No matter how many sleeping bags you take with you. Or how many layers you put on. Sometimes it’s just impossible to get warm and cozy in a tent.
A lot of people might avoid camping unless the weather is warm and dry. But this means missing out on some fantastic camping experiences.
Camping in the fall under the changing leaves is one of the most beautiful things you can do. Even camping in the snow can be beautiful and fun.
But, even at the height of summer, the nights can get incredibly cold. So, whether you camp all year round or just once a year in the summertime, a portable heater is a great investment.
Heating a tent can be dangerous, and it’s important to find a heater that is safe to use in a tent. You also need something small that can be easily packed away.
So, to help you find the perfect heater for your camping trip, check out these great products.
Eager to set off and need that heater ASAP? No problem, check out our top pick for the best portable tent heaters.
OUR TOP PICK
OUR TOP PICK
Our top pick for the best portable tent heater is this space heater from Kismile. It gives off a good amount of heat and is shaped in a very practical way.
This is a uniquely shaped heater. It has a large face and is shaped more like a stage light than a heater. But this is definitely a good thing. The structure of this heat makes it easy to tuck into a corner. This will allow it to project heat more evenly into the tent.
Rather than a flat base or a stand like most other options, this heater has two legs. The back then rests on the floor. This means that it is very sturdy and will not wobble.
This is great for safety as it reduces the risk of it toppling over if knocked. This is also useful for the usually uneven ground of a tent. It will be less likely to topple over when someone walks across one side of the tent which will lift the floor beneath the heater.
If this heater does tip over (this is possible, but it is designed not to) it will automatically shut off. This is a great safety feature. As mentioned in the buyers’ guide below, kicking the heater over when you’re sleeping is a risk. This heater greatly reduces this risk.
This heater is surprisingly cute and attractive. A heater is a very practical appliance. So it of course doesn’t need to look appealing. But this is still a nice feature.
The shape is more modern than most other options. And there is a choice between black or pink. The pink adds a sense of coziness that will be appreciated on a cold night.
This heater has a limited temperature range. The options include “0”, “I”, and “II”. This is relatively standard for a heater of this price. So it is very affordable.
Another great feature of this heater is that it doubles as a fan. One of the settings includes “fan only”. This means that it can be used as a heater during cold weather. But can turn into a fan and cool down a tent during warmer weather.
- Sturdy Base - The shape and stand of this heater makes it very sturdy.
- Attractive Style - This heater is very cute to look at. This isn’t necessary but is a nice feature.
- Doubles as Fan - This heater can be set to “fan only” which provides cooled air.
- Affordable - This heater isn’t the cheapest option on this list. But it is still very affordable.
This heater can provide a lot more warmth than you would expect. Despite its small size, this heater can provide enough heat for a 7-person tent. But, it is most suitable for 2 to 4-person tents. Smaller tents will receive the best heat projection.
The shape and size of this heater are also great. It is a very simple heater. But this means that it doesn't require very much space.
This heater is rectangular in shape. The only deviation from this is the small temperature dial at the front. This makes it easy to pack into your car. It can be placed anywhere in the tent. And it can be easily stored away when not in use.
That said, this heater has a ceramic exterior. So it is slightly more fragile than, for example, plastic heaters. But, the ceramic is worth the fragility. Ceramic is a better conductor of heat than plastic. It will retain heat for longer. It will also give off a more even and steady heat.
The dial at the front will allow you to control the temperature. But not to an exact degree. The temperature dial has three settings. These are “0”, “I”, and “II”.
This means that you can have slightly more control than the “on” or “off” features of some other heaters. But not so much that you can control the exact temperature as you would on a thermostat.
This is, however, expected for the low price. And little more sophistication is needed for a tent heater. You won’t be using this very much. Especially not in comparison to a heater for the home.
- Affordable - This tiny heater is one of the most affordable options on this list.
- High Heating Capacity - Despite its small size, this heater can heat up a fair amount of space. This heater is suitable for a 4 to 6-person tent.
- Compact Shape - This heater has a very simple rectangular shape. This means it will pack away easily. And will fit into any tent easily.
- Limited Temperature Controls - This heater only provides two levels of heat.
This is quite a unique heater. One of these unique features is the almost fully rotatable head. The head of this heater can be rotated between a 20° and 90° angle.
This is ideal for both small and large tents. In small tents, this will be useful so that the heat will not be blasted straight at you while you sleep.
In a larger tent, this rotating head will also help. This is because you will be able to direct the heat into multiple areas. So, once one section becomes colder, you can move the head to heat it up.
The heat hose will also be useful in larger tents. This hose is attached to the front of the heater face. Then the hose can be extended into different sections of the tent. This essentially extends the heat. Which is a very useful feature for such a small heater.
This hose is also intended for drying shoes. It can be simply placed inside the shoe and warm air will quickly dry it out. This is definitely a useful feature for any kind of camping trip.
This heater is very small and portable. It can be easily carried around by the handle on the back. And the shape is compact and can be easily packed away.
On this heater are two different temperature settings. This is limited but relatively standard. There is also the option of turning the heater into a fan.
These settings, although simple, can be easily controlled with a remote control. So you won’t even need to get up to change the settings.
- Adjustable - The head of this heater can be almost fully rotated.
- Thermostat - This heater has a thermostat that can be set to a specific temperature.
- Timer - This heater can be set to heat for 1 to 8 hours.
- Includes Heat Hose - This heater can be used to heat up specific items, such as shoes.
- Slightly More Expensive - This heater is a little more expensive than other options. But its additional features make up for this.
This is a very compact and useful little heater. It is thin and square and looks more like a speaker than a heater. But it is specifically designed to provide as much heat as possible for a small space.
But, this compact size does mean that all pieces of the heater are close together. This means that they will all heat up quite a lot. Made from ceramic, this heater will conduct heat quickly and give it off well. But it will likely need to be left to cool down before being handled.
Although it does give off a decent amount of warmth, this heater is intended for small tents. This is great for a 2-person tent or even smaller. It would be great for a festival or going away for a weekend trip.
This heater will take the edge off the chill. This won’t keep you warm in the depths of winter if you have a normal thin polyester tent. But it will keep your toes cold on a chilly summer night.
One nice feature of this heater is that it comes in four different colors. These are black, blue, pink, and white. This isn’t an essential feature at all. But it is a nice one that will be appreciated by someone who has a specific camping aesthetic.
This heater is 500 watts. This is not a huge amount of power. But this is relative. And 500 watts is a good amount for such a tiny heater.
So, don’t be put off by thinking this heater isn’t powerful enough.
- Made from Ceramic - Ceramic conducts heat well and gives off a lot of heat.
- Very Compact - This is a very small and compact heater. It can be easily packed away or tucked into a corner.
- Available in Multiple Colors - This isn’t an essential feature, but it is a nice one that allows a level of personalization.
- No more expensive than other options. But expensive for its small size.
The main features of this heater are the higher number of watts and its oscillating movement. In comparison to most other options, this is a relatively large heater. But 1,500 watts is still a high amount of power. This means that this heater will give off a decent amount of heat.
Due to its size and power wattage, this heater is best suited to larger tents. It does have multiple heating settings. But this heater will still likely be overly warm for a small space.
But, for a larger tent, this heater is ideal. This is partly due to the varied settings. The settings include off, “fan only”, “I”, and “II”. But within these settings, you have greater control over the intensity.
Another great feature for a large tent is its oscillating movement. This heater will move around and heat up more than just whatever is in the direct line of the heater face. This will be great for larger tents. Especially those with multiple rooms and a central space.
This heater is more expensive than most other options. It is the most expensive option on this list. But the higher price is understandable when you consider the different settings.
- Oscillating - Heater moves for better heat dispersal.
- 1,500 Watts - This heater has a relatively high amount of power. This will give off a lot of heat.
- Auto Shut Off - This heater will automatically shut off if it tips over.
- More expensive than most other options.
The shape and style of this space heater is very standard. But this is definitely a good thing. This space heater has everything you need and nothing more.
It has a large face which gives off a high 1,500 watts or a medium 750 watts. This heater can also be turned into a fan during hotter weather.
This heater is also very portable as it has a large handle over the top. This does, however, make it a little difficult to pack away as it sticks out slightly.
Despite its large face, this heater is actually quite small. This makes it easier to pack away. And even more impressive that it can give off 1,500 watts of heat.
This heater has three settings, “fan only”, “low heat”, and “high heat”. This is limited but relatively standard. These limited settings are also expected for the relatively low price of this heater.
In only 2 seconds this heater will reach the level you have set it to. This is ideal for chilly nights out camping. You won’t have to worry about waiting for it to finally heat up.
A useful safety feature of this heater is the automatic shut off. If this heater tips over, it will automatically shut off.
This is great for use in a sleeping environment as you can easily knock it over in your sleep. But it is also useful for an uneven tent ground sheet.
- Choice of 1,500 Watts and 750 Watts - This heater can be set to a medium or a high heat.
- Auto Shut Off - If this heater tips over at all, it will shut off.
- Smaller Than Average.
This is a very uniquely shaped heater. But, surprisingly, it is the most affordable option on our list.
Its low price is primarily down to its size. This heater is very small. But this makes it ideal for use in a small space, such as a tent.
The shape of this heater is similar to that of an egg or pebble (hence its name). Most other heaters give off heat from a large grate at the front.
This heater instead gives off heat from its top. Rather than drawing in heat from the back, this heater draws it up from below.
This heater has very standard temperature settings. These are “fan only”, “I”, and “II”. But there are further controls for these settings as you can control the intensity of the heat with a dial.
The amount of wattage for this heater is very standard. The controls allow the user to choose between 750 watts and 1,500 watts.
The handle on this heater makes it very easy to carry around. So it can be easily packed away or taken on a trip. Its base stand makes it very sturdy. This heater has a stand that supports the entire heater. So there is a reduced risk of it tipping over.
But, if it does tip over, the heater will automatically shut off. This is a feature found on many portable heaters. But definitely not on all of them. So it’s an important feature to look out for.
- Affordable - This is the lowest priced option on our list.
- Auto Shut Off - This heater will automatically shut off if it tips over.
- Features a Thermostat - This heater has a limited number of temperature settings, but the intensity can be controlled.
- Available in Multiple Colors - A nice feature for this heater is that it comes in two different colors. These are white and black.
- Potential for limited projection of heat due to the heat exiting through the top.
Best Portable Tent Heaters Buying Guide
Choosing a heater for a tent should be a simple process. But there are a number of factors that you will need to consider.
Here’s our guide to choosing the best heater for your next camping trip.
Types of Heaters
There are a number of different kinds of heaters that you can use in a tent. But there are also quite a few that you can’t use.
It’s incredibly important to remember that heating a tent can be dangerous. You must take every precaution to ensure that you heat your tent safely.
Here is a rundown of the main types of portable heaters.
Electric heaters are the best option for heating a tent. This is because of their space heating ability and their safety.
Electric heaters can be either corded or cordless and battery powered. Some can even be both. These heaters are also generally more sophisticated than most other options. But for no extra cost. Electric heaters often have thermostats and automatic shut off features.
This means that you can set your preferred temperature. Whereas many other kinds of heaters simply have an “on” setting that has one temperature.
This isn’t great for the varying temperatures of a tent. Even the best ventilated and high quality tents can seem to swing from freezing cold or overwhelmingly hot.
The automatic shut off feature is great for regulating temperature. But it is also a useful safety feature. Heaters with automatic shut off features will shut off when the air reaches a certain temperature.
Some can even shut off when they sense that the air temperature is reaching a dangerous level. Or when the heater itself becomes too hot.
This is great for use during the night. But it is also great for safety and greatly reduces the risk of a fire.
As mentioned several times in this article, propane heaters are the riskiest option. This is primarily due to the fact that they are powered by a dangerous gas.
It is not a particularly good idea to have a propane heater in any kind of indoor space. They do heat spaces well.
But they are too risky to be worth it. Especially when there are plenty of safer electric heaters available.
Halogen heaters are good in terms of their small size. But they aren’t great at projecting heat. They are not really space heaters.
They can heat one small space. But this won’t even be enough for a small 2-person tent. The heater itself will also be very hot to the touch.
So it is a fire risk. If you have no other option, then these can be used safely. But they aren’t ideal for heating a tent.
Wood Burning Stoves
When researching for a tent heater, you will likely come across a few sites suggesting wood burning stoves. These will provide a decent amount of heat. Plus the smell of burning wood is lovely and comforting.
But there are quite a few drawbacks to a wood burning stove. One of which is ventilation. A wood burning stove will of course give off a lot of smoke. This can be guided out using a flue. But few tents will accommodate this. So there is a big risk of smoke inhalation.
There is also the concern of the tent itself accommodating the stove. Wood burning stoves are relatively small, especially in a house. But in a tent, they will take up a lot of space. They also aren’t particularly portable.
They won’t be too heavy or large. But they can be easily damaged and are cumbersome. They definitely can’t be thrown in the trunk like most other portable heaters.
Overall, a wood burning stove will provide a lovely cozy aesthetic. But they have too many drawbacks for camping in a tent. They are best left to cabins and maybe a fancy yurt.
Powering a Portable Tent Heater
Powering a portable tent heater is an important factor to consider. One of the reasons power is important is due to safety. As mentioned several times in this article, power sources such as propane can be very dangerous.
But power can also be an issue depending on where you will be camping. If you are going to a designated campsite, then there is a good chance that there will be outlets available.
If you plan to take a plug-in heater with you, make sure to double-check the outlet availability. This should be an important factor when choosing your campsite.
If you’re wild camping, then you have other issues. You will instead need to invest in a cordless battery-powered heater. These are a little more rare than corded heaters.
But this is only because the majority of heaters are designed to be used in a home. You should be able to find plenty of battery-powered heaters. Just make sure that you charge it before you head off on your trip!
When it comes to a portable heater, size is of course an important factor to consider. But it is also important in terms of the size of your tent.
If you will be sleeping in a large tent with multiple people. You won’t have to be too concerned about making space for the heater. But, you will need to have a heater that will keep the entire tent warm.
This is especially true if you have a very large tent. If you are in a large tent that only has one room, then most portable heaters will be fine. But, if you have a tent with multiple rooms, then a larger heater may be required. Or just multiple heaters.
A good option for this is a heater with a thermostat. This will allow you to provide a steady stream of heat. This should eventually heat the whole tent.
Size is also important when it comes to actually fitting inside the tent. Most portable heaters will be around 10” in height and width. Many will be even smaller than this. But even these will be able to heat a standard 2-person tent. If not a larger tent.
This is very small and will be able to easily fit inside your car when packing. A lot of space heaters intended for the home can be the size of small radiators. While these can sometimes be used in tents. They are usually too big and cumbersome.
Shape and Style
Most portable heaters are shaped in a similar way. They have a large metal grate at the front through which the heat is projected.
Most heaters are an upright rectangular or oblong shape. This allows them to not take up much floor space. But it does allow them to reach a height that will project the most heat. These heaters will usually
There is nothing wrong with this style of heater. There is a reason why it is so commonly used. But, there are some other styles available. For example, there is our top pick.
This is a product from Kismile. At first glance, this heater looks more like a stage light than a heater. But there is good reason for its shape.
The shape of this heater is circular and angled. This allows it to project a steady and even amount of heat into a space. This also means that it can be well-balanced on the usually uneven floor of a tent.
But this heater still has a large face which gives off heat through a grate. This kind of heater is great for a small space as it can be tucked away into a corner.
Another interesting and unique style is that of the product from Joy Pebble. This heater gives off heat through a space at the top. This is definitely not a style that is seen very often. While this heater does work well (and is very affordable), its shape does not count much toward its abilities.
So, while more modern and complex heaters are impressive, they aren’t always necessarily better. When choosing a heater, make sure to go for the one that will work best for you. Rather than the one that looks most modern of hi-tech. Because modern does not always mean best.
How can you safely heat a tent?
As already mentioned, heating a tent can be quite a dangerous task. This is partly due to the limited ventilation in a tent.
And also partly due to how flammable tent material is. The vast majority of tents are made from polyester. This is an incredibly flammable material. This means that the tent can catch fire if the heater is damaged and sparks. But it also means the tent can catch fire just from the heat if it is placed too close to the tent walls.
Some tents are fire retardant. But this just means that they won’t burn as quickly as some other tents. This does not mean that they will not catch fire. Even fire retardant tents can burn incredibly quickly.
So, there are definitely risks to having a heater in a tent. But it’s worth it if you consider the risks. And if you work toward minimizing them as much as possible. One of the ways to make heating a tent safer is by not using a propane-fuelled heater. This is 100% not worth the risk. They can release carbon monoxide which is incredibly dangerous.
An electric heater is one of the safest options. It is also an easy option. Especially if you’re at a campsite with multiple outlets.
Another way to keep yourself safe is to invest in a tent with good ventilation. If you already have a tent, then thoroughly consider its quality and ventilation. If you are even slightly in doubt, it might be time to invest in a new tent. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
Can you put a portable heater in a tent?
In terms of size, you absolutely can. But, you should consider the space more carefully if you will be camping in a 2-person tent.
In one of these tents, there is little room for a heater. If you do manage to fit in a heater, then there’s a good chance it will need to be up against the tent wall. This can be very risky. The tent walls can heat up and even catch fire just from the presence of heat.
The heater will also be next to you as you lie down. Even when you’re awake, there’s a chance that you might knock the heater over. This can also cause the tent floor or walls to become heated.
So, if you’re planning on going camping and are considering buying a new tent, opt for something large. This will give you more space. And it will give the heater more space. It will also reduce the risk of you becoming overheated.
Even small portable heaters can give off a lot of heat. This means that they will heat up a small tent very quickly.
What heater is safer to use in a tent?
There are many heaters that are safe to be used in a tent. But the best will be one that is electric. Propane-fuelled heaters are incredibly dangerous. Tents are often poorly ventilated. And propane-fuelled heaters can give off CO2 and carbon monoxide.
Both of these can be damaging. Carbon monoxide is even poisonous. No matter the kind of heater you choose, it’s a good idea to take with you a carbon monoxide detector.
And a fire extinguisher. You will likely (and hopefully) never need either of these. But, when it comes to any kind of camping, your motto should always be “Better to be safe than sorry”.
Is it OK to leave a heater on overnight?
This is a really important question. When camping, you only really spend time in your tent when you’re sleeping. So you’re only really going to want to have the heater on during the night. This is definitely preferable to leaving the heater on unattended during the day.
But leaving the heater on overnight does have its risks. For one, you won’t be able to adjust it. This can cause the tent to overheat and condensation to build up.
This can result in the tent becoming moldy and growing mildew. You might not notice this while you’re camping. But it will continue to grow when packed away and not in use. Then, when you go to use it again, it can be covered in mold.
Another risk is knocking the heater over. This is likely to happen more in smaller tents due to the lack of space (as mentioned above).
One of the best ways to sleep easy with the heater on is by investing in a heater with an automatic shut off. These heaters will automatically turn off when they sense that the tent has reached a certain temperature.
They can also switch off if they sense that the temperature has become dangerously hot. Or if they tip over.