automatically turn off the heater when it is knocked over preventing possible fires.
The temperature can be adjusted to three set levels- low, medium and high-which allows you to save energy and accommodate the temperature to your personal preferences. It can also be used in your garage or your workshop, even outside, but do mind that its heating power may not be enough to keep you warm in large or open space.
The fan feature is a great addition as the heater is much more effective when you turn it on. You will need D-sized batteries for it or even better- you can purchase an AC adapter. On the downside, the heater uses up the fuel very quickly; we have had seven hours of heating on a 1 gallon of propane which suggests that it would not be economical to use it as a primary heating source.
- Easy to set up and use
- Both indoor and outdoor
- Includes important safety features
- Not economical
PROCOM MD300TBA can be a good permanent and safe heating solution. It mounts to any wall and does not require any ventilation. It is well designed and features an attractive blue flame, so it can be a good and stylish addition to any room decor.
It includes a non-adjustable regulator which prevents over-firing and acts as a thermostatic control. The most important safety feature that is incorporated into this unit is an Oxygen depletion sensor which will keep you and your family safe. Furthermore, the outer casing remains cold, and it will never burn you or your children if you accidentally touch it.
This heater can use both propane gas and natural gas and can be attached to your home’s gas supply. If you want a quicker heating, you can buy a blower which is sold separately. On the negative side, the ignitor does not always spark. After you turn it on the first time you will feel a strong odor, it will, however, be less of the problem later on.
- Oxygen depletion sensor
- Cold to touch
- Dual fuel technology
- Blower sold separately
- The ignitor does not always spark
Mr. Heater F271380 MH85QFAV Propane Heater is designed to be used outside or in large open spaces such as construction and work sites. The forced air design allows for it to heat up larger spaces (up to 2,125 sq. ft.) very quickly but also keep them warm without burdening your budget too much.
It includes a 10-foot hose and a regulator so that you can hook up your propane cylinder safely. Safety features have been given serious consideration, and for this reason, this heater includes a high-temperature limit switch and thermostatic valves. This means that it basically regulates itself and you do not need to check it all the time. Dual heat settings help heat a space quickly and maintain the heat, but a built-in thermostat would be more convenient.
On the downside, it is quite loud and requires electricity, so you might need another option in case of power outages. Also, beware of the open flame, and secure the space around the heater appropriately.
- A powerful heater for large and open spaces
- Heats up the room very quickly
- High-temperature limit switch and thermostatic valves
- Very loud
- No built in thermostat
The Camco 57331 Olympian Wave-3 is a 3000 BTU heater designed to be used inside, and most suitable as a supplemental heating device. It can heat up to 130 square feet and be mounted on the wall-ideal to keep you and your family warm in a smaller room. As it is highly portable, employs radiant technology, and does not need electricity, it can also be a good solution when you are on camping trips. Beware though as this heater cannot function properly in high mountains (7,000 ft. above sea level) due to the low levels of oxygen.
It operates only on low-pressure HD-5 propane gas, and you can adjust the heat output from 1600 BTU to 3000 BTU per hour; this allows you to choose if you need to use the maximum heat available and warm up the entire room, or only a little heat to warm up a tent.
Safety features include a safety shut-off valve that prevents accidental non-ignition fuel discharge.
A 3-year limited lifetime warranty gives a sense of security. We do not like the fact that the cover and legs are sold separately as we feel both should be included for the price.
- It can be mounted
- Highly portable
- Built-in automatic Piezo electric sparker
- No cover or legs
- Not suitable for larger spaces or very low temperatures
Dyna-Glo KFA220DGD Propane Heater can be used both indoor and outdoor and features a fan that can output up to 135,000 BTUs and heat 5200 square feet of space. It secures a fast heating for your home or job site, and adjusting the heat angle for most comfort. The handle integrated into the top of the casing allows for you to lift and carry the heater from one location to another quite easily.
It is a CSA Certified and the safety features included are an automatic overheat shut off protection, tip-over shut off and back pressure switch. These safety measures should be enough to make you feel comfortable to place this heater in your home and around your family. The motor is also UL Listed.
It is easy to set up, and everything you need is included with the exception of propane (LP) cylinder. It will run from 8- 14 h on 5 gallons of fuel depending on the level you set it on (high or low). Besides the usual downsides of air forced heaters, which are loudness and possible open flames, we have noticed that the sparking mechanism is not a 100 % efficient. This is a high ened best of the best heater.
- Can be used both indoor and outdoor
- Adjustable heat angle
- All the safety features included
- Slightly loud
- The sparking mechanism
The Best Propane Heater Currently on the Market
We vote for Dyna-Glo RMC-FA60DGD Propane Heater; it offers a lot for the very little money. It is a versatile heater, easy to use and highly efficient.
Unless you need a more powerful unit such as Mr. Heater F271380 MH85QFAV Propane Heater, you can hurry up and buy Dyna-Glo RMC-FA60DGD and wait for the upcoming winter with a smirk of confidence.
Thomas is a Pro himself, who has been in the business of home renovation & construction, working with various tools. He used to be the owner of 2 local construction companies with over 18 years experience. His works also include writing inspiring Do IT Yourself Tips & Tricks.