The Best Kerosene Heaters for Your Outdoor Oasis

Don’t let low temperatures keep you from enjoying your favorite outdoor space. Kick back and crank up the heat with these top kerosene heaters.

By Tom Scalisi | Updated Jan 22, 2024 5:29 PM

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The Best Kerosene Heater Options

Photo: amazon.com

Creating a backyard space takes planning and effort, so it’s a shame that you can’t use it as often when temperatures drop. If you’re tired of letting winter’s icy grasp drive you inside, a kerosene heater could be a solution.

A kerosene heater on a patio or deck can keep you and your family warm so you can enjoy the great outdoors. These cold weather wonders are available in different types, sizes, and capacities. Learn why the following models are considered among the best kerosene heaters on the market.

  1. BEST OVERALL: DuraHeat Portable Convection Kerosene Heater
  2. RUNNER-UP: Sengoku CV-23K KeroHeat Kerosene Heater
  3. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Sengoku HMN-110 HeatMate Kerosene Heater
  4. UPGRADE PICK: Dyna-Glo Delux KFA80DGD Forced Air Kerosene Heater
  5. BEST MIDSIZE: Mr. Heater MH75KTR Forced Air Kerosene Heater
  6. BEST RADIANT: Dyna-Glo RMC-55R7 Radiant Kerosene Heater
  7. BEST CONVECTION: Dyna-Glo WK24BK Convection Kerosene Heater
  8. ALSO CONSIDER: Mr. Heater MH50KR Forced Air Kerosene Heater
The Best Kerosene Heater Options

Photo: homedepot.com

How We Chose the Best Kerosene Heaters

Since there are multiple types of kerosene heaters on the market, we’ve provided a list of recommendations that cover as many options as possible. Our top picks include a selection of the best forced-air, radiant, and portable kerosene heaters for shoppers to choose from. Depending on what you’re looking for, our list can provide solutions for smaller areas all the way up to a powerful 80,000 British thermal unit (BTU) heater that can heat up areas of up to 1,900 square feet.

During our research, we made sure to only include top brands that use the highest quality materials. Most importantly, we ensured that each of our top recommendations includes common safety features such as tip-over and high-temperature shutoff.

Our Top Picks

Kerosene heaters aren’t new technology, but some improvements have been made to safety and efficiency, so keep the considerations detailed below in mind while comparing products. This list of some of the best kerosene heaters on the market helps streamline the shopping process.

Best Overall

The Best Kerosene Heater Options: DuraHeat Portable Convection Kerosene Heater
Photo: amazon.com

Product Specs

  • Type: Convection heater
  • Heating capacity: 23,800 BTUs
  • Safety features: Tip-over shutoff

Pros

  • Portable unit is easy to move and lightweight; weighs just 27.6 pounds
  • Covers a large area either indoors or out; heats over 1,000 square feet
  • Heats in a 360-degree radius to provide universal warmth all around

Cons

  • Quite pricey compared to other kerosene heaters
  • Industrial appearance may not be attractive to some

With this DuraHeat kerosene heater, patio party time doesn’t have to end when the temperature drops. The 23,800 BTU convection heater produces 360-degree heat for a maximum heating area of 1,000 square feet. A wire shroud around the entire unit reduces the chance of accidents, and because it’s capable of running safely indoors, it can serve as a backup for power outages.

Convenient features include an “instant-lite” ignition to start the heater without electricity. It has a 1.9-gallon fuel tank and an adjustable temperature dial, allowing users to throttle heat output for maximum runtime. An automatic shutoff turns this portable heater off when the space reaches 90 degrees Fahrenheit, and a tip-over switch stops the unit should it fall over.

Get the DuraHeat kerosene heater at The Home Depot or Wayfair.

Runner-Up

The Best Kerosene Heater Options: Sengoku CV-23K KeroHeat Kerosene Heater
Photo: amazon.com

Product Specs

  • Type: Convection heater
  • Heating capacity: 23,000 BTUs
  • Safety features: Auto shutoff at high heat, tip-over switch

Pros

  • Fuel gauge is easy to read; easy to avoid unexpected outages
  • Heats a wide area all around, even in large spaces; capable of warming up to 1,000 square feet
  • Large 1.9-gallon fuel tank lasts up to 12 hours at a time

Cons

  • Some users report issues with the automatic starter

Sengoku’s KeroHeat convection heater can warm both indoor and outdoor areas. This convection heater produces 360-degree heat for spaces up to 1,000 square feet, making it work well in areas where a forced-air heater might be too loud.

The KeroHeat has a battery-powered electronic ignition for instant starts and a built-in fuel gauge for quick reference. Safety measures include an automatic high-heat shutoff as well as a tip-over switch. The 1.9-gallon fuel tank provides a runtime of up to 12 hours.

Get the Sengoku KeroHeat kerosene heater at Amazon, Ace Hardware, Wayfair, or Target.

Best Bang for the Buck

The Best Kerosene Heater Options: Sengoku HMN-110 HeatMate Kerosene Heater
Photo: amazon.com

Product Specs

  • Type: Radiant heater
  • Heating capacity: 10,000 BTUs
  • Safety features: Auto shutoff, tip-over switch

Pros

  • Suitable both indoors and outdoors; can heat spaces of up to 400 square feet
  • Lasts as long as 14 hours on a single 1.2-gallon tank; ideal for camping, patios, workshops, and more
  • More cost-effective compared to similar options available

Cons

  • Some odor issues over time; may require a new wick or thorough cleaning after extended use

Warming a small space, whether indoors or out, doesn’t always require a high-end, expensive kerosene heater. This affordable Sengoku HeatMate can warm spaces up to 400 square feet, and thanks to its 1.2-gallon fuel tank, it can run for up to 14 hours.

While the Sengoku is a good value, it has a built-in automatic off switch for both tip-overs and high-heat conditions. It has a match- and lighter-free push-button start as well as a flame adjuster for throttling output. An easy-to-read fuel window indicates how much fuel remains in the heater.

Get the Sengoku HeatMate kerosene heater at Amazon, Ace Hardware, Target, or Blain’s Fleet & Farm.

Upgrade Pick

The Best Kerosene Heater Options: Dyna-Glo Delux KFA80DGD Forced Air Kerosene Heater
Photo: amazon.com

Product Specs

  • Type: Forced-air heater
  • Heating capacity: 80,000 BTUs
  • Safety features: High-temp auto shutoff

Pros

  • Large fuel capacity with extended runtime of up to 14 hours; has a 5-gallon tank
  • Huge heating power is ideal for larger outdoor areas; can heat spaces of 1,900 square feet
  • Built-in wheels and handle make maneuvering easy; ideal for camping, patios, cookouts, and more

Cons

  • Pricey compared to other kerosene heater options

Large outdoor spaces need some heavy firepower—quite literally. Dyna-Glo’s Delux 80,000 BTU forced-air kerosene heater’s massive heat output can handle areas up to 1,900 square feet, pumping plenty of heat for a big outdoor bash.
And with a 5-gallon fuel capacity, it can run for up to 14 hours on one fill-up.

The Dyna-Glo Delux’s built-in fuel gauge monitors fuel levels, and its built-in thermostat monitors temperature in the space. It also features an automatic high-temp shutoff for safety. At almost 42 inches long by 22 inches wide by 32 inches tall, the unit is large, but the handle and flat-free tires make rolling easy.

Get the Dyna-Glo Delux kerosene heater at Amazon, The Home Depot, Northern Tool + Equipment, or Grainger.

Best Midsize

The Best Kerosene Heater Options: Mr. Heater MH75KTR Forced Air Kerosene Heater
Photo: amazon.com

Product Specs

  • Type: Forced-air heater
  • Heating capacity: 75,000 BTUs
  • Safety features: High-heat auto shutoff

Pros

  • 75,000 BTU heating capacity is capable of warming very large spaces; ideal for use in power outages
  • Made from durable steel for long-term reliability and use
  • Simple temperature dial and carrying handle for easy control and maneuverability

Cons

  • No wheels integrated into the bottom; not as portable as other options

Use Mr. Heater’s kerosene heater to heat an area with a large square footage like a garage or commercial space. This 75,000 BTU heater produces ample warmth for spaces up to 1,875 square feet, and the 6-gallon fuel tank allows it to run for up to 11 hours on a single fill-up.

This heater has a continuous electronic ignition for easy and safe starts. To reduce the chances of carbon monoxide poisoning, an automatic shutoff disables the unit if it detects fuel isn’t burning effectively. It also has a temperature dial for controlling the temperature.

Get the Mr. Heater MH75KTR kerosene heater at Amazon or Walmart.

Best Radiant

The Best Kerosene Heaters Option: Dyna-Glo RMC-55R7 Radiant Kerosene Heater
Photo: amazon.com

Product Specs

  • Type: Radiant heater
  • Heating capacity: 10,000 BTUs
  • Safety features: Tip-over shutoff system and 1-touch extinguishing system

Pros

  • Can warm spaces of up to 500 square feet with over 10,000 BTUs of heat emitted
  • Energy-efficient model can emit radiant heat for over 14 hours on 1 tank of fuel
  • The 1-gallon fuel tank can be removed for easy and safe refilling
  • Battery-powered ignition switch allows for easy operation

Cons

  • Batteries for the ignition may not be included with purchase

Made for heating spaces of up to 500 square feet, this radiant heater from Dyna-Glo is a reliable and compact unit for small- to medium-size spaces like RVs, garages, workshops, and more. This radiant heater produces 10,000 BTUs of heat for over 14 hours with the help of its 1-gallon fuel tank. Plus, the tank can be removed for easy refilling.

As for its user-friendly features, this Dyna-Glo comes with a tip-off switch and a one-touch extinguishing system to prevent overheating as well as fires. Plus, this Dyna-Glo has a battery-powered electric ignition to start it up easily, and easy-lift side handles allow for portability if desired.

Get the Dyna-Glo RMC-55R7 kerosene heater at Amazon.

Best Convection

The Best Kerosene Heaters Option: Dyna-Glo WK24BK Convection Kerosene Heater
Photo: amazon.com

Product Specs

  • Type: Convection heater
  • Heating capacity: 23,800 BTUs
  • Safety features: 1-touch shutoff and safety switch

Pros

  • Provides 360-degree heat distribution in spaces of up to 1,000 square feet
  • Can be used in indoor or outdoor spaces; the carrying handle makes this model easily portable
  • Made with a battery-powered push-button electronic ignition switch
  • Runs between 8 to 12 hours on a single 1.9-gallon fuel tank

Cons

  • Some users have reported difficulty using the wick; may be tough to replace

Dyna-Glo’s 23,800 BTU convection heater produces enough 360-degree heat for a 1,000-square-foot space while running at 99.9 percent efficiency. It’s suitable for both indoor and outdoor heating.

This heater has some additional features to increase its usefulness, including a battery-powered, push-button electronic ignition for simple starts. It also has a one-touch shutoff as well as a built-in safety switch that shuts down the unit if it’s knocked over. Plus, the 1.9-gallon fuel tank enables the unit to run between 8 and 12 hours, depending on the desired heat output.

Get the Dyna-Glo WK24BK kerosene heater at Amazon or Walmart.

Also Consider

The Best Kerosene Heaters Option: Mr. Heater MH50KR Forced Air Kerosene Heater
Photo: amazon.com

Product Specs

  • Type: Forced-air heater
  • Heating capacity: 50,000 BTUs
  • Safety features: No-flame sensor and auto shutoff

Pros

  • Capable of heating spaces of up to 1,250 square feet for over 11 hours of use
  • Ideal for at-home or professional use in garages, workshops, commercial spaces, and more
  • Many user-friendly features onboard including a top-mounted handle and illuminated on/off switch
  • No-flame sensor and auto-shutoff feature provide peace of mind and safety

Cons

  • May take some troubleshooting for some first-time users

Mr. Heater’s compact torpedo 50,000 BTU forced-air kerosene heater can heat spaces as large as 1,250 square feet for up to 11 hours, making it perfect for jobsites, garages, workshops, commercial spaces, and more. For convenience, this unit has an integrated top-mounted handle as well as an illuminated on/off switch. It also features a no-flame sensor to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning as well as an auto shutoff should the temperature begin to rise to unsafe levels.

Get the Mr. Heater MH50KR kerosene heater at Amazon or Northern Tool + Equipment.

Jump to Our Top Picks

What to Consider When Choosing a Kerosene Heater 

Best Kerosene Heaters

Photo: amazon.com

Kerosene heaters produce plenty of heat, which can make them ideal for outdoor applications. Kerosene is a relatively inexpensive fuel, so burning a kerosene heater on “high” in an outdoor space may be more affordable than using another type of heater. When shopping for kerosene heaters, keep in mind their specifications, such as tank size, heat type, and the all-important safety features.

Type

Kerosene heaters are available in various models, each of which produces a different type of heat. Some are more suitable for specific applications than others. Note: All kerosene heaters run on liquid fuel, which can be messy. If that’s not a task you want to undertake, other nonelectric heaters use propane, natural gas, and easier-to-manage fuels.

  • Convective kerosene heaters use convection to heat a space. They produce warm air that rises and pushes cold air down toward the heater. The heater then draws in the cold air and heats it, which rises and pushes colder air down again. This produces a very even heat within a space, and they run quietly.
  • Radiant kerosene heaters produce localized heat, essentially warming the objects in front of them. Radiant heaters don’t do a particularly good job at heating a larger space evenly, but they’re ideal for targeting a specific area, such as a table or sitting area.
  • Forced-air kerosene heaters (also known as torpedo heaters and salamanders) heat air and force it into the area, much like a furnace. They’re suitable for heating large outdoor tents and gazebos, but they can be quite loud.
  • Portable kerosene heaters come in both convection, forced-air, and radiant models, though the latter type is the most common. These heaters are small and easy to transport. Take it outside to refill the fuel tank, which helps minimize potential mess or dangerous accidents.

Tank Size

Kerosene is a liquid fuel, so tank sizes are measured in gallons or liters. The ideal tank size is relative, so consider these factors:

  • Heat output: Large heaters burn more fuel, so they need a larger tank.
  • Portability: Smaller heaters need to be light and portable, so they have a smaller tank.
  • Fixed vs. removable: Fixed tanks are usually larger, while removable tanks must be small and manageable.

In general, larger wheeled kerosene heaters have fuel tanks that hold up to 15 gallons (roughly 56 liters) of fuel, while smaller models may hold only 1 or 2 gallons (about 7 to 8 liters).

Heating Capacity

Kerosene heaters also come in a variety of outputs, which are measured in BTUs. The higher the number of BTUs, the more heat a heater can produce.

Smaller heaters that produce heat within the 10,000 to 25,000 BTU range are ideal for smaller rooms, patios, or porches. Depending on the model, they can heat between 300 and 1,000 square feet. Midsize heaters (roughly 50,000 to 75,000 BTUs) warm spaces between 1,000 and 2,000 square feet.

Larger models—typically forced hot air—can pump a lot of hot air throughout a space. These heaters, which sometimes produce more than 150,000 BTUs, work well for large backyard parties and semi-enclosed tents.

Efficiency

Anytime energy is a factor, efficiency must be considered when choosing the product. Since kerosene heaters burn fossil fuels, shoppers will want to make sure that the model they choose is efficient and wastes as little fuel as possible.

Many kerosene heater manufacturers list their products’ efficiency rating, describing it in percentages. The best kerosene heaters burn around 99 percent of the fuel, passing less unburnt fuel through the exhaust.

But for a heater to work efficiently, it must be the correct size for the space. A 10,000 BTU heater may never heat a large garage, for example, which means fuel is wasted. Heating a small patio might not require a 135,000 BTU heater, as it will burn more fuel than necessary to keep the space comfortable.

Runtime

Runtime is directly related to the size of the fuel tank, the heater’s output, and its efficiency, the most important of which is tank size. The larger the tank, the more fuel it uses, so the longer the heater will run. A heater that runs for several hours without refueling is a convenience worth shopping for, but manufacturers aren’t always forthcoming with this information.

Some of the best kerosene heaters can provide heat on a low setting for up to 12 hours before running out of fuel.

Safety Features 

Kerosene heaters have the potential to be dangerous. If left unattended or used incorrectly, they can start a fire or cause burns. Many heaters have an overheat switch that shuts down the unit if it gets too hot. Also, compact kerosene heaters can tip over quite easily if inadvertently bumped. An anti-tip switch shuts off the heater if it tips over.

Moreover, any machine that burns fuel—kerosene, gasoline, wood, or any other type—also produces carbon monoxide. The best kerosene heaters are extremely efficient and designed to emit very little carbon monoxide, which makes them safe even for indoor use. However, when used indoors, it’s a good idea to install a functioning carbon monoxide detector as a safety precaution.

FAQs

If you have concerns about running a fossil fuel–burning heater in an enclosed space or want more info about kerosene heaters, check out the answers to the common questions below.

Q. How big of a kerosene heater do I need?

This depends on the space you’re heating. In most cases, a 50,000 BTU heater is effective at heating a small porch, while a 100,000+ BTU unit might be necessary for a large open space such as a wedding tent or barn.

Q. How many square feet will a kerosene heater heat?

The amount of space a kerosene heater heats depends on BTU output. Low-output heaters, in the 25,000 BTU range, may heat 1,000 square foot spaces, while 135,000 BTU units can heat over 3,000 square feet.

Q. Do kerosene heaters give off carbon monoxide?

Yes, carbon monoxide is a byproduct of the combustion process. Generally speaking, these heaters produce levels considered safe, but users will want to have a functioning carbon monoxide detector when running a heater indoors.

Q. Is it safe to run a kerosene heater all night?

Kerosene heaters are not as safe as a furnace or boiler, but they could be the only heat source in a power outage. While these heaters may be considered safer than sleeping without heat in subzero temperatures, you should never leave a kerosene heater unattended.

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