Although camping is one of the most popular leisure activities in the world, it is an activity that poses many challenges. Rapid temperature changes from hot to cold is a common issue. In the summer months, a tent can become too hot, while in the colder months people find it difficult to get comfortable and get a good night’s sleep. A simple solution to this is to buy a portable camping heater. This guide gives an overview of the main things to consider when buying the best tent heater for camping along with the reviews of some of the best options available.
Quick Overview of The Best Tent Heaters
Propane Tent Heaters
|Mr. Heater Big Buddy||4k-9k||9.5 lbs||Check Price|
|Texsport Portable Heater||2.9K||1.6 lbs||Check Price|
|Coleman BlackCat||3k||4 lbs||Check Price|
|Stansport Deluxe Heater||10k||2.4 lbs||Check Price|
|Highlander Outdoor Compact Gas Heater ||4k-5k||5.07 lbs||Check Price|
Electric Tent Heaters
|Comfort Zone Personal Heater||1500||3.67 lbs||Check Price|
|Lasko MyHeat Personal Ceramic Heater||200-300||3.55 lbs||Check Price|
|Isiler Portable Ceramic Heater||1500||3 lbs||Check Price|
|Brightown Personal Ceramic Portable-Mini Heater||250||1.4 lbs||Check Price|
|Kaz Honeywell Heat Bud||170-250||1.05 lbs||Check Price|
Best Propane/Butane Tent Heater Reviews
The Mr. Heater Indoor Heater is an easy to use and safe tent heater that can warm large spaces quickly. This is ideal for people who do not want to spend hours making their tent comfortable and just want to enjoy their camping trip.
This is one of the safest tent heaters because of the automatic shut-off safety feature. This activates if the heater is tipped or if it detects that the oxygen levels are low.
Variable Heat Settings:
Both the Buddy and the Little Buddy have two heat settings, and this gives you greater control of the temperature within your tent.
Lightweight and Portable:
The fold-down handle means that it is easy to reposition the heater and click the handle away for easier storage. The Buddy weighs 9.5 pounds while the Little Buddy weighs just 5 pounds.
- Safe to use
- Portable tent heater
- Easy to store
- Two temperature settings
- Swivel-out fuel connection
- Good quality
- Uses a lot of propane
- Needs regular cleaning to work
- Some problems with the buttons sticking
This heater has variable settings and can heat larger areas quickly. The Little Buddy is the better option for people with a small to medium tent as it can heat up to 95 square feet. The Buddy is the better option for people with a large tent or those who intend to use it at home to heat the garage as it heats up to 225 square feet. The shut-off safety feature offers reassurance about using this propane heater in a tent as it significantly reduces the risk of fire or carbon monoxide poisoning. The main gripe with this product is that it uses propane quickly, especially when using the heaters on the higher setting.
The Texsport Portable Outdoor Propane Heater is a good choice both as a portable heater for camping and for a variety of other outdoor pursuits. Just pack this space-saving heater with a gas canister before your travels and you can have heat within minutes of arriving at your destination.
This heater has a range of safety features, including an automatic tip-over shut-off, a safety grid, and a foot base for stability.
This is a small and lightweight product that will not take ups space in the luggage for your camping trip. It also has a carry handle for moving to different areas of the tent.
This is an easy to use camping heater that works with both 14.1 oz and 16.4 oz propane fuel cylinders.
- Good safety features
- Easy to use
- Easy to transport and store
- Gives off little heat
This heater will appeal to many people as it is one of the cheapest propane heaters, so it is a good option if you are on a budget. It also has some good safety features. However, it is only small, and this reflects the amount of heat it gives off. Therefore, it is best-suited to lone campers or couples who camp that only have a small tent to heat.
Both these lightweight and portable tent heaters run on a 16.4 oz propane cylinder. The simple yet safe design makes them a good option for camping and a range of other activities.
Portable and Easy to Store:
This is a small and lightweight heater with a carry handle. These features make it portable, easy to pack, and easy to store.
Good Safety Features:
The Catalytic technology gives flame less heat and there is a detachable base that you can use to stabilize the heater on a flat surface.
The handy handle on the side of the heater and the built-in eyelets make it possible to attach the heater to most surfaces and various points within a tent.
- Flameless heat
- An expensive option
- Strong odor
It’s one of the best tent heaters on the market as it is from a reputable brand and has features that make it safe for use inside a tent. The main difference between the two models is their size and heating capacity. The SportCat version has 1,500 BTU while the BlackCat option has 3,000 BTU. This means that the latter can heat a larger space. Therefore, the SportCat is the better option for small tents while the BlackCat is best-suited to tents for families or larger groups. The downsides to this option are the high price tag and the strong smell that the heater omits.
You can use this tank-top design heater either in your tent for short periods to give a quick blast of heat or to hat the outdoor area of your tent while socializing, dining, or having fun.
Auto Shut Off:
The main safety feature included with this heater is the auto shut off valve.
This is quick and simple to connect, and it is possible to connect it to any bulk propane tank.
Heats Large Areas:
This is one of the most powerful options in terms of giving off heat as it has a durable 10,000 BTU ceramic heater element.
- Good heat output
- Safety features
- Ease of use
- A cheap option
- Does not have built-in igniter
- Not very sturdy
For larger tents, this is probably a good option as it can heat large spaces quickly. It is also a good choice for heating outdoor spaces. However, this is one of the cheaper options and the materials reflect this. The main criticism of the product is that is not very sturdy and some of the screws needed tightening. Nonetheless, if you are not a frequent camper and you will only use the heater occasionally, this will do the job.
This compact heater will not take up space in your tent and allows you to heat the areas where you need the heat the most.
A common problem with gas heaters is that they give a high-intensity of heat that can take a space from too cold to too hot very quickly. This is not a problem with this heater as it has a temperature control allowing you to easily adjust the temperature to a comfortable level.
The body of the heater swivels and this allows you to direct the heat without moving the heater to a different spot.
You will not need matches to light this gas heater as one of its features is a piezo ignition.
This gas heater is easily portable as it is lightweight at just five pounds and has a sturdy carry handle.
Easy to Use:
It is easy to use as you simply need to clip in an 8 oz. butane gas cartridge. This means you will not waste time setting up the heater.
- No matches needed
- Strong carry handle
- Simple temperature control
- Swivel body
- Enamel coated
- Does not heat large areas
This is a good heater for smaller tents as the heat does not radiate very far. However, you can direct the heat to different areas of the tent easily and adjust the temperature according to the outside temperature. You can also use it to warm you while sitting outside camping.
One Bonus Outside Heater Review
This tank-top design is a great portable option that provides a versatile and low-cost solution to heating your tent. As this sits above a propane tank, it is a good choice for people with children who worry about the heater getting knocked over.
Large Heating Area:
This heater can potentially heat a space up to 1,000 square meters, so it is a good choice for sitting around outdoors in the warmth while camping.
Using a 20-pound propane tank, you can have up to 14 hours of warmth.
This heater has a CSA approved mercury-free accidental tip-over shut off.
- Safety features
- Easy setup
- Warms a large area
- Outdoor use only
- Tricky to ignite
If you enjoy sitting around outside in the evenings while camping, then this is a good option as it is a potentially safer option than a camp fire if you have children running around. However, it is only approved for outdoor use and the manufacturers are clear that you should not use it indoors as a tent heater for camping. Therefore, it is not the best option for heating a tent. The main concern noted by people who have used this propane heater is that they have had trouble igniting it and then keeping it lit.
Best Electric Tent/Personal Heater Reviews
For campers staying somewhere with an electric hook up point, this powerful and adjustable fan is a great choice that boasts as many features as a fan twice its size.
There are three settings on this electric heater; one fan-only setting and two heat settings.
Just some of the safety features on this heater include an overheat protection system, a caution indicator lights, and a safety tip-over switch.
Sturdy and Durable:
This heater is constructed from a durable all-metal housing that can withstand frequent bumps, car rides, and handling.
- Powerful heating
- Adjustable temperature
- Good safety features
- Lightweight and compact
- Weak handle
- Sides get hot
This is one of the best portable tent heaters for camping because of the safety features and the good heat output. The adjustable settings mean that you will are unlikely to overheat your tent or find that the tent is not getting warm fast enough. The efficient fan also circulates the heat around the tent, so all areas will get warm. Although it comes with a convenient carry handle, it is not made of metal like the rest of the heater, so some buyers think it feels a bit weak. The only other concern with this heater is that the sides get hot.
Sometimes you just want to gain personal heat rather than heating an entire area. This is especially the case if you are camping alone and just want a close heat source. If that is the case, then this model is the perfect solution.
Lightweight and Portable:
This is a lightweight and compact option that you can easily fit into a backpack for camping. Its smart design means that you can use it anywhere, including at home or in the office.
You can use the heater to direct the heat to the area that you need it the most,such as for hand warming or right next to you to heat your body.
This heater has a cool-touch exterior, overheat protection, and a safe ceramic element.
- Compact and lightweight
- Simple to use
- Portable camping heater
- Won’t heat large areas
- Need it right next to you
This certainly is not the best camping heater for those attempting to heat a large family tent. It is only intended as a personal heater and works best as a hand heater. You need it right up next to you to benefit from the heat. For this reason, it is best-suited to lone campers in a one or two-person tent.
The Isiler Portable Ceramic Heater is equally suitable for use both at home and while camping making this a useful and versatile option. You can use it all-year-round for air circulation or taking the chill out of the air.
Good Heating Capacity:
This heater is very efficient for its size. It heats up and moves air very quickly. Temperature is controlled via a thermostat control dial that goes from 41 to 95° F (5-35° C) and the heater will turn off when the set temperature has been reached.
While it doesn’t have an automatic tip-over shut-off, it’s designed with a wide, triangular profile which makes it very steady and hard to topple. It comes with an automatic thermostat that prevents overheating.
- Beautiful design
- Difficult to tip over
- Adjustable thermostat
- No automatic tip-over protection
- Fan stays on when heater turns off.
Most people who have bought this product say that it is great for heating small spaces and like the fact that you can adjust the settings for different levels of heat. It is a good choice if you do not want to waste money buying a heater that you will use only for a few camping trips as you can use it at home or in the office. The main complaint about this model is that the fan keeps running even when the heater turns off .
For people who want a budget-friendly electric heater for personal use, then this is one worth considering as it is something that is easy to pop in a backpack for a lone camping trip.
Cool to Touch:
Unlike many other heaters that become hot on the exterior, this device is cool to touch even when giving out heat.
This device includes safety features, such as overheat protection and is ETL listed for safe use.
While many heaters look rather industrial, this has a funky and modern design, which includes the use of bright colors.
- Lightweight and compact
- Safe to use
- Funky design
- Only for personal use
- Cheap materials
This is another electric heater that is not the best option to heat a tent but makes a great hand warmer. If you want something small and light that fits easily into a backpack for camping or hiking trips in colder weather, then this product is ideal. You will need this heater right next to you to benefit from the heat it radiates. The only negatives of this product are that it does not give heat to the surrounding area and that the materials used look rather cheap.
This is another budget-friendly portable camping heater that can give a great heat source in smaller space, making it ideal for camping trips. Provided you are staying somewhere with an electric hook up point, you can just pack this in your bag and go.
This heater has some interesting safety features, such as the cool touch housing, a tip-over switch, overheat protection, and caution lights. It is also made from flame-resistant materials.
At just 1.05 pounds, this is a lightweight option that is compact and will easily slot down the side of any backpack or case.
Unlike most other personal heaters, this has two heat settings; high and low.
- Easy to use
- Cool design
- Compact and lightweight
- Efficient heat source
- No fan setting
- Takes time to heat up
This is a personal space heater that is only intended for the use of one person rather than for heating a whole room or tent. For this reason, it is best-suited to people camping alone in a small tent for use as a hand warmer or simply for airing the tent to take the chill out of the air. It does give off a little more heat in the surrounding area than some other personal heaters.
Buying Guide – Key Factors to Consider
There are many different styles of tent heater from which you can choose and each of these has its own pros and cons. To help you make an informed decision, here are some of the points to consider when deciding which is the best tent heater meets your needs.
Types of Tent Heaters
- Electric fan heaters- This is one of the most popular options to heat a tent as they heat a space quickly and circulate the heat.
- Electric radiator heater- Electric radiator heaters are a good option for heating smaller tents or just one room but don’t really heat a large tent well.
- Electric halogen tent heater- Floor-standing options are often considered dangerous and are banned on many campsites. However, there are some innovative designs that hang in the tent and heat it quickly.
- Gas tent heaters- One of the most popular choices because they are easy to use and easily transportable. Modern designs have reduced the risk of fire but carbon monoxide poisoning is still a risk, so you should use them with good ventilation.
- Tent wood burning stove- This is a great option for people who enjoy long camping trips or those who camp in places with no electric hook up points. They are bulky to transport, take a while to setup, and you need a tent with a flue exit. However, they heat a tent quickly and stay warm for a long time.
- Tent floor heating- Camping has come a long way and it is now possible to make your tent nearly as cozy as a home with tent underfloor heating. This is like an electric blanket that you would use in your bed and is best used to warm sleeping areas.
Locations you Visit
The types of locations you visit is something else to consider when buying a heater. Some points to consider include:
- Does the campsite have an electric hook up point and are you willing to pay to use it?
- Are you in a remote area or camping near many other people?
- Will your choice of heater affect other campers?
- Do you have lots of space around your tent?
- Some fan heaters can make a small amount of noise, but this is usually only heard inside a tent.
- Electric radiators, wood burners, and gas tent heaters make little or no noise.
As with many aspects of outdoor pursuits, safety is a primary concern when camping. Therefore, finding safe tent heaters for camping is essential.
- Gas heaters- These are the least safe tent heater for two reasons. First; they are easy to knock over or catch against and this poses a fire risk. To cut this risk, you must never leave a gas heater unattended or turned on while you sleep. Second, they emit carbon monoxide which can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning unless the tent is well ventilated.
- Electric tent haters- These should also never be left on overnight. Look for one that has an automatic shut-off, so it will turn itself off after a set period. This is an important safety feature to look for in your new heater. If using an electric heater, make sure your tent is completely watertight.
- Halogen heaters- Free-standing halogen heaters are not a good option as they are known as a fire hazard. There are alternative halogen heaters that you can hang from the lantern point at the center of the tent and these are much safer.
- Wood-burning stoves- Should only be used in a tent that has a proper flue or fumes will build up in the tent.
Tent heaters come in different sizes and you need to choose one that is the right size for your tent. You do not want to choose the largest heater available if there are two of you plus all your gear in a two-person tent. If you are in a large family tent with a separate living area, you have more space to consider a larger heater. The size of the heater is also important when you think about the space available in your car and how much gear you need to take with you on a camping trip.
The Warmth Factor
The purpose of buying a tent heater is for it to warm your tent. Therefore, when choosing the best heater for a tent, you should think about how quickly it can heat a space. As a general guide, here is an overview of the different types of heater and how well they will heat your tent:
- Electric fan heaters- These are probably the best option if you are in a large tent for group or family camping. They heat up quickly and circulate the heat around the tent.
- Electric Radiator heaters- This option is best for camping in smaller tents as although they warm up quickly, they only radiate the heat into the area directly around them.
- Halogen heaters- This type of heater does warm up quickly and stays warm for a while after you have turned it off.
- Gas tent heaters- These heat up quickly and radiate heat well, so are popular for this reason.
- Wood burning stoves– If you have the right type of tent and you are enjoying a longer camping trip, these are one of the best heaters. They can heat larger tents well and stay warm for a longer period than other options.
- Floor heating- These are only designed to make smaller areas cozier. Think of them as large hot water bottle for your sleeping area.
- The prices of tent heater vary considerably, so it is worth comparing the prices of different heaters.
- Electric heaters are usually cheaper than gas heaters.
- There are no further running costs to an electric heater if you are paying for an electric hook up at a campsite anyway. On the other hand, you have the extra cost of buying replacement gas canisters for a gas heater.
Wrapping it Up
Each of the heaters for tents and camping has its own pros and cons. This makes them suitable for different people and different uses.
However, the overall best heater for camping is the Comfort Zone CZ707 Personal Heater. Its features make it a safe tent heater and the settings mean you can adjust the temperature in the tent according to the outdoor temperature.
For those on a budget, The Texsport Portable Outdoor Propane Heater is the best option as you can heat your tent without breaking the bank. However, this works best in smaller tents or for heating individual rooms within a larger tent.
Finally, the best heater for camping in terms of its quality is the Mr. Heater Buddy/Little Buddy. Although these are lightweight and portable, they are a good quality item that does the job intended and comes in two output options, so you can choose the most suitable for your tent size.
Ever wondered, whats the best 4 season tent? Don’t worry! We have got you covered, check our article on best cold weather tents.