Holds a Master’s degree in Engineering and is keen on her own home’s climate. Sometimes we think that Carolina owns every single product she writes about – that’s how profound and insightful her reviews always are.
Kerosene heaters a great alternative to other heater types since they can heat up a large space efficiently. They use kerosene for the fuel and many of them include a battery, so you don’t even need an electrical outlet to run them. This also makes them a great option during a power outage, especially if it occurs during the colder months. You can use them in your home, a garage, or anywhere else you need them.
When looking for the best kerosene heater, there are some features worth paying attention to, so you’re sure you’re getting exactly what you need. One is the BTU rating, which tells you the highest heat output the heater offers. The coverage area is also important since this tells you the largest area you can use it in for efficient heating. The tank capacity refers to how much kerosene the heater can hold. You may also want to look at the dimensions and the weight, so you know if it will fit in the space you have available and how portable it is.
Top 10 Kerosene Heaters Review 2020
To help you decide which one is the best kerosene heater to meet your needs, we’ve done some research to help you find the top models out there. We spent countless hours checking out manufacturer’s information, studying the product features, and reading as many customer reviews as we could find. Then we created a comparison table, gave each model a rating and an in-depth review, and added a buying guide at the end.
The best rated indoor kerosene heater needs to be built well and work even better. The Dyna-Glo RMC-95C6B meets both of these standards. This model is UL certified, so it has been through some thorough testing to ensure it is a safe model to use in your home, garage, or enclosed porch.
This is a 360-degree convection heater, with 23,000 BTUs. It has a decent coverage area as well, heating 1000 square feet of space for up to 12 hours on a full tank of kerosene. The tank also holds 1.9 gallons, so you aren’t using a ton of fuel for a day of warmth.
The Dyna-Glo heater includes a number of safety features as well. A safety tip-over switch turns the heater off if anyone bumps it or knocks it over. This prevents spilled kerosene or a fire. The automatic ignition and the one-touch shut-off makes it easy to turn it on when you need it and off again when you don’t.
A temperature knob on the front of the kerosene heater lets you turn the heat up or down, depending on how chilly it is. Though a bit large, this handy heater can still fit in a variety of spaces, so you can use it anywhere you need it. The Dyna-Glo RMC-95C6B also comes in black or white, so you can choose the one that best suits the area. Plus it comes at a budget-friendly price, which only adds to its overall attractiveness.
Staying warm on the job site during icy weather can be tricky if you don’t have the right heater. This one from Heatstar is a great option, giving you a full 50,000 BTUs of heat. This is combined with a high output fan that works hard to warm up an area of up to 1,200 square feet in very little time. This will keep you and anyone else working in that space nice and warm. It even runs for about 11 hours on a full tank of fuel, so you won’t need to stop to refill it throughout the day.
This kerosene heater has a number of amazing features as well. It has an enclosed motor for safety reasons. It also combines a high-limit safety switch with a photo CAD cell to shut the machine down if it starts to overheat or if the flame goes out. The upper shell has a split design, which makes it easy to take it apart to clean it or maintain whenever needed. The continuous ignition keeps kerosene from collecting inside the heater.
This model is lighter than some others on the market, plus includes a top handle to make it more portable. The controls are also glove-friendly to make it easier to use this heater while you’re working. You can use this heater with kerosene, diesel, home heating oil, and JP-8, so you can get what works best for you and your budget.
The L.B. White CP125CK is a powerful forced air kerosene heater, pumping out 125,000 BTUs to keep your job site and your crew extra warm on those chilly days. It has a huge coverage area, too, heating spaces of up to 3,100 square feet for about 10.5 hours without a refill.
This model has numerous features to add to its durability, which will increase its lifespan. The motor is heavy duty and fully enclosed to keep it clean and reduce the noise. There are brass fuel fittings as well, which last much longer than similar plastic pieces. The dual-prong electronic spark ignition is also high quality, plus makes it easy to start.
Another great feature this model has to offer is its portability. Though it is a bit heavy, it has large tires on the bottom for easy rolling around your work site. There are also metal handles on the front and back for lifting it if needed, so you can toss it into the back of your truck and take it wherever you need some extra warmth.
The inbuilt LCD display shows you the temperature you’ve set for the heater. Any errors that occur also show up with a specific code on this screen, so you always know what unexpected issue you’re dealing with. There is a fuel gauge that lets you know the remaining runtime, so you always know how long you have before the next fill is needed.
The Dura Heat DH2304S is a powerful kerosene heater that has the ability to heat up almost any space in no time. It has a full 360-degree heating radius, so it pumps out heat in all directions, no matter where you put it. The protective grill surrounds the entire surface area, so nothing will come in contact with it while it’s burning. Even if you accidentally brush up against it, you won’t feel a thing.
The best kerosene heater for indoor use needs to be powerful and this model meets this requirement. It is rated at 23,800 BTUs, so it won’t have any trouble heating up a large space on even the coldest day. The Dura Heat also has a large tank, holding up to 1.9 gallons of kerosene. This will keep your heater running for up to 12 hours, even on the highest setting.
The controls are easy to use, even if it’s your first time testing it out. There is a dial to adjust the heat level, an ignition switch, and a manual shutdown for turning it off when you’re done with it.
When you first turn it on, there may be some initial kerosene odor, but the no-lift heat chamber design keeps this to a minimum. There may also be some odor when you shut it off, but again, this is not overpowering and should dissipate very quickly.
If you’re on a budget but still need the best kerosene heater for home use, the Sengoku HeatMate OR-77 may be a good option to keep you toasty. It has a decent coverage area, heating rooms up to 380 square feet quickly, even on the coldest days.
This kerosene heater also has a huge tank, holding up to 1.2 gallons of fuel. It is easy to fill since the fill cap is accessible from the back of the heater.
All of the controls are easy to use, including the simple push-button ignition and the EZ Flame adjuster to set it as needed for the proper flame for the most efficient heating. There is also a temperature control dial that you can adjust to turn the heat up and down, depending on the size of the room and how cold it is.
The safety features include the auto shut-off, a fuel gauge, a safety grill, and a tip-over switch. The outdoor design lets you use it outside without worrying about the wind blowing out the flame or reducing the efficiency.
It comes with a wick, which some have found to be inferior, so you can switch it out if needed. The batteries for the ignition are also included, allowing you to start it up right out of the box, with little assembly needed.
The Sengoku HeatMate HMN-110 is the best kerosene heater for your home for a wide variety of reasons. It is a radiant-style heater, giving you a full 10,000 BTUs that can heat up a room of 380 square feet. You can use it to supplement your other heating systems or save it for emergency situations, such as power outages. The large tank holds about 1.2 gallons of kerosene, so it will run for up to 14 hours straight.
This heater has a few safety features, as well. On the front are safety grills, which keep the hottest areas of the heater contained and out of reach of small children, pets, or even you.
There is also a tip-over switch, which shuts the machine down if the heater is knocked over. An auto shut-off turns the heater off if the kerosene levels run low. There is a metal wall guard on the front as well to keep it the proper distance from your wall, furniture, or anything else in your home. All these features make this model a wonderful tent heater as well.
The Sengoku has a push button start for easy lighting and an EZ Flame adjuster. Batteries for the ignitor are included, as is a siphon pump for filling and a fuel gauge for checking the kerosene level. The wick can be replaced with a better option if needed. It is also lightweight for easy portability.
The DeWalt DXH75KT is another great kerosene garage heater that you can also use on the job site. It is a forced air heater, which means there are no open flames to worry about. Instead, it uses a thermostat with a range of 25-95 degrees Fahrenheit, with an internal heating element that cycles on and off to maintain the temperature you’ve set it at.
On the top of the heater is an ergonomic handle, which you can use to carry it from one place to the other around the work area, or move it to your truck if you plan to take it home for the night. The controls are all recessed as well, so they won’t be damaged if you bump the heater as your moving it around.
There is a two-piece split barrel, so it is easy to take it apart for cleaning. A continuous electronic ignition prevents the fuel from pooling, burning it off instead.
The DeWalt heater has a six-gallon capacity for the fuel tank and a coverage area of 1750 square feet. The output at its highest level is 75,000 BTUs, so you can heat up a large area in only a short time, keeping all your workers toasty warm throughout their shift. It doesn’t include a battery, so you do need to plug it in for it to run. This is, however, typical for such large worksite kerosene heaters.
Unlike many of the forced air heaters on the market, the Pro-Temp PT-70-SS is a low noise model. It uses radiant heat, which is an infrared heating system, with a fan behind it to push the hot air out into the room. The fan is only half as loud as more conventional forced air models, allowing you to speak to others in the room without shouting over a noisy heater.
The ProTemp Silent Drive is lightweight at only 28 pounds when empty, though is obviously heavier once you’ve filled the four-gallon tank with kerosene. It has an ergonomic handle on the top to make it easier to move it around, adding to its portability.
This infrared heater is perfect for heating up areas of 1750 square feet or smaller in very little time. It also has an operating time of up to seven hours, so you can work all day without needing to refill it. When it is time to add more kerosene, it can be a bit tricky, due to the position of the fill cap, though still doable if you’re careful. There is also a fill gauge to tell you when this needs to be done.
There is a simple On/Off switch to operate it, though there is no thermostat to control the temperature. If you get too warm, you can just shut it off again. There is also a safety shut-off if the heater starts to overheat.
The STANLEY ST-80T-KFA is a very powerful kerosene heater, with an output of 80,000 BTUs per hour. It has a large coverage area as well, warming up 2000 square feet of space to keep you warm while you work. It is a great model for job sites, warehouses, garages, or anywhere else where it is chillier than you’d like.
This model has a durable construction, so it will last for years. There is a carry handle on top to make it easy to move it around to wherever you need it. It works best with K-1 kerosene but can also be used with 1 or 2 diesel or fuel oil, as well as JP-8 fuel. There is a short cord on it, though, so you may need to keep it close to an outlet or use it with an extension cord.
There are a number of safety features included, like the fully sealed motor, the automatic safety shut-off, and a built-in air pressure gauge. A thermostat displays the temperature you’re setting in both Celsius and Fahrenheit. When the set temperature is reached, the heater turns itself off.
Another great feature is the cold start system that gives you reliable heating even in the coldest temperature, so you never have to fight with it to get it running. The price is also decent, so you won’t have to spend a fortune to stay warm.
There are many reasons why the Mr. Heater MH125KTR is the best kerosene heater for your garage or workplace. It has a huge coverage area, heating spaces up to 3,125 square feet, so you can use this model almost anywhere. It also has a large fuel tank, holding up to 8.5 gallons of fuel for all-day use.
This kerosene heater is very portable, with large pneumatic tires on the front and handles on the back and the sides. You can move it around your workspace or roll it out to your truck and take it anywhere that you need some extra heat.
The Mr. Heater model also has a high heat level, putting out 25,000 BTUs of forced-air heat. This lets you heat up even a large room in very little time, thanks to the high-output fan.
The motor is enclosed, which helps dull the noise a bit, but this still isn’t a unit you’d be happy using if you need a quiet work area. It includes a fuel gauge, so you know when to refill it, plus has a safety shutdown that turns it off if it starts to overheat.
Other handy features include the glove-friendly controls, the temperature control thermostat, the power indicator light, a no-flame safety sensor, and the continuous ignition. For added convenience, this model also works with kerosene or diesel 1 and 2, as well as home heating oil and JP-8.
Huge coverage area
A variety of fuel types to use
Stays cool while running
A bit pricey
There are a number of different types of kerosene heaters on the market. It can be hard to choose the right one, so you may want to consider a few things. For instance, are you using this in your home, your garage, or at a job site that is more open and ventilated? How big is the space you need to heat up? Do you need one that will run for a few hours or for an entire work shift? Answering these questions and checking out what features each one has to offer will help you pick the best kerosene heater for you.
Advantages of kerosene heaters
There are many advantages to choosing a kerosene heater for your cold weather needs. The indoor models, like the Sengoku HeatMate OR-77, don’t need to be plugged into an electrical outlet. Instead, they require the use of a battery, so they are perfect in emergency situations like a power outage.
The forced air models or a radiant kerosene heater, like the Pro-Temp PT-70-SS, do need to be plugged in, but they have high BTUs and larger coverage areas for heating up large workspaces. This can include garages, construction sites, warehouses, or other job-related areas.
Another advantage of the kerosene heaters is that they have large fuel tanks and long runtimes. This allows you to use them during an entire shift or for the length of a snowstorm that knocks out your power without needing a refill every few hours. When you’re not using these heaters, they are easy to store away for the next emergency or cold season.
Many of these models are lightweight when they aren’t full of fuel, with carry handles that make them easy to carry with you wherever you need them. Some of the heavier ones even come with wheels and handles for added convenience.
Features to consider while choosing a kerosene heater
If you’re having trouble deciding which kerosene heater is the right one for you, you may just need some more information to help you choose. The features each one has to offer will help you decide based on the space you want to heat and how you intend to use it.
All kerosene heaters come with a BTU rating. This tells you the amount of energy the heater produces per hour. The higher the rating, the more heat the unit can create. Of course, you shouldn’t just buy one with the highest BTU rating and think this is the right choice since this can cause some issues.
If the space is too small, you may think to turn down your heater, which means it isn’t burning the fuel at the proper rate, which can cause odors as well. These higher BTU models may also produce more carbon monoxide, which is extremely dangerous if you’re in an unventilated area.
When you’re trying to figure out the BTU level you need for a certain space, there is a way to calculate the highest rating you need. Just multiply the square footage of the room by 28. So, if your room is 400 square feet, multiply this by 28, which means you would need a heater with 11,200 BTU or less to give the most efficient heating possible.
As we said above, the coverage area is important when it comes to the BTU rating for the heater you buy. Most models don’t require you to use a BTU calculator, though, since the majority of them already have a recommended coverage area for their models. For instance, the Dyna-Glo RMC-95C6B has a coverage area of up to 1,000 square feet. This means it will work efficiently in a room of this size or smaller, heating it up quickly.
If you try to use this model in a larger room, it likely won’t work as well. It may take much longer to heat up the space or never reach the desired temperature at all. This is why it is best to check the coverage area on the model you’re considering to be sure it will work properly in the space you need it for.
You should also consider where you plan to use your heater. The smaller indoor models usually have a smaller coverage area than the forced air models, which are meant for more ventilated areas like construction sites, warehouses, or garages, all of which are usually much bigger than the rooms in your home.
The way a kerosene heater works is simpler than you may think. There is a large fuel tank at the bottom and a wick to draw that fuel from that tank up into the combustion area. Most of them also include an ignition system that lights the wick, plus an off switch that puts it out again. The combustion time depends on a few factors.
One is the size of the tank since the more fuel you have in the heater, the longer it can run. If you also have a thermostat that can change the temperature, this can also affect the combustion time. If you have the heater set at a lower temperature, it won’t be burning the fuel as quickly, so it will last longer than when set at a higher temperature.
Another feature that can affect the combustion time is the temperature of the building or area where you’re using the heater. If you have the thermostat set at a specific temperature, once it reaches it, it will turn itself off, saving some fuel, but if it never reaches that temperature, it will run continuously, burning the fuel faster.
This is the reason many heaters don’t have a specific runtime. Instead, they have a maximum run time. For instance, the Heatstar By Enerco HS50K has a runtime of up to 11 hours, so 11 hours is the maximum amount of time it will work depending on all of the factors listed above.
Fuel tank capacity
Though a huge fuel tank may seem like a good idea, the size you need depends on a few things. One is when you plan on using it. If you’re going to be running your kerosene heater on a daily basis, a large fuel tank may be a good option to reduce the amount of time you’ll spend filling it up. If you only need this type of heater for emergency situations, a large fuel tank may not be the best thing to get, especially if you don’t have a ton of space to store a huge model you’ll rarely be lighting up.
Another thing to consider when choosing the size of the fuel tank is portability. A kerosene heater may be light when empty but as soon as you fill it up with a few gallons of fuel, it will weigh quite a bit more. If you plan on leaving it in one spot, this won’t be an issue, but moving it from job site to job site is going to get pretty strenuous if you’re lugging a big heater like the L.B. White CP125CK, which has a huge tank that can hold up to ten gallons of fuel.
The size of the fuel tank also affects the combustion time, so if you only need to run it for a few hours at a time, a smaller fuel tank should be fine. A large tank will allow the heater to run for much longer, so for long work shifts, a bigger tank may be a better choice.
Kerosene heaters come in a few shapes and sizes. The indoor models can be round or squared, while the outdoor models are longer cylinder-shaped heaters. The dimensions of the model you choose depend on the type you need.
If you’re using your heater inside your home, basement, or garage, you need one that will heat the area efficiently without taking up too much of your space. Outside at a construction site or in a huge warehouse, you won’t have the same space issues, so a larger model like the L.B. White CP125CK or the Mr. Heater MH125KTR would likely work just fine without limiting the area you have to move around in.
Another thing you need to consider is storage and portability. A smaller model can be tucked away in a closet or the corner of your basement or attic when you’re not using it. A larger one may not fit so nicely. The bigger the kerosene heater is, the harder it will be to carry around, too, so keep this in mind if you plan on taking to work and then back home again at the end of the day.
The warranty of any product protects you from any issues that the product may have before you even purchase it. Most of the kerosene heaters in our reviews have a one-year warranty, which covers you in case of any defects with the parts or that are caused by the manufacturing process. There are two on our list that double this warranty time, the Sengoku HeatMate OR-77 and the Sengoku HeatMate HMN-110. This two-year warranty gives you extra time to test out the product, which is essential if you only plan to use it occasionally or only for emergencies. Some issues may not show up right away, so the extra time may be needed to give the heater a good workout to ensure it is in perfect working condition.
Though heating your home or job site well is the main reason to get a kerosene heater, there are a few extra features you may want to look for. These add to the convenience, making these models easier to use in any situation.
One thing you may want to look for is wheels on the bottom of the heater. There are usually only two of them, located at one side of the heater, similar to the wheel position on a wheelbarrow. For larger models, this makes it easier to move them around without straining your back. These also come with some type of leg on the back end and a handle for pulling it along.
Though smaller models may lack the wheels, they still need to be portable. This is why they come with at least one handle on the top of the heater that you can use to carry it around wherever you need it. Some models also have side handles for carrying it with two hands.
Another handy feature is an LCD display, which tells you everything you need to know, such as the temperature the heater is running at, the temperature of the room, and even any error codes for issues that may occur while it’s running.
A fuel gauge takes the guesswork out of filling the tank since you will always know exactly how much is in there. This also helps you figure out how much longer the heater will run before it needs a refill.
An ignition system lets you start the heater with a simple push of a button rather than using a lighter or a match. This is also safer since it keeps your hands well away from the wick when it is lit, so you won’t be risking any burns.
A temperature knob lets you adjust the heating level according to the chilliness of the room or area you’re using it in. A thermostat also adds to the convenience, shutting the machine off if the room heats up to the temperature you’ve set it at.
An auto shut-off is a great safety feature. If you should happen to bump the heater, knocking it over, you don’t want it to continue burning or a fire will be in your future. The auto shut-off turns it off if it starts to tip. Sometimes there is also an auto shut-off if the fuel tank runs low or if the heater starts to overheat.
Some safety tips
When using a kerosene heater, there are a few safety tips you may want to keep in mind.
Only use it in a room that is well ventilated by opening a door or window.
Though quite safe to use, installing a CO detector in your home is necessary.
Read the instructions and follow them exactly to ensure the proper usage.
Do not leave the heater unattended at any time.
Keep the wick at the proper length for correct burning.
Clean and maintain the unit regularly.
Use only the fuel recommended by the manufacturer.
Only refill the fuel tank outside when the heater is cool, using a proper siphon pump or funnel to reduce spillage.
Always keep the kerosene heater away from combustible items, such as furniture, curtains, aerosol sprays, or stored fuel.
Store the kerosene in the proper containers at all times.
This depends on the type of kerosene heater. Many of the indoor models, like the Dura Heat DH2304S, come with a battery for operating it. The outdoor forced air models do come with a plug for hooking it up to an electrical outlet, so you can’t use one without electricity. These ones are more suited for large warehouses or outdoor use on construction or other types of job sites.
There should never be any strong odors when using a kerosene heater. They do produce a bit of odor when you first light them and as they rise to their maximum heat level, but this should never be an overpowering smell. Once the max heat is reached, the smell should dissipate. If you do notice a strong odor while you use your heater, it could be due to low-quality fuel. Another cause could be incomplete burning, which is the result of temperatures that are too low or incorrect wick placement or size.
The amount of noise produced depends on the type of kerosene heater you’re using. The indoor heaters are relatively quiet, so they shouldn’t affect your daily routine. The forced air heaters, on the other hand, have an internal fan that blows the heat out the front of the tube. These can be quite noisy, depending on the model you buy. Since they are recommended for outdoor use or larger areas, the noise level will most probably not be an issue.
Choosing the best kerosene heater for your home or workplace can be a bit tricky if you don’t know what to look for. Luckily, there are a number of great options out there to meet your needs. All ten of the products we’ve reviewed will do well in many situations but a few are worth a second look.
The Dyna-Glo RMC-95C6B is our favorite model for a few reasons. It is a 360-degree convection heater, with a high BTU rating, a long run time, a large coverage area, and it runs for up to 12 hours straight. It also has great features, including the auto ignition, one-touch shut-off, tip-over switch, and temperature control, plus it comes in two colors.
The Heatstar By Enerco HS50K is lightweight and portable, pumping out 50,000 BTUs with its high output fan. This one includes great safety features, like the enclosed motor, CAD cell, high-limit safety switch, and continuous ignition. The controls are also glove-friendly for added convenience.
Third place goes to the L.B. White CP125CK. This has a huge coverage area and puts out 125,000 BTUs. It is also extremely durable, thanks to the fully-enclosed heavy-duty motor, the brass fuel fittings, and the dual-prong electric spark ignition. The tires and handles make it more portable, plus it has extras like a fuel gauge and an LCD display.