Heater

Best Tent Heater

Written by: Dave NartinApril 8, 2020Updated: May 21, 2020

Guide Overview

Do you love camping, but the thought of sleeping in the cold is giving you shivers? Consider camping tent heaters, and you’ll never again tuck your tent away for the winter. 

There are many different ways to keep your tent warm. And once you find the best heater for tent camping, you’ll plan camping out all year round. So, instead of not camping at all, embrace yourself for camping the smart way. 

Below, we’re going to walk you through the essentials of camping with exceptional comfort on any weather. With the best tent heater by your side, it is doable! Here’s what to look for and how to navigate through all those dangled options.

Things To Consider When Choosing A Tent Heater

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If you haven’t done this before, it can be overwhelming. Just take a quick look at some of the best-rated heaters for tents out there. You’ll see the manufacturer bragging about many different things. And they list lots of features, from dimensions and weight to power consumption, heat output, and much more! 

To keep your sanity and make a confident choice instead of running away, focus on the essentials. There may be no perfect heater for camping. But all you need is to find a portable tent heater ideal for your camping style and preferences. 

Long story short, pay attention to the following:

Types of Tent Heaters 

All tent heaters can be classified upon the source of heat. From this perspective, the most popular options are gas and electric. 

Gas Heaters 

Gas units are usually butane and propane tent heaters. These will generate the highest amount of heat, as long as you have enough fuel. Sure, they do imply some safety concerns. But manufacturers include safety operation features, too. And if you use them properly, you should be safe. 

Electric Heaters 

Electric units will spare you from having to carry gas supplies. At the same time, an electric tent heater will tie you to a camping site with a power source. If you know where to get your electricity from, it’s still an option to take into account.

Size 

Size dictates how much space your camping heater will occupy from the usable area of the tent. Note that, for safety reasons, you cannot just shove it in a corner. You must leave some space around it. And if it’s a bulky model and you have a small tent, it can pose comfort and safety problems. 

Moreover, a small tent heater is easy to carry around, from where you park your car to where you set your tent. This comes down to your camping style and preferences. Still, it is best to pick a model that allows maximum portability. So, look for the right balance between size, weight, and heat output.

Safety 

Safety should be your number one concern. Your tent space heater should give you some heat control options. But also come with a solid base that won’t make you improvise a standup. Automatic shut-off for accidental tip-over and overheat protection are highly desirable. 

But safety will also depend on how you use it! Pic the best tent heater out there, with the most safety features. You must still follow the manufacturer’s setup, operation, and maintenance recommendations. Look at these requirements in advance and decide if it’s something you can keep up with!

Heat Output 

The heat output indicates how much heat your camp heater can generate. It is measured in BTUs, and many models will score a couple of thousands of BTUs. The best ones will go up to 40,000 BTUs. 

While this indicator is important, don’t forget to determine how many BTUs you will need. And this depends on the surface you are planning on heating. To find this ideal value, you can look up for BTUs calculators online.

Noise 

Noise is an arguable feature, but it might still matter to you. One crucial safety recommendation is never to leave your camping space heater run unsupervised overnight. If you’re not going to sleep while it operates, noise shouldn’t be a big issue. 

Also, there’s no rule saying that a gas heater is noisier than an electric camping heater. It mostly depends on the heat dissipation system. However, consider that if you pick an electric model and run it with a generator, it can get noisy.

Best Tent Heaters

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Mr. Heater – 540 Degree Tank TopMr. Heater - 540 Degree Tank TopMr. Heater - 540 Degree Tank TopMr. Heater – 540 Degree Tank Top

This propane tent heater consists of a 360o burner head that sits on a 20 lb cylinder. Works with liquid propane, starting at the push of a TE Valve button. And it generates a whopping 30,000 – 45,000 BTU per hour. All that heat can quickly spread around, thanks to its 1800 multi-directional bracket. 

At a glance, it makes an outstanding choice for many different outdoor heating applications. It measures 10.4 x 10.4 x 17.5 inches and weighs 5.5 pounds. It is both reliable in any conditions and a tent safe heater. It features an auto shut-off for accidental tip-overs. 

Depending on your tent size, it could be a top propane tent heater option. So, from this perspective, it is worth considering that it comes with three heat settings. You can choose to have it generate 30,000 BTUs, 36,000 BTUs, or 45,000 BTUs per hour. 

The innovative design seems to be its most appealing feature. It allows the head to spin and evenly heat a particular surface. Whereas the circular head can easily play as a small campfire. The ease of use and the low-maintenance it requires are hard to ignore!

Pros:

  • Compact design that makes for great portability.
  • Quiet operation that relies on a unique heat distribution mechanism.
  • Convenient rotating head that facilitates even heating.
  • Versatile camp heater requiring no electricity.
  • Outstanding value for its price point.

Cons:

  • High propane consumption.
  • Compact design that makes for great portability.
  • Quiet operation that relies on a unique heat distribution mechanism.
  • Convenient rotating head that facilitates even heating.
  • Versatile camp heater requiring no electricity.
  • Outstanding value for its price point.
  • High propane consumption.
Martin – Portable Gas Catalytic HeaterMartin - Portable Gas Catalytic HeaterMartin - Portable Gas Catalytic HeaterMartin – Portable Gas Catalytic Heater

This top-rated propane tent heater from Martin measures 11 x 11.2 x 15.4 inches and weighs 4.45 lbs. It features a classic design for gas heaters: a burning head that sits on top of a propane cylinder. But it brings the added benefit of folding support legs. As far as the heat output is concerned, it reaches a decent 3,000 BTUs. 

The catalytic technology is famous for its clean functioning and efficiency. So, it is a safer option than an open-flame tent heater for camping. Even so, it features a great safety option. It has a fuel shutoff that intervenes whenever it detects a flame. Knowing it’s a Martin product is encouraging, too. It passes lots of quality and safety assurance tests before entering the market. 

Once you work your hand on turning it on, the operation becomes a breeze. You have a knob control to switch from Hi to Low temperature or to the Off position. And you’ll have to relax and enjoy up to 7 hours of functioning from a single propane cylinder tank. For sure, you’ll have one of the best heated camping tents!

Pros:

  • Electronic ignition system.
  • Automatic shut-off feature.
  • Silent and effective operation.
  • Superior catalytic technology with flameless functioning.
  • Low fuel consumption of 1 lb propane cylinder per 7 hours of heat.

Cons:

  • Small learning curve for turning it on.
  • Electronic ignition system.
  • Automatic shut-off feature.
  • Silent and effective operation.
  • Superior catalytic technology with flameless functioning.
  • Low fuel consumption of 1 lb propane cylinder per 7 hours of heat.
  • Small learning curve for turning it on.
Comfort Zone – Watt Compact Utility HeaterComfort Zone - Watt Compact Utility HeaterComfort Zone - Watt Compact Utility HeaterComfort Zone – Watt Compact Utility Heater

This electric tent heater from Comfort Zone weighs 3.1 pounds and measures 8 x 6 x 6.8 inches. With a 1,500 watts output capacity and three heating settings, it can efficiently heat a mid-sized tent. Due to its square-box encapsulated design, it will spread warmth in one direction. Yet the fan-forced heat mechanisms will make sure it spreads it well. 

Safe-wise, the unit boasts a durable metal case with protected electric wire heating. It features power indicator lights. And a mandatory tip-over automatic switch function. It also includes a high-limit safety fuse. All in all, it’s a reliable electric camp heater that you can run without worries. 

All these encouraging details contribute to simple, intuitive operation. After all, it works with a thermostat. And that’s a much-coveted feature of all the camping heaters out there! So even the first-time users will find its learning curve easy to manage.

Pros:

  • Great energy efficiency for an electric tent heater.
  • Provides heat control options, with three different settings & an adjustable thermostat.
  • Puts great emphasis on your safety, with many built-in safety features.
  • Strikes a good durability/ portability balance, which also makes it easy to transport.
  • Can heat an average-sized tent without much fuss or noise.

Cons:

  • No heat direction control.
  • Great energy efficiency for an electric tent heater.
  • Provides heat control options, with three different settings & an adjustable thermostat.
  • Puts great emphasis on your safety, with many built-in safety features.
  • Strikes a good durability/ portability balance, which also makes it easy to transport.
  • Can heat an average-sized tent without much fuss or noise.
  • No heat direction control.
Kampa – Diddy Portable HeaterKampa - Diddy Portable HeaterKampa - Diddy Portable HeaterKampa – Diddy Portable Heater

Those looking for a super-small electric camping heater will love this Kampa Diddy option. It weighs as little as 2.55 lbs and measures 10.5 x 7 x 4.1 inches, which makes it portable. As expected, it starts flawlessly, by plugging in the cord and switching the heat control knob. 

The functioning principle relies on an electrical resistance that generates heat. And a fan that forces the heat to dissipate and bring warmth in the surrounding areas. The law wattage unit offers two heat settings, for 750W and 1,500W. And it is one of the appealing energy-efficient portable tent heaters out there. 

Small and compact enough, it lays its cool-touch housing on a stable built-in support leg. Without a doubt, this will decrease hazard risks. But it also includes a tip-over protection switch and thermal overheat protection.

Pros:

  • Very lightweight electric camping heater.
  • Sits above the ground, requiring no improvisations.
  • Provides two different heating settings.
  • Operates quietly, even though there’s a fan that spreads the heat.
  • Comes with a built-in tilt-over automatic shutoff.

Cons:

  • Lacks a cooling mode.
  • Very lightweight electric camping heater.
  • Sits above the ground, requiring no improvisations.
  • Provides two different heating settings.
  • Operates quietly, even though there’s a fan that spreads the heat.
  • Comes with a built-in tilt-over automatic shutoff.
  • Lacks a cooling mode.
Neiko – Camping Emergency Butane HeaterNeiko - Camping Emergency Butane HeaterNeiko - Camping Emergency Butane HeaterNeiko – Camping Emergency Butane Heater

The Neiko camping tent heater comes in a 5.4 pounds, 11.6 x 10.9 x 7.9 inches case. It relies on standard cartridges with butane gas. So, it gives you the freedom to take it anywhere you need. If you’re more of the tech-savvy type of camper, you can use a dedicated adapter to hook it to a propane tank. 

The ceramic burner will facilitate an output of 4,400 BTUs per hour. And it will score approximately 100gm/hr gas consumption. To play it safe, it comes with a pressure-sensing safety shut-off protection mechanism. And it complies with the stringent safety regulations included in the CE certificate. 

This portable heater for camping features a simple look. And it comes with simple buttons to have it running. However, user instructions aren’t always clear. If it’s your first time with this type of unit, you’ll need some care and attention. Still, most users rank it high for ease of use and its value for money.

Pros:

  • Sturdy, well-balanced construction that gives it a lot of stability.
  • Accessible operation and maintenance, as it relies on standard butane gas.
  • Reliable and safe, with a dedicated safety shut-off valve.
  • Generates and radiates good heat, thanks to its ceramic burner.
  • Comes with a CE certificate.

Cons:

  • Not so great operation instructions.
  • Sturdy, well-balanced construction that gives it a lot of stability.
  • Accessible operation and maintenance, as it relies on standard butane gas.
  • Reliable and safe, with a dedicated safety shut-off valve.
  • Generates and radiates good heat, thanks to its ceramic burner.
  • Comes with a CE certificate.
  • Not so great operation instructions.
Mrinb – Mini Gas Heater for CampingMrinb - Mini Gas Heater for CampingMrinb - Mini Gas Heater for CampingMrinb – Mini Gas Heater for Camping

The Mrinb mini-gas heater stands out from the many small tent heaters on the market. It weighs 0.7lbs and measures 5.9 x 5.9 x 5.5 inches. It consists of a simple gas tank base with a gas tank interface that connects to the heating body. The electronic ignition facilitates a smooth start. All while the gas floods the stainless heating net. 

Users can control the flame from the dedicated fire control valve. While the heat from the heating net will spread into the head collecting hood. For extra safety, there’s a protection network that lids the conical hood. All in all, the functioning principle is intuitive, much like any other heater for tent. 

The small and compact camping heater blends beautiful design with practical features. You just need to pay attention to where and how you use it, because it has no automatic safety shut off. But otherwise, you will enjoy using it.

Pros:

  • Extremely small and lightweight, ideal portable gas heating option.
  • Durable and heat-conducive, made of stainless steel.
  • Stable gas tank base to reduce the risk of tip-over.
  • Easy to control, with adjustable safety valve for the gas flow and heating power.
  • Versatile and convenient to take anywhere, without depending on an electricity source.

Cons:

  • No safety shut off.
  • Extremely small and lightweight, ideal portable gas heating option.
  • Durable and heat-conducive, made of stainless steel.
  • Stable gas tank base to reduce the risk of tip-over.
  • Easy to control, with adjustable safety valve for the gas flow and heating power.
  • Versatile and convenient to take anywhere, without depending on an electricity source.
  • No safety shut off.

Our Pick

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So far, we’ve been pondering some of the top-rated heaters in the available categories. Mr. Heater 540 Degree Tank Top took the lead as the best camping heater. It is the most versatile heating option, packing lots of highly-desirable features.

  • Allows 3600 heat dissipation, something you rarely get to see with other models.
  • Boasts unparalleled heat output ranging from 30,000 to 45,000 BTU per hour.
  • Comes with adjustable heat settings and a fan-only working mode.
  • Stands out as extremely easy to assemble and just as easy to use and maintain.
  • Very well built, solid and dependable, starting well every single time.
  • Comes almost assembled, only takes adding three small screws to make it operable.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Are Tent Heaters Safe?

A:

A tent heater’s main job is to generate heat. Regardless of how it accomplishes this function, heat can be a source of hazard. However, manufacturers are well aware of the potential perils. And do their best to incorporate as many safety features as possible. Keep this aspect in mind when looking to purchase the best tent heater. And you should be as safe as the product is intended to keep you. 

Other than that, you must follow the manufacturer’s operation indications. Equally important, never let a heater run unsupervised. Nor fall asleep while it operates! Use it to heat your tent before you go to bed rather than having it on, all night long.

Q: How to Heat a Tent?

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A tent with heater isn’t the only option. You could be juggling with hot water bottles or heated stones. You could invest in better tent insulation. Whatever you do, the most effective solution involves a constant source of heat. And that only comes from electricity or gas. 

Electric heaters will limit you to a power source. Whereas the gas heaters will give you more flexibility. Propane tent heaters with either gas cartridges or gas tanks are effective. But you must always pay attention when using one of these camping tent heaters. 

Whatever you choose, keep your heater on for a limited period. Supervise it and ensure proper tent ventilation!

Q: How to Heat a Tent Without Electricity?

A:

Buying a portable tent heater that runs on gas is the most effective way. There are catalytic and radiant gas heaters. Yet both types of gas camping heaters generate carbon monoxide in the process. So, always read the product instructions. And make sure you follow the manufacturer’s indications to the T. 

On top of these handy heating options, consider keeping your tent well insulated. Adding an all-weather carpet on the tent’s floor, or a foam sleeping mat, can make a difference. You could also use a source of heat outside of your tent. Or boil some water or heat some stones and then bring it inside your tent. Not the most practical options, as you can see, they are still worth being taken into account.

Dave Nartin
Founder at Mountain Leon
Hi. Im Dave. Mountain Lion is the name of this travel blog. It came from my love for both the English and Spanish language, my favourite animal (Lion), and my favourite activity (mountain climbing). Enjoy!