Embarking on adventures where you will be spending the night in a tent should be an exciting experience.
However, the winter weather can leave you feeling cold, miserable, and regretful that you didn’t invest in a tent heater beforehand. While layering and insulation can provide viable solutions they aren’t quite as effective as introducing a heater to the living area of your tent.
A heater that is safe for use inside a tent can make a huge difference to what would otherwise be a chilly environment.
While the unit should provide you with a sufficient and comfortable level of heat it is important to maintain a balance to ensure that it doesn’t become too intense and overwhelming.
If you are uncertain of the best tent heaters available, not to worry as we have you covered. Below, we have reviewed our top picks of the best tent heaters the market has to offer.
We have accounted for a range of factors concerning the power source, size, and operability. We have also provided you with a buyer’s guide containing our top tips for selecting the best tent heater.
OUR TOP PICK
The Mr Heater Buddy Portable Radiator is approved for indoor and outdoor use.
It has an output between 4,000 to 9,000 BTUs and can be used to heat spaces measuring up to 225 square feet. As such, it is more than likely to suffice in heating the interior of your tent.
Impressively, this heater is equipped with a range of safety features. If the unit is accidentally tipped over, the automatic shut off function will turn the heater off to prevent any accidents from occurring.
It’s also designed with a wire guard that will protect those in the surrounding environment from possible burns. Furthermore, the unit also incorporates a safety shut off feature which will stop it from functioning if low oxygen levels are detected.
Weighing 9ibs, this is a rather lightweight unit that is compactly designed and easy to transport. It’s also designed with a fold down handle for added convenience. The control dial is displayed on the side panel of the heater for straightforward use.
The heater can be connected to a propane tank which requires an additional purchase, with an expected 3 hour run time when used at its max BTU.
It is worth noting however that the low oxygen detected mechanism may be triggered when using the heater at altitudes 7,000 ft above sea level.
- Warranty - this heater is covered by a 1 year limited warranty so there is help on hand if you experience any issues.
- Multiple heat settings - this allows you to select the best setting for the volume of heat that is required.
- Durability - constructed from a combination of steel, nickel, and plastic this heater boasts a robust design that is likely to withstand frequent use.
- Burn time - when used on the lowest heat setting this heater has a generous run time.
- Heat intensity - the unit heats up quite quickly and some people may find the intensity of the warmth a little too much.
If you're looking for a compact heater that projects 360 degrees of heat, the Honeywell 360 Degree Surround Heater could be an excellent choice.
The all-round design means that the unit can heat all those in the surrounding environment regardless of the angle at which they are sat.
Though it may be a smaller heater, it still provides a comfortable output of heat to small and medium-sized rooms.
The addition of multiple safety features ensures that accidents are avoided. The 360 degree tip over switch stops the heater from operating in the instance that it is accidentally knocked over.
It also features an overheat protection mechanism and an auto off timer option which allows you to program the heater to turn off at a specified time.
Courtesy of the programmable thermostat and multiple heat settings you can alter the heat output depending on the current temperature inside your tent.
Not only is it compactly designed but it is also convenient to transport at only 3 lbs and the built-in handle makes it easy to carry to different locations.
As this heater relies on an electric power source it is only going to be a practical choice for those with access to an electric power hook up. The high-grade silicone covered wiring is resistant to possible damage.
- Cool touch housing - protects users from possible burns caused by a hot unit.
- Warranty - the brand provides a 3 year limited warranty so there is help available if required.
- Compact - It can be stored inside your tent without consuming a huge amount of space.
- Ease of Use - the dials are conveniently displayed on the body of the heater allowing for easy use.
- The Noise - Some customers have reported that this heater is prone to making a clicking noise when operating which some individuals may find distracting.
The Texsport Portable Outdoor Propane Heater is the lightest option weighing a minimal 1 lbs. Though it may be a compact option it certainly does not compromise on performance.
In fact, it has a maximum 2,890 maximum BTU output which is likely to accommodate the majority of heating demands.
It is compatible with a 16.4 oz and 14.1 oz disposable propane fuel cylinder which requires an additional purchase.
Aside from this, it also comes with a large paddle foot plastic base which can be attached to the canister for enhanced stability. When not in use, this can be folded away for convenient storage.
As for durability, the burner has been made from stainless steel and finished with copper so it is going to withstand frequent use and impact without becoming easily damaged.
It also incorporates a safety valve that stops the heater from operating if the flame goes out and a built in safety grid that protects users from accidents.
It is important to note that this heater is only intended for outdoor use so you may wish to use it warm up before you settle in your tent for the night.
While it isn’t advised, if you do wish to use this heater inside your tent it must be very well ventilated and it shouldn’t be left on when unattended or throughout the night.
- The Price - this heater retails at an affordable price which is ideal for those who are on a budget.
- Heat up time - As this heater heats up quickly, you don’t have to wait for a long time to feel the warmth.
- Lightweight - the weight of this heater makes it easy to transport in between locations.
- Run time - this heater has a generous run time so you aren’t likely to need to replace the canister regularly.
- Safety Features - although this heater has a safety valve, it lacks a tip over switch and a low oxygen shut off detection mechanism.
For those who have access to an electric power source from their tent, the Pro Breeze Space Heater is a strong contender.
The lightweight and compact design allow for easy transportation to and from your location. When stored inside your tent, it isn’t going to consume a huge amount of room.
This heater is equipped with 750W of power when used on the lowest setting and 1500W of power when used on the highest setting. We also like the addition of the gentle fan mode.
With a total of 3 different operating modes, you can control the heat output of the unit to arrive at your desired temperature.
Courtesy of the built in safety features, any unsafe situations involving this heater are avoided. The overheat protection prevents the unit from getting too hot.
It also features tip over protection which automatically turns the heater off if it is accidentally knocked over.
As a ceramic heater, it is energy efficient and operates much faster than traditional units. The controls are also displayed on the top of the unit and because of this, it is extremely easy to use.
- The noise - when functioning, this unit produces a minimal amount of noise so it is unlikely to prove distracting.
- Affordable - retailing at an affordable price, this heater is great value for money.
- The Warranty - upon purchasing this unit you will be covered by a 12 month warranty which will cover you against any defects.
- 3 Settings - the multiple settings and thermostat allow you to maintain the temperature inside your tent.
- Heat Output - while the unit projects a decent amount of heat for small tents it may not be as effective in distributing heat inside larger spaces.
If you have a larger tent to heat up, the Lasko Ceramic Space Heater provides a viable option.
Though it is more substantially built than our previous picks, as a tower heater, it is sleekly designed so it isn’t going to consume a lot of space inside your tent.
It is also lightweight with a built in carry handle that allows for convenient portability.
It is easy to use thanks to the digital settings and it comes with a thermostat that can be programmed to achieve your desired temperature.
The 8 hour timer allows you to set the unit to run for a specific amount of time so you don’t have to worry about your tent losing heat over prolonged periods.
The widespread oscillation will deliver heat to all areas of your tent. Using the remote control you can adjust the settings of the heater from a distance for greater convenience.
For example, if you are standing just outside your tent you don’t have to go back in and set the heater to function on the body of the unit.
This heater also features multiple built in safety features. The overheat protection ensures that the unit refrains from overheating even when set to function for an extended period of time.
The cool touch exterior ensures that the heater remains cool to touch to prevent any accidents.
- Fully Assembled - As this heater comes fully assembled you can begin using it within minutes.
- E.T.L Listed - this heater has undergone tests to confirm that it is safe for public use and doesn’t present a risk of malfunctioning.
- Ease of Use - courtesy of the digital display and multifunctional remote control this heater is easy to use.
- The Size - the compact build of this heater makes it a convenient option for storing in tighter spaces so you needn’t worry about it consuming a lot of room.
- The Noise - Some customers have reported that this heater can be quite noisy which some individuals may find distracting.
The Mr Heater Little Buddy Propane Heater can be used to heat an area measuring up to 95 square feet making it a practical choice for smaller tents.
With 3,800 BTUs it provides a generous amount of heat to keep you warm. The unit utilizes propane canisters and has a maximum run time of 5.6 hours.
The 45 degree heating angle projects the heat in an upward direction. It also features a low oxygen detection shut off feature which as expected will automatically turn the unit off for safety purposes.
The accidental tip over switch also turns the heater off if it is accidentally knocked over. As a result, unwanted accidents are avoided.
Weighing 5 lbs, this is a lightweight and compactly designed unit. It is also designed with a handle which makes it easy to transport.
It can also be attached to your backpack so you don’t have to worry about carrying it yourself. The addition of a stand ensures that the heater can be stably positioned.
Just like our previous pick from the Mr Heater range, this model may not perform as well when used at elevations of 700ft or above because this is likely to trigger the low oxygen detection system.
- Warranty - As this heater is backed by a 1 year limited warranty there is help available if you are unhappy with your purchase.
- Ease to Use - Boasting a basic design, this heater isn’t overly complexed to use.
- Ideal for small spaces - Although this heater may be smaller it remains effective in heating smaller tents.
- The Noise - When operating, this heater doesn’t produce a lot of noise so it is unlikely to distract those sharing the space.
- Limited Settings - As this heater only features one heat setting some may dislike the inability to alter the intensity of the temperature.
Best Tent Heater Buying Guide
There are several benefits associated with the purchase of a tent heater, each of which we have highlighted below.
We have also identified the features that we would advise you to look for in your heater.
Why should you choose a tent heater?
Those who have never purchased a tent heater may be questioning why they should.
We have listed several reasons why a tent heater is a worthwhile investment.
Maintain a warm temperature
Of course, one of the most obvious perks of purchasing a tent heater comes courtesy of the warm environment that is created as a result.
While there are other options available that don’t require a heater, such as layering, these methods struggle to generate heat alone.
A heater, on the other hand, uses a fuel source to generate warmth so you can enjoy a comfortable camping experience, even on colder nights.
Tent heaters feature a selection of built in safety features that allow for safe use whilst ensuring that possible accidents are avoided.
As tents are enclosed spaces you must ensure that it is properly ventilated before introducing a heater.
Depending on the fuel source of the heater that you select, many are very fuel-efficient.
Propane heaters tend to be especially fuel-efficient, running for lengthy periods consuming a minimal amount of fuel.
As such, you can keep warm overnight without having to regularly fill up or replace the fuel.
Features To Consider
Though it may seem tempting to splurge on the biggest heater available with the expectation that it is going to provide you with more heat, you must account for any space limitations that you are going to be confronted with when trying to store a more substantially built unit.
As heaters present a fire hazard they should be sized so that they can safely be placed away from any linens and persons as they sleep. Of course, those that are larger are going to make this task more challenging.
Also consider how you are going to transport the heater to your tent, if you are going to be camping out in the wilderness rather than at a campsite you don’t want to be faced with the task of transporting any overly heavy and large heater to your location.
The size of your tent is also going to influence the heater that you choose. A smaller tent is going to heat up much quicker than one that is larger so you should choose a unit that is compatible with this space.
Although a smaller heater will take longer to heat a tent with a more spacious interior, for those seeking portability, a small heater is likely to suffice.
Many boast a slim design so that when they are inside your tent they aren’t going to consume a huge amount of space.
The Power Source
Tent heaters are available in gas or electric variations. Propane powered heaters are a popular option and this type of fuel tends to be more readily available than other fuel options.
Propane also has a high heat output and is also clean burning making it one of the most fuel-efficient options. Electric heaters are another commonly sought after alternative.
However, heaters of this kind are only suitable for those with access to a power supply or portable power station. Electric heaters don’t produce any toxic emissions presenting less risk of suffocation when used in an enclosed space.
The type of heater that you choose will depend on which you find more convenient. If you will not have access to a power supply but still want to ensure that you are burning clean power with fewer risks when used inside your tent, a propane heater is a viable option.
On the other hand, if you know that you will be able to access a power supply from your pitch once you have reached your destination, you may opt for an electric-powered heater.
Each has its own benefits and works efficiently when used to heat a tent. Some types of gas such as Kerosene aren’t suitable for indoor use so heaters powered by this should only be used outdoors.
You will find some heaters are marketed specifically for outdoor use because they aren’t deemed to be completely safe for use indoors.
A BTU rating refers to a British Thermal Unit; a measurement that is used to measure the heat output of your heater.
Of course, a tent doesn’t require a heater with the same BTU as a radiator that is responsible for heating your whole home, especially if you have a smaller tent.
A heater with a BTU rating in the range of 3000 to 5000 is more than likely to suffice in heating an average sized tent, however, if you have a larger tent you may opt for a heater with a 10,000 BTU rating.
Some heaters will also incorporate fine tune controls which allow you to alter the temperature from the lowest to the maximum BTU rating of the heater.
The build quality of the heater will influence its durability and how long it is likely to last.
Most are constructed with sturdy frames that can withstand rough handling and daily uses without beginning to deteriorate in quality.
If your heater is not durable enough, it will struggle to see you through many more uses in the future.
The Safety Features
The Built-in safety elements are a very important feature. The more features that your heater is equipped with the better.
The majority tend to have overheating protection which will prevent the unit from operating once it has exceeded a dangerously high temperature.
Others will include a tip over function which will turn the heater off if it should happen to be knocked over as this will prevent accidents from occurring.
Many will also incorporate a low oxygen detection system which will shut down the heater if low levels are detected. In regards to the design, many are made with metal grids which will protect those in the surrounding environment from possible burns.
The Noise Output
Some heaters will operate at a louder volume than others. Likely, a heater that produces a persistent noise for the duration of the time in which it is running is going to prove rather distracting to those in the surrounding environment.
If the noise is likely to be a concern, you should opt for a heater that deems to be quiet when operating. Besides the product specifications, you will often find customer reviews that will state whether the heater was quiet or loud when functioning.
Ease of Use
Ideally, your heater should be easy to use. Most feature dials on the top of the heater whereas others may boast a more digital concept.
One dial is typically designated to the thermostat controls and the other can be used to change the temperature.
In the case of digital heaters, there will be a button designated for each control. Whilst the majority of heaters have at least two different settings to choose from, others will only have a single setting.
The choice of multiple settings allows you to choose between a low or high heat output however, depending on the size of the area that requires heating, you may find one setting sufficient.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you safely heat a tent?
There are heaters available that are safe for use inside tents so long as the tent is ventilated. C02 that has been allowed to gather presents a risk to the safety of those inside the tent.
Heaters with automatic shut off sensors will do as expected and turn the heater off when the air levels have reached a dangerous level.
There are also ways of heating the interior of your tent by layering and wearing thermals and also insulating the flooring of your tent using carpets or rugs.
What heater is safe to use in a tent?
Electric heaters tend to be the safest option to use inside a tent however, they aren't the most convenient option because they aren't practical to use if you do not have access to an electric point.
In this case, a portable gas heater, preferably a catalytic heater can be used as it provides the safest option.
What is a good tent heater?
There are several heaters that are deemed to be safe for use inside a tent.
This includes the Opolar ceramic electric camping heater, the Pro Breeze Mini Ceramic Fan Heater, the Honeywell 360 degree Electric Tent Heater and many more, examples of which we have included in our guide above.
Can I use a heater in a tent?
It is possible to use a heater in a tent so long as it is done safely. An electric heater provides the easiest option however, it is only viable if you are at a campsite that provides you with access to a power supply.
If your pitch doesn't provide an electric hook-up point, the use of an electric heater will not be feasible.
It is also possible to use a propane heater to heat the interior of your tent, however, you must ensure that it is done correctly and following the safety guidelines and the correct directions that have been followed.
It is also important to ensure that your tent is sufficiently ventilated and that the heater is switched off when it isn't in use.
Are Big Buddy heaters safe in tents?
Yes, Big Buddy heaters are safe for use inside tents. If you are looking for a unit that is easy to use and also portable, a heater of this kind is an excellent solution.
It also features a low oxygen feature that will turn the unit off automatically when low levels of oxygen have been detected.
Can you sleep with a Mr Buddy heater in a tent?
Yes, it is possible to use a Mr Buddy heater to heat your tent overnight.
As mentioned, the unit features a built in low oxygen sensor that will automatically turn the heater off upon the detection of any gas.
It also features a sensor that will automatically turn the heater off if it gets turned over.