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The 10 Best Camping Heaters in 2024 [Propane & Electric]

Amar Hussain's image
Amar Hussain
Amar Hussain's image

Amar Hussain

Senior Content Contributor

791 Published Articles

Countries Visited: 63U.S. States Visited: 9

Amar is an avid traveler and tester of products. He has spent the last 13 years traveling all 7 continents and has put the products to the test on each of them. He has contributed to publications incl...
Edited by: Keri Stooksbury
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Keri Stooksbury

Editor-in-Chief

35 Published Articles 3230 Edited Articles

Countries Visited: 47U.S. States Visited: 28

With years of experience in corporate marketing and as the executive director of the American Chamber of Commerce in Qatar, Keri is now editor-in-chief at UP, overseeing daily content operations and r...

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Camping can be incredibly fun and a great way to spend time outdoors. You don’t want to limit yourself to only being able to camp during the warmest days of the year. That’s why camping heaters can be so useful, allowing you to stay warm even when the temperature drops.

Things To Consider With Camping Heaters

Camping Heater
Heaters allow you to camp in cooler weather. Image Credit: Amar Hussain

You might think picking a camping heater might be as simple as just searching online and picking the first one that pops up.

However, that can end up costing you more in the long run if you don’t make sure the option you choose fits your needs. To pick the right camping heater for you, here are some things to consider:

Power Source

Camping Heater Power
Camping heaters are powered by electric or propane. Image Credit: Amar Hussain

The first thing you should consider when looking for a camping heater is the power source you want.

Often, camping heaters can be powered in 2 different ways:

  • Electric: These are corded heaters that need a source of electricity, like a generator, to function.
  • Propane: These are heaters that have a propane tank that needs to be refilled in order for the heater to run.

Small heaters can also be battery-powered, though they’re less commonly classified as camping heaters. Keep in mind any power preferences, as well.

Size and Weight

Camping Fan Size and Weight
The ideal size of your heater will depend on your requirements. Image Credit: Amar Hussain

You should also consider the size and weight of any heater you’re considering before you buy it. If you tend to camp places that require hiking, you’ll likely want a lighter and smaller heater compared to camping at sites you can drive to.

However, smaller heaters might be less powerful. For example, you can find pocket-sized heaters that are battery-powered. These heaters might work to keep your hands warm, but they won’t be much help in heating a tent. Larger heaters also usually require more power to work.

Power

You’ll want to ensure you’re aware of the amount of heating power a heater is capable of before you make a final decision.

Typically the product descriptions will say how large of a space a heater can warm up to give you some indication of its power. You may also want to look into customer reviews on this matter.

Hot Tip: You should keep the size of the space you want to keep warm in mind while you search out options to start easily narrowing down your choices.

Durability

Even if you exclusively use your camping heater in a tent, it will still be exposed to the elements and more potential wear and tear than it would in a building. So, a heater’s durability is another important factor to consider.

You may want to opt for a heater that won’t short circuit or become dangerous to use if it gets wet from rain, dew, or fog. You may also want a heater that won’t shatter if it’s dropped or knocked over during use or while moving it.

Design

Camping Heater Design
Design features include where the buttons, switches, or other controls are placed. Image Credit: Amar Hussain

Another thing you should consider when purchasing a camping heater is its design. The design extends much further than simply superficial elements like color or finish, though those can also be important.

For example, does the heater oscillate to distribute heat throughout a space, or is it stationary? How is the heater shaped, and will that affect its capabilities? Where the buttons, switches, or other controls are placed on a heater are also design elements that could make one model win out over another in your mind.

The 5 Best Propane Camping Heaters

It can be a headache trying to decide which camping heater is going to be right to suit your needs. There are so many options and things to consider that it can be overwhelming. We’ve done the hard work for you by figuring out which are the best camping heaters on the market for you to choose from.

1. Supersafe Heater You Can Use Inside

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Mr. Heater F215100 MH4B Little Buddy 3800

If you’re looking for a camping heater that you can safely use both inside and outside, you should consider this Mr. Heater model.

With a radiating heating system, an enclosed space that’s up to 95 square feet large can be heated safely without any fumes or extreme fire hazards.

In fact, this heater has been designed with safety in mind, so if someone knocks it over, it will automatically shut off. That means you don’t have to worry about overheating, shorting out, or unwanted fires.

All you need is a small propane tank and 4 inches of space to give the heater enough room to work properly.

What We Like:

  • Warranty

What We Don’t Like:

  • Inconsistent number of hours of heat

2. Portable Heater You Can Easily Pack

Mr. Heater F232000 MH9BX Buddy 4,000-9,000-BTU

Mr. Heater has a great option if you want a powerful heater that’s still very portable, particularly if you travel to high altitudes.

This handy little heater is able to work perfectly at altitudes reaching 7,000 feet above sea level, making it perfect for virtually any trip you plan to go on.

This heater can also heat up to 225 square feet of enclosed space, so you won’t have any trouble keeping most tents or campers nice and warm even in the middle of winter.

Though the heater does require propane to work, it’s clean-burning, meaning you don’t have to worry about harmful fumes or residue.

What We Like:

  • Auto shut-off if tipped over

What We Don’t Like:

  • Too big for hiking

3. Durable, Sturdy, and Stable

Texsport Sportsmate Portable Propane Heater

If you love camping, but you hate having to plan your trips only during the hottest months of the year, you should consider this Texsport option.

This heater was designed to create a bubble of warmth, so you can camp without worrying about getting too cold.

The heater is made of stainless steel with a few plastic components, so it’s very durable and will stand up well to being jostled around during travel. It also has a sturdy and stable stand that won’t cause the heater to tip over easily.

You also don’t have to worry about remembering to turn off the gas — once the flame goes out, the fuel cuts off, too.

What We Like:

  • Lightweight

What We Don’t Like:

  • Turns off easily

4. An All-in-1 Camping Heater Option

Campy Gear Chubby 2 in 1

People looking for a camping heater that will make cooking while out in the wilderness a breeze, this is a great option for you.

This heater also functions as a portable stove. That means you don’t have to worry about setting up a campfire or figuring out how to prepare your food if you are somewhere that doesn’t permit campfires.

This heater is also suitable for both indoor and outdoor use. In fact, one of its suggested uses is as an ice fishing heater as it won’t melt the ice but will keep you warm. This heater-stove combo is also compact and won’t be terribly cumbersome to travel with.

What We Like:

  • Suitable for cooking

What We Don’t Like:

  • Only heats small spaces

Hot Tip: You may also consider our guide to the best wood and gas camping stoves.

5. Great Output Even on the Low Setting

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Portable Outdoor Camping Infrared Propane Gas Heater

Keeping warm isn’t hard to do at all with this little portable heater. Thanks to its parabolic design, it will radiate heat much better than other designs that just let warmth escape haphazardly.

Due to its efficient design, you also get to control how much heat you receive with low, mid, and high levels available for you, depending on what you need.

It was also made to be stable and steady on its own, so you can set it up and be stress-free, knowing it won’t knock over and break or cause any overheating.

What We Like:

  • Auto shut-off if flame goes out

What We Don’t Like:

  • Base is shallow

The 5 Best Electric Camping Heaters

If propane heaters aren’t your style, but you still want something to keep you warm while outdoors, check out these electric heaters.

1. A Trusty and Safe Little Heater

Portable Electric Space Heater with Thermostat

Initially marketed as a desk heater, this electric heater is pretty perfect for outdoor and tent use as well.

It can heat up to 200 square feet of enclosed space, which is more than enough for most tents. It will also create a heat bubble outdoors, as well. This heater is also perfect during the summer months as it doubles as a cool air fan as well.

It won’t disturb your sleep or work as it’s very quiet, as well, and you can regulate how much heat it produces.

What We Like:

  • Year-round option

What We Don’t Like:

  • Can overheat if left unattended

2. A Camping Heater To Warm the Largest Tents

Dreo Portable Space Heater

If you’re a fan of glamping and don’t want to sacrifice too many luxuries to be out in nature, this Dreo portable heater is a great option for you.

With just a little generator or access to an outlet, this heater will fill your space with enough warmth that you’ll feel cozy even during the cold months of the year.

It comes with a 12-hour timer you can set and forget about as well, so you can be stress-free while enjoying your trip.

The heater’s oscillation will also ensure that heat is evenly distributed throughout whatever space you’re using it in. You can also keep it on without worrying about it waking you in your sleep.

What We Like:

  • Whisper quiet

What We Don’t Like:

  • Tricky thermostat

3. Budget-friendly Heater You Can Trust

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Andily 500W Space Electric Small Heater

Space heaters can get expensive, which might be one of the main reasons why you’ve avoided getting one. If that’s the case, consider this option from Andily.

This useful little heater is very budget-friendly, so you can be warm on your next trip without breaking the bank.

It’s a very small space heater which makes it perfect for indoor use on a side table or desk, but it’s also perfect for heating up a small tent.

Since it’s so small, it’s also been designed for optimal convenience with just 1 power control button. So, the whole heater is very intuitive to use.

What We Like:

  • Easy to get the hang of

What We Don’t Like:

  • Less effective in larger spaces

4. A Camping Heater You Can Adjust

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Vornado MVH Vortex Heater with 3 Heat Settings

If you’re looking for a camping heater that gives you control over just how much heat you’ll get, Vornado’s got you covered with this model.

This heater has 3 heat settings you can choose from, making it perfect for any time of year. From just warming up from the first chills of fall to keeping yourself comfortable while temperatures drop drastically, you’ll be nice and warm.

It also heats in a gentler way compared to other heaters. It forces warm air into the space in a continuous way that won’t create any overheating. The heater is also safe as it can sense when it’s knocked over and will shut off.

What We Like:

  • 5-year promise warranty

What We Don’t Like:

  • Effectiveness depends on space size

5. Safe Little Camping Heater You Can Rely On

PARIS RHÔNE Electric Ceramic Heater

Camping heaters are wonderful, but sometimes they can die on you when you need them most. This PARIS RHÔNE model won’t have that problem.

This heater has been designed to be extremely safe, so you can relax. If the heater gets knocked over, the heater will turn off. It will also automatically turn off if it starts to overheat. So, you can rest easy knowing you’re completely safe as far as your heater is concerned.

The heater also has 3 heat settings to fit your needs, and it has an up to 12-hour timer to make sure your space stays warm.

What We Like:

  • Good for camping and home use

What We Don’t Like:

  • Less responsive control pads

Final Thoughts

An ideal camping heater will be able to keep you warm on cold nights and chilly days. However, picking a heater would be easy if that was the only thing to factor into the decision.

There are dozens of little details that can make purchasing a camping heater stressful. We hope our list has helped you narrow your choices so that you’re one step closer to picking the right camping heater.

Frequently Asked Questions

What kind of heater is safe to use in a tent?

You can use both propane and electric heaters inside tents safely. However, not all heaters are meant to be used in such an enclosed space. To be sure you’re not putting yourself in danger, make sure the heater you want to use is labeled as “indoor-safe” before using it inside your tent.

How do you heat a tent without electricity?

You can find propane heaters that don’t need any electricity to work. These were some of the first camping heaters, in fact. You can also purchase a small generator you can take with you on camping trips which you can use to power electric heaters or other small corded appliances.

Are camping heaters worth it?

Camping heaters are worth it if you find yourself camping during times of the year when temperatures can start to drop at night. It’s unwise to keep a campfire going all night, so a camping heater will help keep you warm.

Do battery-powered heaters exist?

Battery-powered heaters do exist and are a viable portable option for warmth on the go. However, these heaters are typically very small, usually no larger than pocket-sized. It’s unlikely you’ll be able to find a larger battery-powered portable heater. It would be impractical to replace batteries in a larger heater.

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About Amar Hussain

Amar is an avid traveler and tester of products. He has spent the last 13 years traveling all 7 continents and has put the products to the test on each of them. He has contributed to publications including Forbes, the Huffington Post, and more.

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