We tested 4 products and found Mr. Heater F232000 MH9BX Buddy 4,000-9,000-BTU Indoor-Safe Portable Propane Radiant Heater to be the best portable heaters for camping.
We have spent many camping experiences where it has been colder than expected, and a heater would have made the difference. With kids in tow, it can mean a peaceful night or a noisy one full of complaints.
We settled on the Mr. Heater as it can heat a large tent area. It is safe and can be used around children without too much worry. It isn’t too cumbersome to carry when hiking, so it is a great portable outdoor propane heater. (Learn about the Different Types of Camping Tents)
If you want to find more about why we chose this camping heater for winter camping, you can do so here, where it battles against other tent heaters that want the top spot. By the end, you will know how to pick from the best tent heaters there are.
- Mr. Heater F232000 MH9BX Buddy 4,000-9,000-BTU Indoor-Safe Portable Propane Radiant Heater: Fantastic radiant heater for spaces up to 225 square feet
- Mr. Heater F215100 MH4B Little Buddy 3800-BTU Indoor Safe Propane Heater: A perfect heater for small enclosed spaces.
- Texsport Portable Outdoor Propane: A no-frills heater with an auto shut-off valve if the flame goes out
- Stansport Portable Outdoor Propane Radiant Heater: A great back to basics heater that offers four adjustable heat settings
4 Best Portable Heaters for Camping
1. Mr. Heater F232000 MH9BX Buddy 4,000-9,000-BTU Indoor-Safe Portable Propane Radiant Heater – Best Overall Tent Heater
First on the list is the Mr. Heater product F232000. It offers a small, compact and very rugged build. It comes with a weight of around 9-pounds, so mobility isn’t hindered by weight and is helped with the built-in carry handle.
The heater is ideal for enclosed spaces such as your tent since it delivers 4,000 to 9,000 BTUs (British Thermal Units) for heat output.
The heater has near-perfect effectiveness and runs clean. Its design features make sure it shuts off automatically if knocked over or the pilot light goes out. It can even stop running if it senses low oxygen levels in the atmosphere.
There is a swivel you can use to power the heater with a disposable cylinder or remote gas supply.
- Easy to carry with built-in foldable handle
- Uses 0.099 Gallon per hour at the highest setting
- It uses an easy to start push and twist ignition
- It runs for above 3-hours on the max settings
- Safe use with high-temperature wire protection
- Delivers wide heat radiation and covers 225 feet
- It offers an adjustable thermostat
- Automatic shut-off in case of altitude over 7,000ft or there is low oxygen, or it can use the tip-over switch off
- The heating system comes with an easy to replace ceramic heater fitting
With a current rough guide price of just under $75. Anyone needing a portable gas-powered heater to safely use in a camping tent or at home in a shed or workshop.
There is no better way to produce heat than one of the best heaters on the market. The dimensions of this best tent heater are 7.7 x 13.4 x 15 inches, and the gas heater weighs 9 pounds.
2. Mr. Heater F215100 MH4B Little Buddy 3800-BTU Indoor Safe Propane Heater – Best Propane Heater for the Money
Following on from the bigger heater is another version from this reputable manufacturer of propane heaters. It offers the same safety features yet caters to a distinct set of campers. It heats 95 square feet with a 45-degree heating angle. (Find the Best 14 Person Camping Tent)
The design is unique, and the gas cylinder acts as your primary stand, yet for stability, the Little Buddy uses a larger foot to make it sturdy. You will find many safety features as all other camping heaters from this brand, such as the ODS low oxygen shut-off system and more.
- Mr. Heater F215100 camping tent heater is a one-button start mechanism and a one-button push for off
- Easy to carry with dimensions of 11 x 11 x 11 inches and a weight of 5 pounds.
- Offers a heating output from the ceramic surface of 3,800 BTUs
- The surface of this heater increases radiation strength and distance
- Powering on and off this device with one button for ignition and one button for off.
- The machine shuts down automatically with tip-over safety, or the oxygen depletion sensor kicks in if you are in a low oxygen environment.
- While ideal for many areas, you should not use the heater inside any moving vehicle, and it can’t be used at altitude over 7,000 feet
With a guide price of just over $85, if you need an easy-to-carry heater for hunting, ice fishing, or working at home, the Little Buddy can be something to deliver a stream of affordable warmth as it can last around 5.5 hours on one tank.
It is easy to carry on a lightweight camping trip, yet it isn’t ideal for large family camping trips.
3. Texsport Portable Outdoor Propane – Best Small Propane Heater
If you want a small heater, portable models such as the Texsport are suited for many uses where you need a small heater.
The Texsport portable propane tent heater is small and compact, yet it makes up for this in the way it’s designed. The heater sits on the round bottom with four, fold-out feet to offer a large stable surface.
The materials used are highly durable and a highlight of this butane gas heater. The burner is made from stainless steel, and the reflector and safety grid made of aluminum.
With a heat output of 2,890 BTU, it isn’t the hottest heater around, yet it can be used without fear of anything breaking in small areas.
- The heater comes with a durable stainless-steel burner and aluminum reflector with a safety grid
- You can use the individual regulator on/off control knob to adjust the burner up to 2,890 BTUs
- Auto shut-off valve cuts the fuel if the flame goes out
- The heater uses a large paddle foot plastic base for added stability
- You can alter the fuel source from a 16.4 ounce or 14.1-ounce disposable propane fuel cylinder
- Built-in carry handle
- You get roughly 4-6 hours per 1 lb. propane cylinder
With an affordable rough guide price of just below $38, you can find it one of the more affordable options. With a 1-year warranty, you can use this in any small space you need some radiant heat. It is built for outdoor use and suffices to heat a tent via convection heating.
4. Stansport Portable Outdoor Propane Radiant Heater – Best Infrared Tent Heaters
The Stansport heater isn’t what you call a cold-weather camping heater, yet what it does provide; it does so really well. It is robustly built and can be ideal for many outside scenarios where you need a small space heating.
The portable propane heater kicks out 3,100 BTU and has safety features like other propane tent heaters in this list.
- The Stansport heater has a handy carry handle
- It heats up to 3,100 BTU
- The radiant heater uses a 16.4 oz propane cylinder
- The metal dish helps to focus the heat where you need it
- The heater offers 4 heat settings of off, low, medium and high
- The heater uses a matchless electronic ignition for safe starting
- For added safety, there is the auto-cut-off should the heater fall over
With a guide price of just under $40, you get a decent performer you can use when hunting, ice fishing or outside in your shed doing some woodwork. The durable heater can take a bang or two and will keep working for years without too many issues.
Portable Heaters Buying guide
Here are some of the things you need to know about picking your heaters for camping.
You will discover gas heaters are the least safe tent heater. You can knock them over, or they can cause fire hazards. Besides this, some can emit carbon monoxide, which may lead to poisoning or death if unattended.
Gas heaters should be used in well-ventilated areas and not left unattended. Luckily, manufacturers have addressed these issues by adding safety auto shut off protection systems.
An electric tent heater can be cool and much safer; however, the chances of using the best electric tent deep in the wilderness are not very good.
While they do offer a better environment, these also shouldn’t be left unattended. Because of this, an electric heater will have a safety system such as those in gas in case they fall over on your sleeping bag.
These heaters can pose fire risks and are usually not a suitable option because of this. However, since they don’t present as many dangers from fumes, one of the safest ways to use them is by hanging them inside a tent.
Ventilation for many heater types is the most significant drawback, so always make sure you account for this. Fumes can hit you without notice and will be poisonous when inhaled.
Even with dangers, manufacturers have made large steps into safety, so gas heaters are the best options overall. (Find the Best 3 Burner Camp Stove)
Looking at all the above in testing, we didn’t just look for value for money and safety and performance. It was an easy win for the Mr. Heater F232000 MH9BX Buddy. The heater offers the best heating performance and can last among the longest, even with a larger heating surface.
Besides this, the design and operation of the heater make it very simple to use, and you will find it does more than any other heater to keep you safe. Among heaters for camping, the Buddy is one of the few approved for indoor use and thus suitable to keep you warm in your tent during the coldest season.