Best Tent Heater For Camping In 2021 (Comparisons & Reviews)

Cold weather on a camping trip isn’t just uncomfortable – it can also be dangerous!

A tent heater is a great way to keep warm and enjoy the outdoors without sacrificing some of the comforts of home.

Choosing the best tent heater for your camping needs can be tough though. So, we’ve reviewed the 7 best tent heaters available today and put together a buyer’s guide to make your decision as easy as possible.

Tent Heater Comparison Chart

DescriptionTypePrice
Editor’s Choice Mr. Heater Buddy Indoor-Safe Portable Radiant Heater (4,000-9,000-BTU) Mr. Heater Buddy Indoor-Safe Portable Radiant Heater (4,000-9,000-BTU)PropaneSEE PRICE »
Honeywell 360 Degree Surround Fan Forced Heater Honeywell 360 Degree Surround Fan Forced Heater (1500 Watt)ElectricSEE PRICE »
Dura Heat DH2304S Indoor Kerosene Heater (23,800 BTU) Dura Heat DH2304S Indoor Kerosene Heater (23,800 BTU)KeroseneSEE PRICE »
Comfort Zone PowerGear CZ285 Portable Ceramic Utility Heater (1500 Watt) Comfort Zone PowerGear CZ285 Portable Ceramic Utility Heater (1500 Watt)ElectricSEE PRICE »
Mr. Heater Hunting Buddy Portable Space Heater (6,000-12,000 BTU) Mr. Heater Hunting Buddy Portable Space Heater (6,000-12,000 BTU)PropaneSEE PRICE »
Texsport Portable Outdoor Propane Heater (Up to 2,890 BTU's) Texsport Portable Outdoor Propane Heater (Up to 2,890 BTU’s)PropaneSEE PRICE »
Mr. Heater F242300 MH15C Heater & Cooker (10,000-15,000 BTU) Mr. Heater F242300 MH15C Heater & Cooker (10,000-15,000 BTU)PropaneSEE PRICE »

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Best Tent Heater Reviews

Mr. Heater MH9BX Buddy Portable Radiant Tent Heater

Portable Buddy Heater - Mr. Heater

This small but mighty heater from Mr. Heater is a great all-around choice of an outdoor tent heater. At 9 pounds, this camping heater easily heats up to 225 square feet of space. It also claims versatility since it meets both indoor and outdoor heating needs.

This heater earns points for its ease of use. It comes with a fold-down handle for easy carrying. The heater also features a swivel regulator for easy connection to a 1-pound propane tank. While a hose is not included, it can be purchased separately if you need to accommodate a larger tank.

The output of this heater (4,000 and 9,000 BTU) ensures that your propane lasts. At the lower range, the fuel consumption is 0.044 gallons per hour. At the high end of the range, fuel consumption increases to 0.099 gallons per hour. Three hours at the maximum output burns through a full 1-pound propane tank.

The safety features make this one of the best tent heaters on the market. The Mr. Heater F232000 comes equipped with dual sensors. The sensors may leave you without heat if they trigger, but the feature could potentially save your life. Once the Oxygen Depletion Sensor (ODS) gets a reading that is too low, the heater will automatically shut off.

However, this is not the model to take if you’re camping more than 7,000 feet above sea level. The elevation is likely to cause the heater to shut off. A few other features also trigger auto shut-off, such as the heater tipping over and the pilot light going out.

Overall, the cost of this heater with the value of its features makes it a great option for tent heating.

Specifications

BrandMr. Heater
Output4,000 and 9,000 BTU
Weight9 lbs.
Mr. Heater F232000 MH9BX Buddy Portable Radiant Tent Heater

Mr. Heater F232000 MH9BX Buddy Portable Radiant Tent Heater

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Honeywell 360 Degree Surround Fan Forced Space Heater

Honeywell 360 Degree Surround Heater - Slate Gray (HHF360V)

This powerful Honeywell is the best tent heater if your campsite has an electrical hook-up (EHU). Its easy-carry handle makes transporting the already light (3-pound) heater a breeze. With its cool-touch handle, you can go from heating to transporting without skipping a beat.

Another feature that makes this heater so versatile is its heating options. The 360-degree rotation and over 5,000 BTUs allows it to easily heat tents of varying sizes. The heater has high and low settings, so you have some control over how much power you’re using. This feature is useful if you’re sharing an electrical outlet with other items.

This camping heater also comes with a thermostat. Once your tent reaches the set temperature, it shuts off. Don’t worry about leaving the heater on when you use the high and low settings either. If you’re afraid of the heater running too long, use the auto-off feature for peace of mind.

This Honeywell heater comes equipped with other features that shut the unit off automatically – for example, if it tips over. It claims to have overheat protection, too. The plastic encasing this heater is flame resistant, but some users have had issues with it. Although it didn’t catch fire, some users noticed the plastic melting.

You’ll never have to wonder whether you left this heater on, since it comes equipped with a visible power light. The wiring is also made out of high-grade silicone. At this price with so many features, this heater is a great value for your tent heating needs.

Specifications

BrandHoneywell
Output> 5,000 BTU
Weight3 lbs.
Honeywell 360 Degree Surround Fan Forced Space Heater

Honeywell 360 Degree Surround Fan Forced Space Heater

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DuraHeat DH2304S Indoor Kerosene Heater

The DuraHeat DH2304S indoor kerosene heater is a great option for clean, electric-free heat. Along with the ability to heat a large area, it acts as an additional source of light.

The kerosene tank for this heater holds 1.9 gallons with 0.2 gallons per hour of output. The fuel gauge makes sure that you never have questions about how much fuel you have left.

This heater is capable of about 12 hours of burn time with up to 23,800 BTUs. The lengthy burn time helps justify the cost of the heater and kerosene, as the DuraHeat is one of the more expensive options on this list.

There are no heat settings on this camping heater. The only control is the dial that adjusts the flame size. The insta-lite technology helps the flame come easily, though.

The DuraHeat comes with a tip-over auto shut-off feature. It’s a common feature that’s especially handy with a kerosene lamp. This camping heater also comes outfitted with a protective grill around parts that get hot.

The no-lift heat chamber minimizes the start-up odor. It also allows you to light the wick safely using a barbecue lighter.

This camping heater isn’t without criticisms. It’s heavier than other options, requires you to purchase kerosene, and is generally more expensive. However, it comes in handy in emergencies and when you need serious heat.

Even with these criticisms, this kerosene camping heater is a solid and reliable option for heating and lighting. Its ability to transition from indoors to outdoors makes it a versatile and valuable home addition.

Specifications

BrandDuraHeat
Output23,800 BTU
Weight28 lbs.
DuraHeat DH2304S Indoor Kerosene Heater

DuraHeat DH2304S Indoor Kerosene Heater

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Comfort Zone PowerGear CZ285 1500 Watt Portable Ceramic Utility Heater

The Comfort Zone electric personal heater is the best tent heater for powerful (1500 watts), energy-efficient, no-frills tent heating. Its heating options are versatile with a high, low, and fan option. There’s also a thermostat that allows for more temperature options.

This portable heater is 4.35 pounds and can fill a small to medium-sized room. Between its small size and convenient carrying handle, this heater can go wherever you go. In other words, when you’re not using it to heat your tent, you can use it to heat your garage, shed, basement, house, or pretty much anywhere!

This camping heater comes with a few notable safety features, including power and caution indicator lights, an overheat protection sensor, and a safety tip-over switch. Outfitted with a stay-cool housing, this heater is a great option for families with young children and pets.

The features that keep the external portion of the unit cool to the touch make it a competitive option for families with young kids or pets. It minimizes the risk of accidental heater burns. If you have an EHU at your site or plan on taking a generator, this heater is a great simple option for you.

Specifications

BrandComfort Zone
Output1,500 watts
Weight4.35 lbs.
Comfort Zone PowerGear CZ285 1500 Watt Portable Ceramic Utility Heater

Comfort Zone PowerGear CZ285 1500 Watt Portable Ceramic Utility Heater

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Mr. Heater MH12B Hunting Buddy Portable Space Heater

Mr. Heater's NEW Hunting Buddy

This Mr. Heater portable space heater is one of the more expensive options on the list, but its features justify the cost. It gives off 12,000 BTUs of heat, easily warming any space up to 300 square feet.

It’s easy to turn on with its built-in silent ignition. Just push the button and turn for the easiest start imaginable.

The swivel regulator on this propane tent heater makes attaching a 1-pound propane tank easy. If you purchase a hose separately, you can use the regulator to attach a larger tank.

This Mr. Heater is heavier than some portable tent heaters at 9 pounds. That size is far from unreasonable, though. Included in that 9 pounds is a storage compartment that some use for an extra 1-pound propane tank.

It comes with many common portable heater safety features, including automatic shut-off if it senses low oxygen or tips over. Using this heater over 7,000 feet above sea level may trigger the auto shut-off feature as well.

Overall, this Mr. Heater is good for use whether you’re camping alone or at a campsite. It translates well into home use if needed, adding to the value of the product.

Specifications

BrandMr. heater
Output12,000 BTU
Weight9 lbs.
Mr. Heater MH12B Hunting Buddy Portable Space Heater

Mr. Heater MH12B Hunting Buddy Portable Space Heater

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TexSport Portable Outdoor Propane Heater

The TexSport portable outdoor propane heater is a rustic-looking heater perfect for camping. With 2,890 BTUs, it does well heating things in close proximity. It’s built to fit a 1-pound propane tank holding either 16.4 ounces or 14.1 ounces.

The base of this propane tent heater is a large paddle foot, making it difficult to tip over. The paddle foot makes it suitable for using the TexSport in tight spaces. As long as it’s flat on the ground, you should be fine.

The TexSport tent heater also has a few safety options among its features. They include a low-fuel shut-off valve, fire-retardant nylon, and mesh netting.

This is a great option for tent heating and camping. It could probably do well in the home, too, for emergency heat. If you have a garage workshop or shed, this would be a good multi-use option.

Specifications

BrandTexsport
Output2,890 BTU
Weight1 lb.
TexSport Portable Outdoor Propane Heater

TexSport Portable Outdoor Propane Heater

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Mr. Heater F242300 MH15C Cooker

MH15C Heater/Cooker - Mr. Heater

This Mr. Heater is a versatile heater-cooker duo. It puts out 15,000 BTUs max and runs using standard 1-pound cylinders. Some heaters boast many features, but this propane tent heater thrives on its simplicity.

The metal stand and the rest of the heater don’t come assembled, so you’ll have to do that. Otherwise, all you need to do is attach your propane tank to start heating. If you’re using your Mr. Heater for heating purposes (as opposed to cooking), expect to heat a space up to 375 square feet. A 1-pound tank will last about two hours.

This heater has only one safety feature, and it’s an auto safety shut-off.

Overall, this is the best tent heater for you if you want something with a shallow learning curve. It’s a simple yet effective option for small spaces. It also gives you a backup cooking heat source if you have issues with a live fire.

Specifications

BrandMr. Heater
Output15,000 BTU
Weight1 lb.
Mr. Heater F242300 MH15C Cooker

Mr. Heater F242300 MH15C Cooker

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Tent Heater Buyer’s guide

Part of the difficulty of picking out a heater is knowing what to look for. In this buyer’s guide, we break down the features of a tent heater. Understanding what is important about a heater helps you make an informed decision about your purchase.

Types of Tent Heaters

There are generally two types of heaters you’ll want for your tent – propane and electric. The main difference is the energy source they use. Kerosene heaters are another less-common option.

Propane

Propane heaters are the most common type of tent heater. They are appealing because they are lightweight and portable. As long as you pick up a couple of 1-pound cylinders (or one 20-pound cylinder), you can power your heater from wherever you are.

Mr. Heater F232000 MH9BX Buddy Portable Radiant Tent Heater

Mr. Heater F232000 MH9BX Buddy Portable Radiant Tent Heater

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Electric

Electric heaters require an electrical hook-up at a campsite for power. If you plan on taking a generator, that will suffice as a power source, too. Electric heaters are nice, but they have a downside. If you’re not pitching your tent at an actual campsite, you may not ever come near a power source.

Depending on the size of your tent, you have two options for electrical heaters – radiant heaters or convection heaters. Convection heaters are for larger spaces. Radiant heaters work best for small ones.

Honeywell 360 Degree Surround Fan Forced Space Heater

Honeywell 360 Degree Surround Fan Forced Space Heater

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Kerosene

Like other tent heaters, kerosene tent heaters use an outside power source and translate well from outdoors to indoors. The only downside is that the kerosene required for the cleanest, longest-lasting burn time is the most expensive. Also, there is no instant setup. You have to let the wick inside soak in the kerosene for about one hour before you light it.

It’s also more difficult to control temperature on kerosene tent heaters. Since they have an open flame, they will make the inside of your tent very hot. They have control dials to adjust the size of the flame, and therefore the heat and light output, but you can’t fine-tune the heat level as much as you can with other heaters.

DuraHeat DH2304S Indoor Kerosene Heater

DuraHeat DH2304S Indoor Kerosene Heater

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Important Tent Heater Features

Size

There are a few size considerations you want to make before purchasing a space heater. First, you want to make sure that the tent heater can effectively heat the size of your tent. Heater output is measured in British thermal units (BTU.) To calculate what BTU is appropriate for your tent, use this formula:

(desired inside temperature – estimated outside temperature) x (tent length x width x height).

Then multiply that number by a factor of 2-8 depending on how well insulated your space is. The better insulated your tent is for winter camping, the lower the factor you multiply by. You’ve just calculated the BTU output you need. That means you’re one step closer to finding the best tent heater for you.

The other consideration is the size and weight of the tent heater. Think about how far you need to carry it. What other things do you need to carry? You don’t want to purchase a tent heater that you can’t get to your tent.

Noise output

This criterion is the most subjective. Considering noise output is purely for personal comfort. If you’re a heavy sleeper, then noise output may not affect you. Heaters tend to be quiet, but those who are sensitive to sound should look for specifications on sound.

Low oxygen shut-off

Low oxygen shut-off is one of the most important features a heater can have. Most heaters come with an oxygen detection system (ODS) to monitor carbon monoxide levels. Your tent should be well-ventilated to help filter clean air in and out, too.

Your tent’s ventilation and the low oxygen shut-off feature work in tandem. Low oxygen shut-off helps because if the carbon monoxide levels get too high, it will shut the heater off, so it won’t produce more carbon monoxide. Ventilation helps it filter out while clean air filters in.

Tipping feature

If a tent heater tips over, bad things can happen. If it’s hot enough, it could set your tent on fire. That’s why you want to find a heater with the tipping feature. This is another auto shut-off feature triggered by a fire hazard.

Overheat protection

This feature is another fire hazard protection. If your heater gets too hot, the auto shut-off feature triggers. By turning your tent heater off, it allows the unit to cool.

Durability

A tent heater is an investment. You want it to last for many trips. When you’re deciding which heater to purchase, pay attention to what each unit is made of. Where do you typically like to camp? You want to pick a heater that is durable for the majority of camping trips you do. No option is perfect, but you can get close.

How it works

Remember, the best tent heater for you is the one that you can operate without any help. Make sure that you understand how a heater works before you take it camping with you.

Auto-off Feature

Tent heating should not happen while you’re sleeping or away. If you leave or fall asleep while tent heating, the auto-off feature will save you. Resume heating your tent when you wake up or return to be the safest.

Safety Tips For Tent Heating

  • Turn your heater off before bed. Some heaters and previous heater users will say that it’s okay to let your heater run while you’re sleeping, but it’s safer to turn it off while you sleep. If something dangerous happens, you want to be awake to intervene.
  • Keep your tent heater dry at all times. Electric heaters, in particular, need to be dry to prevent any electrical malfunctions.
  • Make sure your tent is well ventilated if you’re using a propane heater. Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas that could kill you if you breathe too much of it.
  • If you’re using a propane tent heater, purchase a carbon monoxide detector. Even heaters with built-in carbon monoxide detectors aren’t perfect. Purchase a separate carbon monoxide detector for added protection.
  • Keep children and pets away from all heaters. They are at risk of injury around a hot unit. They could also potentially knock the unit over. Keeping children and pets away from the heaters prevents both.
  • Keep flammable items away from your heater. This includes any brush or tree limbs that may be hanging around.
  • If your unit comes with a fan, run it periodically. Electric units pull cool air in, warm it, and send it back out. Running the fan helps clear any debris that it may have captured in the process.
  • If you’re using an electric heater, make sure your wires are as durable as the unit. You should be plugging your heater into an EHU with durable outdoor compatible wires.
  • Leave plenty of open space around the heater.
  • Know your heater. Not only do you need to read through the manufacturer guidelines, but you need to understand and remember them. You need to know how hot your heater is going to be and understand the risks of your specific model overheating. When you know your heater, you can make informed decisions about any issues that arise.

Tent Heater FAQ

What heaters are safe for tents?

All types of heaters – propane, kerosene, and electric – have models that are safe for tents. A heater that says it’s safe for indoor use should be safe for you to use inside your tent.

If the model you’re looking at says it is an outdoor heater, look at the BTUs. Using the formula we mentioned earlier, calculate the BTUs. If they are higher than your tent can handle, look for a different model.

Is there a safe way to heat a tent?

There are many safe ways to heat a tent while camping, but there’s always a risk associated no matter what method you choose. You can reduce the risk by:

  • Choosing a heater that has an appropriate BTU output for your tent size
  • Following our safety recommendations
  • Reading through the user’s manual that comes with your tent heater and following manufacturer recommendations

You also want to pay attention to the heat. If you are going to sleep with your heater on, it may be smart to set alarms for yourself throughout the night. If you are using a unit that doesn’t have auto-off, then you could get too hot. You don’t want to overheat.

How do I set up my tent heater?

Reading through the manufacturer booklet that came with your tent heater is the first thing you should do. There is plenty of general information on how to set up tent heaters online, but the instructions made for the model you’re using are the best.

Once you’ve read through and have an idea of what to do, use those instructions to set up your heater. Clear a space inside your tent where you will set up your heater. When you’re choosing where your tent heater will go, make sure that it isn’t a high traffic area.

Make sure it is out of the way without brushing up against anything. You’ll also want to make sure it has room to sit flat on the ground. Don’t put it on top of a makeshift stand. Only use a stand that the manufacturer makes and is compatible with your model.

If you are using a propane tent heater, use it to help you figure out where to set up your tent. Find an area where your heater and tank can stand without assistance. If you are using an electric tent heater, make sure that you can reach your power source without pulling the cords taut.

To start heating your tent with a propane tent heater, first make sure your propane tank is correctly attached. Once it is, turn the gas knob on. Depending on which model you have, you’ll use the ignitor to start the heat. If you’re using an electric tent heater and it’s already plugged in, turn it on.

When you turn the heat off, make sure that the propane isn’t still flowing. The knob should be firmly off.

Are propane heaters safe for a tent?

Yes, propane heaters are safe for a tent. Make sure you follow all the manufacturer recommendations and always turn the propane off when you’re not using it.

How do I know if it’s too hot in my tent?

There’s no straightforward answer to this, but ask yourself how you feel. If you’re sweating, feeling dizzy or nauseated, having shortness of breath, or anything out of the ordinary, turn the heat down and step outside. You shouldn’t feel uncomfortable.

What should I do if I have carbon monoxide poisoning?

The first thing you should do check is your symptoms. Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include headache, dizziness, nausea, lethargy, weakness, disorientation, stomach pain, and shortness of breath.

If you experience any of these while using a propane tent heater, you need to seek medical attention. This can prove difficult if you are camping far away from civilization. If you’re in a national park, you should call a park ranger. If you’re near enough to a hospital, call an ambulance.

While you’re waiting for help to arrive, whoever is experiencing symptoms should get a good distance away from the tent. Breathing in clean air should help some of the symptoms clear.

Make sure that the propane tank is completely off.

What’s the best camping heater?

The best tent heater for camping is subjective. All the tent heaters on this list are great options for someone’s camping experience.

If you’re shopping around, your best bet is to figure out what makes it worth it for you. Consider the power output, the size of your tent, the type of power source, the locations and weather conditions where you’ll be camping, the size and weight of the heater, and more. Reading reviews from other people who’ve purchased the same heaters can help you determine if it meets your criteria.

How do I pick the best tent heater for me?

You’ll find the best tent heater for you by reviewing your camping plan from a bird’s eye view. Here are a few thoughts to guide you through your decision-making process.

Consider the expenses. Each tent heater comes with expenses beyond the cost of the heater itself.

If you’re using an electric heater, you need an outdoor-compatible extension cord to connect it to your power source. How far away from the power source will you be? The price of extension cords increases with the length of the cord.

If you’re using a propane heater, you will need propane. Will you purchase 1-pound cylinders? If so, how many do you need for your trip? That depends on how long you plan to run the heater. If you decide to purchase a 20-pound cylinder instead, you will need to get a hose to connect it to the swivel regulator. The hoses don’t come with the heaters, so that is an additional cost.

If you’re using a kerosene heater, you need to purchase kerosene, which can be quite expensive. These types of heaters usually come with a wick, which has to be changed regularly. You’ll want to take extra wicks with you.

You’ll also want to purchase a carbon monoxide detector. You don’t need it until you do. When you do need it, you’ll be glad you had it.

Consider where you’re setting up camp. We mentioned earlier that when you’re choosing a heater, you should consider the size. If you’re camping several miles from where you park, you have to carry the tent heater and its accessories. That weight builds up quickly, so make sure you’re willing to carry it along with your other gear.

Consider whether you can use it for other things. Anything you buy and can use in various areas in your life multiplies the value. If you need an office heater or a back-up heater for the winter, find a tent heater that functions as both. There are models that will serve all the purposes you need.

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