Stay Warm With The Best Electric & Gas Tent Heaters (2020)

tent in snow

It is a mistake to venture into the greater outdoors for a fun weekend of camping without a tent heater. 

Unless you are camping in the dog days of summer, you will need a tent heater to stay nice and toasty at night when the temperatures dip down low. 

However, choosing between the many different tent heaters on the market is easier said than done.  Our tent heater experts are here to help. 

Below, we provide an in-depth look at what you should key in on when shopping for tent heaters. 

We also highlight some of the best tent heaters on the market to help you select the perfect portable heater for the best possible camping experience.

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How to Choose

No two tent heaters are exactly the same.  Check out the many different tent heater options on the market and you will find there are plenty to choose from at varying price points, sizes, power levels, etc. 

Instead of opting for the first tent heater you find or the cheapest one at the local store, do a little bit of homework. 

Our team is here to help. 

Let’s take a look at exactly what you should focus on when choosing between the different tent heater options.

Consider the Tent Heater Output

Tent heater output is measured by BTUs.  The lower the BTUs, the less heat will be created. 

In general, it is best for your tent heater to have a BTU output between 1,000 BTUs and 5,000 BTUs. 

If the tent heater you select has fewer than 1,000 BTUs, it will prove difficult for it to keep you and your fellow campers warm throughout the night.

Consider the Size of Your Camping Tent

The size of your camping tent is particularly important as an especially large tent will require a more powerful heating unit. 

However, if you have a one-person tent for solo camping, a tent heater with comparably few BTUs will suffice. 

When in doubt, err on the side of buying a portable tent heater with more BTUs than you think necessary just in case you upgrade your tent to a larger size.

Consider the Type of Power Required

The vast majority of tent heaters are of the electric variety, meaning you will need access to an outlet to power them. 

Non-electric tent heaters are also available though they are a bit more difficult to find.  If you are like most campers, you will eventually end up making your way to a remote area where no power outlets are available. 

As a result, you will need a tent heater that works with gas as opposed to an outlet.  In fact, some tent heaters are wood-burning. 

Consider the different options and select the one that best suits your camping plans.

Tent Heater Features

Tent heaters have a wide variety of features.  As an example, some tent heaters are complete with an auto shut-off option that shuts the unit off after a certain amount of time. 

This feature is implemented to safeguard you as well as your fellow campers with the overarching goal of fire prevention. 

Some tent heaters are built with blowers that permit hot air to flow in the user’s preferred direction.

Certain tent heaters are built with oscillation or a thermostat that facilitates truly precise temperature control. 

Opt for this level of control and you won’t be limited to merely turning it on and off. 

Build Quality

Tent heaters pose inherent risk as they generate warmth, ultimately creating the potential for a fire. 

This is precisely why you should limit your options to those that are made in a manner that will hold strong over time without malfunctioning. 

If the unit in question appears fragile or of low-quality, do not consider it.  As an example, tent heaters comprised of steel will prove quite resilient, hold strong after being dropped and still stand the test of time. 

Keep in mind, you will likely drop the tent heater at least once when carrying it to and from your camp sites so it should prove capable of functioning after minor dings. 

Above all, the unit quality should be to the level that it does not cause fires. 

Look for tent heaters with safety features such as tip-over guards, automatic safety shut-offs, carbon dioxide detectors and protective grills.

Indoor and Outdoor Use

Certain tent heaters are primarily designed for use outdoors while others are designed for indoor use. 

Some tent heaters can be used both indoors and outdoors. 

Consider what your specific plans are for camping and proceed accordingly.

Best Tent Heaters For The Money

Here’s a quick look at our favorite options for tent heaters currently on the market.

1. Honeywell 360 Degree Surround Fan Forced Heater 

This energy efficient tent heater provides 360 degrees of warmth for your entire camping crew. 

Honeywell HHF360V 360 Degree Surround Fan Forced Heater with Surround Heat Output Charcoal Grey Energy Efficient Portable Heater with Adjustable Thermostat & 2 Heat Settings

Though powerful, this tent heater can be picked up and carried with ease. 

Put this bad boy on its lowest setting and you will find it keeps you warm without wasting electricity. 

This unit is easy to control, featuring an adjustable thermostat along with two heat settings. 

Pros:

  • Easy to transport
  • Generates a significant amount of heat
  • Intuitive controls
  • The Honeywell name is respected for top-quality products
  • Safety features such as overheat protection and 360 degree tip over switch
  • Cool-touch handle facilitates carrying
  • The Honeywell name is revered for its high-quality

Cons

  • Imported (not made in America)
  • Some reviewers complain the unit can overheat, melting the plug
  • A handful of reviewers state the low setting overrides the temperature control, leading to excessive heating

Takeaway: This is an efficient tent heater built to last.

2. Texsport Portable Outdoor Propane Heater

Whether you plan on camping,  hunting or participating in any other outdoor activity when the temperatures drop, this portable heater will prove quite helpful. 

This tent heater provides upwards of 2,890 BTUs.  Pick up this bad boy, carry it a few miles while hiking and you will agree it is quite light in weight. 

Texsport Portable Outdoor Propane Heater

The Texasport portable outdoor propane heater functions with disposable propane fuel cylinders that are either 14.1 ounces or 16.4 ounces. 

The unit is also highlighted by its elite safety features including an aluminum reflector safety grid, a sizable paddle foot base that provides added stability and an auto shut-off valve that kicks in should the flame go out. 

Ask anyone who has tried this tent heater about its quality and you will be inundated with praise.  In fact, Texasport has made top-notch recreational products for four straight decades. 

The heater’s stainless steel burner is made to stand the test of time.  The unit functions with standard size one-pound propane tanks that can be disposed of with ease.

Pros:

  • Myriad safety features
  • Made of fire-retardant material
  • Long-lasting
  • Generates a considerable level of heat in a short amount of time

Cons:

  • Somewhat of an ugly aesthetic
  • Some reviewers complain the handle has the potential to twist after extensive use
  • Lacks an ignitor so you will need a firestick
  • Some reviewers complain the heat does not extend far beyond the unit

Takeaway: Built with safety in mind, this portable tent heater will keep you warm at night while you are under the stars.

3. Mr. Heater Portable Buddy Heater

This portable heater warms tents and other small spaces.  The heater functions with liquid propane, radiating between 4,000 and 9,000 BTUs each hour. 

As long as your tent or other space is 225 square feet in size or smaller, you will find this portable heater generates ample heat to keep you nice and toasty throughout the night. 

Mr. Heater F232000 MH9BX Buddy 4,000-9,000-BTU Indoor-Safe Portable Propane Radiant Heater

The heater weighs slightly more than 10 pounds.  It is comprised of metal, ceramic and high-temperature plastic.  The unit directly connects to a one-pound cylinder, providing upwards of six hours of heat. 

All you have to do to light the heater is rotate the control knob to the “Pilot” position and push it in.  The heater’s built-in Piezo sparking mechanism does the rest of the work on your behalf. 

The heater is expertly designed with a number of safety features to ensure you and your loved ones can warm your tent or other space without worry. 

As an example, the unit is built with a safety shutoff that activates in the event of an accidental tip-over.  The tent heater also has an oxygen depletion sensor.

Pros:

  • Works at elevations upwards of 7,000 feet
  • Features both low and high heat settings
  • Convenient fold-down handle
  • Swivel regulator
  • Numerous safety features

Cons:

  • Lacks a high-limit safety shutoff component
  • Lacks a blower fan
  • Some complain it gets too hot too quickly

Takeaway: A safe, reliable and sturdy tent heater that should prove functional for years.

Conclusion

In summary, there are many different tent heaters to choose from, each of which will prove suitable for campers with nuanced preferences and needs. 

When in doubt, opt for a tent heater of the highest quality that will prove reliable and safe across posterity.

  Choose wisely and your tent heater will work without flaw for years or even decades into the future, keeping you warm at night while you enjoy the greater outdoors.

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