The Best Kerosene Heaters: Portable and Powerful Ways to Keep Warm
If you want to beat the cold without adding a penny to your electric bill, check out our roundup of the best kerosene heaters available on the market.
The Drive and its partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links. Read more.
BY Miguel de Guzman / LAST UPDATED ON July 1, 2021
Among portable heating devices, kerosene heaters are fast becoming the preferred choice for keeping warm. Not only are they more efficient than other heat sources, but they also produce more heat, require less ventilation, and use kerosene as a fuel source, which is both cheap and readily available. In terms of heat distribution and output, they handily beat heaters that use other kinds of fuel, making them ideal for large spaces such as factories, warehouses, and construction sites.
If you're looking for reliable, instant heat for your home, office, or camping and hiking trips, check out the review below where we give a roundup of the best kerosene heaters available on the market and discuss the key features to look for.
It can heat large areas, is safe to use both indoors and outdoors, and offers enough capacity to run for 14 hours.
- Heats areas up to 1,200 square feet in size and delivers 50,000 BTUs of heating power
- Features an aluminum exterior and an industrial motor that’ll last a long time
- Has trouble lighting after extensive usage
- Some complaints about unresponsive customer service
This affordable heater delivers 23,000 BTUs of heating power and can heat spaces up to 1,000 square feet. It’ll run for up to 12 hours with its 1.9-gallon fuel tank.
- Easy to use, featuring a push-button ignition, a central knob heat adjuster, an automatic shut-off feature that activates when the unit tips over
- 360-degree protective steel cage
- It will have trouble heating large spaces
- Some users have complained that the wick leaked out a strong kerosene smell after a few hours of use.
With powerful heat from 23,800 BTUs of output, it can run from eight to 12 hours on a single tank of fuel. Projects its heat in a 360-degree radius.
- Uses a no-lift heat chamber that minimizes odors, making it a great choice for small spaces
- Protective grille surrounds the exterior
- Does not allow you to manually light with a match or long lighter
Why Trust Us
Our reviews are driven by a combination of hands-on testing, expert input, “wisdom of the crowd” assessments from actual buyers, and our own expertise. We always aim to offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.
Benefits of Kerosene Heaters
- Powerful source of heat. Kerosene heaters can provide up to 135,000 BTUs per gallon of fuel. That's significantly higher than propane heaters, which only provide up to 91,800 BTUs per gallon.
- Low cost of fuel. Kerosene only costs about $2.25 per gallon, which is about $0.75 less than the average cost of propane at $3 per gallon. It is also significantly lower than electric heat.
- Kerosene has a long lifespan. When stored properly, kerosene can last a very long time. In plastic containers, kerosene can last about a year. In metal containers, kerosene can last up to 10 years. It should always be stored in a cool, dry place.
Types of Kerosene Heaters
Most kerosene heaters are portable to some extent—some more so than others. Kerosene heaters made for indoor environments will typically weigh in the range of 15 to 30 pounds and have handles that allow them to be transported. Large kerosene heaters made for spaces such as warehouses and factories, on the other hand, will be fitted with wheels for easy portability.
Convective kerosene heaters are meant for heating large and well-ventilated areas. They're typically cylindrical in shape and have a grille in place to protect the exterior surface. The heater's design consists of a fuel tank, wick, and combustion chamber. The wick absorbs the fuel and feeds it to the combustion chamber to produce warm air. Since convective heaters don't have replaceable fuel tanks, refueling will typically require the use of a siphon pump.
Radiant heaters are boxy in shape and are designed for small spaces. Like convective heaters, they use a wick and combustion chamber—but unlike convective heaters, they use a reflector to direct heat outward. Many radiant heater options have replaceable fuel tanks to make refueling as simple as swapping out the tank, but some do not and will need the use of a siphon pump.
Dyna Glo is a trusted company that manufactures a range of home and commercial grade heaters for all purposes, including kerosene heaters, gas forced air heaters, gas radiant heaters, and natural gas heaters. The company also manufactures an impressive range of grills and smokers.
Remington is a division of Pinnacle Climate Technologies, a manufacturer of heating, cooling, and ventilation devices founded in 2015. Remington products are known all over the world for their reliability and innovation, and one of the most popular is the Remington 80,000 BTU Kerosene Heater.
Dura Heat is a top brand of World Marketing of America, Inc. The company has been specializing in heating products for over 35 years, with over 12,000 North American retail partners. In addition to kerosene heaters, Dura Heat also produces electric heaters, natural gas radiant heaters, forced air heaters, and more.
Kerosene Heater Pricing
- Under $125: You'll find many heaters in this price range that are great for heating small rooms. Their power and the life of their fuel tanks won't do much for a large space but will be sufficient for a small area.
- $125 to $175: Most kerosene heaters available on the market will fall in this price range. They'll typically be strong enough to heat small to medium-sized spaces, but some will be able to handle much larger areas.
- $175 and up: Kerosene heaters in this price range are marked with a premium price for good reason. They'll provide the highest quality heat, and some will even have the ability to heat entire homes.
In terms of heating and fuel consumption, kerosene heaters are among the most efficient, beating even electricity in this regard. One of the most important things to consider before purchasing a kerosene heater is its heating capacity. Some, typically the more portable ones, are designed for small areas, while others can be used for large spaces or even provide heat for an entire house.
A kerosene heater's efficiency translates to longer run times, too, but not all devices are made equal. Depending on how you use your heater, one feature to look out for is the run time, especially if you intend to use it for camping trips or the like. There are great options on the market that can warm up a sizable area and last up to 12 hours on one tank of fuel.
Weight is another thing to consider when choosing a heater. If you intend to use it for camping, fishing, or hiking trips, you’ll need it to be portable enough to lug around or stow away in the trunk. The bigger the area a kerosene heater can heat up, the less portable it will be, but there are kerosene heaters on the market made with portability in mind that can provide a good amount of heating power.
- BTUs. BTUs, which stands for British thermal units, is the measure of energy used by heating and air-conditioning devices. The BTU rating of a device can tell you how powerful it will be. Of course, the higher the BTU rating of a heater, the bigger the area it can cover. Since 1 square foot needs around 20 BTUs to heat it, you can make a rough estimate of how many BTUs you'll need by multiplying the square footage of the area by 20.
- Tank size. The size of a kerosene heater's tank, which is typically measured in gallons or liters, is directly proportional to how long it can operate. If you need your heater to last for a while, or even overnight, you'll need one with a big enough tank. For most people, a heater with a 2-gallon tank is sufficient to heat a small area for around four to five hours.
- Warranty. Another thing to consider when choosing a heater is the type of warranty included. The best kerosene heaters will typically come with a one-year warranty or a refund offer for buyers not satisfied with the product. To avoid buyer's remorse and be assured of the quality, aim to buy a brand that gives a similar offer.
Best Kerosene Heaters Reviews & Recommendations 2021
- If you intend to use your heater indoors, make sure to keep it more than a few feet away from anything combustible, such as furniture, curtains, and bedding.
- If you're planning to take a long trip, especially if it's somewhere cold, make sure to bring extra fuel. You don't want to run out of heat at the most inconvenient moment. Kerosene is easy to purchase—it's available at most petrol stations, construction supply retailers, and home improvement stores.
- Before purchasing a kerosene heater, make sure it's designed to be used where you need it. Some kerosene heaters are designed for outdoor use only, while some can be used indoors and outdoors.
- Always store kerosene away from hot temperatures. Kerosene can last a long time if stored properly—up to 10 years in a metal container and up to a year in a plastic one.
- If you will be using it outdoors, make sure your kerosene heater can withstand extremely cold temperatures, particularly if you will be using it on long overnight trips.
Q: Are kerosene heaters safe to use indoors?
This depends on the type of kerosene heater. Some are designed for both indoors and outdoors, while some are designed for outdoor use only. Check the fine print or the manufacturer's instructions before using a kerosene heater indoors.
Q: Are kerosene heaters safe to breathe?
Kerosene heaters can sometimes produce dangerously high amounts of soot and carbon monoxide. Follow all safety precautions and instructions included with your heater to avoid asphyxiation or carbon monoxide poisoning.
Q: How can I use a kerosene heater?
Kerosene heaters can easily be used to heat small rooms or areas of your home. They can also be used outdoors on job sites or while camping. Make sure to follow all instructions included with your heater for proper use.