Even a four-season tent can only keep you so warm when camping in cold weather, and what if you want to have a portable space heater by your campsite’s picnic table?
To turn a nightmarish, freezing cold outing into something that’s not only survivable but enjoyable—toasty, even—you’ll need to invest in a camping heater.
The question is: what kind of camping heater is right for your situation? We’ll take a look at nine heaters below that you can use to turn your next cold-weather romp into a wintry wonderland of warmth.
THE BEST CAMPING HEATER: COMPARISON TABLE
HOW WE REVIEWED
Our team of experts carefully selected nine camping heaters to compare and contrast. The following products were reviewed based on their features, pros & cons, their price, and their commercial availability.
We wish to emphasize that camping heaters can be dangerous if they are not rated for in-shelter use or if they come too close to flammable materials. Always use the utmost caution when using a camping heater, fire pit, or other source of heat when you are camping. Safety first!
PORTABLE SPACE AND CAMPING HEATER PRICE RANGE
Depending on size, maximum heat output, fuel source, and various other features, portable or camping heaters will run somewhere in the neighborhood of $20 on the low end, to $90 on the high end—making them a wonderful investment to keep your campsite comfortable year-round.
WHAT WE REVIEWED
- Mr. Heater 4,000-9,000-BTU Portable Propane Radiant Heater
- Camping Emergency Butane Heater
- Texsport Portable Outdoor Propane Heater
- Lasko Model 100 MyHeat Personal Space Heater
- Honeywell HCE100B Heat Bud Ceramic Heater
- Honeywell HZ-0360 Surround Heat Heater
- Comfort Zone CZ707 Personal Heater Fan
- Mr. Heater Little Buddy 3800-BTU Propane Heater
- Mr. Heater 10,000-15,000 BTU Cooker
MR. HEATER 4,000-9,000-BTU PORTABLE PROPANE RADIANT HEATER
This adjustable 4,000 to 9,000 BTU radiant camping heater can be used to keep spaces up to 225 square feet warm.
It’s approved for use either indoors or outdoors and uses clean-burning propane gas as a heat source.
It includes automatic shut off if it detects low oxygen levels, if the pilot light goes out, or if it is knocked over.
Price: This product can be found on Amazon for an affordable price, but watch for sales or discounts as prices are always fluctuating.
CAMPING EMERGENCY BUTANE HEATER
This portable camping heater uses standard butane gas cannisters as fuel, converting the butane into heat through a ceramic disk diffuser.
It has a pressure sensitive shut-off valve, and an economical fuel consumption rate of 100 grams per hour. It is CE certified, and safe to use in enclosed locations.
Price: This portable camp heater can be found at online retailers for around $.
TEXSPORT PORTABLE OUTDOOR PROPANE HEATER
The Texsport Portable Outdoor Propane Heater is constructed of rugged, durable stainless steel and features a unique “paddle foot” design to maintain stability and guard against accidental tip overs.
It features an on/off knob that doubles as a heat regulator which will adjust the burner to output a maximum of 2,890 BTU. Fueled by disposable 16.4 or 14.1-ounce propane cylinders, it also features an automatic shut off valve if fuel is is exhausted or if the flame goes out.
Price: This camping heater is available for an affordable price, but is occasionally discounted for less.
LASKO MODEL 100 MYHEAT PERSONAL SPACE HEATER
This space or camping heater delivers heat quickly and right where you want it because of the built-in fan.
It features a compact ceramic heating element that converts electricity into 200 watts of heat, providing compact, efficient warmth in a tiny package. Though this heater relies on electrical current, it could be ideal for campsites with electric hookup, RVs, or campers who bring a portable generator with them.
Price: This little space heater can be found on Amazon for right around $.
HONEYWELL HCE100B HEAT BUD CERAMIC HEATER
The Honeywell Heat Bud Ceramic Heater converts electricity to 250 watts of energy-efficient warmth.
It was specifically designed to warm up a single individual’s personal space, making it ideal for that one camper on your trip who is always complaining of the cold.
It features a ceramic burner that provides even heat and reaches its full operating temperature rapidly, with two heat settings, one button control, and a tip over safety auto off switch.
Price: This product can be found on Amazon for approximately $, though it is occasionally discounted to as little as $.
HONEYWELL HZ-0360 SURROUND HEAT HEATER
This camping heater features a full 360 degrees of heat output, which will warm an entire tent or enclosure safely and efficiently.
Complete with a convenient stay-cool carrying handle, easy-to-use manual controls, an adjustable thermostat, and a safety tip-over switch, this heater also features an extra-wide base to guard against accidental knock-overs. This camping heater can run on low, high, or fan only, which makes it useful as a cooling device.
Price: This camping heater is available for right around $.
COMFORT ZONE CZ707 PERSONAL HEATER FAN
This camping heater is a compact, fan-driven design with an adjustable thermostat.
The fan-forced heat is controlled by a four-position rotary dial switch, and all components are durably built and designed for years of use. This electric heater comes with a power indicator light, an overheat warning light, and features overheat protections and a high-limit safety fuse.
Price: This camp heater can be found at online retailers like Amazon for around $.
MR. HEATER LITTLE BUDDY 3800-BTU PROPANE HEATER
This indoor-safe portable propane camping heater is rated to heat spaces as large as 95 square feet, plus can do a reasonable job of keeping the chill out of slightly larger spaces.
It features odor-free, high-efficiency heat and a heating element angled at 45 degrees for maximum heat dispersal. It uses disposable one-pound propane cylinders and will run for over five-and-a-half hours on a single cylinder at its maximum heat setting.
This heater requires a vent area of at least four square inches for adequate ventilation, but is equipped with a low oxygen sensor and a tip over sensor, both of which will turn the unit off.
Price: This camping heater can be found in camping supply stores or at online retailers for an affordable price, but does occasionally go on sale.
MR. HEATER 10,000-15,000 BTU COOKER
This is the powerhouse of the units we’ve reviewed, putting out an incredible 8000 to 15000 BTU.
It features a three-position heat regulator, adjustable angle, an automatic safety shut off, and is so powerful it can even double as a cooker. It can be used with disposable propane cylinders or (best of all) refillable 20-pound propane tanks for all-day heat. This unit ships completely assembled except for the all-metal stand, which is included.
Price: While not for everyone because of how hot the metal parts can get, this great little camping heater which doubles as a cooker is a steal at around $, available at better camping supply stores or from online retailers.
CAMPING HEATER FAQ
1. What Is a Camping Heater?
A camping heater is a small heater designed for outdoor or in-tent use. They commonly run on propane, butane, or some other fuel which may or may not be safe to use in confined quarters. Always refer to the manufacturer’s guidelines before using a camping heater in a tent or enclosed shelter.
2. What Does a Camping Heater Do?
A camping heater converts fuel or electricity to heat and generates radiant warmth that can be used to keep outdoor campsites, tents, or enclosures warmer than ambient heat would allow. They are used either in shelters, or outdoors with campfires or on their own if conditions do not allow for a fire.
3. How Does a Camping Heater Work?
Propane or butane heaters generally convert fuel to heat by means of small controlled combustion (flame), while electric or catalytic heaters convert heat without relying on flame or combustion to generate warmth.
4. Where Can You Buy a Camping Heater?
Many outdoors supply stores, camping stores, hardware stores, etc., will stock camping heaters, and they are also available from many online retailers. You may also wish to check the stock at your local Army Navy surplus store.
Image by rawpixel.com via Freepik
While the electric heaters on our list are suitable for indoor use, they rely on electrical power, meaning you must have a generator or a wired camp site to use them.
Plus, you’ll still face the hassle of running extension cords into and out of any enclosed space like a tent or small camper, making it difficult to seal it against the elements. Still, they can be a handy feature for the right circumstances, and shouldn’t be overlooked.
The butane heaters in our round up are more suitable for smaller enclosures or for personal space to “take the chill off,” but probably will not heat larger tents or campers, and are susceptible to wind, which will both diminish their output or could extinguish them entirely.
The larger propane heaters pump out more heat, but come with the downside of exposed metal parts which can be a burn hazard—or a fire hazard if placed too close to a flammable surface. All the units reviewed here are rated for use within enclosed spaces, but make sure any non-electric camping heater you use in a tent, camper, or RV has a low-oxygen shut-off switch just in case of emergencies.
For our money, you can’t go wrong with the big daddy on the list, the Mr. Heater 10,000-15,000 BTU Cooker, as it does an amazing job of heating even larger enclosures, and if tilted on its side (which it is designed for) doubles as a powerful camp cooker for situations when a camp fire isn’t an option.
Always guard your campsite against accidental fire, and may you enjoy the great outdoors year-round.
Hey, look at that! You found me! Lucky for you, because when I’m not writing articles all about the wilderness life, I’m out in the bush. Camping, fishing, canoeing, and sometimes even getting lost. You know the drill.