Best Tent Heaters for Camping Reviews (2020)

Being unprepared for the cold can put a serious damper on a great camping trip. If you’ve ever spent a night trying to sleep while shivering, you know what a good investment a tent heater can be.  We set out to find the best tent heaters on the market so that you can camp during all 4 seasons. To narrow down our list, we talked to experts in the field, scoured the top camping blogs, and conducted overnight longevity tests on a few top picks. 

By the end of our research period, it was clear that the top choice would be the Mr. Heater Little Buddy. Mr. Heater was the number one brand named by both consumers and professionals. The Little Buddy model provides more than enough heating power for most standard-sized tents. It is very affordable, compact, with the best reliability rating we’ve seen.

Comparison Table of Top 3
IMAGEPRODUCTDETAILS
Mr. Heater F215100 MH4B Little Buddy
  • Features: Produces 3,800 BTUs, ODS system, 45-degree heating angle, 7 lb weight, 5 to 6 hour run time, built-in Piezo igniter
  • Benefits: Strong and long-lasting heat output in a compact and durable frame
CHECK LATEST PRICE
Stanley Heavy-Duty Electric Heater
  • Features: 5,100 BTUs, 165 square feet, safe electrical heating, automatic tip-over shutoff switch
  • Benefits: Safe and steady heating for a great price
CHECK LATEST PRICE
Honeywell HHF360V 360-Degree Fan Forced Surround Heater
  • Features: Multi-directionheating, automatic shut-off switch, overheating protection, electric power
  • Benefits: Transitions well from tent to home and safely heats moderate spaces
CHECK LATEST PRICE

10 Best Tent Heaters for Camping

Keeping those considerations in mind, we put together a list of the top 12 best tent heaters based on our research. These heaters will cover a wide range of heat output, fuel sources, and other features. 

1. Mr. Heater F215100 MH4B Little Buddy – Top Pick

The Mr. Heater Little Buddy is a favorite of ours as well as most people we spoke with. It is known for its lightweight, compact design and well-regarded safety features. The Little Buddy is safe for indoor use and can heat a tent up to 75 square feet using a 45-degree angle and 1-pound propane canister. Each canister (sold separately) should provide 5-6 hours of heat, and you can buy additional hoses to connect the heater to a larger tank if needed. The Little Buddy also uses the recommended advanced ODS system as a safety design feature. 

Features: Produces 3,800 BTUs, ODS system, 45-degree heating angle, 7 lb weight, 5 to 6 hour run time, built-in Piezo igniter

Pros

  • Low-oxygen and tip safety sensor
  • Compact size
  • Wire guarded heating element
  • Affordable

Cons

  • This unit doesn’t have different head adjustment settings like some of the other units. We didn’t consider this a significant flaw though, as its small design is a big selling point, and it is not likely to overheat your tent anyway. 

2. Stanley Heavy-Duty Electric Heater – Best Electric Heater 

For anyone worried about the risks of propane heat in a tent (especially those of you with children), you might be more comfortable with an electric heater. The Stanley Heavy-Duty Electric Heater should provide everything you need, including 5,100 BTUs of heat for space up to 165 square feet. Safety is key for this product, and in addition to the propane-less heating source, it also comes equipped with an automatic tip-over shutoff to reduce the risk of fire. This is our choice for Best Electric Heater because of its low cost, perfect heat output capabilities, and portable design. 

Features: 5,100 BTUs, heats up to 165 square feet, safe electrical heating, automatic tip-over shutoff switch

Pros

  • Portable and compact
  • High BTU output
  • Safe in tents
  • No need to buy propane tanks

Cons

  • While electric power is generally safer for indoor spaces, it can be difficult to achieve while camping.
  • You may need to come with a generator or have access to a power source for this heater. We think the peace of mind is likely worth it though. 

3. Honeywell HHF360V 360-Degree Fan Forced Surround Heater –  Most Versatile

The main selling point of the Honeywell 360-Degree Fan-Forced Surround Heater is the multi-directional heating component. Having 360-degrees of heat gives you more placement options and can be a great setup for large tents with a large number of people. This heater is lightweight and comes with an easy-to-use portable handle that stays cool during the heating process. It should easily heat your tent, as it is made for small to medium-sized indoor rooms. As an electric heater, it is generally considered safer than a propane-powered heater. This is our choice for Most Versatile heater because it transitions well from the tent to the home and won’t look out of place heating your bedroom in the winter. 

Features: Multi-directional heating for small to medium-sized rooms, automatic shut-off switch, overheating protection, 3 lb weight, built-in handle, electric power

Pros

  • Safe for use in tents
  • Provides 360 degrees of rotation
  • Lightweight
  • Affordable

Cons

  • Some reviewers claimed their units had strong smells of plastic when heated.
  • While we did not encounter this in our trials, it could be something that occurs after extended use. Check with the manufacturer for specific warranty claims and time periods. 

4. Zodi Outback Gear X40 Hot Vent – Best for Large Groups

Sometimes you need to heat a lot more than one tent. If you are going camping with a large group, you need a heater that can really get the job done. Most of the other heaters we reviewed are intended for personal or small-size usage (think 1-3 people). The Zodi Outback Gear X40 Hot Vent heater, however, comes in at a whopping 34 pounds and can provide up to 40,000 BTUs. That is significantly more than most heaters you will find. While the size alone may prevent you from keeping it in your tent, it is great for heating outdoor spaces where groups gather, such as a campfire or dining area. If you do have a tent that can support its size, you can make use of its best safety feature: dual hoses that are used to provide heat to the tent while also ensuring clear ventilation. 

Features: 40,000 BTUs, 12-volt power source and propane tanks required, 4-foot hoses for ventilation, 22 x 13 x 13 inches and 34-pound weight

Pros

  • Very safe design to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning
  • Heats up in seconds
  • Produces up to 40,000 BTUs
  • Comes with storage and carrying bag

Cons

  • The real issue with this is the price. It is significantly higher than most heaters you will find, due to its size and heat-producing abilities.
  • This is not a heater you buy for individual or personal use, but would be great if you have a back patio or regularly take large camping trips with friends. 

5. Mr. Heater Corporation 540 Degree Tank Top – Best for Outside

While the Zodi heater is a fantastic option for large groups outside, our top choice for outside use is the Mr. Heater 540 Degree Tank Top. It is compact and incredibly powerful- heating up to 1,000 square feet with between 29 and 45 thousand BTUs. The heat settings allow you to switch between high, medium and low depending on your needs, which means you can customize it for different situations. The intense heat output and propane use of this heater mean it is safest to be used outside instead of directly inside a tent unless you have proper ventilation. 

Features: 540-degree rotation ability, automatic shut-off switch, 30,000 to 45,000 BTUs, 1,000 sq ft heating space, uses 20 lb propane tank

Pros

  • Very powerful for its weight
  • Provides 3 heat setting options
  • Really high heat output
  • Affordable

Cons

  • This is not recommended for use inside tents without significant ventilation. The heat output is very high and there is a risk of carbon monoxide exposure inside a tent.
  • We are still including it in this list though because it is a great tool for camping, and can be used when in a tent without solid coverage or when opened at night. 

6.  Mr. Heater F232017 MH9BXRV Buddy Indoor-Safe Portable RV Radiant Heater – Best Portable Propane

The Mr. Heater Buddy Indoor-Safe Portable RV Radiant Heater is a classic heating option while camping in a tent or traveling in an RV. It doesn’t top the list for any individual feature, but it provides solid quality in all categories while remaining affordable and easy to transport. If you are on the go a lot or if you want something lightweight and portable, this heater is a great choice. It has a sturdy integrated handle that can fold up if needed for storage, and the ergonomic design provides exceptional balance and stability. It provides a great amount of heat and can cover up to 200 square feet, which is much larger than the average tent. 

Features: 9.5 lbs, Piezo ignited control, 4,000-9,000 BTUs, Auto shut off, heats up to 200 sq. feet, 1lb propane cylinder needed

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Safety grill over the heating surface
  • Well-balanced
  • Easy to use
  • Optimal heat output for most uses

Cons

  • While some users had the occasional complaint of accidents, this did not seem to be more frequent than with other products.
  • The only real con for this one is that it is not the ‘best’ for power or value. It is a mid-range option that is easy to move and store and is an excellent choice, especially when on sale. 

7. Mr. Heater F274830 MH18BRV Big Buddy Indoor-Safe Portable RV Propane Heater – Best Design

The Mr. Heater Big Buddy is a ramped-up version of number 6 on our list. This is a consumer favorite and one of the best selling heaters on the market. It can provide up to 18,000 BTUs in 300 square feet of space, making it extremely powerful for whatever your need. It is just as compact and well-designed as #6 but comes in quite a bit heavier at 17lbs. It’s a great choice for both indoor and outdoor use and can be connected to a 20lb tank if needed. It is our choice for Best Design because it is incredibly portable, easy to store, ergonomically designed, and more powerful than its predecessor. 

Features: BTUs from 4,000 – 18,000, 300 square feet, used indoors and outdoors, 2 one-pound propane cylinders or a 20 lb. tank, 17 lb weight, integrated fan

Pros

  • Very powerful (4-18k BTUs)
  • Multi-setting heat options
  • Okay for indoor or outdoor use
  • Integrated fan improves the function

Cons

  • This heater is not as cost-effective as #8’s Dura Heat Kerosene Heater, but it’s portability and design make it worth the extra cost in our opinion. 

8. Dura Heat DH2304S 23,800 BTU Indoor Kerosene Heater –  Best Overall Value

The Dura Heat Indoor Kerosene Heater is where you can really get the best bang for your buck. For a mid-range price point, you can get an incredible 23,800 BTUs and a 12-hour lifespan per tank. It can heat large spaces with a 360 degree turning radius and will stay perfectly stable with 27.6 lbs of weight holding it down. It has an intricate metal cage around the heating element to reduce the risk of burns, and a sensitive auto shut off safety trigger. 

Features: Heats with full 360-degree rotation, can run for 12 hours per tank, 23,800 BTUs, weighs 27.6 lbs

Pros

  • Minimal fuel smell
  • Very long run-time
  • Powerful output and rotation

Cons

  • The design of this heater lacks the portability of some others. The metal cage and thin carrying handle are less than ideal for storage and transport.
  • If portability is your goal, look elsewhere, but to get the most reliable heat for the best price, stick with Dura Heat. 

9. Texsport Sportsmate Portable Propane Heater – Most Sporting

The Texsport Sportsmate Portable Propane Heater is one that we discovered initially through golfing reviews. It seems to have been initially designed for use in golf carts and even comes custom-designed to fit in cupholders (and then provide a replacement cupholder as well). Regardless of its intended purpose, this makes a great camping heater as well. It puts out a respectable 3,000 BTUs using a 1lb propane canister. It is definitely made for personal use, which is likely why it is popular with golfers as well. We had to rate it as Most Sporting due to the golf affiliation and the double use of ‘sport’ in its name. They are definitely aiming for a specific market with this product! 

Features: 3,000 BTUs, 1-lb propane canister, the plastic base for cupholder insert for golf carts, included cupholder attachment

Pros

  • A base is included
  • Automatic shutoff safety feature
  • Stainless-steel burner
  • Reasonably priced
  • Outfitted for golf carts

Cons

  • The primary appeal of this heater is its versatility for other outdoor activities. It does not come with many of the features of the other models, such as multi-setting heat options or a portable carrying handle. But for golfers looking for a multi-purpose piece of equipment, you can’t do better than this! 

10. Allegro Industries Tent Heater R3-9401-50 – Most Durable

The Allegro Industries electric tent heater is a real powerhouse. It has a rugged metal frame and strong carrying handle to support its 14lb weight. The design makes it easy to position and balance in a tent or RV. The electric power makes it a safe option for tents if you have access to a power source. It can provide up to 5,000 BTUs up to 100 degrees Fahrenheit. It is consistently rated as one of the sturdiest heaters and definitely has the most durable design of all the heaters we have seen. For use in a tent, you will be missing the 360-degree rotation of other models, but with the right positioning, the power of this model should make up for the lack of movement. 

Features: 5,000 BTU, 115 CFM airflow, 14 lb weight, 12 x 8 x 12 inches, five-blade fan, 32 to 100°F heating range, sealed electrical motor

Pros

  • Extra sturdy housing for reliable transport
  • Includes five-blade fan
  • Adjustable temperature knob
  • Works quickly

Cons

  • This is another expensive heater for sure. If you have the money to purchase this one, it can last you a lifetime of heavy use. 

11. Dyna-Glo TT15CDGP 15,000 Liquid Propane Tank-Top Heater – Best Tank-Top Value

The Dyna-Glo 15,000 Liquid Propane Tank-Top Heater offers exceptional performance at a very low price point. It is a good option for campers looking for versatile indoor/outdoor use at an entry-level price. This heater can run for up to 48-hours straight at a 9,000 BTU level, or up to 28 hours at its maximum 15,000 BTUs. It uses a 20lb propane tank and a quick connect system. We think this is the best value for a tank-top model because it will offer reliable long-lasting heat at a price almost anyone access. 

Features: 15,000 BTUs, 15ft heating radius, 3 heat settings, double-layered mesh burner, safety switch, uses 20lb propane tank, Piezo ignition

Pros

  • Really long-lasting heat
  • High power
  • Affordable

Cons

  • The user ratings for this one were lower than some of the other tank-top models. In this situation, you are sacrificing a bit of reliability for the incredible power-to-cost ratio.
  • For casual tent camping, it will get the job done and hold up for at least a few years. 

12. Lasko Ceramic – Most Affordable

The final heater on our list is the Lasko Ceramic Electric Heater. It is a personal-use heater designed for one person at a time. It emits fairly low heat at 682 BTUs and is not intended to heat an entire room. It offers some added versatility by being a great desk-heater when not camping, and is easy to transport from tent to home. A highlight of this heater is that it uses only 200 watts of power, saving you from high electric bills or risk of blowing a fuse. This is definitely the most affordable heater on our list, which makes sense because it is also the smallest and least powerful heater on our list. You can even buy it in a 6-pack on Amazon! We would say this heater isn’t even in competition with the others but belongs in its own class entirely. Forget about large groups and frigid temperatures; this heater is ideal for the single individual who just needs a little extra warmth without going broke. 

Features: 200 watts energy uses, plastic casing, ceramic heating element, 682 BTUs, overheat protection

Pros

  • Very compact and lightweight
  • Budget-friendly
  • Low energy usage
  • Safe heating source

Cons

  • The downside is of course that it doesn’t offer nearly as much heat as the other products in the market.
  • Do not buy this expecting to heat up your entire tent or warm a group when the fire goes out. This is definitely for personal use only. 

Tent Heater Buying Guide

If you are new to using a tent heater, you might have some questions about what kind will work best for you. The tent heaters available online come in many different sizes and designs, with a wide range of options for power and range. To help you get started with your purchase, we have outlined a few of the important considerations for buying a tent heater. 

Types of Tent Heaters

The primary types of tent heaters are propane and electric (referring to their source of heating power). Propane heaters are fueled by individual propane tanks or canisters, ranging from 1 to 20 lbs. Electric heaters require an electric power source and need to be plugged in to run. 

With both types of tent heaters, you will find different shapes, sizes, and features. 

Safe Tent Heaters for Camping – Important Tips

Safety is a big concern when using a tent heater. Because propane can release carbon monoxide, it is not recommended to use in unventilated spaces. Thus, when using a propane heater in a tent make sure to have proper ventilation or a functioning carbon monoxide detector. 

Electric heaters are typically considered safer because they do not burn propane. However, they do come with their own risks when used in a tent. Be sure any type of heater you buy comes with safety features such as automatic-shut off triggers when overheated or tipped over. 

You also want your tent heater to have some sort of protection over the heating element. This will usually be a metal grill. This can help prevent accidental contact with skin or flammable materials (especially useful in case of an accidental tip over). 

How many BTUs do I need for my size tent?

The larger your tent, the more BTUs you need. However, BTU will not be your only consideration. Look at the rotation capabilities as well, and whether or not it includes a fan. Efficiency will also make a big impact because a heater that can heat 10,000 BTUs but only runs for 2 hours will be a worse investment than one that provides 4,000 BTUs for 12 hours. 

In general, though, you should multiply the square footage of your tent by 20 BTUs. So if it is a 70 square foot tent, you want 1,400 BTUs. This is very attainable, and most of the heaters on our list will provide much more than that. You may also like our guide on the best folding wagon visit here to check it out.

Other Factors to Consider Before Buying a Tent Heater

Portability

Think about how portable you need your heater to be. Are you moving it often? Do you need to store it for much of the year? Do you want it to be heavier for sturdiness or lighter for carrying purposes? Do you need a carrying handle? Some heaters are designed for travel while others are designed to be more stationary. 

Placement Options

Also, consider if you need your heater to provide a full 360-degrees of rotation. Some heaters will oscillate like a fan, while others aim in one static direction. Think about where you plan to use your heater and if the one you have in mind will fit that plan.


What Is the Top Ranked Tent Heater? – Final Thoughts

We were impressed by quite a few of the tent heaters we researched for this article. There are so many different types and designs, it can be overwhelming to choose among them all. Our research showed that many people are loyal fans of either propane or electric heaters and are unwilling to make a switch. If you are one such person, we’re sure you will be happy with our top picks in each category: Mr. Heat Little Buddy Propane Heater or the Stanley Heavy Duty Electric Heater. 

Our research ultimately led us to choose the Mr. Heat Little Buddy Propane Heater as our top choice overall. It is an incredibly reliable small-scale heater that is lightweight and portable enough to be a realistic gear option. It provides more than enough heat for most medium-sized tents. It also uses propane as its fuel source, which we find to be a more versatile and convenient option for tent-use. 

If you are an avid camper who goes on a variety of different tent adventures, you probably want to invest in each type. An electric heater has the benefit of unlimited run-time and higher safety ratings, while the propane heater will be more convenient and typically provides more reliable heat. Whatever you end up choosing, the heaters in our list are all excellent heaters that will keep you warm and cozy all winter long.

IMAGEPRODUCTDETAILS
Mr. Heater F215100 MH4B Little Buddy
  • Features: Produces 3,800 BTUs, ODS system, 45-degree heating angle, 7 lb weight, 5 to 6 hour run time, built-in Piezo igniter
  • Benefits: Strong and long-lasting heat output in a compact and durable frame
CHECK LATEST PRICE
Stanley Heavy-Duty Electric Heater
  • Features: 5,100 BTUs, 165 square feet, safe electrical heating, automatic tip-over shutoff switch
  • Benefits: Safe and steady heating for a great price
CHECK LATEST PRICE
Honeywell HHF360V 360-Degree Fan Forced Surround Heater
  • Features: Multi-directionheating, automatic shut-off switch, overheating protection, electric power
  • Benefits: Transitions well from tent to home and safely heats moderate spaces
CHECK LATEST PRICE

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Austin Mills

Austin Mills in an outdoor enthusiast. He's been featured on some of the top outdoor & fitness blogs sharing his expertise in order to help others. In his free time, he likes spending time with his dogs enjoying the outdoors.

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