There’s nothing better in the cold winter than relaxing in front of a warm open fire. It not only keeps the cold away but provides a certain type of ambiance only a fire can. Unfortunately having an open log burning fire or a freestanding gas stove isn’t always possible due to the cost of logs, safety and health concerns.
Indoor propane heaters give you the benefit of an open fire without the concerns that come along with it.
Indoor propane heaters are characterized by its size (small-ish like the portable ones), weight (they’re also normally under 10 lbs), mobility (you can also move them around) and build (you can normally set them up, down and sideways to point to someone or something, as well as see the flames or heat source).
Before you pick your propane heater, please be aware of the differences between outdoors-only and indoor propane heaters. Knowing the distinction can be a matter of life and death. To mistakenly have an outdoor heater inside could lead to carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning.
- Our Selection of the 10 Best Indoor Propane Heaters:
- 1. Mr. Heater F232000 Buddy – 9 000 BTU Indoor Propane Heater
- 2. Dyna-Glo RA18LPDG – 18 000 BTU Indoor Propane Heater
- 3. Mr. Heater MH18B Portable Big Buddy Indoor Propane Heater
- 4. Dyna-Glo IR30PMDG-1 – 30 000 BTU Liquid Indoor Propane Heater
- 5. Avenger Dual Fuel Vent-Free Heater – 30 000 BTU Indoor Propane Heater
- 6. Mr. Heater Corporation Vent-Free 10,000 BTU Radiant Indoor Propane Heater
- 7. Martin Direct Vent Indoor Propane Wall Heater Furnace
- 8. DeWALT DXH70CFAV Cordless Forced Air Indoor Propane Heater
- 9. ProCom ML1PHG Ventless Indoor Propane Heater
- 10. Camco 57331 Olympian Wave-3 Catalytic Indoor Propane Heater
- What to Look for When Buying an Indoor Propane Heater
- How Do Indoor Propane Heaters Work?
- Different Styles of Indoor Propane Heaters – Portable vs Fixed
- Are Propane Heaters Safe to Use Indoors?
Our Selection of the 10 Best Indoor Propane Heaters:
Below we have listed and reviewed the 10 best indoor propane heaters currently on the market. We review and update these products on a regular basis.
- Light, compact, and potable
- Good safety features
- Durable and effective burner tile
- Hose not included
- Not ideal for larger rooms or areas
The Mr. Heater ‘Portable Buddy’ comes with a relatively large porcelain-coated heating surface, which enables it to radiate heat over a larger area (up to 225 square feet). It is suitable for use in garages, tents, workshops, cabins, porches, patios, or hunting blinds.
It comes with two heat settings (4,000 amp; 9,000 BTU/HR), a fold-down handle that reduces storage space, a swivel-out fuel connection (which provides easy LP cylinder and hose installation), and an easy-start four-position control.
The compact unit is light and portable. It is super easy to operate and safe to use whenever you need instant warmth. While it will not heat large spaces it is ideal for smaller environments. What we also like is that it is highly affordable.
The high-temperature wire guard, low-oxygen safety shut-off (ODS) and tip-over safety shut-off all help to ensure that it provides reliable heat while ensuring your safety at any time of the day.
Meanwhile, its ceramic burner tile is mounted with shock absorbing insulation – ensuring durability, longevity and allowing for its easy replacement when necessary.
- Value for money
- Light and easy to move around
- Efficient Piezo starter
- Safety grill in front
- Good safety features including Oxygen Depletion Sensor
- Suitable for indoor or outdoor use
- Tip switch is highly sensitive
- Some complaints about the pilot
The Dyna-Glo Delux Propane Cabinet Heater can produce up to 6,000-18,000 BTU’s of heat energy, and can easily heat up any area within 450 square feet in size (within a 600 feet radius). This makes it suitable for heating up workshops, garages, patios, decks, and for use while camping.
It comes with three heat settings, an easy Push Button Piezo Ignition system, and side-carry handles for easy portability. Once you have decided where to place it, the two locking casters help keep it firmly in place.
Meanwhile, the Oxygen Depletion Sensor helps ensure your safety by automatically shutting off the heater whenever oxygen levels dip below the safety threshold.
Dyna-Glo Cabinet Heaters have consistently earned positive ratings from its users – a testament to its makers’ long and storied experience in helping warm construction sites, industrial workspaces, agricultural buildings, and various other ventilated spaces over the years.
- Reputable brand
- Good heating capacity
- Reliable safety features
- 3 Heat options
- Rather industrial looking
- Does not operate at high altitudes
- Not as user-friendly as some models
Mr. Heater’s Big Buddy Propane Heater is more powerful than the ‘Portable Buddy’, with its capacity to heat up any area within 400 square feet in size. It complements radiant heat with convection heat airflow for maximum heating efficiency, thus providing safe and reliable heat whenever and wherever it is needed.
You will the Mr Heater brand come up a number of times in our review of the 10 best indoor propane heaters. They are one of the most popular and trusted brands on the market. Their products are reliable, affordable, and effective.
It is suitable for use in emergency situations, workshops, garages, storage buildings, construction trailers, barns, tents, patios, porches, cabins, fishing shanties, truck caps, and barns.
It comes with multi-position heat settings (pilot, low, medium and high)that allow you to easily adjust heat settings, an easy carry handle for enhanced portability, a heavy-duty safety wire guard, a built-in low oxygen sensor and a tip-over safety shut-off that helps ensure your safety.
- Excellent heat output
- Effective infra-red radiation
- Vent free convenience
- Easy to control
- Economical to operate
- No fan blower
- Warranty on 1-year
The Dyna-Glo IR30PMDG can heat any area within 1,000 square feet in size efficiently (its infrared technology allows it to burn with 99.9% efficiency), economically and safely, and is suited for use in your home, cabin or garage. Since it operates on liquid propane instead of electricity, it can be used in the event of any power outage.
You can manually adjust the heat setting to your desired temperature level, and be assured of your safety with the built-in oxygen depletion sensor.
- Powerful heat output
- Good safety features
- Compact design
- Thermostat controlled for comfortable temperature
- Versatile – can operate on propane or natural gas
- Warranty only 1 year
- No blower to disperse air
Avenger’s Dual Fuel Vent-Free Blue Flame Heater comes with a compact frame (with a visually appealing modern profile) and the capacity to heat up any living space within 1,400 square feet in size. It has an upper limit of 30,000 BTU and runs on either natural gas or propane (and can thus be used in the event of a power outage).
The thermostat control automatically turns the burner on and off to maintain your desired room temperature. It comes with a pre-installed blower, base feet, and a wall mounting bracket.
Modern indoor propane heaters are a great way of providing a little extra heat for a chilly room on those cold winter nights. These heaters are designed to be safe, efficient and easy to use when needed. Many models use bottled propane to produce their heat, which is an inexpensive and easily accessible fuel in most areas.
Some of the better models also feature thermostats that allow you to maintain constant temperature automatically throughout the night to conserve fuel. Indoor propane heaters fall into one of two categories and are considered either portable or permanent (wall).
- Trusted popular brand
- Easy start Piezo ignition
- Effective and efficient temperature control
- ODS safety sensor
- Good value for money
- Not suitable for higher altitudes
- Fittings need to be purchased separately
The Mr. Heater Corporation Vent-free space heater comes installed with multiple output valves to get efficient temperature control. You can easily ignite this portable heater thanks to Piezo ignition. With 10,000 BTU output and radiant heat is is is fast and effective in small to medium rooms.
Mr. Heater Corporation can be installed as a permanent fixture, high on the wall, or fastened onto the room floor. The space heater has several burner tiles to cater to the high demand for radiant heat output.
This propane heater is equipped with an ODS sensor to safeguard against CO poisoning. Mr Heater has a reputation for safe reliable products. The heater has a compact modern design that is portable and will look good in any environment.
- Quality build and materials
- Great for wall mounting
- Glass-ceramic safety window
- Integrated thermostat
- Economical to operate
- Easy to install
- Somewhat expensive
- Not the best warranty period
Granted, this is one of the more expensive options but it highly-effective and built to last. If you are looking for a top-quality indoor propane heater this is one to consider. Do not be put off by the fact that it is an 8,000 Btu model, it delivers considerable heat.
The integrated thermostat and direct vent design allow you to maximize the output of the heater. It also increases the efficiency of the unit and improves safety. It will disperse heat with precision so that you get the full benefit of the heater with minimal waste. The thermostat has a high and low setting for a comfortable environment.
The heater is well-made from quality materials and should give you warmth and comfort for many years. Durable die-cast aluminum has been used for the heating grills and there is a convenient glass-ceramic window which also adds to the safety.
It is economical to operate and easy to use. This is one of the better options if you are after a wall mounted indoor propane heater. Another advantage is that installation is quick and easy.
- Forced air is fast and effective
- Quality brand
- High heat output
- Indoor or outdoor use
- Silent operation in this power range
- Durable and reliable
- Some found the fan to be lacking in power
- Batteries and charger sold separately
Dewalt has a reputation for quality products that are durable, reliable, and perform well. This is a versatile unit as it works off a 20V battery as well as propane. It can also be used effectively outdoor sand safely indoors. With a power maximum capacity of 68,000 BTU is will provide sufficient heat in most environments.
As you would expect from Dewalt, it is well built from quality materials. The body is a tough stainless steel and the top has a powder-coated layer. This not only makes the unit durable but also looks good. Another impressive quality of this heater is that it is very quiet. Noise is an issue with some models but will not be a problem with the DXH70CFAV.
It has a thermostat that allows you to adjust the temperature to your needs, from 27,000 to 68.000 BTU. The forced air design not only makes it faster but also adds to the safety.
- Value for money
- Safe infra-red heating
- Economical operation
- Easy Piezo ignition starter
- Compact and portable
- Oxygen Depletion Sensor
- Not effective in larger rooms
- Only comes with a 1-year warranty
The beauty of this compact indoor propane heater is that is uses infra-red for safety and effectiveness. It delivers 10,000 BTU which is enough for most small to medium rooms although it will not be enough for a larger space.
The ceramic plaque makes it even more efficient and for added safety, it has an oxygen depletion sensor. The ventless design makes it ideal for indoor use. Apart from safety and convenience, it is also economical to operate.
It has a slimline design making it compact and portable. It also has a sleek modern look that will look good in any room. The Piezo ignition makes starting it up quick and easy and this is a user-friendly indoor propane heater.
- Compact and portable
- Suitable for outdoor use/camping
- Silent operation
- Effective radiant heat
- Safety shut off valve
- Convenient Piezo starter
- Economical to operate
- Slightly more expensive than average
- Will not heat larger areas
Although the last to appear on our list, this is a popular choice and highly rated by those that have bought it. Camco is a U.S. based company that has been around for more than 40 years.
This compact unit produces up to 3000 BTU so is great as a portable heater around the home although it can also be wall mounted. You can even take it with you when you travel. It needs no electrical connection making it perfect for outdoor adventures or around the house.
It will heat an area up to 100 square feet but this will depend on the environment. Many people use this heater as a secondary source of heating.
The heater does not have a blower or fan so operates silently. The Piezo starter is quick and convenient. Camco has ensured the heater is safe and it has a safety shut off valve. The temperature is adjustable to achieve a comfortable heat for the area you use it.
Due to the catalytic design of the heater it is extremely efficient. This makes it economical to operate. It has a modern design that will appeal to most people.
What to Look for When Buying an Indoor Propane Heater
Overall Heating Capacity
The power of the heater is measure in BTUs (British Thermal Unit). The higher the BTU of the unit the more heat it can produce. This will also allow it to heat a larger area. Most will have a thermostat or control that will allow you to adjust the heat output according to your needs.
You need to consider the size of the room you wish to heat as well as how cold it gets in the area. Very cold areas and larger spaces will need an indoor propane heater with a higher BTU in order to be effective.
We will cover the different types of indoor heaters in more detail but the range from small and compact to rather large. A wall mount model will take up less space. Generally, the larger units produce more heat so you will have to access your heating requirements vs. the space available.
The last thing you want is to be stuck on a freezing cold evening and the heater does not work. Reliability is essential in an indoor propane heater. Look at the reputation of the brand, the design, and build quality. You do not have to spend a fortune to get a reliable heater and some of the better-priced models are ultra-reliable.
Ignition Type – Automatic Vs Manual
Manual type ignitions will always be less liked for the very first reason you can think of. It’s manual. At the same time, this brings a lot more safety. Automatic ignition types are also safe and reliable, however, they have parts that break more with time.
This doesn’t mean you should go for either just based on that fact but always go for the best option and highest rated on the market with this type of technology so that it would last longer.
If you don’t feel safe with auto ignition, go for the manual types of heaters. If you feel comfortable spending a few more dollars on a safe automatic ignition heater, do so as well, just make sure to never compromise because this little option can make or break the whole place.
On one hand, you have the comfort of automated responsiveness from the unit and the technology to keep you safe with the ignition and auto safety.
On the other hand, you rely on yourself to manually do these tedious tasks, along with the major safety factor to turn the heater on and off. In any case, the best option would always be to go for the proven brands and the most safety a heater can provide, especially if you will be carrying it around with you most of the time.
How Do Indoor Propane Heaters Work?
Indoor-safe propane heaters differ in BTU ratings, function, size, and ways of disseminating heat to the surrounding.
There are actually several options for transporting heat from the propane heater to the entire room. The following are a few different types of residential propane space warmers classified according to their method of distributing heat.
Circulating Indoor Heaters
You will easily identify a circulating heater when you see one. They are packaged as “blue flame” portable propane heaters.
These models of propane gas space warmers burn with a bright blue flame. They operate on the same principle as central room heaters. The air surrounding the heater is heated and then circulated to the low-temperature sections of the room.
Radiant Indoor Heaters
These are also known as infrared propane heaters. Radiant heaters warm up a room the way the sun warms the earth.
These infrared indoor heaters heat physical bodies in the room, which then radiate the heat to the air surrounding them.
Wall Mounted Indoor Heaters
Any kind of portable indoor propane heater can be installed on the wall following the manufacturer guidelines.
Vented and Unvented Indoor Heaters
Vented propane room heating systems combust using air from the outside, and then expel the exhaust gases outside.
Unvented heaters, on the other hand, burn using the air in the room. These are usually meant for use in one space.
Note: Propane heaters indoor must never be left unattended. When you go to bed, switch it off. This is because it poses serious potential risks to property and lives.
Different Styles of Indoor Propane Heaters – Portable vs Fixed
There are two main types of indoor propane heaters, a fixed wall mounted propane heater or a portable propane heater.
Portable Indoor Propane Heaters
A portable indoor propane heater can be moved easily wherever needed and is typically smaller in its heating capability. These heaters are normally used to augment an existing heating system that may need a little help warming an area of a home on a, particularly cold night.
A portable indoor propane heater is also great for providing heat while camping or during a power failure since many models are self-contained and require no external power.
A fixed or wall-mounted heater is convenient in that it takes up less space on the floor and is always there when you need it.
While these two styles of heaters may operate in a similar way, their size and the amount of heat they can produce is different. For most homes, we recommend a portable propane heater, as it’s affordable and easy to move around.
The single best feature of any portable propane heater is that it can be moved to wherever it’s needed for heat. These units contain everything required for operation and can supply warmth instantly, with the flip of a switch. Although they may be smaller than other types of heaters, they can still produce an abundance of heat from a single propane canister.
Their portability also expands their use beyond the home and allows you to take them along when hunting, fishing and camping. They provide the perfect solution when you need a little extra heat to chase away the cold.
Fixed (Wall Mounted) Indoor Propane Heaters
A fixed indoor propane heater is different since it is designed to be mounted to a wall in the home. Some models are attached directly to the wall in the room you are heating and others are installed inside the wall, between the beams.
These fixed indoor propane heaters are attached to a larger tank of fuel that is located outside the home, near the heater. The larger storage tanks are fixed in place for use and filled by a delivery truck.
These fixed indoor propane heaters are larger in heating capacity than a portable model and are intended to heat a bigger room or an entire house. Most models employ a circulation fan inside the heater to distribute the warm air where needed.
Because of their size, fixed propane heaters produce a larger volume of exhaust gas that must be vented outside the home for safety.
Larger Fixed Models for Heating an Entire House
This same technology is used on larger indoor propane heaters that are designed to heat your home. These models are permanently mounted to a central wall in the house and can deliver warm air to the entire dwelling.
This type of heater is a great alternative to other heating systems like gas or oil, especially in remote areas where these fuel types are not readily available.
These larger propane heaters are designed to operate as a normal heating system and feature a thermostat that controls the heater’s operation. You can set it to the desired temperature and the system will respond with the required heat to maintain that temperature.
These heaters will vent to the outside of your home for safety and operate so quietly that you’ll almost forget they are there.
Are Propane Heaters Safe to Use Indoors?
Propane heaters designed for indoor use have a range of safety features making them safe if used correctly and responsibly. That being said, some are safer than others. Always read and follow the instructions before use and apply common sense.
The greatest risk with an indoor propane heater is oxygen depletion. When this happens, the exposure to CO exponentially increases. This poses a grave health risk to parties involved. The problem with CO is that it is virtually undetectable without a carbon monoxide detector. It is a colorless, odorless, and highly potent poison. CO gas poisons the body by binding with the hemoglobin in the blood. Even a low volume of oxygen is transported by hemoglobin.
Increased exposure results in death by suffocation, as the lungs will not get the required amount of oxygen.
Symptoms of CO poisoning include:
If you experience any of these symptoms while using a space heater, get out for some fresh air immediately and seek medical assistance.
The good news is that indoor-safe propane room warmers come installed with a safety feature known as the oxygen depletion sensor (ODS).
The oxygen sensor’s job is to shut off the heater in the event that the airflow in a room has dropped too low past a safe level.
Is your indoor propane heater safe?
When gas appliances hit their optimal level, they give off little to no CO gas. When exposed to sufficient amounts of oxygen, liquid gas burns to produce heat, water vapor, and carbon dioxide.
However, when incomplete combustion occurs, indoor propane heaters will produce CO.
Types of Incomplete Propane Combustion
Incomplete combustion occurs when there is a higher or lower oxygen to propane ratio than the ideal. The ratio for complete combustion is 4 parts propane to 96 parts oxygen.
Incomplete combustion of propane can occur in any of the two ways:
A lean burn occurs when there is less than 4 parts propane to the ratio of air. In a lean burn, the flames seem to flutter away from the burner. The flames may go out.
A ratio of 2.5 propane and 97.5 air will create a lean burn.
It is easy to know when the burner is producing a rich burn. The flames get higher and bigger than they are supposed to be. They will also be yellow instead of blue.
A rich burn is the result of high propane to air ratio. Basically, a propane to air ratio of greater than 4 parts propane is the recipe to get a rich burn, i.e. 8.5 to 91.5 propane to air.
Even though CO gas is not noticeable, other products of incomplete combustion are visible. These include the flame appearances we have discussed above. Soot will form a high film on the heater panel and water vapour will condensate on windows and other cold surfaces.
If you notice the formation of these products, call your registered service provider to adjust your space heater.
Unique safety features used in indoor propane heaters
Indoor heaters employ several additional safety features not typically found on outdoor models. Because of the need for these safety improvements, it is critical that you never use an outdoor propane heater indoors, even for a short period of time. All indoor propane heaters will be certified for indoor use.
These specialized heaters include a collection of safety features like a low oxygen detector that shuts off the heater when the air in the room falls below a safe level. All models of indoor heaters also include tip protectors that extinguish the flame if the heater is knocked over. These protections help to make them safer for indoor use.
A portable propane heater is a great appliance to have when you need to temporarily heat an area. They use inexpensive fuel that is easy to find at a local hardware store and will operate for hours on a single canister.
They produce strong, consistent, and clean heat that will keep you warm throughout the night. The latest versions of these heaters are less expensive and more efficient than ever before and provide a very safe heat source for your home.
We came across a number of frequently asked questions when researching the best indoor propane heaters. Most of them were related to the safety of the units which we covered in detail above.
Here are a few additional questions we came across:
Does an indoor propane heater require ventilation?
These heaters are designed to be used indoors but because they burn oxygen and produce carbon monoxide, even in small amounts, some ventilation is required.
While you do not have to leave all the doors and windows open you want to ensure that there is some airflow. In other words, do not use them in a small enclosed space with zero ventilation.
Do indoor propane heaters give off carbon monoxide?
Even the best indoor propane heaters can give off a small amount of Carbon Monoxide but the amount is generally negligible. Most should have an oxygen depletion sensor (ODS) which will warn you if there is a problem.
A good idea, however, is to invest in a CO detector. This will give you peace of mind that you will be alerted if something goes wrong. Again, ensure there is some form of ventilation in the area.
How much propane does an indoor propane heater use?
This will depend on the design of the unit, the type of heating it uses, and how powerful it is (the BTUs). Some are a lot more economical to operate than others but all use low-pressure gas so propane usage is normally not that high. Compared to the running costs of electrical heaters, indoor propane heaters are highly economical.
When you decide to look for an indoor propane heater consider all the important details we discussed in the buyers’ guide. Know how big of a space you need to heat up and how long you will be spending there.
Know your necessities since you might want a portable heater if you want to have it in your shed or when you go camping get something portable and not too heavy to move.
Don’t cheap out on safety and good materials and always go for the best quality as it will serve you the longest. Whichever one you choose, this article hopefully helped you make a more educated purchase that you would be happy with.
This article was last updated on May 13, 2021 .