You want to get out the house and go on an adventure, but it is smack in the middle of winter. You’d be out of your mind to risk frostbite for 15 seconds of thrill but what can you do? Actually, you don’t have to wait until the summer for the joy of outdoors.
In the previous article, we have introduced different ways to heat a tent.
This article will walk you through some concrete options for the best tent heater you might be looking for!
Things To Look For In A Tent Heater
What Fuels the Heater
The source of heat is a crucial consideration. When going camping, the last thing you need is an extra load, and so anything that adds to your weight is considered a nuisance.
Electric heaters are ideal because you will only need an electric hook-up (EHU) and you will be set. Additionally, most of them do not weigh much, and so you will not have to lug around extra weight. They are quite cheap, but they will heat up a tent in only a short time of turning them on.
The downside is that not every camping ground has electricity. If you go for a hike up the mountains, you know for sure that this source of heat is not an option. It’s also worth noting is that if you have electricity at your campsite, you would be limited to a number of Amp (each campsite has its limit), and so you should ensure that your fan consumes just enough
Gas will burn for longer, and it will heat the tent almost as soon as you turn it on. However, there are a couple of downsides to this source of heat.
Carbon monoxide emissions are dangerous when inhaled. You could cause harm to yourself and everyone in your tent if there is a leak. Again, I would not be comfortable leaving it on for the night. On top of the danger, it poses, carrying gas cylinders up a mountain would not be the ideal way to enjoy your hike. These are only a few of reasons why I would not really recommend gas heaters.
How Noisy The Heater Is
You have had a full day, and the only thing in your mind is a soft bed (darn it, you only have a sleeping bag) and some quiet. You are out in the wild, and so the quiet is guaranteed, or is it? A fan will hum and flutter all night. If you are a heavy sleeper, then you will certainly sleep through the noise, but light sleepers would have a problem getting it off their mind. If your tent is partitioned and you have it in the next room, then you will certainly find it easier to sleep through the hum.
The Time It Takes To Heat Up
You will want to consider how long it takes the tent to heat up. A heater that takes longer than 5 minutes is not recommendable. Depending on the size of the tent, a good heater should take not more than 3 minutes to emit noticeable heat. Additionally, it is important that your camp stays warm for longer after switching it off.
Electric fans send some warmth almost immediately when you turn them on, and so do gas heaters. Gas, however, is depleted pretty fast and you will max out in two hours. Ceramic heaters and electric halogens tend to heat the immediate areas without really pushing the warmth further than the living room.
Fans will ideally heat the entire room up, including the bedroom. As for electric halogens, they warm up the place in less than two minutes of being fired up, and they will keep the room at a comfortable temperature an hour after switch-off.
There are other matters to consider, such as the size of the heater, but this will be depended on your means of transport. The price is a factor too unless you are a regular hiker and want to make a worthy investment.
Best Tent Heaters of 2021
Mr. Heater Portable Big Buddgy Propane Heater
This bad boy is quite heavy at 16.8lbs, and it occupies a reasonable footprint at 18 x 18.5 x 11.4in. I know that you are probably shaking your head and almost moving on to another product, but imagine the heat that this heater emits.
It not only acts as a portable heater, but you can convert it to adapt to a 20lb cylinder for heating you home during power outages. For this, you can use a 5’ or 12’ hose, which is not included in the package. It heats up to 400 SQ. Ft, which is way larger than your regular tent.
It has three heat settings, low medium, and high with 4,000, 9,000, and 18,000 BTUs. Isn’t that some power? I like the dual purpose, and when you think about it, that power is worth hauling around for a winter camping trip.
It is red and gray and has a foldable handle that not only makes porting easy but also reduces the footprint during storage.
It has an oxygen sensor that causes it to automatically shut down when it detects low oxygen or when it tips off. This safety check is especially great with children in the house. It is made of durable material, with cylinder hatch doors that add to its safety.
- Powerful capacity that can heat up immediately
- Includes an oxygen sensor
- Bulky size
Mr. Heater F232000 Portable Radiant Heater
This product from Mr. Heater weighs 9.5lbs and measures 9 x 14.2 x 14.4 inches. Granted, it is quite large especially for hikers, but its size is commensurate with the amount of heat it dispenses. It also has a longer lifespan than most, making it the ideal investment for those wishing to get one that will last them long.
Propane powers Mr. Heater and it connects perfectly to a 1lb cylinder. I find the feature to be most helpful, noting that you can carry disposable cylinders of propane for a hike and the adaptable regulator will be compatible with any cylinder on the market. With two settings of 4,000 and 9,000 BUT per hour, it heats up a wide space of up to 20 sq ft for a tent.
While it may have a sizeable footprint, it has a handle to make it portable. It also has stumps to keep it grounded without the fear of knocking it over. The fold-down handle reduces the size of the heater considerably, to make for easy storage.
This heater is made of durable steel, with the heating surfaces coated with porcelain. It automatically shuts off on when it detects low oxygen levels, when it tips over, or when lifted up.
- No gassy smell
- It shuts down automatically when tipped, and so it is safe for children.
- Not noisy
- It won’t light when tilted or lifted up
- It occupies a large footprint
Dyna-Glo Liquid Propane Tank Top Heater
This heater is unbelievably cheap, and yet it has some great features. First, it only measures 7.1 in x 8.3 in x 12.0 in and weighs 3.4lbs. Second, it can connect to a 20lb propane tank. The only major downside is that it does not have the most stable bases, and so you could tip it off easily.
It has two heat settings of 9,000 and 15,000 BTUs, and it will heat up a 15 feet radius. On the various temperature modes, it will burn for 48 hours on low heat, 33 hours in medium, and 28 hours on high. Regardless of your choice of heat, you will have comfortable heating for the entire night.
Being propane-driven, this heater is not noisy. Ordinarily–especially when you want to power a tent, you could use a 1lb cylinder for this. The manufacturer recommends using it indoors as it produces some level of carbon monoxide however little. However, you can still use it indoors but ensure that you have proper ventilation.
The size makes it an efficient energy user. A 30lb tank will last 40 hours on low. It is quite easy to light as long as you have a gas lighter.
- Inexpensive price
- Able to heat an ample space for long
- Adaptable to various cylinders
- Light and portable size
- Proper ventilation is required
- May trip easily
Mr. Heater F215100 Little Buddy Propane Heater
The first thing I like about this heater is its size. It measures 11 x 11 x 11 in and is shaped like a fan. The truth is, it has heating capabilities of up to 95 SqFt. Well, that is not much, but will do just fine for a tent.
It has a single heat setting of 3,800 BTU/hr, which I find just fine for most tents. Being propane-powered, this heater heats up the room as soon as you switch it on, which in itself is breezy and it retains the heat for 30 minutes after shut-down. It will heat a 20-inch trailer at 20 degrees for the night.
First, it is super portable, thanks to its size, weight (7lbs), and shape. It is served by a 1lb cylinder, but some reviewers suggest using an adaptor to accommodate a larger cylinder. Is that advisable? Not according to the manufacturer, and so it is not worth the trouble or risk.
It is designed to sit on the floor, seeing that the 11’ base is quite wide, and also owing to the fact that heat moves upward. If you place it in any other position, you will prevent it from working as efficiently as it should.
- Has a power shut-off when tripped or oxygen is low
- Great value for the price
- Optimal for portability
- It needs to be placed on solid ground to prevent it from tipping over.
- It is not the easiest one to light especially in low temperatures.
Allegro Industries 9401-50 Tent Heater
This heater measures 12*12*8 inches in height, length, and width, and it weighs 14 pounds. Yes, it is a bit bulky especially for a hiker, but then it serves more purpose than just lighting your campsite. It is powerful, with a voltage of 120 and 1,500 watts. It has a 5,000 BTU per hour.
It has a rigid build, with a sturdy handle at the top. It takes quite a large footprint, but it makes up for that by having a stable base that you can place anywhere.
Being a propane heater, it only takes a little time to heat up the room once you have switched it on. It also retains heat in for a long while as it keeps burning for hours.
It is not adaptable to a smaller cylinder, and so you would have to carry the 20lb for your use. The size of the heater makes it possible to bring it to the site when you need to heat up your tent. However, this is ideal for family camping where you will need lots of heat for a large tent.
- Heats up a large space for longer time
- Can be used for various purposes.
- Bulky size
- High-end price
And The Winner Is…
I have had the privileged to use all these heaters at one time, and Mr. Heater F232000 MH9BX Buddy Portable Radiant Heater remains my all-time favorite.
Why? Because, in as much as it is slightly heavy, it is not impossible to bring it with you for a hike. We used it up the mountains in Mongolia, and you couldn’t tell that it was less than 8 degrees outside. We not only used it for heating, but for frying some sausages, steak, and potatoes as well, and we did not exhaust the 20lb cylinder. It is well worth the investment.