How Long Do Propane Heaters Last? (Answered)

How Long Do Propane Heaters Last

Although most propane heaters are great value for money and highly affordable you still want to invest in one that lasts you well. The last thing you want is to have to replace regularly. There are many different types of propane heaters so we look at the popular options. Propane is another cost so we cover that as well. We will answer all your questions related to how long do propane heaters last? 

How long does a propane heater last?

If we look at how long the propane will last you this depends on many factors. The current temperature compared to the desired temperatures is the first one. Naturally, if the air is very cold and you want to make it warm and cozy, the heater will use more propane to get to the desired temperature. It has to work harder when it is very cold. 

The size of the space you want to heat is also significant. The larger the area the more propane needs to burn to heat the area. Large rooms mean more propane use. A small area can get warmed up with much less propane usage. 

It really comes down to how many BTUs (British Thermal Unit) are being used. Most propane heaters work off a 20-pound cylinder. This contains roughly 430,000 BTUs. So, on average, a 20-pound tank of propane should heat the average 1,000 square foot space for around 10 hours. If used on a lower heat output the same tank could last up to 15 hours. 

There are more complex formulas if you want to be more precise but this general rule should allow you to make a rough guess as to how long your propane will last. The best knowledge comes from experience and you will soon get to know your heater and how long it lasts depends on the usage and environment.

How long does a small propane heater last?

Again, the same factors apply to small heaters. The main thing to note is the BTU that the heater delivers. This will determine how long the propane lasts. Generally, most small heaters produce heat with a lower BTU rating than the larger models. This means that the propane will last longer. 

A  20lb tank of propane could last anywhere from 40 to 200 hours when used with a small propane heater. You might wonder – How long does a 1lb propane tank last on a tabletop heater? Some models use the small 1lb tank s and these will give you 3 to 10 hours depending on conditions. 

How much propane does a propane heater use?

A full 20lb propane tank contains roughly 4.7 gallons. Remember that they are not filled to full capacity so you can expect about 80-percent of that on average. 

The rest will depend on the BTU rating and the power setting you select on the heater. Work on roughly 10 hours as an average. 

How long do outdoor propane heaters last?

Due to the nature of an outdoor heater, it has to work a lot harder to deliver warmth. An indoor heater has less work to do as the room provides some insulation and will warm after some time. This means that an indoor heater needs to deliver fewer BTUs to be effective. Outdoor heaters generally have to operate at full strength to be warm. 

As previously stated it will depend on the BTUs that you use but on average you can expect approximately 10 hours of use from a  20lb propane tank. If you turn it off full heat you might get a few more hours. 

How long will a propane heater run on a 20 lb tank?

So, after all of that, you might still be a bit confused as to how long a  20 lb propane tank will last. It can range anywhere from 8 hours to more than 30 hours depending on how you use it and the BTU rating it delivers. 

Remember that tanks are generally not filled up completely so you rarely get the full 20 pounds.  Overfill protection means that you can get anywhere from 18 pounds to 15 pounds of propane. This will play a significant factor in how long the propane lasts. Always keep a spare take if propane is critical. 

If you operate the heater on low you will get a lot more time than if it is on full power. A 10 000 BTU heater could last as long as 36 hours while a 48 000 BTU heater might only last around 9 hours. The BTU is the main measurement. Again, you will get familiar with the timing after a few uses. That should give you a rough idea of – How many hours propane heater?

Should I leave my propane heater on all the time?

This will all come down to your needs and the environment. In an indoor setting, you can often turn the heater off once the room has warmed up. It should remain warm for some time. You can always start it up again every now and then if more warmth is needed. 

If you are using the heater outdoors you would probably need to keep it one as long as heat is needed. As soon as you turn it off the cold will almost instantly be back. 

How long will a propane heater last?

OK, we have focused mainly on the length of time the propane will last under various conditions. The other question is how long do propane space heaters last? Here we are looking at the actual heater itself, not the propane. 

This will come down to the build quality and the durability of the materials as well as where it is used. Note that outdoor heaters are more exposed to the elements so will not last as long as one that lives inside. Keep your outdoor heater out of the rain and direct sun and preferably use a protective cover. This will extend the lifespan of the unit. 

A quality propane heater that is kept clean should last you for many seasons. Look at the reputation of the company that makes it, the materials used, as well as the warranty. 


Now you should have a better idea of how long a propane heater will last and how much propane a heater uses. This will allow you to enjoy the warmth and comfort that propane heaters provide.