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An indoor propane heater is one of the most affordable and efficient heating methods. It’s versatile and equally convenient for just about any kind of space – be it your urban home, an off-grid cabin, a bug out shelter, or a camping tent.
Sure, it’s not as sexy or invigorating as a wood burning stove. If you really like the sight, sound and smell of crackling fire, you can still have your stove in the sitting room. But it won’t be able to warm up the entire house. So, you’ll likely need additional sources of heat unless you’re extremely used to living in harsh conditions.
And it just so happens that indoor propane heaters are one of the top options when cost/benefit ratio is taken into account. They are typically very inexpensive to buy and maintain, easy to carry around if portable, and produce much more heat than their electric counterparts.
How Safe Are Indoor Propane Heaters?
If you’re worrying about the ecological footprint, cast your thoughts aside. While it is not entirely harmless, propane is still much better than most other fuels. For example, it doesn’t pollute water or soil. Which, of course, doesn’t mean it’s entirely safe for you and me!
Luckily, most propane heaters come with built-in oxygen sensors. If the oxygen level is low, the propane will burn improperly, emitting carbon monoxide. Which, in turn, doesn’t have enough oxygen to react with it and produce carbon dioxide. If that happens for a certain period of time, it can harm or even kill you. So if you feel dizzy or nauseated, turn off the heater and leave the room immediately. You can also get an inexpensive carbon monoxide detector, in case your heater doesn’t have an in-built one.
So, good ventilation is the name of the (safe) game here. Sure, you won’t crack your windows wide open, as it would beat the purpose. But make sure to let enough fresh air every once in a while, and check your heater for malfunctions. If you take precautions and pay due attention to this heating unit, it will be absolutely safe.
If you use propane as car fuel, it’s also much greener than diesel, petrol or gasoline. In fact, even the 1990 Clean Air Act recommends it as one of alternative fuels that everybody should consider switching to.
Benefits of a Indoor Propane Heater Over Other Heating Methods
- Propane (also known as LPG or liquefied petroleum gas) is less dangerous than other fuels. If you make it a habit not to keep your propane burner in the same room with open fire or any other potential source of ignition, you will be fine. Also, store it outside the house. It’s also harmless if it comes into contact with your skin – it’s going to evaporate very quickly and is not toxic.
- It’s way easier on the wallet than heaters running on electricity. The price ratio is relative, but propane produces significantly more heat. If you’re a camper, such a heater may even eliminate the need for a space blanket.
- With an indoor propane heater, you don’t have to rely on your power grid to keep you warm. That makes it an excellent choice for all off-grid preppers, campers, hunters, or just people who love to spend weekends in their summer houses or cabins. Even if you’re neither of those, you should still get one. You never know when a natural disaster or any other SHTF scenario may happen, causing a power blackout in the dead of winter.
- There are two types of propane heaters, based on their ignition system. The manual ones are, naturally, cheaper. But you can also opt to ignite your heater with a click of a button.
- While some heaters are mountable, most of them are portable. Which means you can carry it from one room to another – or from one place to another.
Best Indoor Propane Heater – 5 Top Options
Mr. Heater Indoor-Safe Portable Propane Radiant Heater
One of the most versatile options on our list, this is one of those propane heaters you can use both indoors and outdoors. It’s also one of the safest due to the auto shut-off option that will turn it off in case of any occurrence it deems unsafe. Therefore, you don’t even have to worry about tipping it over.
It will even measure the oxygen levels in the room, if indoors. And, of course, shut down if they are insufficient. That’s why it can’t operate under 7,000 feet altitude. This heater also has an oxygen sensor, so that it can shut down on its own as soon as there isn’t enough oxygen to feed it.
Its maximum capacity is 9,000 BTU (British thermal units), which is enough to warm up 225 square feet at the average fuel consumption of 0.099 gallons per hour.
- One of the most versatile outdoor and indoor propane heaters
- Has automatic ignition
- You can also use it outdoors
- Equipped with extra safety options
- The carrying handle makes it easily portable
- It tends to devour a lot of gas
Mr. Heater Little Buddy Indoor Safe Portable Propane Heater
A mini (and a bit cheaper) version of the above Mr. Heater, this guy won’t be able to warm up such a large area. Burning at the maximum of 3800 BTU, it’s still a very decent heater for the price, offering all of the safety measures like its bigger cousin. However, you won’t be able to use it outdoors. It only weighs 5 pounds, so you can easily carry it wherever you want. But don’t let the name trick ya – it’s still not small enough to fit in your backpack.
And if you like to camp at high altitudes, note that it won’t work above 4,500 feet.
- Comes with a safety sensor that shuts it off in case of tipping, and oxygen detector
- Produces more than enough heat for an average tent or even a decent room
- Pretty lightweight
- May take some time to light
- Won’t work over 4,500 feet altitude
Cedar Ridge Hearth Dual Fuel Gas Heater
Exclusively intended for indoor use, this heater runs on natural gas and propane. It’s a great feature since natural gas is usually cheaper than propane, although way less caloric. Anyway, it’s good to have a choice.
Its up to 25,000 BTU should be enough to make a very large room toasty. What singles it out from most other options is a thermostat, which will turn it on and off, maintaining the temperature you need. Just like in all the models we’ve included on our list, it has an oxygen depletion sensor, which will shut it down automatically if needed. As nice as these safety features are, don’t leave the heater on unattended.
- Dual fuel – uses natural gas and propane
- The thermostat means you don’t have to juggle the temperature
- Push-button Piezo ignition adds to the ease of use
- The burner is vent-free, which means you need no chimney or duct
- Not portable
Mr. Heater Blue Flame Burner
A bit of disclosure before we start with this one. The fact that this is a third product made by Mr. Heater doesn’t mean we endorse this manufacturer or are being partial in any way. It’s just that they are a company specialized in making propane heaters, and excellent ones at that.
What singles out this particular model is power. With 30,000 BTU, it’s capable enough to warm up a whopping 750 square feet space.
Now, this heater isn’t a portable one. It was primarily intended for mounting, but it also has legs to stand on. Hence, you can’t carry it on camping or outdoor trips. The blue flame is an elegant solution for your home as it warms up the air, unlike its infrared counterpart, which warms up objects and can be quite unpleasant to sit by.
- An excellent unit for home use, be it as a main or additional source of heat
- Blue flame provides very pleasant warmth
- You can mount it on the wall or let it sit on the floor, whatever works best
- It isn’t portable
- Not very easy to set up
Mr. Heater Forced Air Propane Heater
No, this isn’t a megaphone or an awkward little telescope. It’s a (very) portable outdoor propane heater that covers up to 2,125 square feet. As you can see, the design screams portability, with a heavy handle that enables carrying. Use it indoors if you like, but never in an absolutely enclosed room. It’s only safe if there’s much ventilation.
Since it actually blows the heat, it won’t be a perfect choice for tents or other small areas. On the other hand, it’s perfect for job sites or farms, where other outdoor heaters wouldn’t achieve anything.
- The best propane heater for job sites, construction sites, farms, large backyards or shops
- It provides ample warmth
- A thermostat regulates the temperature
- Gas hose and regulator are included in the package
- Very easy to assemble and set up
- It doesn’t burn as quietly as the manufacturer’s sales pitch would have us believe
- You can only use it outdoor or in a partially enclosed space