Reviews Major Systems

Mr. Heater Buddy Has Kept Me Warm Indoors and Out—and It’s Half-Off Right Now

This compact propane heating solution delivers powerful warmth on cold winter days. Find out how it fared in my hands-on testing—and how to get it at an unbeatable price.
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Mr Heater Buddy Review

Photo: Glenda Taylor for Bob Vila

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When Old Man Winter comes knocking, having a portable heater for indoor and outdoor spaces is just the ticket for staying warm anywhere you go. I tested the Mr. Heater Portable Buddy heater as part of a comprehensive process to determine the best propane heaters, and it took the top spot in the lineup. And right now, Mr. Heater Buddy is half-off at Amazon—the lowest price we’ve seen this season!

The Mr. Heater Portable Buddy heater isn’t entirely new to me; I always packed one of the early Buddy models when I went camping in the Rocky Mountains. I already knew how well this little propane heater could warm up a tent on a frigid mountain night, but I was still pleasantly surprised by some of its newer upgrades. Shoppers looking for a portable propane heater for home or recreational use will want to take a closer look. Ahead, find out what I loved about the Mr. Heater Buddy—and what I’d change if given the chance.

Mr. Heater Portable Buddy Heater: At a Glance

Mr Heater Buddy Review
Photo: Glenda Taylor for Bob Vila

RATING: 9.25/10


  • Power: Propane
  • Max area coverage: Up to 225 square feet
  • Indoor or outdoor use: Both
  • Safety features: Tip-over shutoff, low-oxygen sensor


  • Versatile indoor or outdoor use: ideal for camping and emergency heating needs
  • Efficient heating with 4,000 to 9,000 British thermal units (BTUs), depending on the power level selected
  • Compact, portable design with fold-down handle for easy carrying and storage
  • Features an oxygen depletion sensor (ODS) and tip-over shutoff for worry-free use
  • Runs on handy 1-pound propane bottles or can also be used with a larger tank


  • Relatively small heating coverage—is not suitable for heating larger rooms
  • Hose for connecting to larger tank is not included

Get the Mr. Heater Portable Buddy heater (model MH9BX)at:

What is the Mr. Heater Buddy propane heater?

The Mr. Heater Buddy is a popular and highly versatile portable propane heater that’s prized for its indoor and outdoor adaptability. It offers heating capabilities ranging from 4,000 to 9,000 BTUs per hour and can warm spaces of up to 225 square feet. User-friendly features include a single control start knob, adjustable heat settings, and a swivel connector that makes it easy to replace spent propane bottles. The portable heater weighs in at just 10.6 pounds and is compact at 14.25 inches long by 9 inches wide by 15 inches high. Its fold-down handle allowed me to conveniently carry it from room to room. An ODS turns off the heater if the oxygen in the room drops to an unhealthy level, ensuring that safety is of utmost importance. It also includes an automatic shut-off function if the heater should ever tip over. While Mr. Heater Buddy is primarily suited for smaller enclosed spaces, I know from experience that this propane heater is an excellent camping companion. It would also be welcome as an emergency heat source during power outages.

Mr Heater Buddy Review
Photo: Glenda Taylor for Bob Vila

How easy is it to light the Mr. Heater Buddy?

Lighting the Mr. Heater Buddy was a bit tricky at first. After a few failed attempts, I read the instructions—something I should have done before trying to light the heater. I learned that I needed to turn the bright red knob to the Pilot position and hold it down for about 30 seconds before releasing the knob and pushing it down again to ignite the pilot light. Once I mastered the technique, I was able to light the propane heater on the first try every time without fail. The Mr. Heater Buddy portable heater is designed to be safe around children, and requiring a specific lighting process goes a long way toward preventing accidents. After successfully lighting the pilot light, I found it simple to adjust the heat output up or down just by turning the knob.

How long will the Mr. Heater Buddy run on a 1-gallon propane bottle?

The Mr. Heater Buddy has a maximum BTU rating of 9,000, but running it at the highest output will consume fuel more quickly. Using a 1-pound propane bottle, the heater lasts for approximately 3 hours on the high setting and up to 6 hours on the low setting. While the Mr. Heater Buddy is rated for a 225-square-foot room, a few factors can affect its efficiency. It may not keep occupants as warm in rooms with vaulted ceilings where heat can rise, and drafts or uninsulated walls—such as tent walls—may reduce the effectiveness of the heater. Using this product as an indoor propane heater is likely more efficient than using it as an outdoor heater.

I tested the Mr. Heater Buddy in a 180-square-foot room, and the room temperature increased from 70 to 78 degrees Fahrenheit within 30 minutes. However, the outdoor temperature was pretty mild, and factors such as colder outdoor temperatures or the thickness of wall insulation could result in different heating experiences. For long-term winter heating, it might be more cost-effective to connect the Mr. Heater Buddy to a 20-gallon or 40-gallon propane tank, but doing so will require using a suitable connecting hose that doesn’t come with the heater. However, consumers can purchase this hose online.

Mr Heater Buddy Review
Photo: Glenda Taylor for Bob Vila

Does the Mr. Heater Buddy require venting to operate indoors?

This propane-fueled compact heater burns clean and does not release toxic fumes, so no exhaust venting is necessary. However, any indoor fire will consume oxygen and then allow oxygen levels to drop. To combat that issue, the Mr. Heater Buddy features the abovementioned ODS that detects when the oxygen level in the room drops to an unhealthy level and automatically shuts off the heater. Opening a window occasionally to allow fresh air into the room should reduce the likelihood of the heater using too much oxygen and shutting off. Note: It’s always important to test the connection between the propane bottle and the heater connector (where the bottle screws in) to ensure the bottle is fully in place so gas doesn’t leak into the room. Completing this process is easy. Add several drops of dishwashing liquid to a spray bottle of water and spray the connection with the soapy water every time you attach a new propane bottle. Any leaks will reveal themselves as bubbles at the connection site. If that occurs, tighten the bottle and repeat the process until no bubbles appear.

Mr Heater Buddy Review
Photo: Glenda Taylor for Bob Vila

Should you buy the Mr. Heater Buddy?

For anyone seeking a portable, efficient, and versatile heating solution for a diverse range of indoor and outdoor scenarios, the Mr. Heater Buddy can be a valuable addition. The compact design makes it an excellent recreational or camping heater. This heater is also a dependable emergency heating option for those in regions prone to power outages or extreme weather conditions, providing comfort and safety during unforeseen crises. Hobbyists, artisans, and workers in workshops, jobsites, and construction trailers can also rely on this heater for consistent warmth while working or enjoying DIY projects. Shoppers who live in a well-insulated home or in a region with consistent and reliable central heating may not find the Mr. Heater Buddy to be a necessary purchase. Likewise, consumers who live in an apartment or another building with restrictions on propane-based devices might not have a practical need for this heater.

Where to Buy the Mr. Heater Buddy Heater

Get the Mr. Heater Portable Buddy heater (model MH9BX)at:

Meet the Tester

Glenda Taylor is a product tester and writer specializing in the construction, remodeling, and real estate industries. She and her husband own a general contracting company, and Taylor is experienced in both residential and commercial building applications. She tests a wide range of power tools, as well as other home improvement, household, and lawn-and-garden products.

Glenda Taylor Avatar

Glenda Taylor

Staff Writer

Glenda Taylor is a staff writer with a background in the residential remodeling, home building, and home improvement industries. She started writing for in 2016 and covers a range of topics, including construction methods, code compliance, tool use, and the latest news in the housing and real estate industries.