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Last updated: July 22, 2021
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If you want to enjoy outdoor adventures without risking frostbite, a tent heater should be a crucial piece of kit for your pack. Unfortunately, with so many options on the market, choosing the best heater for your requirements can be a little daunting. Fortunately, we’re here to help with our guide to help you make your purchase decision.
Our research team has assessed a wide variety of tent heater models and looked through different heater types with different features (dimensions, weights, heating areas, fuel consumption, and other important factors) to determine the best on the market. Most tent heaters are designed for camping use, but this doesn’t mean that they all offer the same functionality and performance. Therefore, it is important to look at all the features, specifications, and output to choose the best model for your requirements.
Top 10 Tent Heaters Review 2020
In our reviews, we’ve looked at the different types of tent heaters, sizes, weight, power output, and safety features. Each of these factors will influence your choice of tent heaters for your outdoor adventures.
Our team has compiled a list of some of the best tent heaters on the market. Our research team has not only looked at the features of each tent heater but also user feedback and manufacturer information. This data has allowed us to create in-depth reviews, tables, and a Buying Guide to help you make your informed purchase decision and determine the best tent heater for your specific requirements.
The liquid propane heater of the Mr. Heater MH9BX connects directly to a cylinder, making it an ideal solution to heat cold-weather tents. This portable heater is suitable for heating tents up to 225 square feet with a perfectly engineered size to BTU ratio that is augmented with a folding handle to provide maximum output and retain minimal footprint.
This heater features a swivel regulator to allow you to adapt use from disposable cylinders to remote gas supplies using a hose and filter. The model features a Piezo sparking mechanism, so all you need to do is rotate and push the knob to pilot, and the mechanism takes care of everything else. There is also an accidental tip-over safety and ODS (oxygen depletion sensor) to ensure comfort and safety. Whether you’re in a cabin or a large tent, you don’t need to worry about causing a fire if you accidentally knock the heater while you’re sleeping. The sensor will automatically shut off the heater if it is tipped over, the unit will also automatically shut off when low oxygen levels are detected.
The MH9BX is rated for 4,000 or 9,000 BTU per hour and features hi low heat settings. It can run off a one-pound cylinder or be connected to a 20-pound cylinder using an optional hose and filter.
The Mr. Heater MH12B is considered one of the most popular and best propane tent heater models on the market. This portable propane heater works quietly and can heat up to 300 square feet which makes it a nice option for any medium-sized instant tent. There is a swivel regulator to allow you to connect to a one-pound propane canister directly. You can also connect to a 20-pound cylinder with the optional kit. The MH12B is also easy to use. Like the other models in the Mr. Heater line, the MH12B is simple to ignite, by just pushing down the start knob. The MH2B provides up to 12,000 BTU of heating power per hour, with two heat settings.
This heater also has an impressive safety feature suite, with automatic shut down if the oxygen level drops thanks to the Oxygen Depletion sensor. Since the MH12B works using propane, there is no need for an electric output, making it more flexible for all camping trips and outdoor adventures.
Why did it make our list?
What is not ideal about it?
Users report pilot light issues in windy conditions
The OPOLAR ceramic space heater is quick heating for instant warmth on all your outdoor adventures. Ceramic space heaters are fast to heat without open coils to produce long tasting, abundant heat. This model is equipped with three heater modes with fan and adjustable thermostat. You can set the thermostat to your heating preference, and the heater will automatically switch on and off to maintain a consistent heat to help you stay warm and toasty.
Another reason why the OPOLAR is a contender for the best heater for any camping tent is that it is not only easy to use, but it has low noise operation. Operating at just 30 dB, the OPOLAR will not disturb your sleep, making it ideal for nature camping or hunting expeditions. You can easily select your preferred temperature using the low or high heat setting, adjusting the intensity for your optimum comfort.
The OPOLAR also features sensor technology to protect you against overheating and tipping over. The unit will automatically shut off the unit, if it tips forward or backward or if the sensor detects that any of the parts have started to overheat. Despite this impressive performance, the OPOLAR has a sleek design that offers great portability, providing powerful warmth without dominating the space. For all of these reasons, it is easy to see why the OPOLAR is the best compact electric heater for tent trips or other outdoor adventures.
Another highly rated member of the Mr. Heater family is the MH18B Big Buddy. As the name suggests, the Big Buddy is the larger brother to the Little Buddy providing 4,000 to 18,000 BTU of radiant heat. This liquid propane heater can be connected to two, one-pound cylinders to heat enclosed spaces up to 450 square feet, which means it’s great for a 6- or even 8-person tent. This also makes it one of the best tent heater models for cabins.
The MH18B features an integrated fan to increase the heating capacity potential, blending convection style heating with radiant heat to ensure maximum comfort. There are two swivel regulators to adapt your usage from the disposable cylinders to remote gas supplies using an optional single hose and filter.
Like the other Mr. Heater models, the MH18B features an integrated Piezo spark mechanism to allow you just to push and rotate the ignition knob to light the unit. There is also an ODS (oxygen depletion sensor and safety shutoff for accidental tip-over.
The unit does require 4x D batteries or an AC adapter to run the fan, and they which are sold separately. The heater features high, medium, and low heat settings that deliver 18000, 9000, and 4000 BTU per hour, respectively.
The Honeywell HHF360V offers excellent safety features, energy savings, and 360-degree heat for optimum comfort. This unit has been designed to provide all-around warmth, making it ideal for small to medium-sized spaces like cabins and tent cots. The fan optimizes heat output, and there are easy to use manual controls. With two heat settings and an adjustable thermostat, you can ensure that you enjoy your optimum comfort level on any of your outdoor adventures.
The HHF360V features a cool-touch handle for easy movement, overheat safety protection, and 360º tip protection. This means that if the unit is tipped in any direction, the safety system will shut off the heater to maintain safety.
While the HHF360V is not well suited to minimalist camping, with just a tent and a couple of sleeping bags, it is ideal for an RV, where you have access to a convenience outlet. There is also the additional reassurance that Honeywell have designed the HHF360V to not only comply with, but also exceed all of the current safety standards, so you can simply relax and enjoy your camping adventure. Weighing three pounds, with a sturdy base, the HHF360V is an ideal option for hitting the road in your RV or enjoying outdoor activities in a cabin. This makes this heater a serious contender for the best heater for ice fishing or hunting cabins.
This is a great pick as the best budget tent heater for camping, simply because of its modest price tag and petite proportions. This mini heater measures approximately six inches in height, so it is ideal for placing on a table or desk. While this may not deliver the heating power of some of the other heaters featured on our list, this small ceramic heater is ideal for solo camping trips, where you can’t carry a great deal of equipment and want to stay cozy. Despite the mini size, this heater can offer good comfort and warmth within just seconds of being switched on.
The AmazonBasics ceramic personal mini heater is available in four different colors, making it attractive and budget friendly. It heats up quickly, providing decent comfort in smaller tents and spaces. Users report being impressed with the heating punch this heater can pack. The heater is approximately the size of a medium coffee cup, so you can take it on any of your outdoor adventures and even use it in drafty offices. There are no heat settings, simply an on/off switch, so if you prefer greater heat control, you may be better suited to another option from this list.
Unlike the MH9BX listed above, the MH4B Little Buddy is designed for smaller spaces. The unit connects to a one-pound cylinder directly to heat smaller enclosed spaces up to 95 square feet. The integrated handle makes transportation easier, and the base is designed for a minimal footprint. Like its big brother, the Little Buddy features a Piezo sparking mechanism integrated into the design. This means that lighting the unit is as simple as pushing and holding the ignition button. There is also sensor technology in the form of an ODS (oxygen depletion sensor) and safety shut off. So, if you accidentally kick the unit when sleeping, the sensor will recognize it has been tipped over and automatically shut off to prevent fires.
This unit has an output of 3,800 BTU per hour and connects directly to one-pound disposable propane cylinders. This provides clean, odor-free and quiet operation for any camping trip or outdoor adventure, making it the best small tent heater on the market.
Another attractive feature of the MH4B is that this model features a thermostat. Unlike other models that simply offer a high-low heat setting, you can progressively adjust the temperature as desired to keep your tent feeling warm and cozy in any conditions. With the 3,000 BTU output and one-pound cylinder, you can expect 5.6 hours of consistent heat to ensure that you feel comfortable and warm.
The Lasko CD09250 ceramic heater is another small model that is ideal for carrying on your outdoor adventures. The model features an uncomplicated panel with two knobs to control the heating output and choose from three heat settings. While there is no LED display, you can easily select your optimum comfort level. With a built-in carry handle and a total weight of 3.7 pounds, the CD09250 is easy to transport, but there is the reassurance of built-in safety features including thermal overload protection to prevent fires caused by overheating.
While the CD09250 is basic, it offers reliability, warming up quickly, particularly in smaller spaces. The heater is also quite silent at work, so you don’t need to worry about disturbing the local wildlife. One of the best things about this heater is that it will not overheat. When the unit reaches the temperature you’ve set on the thermostat knob, it will automatically shut off. If the ambient temperature drops, the CD09250 will automatically switch back on to keep you feeling warm and toasty.
In short, this powerful small heater is ideal for use in the home or on your outdoor adventures.
The Rosewill RHAH-13001 is designed to keep you feeling warm and cozy at home or on your camping trips. The small design allows you to set it on a table or put it in an unobtrusive spot in your campsite, while the weight of 3.7 pounds and built-in handle make it convenient and easy to transport. As a ceramic heater, you can be sure that the RHAH-13001 will warm your space quickly. There are two heat settings with an adjustable thermostat to configure the heat settings to your preferences easily and desired temperature. The RHAH-13001 also features a Fan Only option to provide air circulation to keep your camp space feeling fresh without additional heat.
Despite this impressive heating performance, the housing of the RHAH-13001 stays cool to the touch to avoid accidental burns, and there is an overheat cut off and safety tip-over built-in to enhance safety. This means that you can feel reassured that there is no risk of fire from overheating or accidentally knocking the heater as you sleep.
While the RHAH-13001 does require an electric hook up, it has a consumption of just 1500 watts, and you don’t need to worry about maximum run times or waking up feeling cold on your outdoor adventures.
While it may lack the design frills of other tent heater models on the market, the Texsport Portable Outdoor heater makes up for this with superb functionality. This heater is highly portable and quick-acting to warm up your campsite in next to no time. The support frame provides great stability, so you’ll need to work hard to try and tip it over, and there are aluminum reflector plates to intensify the output and distribute the heat effectively.
The Texsport can be connected to 16-ounce propane cylinders with a consumption of 2,890 BTU per hour and a run time of up to 6 hours at maximum BTU. Despite this impressive performance, the Texsport weighs just one-pound, making it ultra-portable for setting up camp in more remote locations.
The Texsport features a durable stainless-steel burner, and the aluminum reflectors are protected with a safety grid. The model also features a safety shut off valve if the fuel gets low and the flame goes out to prevent accidents. While it may lack some of the bells and whistles offered with some of the other tent heaters on the market, the Texsport is simple to use, easy to transport and can provide heat outdoors or inside a tent, providing you open up vents for adequate air circulation.
Why are we impressed?
Safety shut-off valve
What negatives must you be aware of?
Heater head not adjustable
Things to Consider
Whether you’re camping with friends or out in the wilds, it can be a delightful experience when you feel comfortable. Unfortunately, cooler temperatures can feel distinctly chilly when you only have a tent to protect you from the elements. Fortunately, there are tent heaters to help you enjoy camping at any time of the year without risking frostbite. With so many different options on the market, we’ve compiled a buying guide to help you choose the best option for your camping needs.
Features to consider while choosing a tent heater
There are a number of features that can help you to choose the best tent camping heater for your needs. This includes:
Tip-over protection; this is one of the most important features of any tent heater to prevent fires. This safety feature automatically turns off the heater if it tips over, which can be crucial if your heater is in a place where it may be kicked or knocked as you sleep.
Automatic cutoff. Many manufacturers say that tent heaters can be used overnight, but generally, it is a good idea to avoid sleeping with a heater on. So, it is a good idea to look for a tent heater that has an automatic cut off feature. This will ensure that the heater automatically switches off if there has been a certain number of hours of uninterrupted use.
Overheating protection; A temperature sensor ensures that as soon as any components inside the unit start to get too hot, the entire unit will automatically shut down. This can be a life-saving feature for any camper.
Most tent heaters can be easily divided into one of two categories; propane or electric. Propane is the most common outdoor tent heaters on the market. The size and shape will depend on your preferences and requirements, but there are usually safety features for automatic turn off in case of low fuel, low oxygen, or tipping over.
Electric tent heaters are simple to use, but you will need an electric hook up or power supply. Since it uses electricity as a fuel source, you don’t need to worry about gas canisters or burn times. While you may not have access to electricity when in the wild, they can be a great option if you are on a site, where an electric hookup is provided.
Another important consideration when looking for the best tent heater on the market is the heating area. The size of your tent heater is crucial, as if you buy one too small you could end up feeling the cold, but too large and you’ll need to lug additional canisters of fuel. Most tent heater power outputs are measured in BTUs, and there is a formula to calculate the appropriate size for your needs.
You should measure the length, width, and height of your tent and multiply it by fractions of 2 to 8. If you have concerns about the outdoor temperature, you should subtract the outdoor temp from your desired temperature and multiply it by the cubic feet measurement of your tent.
You can use this number as a benchmark for the power output of any tent heaters you’re considering. Ideally, the tent heater should have an output that is equal or higher than the calculated number.
Weight and Dimensions
You will also need to consider the weight and dimensions of your ideal tent heater. If you are traveling to a remote site, every pound in your pack counts, so you won’t want to choose a heater that is too bulky or heavy to carry for a longer distance. You also need to think about the weight of propane cylinders that you will need to carry. If you’re camping for several days, you may need multiple canisters that will need to be factored into the overall weight of your pack.
Unless you have unlimited resources, price is often a massive consideration for any camping enthusiast. Fortunately, there are tent heaters to suit all budgets. Even if you have a particularly restrictive budget, there are some great budget picks, such as the AmazonBasics, which also has small dimensions, making it easier to carry.
One of the most common concerns about tent heaters is whether a propane heater is safe to use inside a tent. Most propane tent heaters are designed for this specific purpose, with some excellent safety features to ensure your comfort. However, there are some basic precautions that you can take to be sure that you remain safe on your camping adventures. The most important of these is to ensure that you open up some of the vents in your tent. This will allow some fresh air to enter the tent and any gas to escape. If you have concerns, it is also a good idea to carry a carbon monoxide detector in your camping kit. This will create an audible alarm to avoid any accidents.
Unfortunately, the selection of battery-powered tent heaters is extremely limited. While a battery tent heater may seem appealing, even if you can find one, you’re likely to find that it doesn’t offer a very high heat output.
Unfortunately, there is a risk of carbon monoxide issues when using propane. If your propane tent heater is not operating correctly, carbon monoxide can be produced. Carbon monoxide is poisonous at high levels and odorless, so you need to ensure that you remain safe. As we discussed above, it is good safety practice to have proper ventilation in your tent and carry a carbon monoxide detector.
Choosing a tent heater can be a little daunting, but we have handpicked some excellent examples to help you make your purchase decision. One of the leading contenders is the Mr. Heater Hunting Buddy, which offers great overall performance for most outdoor adventures, while the OPOLAR is an excellent ceramic electric model if you have access to an electric hook up.
However, a standout as the best tent heater has to be our editor’s choice Mr. Heater Portable Buddy, MH9BX. This impressive heater may lack a thermostat, but offers some innovative safety features including automatic shut off if the sensor technology detects tipping or low oxygen. The MH9BX model is also compatible with larger cylinders for additional flexibility and a rating of up to 9,000 BTU per hour. This should be ample output to ensure that you remain warm and cozy on any outdoor adventure.