Best Kerosene Heaters for Indoor Use: Portable and Safe

best kerosene heater for indoor use main

What’s one primary requirement for any prepper looking to beat the bone-chilling winters?

A dependable source of heat.

Kerosene heaters are a great choice when it comes to reliability and heat output. Besides, during a power outage, kerosene is one fuel that you can depend on. After having used them for years outdoors as well as indoors, I can safely say they are a reliable and inexpensive choice in any SHTF scenario.

The question is which is the best kerosene heater for indoor use?

To help you out, we have compiled this list of the best kerosene heaters for indoor use. On top of that, we have added a few guidelines and safety tips that you must keep in mind.

So let’s take a closer look at the best kerosene heaters that can be part of your SHTF plan.

Best Kerosene Heaters for Indoor Use: Top 10 Picks

Overall Score 95%
BTUs 85%
Max Runtime 90%
Tank Capacity 90%
Portability 85%

Pros:

Cons:

What We Like

When it comes to kerosene heaters, Dyna-Glo is one of the top brands in the market. What makes its products stand out is the combination of solid performance and an affordable price tag.

This kerosene heater comes with 50,000 BTUs of heating power that can heat up 1200 square feet of area. The fuel capacity is 5 gallons and it can run for 14 hours with a full tank. What really stands out is the fast heating action. Some users mentioned that it heated up spaces between 1200 to 1400 square feet within an hour.

And the best part is, you can use it with a wide range of fuels. Apart from 1-K kerosene, this heater also works with  #1 diesel, #2 diesel, Jet-A, JP-8, #1 fuel oil, and #2 fuel oil. The unit is easy to use as well.

The overall build quality makes this a long-lasting heater. The industrial-grade motor is designed to deliver reliable performance for years. There’s also a fuel runtime indicator and a top-grade handle for portability.

As if that isn’t enough…

Dyna-Glo has included some excellent safety features in the unit as well. This includes overheating auto shut off, and an integrated flameout sensor. The product is also CSA certified. I used this heater in the garage and there was hardly any smell of kerosene fumes.

The motor and the combustion chamber can be easily accessed. That makes the unit easy to maintain.

Not to forget, the affordable price tag. At this price, this heater offers excellent value.

What Needs Improvement

While the unit is well built, it’s not compact. The 5-gallon fuel tank also makes it weigh 26.9 lbs.

The other thing is, it’s also a bit noisy. While the noise isn’t a deal-breaker, some users may find it bothersome.

Beyond that, some users also found the location of the fill port can lead to spillage.

Bottom Line

The Dyna-Glo delivers a solid combination of price and performance. We have no second thoughts about recommending it as the best kerosene heater for indoor use.

Overall Score 90%
BTUs 80%
Max Runtime 90%
Tank Capacity 85%
Portability 90%

Pros:

Cons:

What We Like

Sengoku wasn’t a brand we were familiar with. So there were some initial doubts about the performance of this compact radiant heater.

But after going through the details, and checking the performance, we’re converted.

To start with, the unit has an impressive heating power of 10,000 BTUs. It is capable of heating up 380 square feet of space. Now, the fuel capacity stands at 1.2 gallons. While that may not look impressive on paper, the heater can last for 14 hours on a full tank.

Besides, the smaller fuel tank makes it a lightweight unit. The build quality is impressive and the safety grills make it safe for indoor use.

What about heating capacity?

Despite its relatively small size, it can heat up indoor spaces quickly. Some users mentioned that the heater functioned well even when the outside temperatures were around 10 degrees.

In addition, it also has some great features like a push-button start and an  EZ flame adjuster. There’s an automatic shut-off feature to ensure safety. Another feature that I love is a tip-over switch. Great for homes with pets or children.

Anything else?

Keep in mind that this is a radiant heater. So there’s hardly any noise to disturb you. The heater burns clean and there isn’t any offensive smell of kerosene either.

That makes it perfect for use in small emergency shelters.

Lastly, we also appreciate the low price tag of the unit. That makes it a great choice for budget buyers.

What Needs Improvement

Admittedly, if you’re looking for a heater to use in large spaces, look elsewhere. The unit is for small indoor spaces only.

Apart from that, the Sengoku customer service can be a hit or miss.

Bottom Line

To sum up, the Sengoku HeatMate HMN-110 is a dependable performer when you’re looking for some warmth to beat the chill.

Overall Score 90%
BTUs 95%
Max Runtime 90%
Tank Capacity 85%
Portability 70%

Pros:

Cons:

What We Like

When it comes to raw heating power, the Heatstar by Enerco is simply unbeatable. With a heating capacity of 175,000 BTUs per hour, it can heat up large spaces of up to 4250 square feet.

You might be thinking about the fuel capacity.

This beast comes with a 14-gallon fuel tank and the fuel rate is 1.3 gal/hr. That gives it a running time of around 10 hours on a full tank.

Also, it works with #1 and, #2 kerosene and diesel. You can also use fuel oil or Jet A fuel. That gives you a lot of flexibility. The heating capacity is great too. If you have a garage space between 1500 to 2000 square feet you can expect it to get warm within 15 to 20 minutes. Quotes simply, it’s a super-efficient indoor kerosene convection heater

Now keep in mind this is an industrial-grade heater. That means you get a robust motor that can perform even in demanding conditions.

The build quality is rugged and the handles are made from powder-coated steel. There are pneumatic rubber tires for portability.

What about safety features?

There’s a high-limit safety switch to prevent overheating, along with a photo CAD cell. The forced air heating uses a high-capacity fan to spread the heat. Even with its high capacity, fan noise is well controlled. You won’t find any fuel odors during operation either.

What Needs Improvement

Coming to the downsides, this is a heavy unit. The large size and the weight of 70 pounds, doesn’t make it a portable device for preppers who need to move fast.

Some users also mentioned the handle design could have been better.

Also, this is a heavy-duty machine best for large spaces. So if your heating needs are limited, you will be better off with a smaller and more affordable product.

Bottom Line

If you’re looking for the best heat output in terms of BTU, the Heatstar By Enerco is the numero uno choice. And the best part is, it’s easily one of the best kerosene heaters for indoor as well as outdoor use

Overall Score 90%
BTUs 85%
Max Runtime 85%
Tank Capacity 85%
Portability 90%

Pros:

Cons:

What We Like

This kerosene heater from Dyna-Glo strikes a great balance between high-quality and portability.

And let’s admit it…

Light and compact heaters that are easy to carry around are a big plus for survivalists. 

This heater from Dyna-Glo has a weight of 23.15 lbs and is compact in size. With the carry handle, it’s easy to carry around. The unit has a heating capacity of 23000 BTUs and is good enough for 1000 square feet of space. With a 1.9-gallon fuel tank, it can deliver 8 to 12 hours of heat.

Dyna-Glo mentions that the efficiency of the unit is 99.9%. That means you get excellent fuel economy.

The assembly of the unit is simple and hardly takes more than a few minutes. The unit feels well-built from all aspects.

It also has advanced features like automatic ignition, a fuel gauge, and a one-touch shut-off mechanism for safety.

Speaking of safety…

The heater also has a tip-over shutoff that is a practical feature for indoor operation. Other features include a safety grille and a cool top design. This prevents any excess heat build-up during prolonged operation.

Since this is a convection heater, you get noise-free operation. Dyna-Glo has also kept the fuel tank easily accessible to make maintenance simple.

What Needs Improvement

Firstly, this heater uses only 1-K kerosene. So there isn’t much flexibility in terms of fuel usage.

Other than that, the fuel inlet is on the smaller side. So filling it up with oil can be challenging.

Bottom Line

Anyone looking for a reliable and small kerosene heater for indoors will find this unit a great choice. You can use it for emergencies or for daily use during winters.

Overall Score 90%
BTUs 90%
Max Runtime 90%
Tank Capacity 95%
Portability 80%

Pros:

Cons:

What We Like

Admittedly, there are other kerosene heaters with larger tank capacities than the Remington REM-80T-KFA-B. But none of them offers the perfect balance of fuel capacity and reliable performance.

The heat output is 80,000 BTUs that can heat up 2000 square feet of space. The 5-gallon fuel tank can last for 10 hours. If you don’t want to use kerosene, Remington has got you covered. The heater can also run on  #1 and 2 diesel fuel, #1 and 2 fuel oil, and JP8 or Jet-A fuel. 

Coming to durability, the heater comes with a steel structure that feels rugged. The fan comes with a heavy-duty motor that spreads the head quickly.

Even when used in spaces without insulation, this heater was able to raise the temperatures at a quick rate and Remington knocks it out of the park with its 5-point safety system.

The heater comes with a high temp limit shutoff, heat sensor safety label indicator, flameout protection, and a circuit breaker. On top of that, there are additional safety guards.

Other features include a fuel gauge, a built-in thermostat, and electric ignition. Remington has also done a good job of keeping the noise levels low.

At 31 lbs., the heater is on the heavier side of the scale. But when you consider the high heat output, the weight doesn’t seem too much.

Considering the price, we feel this heavy-duty kerosene heater offers solid value.

What Needs Improvement

Now, there are some issues with the long-term durability that some users pointed out.

In some cases, the rubber compound in the fuel cap degraded. This leads to the deformation of the fuel cap. Some users also remarked that the carrying handle could have been more robust.

The owner’s manual isn’t the most user-friendly either. That can be an issue for first-time users.

Bottom Line

If you’re looking for a rugged heater with a high tank capacity, this model from Remington is a great pick.

Five Other Top Kerosene Heater Choices

This compact convection heater comes with 23,000 BTUs of heating capacity that’s good enough for heating up 900 square feet. 

The 1.9-gallon fuel tank can run the heater for 12 hours. 

The unit is easy to assemble and the matchless ignition system makes it easy to use as well.

In reality, users have used the product in spaces above 900 square feet and found the performance to be good enough.

That said, it’s best for small to medium-sized spaces. The overall build quality is good, but not the best in this category. The good news is, you get a 2-year warranty on it. The customer service is responsive too.

On the downside, there isn’t any additional safety feature other than the protective grill. Considering the price, we were expecting a tip-over shutoff feature at the least.

All in all, a no-frills heater that offers a reliable performance

The HeatMate OR-77 from Sengoku has a 1.2-liter fuel tank and generates 10000 BTUs of heat. 

The radiant heater can heat small spaces which are around 380 square feet. The running time is 14 hours which is on par with the competitors.

Other features include a push-button start and an EZ flame adjuster. Sengoku has also added an automatic safety shut-off feature. The construction quality isn’t the best in this category. But, at this price point, we aren’t complaining.

The small fuel tank and light construction keep the weight limited at 18 lbs. Add to that the small form factor, and it’s a perfect heater for both indoor and outdoor use.

That said, some users found the carrying handle to be a bit flimsy. Besides, users also mentioned kerosene odors from the unit. If you’re looking for a compact and affordable heater, this model is worth a closer look. Just don’t expect it to heat up large spaces.

The Heat Mate kerosene heater offers 22300 BTUs and has a 1.9-gallon fuel tank. The running time is around 12 hours.

The heater is good enough for spaces ranging around 1000 square feet. It’s operated by a push-button start and also has an automatic safety shut-off feature.

Moreover, it has an EZ flame adjuster and the heat output rate is high enough to quickly heat up an area.

In addition to that, the construction quality is top-notch. It’s also backed by a 2-year limited warranty. The weight of the heater stands at 2 lbs. So carrying it around isn’t an issue.

Considering the price and performance, it seems like a solid choice.

But the thing is, it’s not without some cons.

Firstly, the heater emits some smell. Some users also complained of fumes. In addition, some users also faced issues with the durability of the components.

Suffice to say, the Heat Mate HMC-23K is a mixed bag that might not suit all buyers.

This kerosene heater is designed for indoor as well as outdoor use with an impressive heat output of 75000 BTUs. That makes it good enough for heating 1875 square feet of area.

It comes with a 6-gallon fuel tank and the running time is close to 11 hours. Other than kerosene, it can also run on diesel and fuel oil. The steel outer frame made from steel ensures durability. The heavy-duty fan ensures that the heat is spread at a fast rate. However, the fan is one of the noisiest in this category.

An adjustable thermostat controls the heat output. Beyond that, it has a high-limit safety switch and a photo CAD cell for emergency shut-off. The heater leaves behind some odor when running on kerosene. But there is no such issue with diesel.

Keep in mind that at 38.5 lbs., this is a heavy unit. And the lack of wheels makes it one of the least portable options in this category.

The MH75KTR from Mr. Heater offers excellent value and reliable performance. But if you’re looking for a portable kerosene heater, this ain’t it.

Our second choice from Dyna-Glo is ideal for users looking for high heat output. It delivers a massive 135,000 BTUs.

Besides, the model is available in 4 other heating capacities. It also supports 7 types of fuel including kerosene, diesel, and fuel oil. As expected, it’s powerful enough to heat up spaces as large as 3,200 square feet. The overall quality and top-notch and the heat delivery is excellent.

The 10-gallon fuel tank allows it to run between 10 to14 hours. Even so, we feel the fuel efficiency could have been better.

The heating mechanism is controlled by a thermostat. Safety features include an auto shut-off valve and a flameout sensor. With the high capacity, the weight is on the higher side too. At 52.2 lbs. It’s one of the heaviest kerosene heaters on our list. Thankfully it comes with wheels and an ergonomic handle.

Another limitation is, it has only two heating modes. That reduces the overall usability.

As a whole, it’s a dependable heater that won’t let you down during emergencies.

Choosing the Best Kerosene Heater for Indoor Use

Now that you have gone through the best kerosene heater reviews, it’s time to make the right choice.

For that, you need to know what to look for in the best kerosene heater for indoor use. For starters, you need to choose between radiant and convection kerosene heaters.

Convection heaters usually come with a fan to assist the air movement and are good for large areas. But they are heavier and noisier. Radiant kerosene heaters use a heating element and are better suited for small spaces.

Here’s another common question many preppers have.

How to store kerosene for the long term?

Since kerosene can get contaminated, storage can be tricky. Always use opaque plastic containers or sealed metal drums marked for storing kerosene. Make sure that the drums are DOT approved and have a threaded air cap vent.

When stored properly, kerosene can last for 4-5 years and remain unaffected by the worst disasters.

Also, make sure not to store kerosene inside the heater. It will attract moisture and get gunky.

Back to what I was saying; the main factors to consider while buying the best kerosene heater for indoor use.

BTU and Coverage Area

The heat output of kerosene heaters is measured in British Thermal Unit (BTU). A heater with a higher BTU rating will deliver more heat in an hour. Such a heater will also be able to cover larger areas more efficiently.

The amount of BTUs needed to heat up a space depends on the climate zone you live in. This can vary between 35 to 50 BTU per square foot.

By the way, the cost per BTU for kerosene makes it cheaper than propane. That’s one reason for considering kerosene heaters over propane heaters.

While choosing a heater you need to balance the BTU with the space that you need to heat up. Choosing a heater with a very high capacity than your needs will be a waste of fuel. Likewise, a heater with low heating power will be inadequate for a given space.

Other than that, a heater with a high BTU rating will also be larger and heavier. So, make sure you don’t overlook portability while making the choice.

Tank Capacity

The tank size of a heater is measured in gallons and it will determine how long the unit can operate. If you think a heater with a high tank capacity is the best choice, think again.

On the face of it, a heater with a 10-gallon tank should last longer than one with a 2-gallon tank. But you need to consider the BTU output as well. 

A heater with a higher heat output will have a higher fuel burning rate. So, it will use up the fuel at a faster rate than the one with lower heat output. 

In the end, both heaters can end up running for the same amount of time.

Keep in mind that you won’t have a steady supply of kerosene during emergencies. So choosing a heater with a low fuel consumption rate is a better option.

If you plan to head for a bug out shelter, a relatively lightweight heater with a 2-gallon fuel tank should be good enough in most cases. Such a heater will keep a small space warm for 7 to 8 hours.

Portability

When you’re running for your life, every ounce matters. However, you can’t expect to carry a kerosene heater in your backpack. They are too heavy for that.

Even if you’re looking to use it for camping or hiking trips, portability is one factor that you can’t ignore

So, you need to stow them in the trunk of your emergency vehicle just like a solar generator. So, choosing a lightweight and compact device is important.

Generally, the higher the heating capacity the bigger the heater. Frankly, a heavy unit that’s difficult to lug around isn’t a practical choice.

But if you only plan to use the heater indoors and don’t want to carry it around, you can choose a heavier unit.

 

The good news is, there are some heaters that offer the right balance of performance and portability.

Runtime

You don’t want the heater running out of fuel when you’re enjoying a packet of MRE in the cozy tent.

The runtime of a heater will depend on the fuel tank capacity and the heat output in BTU. A heater with a higher BTU rating will consume more gallons of kerosene.

Obviously, a unit with a higher runtime is a better choice. But you will be limited by the portability factor. The trick is to find the right balance between BTU and the tank capacity that will suit your needs.

It’s best to pick a kerosene heater that can last between 8 to 10 hours. That way you can easily spend a comfortable night without going through the hassles of refueling.

Ease of Use

Choosing a heater that’s easy to assemble and use is always the best option. For that, look for features like a thermostat, fuel gauge, and on/off switch. Also, pick a heater that is easy to fuel.

Keep in mind, kerosene heaters need proper maintenance at the end of every heating season. It’s best to choose a unit that provides easy access to the main components.

Safety Features

This is one aspect of kerosene heaters that you can’t overlook. Safety features are necessary to reduce the chances of a fire or accidental burns.

The most important safety feature that a heater should have is overheating protection. This will automatically turn off the heater if the temperature gets too high.

Another practical feature is an anti-tip switch that will turn off the heater if it’s knocked over. If you have pets or small children, this is an essential feature to have. Also, if you’re in a tent or an emergency shelter, the combustion of leaking fuel can seriously affect your survival plans.

Many heaters also come with safety cages. They are a practical feature to reduce accidental burns.

Also, check for a siphon pump in the package. That makes refueling safe and easy.

Ventilation 

Are kerosene heaters safe to use indoors?

The best kerosene heaters for indoor use are designed for safe operation. But you need to take the right precautions to avoid the chances of carbon monoxide poisoning.

If there’s a lack of ventilation, asphyxiation from kerosene heaters can be a safety hazard.

Here’s the scary part…

Kerosene heaters use oxygen to burn fuel. When you use them in a non-ventilated space, the oxygen levels will come down. Due to lack of oxygen, there will be incomplete combustion of fuel, producing carbon monoxide.

Be warned: carbon monoxide is a silent killer that you should always be wary of.

On top of that, the heater can also produce gases like carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen dioxide. Inhaling these gases can be a big health risk.

Quite simply, always ensure proper ventilation when using a heater. 

Beyond that, here are a few other safety aspects you need to take note of.

  • Always use 1-K-grade kerosene to ensure clean burning.
  • Read the safety instructions provided by the manufacturer and follow them.
  • Keep kerosene heaters a few feet away from all flammable objects.
  • Don’t refill the fuel tank when it’s hot.
  • It’s best to switch the heater off before sleeping

Final Thoughts

There you have it. The best kerosene heater reviews to help you choose the top products from the crowded market of space heaters. If worse comes to worst and you need to tackle any emergency, these heaters can be a real lifesaver.

Let’s sum it up.

We found the Dyna-Glo Kerosene Forced Air Heater to be the best kerosene heater for indoor use. With 500000 BTUs of heat output and excellent features, this is a reliable choice for any prepper.

The Sengoku HeatMate HMN-110 Kerosene Heater is a close second with a compact form factor and ease of use. Overall, a winning combination of price and portability.

It’s time to make your choice.

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