Best Tent Heater 2020 – Reviews and Top Picks

Our team of hikers and anglers decided to share their knowledge and experience using tent warmers since this item isn’t a simple tool. This is a sophisticated technical device, and its price is not the first thing to worry about. A tent heater works thanks to things like gas or electricity. It is essential to understand not only the basics of safe use but the nature of the device itself, so your vacation will not turn into hazardous activity.

Staying outdoors in cold weather cannot be imagined without additional heating. I hope this review helps you choose the best tent heater for a camping or winter fishing trip.

Name
Heater type:
Capacity:
Watts / BTU:
Weight:
Size:
Price
Name
Heater type:
Capacity:
Watts / BTU:
Weight:
Size:
Price
№1
Gas (Propane)
Up to 225 square feet
4,000- to 9,000
9 lbs
7.7 x 13.4 x 15 inches
№2
Electric (Ceramic)
Up to 100 square feet
1500 watt/5118 BTU
3 lbs
8 x 8 x 11.5 inches
№3
Gas (Butane), Ceramic
Up to 250 square feet
4,400
5.4 lbs
11.6 x 10.9 x 7.9 inches
№4
Gas (Propane)
Up to 95 square feet
3800
5.91 lbs
11 x 11 x 11 inches
№5
Gas
230 square feet
3200 – 6000
14 lbs
4 x 12.8 x 18 inches
№6
Gas (Propane)
180 square feet
3000
2 lbs
10.7 x 7.4 x 7.4 inches
№7
Gas (Propane)
Up to 375 square feet
10,000-15,000
1.12 ounces
10.8 x 11.2 x 10.1 inches
№8
Gas
Up to 120 square feet
2890
1 lbs
17.7 x 16.1 x 11.2 inches
№9
Electric
Up to 300 square feet
1500 Watt/5120 BTU
3.17 lbs
8 x 6 x 6.8 inches
№10
Electric
Up to 10 square feet
200-Watts/682 BTU
2.4 lbs
3.8 x 4.3 x 6.1 inches

As a technically advanced indoor warmer, this device is equipped with an automatic shutdown system when the oxygen level becomes dangerous. If you prefer to use a tool you can rely on, be sure to take this model into account.

Besides, the shutdown system is triggered by an accidental fall. This heater is a portable and almost 100% efficient warming device. For more protection, Mr. Heater F232000 is equipped with a heavy-duty wire guard.

Its hallmark is almost complete silence, which is especially crucial for people with light sleep and sensitivity to equipment noises.

Heater type:
Gas (Propane)
Capacity:
Up to 225 square feet
Watts / BTU:
4,000- to 9,000
Weight:
9 lbs
Size:
7.7 x 13.4 x 15 inches
Noise:
Low
PROS
  • Price
  • Ultimate safety
  • Night running
  • Portability
Cons
  • Sensitive to highland conditions

The Honeywell heater warms up the environment in almost no time while gaining a place on the best tent heater for camping list, thanks to its unmatched safety. If, for some reason, you are not inclined to use gas heaters, this electric device is just as good as any other option.

 All you need to bring the Honeywell heater into the working state is to connect it to the source at the campsite. 

This heater is small but efficient. Most often, it can be seen as a home device, but it also brilliantly copes with warming functions inside the tent in the middle of nature. The heater spreads conditioned air around itself on 360 degrees and does not require movement, taking place in the center.

Heater type:
Electric (Ceramic)
Capacity:
Up to 100 square feet
Watts / BTU:
1500 watt/5118 BTU
Weight:
3 lbs
Size:
8 x 8 x 11.5 inches
Noise:
Low
PROS
  • Safety
  • Easy to carry by hands
  • Two heating modes
  • Built-in fan
Cons
  • Demand stable electric source

This portable outdoorsman pal will come to your rescue just before nightfall, specifically to heat the air quickly and safely. If you are new to using portable heaters for camping, this unit may interest you with its intuitive and straightforward design. 

Replacing a butane cartridge will not be difficult in any environment. The heater can quickly warm a tent the size of a trailer and keep doing it almost non-stop.

Heater type:
Gas (Butane), Ceramic
Capacity:
Up to 250 square feet
Watts / BTU:
4,400
Weight:
5.4 lbs
Size:
11.6 x 10.9 x 7.9 inches
Noise:
Low
PROS
  • Silent
  • Reliable
  • Safe
Cons
  • A bit heavy

Meet a small but powerful unit that can handle the task of heating a tent with an air volume of about 100 square feet. It does not take up much storage space during the summer season. 

The heating technology of this device is similar to solar radiation. The unit heats the surrounding objects, and from them, in turn, the air receives its portion of heat. Plus, there is no need to get matches – the Little Buddy heater starts a fire using the built-in mechanism.

Heater type:
Gas (Propane)
Capacity:
Up to 95 square feet
Watts / BTU:
3800
Weight:
5.91 lbs
Size:
11 x 11 x 11 inches
Noise:
Low
PROS
  • Portable
  • Quiet
  • Fast-warming
  • Affordable
Cons
  • For small spaces
  • Not for harsh winter

This extra heat source is designed for bigger spaces up to 230 square feet. At the same time, almost the entire amount of fuel is converted into pure heat, compared with heaters with an open flame. Moreover, it is completely safe, thanks to the additional protection of hot parts. The metal guard is decorated with a wave symbol, which reminds you of the relaxing tranquility in a tent near the noiseless Olympian Wave heater by Camco.

Heater type:
Gas
Capacity:
230 square feet
Watts / BTU:
3200 – 6000
Weight:
14 lbs
Size:
4 x 12.8 x 18 inches
Noise:
Low
PROS
  • Piezoelectric sparker
  • Silent
  • Adjustable
Cons
  • Heavy

This efficient propane heater with a stainless-steel burner can create warm conditions in small to medium-sized tents. It is enough to open the entrance to the tent or a window slightly for rich oxygen content. This small effort pays off when using the Texsport heater due to its safety. 

If you want always to have a convenient and portable tool for conditioning the cold air at hand, Texsport can beсome your favorite.

Heater type:
Gas (Propane)
Capacity:
180 square feet
Watts / BTU:
3000
Weight:
2 lbs
Size:
10.7 x 7.4 x 7.4 inches
Noise:
Low
PROS
  • Automatic shut-off
  • Durable
Cons
  • Open flames
  • Carbon monoxide
  • The gas tank is a bit large

If you value portability, above all else, or plan on camping with a large group, this heater deserves your expertise. The unit combines lightness and extraordinary power, which a full-fledged heating system can envy. 

The versatility of this heater will save space in luggage and replace several devices with one. It can be safely called a multi-tool for a multi-day stay at the campsite. Of course, hunters and fishers can also find it useful for cooking and heating on a long trip.

Heater type:
Gas (Propane)
Capacity:
Up to 375 square feet
Watts / BTU:
10,000-15,000
Weight:
1.12 ounces
Size:
10.8 x 11.2 x 10.1 inches
Noise:
Low
PROS
  • Ultimate power
  • Multifunctional
  • Lightweight
Cons
  • The metal stand is not included

This gear can run for up to eight hours and easily heat up the air for two or more persons. The design consists of stainless steel. Also, the single burner of this heater is equipped with metal protection. The properties of the Texsport Portable Heater allow it to be used in combination with various propane tanks of different sizes. Besides, the lightness of your luggage will be in balance with your wallet, because this heater does not spend a cent in vain.

Heater type:
Gas
Capacity:
Up to 120 square feet
Watts / BTU:
2890
Weight:
1 lbs
Size:
17.7 x 16.1 x 11.2 inches
Noise:
Average
PROS
  • Steel construction
  • Affordable
  • Shut-off system
  • Well-balanced
  • Portable
Cons
  • Noisy

This model is declared by the manufacturer to be a small device for air conditioning in the home or office. Nevertheless, the Comfort Zone heater is more than convenient for raising the temperature in a medium to large size tent. 

An electrical outlet powers it. The current source can be a fixed connection at the campsite, your car, or a portable generator. If you move a lot or you need heat at different points, in turn, you can appreciate the design of this heater. A carrying handle is attached to its metal case.

Heater type:
Electric
Capacity:
Up to 300 square feet
Watts / BTU:
1500 Watt/5120 BTU
Weight:
3.17 lbs
Size:
8 x 6 x 6.8 inches
Noise:
Low
PROS
  • Two heat settings
  • Signaling lights
  • Tip-over protection
  • Metal housing
  • Safe
Cons
  • Power source dependence

This model is perfect for small spaces and removes condensation from the walls of the tent at the click of a finger. The Personal Heater by Lasko will leave plenty of space in your cargo. 

If you prefer to travel light or spend the night in a single tent, this electric device is in a hurry to keep you company. Besides, not everyone wants to spend energy on heating an entire tent and prefer only heating the sleeping area.

Heater type:
Electric
Capacity:
Up to 10 square feet
Watts / BTU:
200-Watts/682 BTU
Weight:
2.4 lbs
Size:
3.8 x 4.3 x 6.1 inches
Noise:
Low
PROS
  • Ceramic
  • Safe
  • Portable
  • Cool-to-touch
Cons
  • For small spaces only
  • Electric power source needed

Buyer’s Guide — Tent Heaters 101: How To Choose

Before you make your final decision, take your time to learn the main features of tent heaters. My guide will help you to make a mindful decision.

This section aims to highlight all the main issues that arise before buying a tent heater. Scroll down and learn the basics.

Know Your Heaters

Let’s have a look at different types of heaters so that you can choose the best tent heater based on your preferences.

Gas-type

This kind of heater can be fueled by propane, kerosene, or butane. The most popular is the butane heaters. They are preferred because of a number of advantages, such as ease of use, portability, and a fairly long running time. Most of them are equipped with built-in protection for the user, which automatically turns off the heater in the event of a fall or dangerously low oxygen level. A good example would be the Texsport Portable Outdoor Propane Heater.

At the same time, it is worth remembering that gas heaters must be turned off during sleep, and you have to provide ventilation while running the device. Flammable materials are also best kept away from the heat source.

Electric-type

These heaters can warm up the air relatively quickly. They help get rid of condensation and moisture and are also considered the safest. There are two subtypes: convection and radiant heaters. Convection warmers heat the air in parallel with the circulation process, and radiant heaters are equipped with a metal heating element, which is paired with a reflector.

The ceramic (also convective) type is devoid of open heating elements and flames, which excludes the ignition of random objects caught on it. To get a better idea, check out the Honeywell HHF360V 360-Degree Fan Forced Surround Heater.

The case of the electric heater also remains cold, and the shutdown system in case of overheating or overturn provides additional protection. However, this type of heater cannot boast an outstanding ability to heat large rooms. Also, you are dependent on the availability of electricity.

Chemical-type

These heaters are better known as emergency heat sources than as permanent tools in your daily life. The basis of their work is a chemical exothermic reaction that you start with your actions. There are reusable and disposable chemical heaters. The duration of the disposable heaters is only one to two hours, which is not so much. Both types are non-toxic but can irritate people with sensitive skin. You can apply a reusable subtype up to 500 times, while their run time is up to 15 hours. The disadvantages of this type can be considered the relatively high cost and small volumes of heated air.

Other types

You can use portable stoves heaters on long-term stays or permanent recreation centers. They are fueled by wood and can also be used not only to make the air warm but also for cooking. Nevertheless, it is worth evaluating how much combustible material you will need to bring to the parking lot.

Pro Tip: Safety First

Keep in mind the basic safety principles for carefree outdoor recreation.

Gas-type

  • Always turn off the heater while you sleep
  • Use heat-resistant mat when installing the heater
  • Keep an eye on the kids
  • Ventilate the rooms, on time, so that oxygen and carbon dioxide levels are kept within comfortable limits
  • Keep flammable objects at the required distance
  • Remember to relieve pressure, for this first disconnect the device from the tank.

Electric-type

  • Keep the heater dry
  • Make sure that nothing blocks the airflow to the heater
  • Children and pets must keep their distance
  • If the unit has been idle for some time, blow it in the non-heating mode to remove accumulated dust
  • It’s better not to use extension cords and connect the device directly to a power source.

Chemical-type

  • For people with sensitive skin, it is advisable to test for allergic reactions before the main use
  • Do not use damaged heating packs
  • Do not try to heat the pack with an additional stove or microwave.

Other

  • Provides maximum ventilation for the wood-burning stove
  • Use this type of heater only inside non-combustible tents due to possible sparks.
  • Make sure the fire is out before you go to sleep.

Proper positioning

All heaters follow more or less the same installation principles, even the safest ones. Plus, you can take my safety tips to get a better idea. Be sure to position the heater away from materials easily ignite. It will not be superfluous to lay a non-combustible fabric under the heater. The stability of the installation will also reduce the risk during use.

Other tips to know

Pay attention to items that also affect your comfort and safety.

Moisture, created by running gas heater

  • To avoid condensation getting on the tent floor, use a stand with sides
  • To drain the condensate, run an additional electric warmer for a short period

Oxygen richness

  • Do not forget to ventilate the room
  • Turn off the heater for the night

The main tip

  • Study the manual

Also Significant Criteria

Heater type (fuel type). Butane heaters are less suitable for winter than for the relatively warm season because butane passes from liquid to gas at a higher temperature. Although propane burns a little faster. Firewood requires additional space for storage and transportation. Propane heaters are considered the most reliable.

Size of a tent. Estimate how much air you need to bring the tent to a comfortable temperature. Depending on this parameter, the disadvantages of heaters can turn into advantages, and vice versa.

How Safe Is The Tent Warmer for Your Tent

Given the above properties, tips, and cautions, there are three main areas.

Ignitable materials

Some camping items can be made from flammable materials. The most common cause of the fire is the improper position of the heater (too close to things), problems in wiring, and direct contact of materials with an open flame or heating element.

Ventilation measures

There is no limit for your heater to burn oxygen. Also, do not discount fumes. You can suffer from a lack of respiratory air, as well as from intoxication with combustion products.

Gas Heaters

Once again, despite the relative cheapness and ease of use of propane or other fuel, it is essential to keep in mind the presence of the open flames.

Weight Of A Tent Heater And Its Portability

Some heaters are quite small in size and can easily fit not only in a vehicle but also in your backpack. Such heaters will not create difficulties during transportation. On the other hand, for large groups of campers and large tents, relatively spacious heaters are also useful due to their heating ability.

Heat Output – Watts / BTU

The amount of warmth generated by heaters (unlike for a sleeping bag or tent with isothermal properties) is measured in thermal units. Most heaters allow you to adjust this feature. Typically, from 1000 to 5000 BTU is enough to heat the tent, while more powerful units can be used for spacious tents and cooking. So, a tent with dimensions of about 1x11x8 feet requires approximately 1200 BTU per hour or 340 watts.

Noise

Most heaters operate in almost silent mode or create a small amount of noise from burning fuel or running fans. However, if you are sensitive to sounds during sleep, pay attention to this criterion, since the use of earplugs in nature is not recommended.

Durability

As with any other equipment, this factor can be decisive. Be sure to pay attention to this point in the description so that your heater adequately transfers all the charges associated with outdoor activity.

Price

It’s no secret that price plays a role in the selection. Fortunately, the investment in the best tent heater will more than pay off, and the prices can be viewed in advance and correlated with your budget. For example, you can easily find an electric heater for a small space, which will cost you no more than $20. Slightly larger tents for two or more people will cost you about 50 to 70 dollars.

Spacious tents for a large number of people usually require more powerful heaters. In this regard, the price is rising. The middle line runs along with the sum of $150, but you can also find options worth up to $250 or so. Sometimes there are exceptions to this pattern. It is possible to purchase a powerful enough unit for only $50 to heat almost a marquee tent.

FAQ

How much BTU is enough?

In this aspect, you need to rely on two variables: the size of your tent and the wall thickness of it. Take measurements from your tent and calculate the volume of the air. Also, consider the possibility of the harshest weather conditions. For example, heating 100 cubic feet of space requires between 800 and 1200 BTUs. If the walls of your tent are thin or have poor insulation, increase this figure.

How to calculate the gas consumption of my heater?

It is not necessary to take as much fuel with you as possible. Most often, 1lb of propane is enough to keep you warm up to 5 hours, while 20lbs tanks could last for days. The higher the BTU of your heater, the faster the gas is consumed.

Why one should not use chemical tent heaters in emergency cases?

The chemical packs were designed for emergency use. Their ability to generate heat is less than that of gas or electric heaters. The use of chemical warmers on an ongoing basis is not intended for this purpose.

Conclusion

Portable heaters are necessary and functional tools for camping in the cold season. It is not obvious how to choose a heater suitable for you, but it is quite possible. I hope my guide will help you to make a wise decision. Focus on the desired type of energy source (gas fuel, electricity, wood, or a chemical reaction), the size of your tent, possible threats, and ease of transportation. These critical criteria will help you make a reliable friend for any outdoor activity. Stay warm!

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Comments (4)
By:
Ginger

Is a tent heater safe for the tent at all? Especially when sleeping?

    By:
    Chris Hayes - Editor
    To:
    Ginger

    Generally, yes, especially if you keep the heater at a low temperature at night, and ensure there is constant airflow. Yet, it’s always a good idea to opt for the heaters with safety features – you can never be too safe.

By:
Mrs Brennt

Is Mr. Heater F232000 strong enough to warm up a room or a studio?

    By:
    Chris Hayes - Editor
    To:
    Mrs Brennt

    Sure! It is a heater that can warm up a large tent high up in the mountains. So, to not let the heater idle for a month, you can use it as a standard in-room heater.

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Mr. Heater F232000 MH9BX Buddy 4,000-9,000-BTU Indoor-Safe Portable Propane Radiant Heater