The 10 Best Propane Heaters
This wiki has been updated 30 times since it was first published in June of 2015. If you need a little extra warmth for the small spaces in your workshop or home, or even something to take the chill off when camping or sitting on the patio, one of these efficient and economical propane heaters will help keep you nice and toasty. But remember to always follow all safety precautions, especially when it comes to nearby flammable materials and ventilation requirements. When users buy our independently chosen editorial choices, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
October 16, 2020:
We highlighted the Mr. Heater MH35LP as a portable option (despite its sizable design), thanks to the two wheels on its base. Its main flaw: the user is unable to adjust the heat level, which is disappointing to some people. As one of the more decorative models available, the Hiland HLDSO1 offers a variety of colors to choose from, which we’ve noted in the bullets for this listing. We also indicated that the powder-coated finish on the Fire Sense 60485 helps it withstand various weather conditions, allowing it to be left outside.
We adjusted the listing for the Mr. Heater MH30TS to reflect the newer version of this item that is now available. While the old model had a tendency to make a lot of noise, we didn’t discover any such complaints about this version. The new one also features a push-button igniter, something the previous item lacked.
The ProCom PCC80V — our first new addition — is far from decorative, but it should provide dependable heating for a garage or workshop. There are two versions available: one with 80,000 BTUs, and another with 200,000.
The small heaters on our list, like the Texsport Outdoor, Mr. Heater MH30TS, Dura Heat TT-360 and Outdoor Order Axis (in the Special Honors section), aren’t as powerful as the large units, but they’re useful outdoor models for taking the edge off on a chilly day spent camping or hosting an event outside.
October 30, 2019:
First of all, we can't stress enough that extreme caution should be taken with these. Obviously, they're very hot, and they generally take a while to cool off. Luckily, many of them come with multiple safety sensors to prevent disaster.
With that said, you'll notice something in common among the Mr. Heater Big Buddy, Mr. Heater MH18CH, Mr. Heater MH30T, Mr. Heater MH35LP, and Mr. Heater Little Buddy, and that's no mistake. Many of Mr. Heater's products are of excellent quality -- but they're all at least a little different, and we did take care to weed out the ones that aren't so consistently top-notch. Depending on your needs, it's likely that you'll find a Mr. Heater unit that can fill them.
But they're not the only good ones around. The Fire Sense 60485 and AZ Patio Pyramid are perfect for keeping your family and friends warm outside after the sun goes down so you don't have to move the party inside. Alternately, the Stanley Forced Air can keep you from freezing while you're working, and it's a great alternative to smelly kerosene heaters. The Dura Heat TT-360 is meant for smaller areas and attaches to the top of a standard 20-pound cylinder. It's one of the few tank-top models that has a 360-degree output. And if you don't need a ton of heat and don't want to spend a fortune, the Texsport Outdoor is perfectly capable, if a bit small. If you need something that's relatively portable and fits on a table, we have a great selection of tabletop heaters as well as tabletop fireplaces and fire pit tables that also run on propane.
Mi-T-M Industrial Heaters If you have a huge space that needs warming, the fine folks at Mi-T-M can set you up with the right machine. Particularly notable is their Elite series, which consists of self-contained elements and blowers suitable for the most intensive applications. They do cost a lot, however, and are primarily marketed toward commercial applications. mitm.com
Outdoor Order Axis Whereas many propane heaters have a utilitarian appearance, the Axis offers a sleek, contemporary look that lends itself nicely to a chic patio. Its six-foot heat radius enables it to warm up anyone in its immediate vicinity, and its collapsible design comes in handy for storage and transport. outdoor-order.com
Darlee Outdoor Chat Table It’s certainly pricier than a portable model or a tower patio heater, but this stylish piece of furniture can do wonders for the ambiance of your outdoor area. It’s a sturdy, circular table with a lightweight aluminium frame and a tough powder-coated finish — but it’s the propane-fueled fire pit in the middle of the tabletop that is the basis of its appeal. skylarshomeandpatio.com
Warmth Made Easy And Affordable
A lesser known but highly safe and effective way to warm things up is by using a propane heater.
If there's one thing on which almost everyone can agree, it's that no one likes to be cold. The human body's average core temperature hovers at an incredibly tight margin between 98 and 100 degrees Fahrenheit, when healthy and in suitable conditions or with proper cold weather attire. According to extensive research, including that of Arthur Guyton, author of the respected research book Basic Human Physiology: Normal Function and Mechanisms of Disease, when the ambient temperature is above 68 degrees F, our bodies can almost always maintain that optimal inner heat level.
This is done through vasoconstriction, the tightening of blood vessels to reduce heat loss at the skin's surface, through shivering, which increases the body's muscular heat production, and through the secretion of various hormones which can stimulate heat production.
Despite our body's remarkable capabilities when it comes to self thermoregulation, no one wants to sit around in the cold just shivering and secreting hormones and waiting for the ambient temperature to rise again. While layering up with quilts and blankets is a functional response, it's not an ideal solution for when you are spending time in your home, office, or anywhere else but under the covers of your bed.
Instead, the savvy human takes advantage of our technological achievements over the past few millennia and turns up the heat. This can be done through adjusting a thermostat if you have central heating, or through the use of a space heater. These come in many shapes and sizes, and provide warmth in a number of different ways, too. Many people are familiar with infrared heaters and electric space heaters, and these are perfectly viable options for warming many types of interior area. Their only drawback is that they require an electrical connection, thus won't provide warmth in a cabin, a camper, a tent, or during a power outage.
A lesser known but highly safe and effective way to warm things up is by using a propane heater. These units are highly portable, effective, and many will fit any budget.
Propane Heaters For Indoor Use
If you're looking for a great looking indoor propane heater, you will find your options limited. However there are at least many options that are compact and can be tucked into a corner or set low against a wall and that will provide hours of safe, reliable warmth using minimal gas. Looking for an indoor propane heater that works well is much easier than a search concerned with aesthetics.
Most indoor propane heaters create BTU heat that is only suitable for fully heating a single room, so consider which rooms you might need warmed and measure their size (or calculate the amount of space inside your RV or your large tent) before you look into choosing a heater. Some options offer several heat settings and thus can work in multiple rooms, while others are more or less on or off.
And of course make sure that the unit you select is rated as safe for indoor use: many propane heaters are safe for both indoor and outdoor function, but others are strictly limited to use in open air.
Propane Heaters For Warmth Outdoors
With the right outdoor propane heater, you'll never be left out in the cold again, so to speak. There are multiple propane heaters available that can warm areas suitable for accommodating large dining tables or seating areas, and with suitable for use in almost all weather conditions, no less.
You will be pleasantly surprised at how little many of these hood style propane heaters cost.
When selecting an outdoor propane heater, it's important that you think through the space in which it will be used, both in terms of size and usage. Some tower style propane heaters have a tall burner which emits flame and heat along much of its vertical access; these are great options for providing warmth to an area through which people walk or will be standing, or for a larger, open seating area where the couches and chairs are able to be set back from the heater. However, these heaters are not ideal for use with a dining area, as they can provide too much heat near one side of the table and not enough too the side opposite.
Outdoor propane heaters with the burners located at the top of the unit and with a hood that directs the warmth out and down (and protects the unit from rain and snow as well) are the ideal choice for keeping a dining area warm. Little wonder, then, that these units are such common sights at restaurant patios or on the decks of ski lodges.
You will be pleasantly surprised at how little many of these hood style propane heaters cost. Just make sure to select one that can accommodate a large propane tank, as you will want the unit to offer many hours of heat between each new tank. The swap out process can be laborious, though the operating costs aren't that high, with a twenty pound tank -- the standard size for such units -- costing between $12 and $18 to fill on average, depending on where you are located.
There are also many small outdoor propane heaters intended for use at a campsite or for temporary use around the home, such as while you grill or put of holiday decorations. What these units lack in looks they make up for in low cost, just know that their directional heat is only suitable for keeping small areas warm. Many are truly only suitable for individual use.
As for aesthetics, you will usually be best served to choose whichever outdoor propane heater will best blend into the decor of your patio, deck, or porch. While not unattractive per say, most propane heaters are not elegant, either. Fortunately, there are usually several finish options available, so you can select a metal and a patina that will meld with your property.