Unlike industrial propane heaters, a normal indoor and outdoor propane heater is meant to heat only a relatively small area like a living room, small patio, or tent. That’s why the majority of propane heater buyers prefer to buy a portable propane heater. Portable propane heaters are characterized by their size (normally small-ish), weight (normally under 10 lbs), and mobility (it has wheels if it’s large and/or heavy).
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 its size and, very efficient.
The 10 Best Portable Propane Heaters:
Below we have listed and reviewed the 10 best value for money portable propane heaters currently on the market. We review and update these products on a regular basis.
1. Mr. Heater MH18B Portable Propane Heater
- Trusted brand
- Compact and portable
- Silent operation
- Not as user-friendly as some would like
- Batteries do not last very long
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.
2. Mr. Heater MH12B Hunting Buddy Portable Propane Heater
- Rugged and durable
- Decent heat output
- Easy to adjust
- Multiple connection options
- Light and compact
- Not ideal in wind
- Some might need greater heat output
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.
3. DeWalt DXH150FAV Forced Air Propane Heater
- Quiet operation
- Comes with a 20-foot hose
- Good running time
- High-temperature safety switch does last that long
DeWalt is known for quality durable products that are built to perform and last. It uses Quiet Burner Technology for minimal noise. The forced air design makes it fast and effective.
As it comes with a 20-foot hose it is extremely versatile and suitable for a wide range of applications. It has a limit switch to prevent excessively high temperatures although there were some reports of this not being as durable as the rest of the unit. It is still an important safety feature. The regulator is also included.
The heater is ETL Certified and has a good running time due to the efficiency of the design.
4. Pro-Temp 60,000 BTU Variable Propane Forced Air Heater
- Dependable brand
- Excellent directed heat output
- Compact and portable
- Good safety features
- Some customers experienced poor customer service
- Ventilation is important with this unit
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.
5. Remington REM-60V-GFA-O
- Excellent durability
- Awesome power and heat
- Electronic ignition
- Heats a large area quickly
- Relatively expensive
- Louder than average
This a solidly built heater that is reliable and is built to last. It is made from quality steel and is tough and robust. It is also highly reliable and will not let you down. The heat output is good and it will warm an area quickly and effectively. With 60 000 BTU and a forced air design, it will work well in most environments. The electronic ignition makes it easy to start.
It has variable heat settings so you can enjoy the ideal warmth for your space. The safety features are excellent. This is a popular portable propane heater that is highly-versatile and extremely effective.
6. STANLEY Portable Propane Gas Heater
- Solidly built and durable
- Come with a hose and all accessories needed
- Trusted brand
- Limited heat coverage
- Some found the heat direction to be a potential problem
Stanley is a well-known and trusted brand. This a powerful heater that operates quickly and efficiently. With 60, 000 Btu of power it has enough heat for most environments.
It is compact and portable and the built-in handle makes it easy to move. Being a Stanley product it is well-built from quality materials and is made to last.
Another benefit is that it comes with everything you need including a regulator and a 10-foot hose. It is easy to use and has good safety features.
7. Mr. Heater MH18CH Radiant Cabinet LP Heater
- Attractive cabinet design
- Adjustable heat settings
- Very safe
- Quality materials
- Not as light and compact as other portable options
- Limited coverage
While this is not quite as compact and portable as the MH18B, also by market leader Mr. Heater, this is a great model. It is still highly portable although slightly bigger than the average portable propane heater.
It will heat an area up to 350 square meters quickly. The unit is economical to run and highly-efficient. Mr. Heater is a trusted brand with leading safety features. The cabinet design is not only good looking but also improves safety. It is made from quality materials and should give you warmth and comfort for many years.
8. Dyna Glo RA18LPDG Propane Cabinet Heater
- Electric ignition
- Decent heat output
- Some battle with the pilot light after a while
- Tip switch is highly sensitive
With up to 18 000 BTU, this smart-looking unit delivers plenty of heat. The cabinet build makes it safe and gives it an attractive appearance that will look good in any environment. You can adjust it through 3 heat options to create the perfect warmth for the room. It will heat an area up to 600 square feet.
The Piezo electric push-button starter makes it easy to get going and the entire unit is user-friendly. It has all the safety features one would expect from a quality propane heater.
To make the unit more portable it has casters. These lock into place for added safety.
9. Stansport Portable Outdoor Infrared Propane Heater
- Excellent price
- Focused heat
- Adjustable heat settings
- Electronic ignition
- Some found the heat output lacking
- Ignition not that reliable
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.
10. Texsport Sportsmate Portable Propane Heater
- Highly portable
- Extremely versatile
- Not as powerful as some other options
- No variable heat adjustment setting
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.
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 vs 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 in a Propane Heater
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.
Portable Propane Heater FAQs
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 Do I 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 Do I 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.
Do Propane Heaters Need to be Vented?
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.
How Do I 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.
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.
Are Portable Propane Heaters Safe for Indoor Use?
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
When selecting a portable propane heater keep in mind when and where you will be using it. Make sure it’s not too big, it’s portable, can heat the area you need to be heated, and has all the necessary safety features in check. If you have all of that covered then you’re set.
This article was last updated on November 27, 2022 .