5 Best Portable Propane Heaters To Keep You Warm Yet Indoor Safe!

By Power Tools

September 17, 2019


Are you sick and tired of reading a hell of a lot of information about different propane heaters?

Or perhaps you are not getting the right data that may convince you to choose the right product based on your needs.

I know the feeling.

That’s why I’m here to solve the puzzle for you.

best portable propane heater guide

In this best portable propane heater reviews article, I am going to review 5 quality propane heaters mentioning both their upside and downsides.

Not to mention, I will also provide a buying guide that may help you even further to get the useful knowledge that influences any buying decision.

Don’t worry! I will not make things overly complicated.

So, let’s jump right in. 

If you’re in a hurry here’s my quick pick! But do check the reviews.

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5 Best Portable Propane Heater Reviewed

Read the pros and cons properly for a clear concept.

1. Mr. Heater MH9BX Buddy Propane Heater

Pros

  • Works for both indoor and outdoor (more on this below).
  • Doesn’t make any noise during the operation.
  • Nice compact design, easy to store.
  • Doesn’t weigh much.
  • The fold-down handle makes it super portable.
  • Shut-off automatically if it tips over, or detect low-level oxygen, or the pilot light goes out.
  • Easy to start with the help of the convenient knob. Using that regulator you can control the heat as well.

Cons

  • Due to its oxygen level sensor, it doesn’t work well in high altitude (above 7000 ft). I don’t know if I consider this as a downside or not. Because the oxygen level sensor plays a handy role in other situations considering the safety measure.
  • It has got only low and high heat setting. Anything in between like ‘mid’ would have made it more versatile.

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Let’s begin with the most interesting part.

You will see written on the box cover that they are telling you to use this heater for outdoor use only.

And guess what?

You can use it indoors as well.

The main concern here is carbon monoxide poisoning. If you use this unit with ventilation then there is no issue at all. Even if you use it without any ventilation, no presence of carbon monoxide was identified.

It was tested for around 4+ hours and the carbon monoxide detector was showing zero reading.

However, here is the disclaimer: Although I haven’t found any issue using it indoors without any ventilation, I recommend you to follow company instructions.

This Mr. Heater Buddy covers up to 225 sq ft.

With one propane container (1lb) you can use this heater up to 4(+/-) hours on high and 6(+/-) on low. So, yes, you will have to change the propane container at midnight if you use it on a high level.

I know this is a hassle, and that’s why I suggest you use a large propane tank instead of the small one. Just use an adapter from the tank to the heater. You are ready to go.

Most of the warm air goes straight up from this heater. It’s nothing to do with the performance or heating capability of this unit though.

But in case, you want the air goes outwards and to the side, this is not a good product for you. You can go for the Mr. Heater Big Buddy heater that I am going to review below.

You can use this unit up to 7000 ft above sea level without any issue. Above that, it won’t work properly due to the low oxygen supply.

Overall, I must say, this is a quality portable propane heater for camping, RV, and all other indoor/outdoor use.

2. Mr. Heater MH4B Little Buddy Propane Heater

 

Pros

  • As the name suggests, this is little. A small sized heater that you can take anywhere you want.
  • Fits almost anywhere you want it to fit (I said ‘almost’ because you should not put it on the counter of your camper though, going to explain the reason below).
  • Can heat the space in no time.
  • Built-in oxygen sensor that shuts the unit off if it senses low oxygen.
  • Built-in tip-over sensor.
  • Usable for both indoors and outdoors.
  • Durable unit.
  • Easy to use the on-off button (red button for turning on and black button for turning the unit off).
  • Quiet propane heater.

Cons

  • Not multi-directional. You will get the only 45-degree heating angle.
  • The base is not too wide. It is small and falls over most of the time.
  • Overly sensitive tip-over sensor.
  • Heat is not adjustable.
  • Even though the heating unit is small, once you put in the propane container and the base, altogether it becomes a tad bigger than you would have expected.

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This little heater is convenient to use in teardrop or scamp camper, ice fishing shanty, hunting camper, tent, etc. In fact, as I said you can fit it anywhere you want. Just keep in mind, it can cover up 95 sq ft.

However, although it’s supposed to heat up to 95 sq ft, it can do a pretty good job to warm up to 150 – 200 sq ft. Of course, the intensity of heat will not be the same for both 95 sq ft area and 200 sq ft, but it’s decent.

Mr. Heater claims one 1lb propane cylinder lasts up to 5.6 hours but practically it lasts even more. Up to 6 hours, which I believe a good long period.

As I said above in the ‘Pros’ section, you should not put it on the counter of your camper.

Because as you know, this is not a multi-directional heater, and it will always remain facing upwards (45-degree). As a result, there is a chance that it will make the ceiling of your camper too hot and it’s not something you expect. So, better keep it on the floor to get the best result.

Altogether, this little buddy is a good portable heater for indoor use &  for any small application I must say.

3. Mr. Heater Big Buddy Heater Review

 

Pros

  • Here you will have the option to use two cylinders.
  • Three levels of heat control option (high, mid, low).
  • A built-in fan that runs on battery or AC adapter. This fan pushes out the warm air to the sides and radiates the heat outwards, instead of just going upwards.
  • Automatically shuts off if the oxygen level becomes low.
  • Tip-over shut off.
  • Safe for both indoors/outdoors.
  • Easy to store and carry.
  • Easy to start and heat level control using the convenient knob.
  • Not too heavy.

Cons

  • The fan makes a little noise.

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Another handy member from Mr. Heater to keep you toasty that covers up to 450 sq ft area.

In my opinion, this is the best portable propane heater for garage.

Like its other cousins from Mr. Heater buddy series, this one also doesn’t work properly if at all above 7000 feet above sea level.

If you run the heater on low and use both the 1lb propane container together then it will last up to about 10(+/-) hours. On medium heat level, it can last up to 5(+/-) hours. If you keep the heat level high it will last up to 2.5(+/-) hours.

The two 1lb propane tanks are not enough for you considering the burn time?

You can hook up a 20lb propane tank to use it for a longer period of burn time. Just buy a hose. Keep the large propane tank outside of your room for safety. Hook it up with the heater using the hose. You are good to go.

The batteries (four D batteries) that run the fan will last for about 6-7 hours of constant use.

If you want to turn off the fan, you can use the little handy switch that you will find at the back of the heater.

Remember the fan is there only to spread the air. It has nothing to do with heating level control or keeping the heater on or stuff like that.

If you want both the burners work together, you have to keep the heat level high (turn and keep the knob to high).

One important point to remember. Once you press the knob to start the heater, hold it for 20-30 seconds before depressing it. Otherwise, the pilot won’t ignite.

This unit may seem a bit pricey to you. But considering the portability, quality of heating, and overall performance I don’t have any complaints about the price.

I recommend you to buy this Mr. Heater big buddy if you are looking to heat a relatively bigger space. This won’t break your bank either. So, yes, this is a good product at a reasonable price in my opinion.

4. Protemp 60000 BTU Propane Forced Air Heater

 Pros

  • Can heat the place quickly.
  • Multiple heat level settings (labeled as 1,2,3).
  • Easy lift handle to carry.
  • Easy to start.
  • Price is not too high, definitely won’t break your bank.
  • You can adjust the head angle.
  • Convenient to store due to its compact size.

Cons

  • This heater requires ventilation.

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Protemp 60000 BTU heater covers around 1500 sq ft, which I believe is enough to cover your garage or other Jobsite.

This has been tested for an even bigger area like 3000 sq ft. It performed well and made the whole area comfortable.

This particular Protemp propane heater is built to use for outdoor use only, particularly on your Jobsite. The place you will be using this unit got to have enough ventilation.

You can easily start and run the heater. Just hook up the propane tank with the heater using a hose, plug-in and turn it on. It is as simple as that.

You don’t have to buy the hose by the way. It will come with the package.

A 20lb propane tank can last up to 13-15 hours if you keep the heat level low. Perhaps, even more, depending on the use.

I’ve already told, this heater is loud. You may have to speak louder with anyone while using this unit.

If you don’t like this feature then you should not go for any forced air heater as all the forced air heaters are noisy. If you want a silent heater you can choose any of Mr. Heater that I reviewed above.

I am reviewing here the Protemp propane forced air heater 60000 BTU.

But this model has got two more versions available. 40000 BTU, and 150000 BTU. Check them on Amazon.

40000 BTU covers 1000 sq ft, and 150000 covers about 3800 sq ft. So, you have the liberty to choose the right version based on your needs.

All in all, Protemp forced air propane is a well-built heater with impressive heating capability.

5. Texsport Portable Outdoor Propane Heater

 

Pros

  • Easy to operate.
  • You will be able to adjust the heat.
  • Highly inexpensive unit.
  • Too light to carry.
  • Metal carry handle makes your life even easier to move it wherever you want.
  • Sturdy and large enough base.
  • Shuts off automatically if the flame goes out.
  • Gets hot quickly.

Cons

  • A tad noisy. Don’t worry, it’s not loud.
  • Only for outdoor use.
  • The head is not adjustable.

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If you run it on low, expect it to run for 6+ hours. Running on low will give you enough warm.

Unlike the other heater that I reviewed, this time you need a match or lighter to ignite the burner. Not sure how good is that for you. To me, it’s completely fine.

I found the heat control regulator working fine. You can make the heat high, medium, low and off with that regulator.

This particular propane heater doesn’t have any low oxygen sensor like Mr. Heater Buddy heaters.

Don’t consider it as a downside blindly. Not having an oxygen sensor is good for you in some cases.

When?

If you are planning on camping above 7000 ft sea level, you are good to go with this unit. Because this unit won’t shut off automatically as other heaters do from Mr. Heater.

I saw people expected this unit to heat as much area as the other heavy-duty units do. But this is foolish. You can’t expect everything at this price range. It is always what you get is what you pay for.

Please note: There is no portable propane heater with thermostat listed here.

Portable Propane Heater Buying Guide

There are endless options to choose from. Be sure to follow these steps before ending up with a wrong one.

Weight-Size Vs Portability

 As you can see, you have different propane heater sizes available.

While the bigger heaters give you more coverage in terms of area, it is not always true that you want to sacrifice the portability.

Yes, all the heaters I’ve talked about in this article are portable and lightweight, as I am here to review the best portable propane heaters.

All of them come with a handle for better portability as well.

But some are more portable than others.

Like Mr. Heater Little Buddy heater that I reviewed earlier, you can carry that strapping with your backpack (without the propane tank of course).

But You can’t do that if you want to carry Mr. Heater Big Buddy. Does that mean Mr. Heater is not portable?

No, not at all. It is portable, but it will get one mark less in terms of portability due to its size.

The bottom line is, think about the space, and scope where you want to fit and use the heater. How you want to carry it.

Then choose the weight and size accordingly.

I mentioned above in my review part about how much area the portable propane heaters will cover. Hope that will help you to make a decision.

Heating Type

 Heating type of propane heaters can be categorized into three types in general.

  • Forced air heaters.
  • Convection heaters.
  • Radiant technology-based heaters.

Some are a nice blend of both radiant technology and convection, like Mr. Buddy Big Buddy heater.

Forced Air Heater

Forced air heaters spread the heat much quicker. But most of them are louder and require ventilation for your safety. Usually, they require a power source to operate.

People use this type of heater on their Jobsite mostly.

Let me tell you how forced air heaters work.

In layman’s term, the propane gas heats the internal heating element and a fan from behind distributes the heat quickly.

Yes, a thermocouple, spark plug, etc come into play to make things happen. But let’s not get an engineering degree here.

I reviewed the Protemp propane heater above, which is a forced-air unit.

Convection Heaters

Convection heater usually covers a big area, for example, garage.

They don’t need any electric power source for the operation.

If you see any heater where you see the flame is playing a role to heat the room, very likely that one is a convection heater. Here a fan helps to spread the heat from the flame to all over the room.

These are typically quieter than the forced air heaters. But not fully silent.

Here, in this article, I haven’t reviewed any convection heater. But Mr.Heater Big Buddy is the combination of both convection and radiant technology.

Radiant Technology Heaters

A radiant heater is a popular form of heater for the camper, tent, fishing shanty or any kind of outdoor and in some cases indoor heating.

Radiant heaters cover medium-sized areas depending on the capacity.

Among these three types of heaters, these are the quietest units.

All the Mr. Heater heaters as well as the Texsport portable heater that I reviewed fall under this category.

Here, a wave of heat comes out from the heat source and makes you warm.

Hope you’re still with me.

Let’s learn something about the capacity of these heaters.

Capacity

When it is about the capacity of propane heaters, you got to know how many sq ft it covers, and How much is the BTU.

So what is BTU and what does it mean?

BTU = British Thermal Unit.

If you want to explain the BTU in the simplest form in terms of propane heater’s capacity, it is the amount of heat the heater will provide.

So, higher BTU means the heater outputs higher heat.

What number of BTU is required to cover a certain area?

You don’t have to be the master of calculation here. Most of the cases if not all, you will find the coverage area in the heater manual or box. I also mentioned that in my review part.

Cost

Typically propane heater units are more expensive than other types like natural gas or electric heater units.

However, portable propane heaters, particularly the one that I reviewed are super inexpensive considering the quality and service they provide.

What you got to think about the cost of fuel that it requires to run these heaters. I mentioned clearly how long each of the heaters runs consuming 1lb or 20lb of a propane tank. So, you can easily calculate the approximate fuel cost before buying one.

Benefits of Portable Propane Heaters

 Here are some of the benefits that portable propane heaters will give you over other types.

  • Comparatively inexpensive.
  • Of course, portable and easy to carry.
  • You can fit them almost anywhere you want.
  • Super easy to start and operate.
  • Low maintenance cost.
  • Propane gas is non-toxic.
  • Versatile use.
  • Most favorite among the campers, hunters, fishing fanatics, and any other outdoor enthusiasts.
  • Comes with different safety features.
  • They are ventless propane heater indoors safe

How Does a Propane Heater Work?

I’m not interested to make you a master of mechanical engineering here.

So, let’s keep things as simple as possible.

I’ve already given you a glimpse of the core working mechanism of different propane heaters (forced air, convection, radiant) in the buying guide section.

Principally, inside the propane tank, the gas is stored in the form of liquid. When it comes out it becomes gas and works as the fuel for these heaters.

Some propane heaters require manual ignition (like the Texsport heater), on the other hand, some heaters come with integrated ignition system (like Mr. Heater Buddy series).

Here is the basic idea of propane consumption that I might be interested to know about.

Any 20lb propane container/tank contains about 430,000 BTUs (approx) of liquid propane. If a heater is of 40,000 BTUs per hour, the container/tank will run about 10.75 hours approximately (430,000/40,000 = 10.75).

FAQ

1. Do propane heaters give off carbon monoxide?

Yes. But, please be very clear about the propane heater you are using. Those that are specified for outdoor use, should never be used indoors. Please use indoor safe portable propane heaters for indoor use.

Indoor and outdoor propane heaters burn propane in a different way. This is why an outdoor propane heater generates carbon monoxide. But for indoor safe propane heaters, propane burning process limits carbon monoxide generation. Furthermore, they have an oxygen sensor or a carbon monoxide detector for extra safety.

Final Words

Let’s recap.

In this best portable propane heater reviews article, I reviewed 5 handy heaters from different brands and types.

I tried to provide a handful of information about those products that might come in handy before you buy them.

I’ve also provided a buying guide so that you know the core buying factors that are related to propane heaters.

What else do you want to learn?

Comment below with your thoughts.