Best Portable Tent Heater for Backpacking, Camping or Garage space
Thanks to modern tent heaters, you can easily stay warm during the cold season. It’s an absolute must-have device for any hunter, tourist, or fisherman! Even if it’s snowing outside, this will allow you to enjoy your favorite outdoor activities without ever getting cold. However, choosing the best tent heater is a hard task since there are tons of models on the market.
A bad device can turn your camping trip into a nightmare. Cheap heaters for tents are dangerous to both your health and your wallet: they are smelly, ineffective, and may even cause carbon monoxide poisoning. And not all of them are suitable for use in enclosed spaces. That is why you have to be very careful when buying a heater. Fortunately, I’m here to help!
Top 10 of Best Portable Tent Heaters
- Kovea Cupid Portable Heater
- Mr. Heater F232000 MH9BX
- Mr. Heater F274830 MH18BRV
- UBOWAY Butane Gas Heater
- Mr. Heater, Dregree Tank Top Heater
- Mr. Heater F215100 MH4B
- Texsport Propane Heater
- Mr. Heater F232017 MH9BXRV
- Stansport Portable Propane Heater
- Portable Gas Catalytic Heater
This guide describes how to choose the right tent heater and clears the differences between diverse models. I have picked some of the best models on the market and wrote a short heater buying guide for beginners. Read this article to buy the perfect product for your needs!
Comparison Table of Portable Tent Heaters for Tent Camping
|Name and Features||Image||Power||Details|
|1. Best for short hikes
Kovea Cupid Portable Butane Gas Heater With HardCase Outdoor Camping KH-1203.
|3400 BTU (1KW)||Read reviews|
|2. Best for hunting
Mr. Heater F232000 MH9BX Buddy 4,000-9,000-BTU Indoor-Safe Portable
|4000 or 9000 BTU||Read reviews|
|3. Best portable heater for bigger tents
Mr. Heater F274830 MH18BRV Big Buddy Grey Indoor-Safe Portable RV Propane Heater (4,000 , 9,000 and 18,000 BTU)
|4000, 9000 or 18000 BTU||Read reviews|
|4. Best for solo camping trips
UBOWAY Portable Butane Gas Outdoor Heater Multifunctional Ceramic Burner Gas Stove for Camping, Climbing, Fishing
|4400 BTU (1.3KW)||Read reviews|
|5. Best for outdoor heating
Mr. Heater, Corporation, 30,000-45,000 BTU 540 Dregree Tank Top Heater, (F242540)
|30,000 – 45,000 BTU||Read reviews|
|6. Best for small tents
Mr. Heater F215100 MH4B Little Buddy 3800-BTU Indoor Safe Propane Heater, Medium
|3800 BTU||Read reviews|
|7. Best fuel economy
Texsport Portable Outdoor Propane Heater
|2890 BTU||Read reviews|
|8. Best radiant heater
Mr. Heater F232017 MH9BXRV Buddy Grey Indoor-Safe Portable RV Radiant Heater (4,000-9,000-BTU)
|4,000-9,000 BTU||Read reviews|
|9. Best price
Stansport Portable Outdoor Infrared Propane Heater
|3,100 BTU||Read reviews|
|10. Best operate time
Portable Gas Catalytic Heater, Camping Heating, Foldable Legs, CSA CERTIFIED
|3000 BTU||Read reviews|
№ 1. Kovea Cupid Portable Butane Gas Heater With a Hard Case
Best for short hikes.
Kovea Cupid is a convenient, portable butane heater for those people who want to extend their camping season. This device will keep you and your friends warm while spending time in the great outdoors in early spring or late autumn. The heater is very small and effective, which makes it perfect for short trips.
The device is aimed at the Korean market, so it does not have many English labels on it. However, don’t let that steer you away from buying this heater. I enjoy hiking on foot without having a lot of extra weight, so I really liked it. Kovea Cupid is one of the smallest butane heaters on the market (it is almost the same size as large butane canisters) that comes at a great price. It also comes with a sturdy case with convenient handles, but I prefer to keep it in my backpack.
It does not have a user manual in English
I have been using it for two years without problem. Despite the small size, it produces a lot of heat, enough for a medium tent. Thanks to the folding legs and auto shutoff mechanism, it’s super safe to use. As for gas consumption, it’s not bad either; you can use the heater for about five hours with a single 220g butane canister.
If you don’t mind the fact that Kovea Cupid does not have a proper user manual in English, then it’s an amazing option when going camping or on hikes.
№ 2. Mr. Heater F232000 MH9BX Propane Radiant Heater
Best for hunting.
This is my favorite heater for hunting. According to the manufacturer’s website, it is the most popular portable heater in the United States. I tend to believe it since at least three of my friends have the same model.
The device is light (10.60 lbs), but it is not the most compact option on the market, so I would not recommend it for on foot holidays. However, it is the best choice if you are traveling by car. You can use it both indoor and outdoor and it has two modes, which makes it highly versatile. The device has a large porcelain-coated heating surface that provides reliable and stable heat.
Multiple shot-off systems
Mr. Heater Portable Buddy is great in terms of safety. It has multiple shot-off systems in order to minimize the risks of hazards, as well as tilt/fall protection. Thanks to the built-in oxygen sensor, the heater will shut down automatically in case of danger. You can safely leave it overnight without any worries.
I have been using this heater for a long time and it had never let me down. It is a real joy to use thanks to simple controls and fast setup. There is a foldable handle on top of it for easy carry. This heater warms up my medium sized tent in a matter of minutes on low heat settings and it should work as fine with large tents due to 9000 BTU mode. Considering all the above, I think that this model is the best choice for hunting and ice fishing.
№ 3. Mr. Heater F274830 Portable RV Propane Heater
Best portable heater for bigger tents.
Mr. Heater Big Buddy is a bigger version of the Mr. Heater F232000. They are very similar, but Big Buddy is significantly larger and heavier. Due to the increased heating surface, it can be used for spaces up to 450 square feet. It provides more than enough heat to warm up even the biggest tents.
Unlike Portable Buddy, this heater has three different power settings: 4,000, 9,000 and 18,000 BTU. Therefore, you can set in on low to minimize the gas consumption or use it at high settings to speed up the heating process. Usually I start it at 18,000 BTU and then switch to low after half an hour. This way my large tent stays warm enough and I do not waste too much gas overnight.
Oxygen depletion sensor
Thanks to the oxygen depletion sensor and tip-over safety shut-off, you can safely use Mr. Heater Big Buddy indoors. However, I would not recommend you to leave it on overnight — you can never be too caution while using such large propane appliances.
I use this device when I visit my off-the-grid cabin in winter. It does a great job! However, I do not like the medium power setting: it uses both burners but does not burn the gas cleanly. This mode seems absolutely useless to me. Other than that, it is a decent product for those who need a powerful propane heater.
№ 4. UBOWAY Portable Butane Gas Outdoor Heater
Best for solo camping trips. Gas Stove for Camping, Climbing, Fishing.
This small butane heater is a must-have if you are camping solo. Basically, it combines two devices in one. You can not only warm up your tent with it, but also use it as a gas stove. There is a switch on the side of it for angle adjustment. The device comes with a lightweight metallic pan rack, which can be placed on top of the heater when it is running in the maximum heating mode. It is a very convenient feature for solo camping trips! Instead of lighting a fire, you can quickly cook a hot meal on a stove.
Last up to 5 hours
This heater is highly efficient: a single gas canister (both butane and propane can be used) will last up to 5 hours of continuous burn. The device supports most canisters and even LPG tanks. Obviously, it is not powerful enough for big tents since the heating surface is rather small, but it is a great option if you need to warm up a small space. Do note that this heater does not have oxygen sensors or any shut-off mechanisms, so you always have to keep an eye on it.
Those who are often traveling all by themselves and do not like to carry extra weight should consider this UBOWAY heater as a great multifunctional device. It is light, effective and convenient — what else do you need?
№ 5. Mr. Heater, BTU 540 Dregree Tank Top Heater, (F242540)
Best for outdoor heating.
This is a highly powerful Tank Top heater from Mr. Heater for outdoor use. It is placed right on top of the tank with liquid propane. The device produces heat in multiple directions thanks to the 360+180 degree burner head. It is extremely powerful — I can feel the heat 5 meters away from it!
You must manually control it
The weakest side of this heater is the excessive fuel consumption. I used it while building a small cabin in the woods. It did a great job keeping me and my brother warm, but we quickly ran out of fuel. According to the official website, this model consumes 0.176 lbs of fuel per hour, but I do not believe that. I used it on a 20 lb propane tank and got around 16 hours of continuous burn, which is not great. Unfortunately, the heater does not have a built-in thermostat, so you have to manually control the fuel consumption if you do not want to spend too much gas.
Despite all the drawbacks, this is a decent choice in its price segment. The housing is made from high-quality metal and the adjustable 540-degree burner is very convenient. If you are looking for a cheap radiant heater, this is the best option under 150 dollars.
№ 6. Mr. Heater F215100 MH4B 3800-BTU Indoor Safe Propane Heater
Best for small tents.
Looking for a compact and trustworthy radiant tent heater? Little Buddy from Mr. Heater is definitely one of your best options! This odor-free device offers 3800 BTU of power, which is enough to warm up a small or medium tent. It is lightweight, durable and easy to carry. Moreover, it has built-in oxygen and tip-over sensors, which makes it safe for indoor use.
You cannot regulate the temperature
The best thing about this model is its compact housing. The housing is made of high-quality plastic — I dropped it on the ground a couple of times during the transportation but it works just fine anyway. The heater is very small and easy to use. However, due to delicate security features, I have to constantly reignite it because it turns off at the slightest touch.
Overall, Mr. Heater Little Buddy is a very efficient and reliable product, but it only has one heat setting, so you cannot regulate the temperature. A single one-pound gas canister lasts up to 7 hours, which is a great result.
№ 7. Texsport Portable Outdoor Propane Heater
Best fuel economy.
Texsport is yet another tent heater for outdoor and indoor use. It is among the most effective devices on the market: one medium propane tank lasts for up to 7 hours! This device puts out infrared heat, so you can use it to get warmed up immediately. Unfortunately, it barely produces any radiant heat, which means that it will not work well in medium and large tents.
Among other disadvantages of Texsport Portable is the unstable construction. The device is pretty fragile. You can easily tip it over, so be careful and do not leave it running overnight. Moreover, there are no safety sensors at all. I wish it had a tip protection automatic shutoff even if it would make the device more expensive. Right now, it is too dangerous to use indoors so I rarely use it.
I recommend this heater to experienced people
Considering the lack of safety features, I can only recommend this heater to experienced people. If you are buying the first heater in your life and you have never used them before, you should look for another option. Keep in mind that this heater does not work well in large tents and you will have to monitor the oxygen level yourself. Do not use it in enclosed spaces for long time periods!
№ 8. Mr. Heater F232017 MH9BXRV Portable RV Radiant Heater
Best radiant heater.
This portable heater from Mr. Heater is aimed at medium-sized tents. It is fast and effective, but many people who bought this model, including me, have experienced the same issue. Turns out, the manufacturer produced a bunch of malfunctioning items. For some reason, the plastic housing of this heater often breaks apart because of loose screws. I had to send the received item back to the seller and wait for a replacement until I could finally try this heater.
Cheap portable heater
Fortunately, the replacement was absolutely fine. I tested it in my garage and liked its speed of heating: the device warmed up the entire room (about 600 sq. ft.) in only 10 minutes. According to the official website of the manufacturer, this device is the perfect solution for heating tents up to 225 sq. ft. and it seems to be true.
Overall, Mr. Heater F232017 is a rather cheap portable heater that can be used indoors. If you are not afraid to receive a malfunctioning item (the chances are rather high), then you should consider buying it.
№ 9. Stansport Portable Outdoor Infrared Propane Heater
This is the cheapest propane heater that I could find on the market. It is also one of the lightest — the device weighs only 2.6 pounds. It has a simple construction without any unique features. You can choose between four heat settings (the maximum power is 3100 BTU). In my opinion, the first two are too weak, so I never use them. As to fuel consumption, this heater is average. One gas canister lasts for about 4 hours of continuous heating.
Plastic seems fragile and inconvenient
Unfortunately, the price makes itself felt. The housing made from cheap plastic seems fragile and inconvenient. The device is pretty hard to transport, so I would use it only while traveling by car. Additionally, igniters stopped working after a couple of uses, so I have to use matches every time. Despite that, the device manages to quickly warm up a small tent, but there is a huge problem: high fuel consumption. Stansport Portable requires much more fuel than its counterparts. It is a decent heater for the price, but I would purchase something more reliable instead.
№ 10. Portable Gas Catalytic Heater
Best operating time.
This small catalytic heater from Martin is a reliable device for personal use. It supports standard propane cylinders. 1 lb canister is enough for nearly 7 hours of continuous burn, which is a very impressive result. Unfortunately, such a long operating time is explained by poor power. The heating surface of this device is very small, so the burner does not distribute much heat. This makes it useless for medium or average tents. Moreover, it is hard to light and adjust flame — the electronic ignition system does not work very well.
No oxygen sensors
Nevertheless, this heater works great as a hand warmer. It is also good enough for 1-person tents. Thanks to the long operation time and compact design, it is a good product for walking and camping in cold seasons.
As for safety, fuel shutoff will save you if the flame goes out, but there are no oxygen sensors. Therefore, you cannot leave it running overnight and you have to make sure that the area is well ventilated. Another thing I did not like about the device is that it does not have an underneath body extension to support the heater when using a 9 kg LPG with an adapter hose.
In conclusion, I can recommend this device as a sturdy hand warmer, but this is far from the best catalytic heater the money can buy.
Tent Heater Buying Guide
Thousands of people all over the world like to camp out during summer and spring. At the same time, most of them prefer to shelve off their tents as the winter comes around. Nobody likes freezing weather, but this does not mean you cannot fight it! The cold weather should stop you from doing things you like since you can still relish in nature with comfort. With a decent tent heater, you can significantly extend your camping days to colder months.
Cold nights in the wilderness might be creepy and disappointing, but a good tent heater will allow you to stay comfortable and enjoy your outdoor adventures. This device will guarantee that you are warm and having fun out of your off-season camping experience. Before buying a tent heater, read our short buying guide to make sure you are doing the right choice.
There are five types of tent heaters on the market. Let us take a look at them:
- Catalytic heater. It is a flameless device that produces heat with a chemical reaction instead of flame. It is absolutely safe to use in a tent and requires less fuel. Such heaters use propane but they cannot produce as much heat as traditional propane devices.
- Propane heater. It is a very powerful device that uses propane as a fuel. Most of them can be used indoors. Such devices are easy to use since you can buy propane at most gas stations.
- Butane heater. It is a gas heater that uses butane to operate. Some devices can be used with both butane and propane. Butane tent heaters are dangerous for use in enclosed space so it is not the best choice for tents.
- Kerosene heater. It works similar to propane and butane heaters, but uses kerosene as a fuel. It provides a good amount of heat, but more expensive and odorous than propane.
- Electric heater. If you have an access to a generator, the electric heater is a very good option. Such devices are cheaper and safer than gas heaters.
Plan for the weather conditions to understand what type of heater suits you the best.
How Much BTU’s Do You Need
Before buying the best tent heater, you have to determine how many BTUs you require. You have to know the size of your tent to find the minimum thermal output of a heater.
A medium tent with a floor space of 100 sq. ft. requires a 5000 BTU heater. Larger cabin tents may need a 9000 BTU device. If you want to make sure the heater will do its job properly, buy a powerful device.
How Many Gas Cylinders Do You Need
Knowing the BTU of your heater, you can figure out how much fuel do you need. The higher the BTU, the faster the gas will be consumed. Some devices are powered by only 1lb propane canisters, while others can run from bigger tanks (but you might have to buy an extension hose and regulators). A big tank should be more than enough for a whole week, but small canisters last for about 5 hours.
If you want to make your cold-weather camping comfortable, you have to buy a tent heater. A good device will keep you warm and cozy throughout the night. I like hunting and ice fishing so I have personally tried many tent heaters. Judging from my own experience, I picked the best products listed on Amazon to help you buy a high-quality product. Choose a tent heater using my product reviews and the buying guide to stay warm in cold weather!
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