If you are in a hurry and just want to find out what the best tent heater is, then we recommend the Mr. Heater F232000 MH9BX Buddy Portable Heater as the best one.
Perhaps one of the most uncomfortable parts of camping is extreme temperature changes. Thankfully, getting warm and cozy doesn’t have to be difficult when you’ve got the best tent heater available. Here are our top picks for tent heaters, including our recommendation for the best of the bunch.
We’re going to review the following tent heaters:
- Mr. Heater F232000 MH9BX Buddy Portable Heater
- Mr. Heater F215000 MH4B Little Buddy Indoor Heater
- Allegro Industries 9401-50 Tent Heater
- Tooluze Camping Butane Heater
- Heat Storm HS-1500-ISA Sahara Infrared Heater
What Are the Advantages to Tent Heaters?
Whether you’re hoping to keep your tent interior from icing over or you get cold easily no matter the season, a tent heater can warm you up fast. But what are the advantages of choosing a tent heater over layering on more clothing?
If your main priority when camping is to stay comfortable, you have to maintain the right temperature. After all, why freeze your behind off in a tent when you could be at home by the fireplace?
An effective tent heater can take your camping experience from dreary to cozy. Being cold isn’t fun, so being warm can bump up your mood.
And the more comfortable you are, the more you can enjoy the adventure. Plus, having a reliable heat source may even encourage reluctant campers to join you on the trail.
Maybe you’re chilly but don’t want to start up a campfire. Unless you need to cook with it, starting a fire is too much work just for heat. Plus, you can’t take a roaring fire into your tent.
The solution to staying warm while away from the fire is a powerful indoor heater. And with a tent that has sufficient insulation, you can maintain a decent temperature throughout the evening. That means you can put out the campfire when you’re done with dinner, and not worry about it again until breakfast time.
Being cold is uncomfortable but being too cold is dangerous. For kids especially, near-freezing temperatures just aren’t fun. Add gusty winds, and everyone in your party might wind up miserable before the trip is over.
Of course, kids aren’t the only ones who benefit from a decent ambient temperature in the tent. But in general, we’re more concerned with kids’ health when it comes to low temperatures.
What to Look for in a Tent Heater
While you might feel tempted to pack up the corded heater you use at home, that’s not always a good idea. Tent heaters fulfill specific needs in campsites, so bringing a heater from home might not only be inconvenient, but it could also prove dangerous. Here’s what to look for in a tent heater.
Rather than an open heat source, you’ll want protection against the hottest parts of the heater. A grate or cover is helpful for preventing burns and keeping things from getting trapped in heat coils.
Another element to heater safety is the stability of the heater. A wobbly heater is more likely to fall over and create a fire or unsafe electrical conditions. Plus, the hotter the surface of the heater gets, the more likely it is to melt something inside the tent. Therefore, the best tent heater is stable, safe, and packs a cozy punch.
While it’s possible to use a plug-in heater if your campsite has accessible outlets, more remote campsites don’t often have those amenities. A portable heater with a cord will work for some folks, but not for those who are trying to camp more ruggedly or perhaps off-grid.
However, a portable heater that’s cordless and uses propane or another heat source can go practically anywhere. Consider convenience depending on where you’ll be camping and how you’ll be getting your power.
Though cordless heaters are often more portable than ones that require outlets, that’s not what we mean by portability here. For a tent heater to be truly portable, it needs to have maneuverability.
In general, the best tent heater will have a handle or surface to carry it from that’s far away from the heat source. This way, you can move it around inside the tent or remove it easily if it gets too hot or a dangerous situation occurs.
Power & Heat
Choosing a tent heater is similar to choosing a household space heater in that you should only buy what you need. For example, you may not need a camping tent heater that can warm up 200 square feet if your tent is only 10×10.
A too-big heater will only overheat your tent and potentially cause things to melt. It could even start a fire if you have it on full blast. Most manufacturers list a BTU rating along with a recommendation on the square footage you can heat with each model.
This can help you determine just how much heat you need for the interior of your tent.
Tent Heater Reviews
You may already have a Mr. Heater for use in your garage or shop, but the Mr. Heater F232000 MH9BX Buddy Portable Heater is an ideal tent heater. It can heat up to 225 square feet with variable heat settings, but it also has internal safety features for peace of mind.
For example, the auto shutoff function means the heater will power down if the pilot light goes out, the unit falls over, or if the internal sensor detects low oxygen. The auto shutoff can help alleviate stress over whether heating the tent is safe and allow campers to rest easy.
The unit is also portable with a folding handle, plus it has a wire guard on the front to prevent objects or people from sustaining burns. In general, the only drawback comes from that auto shutoff feature- at high altitudes, the unit may shut off without a credible safety threat.
- Heats up to 225 square feet
- Nearly 100 percent efficient
- Auto shutoff safety function
- Protective wire guard
- Folding handle
- Can connect to propane tank (not included)
- Swivel-out fuel connection
- Variable heat settings
- May auto shutoff at altitudes over 7,000 feet
Just add a one-pound disposable propane cylinder, and you can heat a small tent for over five hours. Along with the odor-free heat, this propane tent heater also has auto shutoff safety features that activate if it tips over or detects low oxygen.
The frontal wire guard adds a level of safety atop the ceramic burner tile. There’s also shock-absorbing insulation to cushion the burner tile and protect it. A foldable handle makes the unit portable, but there might be a bit of a stability concern thanks to the heater’s position atop a one-gallon propane cylinder.
- Heats up 95 square feet
- Gives off heat for up to 5.5 hours
- Low oxygen sensor
- Auto shutoff safety function
- Variable heat settings
- Maximum elevation of 7,000 feet
- Propane cylinder not included
The heavy-duty design of the Allegro Industries 9401-50 Tent Heater is a welcome sight for campers who are serious about their camping comfort. A steel housing protects the motor, plus the tube heating elements are enclosed, too.
Also, the company claims that the heater can raise the air temperature in one of their work tents by 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Clearly, this tent heater is a workhorse- perfect for those who prefer cozy quarters to chilly ones.
It’s also nice that all the elements are internal- no propane to handle or hot parts to touch. The motor puts out 1,500 watts, and with the accompanying fan blades, pushes warm air with some oomph.
Of course, you do need access to 120-volt power, meaning this unit is not truly rugged for remote environments.
- Durable steel design
- Warms large indoor spaces
- 5,000 BTU
- Five-blade fan
- Top handle
- Protective grate
- Requires an outlet for power
With a reputation for survivalist equipment, the Tooluze Camping Butane Heater is a rugged must-have for keeping you comfortable in a cold tent. While homeowners may use them in a pinch, these portable heaters are helpful in the campground, too.
The manufacturer recommends venting the unit, however, so you would do well to open a window or other vent for airflow. Overall, you may get about two hours of full-force heat before the butane runs out, so keeping spares on hand is ideal.
The movable handle helps you position the heater properly, but it also angles so you can direct heat where you need it most.
- Safety auto shutoff
- Uses butane cartridges
- Moveable handle
- Protective grate over ceramic burner
- Angle adjustment
- About 5,100 BTU on high
- Works best with some ventilation
- Butane doesn’t last long on high heat
Have a large cabin-style or group tent you need to heat? The Heat Storm HS-1500-ISA Sahara Infrared Heater may fit the bill. It’s a lightweight and portable model that has a 5,200 BTU heat output. You can heat up to 1,000 square feet, according to the manufacturer.
A grate covers the heat source, but there are also vents on all sides for optimal airflow. The drawback is you can’t place the heater between objects or bedding as it needs plenty of air circulation to work effectively.
The perks of the increased airflow are that the heater is cool to the touch, making it safe for environments with kids and pets. The ability to set the thermostat is a helpful feature, too, so you can make sure the temp stays consistent without constantly adjusting the heat setting.
- Heats up to 1,000 square feet
- Integrated handle
- Does not reduce oxygen or humidity
- Build-in thermostat with LED display
- Remote control
- Grate over the heat source
- Circulatory fan
- Requires cord power
- Cannot block vents as airflow is necessary
- Fan is not adjustable
When it comes to deciding on the best tent heater for camping, we’ve found that the Mr. Heater F232000 MH9BX Buddy Portable Heater meets all our qualifications. It can heat up to 225 square feet, which covers most higher capacity tents up to about 8-person size.
However, the safety features are what makes this heater the best. An auto shutoff function ensures that you won’t lose oxygen, plus the unit automatically turns off if the pilot light goes out.
Also, no worries about finding an outlet to plug into – Mr. Heater’s Buddy heater uses propane and can even connect to a larger tank for convenient and long-lasting heat. Of course, the handle helps with portability if you don’t need a massive fuel source to keep you comfortable inside your tent.