Keep Your Tent Warm: Here’s the Top 9 Safe Tent Heaters for Camping

by | Oct 27, 2020

Camping can be an amazing experience that allows you to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and retreat into nature.

So, whether you’re an experienced camping aficionado or you’re prepping for your first-weekend trip, a little extra warmth won’t go amiss.

Sometimes a tent Heater can really make the difference for your trip; here we take a look at our pick for the nine best tent Heaters on the market right now and what you should look out for in a safe tent heater.

The Safest Tent Heater for Camping: MR Heater MH18b Propane Heater 

Starting with our pick for the best Tent Heater, the Mr. Heater MH18B Propane Heater really sets the bar high. A stylish, affordable bit of kit, the MH18B offers three settings of 4000, 9000, and 1800 BTU (British Thermal Unit) per hour, allowing you to regulate your heat easily.

At 16.4lbs, this propane heater is certainly portable enough for all your camping trips. It’s’ compact size makes storage and transportation easy as well. Claimed to be the “most popular portable propane heater in North America,” it’s not hard to see why when you’re heating up to 450 sq. ft. on a cold winter’s night!

Mr. Heater MH18B Propane Heater, Red
873 Reviews
Mr. Heater MH18B Propane Heater, Red
  • 4, 000, 9, 000, or 18, 000 BTU per hour
  • Heats up to 450 sq. ft.
  • Hi-Med-Low heat settings
  • Automatic low oxygen shut-off system (ODS) and accidental tip-over safety shut-off
  • THE USE OF UN-AUTHORIZED ACCESSORIES/ATTACHMENTS WITH THIS HEATER ARE EXPRESSLY PROHIBITED, MAY CAUSE SERIOUS INJURY, AND WILL VOID THE .

In terms of safety, this model has two main systems. The first of which is the Oxygen Depletion Sensor (ODS), which shuts the system off if Oxygen levels drop too much and allows them to rise, this makes sleeping with this heater safe and stress-free.

Secondly, there is an accidental tip-over shut off system, meaning the heater shuts off if it’s knocked over, which really gave us further peace of mind.

This heater is really easy to use as you only have to push and turn one knob to light it thanks to the built-in Piezo spark mechanism. Simple, user-friendly touches like this make it perfect for anyone at any level to use.

In all, the MH18B is an easy to use, safe and reliable tent heater, one that we’d really recommend, which is why it claims the top spot on our list.

 

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The Camco 57331 Olympian Wave-3 is a slight, stylish tent heater; the Olympian weighs just 6.89 pounds meaning it is ultra-portable and can even be wall-mounted.

Camco claims that in the right conditions, the Olympian can heat up to 100 square feet of space, with a range of 1600 – 3000 BTU. Whilst this may be suitable for milder nights, 3000 BTU may not be enough for some on colder winter nights, and so the Wave-3 is perhaps more suited for use as a secondary heater or for use in Spring or the Fall.

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Whatever you’re using it for, though, the Wave-3 will do a great job at keeping you warm with its highly efficient catalytic heating, which Camco claims to be 99.98% efficient!

Compact in size, the Wave-3 does not have a ceramic pad. Instead, it has a metal grate, which allows for oxygen to mix safely and quietly with propane. As long as it’s kept free of contaminants, it will give a quiet and fast heat source that’s perfect for supplementary heating on your camping trip.

Safety-wise, this tent heater comes equipped with a 100% “safety shut off valve,” which will prevent any fuel discharge or accidental ignitions. Its Piezo sparker is said to last for up to 20,000 times, which is plenty for most of us!

This heater doesn’t claim to be a perfect main heat source, but it does claim to be a highly efficient secondary heater, and it is just that, which is why it makes it one of our favorite tent heaters.

 

The Best Mini-Heater: F232000 MH9BX Buddy Heater 

Third on our list is another Tent Heater from Mr. Heater, the F232000 MH9BX Buddy Heater. This 4000 – 9000 BTU heater is like a mini-version of our top pick.

Delivering half to maximum BTUs as our #1, the Buddy heats spaces up to 225 square feet and weighs only 9 pounds, making it very lightweight.

Mr. Heater F232000 MH9BX Buddy 4,000-9,000-BTU Indoor-Safe Portable Propane Radiant Heater, Red-Black
8,060 Reviews
Mr. Heater F232000 MH9BX Buddy 4,000-9,000-BTU Indoor-Safe Portable Propane Radiant Heater, Red-Black
  • 4,000- to 9,000-BTU radiant heater for spaces up to 225 square feet. Approved for indoor/outdoor use; clean-burning; nearly 100-percent efficient
  • When operating the heater at altitudes over 7,000 FT above sea level the heater may shut off.
  • Auto shut-off if tipped over, if pilot light goes out, or if detects low oxygen levels. Fuel Consumption/Burn Rate (Gal/Hr) at 4000 BTU = 0.044 Gal/Hr, at 9000 BTU = 0.099 Gal/Hr
  • Fold-down handle; swivel-out regulator; connects to propane tank (not included); Run Time (Hrs at Max BTU): 3 Hours
  • THE USE OF UN-AUTHORIZED ACCESSORIES/ATTACHMENTS WITH THIS HEATER ARE EXPRESSLY PROHIBITED, MAY CAUSE SERIOUS INJURY, AND WILL VOID THE WARRANTY.

The Buddy uses the same two safety features as it’s big brother model, making it safe to use, giving you total confidence that you can safely sleep with it on.

Unlike the Olympian Wave-3, which is primarily a secondary use heater, the Buddy is perfect for use as your primary heat source with up to 9000 BTUs, a compact and stylish design, and the ability to use cylinders or rig up a hose to a remote gas supply.

The main issue, identified by Mr. Heater themselves, is that this product cannot be used at altitudes greater than 7,000ft above sea level as it will shut off, so if you want a heater for your mountain expedition, perhaps look elsewhere on this list.

Using this tent heater couldn’t be easier as it utilizes the same Piezo sparking mechanism as our top pick, and again uses only one knob for ignition.

This heater will suit most people just fine as it’s lightweight, stylish, and easy to use; however, if you’re looking for some high altitude adventures, this may not be the best heater to go for.

 

The Best Kerosene Heater: Dura Heat DH2304S 

The Dura Heat DH2304S knocks the other heaters out of the water in terms of BTU with a staggering 23,800BTU! The Dura Heat DH2304S gives a 360-degree radius for heat output and runs on 2 C batteries, which are included.

This battery-operated heater is easy to put together, and with 23,800 BTUs of heat, heating a large tent with this thing won’t be an issue, and DuraHeat claims that one tank of fuel will provide up to 12 hours of warmth! Perfect for a winter’s night camping!

Save $12.34
Dura Heat DH2304S 23,800 BTU Indoor Kerosene Heater
511 Reviews
Dura Heat DH2304S 23,800 BTU Indoor Kerosene Heater
  • Powerful 23,800 BTU design
  • New no-lift heat chamber minimizes startup odor
  • Operates 8-12 hours on one tank of fuel
  • Projects heat in a 360 degree radius
  • Protective grill surrounds hot surface areas

At 27.7 pounds, it’s not as portable as some of the others on our list, as it’s quite a large heater in itself, so it may not be perfect for everyone. However, if you plan on setting up camp in one spot for your trip, then there’s no reason why this wouldn’t work for you!

At the higher end of the price spectrum, the DH2304S produces both light and heat, so it may not be suitable overnight; however, with close to 24,000BTUs of heat coming out, you’ll probably sleep well anyway.

In terms of safety, a protective metal grill sits around the outside of the heater, protecting the heating element and yourself. With the new “no-lift” heat chamber, there should be minimal odor; however, we found that an odor was still slightly noticeable, but not enough to put us off.

Overall, this powerful heater chucks out a great amount of warmth, but you’ll already be warm before you even turn it on after carrying it to camp!

 

Little Buddy MH4B 

The fifth heater we looked is again in the Mr. Heater range with the Little Buddy MH4B, a lightweight, nifty little heater. The third, but not final, Mr. Heater Tent Heater in this list, the Little Buddy weighs only 5 pounds, making it the lightest on the list so far, and therefore the most portable! The Little Buddy easily clips onto your backpack, and at 5lbs, you won’t even notice it’s there.

Giving a maximum 3800BTU heat, the Little Buddy heats up smaller rooms up to 95 square feet easily and gives a 45-degree heating angle, giving heat right where you need it. Whilst the 3800BTU is ideal for colder spring or fall nights; it may be best suited to life as a secondary heater come winter.

Mr. Heater F215100 MH4B Little Buddy 3800-BTU Indoor Safe Propane Heater, Medium
2,495 Reviews
Mr. Heater F215100 MH4B Little Buddy 3800-BTU Indoor Safe Propane Heater, Medium
  • Indoor-safe portable propane heater for rooms up to 95 square feet. THIS UNIT IS NOT INTENDED FOR GOLF CART USE OR FOR MOTORIZED VEHICLES.
  • Continuous odor-free, 45-degree heating angle. Maximum Elevation (Ft) 7000 Feet. Automatic low oxygen shut-off system (ODS). Perfect solution for heating small enclosed spaces like tents up to 95...
  • Simple on/off buttons; uses 1-pound disposable propane cylinder (not included). Run time at minimum btu and maximum btu is 5.6 hours. Do­ not­ operate­ heater­ in­ any ­moving­ vehicle. This...
  • Low-oxygen sensor and accidental tip-over switch with auto shut-off for safety.THE USE OF UN-AUTHORIZED ACCESSORIES/ATTACHMENTS WITH THIS HEATER ARE EXPRESSLY PROHIBITED, MAY CAUSE SERIOUS INJURY, AND...
  • Recommended for emergency heat, tents, campers, workshops, job sites, porches, patios, decks, garages, storage buildings, picnics, tailgate parties, construction trailers, sporting events, barns,...

Using the Little Buddy couldn’t be more simple as it does away with the knob seen on the larger Mr. Heater models and opts for an easy on/off button instead. The main thing that is carried over from the larger models is the fantastic safety aspects, with an Oxygen Depletion Sensor and Accidental Tip-Over shut off valve.

Using this heater as a small, portable heat source in the spring or autumn will give you the most satisfaction as in winter, it may be best suited to the role of backup given its small size.

 

The Energy Efficient Camping Heater: Honeywell HHF360V Fan Heater 

The Honeywell HHF360V Fan Heater puts out 5118BTUs. The Honeywell is an ideal plugin heater with an adjustable thermostat and two heat settings.

The fan heater puts out heat at a 360 radius, warming your whole space equally whilst using only minimal energy to do so. With it being a fan heater, you don’t have to wait patiently for the heat to radiate out, it simply circulates the hot air around your tent, making it fast and efficient.

Honeywell 360 Degree Surround Heater with Fan Forced Technology – Space Heater with Surround Heat Output and Two Heat Settings – Energy Efficient Portable Heater
1,568 Reviews
Honeywell 360 Degree Surround Heater with Fan Forced Technology – Space Heater with Surround Heat Output and Two Heat Settings – Energy Efficient Portable Heater
  • 360 DEGREE ALL AROUND WARMTH – Use the Honeywell 360 Degree Surround Heater in small to mid sized rooms for additional comfort. This space heater features an adjustable thermostat as well as 2...
  • SAFETY MATTERS: This small heater offers multiple safety options including a 360-degree tip over switch, 2x overheat protection*, an auto-off timer option and an easy grab, cool touch carry...
  • INCREASE YOUR COMFORT – Always be comfortable, no matter what season it is. This personal heater has fan forced technology and provides 360-degree, all around warmth. As a small space heater,...
  • SMART SAVINGS: A portable heater is an easy way to add warmth to any space. By turning down your whole house thermostat a few degrees and heating the room you are in, a space heater for...
  • HONEYWELL QUALITY: Help improve heating and energy savings in your home, bedroom or office using a Honeywell portable heater. Honeywell offers whole room heaters, tower heaters and oscillating...

Weighing only 3 pounds, anyone can transport this heater, providing you have a power source for it. The heater is smart with its energy consumption as once it reaches the desired temperature, it shuts off, restarting again once that temperature drops.

In terms of safety, the heater has overheat protection, meaning that if it begins to overheat, it will shut itself off to prevent any damage. Much like the Mr. Heater models, the Honeywell will also switch itself off if it’s tipped over, making it safe for overnight use.

If you have any concerns regarding any electrical faults, the Honeywell comes with a 3-year warranty, so this heater should be suitable for everyone’s needs so long as you have an electrical hook-up or a power source.

Again, due to the power source requirement, this heater is best suited to those staying at campsites with electrical hookups.

 

The Heater For Indoor and Outdoor Use: Mr. Heater F274800 MH18B 

The penultimate Mr. Heater model on this list is the Mr. Heater F274800 MH18B. Much like #1 on our list, the F274800 produces between 4000 to 18000BTU, burning at almost 100% efficiency, and like all other Mr. Heater products, it comes with ODS and accidental tip-over safety as standard.

The F274800 is ideal for camping trips as it’s really lightweight, weighing just 11 pounds and doesn’t require electricity, unlike the Honeywell at #6. This tent heater will heat up spaces easily, up to 450 sq. ft., which makes it really ideal for tent use.

Mr. Heater F274800 MH18B, Portable Propane Heater,Red,Regular
2,148 Reviews
Mr. Heater F274800 MH18B, Portable Propane Heater,Red,Regular
  • When operating the heater at altitudes over 7,000 FT above sea level the heater may shut off. Maximum Hours Of Operation- 220.0
  • Auto shut-off if tipped over, if pilot light goes out, or if detects low oxygen levels
  • Low, medium and high heat level control knob for steady temperatures; connects to propane tank (not included). Note- Due to recent governmental changes to import tariffs, Mr. Heater has removed the...
  • THE USE OF UN-AUTHORIZED ACCESSORIES/ATTACHMENTS WITH THIS HEATER ARE EXPRESSLY PROHIBITED, MAY CAUSE SERIOUS INJURY, AND WILL VOID THE WARRANTY.
  • 4,000- to 18,000-BTU radiant heater for spaces up to 450 square feet. Approved for indoor/outdoor use; clean-burning; nearly 100-percent efficient

Again like the other Mr. Heater models discussed, you can easily run the heater off of propane cylinders or a remote connection, just grab a hose and filter and away you go.

Usage of the tent heater is similar to other Mr. Heater models of this size, with a simple knob to push and turn to ignite. In terms of its build, the F274800 is a really sturdy piece of kit, protected on each corner, and with a large handle, you don’t need to worry about it being damaged whilst you’re traveling!The Energy Efficient Camping Heater: Honeywell HHF360V Fan Heater

The only issue is, much like the Buddy heater, it cannot be used over 7000 ft. above sea level so again, if you’re planning some high altitude camping, think about choosing another model from this list.

 

Japan's Finest Tent Heater: Sengoku HeatMate 

The Sengoku HeatMate is a 10,000BTU Kerosene burning heater capable of heating spaces up to 380 sq. Ft. in size.

Sengoku claims that you can expect to get 14 hours of heat from the 1.2-gallon fuel tank, we found it to be closer to 12 hours, but either way, it’s certainly more than enough to see you through until morning.

Sengoku HeatMate 10,000-BTU Portable Indoor/Outdoor Omni-Radiant Kerosene Heater, OR-77
572 Reviews
Sengoku HeatMate 10,000-BTU Portable Indoor/Outdoor Omni-Radiant Kerosene Heater, OR-77
  • Perfect for emergency heating or zone heating of rooms up to 380 square feet
  • The large capacity 1.2 gallon/4.5 liter fuel tank will keep you warm for up to 14 hours on one fill
  • Features an automatic safety shut off, easy push button start (no matches or electricity required), EZ Flame adjuster, tip over switch, and protective safety grills.
  • This heater is also great for outdoor usage on patio, deck, gazebo and other recreational areas
  • It’s new burner design protects from the wind and ensures proper performance.

The HeatMate benefits from automatic shut-off safety features, as well as easy to use flame adjuster and a really smart looking metal casing. Weighing in at 20.3lbs, it’s by no means the lightest heater on this list, but not overly heavy either.

Included with the heater is a siphon pump, to avoid spills and mess, and also a heat gauge so you can really keep an eye on the temperature!

Setting up the HeatMate was very straightforward; just attach the metal guard, the handle, and the stabilizers at the bottom and off you go.

At 10,000BTU, this heater should provide ample heat as the primary heater in your tent, and with a 2-year warranty, any teething issues can be easily dealt with.

Our main concern was with the chimney. We found it to be fairly loose, not overly so, but just enough that once you’ve found your perfect flame, any knock to the chimney may alter it. Again, not a huge issue, but a slightly tighter fit would be ideal.

 

The Rotating Tent Heater: Mr. Heater 540 

Propping up this list is the Mr. Heater 540-degree tank top tent heater. This tank topper easily mounts onto a 20lb cylinder to give out an amazing 29000 – 45000BTU heat!

Weighing 5.5lbs, if you can transport a 20lbs cylinder, then this will be a negligible addition. Burning at 45000BTU, you can expect up to 8 hours of warmth from this 360-degree burner head, which also can rotate on a 180-degree bracket, giving warmth in any direction.

Mr. Heater Corporation 29,000-45,000 BTU 540 Degree Tank Top, Multi
1,361 Reviews
Mr. Heater Corporation 29,000-45,000 BTU 540 Degree Tank Top, Multi
  • 360 degree burner head
  • 30,000 - 45,000 BTU tank top heater
  • Push button te Valve
  • Safety shut off tip over switch
  • Mounts to a 20 lb. Cylinder.180° Multi-Directional Bracket

Price-wise, this tent heater is pretty mid-range, and so providing you can get affordable 20lbs cylinders, you’re onto a winner. In terms of safety, it has the Oxygen Depletion Sensor and the tip-over shut off switch as standard to save you from worrying!

It’s not a fan-driven heater and so relies on natural convection, but when burning 45000BTUs, you’re guaranteed to feel the heat. Its design is smart and simple, with a neat metal framing around the burner and metal bracket to attach to the cylinder.

We did notice the heat adjustment knob becoming a little loose, but we were able to tighten it again.

The Tank Top heater is a curveball in this list, but at 45000BTUs and its stylish design, it’s certainly one to consider.

 

Staying Safe: A Guide to Safe Heaters for Tents

When you’re out camping, it’s important to stay warm, particularly if you’re camping in colder conditions. Heaters help to achieve this, but keeping an eye out when you’re using a heater to make sure there is no risk of a fire occurring is very important.

Of course, when using a heater, there is always a slight risk, but by taking the right precautions and by using the right kind of heater, you can ensure that your camping experiences are both warm and safe!

Using a heater in a tent is safest when you choose an electric heater that has the right safety features or a catalytic heater with the CSA 4.98 certification. Another important thing to remember is to place a heater that is far enough away from the tent’s sides and away from clothing or bedding.

 

Which Heaters Are Safe to Use in a Tent?

You’ll most likely encounter the two main types of heaters when looking at heaters:  electric and gas heaters. Both types of heaters have their own pros and cons, which will help you decide which type of heater to go for.

 

Pros and Cons of Electric Heaters

Some pros of electric heaters include the fact that they consume almost no oxygen, work without the need for a purchase of propane or other fuel tanks, and do not produce carbon monoxide.

Despite the positives, electric heaters do require an electrical outlet, which may not always be available when camping.

If you do have an electric source, then you’ll probably still require an extension cord, which means you’ll have to figure out how to get an extension cord through your tent. Electric heaters also require a large amount of energy, which is an important consideration for many.

 

Pros and Cons of Gas Heaters

One of the biggest pros of gas heaters is their portability. Unlike an electric heater, you can use a gas heater anywhere, and you don’t require electricity to heat them. You’ll just need to carry the heater and a gas supply to use them.

Gas heaters also produce a lot of heat and will warm up a small space quickly, which is great if you’re on a camping trip and require quick heat.

There are some risks of gas heaters to be aware of as well. Most gas heaters vary in their ability to burn without creating carbon monoxide, while some gas heaters can even create deadly amounts of carbon monoxide.

Another thing to watch out for with gas heaters is that they can deplete oxygen in closed spaces. Most gas heaters come with an oxygen depletion sensor for this very reason, so make sure if you’re buying a gas heater that it does come with a sensor.

 

Which Heaters Are Deadly to Use in a Tent?

While some heaters are safe to use in a tent, there are some that can be potentially deadly. The first thing to remember is that any heater can be potentially deadly, but some more so than others.

 

Combustion Based Heaters

Any type of heater that burns a substance for heat isn’t suitable to use as a heat source inside a tent. Some canvas tents are ok to use combustion-based heaters in, but this is because the air is purposefully circulated to prevent the build-up of smoke in the tent. This isn’t the case with regular tents, so to avoid an accident, never use a combustion-based heater inside a tent.

 

Gas Powered Lanterns

Gas powered lanterns shouldn’t be used inside a tent. Indoor heaters are made with specific safety features, whereas gas powered lanterns are not, so to be safe don’t use them inside of a tent.

 

Oil Filled Heaters

Oil Filled heaters are great for being used indoors as they do not get hot externally or produce carbon monoxide when used properly. While this sounds good, when used inside a tent, an oil filled heat won’t fill a tent as well as radiant style heaters.

 

Used or Old Gas Heaters

You might be tempted to pick up a used or old gas heater and use it in a tent. This is not recommended. Many older gas heaters have been recalled due to carbon monoxide or body design issues. This means that they are not safe to use in tents.

Some old gas heaters were made before the 2000’s and safety standard were not as rigorous as they are now. Old gas heaters can also raise the risk of carbon monoxide leaking into the space. So if you’re going to use a gas heater inside a tent, make sure it’s a new one.

 

How Do You Know If a Tent Heater is Safe

The first thing you need to think about is whether the heater is gas or electric. You should also see if the heater is specifically designed to heat a tent. These types of heaters are generally safe to use in confined spaces, so check if the manufacturer states that the heater is safe for use in confined spaces.

You should also make sure that your heater is placed away from the edges of a tent and other flammable materials such as clothes and sleeping bags. This is particularly important if the heater is going to be on overnight.

When the heater is on, you’ll need to make sure that there is proper ventilation. This helps minimize the risk of the heater overheating, and any harmful chemicals and gasses can escape the tent without causing harm or damage.

As mentioned above, if you’re going to be using a gas heater, make sure it has an oxygen depletion sensor fitted to warn if there is depleted oxygen. The most important thing to use when using a heater inside your tent is common sense. You have to ensure that you don’t leave flammable materials nearby or let the heater overheat on a regular basis.

If you can and if your tent is warm enough then try and make sure the heater is switched off when you sleep, if you can leave it on for an hour or two before you go to sleep you should be able to ensure that your tent remains warm throughout the night without the heater being switched on.

 

Picking a Safe Tent Heater

The stakes are high when you’re picking a safe tent heater; it’s got to be safe as the risks of one not being safe can be deadly. Based on all the criteria above, our best recommendation is to go with the  Mr. Heater MH18B Propane Heater.

Not only is the heater safe to use in confined spaces, but it also has an automatic low oxygen shut off system, as well as an accidental tip-over safety shut-off.

These features make this heater safe to use and is built with safety in mind. You don’t want to take any risks when buying a tent heater, so make sure the one you do buy is safe to use, won’t overheat, and that any flammable materials are kept well out of the way.

If you’re looking for a smaller heater, then look for one that is lighter in weight, and that is portable and can be moved around easily, this is particularly useful if you’re planning on camping in different locations or if you’re heading on a multi-day trip and moving campsites.

Mr. Heater MH18B Propane Heater, Red
873 Reviews
Mr. Heater MH18B Propane Heater, Red
  • 4, 000, 9, 000, or 18, 000 BTU per hour
  • Heats up to 450 sq. ft.
  • Hi-Med-Low heat settings
  • Automatic low oxygen shut-off system (ODS) and accidental tip-over safety shut-off
  • THE USE OF UN-AUTHORIZED ACCESSORIES/ATTACHMENTS WITH THIS HEATER ARE EXPRESSLY PROHIBITED, MAY CAUSE SERIOUS INJURY, AND WILL VOID THE .

  Last update on 2020-11-29 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API.

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