A portable kerosene heater is a powerful tool when placed in the right hands. These devices have the ability to convert kerosene, a flammable liquid that generates tons of heat when burned, into energy that warms air and can make any environment more livable. These machines often work indoors and outdoors and are popular in large houses, apartment complexes, garages, farm buildings, construction sites, warehouses, and other well-ventilated areas.
It can be difficult to find the best kerosene heater since there are dozens of options currently on the market with each one claiming to be the absolute greatest. However, there are a couple that stand out. Currently, the best choice is a kerosene forced air heater — the Mr. Heater F270320 MH125KTR Contractor Forced-Air Kerosene Heater.
This is a truly massive portable kerosene heater that works great outdoors because it produces enough energy to cover almost 4,000 square feet, making it ideal for large environments. It is also one of the easiest kerosene heaters to move, featuring pneumatic tires and handles that make it easy to push and pull around. It also meets many of the characteristics necessary to find the best kerosene heater, including a good warranty, large area coverage, and a decent price.
If you would like a separate interior kerosene heater, consider investing in the Dyna-Glo RMC-95C6B Indoor Kerosene Convection Heater. This model is inexpensive, easy to use, great to transport, and works well in homes, apartments, and numerous other interior spaces. It is affordable for almost everyone and also comes with a warranty.
Little can go wrong with buying a portable kerosene heater, so read on to find the best ones.
Kerosene Heater Reviews
The Winner - Powerful 23,800 BTU Design
Dura Heat DH2304S
The Dura Heat DH2304S is a reliable kerosene heater for indoor use because it is small, reliable, durable, and treats a smaller area than most forced air blowers. This model can treat an area of 500 square feet and has a 1.9-gallon fuel tank that holds enough fuel for 12 hours. This kerosene heater is ideal as a supplemental heat source to help save on energy bills and keep the indoors warm during power outages or subzero weather. It produces 23,800 BTU/hour and includes a no-lift heat chamber designed to help minimize the odor that comes with using a new wick.
This is one of only a few models that releases heat in a 360-degree radius, making it an excellent option for someone who wants to heat an entire room and not just a single space. A protective grill keeps hands and fingers safe from the hot central unit where kerosene is burned to produce energy. This is one of the least expensive kerosene heaters a person can buy, making it ideal for someone who wants to save money but still keep warm during the cold winter months.
- Great fuel efficiency
- Reduced odor when using new wicks
- Projects heat in all directions
Best Value - Omni-Radiant Kerosene Heater
This model might literally be the least expensive portable kerosene heater on the market, costing a little over $100 while other indoor models typically cost around $150. It treats an area of 380 square feet without issue and, although it has a small fuel tank of 1.2 gallons, provides heat for 14 hours without any refills. The Sengoku HeatMate Omni-Radiant is recommended for individuals who want to supplement their home’s regular heat source, wish to save money on energy bills, or would like an emergency source during disasters.
This model has tons of reliable features, including an EZ flame adjuster, an automatic safety shutoff to prevent damage, protective safety grills, and a tip-over switch. It can be used indoors or outdoors, although its heating capabilities are better in more confined areas. When used outdoors, it is excellent on porches and similar areas. The only catch is that you cannot let this heater get wet, so remember to take it inside when you are done outdoors as the moisture and humidity can damage the machinery.
- High energy efficient
- Includes tons of safety features
- Highly portable
Runner Up - Radiant Kerosene Heater
Sengoku HeatMate HMN-110
Radiant systems are a popular heat transfer system in many portable kerosene heaters because the model moves heat directly to surfaces rather than the air. The Sengoku HeatMate Portable Radiant HMN-110 has numerous features despite being one of the less expensive products currently available, making it perhaps the best kerosene heater for indoor use for individuals who are nervous about the idea of using a flammable liquid/gas like kerosene indoors.
Some of the beneficial features in the Sengoku HeatMate HMN-110 are the EZ flame adjuster, the automatic safety shutoff, overheating sensors, protective safety grills, and an easy push button start. This model can treat an area of 380 square feet and has a small fuel tank. This model works well for regular supplemental heating to help save money on energy bills as well as an emergency heat source during power outages and other disasters.
A small 1.4-gallon tanks provides enough heat for 14 hours.
- Great fuel efficiency
- Tons of safety features like an automatic shutoff
- Easy to replace wicks
Forced Air Torpedo Heater
This product is a powerful unit that is sturdy, reliable, and designed for outdoor use. It produces a massive 80,000 BTU of energy and has enough juice to heat an area of 2,000 square feet. This portable kerosene heater is exceptionally versatile, working well on farms and construction sites as well as in garages and workshops. The handle is one of the most durable, unlike the flimsy attachments on similar products. With a total weight of 35 pounds, this heater is easy to move and transport to new locations.
This model features steel construction and includes safety features like an air pressure gauge, fuel gauge, and 5-Point Safety System. Users can tell when the machine is producing too much heat and safely shut it off with a manual switch. The temperature is adjustable and each Pro-Temp Kerosene/Diesel Torpedo Heater comes with a limited 1-year warranty from the manufacturer that is easy to call in.
This model is best used as a kerosene garage heater because it covers a massive area and can produce a tremendous amount of heat, making it great as a device to fight the cold in workshops and similar unheated areas.
- 5-Point Safety System
- Ability to use kerosene and diesel as fuel
- Heats up to 2,000 square feet
- Runs for 9 hours on a single tank
Another Forced-Air Heater
Mr. Heater F270320 MH125KTR
The Mr. Heater F270320 MH125KTR Contractor Forced-Air Kerosene Heater is a powerful model designed for the outdoors. While it does have a high price point, it is surprisingly cost efficient because it manages to treat an area of up to 3,125 square feet for 15 hours while using 8.5 gallons of kerosene. These numbers sound like a lot until you consider that this is basically a massive kerosene space heater for open-air outdoor locations like farms and worksites for many different jobs.
This model is a 125,000 BTU forced air heater that is easy to move around because of its pneumatic tires and push/pull handle. It is ideal for outdoor workers who constantly need to shift location. Each unit comes with a limited 1-year warranty and has important safety features like overheating sensors and an automatic shutoff to prevent damage. Continuous ignition, an air pressure gauge, a fuel gauge, and a simple cord wrap top this model off.
This is easily one of the best kerosene heaters because of its strength and versatility, although it is not ideal for indoor use because of its power.
- Pneumatic tires for easy transportation
- Overheat sensors and an automatic shutoff system
- Heats up to 3,125 square feet for 15 hours
- Maximum fuel efficiency
Indoor Kerosene Convection Heater
It can be difficult to find the best kerosene heater for indoor use, but this is actually one of the greatest models currently on the market because of its versatility, ease of use, and simple convenience. Unlike many other models, the Dyna-Glo RMC-95C6B does not require an electric outlet and instead uses batteries to function. This lightweight model weighs a small 23.1 pounds and is highly portable, making it exceptional for moving around a home depending on your needs.
This model can heat up to 1,000 square feet, making it ideal for attics, basements, and entire floors in a house or apartment. It produces 23,000 BTU/hour and has automatic ignition and a simple shutoff system – all you have to do is push a button. The grill around the central heating unit also doubles as a safety feature, keeping hands and fingers away from the heated wick and kerosene.
- Highly portable
- Heats 1,000 square feet fast
- Has automatic ignition for easy starting
Another Convection Kerosene Heater
Kero World KW-24G
The Kero World KW-24G is a powerful indoor kerosene heater that uses a convection system. In the convection system, cold air is pulled up from the floor, heated by interior coils, and then released as warm air through the upper section of the system. Convection heaters are wonderful for enclosed spaces because the warm air will circulate throughout a room without escaping further up.
This product is unique for including a 2-year limited warranty rather than a 1-year warranty, which is far more common. This should cover regular wear and tear as well as manufacturer error. The warranty is quite easy to cash in, as the company has amazing customer service that is quick to respond to questions and concerns.
The Kero World KW-24G produces 23,000 BTU/hour and has enough power to heat an area of 1,000 square feet. The 1.9-gallon tank produces enough heat to last for 12 hours, but can only use clean kerosene instead of other varieties. A 360-degree grill protects hands and fingers from the central burning unit. This heater only weighs 20 pounds, making it one of the most portable options currently on the market.
- Can heat 1,000 square feet
- Includes a 2-year warranty
VERSATILE — Great for Workshops, Farms, or Garages
The Pro-Temp PT-70-SS Kerosene Radiant Sun Stream Heater is a strong and powerful portable kerosene heater that produces 70,000 BTU/hour. It can heat up to 1,750 square feet and uses radiant and fan heating systems. The radiant system transfers heat to the walls and floor, while fan heating shoots heated air in a wide trajectory. A simple manual on/off switch makes this one of the easiest systems to use.
This radiant kerosene heater isn’t the most fuel-efficient option, but can operate for 7 hours with a 4-gallon tank. It weighs about 33 pounds but is easy to transport. Although it works best outdoors, it is also great for large interior areas like garages, workshops, and warehouses.
- Uses two separate heating and air flow systems
- Easy to transport
- Can heat up to 1,750 square feet
- Works indoors and outdoors
Kerosene Heater Comparison Chart
|Item||Size||Heats up to||Dimensions||Weight|
|Pro-Temp Forced Air Torpedo Heater||80,000 BTU||2000 square feet||30 x 13 x 15 in||35 pounds|
|Mr. Heater F270320 MH125KTR||125,000-BTU||3,125 square feet||35.9 x 16.9 x 20.9 in||59.2 pounds|
|Dyna-Glo RMC-95C6B||23000 BTU||1,000 SQ.FT.||17.5 x 17.5 x 27 in||23.1 pounds|
|Sengoku HeatMate HMN-110||10,000-BTU||380 square feet||22 x 13 x 20 in||22.6 pounds|
|Dura Heat DH2304S||23,800 BTU||N/A||17.5 x 17.5 x 26.8 in||27.6 pounds|
|Sengoku HeatMate OR-77||10,000-BTU||380 square feet||15.5 x 15 x 22 in||20.3 pounds|
|Kero World KW-24G||23,000-BTU||1000 square feet||18 x 18 x 22.2 in||20 pounds|
|Pro-Temp PT-70-SS||70,000 BTU||1,750 square feet||20.9 x 14.6 x 21.7 in||33 pounds|
Kerosene Heater Buying Guide
There are some questions you might want to consider before you choose to buy a portable kerosene heater, including how the device works, what you should look for, and how to keep the heater functioning properly. This section answers these burning questions and includes some information necessary for finding the best kerosene heater for indoor or outdoor use.
How Does a Portable Kerosene Heater Work?
Although many people think that portable kerosene heaters follow a single schematic, there is actually a variety of styles that manufacturers produce. These work in different ways, but all use the basic premise of transforming kerosene into energy to produce heat that will warm air. The main styles of kerosene heater are radiant, convection, and forced air. Before discussing these models, though, it’s important to understand that there are several components that will always be the same and that need to be maintained in order for a portable kerosene heater to work.
A kerosene heater follows the original design of a traditional kerosene lamp. Each one possesses a large circular wick that, in modern times, is made of a material like fiberglass or cotton. The wick is mounted internally in a burner unit above a tank filled with kerosene. Capillary action is responsible for the wick drawing kerosene out of the tank. The wick, once it has been lit, heats the kerosene until it forms a flammable gas.
Because kerosene is so flammable, it will burn from the flame of the wick. Once it burns, the kerosene gas heats air that is drawn into the heater through the process of convection or radiation. The heat is transferred to an area through these methods or is blasted through a shaft that resembles the cannon. There is no risk of the heater becoming a flamethrower through this process because the flame of the wick and the gas are kept internal.
Overheating can be an issue, but most contemporary models include automatic shutoff features when the device starts to become too hot. Radiant is one of the most common styles of portable kerosene heaters. In this system, heat is transferred through a warm object rather than emitted directly into the air. The sun is perhaps the most common example of this system, as are wall heaters and heated ceiling panels. Radiant heaters tend to operate within a small radius but work great for confined indoor spaces because they are unlikely to overheat and produce just enough heat for a couple of people and rooms.
Convection heaters are slightly less common and tend to be more powerful than their radiant companions. These models use the process of convection, through which cold air is pulled up from the floor, heated by internal coils, and then released as hot air through the top of the heater. These work well in small spaces like the radiant style but warm air directly so it can move throughout an environment.
The final style is forced air, which honestly resembles an air cannon. This model forcefully draws air into its internal mechanisms, heats it, and then blasts it out into the environment through a large, central fan. This style is most commonly seen on large kerosene heaters designed to heat well-ventilated and massive indoor spaces or outdoor worksites. They tend to be less fuel efficient than other models, but their ability to cover a large area is unmatched by more restrained methods.
What Should You Look for in a Portable Kerosene Heater?
Although portable kerosene heaters possess numerous similarities, especially in their basic function, there are several different features the average person should consider when choosing the right option for them. These include how much square footage the heater can handle, whether or not different fuel types are accepted, how many safety features are included, total portability, overall price, and the available warranty for the product.
One of the biggest steps in finding the right kerosene heater is choosing a model that has enough juice to heat the area you desire. Most kerosene heaters for indoor use will cover 1,000 square feet or less to improve fuel efficiency and prevent overheating. If you want to find a model for the outdoors, you will typically find options that cover anywhere from 2,000 square feet to 4,000 square feet.
Different Fuel Types
Sometimes kerosene heaters will be compatible with different fuel types. This typically does not change the performance of the machine but can make it easier to power if you don’t have a lot of access to liquid kerosene.
The most common alternative fuel type is diesel, although some industrial models are capable of accepting rare options like jet fuel.
Because kerosene is flammable, and exposing it to heat and fire is essential for getting a kerosene heater to work, it’s important to have safety features in the model you choose.
The most important safety feature you can have is sensors that detect when the machine is overheating and automatically shut it off. This feature prevents internal damage and the risk of a fire starting, making it perhaps the most significant characteristic any kerosene heater can have.
The best kerosene heater will have these sensors and the automatic shutoff switch in addition to other safety features like an easy-to-remove wick, an air pressure gauge, and a manual on/off switch. These will keep users safe when trying to find the right product.
What good is a portable kerosene heater that is actually difficult to transport? While kerosene heaters can get quite heavy – especially if they use a forced-air design – they should always be portable. There are a few different features that contribute to the ease of transport. Remember that if you’re struggling to move the heater, keep it in a location where it is convenient.
Smaller models tend to have basic handles, and these can be a little flimsy. It’s common for any kerosene heater that weighs less than 40 pounds to only have a handle while heavier models use pneumatic tires and handles to push or pull the machine around. Basic handles can actually be a little more difficult to transfer because the construction of the handle tends to be a bit flimsy.
The price is one of the most significant factors when choosing any product because it often determines how efficient and durable any item is. Most portable kerosene heaters cost anywhere from $100 to $400 with large variations in capacity, sturdiness, fuel tank size, and overall heat output. The larger forced air models are naturally on the higher end of the scale while small indoor kerosene heaters will be less expensive.
There are other factors that need to be considered in the price, including overall fuel efficiency. A device that is not fuel efficient will use a ton of kerosene to provide a little amount of heat, which is never a good option. Buyers can end up investing a low amount of money up front, but then end up spending even more money just trying to keep the heater supplied with its fuel source.
So, remember that you are still are going to need to buy kerosene in the future.
A warranty is important for any device like a kerosene heater because there are numerous opportunities to go wrong. In particular, there are many chances for error due to the combination of flammable gas, flames, electric components, and the fans necessary to blow hot air around an area.
In general, most manufacturers of portable kerosene heaters will offer a limited 1or 2-year warranty. These warranties typically cover errors made during the construction of the device. An example of this style of error would be if the factory did not screw something correctly or forgot to add a piece during manufacturing.
Occasionally, a warranty will also include general wear and tear over time. This style of warranty will cover if the machine breaks during regular use. The heater accidentally burning through its wick and part of the holding chamber is an example of damage caused by normal use. Someone dumping ice inside the heater is not.
Getting a warranty is a good idea but typically costs extra. Remember this when choosing a kerosene heater.
What are the Different Types of Kerosene Heater?
Although kerosene heaters all use the same fuel source, they actually use completely different methods to provide heat to internal and external areas. The 3different types that can be found on the market at the moment are the forced air, convection, and radiant heaters.
Forced air kerosene heaters pull air into the central mechanism, where it is heated by kerosene that has been transformed from a liquid into a gas. The heated air is then blasted out through a central tube that honestly resembles a cannon. This system can heat more air at a single time than any of the others, and can also send it over greater distances. For these reasons, almost all of the larger outdoor kerosene heaters tend to follow this model.
The next style is a convection heater. This uses the basic scientific process of convection, which deals with cold gases and liquids sinking while hot ones rise. The kerosene heater will draw in cold air from the region of the floor, heats it using internal coils that have been heated by the kerosene, and then releases the warm air through an upper fan. Most interior kerosene heaters follow this system.
The final style is radiant. Radiant heaters are also typically interior models. These generate heat by burning the kerosene kept in the internal fuel tank. The heat is then transferred to other surfaces such as the floor, walls, and even the ceiling. These work well in small areas.
How to Light a Kerosene Heater
In the 20th century, individuals used to have to light kerosene lamps and heaters by hand. This meant lighting a wick using matches and hoping the kerosene gas did not catch on fire. In modern times, almost all portable kerosene heaters are lit using a simple push of a button.
Manual on/off switches were developed as a significant safety feature to help prevent burns. The fiberglass or cotton wick is kept in a sealed internal chamber that can be opened but is designed to be confined. This helps prevent the escape of kerosene gas and further ensures flames are kept secured. So, when buying any of the models of portable kerosene heater reviewed here, users do not need to worry about lighting their choice by hand.
Can I Use Diesel in a Kerosene Heater?
This is one of the most commonly asked questions, and is definitely something you should consider BEFORE you try to put a new fuel in any machine. The short answer is: not always. Sometimes a portable kerosene heater is designed to accept diesel as well as kerosene, but these are uncommon because of the additional cost required to design and manufacture a machine that will take more than one fuel type.
A few examples of products on this list that can accept diesel are:
● Pro-Temp Kerosene/Diesel Forced Air Torpedo Heater
Does the Wick Need Replacement in a Kerosene Heater?
You will need to replace the internal wick on a regular basis to ensure the heater continues to function properly. Most wicks are made of fiberglass or cotton, but almost every single manufacturer produces their own wicks, making it difficult to buy a generic version to help save on money. If you’re unsure what kind of wick to purchase, there are numerous online tools that will tell you what is the right product based on the kerosene heater’s manufacturer and model.
Wicks need to be disposed of on a regular basis, so make sure they have time to cool before you try to remove them. Also make sure all of the kerosene is burned off the wick before trying to open the system, as this is an important safety concern.
How to Replace the Wick
Although the products are all different, there are a few similarities when it comes to wick replacement. While it is best to check for instructions that come with each portable kerosene heater, sometimes the instructions get lost. This is especially common in refurbished models that have been repaired by somebody else.
This buying guide thus includes a decent set of instruction that can help anybody when it comes to replacing the wick. These instructions are quite general, so remember that there might be some variations based on the model you are using. Always remember to have the correct wick before you start this process, as it can be quite time consuming.
1. Run the heater until all of the kerosene in the tank and on the wick has been burned away. This is ESSENTIAL for personal safety.
2. Give the heater several hours to cool. Even if the outside is cold, the inside can still be hot.
3. Remove the fuel tank, batteries (if included), and the wick adjuster knob to access the wick containment area.
4. Remove any grills protecting the main burning unit.
5. Remove the catalytic convertor. It typically has a glass chamber, so take care not to shatter it during this process. If it does break, you might need to order a new heater entirely.
6. Unscrew and remove the screws that are connecting the heater base to the cabinet, which protects the wick. Make sure you put the screws in an easy-to-access area and that you remember their location.
7. There should be a mica windshield – or a similar piece – over the wick. Remove it.
8. Next, remove the wing nuts that keep the wick assembly to the base. Once the wing nuts are removed, put them in a safe place and then raise the entire assembly so it floats above the heater base.
9. You will see a draft tube over the wick. You should be able to take out the wick and wick holder by pulling them straight up this tube.
10. If you can, use a marker to make a line on the old wick right where it sits in the wick holder. This will help you with the installation of the new wick since you will know how far to insert it.
11. Remove the old wick from the holder.
12. Make a mark on the new wick at the same place as the mark on the old one.
13. Insert the new wick in the holder up to the line you made. You might need to bend it a little, but it will spring back into shape. You will then need to make sure it is held in place by the teeth of the holder so it doesn’t slip out while burning.
14. Move the holder with the new wick back down the draft tube. You can twist it around a couple of times to ensure the teeth of the holder fully engage the wick. It doesn’t hurt to be careful!
15. Replace the wick adjuster knob first.
16. Next, move the shut-off switch – it will be on the adjuster assembly – all the way down to help keep the holder in place.
17. Rotate the adjuster about ¾ of a clockwise rotation. Hold the latch in the knob shaft in this exact position to keep everything in the proper place.
18. Next, you’re going to need to engage the pinion that is on the inside of the wick slot. Raise the wick shaft onto the latch. The wick holder and the new wick should now be near the top and the rest of the heater can be put back in place.
19. Return the entire adjuster assembly onto the base.
20. Test the wick mechanism before you reinstall the rest of the heater. Performing this step can save you a lot of time and heartache if you made a mistake.
21. Screw the wing nuts back into place.
22. Raise the wick using the returned knob and then tighten the wing nuts to keep everything in place once more.
23. Adjust the height of the wick using the knob. It should sit about 3/8 of an inch above the shaft – the holder should not be above the shaft.
24. Replace the mica windshield.
25. Replace the screws connecting the cabinet to the heater base.
26. Replace the catalytic convertor.
27. Replace the wick adjuster knob.
28. Replace the batteries.
29. Replace the fuel tank.
Your instructions may differ from the ones listed here because a couple of manufacturers change pieces of the internal mechanisms. If you still have the instructions that came with your kerosene heater, be sure to check them thoroughly for information about wick replacement.
Should You Buy a Portable Kerosene Heater?
There are numerous reasons why someone would buy a portable kerosene heater. However, they work best for supplemental heating, especially in emergency situations. If you live in a region where blizzards, blackouts, and natural disasters are common, you’re definitely going to want a kerosene heater in case the power goes out. It’s also a good idea to get one of these if you want to supplement how much you spend on energy bills. It is almost always cheaper to invest in a kerosene heater and its fuel supply than it is to keep spending money on regular central heating. You can read reviews on central heating and cooling systems here.
Another type of individual who should consider a portable kerosene heater is the average outdoor worker. People like farmers, construction workers, warehouse workers, and even people at airports could benefit from having such an easy to transport heating system. Most forced air kerosene heaters can handle an area of up to 4,000 square feet, meaning they can keep tons of people warm without costing too much money.
Portable kerosene heaters have many valuable uses. They can be used indoors or outdoors depending on how much square footage they cover, making them excellent for a variety of individuals and regions, including farms, workshops, worksites, construction sites, houses, apartments, and entire buildings.
When choosing the perfect kerosene heater, remember to take into account your own personal needs. These will determine what square footage you want covered, the overall amount you’re willing to spend, what kind of warranty you want, and which style of heater will work best.
Kerosene heaters aren’t for everybody, so remember to do what works best for your lifestyle. If you’re uncomfortable with the idea of using such a flammable liquid to heat your home, you can always consider alternatives. However, portable kerosene heaters are durable, reliable, and great for numerous situations.