Camping is an awesome expedition and is an interlude from the daily woes of life. It is a way of fun and peace that makes you feel a step closer to nature. Camping in two or three seasons is not a major problem, moreover, it adds to our experience. But, the main issue arises in the cold winter months where usual pieces of equipment won’t work. You have to carry some extra winter gear that can keep you warm and protect you from major temperature changes. Hence, it becomes essential for you to carry a tent heater with you. It can maintain the temperature of your temporary dwelling at a healthy and safe level.
For a camping tent, an ordinary heater won’t work. So, before making any choice, go through this article and take a look at our top picks for the best tent heaters. Additionally, we have also included a buyer’s guide that contains all the necessary points which you need to know to make the best choice.
- Best Tent Heaters of 2021
- 1. Mr. Heater MH12B Hunting Buddy Portable Space Heater- Best Tent Heater For Winter Camping
- 2. Camco Olympian Wave LP Gas Catalytic Safety Heater- Best Tent Heater For High Altitude
- 3. Texsport Portable Outdoor Propane Heater- Best Backpacking Tent Heater
- 4. Mr. Heater F232000 MH9BX Buddy Portable Propane Radiant Heater- Best Propane Tent Heater
- 5. Honeywell HZ-0360 Surround Heat Heater- Best Electric Tent Heater
- 6. Lasko CD09250 Ceramic Heater- Best battery Powered tent Heater
- 7. TRUSTECH 1500W Portable Ceramic Heater- Best Roof Top Tent Heater
- 8. Comfort Zone CZ707 1500W Compact Utility Heater- Best Heater For Canvas Tent
- Key Considerations While Choosing The Best Tent Heaters
Best Tent Heaters of 2021
Mr. Heater MH12B is one of the most popular propane heaters in North America. It is known to provide the best heating experience when you are far from home, in a remote area.
- It is a suitable heater for camping being portable as well as lightweight. Additionally, its rugged and compact build can tackle harsh and unfavorable conditions too.
- It has an impressive power output of 6000-12000 BTU that can easily heat an enclosed space of up to 300 sq ft.
- It connects to a 1 lb. propane cylinder to power itself.
- Using its swivel regulator, you also have the option to also connect it to a remote gas supply.
- To light it up, all you have to do is simply push and rotate the ignition knob. The silent electric ignition will turn it on immediately.
- The heater comes with safety features that prevent any hazard and minimizes environmental pollution too.
- There is an in-built Oxygen Depletion Sensor (ODS) along with an accidental tip-over safety shut-off. This ensures that whenever the oxygen level of the tent depletes to a dangerous and intolerable level, it automatically shuts the device off for safety reason.
It is a nice heater at a reasonable price and its 1-year warranty makes the deal even more appealing.
- Suitable for small enclosed areas of up to 300 sq. ft.
- Oxygen Depletion Sensor and safety shut-off system.
- Portable and lightweight.
- Easy to light-up using the push and rotate ignition button.
- Not suitable for areas of high altitude as it shuts off due to lack of oxygen.
- Can only be used for indoor purpose.
The Olympian Wave is a popular heater product line from Camco. The company offers this product in three size variants with varying heat output and area coverage.
- Three size variants:
- Wave 8 Heater: Power Output- 4200 to 8000 BTUs; Range of up to 290 sq. ft.
- Wave 6 Heater: Power Output- 3200 to 6000 BTUs; Range of up to 230 sq. ft.
- Wave 3 Heater: Power Output- 1600 to 3000 BTUs; Range of up to 130 sq. ft.
- The heater works on low-pressure gas and is a portable unit that can also be mounted on the wall.
- It operates by combining oxygen and propane for the production of heat on the platinum catalyst pad. When the pad lights up, there are no flames which make this heater ideal for tent and RV use.
- Most of the propane heater doesn’t work well at high altitude. Well, this is not the case with this one. It works nicely at high altitude also.
- In addition to overcoming the altitude hurdle, the heater also works efficiently in cabins, campsites, patios, and other small spaces.
- Turning the heater on is really simple using the Piezo ignition system that can last for 20,000 starts.
- As a safety measure to prevent accidental non-ignition fuel discharge, the heater comes with a 100% safety shut-off valve.
- Usual flame heaters waste around 45% of the total heat produced. But, the catalyst heating is 99.98% efficient resulting in better heat production and low-cost.
- It comes with a dust cover to keep out contaminants.
- Three size variants available with varying heat output.
- Piezo ignition system for an easy start.
- Catalyst heat technology is more efficient and cost-saving than flame heaters.
- Operates well at high altitude.
- Comes with a safety shut-off valve.
- Comes with a dust cover.
- High priced.
- Lacks thermostatic control for heat adjustment.
When it comes to a state of the art design heater for backpacking, the first name that comes to my mind is Texsport propane heater. When we compare this heater with the traditional design heaters, then it has got a much sleeker design and a smaller base. This makes this heater portable and a good option for backpacking trips. It has some really good features too:
- The heater has 360- degree coverage resulting in proper heat distribution inside the tent.
- The heater is attached to a propane tank; hence the weight depends on the size of the tank you choose. But, in general, this heater weighs less than a pound allowing you to comfortably take it on a backpacking trip.
- With a power output of around 3000 BTU, the heater can easily cover most of the tent sizes.
- As per the manufacturers, the burning rate of this heater is approximately 4 to 5 hours per pound of a propane cylinder. But, of course, the burning rate will fluctuate depending on the temperature you choose to set.
- For safety purposes, a stable plastic foot is added to the heater. It ensures that the heater won’t fell with a slight bump.
- The heater even shuts off automatically on reaching the overheating point.
- This heater offers better temperature control than most of the heaters, using the easy-to-use adjustable knob.
- Small, sleek, lightweight, and portable design ideal for backpacking.
- Plastic foot stand for stability.
- Automatically shuts off on reaching the overheating level.
- Easy-to-use adjustable knob for temperature control.
- Burns propane too fast when at the highest temperature setting.
When it comes to propane heaters for tents, Mr. Heater’s line up of tent heaters is simply unbeatable. After MH12B, this heater is also a best-in-class propane heater and got a similar appearance too. The similarity in looks and design is not a surprise as such a construction keeps the heater small, compact, and rugged. The heater comes with amazing features making it a good option for a propane tent heater:
- It is a portable heater easy to move around and also comes with a built-in handle at the top for convenient grabbing and lifting.
- The device can produce heat of around 4000 to 9000 BTU which is suitable for encased spaces like a camping tent.
- It is approved for indoor as well as outdoor use.
- The device uses a clean burning process which makes it almost 100% efficient.
- The company engineer’s this heater with a perfect size to BTU ratio which is supplemented with a fold-down handle. It results in maximum heat output while retaining a minimum footprint.
- The manufacturers produce the heater with enough safety in mind. Whenever the device detects low oxygen level, losses its pilot light, or is knocked over, then it shuts off immediately.
- The heater can adapt easily from a disposable cylinder to a remote gas supply using the swivel regulator.
- It is easy to operate as all you have to do is push a button and the piezo sparking system will lit it up.
- For additional protection, the surface of the device comes with a high-temperature wire guard.
- The porcelain-coated surface ensures long-distance heat coverage.
- Easy to light up.
- High-temperature wire guard.
- Auto shut off mechanism.
- The ceramic burner tile can easily be replaced.
- Clean burning process.
- Good for indoor as well as outdoor use.
- Not suitable for high altitude. The heater can shut off when operating over 7000 ft. above sea level.
Honeywell is another reputed name when it comes to tent heaters. The Honeywell HZ-0360 is an efficient electric tent heater that heats the whole tent from the middle. It has a best-in-class design and a lot of nice features:
- What makes this heater special is its 360 degrees surround heat output. It warms the whole tent at once when placed in the middle.
- It has got a round-design which complements its sturdy base and stable structure.
- It comes with a durable handle which makes it simpler and easier to carry around.
- The heater has two heat settings which you can set as per your need. There is an additional fan only setting also.
- The additional fan balances the temperature and turns the heater into your very own adjustable thermostat.
- Manufacturers claim that the heater exceeds the industrial standards. It flaunts an anti-tip shut off feature for safety from the accidental earthquake.
- There is an overheating safety feature too, in case you forget to turn off the heater.
- This electric heater can produce an impressive maximum power output of around 750 watts.
- It is lightweight too, weighing just 4.65 pounds.
- 360 degrees surround heat output.
- Stable and sturdy design.
- Comes with two heat settings and a fan only setting.
- Adjustable thermostat.
- 360 degrees tip-over protection and overheat protection too.
- Convenient carry handle.
- Some users complained about an obnoxious plastic smell when used.
- Few of them even complained about the loud noise that it makes.
Lasko CD09250 Ceramic heater is a great-looking, high-performance heater, good for tents. It comes with almost all the necessary features that can help you get warm in a cold camping region.
- It comes with 3 quiet settings which include high heat, low heat, and fan-only settings.
- It comes with an adjustable thermostat that allows you to comfortably adjust the heater’s 1500 watt ceramic heating element. You can switch between 11 different temperature setting and find your comfortable heat level.
- Thanks to its compact size and carry handle, you can take it conveniently wherever you want.
- The built-in safety feature ensures that the heater doesn’t overheat when left on for a long period.
- It also has a cool-touch exterior which keeps the heater’s body from getting hot.
- 3 quiet settings.
- Adjustable thermostat.
- Compact in size.
- Comes with a carry handle.
- Built-in safety features.
- The safety features don’t completely turn off the heater which may result in the heater geting burnt as complained by some users.
A roof top tent is the one that mound on the roof or top of your vehicle. So, for such a tent you need a lightweight and compact heater that can provide you with enough heat to stay warm on chilly days. This heater works perfectly for such a tent as:
- It is compact in size and provides consistent warmth in cold weather conditions.
- It features an adjustable thermostat that you can control and set a temperature between 59 to 86 degree Fahrenheit.
- You can set a timer of up to 12 hours on it.
- The heater comes with automatic overheat protection. It automatically turns off on reaching a temperature that can cause overheating.
- When the heater is knocked over accidentally, the tip-over safety switch shuts it off immediately.
- For efficient heating performance, the heater flaunts widespread oscillation function.
- For additional convenience, the heater features an integrated carry handle.
- There is a digital display too for the ease to read the working status of the heater.
- Adjustable thermostat.
- Comes with a tip-over safety switch and overheat protection system.
- Equipped with widespread oscillation function.
- Digital display to see the working status.
- Carry handle for convenience.
- There were complains about an unusual plastic burning smell.
- Some users showed concerns about material quality.
For warming your canvas tent on cold winter days, one of the best options available in the market is the Comfort Zone CZ707 heater. It is an electric-based heater, so there is minimal risk of fire or gas or fuel discharge in your canvas tent.
- The tent has a power output of 1500 Watts which is sufficient enough to warm a tent.
- You have the options to choose between high and low heat settings. There is a fan only setting too.
- Take control over your comfort level by setting the desired temperature using the adjustable rotary thermostat.
- Keeping safety in mind, the manufacturers equip the heater with a power indicator as well as caution indicator lights.
- Additionally, there is a tip-over switch along with an overheat protection sensor.
- The body doesn’t get too hot as there is a durable stay-cool metal housing on the heater.
- For adding to the portability, there is a carry handle too for easy transport.
- 3 power settings.
- Adjustable thermostat.
- Safety measures like caution indicator, tip-over switch and overheat protection sensor.
- Durable and portable.
- There were issues regarding the melting of the coil after a few uses.
- There are complains about the product being too noisy.
Key Considerations While Choosing The Best Tent Heaters
Now that we have discussed some of the greatest designed heaters, we should understand some important considerations too. If you are getting confused while choosing the tent heater, you can go through the following considerations to get clarity in your mind and make an informed decision.
Types Of Tent Heaters
There is an array of various types of tent heaters available in the market. So, the first thing to decide while looking for a heater is which type of heater you desire.
A tent heater must be portable as well as functional in any situation possible. In such a case, a gas-powered heater will serve you most efficiently as you will not be relying on electricity. You can either go for a propane-based or butane heater. But with time butane tent heaters are slowly phasing out. It is because of the substantial evidence that propane is more effective in optimal heat generation. Propane burns at a high level and generates a bit more heat than butane.
You have the option of electric heaters too, but it can restrict your usage as it needs a continuous power supply. You will get the benefit of long-term costs when using electric heaters. Additionally, it is a bit more affordable to make use of electricity in comparison to any type of gas.
There are other types also which includes battery-based heaters, halogen heaters, and wood-burning heaters. But, the gas-based and electric heaters are the most highly used and are considered optimum for tent usage.
Each heater has its pros and drawbacks too. Propane heaters are mostly used. But, there are some risks to it too, like it is highly flammable and emits carbon monoxide which is hazardous for health. Gas leakage can also prove to be fatal. Hence, there is a need for proper ventilation while using this heater.
The electric heater has got a clean energy source but a slight contact with water can prove to be fatal. They even make more noise than gas heaters.
In the end, you have to make the ultimate decision and pick a heater as per your preference.
Heaters can be dangerous and can lead to a fire. To ensure such a thing does not happen, make sure that the heater you pick should have the right safety features. Some of the must-have safety features are:
- Shut-off Mechanism: This mechanism automatically shuts off when the heater tips over or when the room overheats.
- Oxygen Detector: It is one of the most essential safety features every heater must possess. Whenever the oxygen detector detects a low oxygen level in the surroundings, it immediately shuts off the heater.
- Timer: It may look like an ordinary feature, but this can be really helpful. You can simply set the timer for a specific period and the heater will turn off after that time. This way you can have a peaceful sleep without worrying about getting up and turning the heater off.
Weight And Compactness
Before making a decision about the weight, size, and portability of a heater, there is a question that you need to ask yourself. Whether you’ll be using the heater for camping or backpacking? If you are using it for camping purpose, then a bit more weight and size won’t be a problem because you will have the resource to carry it. But, if you thinking to go on a backpacking trip, then your heater’s weight should not exceed the 5 lbs mark. The heater should also be compact so that it can fit inside your backpack.
When picking a gas heater, a heater with a minimum weight should be chosen. It is because you also have to carry the gas tank with you. As there is no need for a gas tank in an electric heater, they are lightweight and easy to carry around. But, the drawback is that you will need a solid electricity supply to power the heater.
The power output indicates the amount of heat that the heater can generate. The higher the power output, the higher will be the heat that you can work with.
The power output of a gas heater is measured in BTUs (British Thermal Units). On the other hand, the power output of an electric heater is indicated by wattage.
The heater with high power output will cover a larger area. Its area coverage also depends on whether the heater has a fan or not.
For normal-sized tents, you will not need a heater with massive power output. A heater with an area coverage of 200 sq. ft. will work fine. The area that a heater can cover is usually written on the packaging. You can check and pick the heater according to the space you are going to use it in.
Another thing to keep in mind is that there is a direct link between power output and the fuel consumption of the heater. At high power, the fuel consumption will be more. So, you can turn down the heat as per your need to reduce fuel consumption. Usually, the heater’s packaging will tell you that for how much time the heater will run in a 1 pound propane cylinder.
Temperature Adjustment Settings
If you are having a heater that delivers a power output of 30,000 BTUs, it doesn’t mean that you use it at this level only. While looking for a heater, you should check whether the heater has temperature adjustment settings or not. The settings will allow you to set the heat as per different weather conditions and as per your desired need.
Stability And Design
While researching, we found that little emphasis is given to stability and design when it comes to heaters. But, these are some essential factors that we should keep in mind.
With the adaptation to modern technology, the designs of heaters are also evolving and becoming better. There are one-directional heaters available out there that point towards a specific direction. But, nowadays, 360-degree multi-directional heaters are trending because of their ability to heat the room all at once and more functionality too.
As far as stability goes, multi-directional heaters are more stable than unidirectional ones. Stability is an important aspect as a more stable heater will have lesser chances of tipping over and resulting in a potential hazard.
When it comes to noise, an electric type heater contains radiators and fans which generate more noise. On the other hand, gas heaters make much less noise than electric heaters. So while choosing a heater, make sure that the heater makes tolerable or no noise so you can get a comfortable sleep.
All the heaters that we discussed are phenomenal in their own way. Each has its special features and has the ability to serve you well. So, we highly recommend all these heaters for you to make your winter camping experience warm and comfy. But, Mr. Heater MH12B Hunting Buddy Portable Space Heater comes out swimming on the top as the best tent heater. The reason being, it has numerous safety features like a tip-over shut off mechanism as well as low oxygen automatic shut off system. It is lightweight and portable too. Its electric ignition system makes it easier to light it up. The durability and stability are simply top-notch and Mr. Heater’s renowned brand name stands behind it. The one year warranty further protects your investment.