Kerosene heaters are versatile devices that can be used in ways that many other more traditional types of heaters can’t. For a start, they are great at heating large open spaces such as garages, warehouses, or even outdoor areas.
These heaters are usually portable, and most of the time do not require electricity. This makes them a great solution for areas where power is hard to come by and are ideal as a temporary or permanent solution.
However, as usual there are many different brands and models to choose from – so which is the best one? Well don’t waste time scouring the internet for individual kerosene heater reviews, we have done the hard work and compiled the absolute best models right here.
Also included in this article is an in-depth buying guide that will give you a crash course on all the specifications, technical terms and safety info that you need to make an informed choice.
Read on to learn more about the best kerosene heaters on the market.
Disclosure: It is important you understand that we may receive commissions when you click our links and make purchases. However, this does not impact our reviews and comparisons. All opinions are our own we pride ourselves on keeping our articles fair and balanced. For more info see our disclosure statement.
Best Kerosene Heater
Giving credit where credit is due, Dyna-Glo Delux KFA80DGD is my choice for the best kerosene heater overall. There are a few reasons why I think this model is the best.
For starters, it comes already assembled. You don’t have to waste time putting it together and reading confusing instructions. It also can run on several different fuel types that are listed in the review, though for the cleanest burn, stick to kerosene.
There are multiple handles, wheels, and a built-in stand to prevent it from tipping over.
And to top it off, it can heat up to 4,200 square feet for 10 to 12 hours due to the 5 gallon tank it has. For the price you won’t find a better kerosene heater on the market!
Our Top Picks – Kerosene Heater Reviews
Use this table to quickly compare the best models. Keep scrolling down for in depth reviews and our buying guide.
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Dura Heat DH2304S Indoor Kerosene Heater
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Below you will find in-depth reviews all about the 6 best kerosene heaters available right now. We cover each unit’s BTU, runtime, tank size, and more. Hopefully after reading each review you’ll have a better idea of which product you’d like to purchase.
Be sure to read the buyer’s guide after to learn everything you need to know about kerosene heaters and what to look out for when shopping. Without further adieu, let’s get into the first review!
The first on this list a kerosene heater from Dyna-Glo. This is perfect for anyone looking for a heater they can use indoors and outdoors. It’s great if you’re looking to heat your home or an industrial place like a workshop.
This machine already comes completely assembled and is ready to go as soon as you take it out of the box. It is 98% fuel efficient and can cover a lot of square footage! There are temperature limit controls built in, a thermostat, a flameout sensor, and even a run-time fuel gauge.
This is a CSA certified machine that can be used with multiple different fuels including 1k kerosene, Diesel #1 and #2, Fuel Oil #1 and #2, Jet A and JP-8. If you’re looking for the cleanest burn with this heater, stick to using 1k kerosene. This will help the machine last longer as well!
It has two handles, one on the front of the unit and one on the back. There is a stand underneath the body on the front, as well as wheels on the back. This makes it harder for the machine to tip over, while still remaining incredibly portable.
There is an air pressure gauge that makes it easy to measure and adjust pressure as needed. There is also an LED temperature indicator so you are always in control. For the price, this has got to be one of the best kerosene heaters on the market today!
Dura Heat DH2304S 23,800 BTU Indoor Kerosene Heater
- BTU: 23,800
- Runtime: 8 to 12 hours
- Heating Capacity (sq ft): 1,000
- Weight: 27.6 lbs
- Tank Size: 1.9 gallons
This kerosene heater has a unique no-lift heat chamber that takes away any stinky fuel smell other heaters have upon starting up. On a full fuel tank, this heater can run between 8 and 12 hours.
Another great thing about this heater is that it gives off heat in a 360 degree radius. You’ll notice that it has a protective grill that surrounds the hot surface which prevents any unwanted burns. It also provides light in addition to heat, making it perfect for power outages during the colder months.
It is important to note that if you live in California, this product is prohibited when it comes to indoor use. It can still be used in barns, garages, and well ventilated outdoor areas. Weighing it at under 28 pounds, this is a portable and easy to carry unit; it even has a carrying handle!
If you live in a small studio apartment, or are looking to heat up your garage, this is a great option that’s on the cheaper side and is easy to move around from room to room.
If you’re looking for a powerful kerosene heater, this is a solid choice. The Mr. Heater Forced Air Kerosene heater is made to be used in large garages or on outdoor job sites. It has a high-output, completely enclosed motor. The controls are made extra large so you can easily adjust what you need to, even with gloves on.
It has a high limit safety switch and is equipped with photo CAD cells that shut the heater down if the conditions are unsafe. If you’re anxious about getting a kerosene heater, this one should take your worries away as it has a lot of built in safety features.
It has been factory tested and is safe even if you use fuels that aren’t kerosene, though it’s not recommended. This heater has several high quality components that will make it last for years. You’ll be able to easily set it up within 5 minutes as soon as you unbox it. Unlike other kerosene heaters on the market, this unit does require an outlet to run.
This heater is on the heavier side but it comes with a convenient handle and set of wheels which make it incredibly easy to bring it from one place to another.
This Dewalt unit is another forced air kerosene heater. It is made up of a durable two-piece split barrel. This makes it easier to clean and safer to maintain. It has a comfortable handle for easy portability.
There are recessed controls and even a thermostat control that is specifically designed to keep the knobs and valves from getting damaged if the machine tips over or if there’s an accident on the job site. The ignition is electronic and continuous. It is designed so that there is less of a chance for the fuel to pool and collect when it’s not being used.
This specific kerosene heater is made for use outdoors and isn’t recommended for indoor use. It’s plenty powerful to keep you and your team warm outdoors during the frigid winter months. This heater starts immediately, saving you time having to wait for it to warm up like other heaters.
If you’re needing wheels, this heater comes in two larger sizes that are equipped with wheels, making for easy transport.
Another relatively lightweight option is this Pro-Temp Forced Air Kerosene Heater. It weighs less than 30 pounds, making it perfect for most adults to bring from room to room. It will warm up 1,700 square feet, making it perfect for apartments and one level homes.
This is a multi-fuel heater that can run using kerosene or diesel fuel. It’s durable and should last you winter after winter if you clean it and maintain it properly. This machine has been tested and has plenty of amazing safety features already built-in.
It has a built-in thermostat that can be easily adjusted using a large knob that’s on the side of the unit. There is a convenient handle on top of the unit that makes travelling with this machine incredibly easy!
When the fuel tank is completely full, it can heat an area for 9 hours straight! The bright red color makes it hard to tip over and run into as it’s much easier to see.
Last but not least, I present to you the Sengoku’s HeatMate Omni Radiant Kerosene Heater. Bit of a mouthful, but it does the job. This unit is perfect for smaller rooms and studios. It’s perfect if your power goes out as it doubles as a light source as well! With no electricity required, this heater can heat rooms up to 380 square feet.
It’s relatively lightweight, weighing in at just over 20 pounds. There is a convenient handle to make transportation as easy as possible. This machine has an automatic safety shut off that will turn off the machine if it’s getting too warm or when fuel is running low.
All it takes to get this bad boy started is the push of a button. There is an EZ flame adjuster to give you complete control over how big or small the flame is. This unit also has a tip over switch and protective safety grills around the entire unit.
Whether you need a bit of extra heat on your patio on summer evenings, or you’re using it while camping, this unit has a burner that is protected from the wind. It comes with a fuel gauge, siphon pump, and batteries!
Why Choose a Kerosene Heater?
There are many reasons why you may want to own a kerosene heater. It’s an amazing appliance that most people will get a lot of use out of. I wanted to share with you a handful of reasons on why you should choose a kerosene heater!
The first is really beneficial if you live in a state where it gets cold during the winter months. When you use a kerosene heater, you’ll end up saving quite a bit of money on your heating bill each month. They supply enough heat that you’ll be able to turn off your central heating system.
This, of course, can be affected by how big your home is. If you’re buying a kerosene heater for this reason and you have a larger house, consider having one heater per level of your home. If that isn’t enough, you can just use it in the room you’re occupying. These heaters being portable is a huge plus for this reason alone.
Another reason you may want to have a kerosene heater if you live in a colder climate is in the event of an emergency. Imagine in the middle of January the power goes out, including the heat. You and your family will get cold really quickly, which is why you should have a kerosene heater on hand. It can keep you and your loved ones warm until the power comes back on!
Many people work outside all year round. These jobs are great and tend to pay more, but can be quite cold in the winter. If you want to have a heater on the job that you can carry around, a kerosene heater is a great option.
They’re portable and provide heat almost immediately without you having to wait for the appliance to warm up. Your co-workers will be happy and warm and you may even score some points with the higher ups! (who doesn’t want that?)
Heat Large Areas
The last reason you may want to choose a kerosene heater is because they can heat up a lot more space than other types of heaters. Most of the time kerosene heaters have a fan which helps to blow the heat around. The average kerosene heater can heat areas that are 4,000 square feet, making them perfect for homes, warehouses, and events such as weddings!
How A Kerosene Heater Works
There’s no point in buying a product you don’t intend on learning how to use. I wanted to break down how a kerosene heater works so that as soon as you open the box you’ll know what to do! When you think of the epicenter of the appliance, it will be focused right on the heater.
Kerosene is poured into a fuel tank and then absorbed. Once this happens, a primary combustion process will take place. But how does this make heat? Well in order to get heat, the kerosene needs to be lit. You’ll find an ignition plug on every kerosene heater that vaporizes the kerosene. Once this happens, the flame will be made and it will burn, therefore creating heat!
There is a mechanical control in the middle of each burning unit that lets a specific amount of air into the base of the heater. This can be adjusted if you need more or less heat. You can also change the amount of weight the heater is exposed to if you’d like. You may want to do that if you find that the flame is too high or the heat is too much, or vice versa.
In most kerosene heaters there is a round wick that is made of one of two materials: fiberglass or cotton. It’s good to know that this type of heater can apply heat to items that are nearby due to radiation or convection heating. This is good to note if you have blankets or curtains near the heater.
These heaters are specifically made to bring heat to big areas, which is why they often have those fans you read about. If you’re done using the unit, you can simply lower the wick until it turns off and the flame is extinguished.
How Safe Are Kerosene Heaters?
When you use a kerosene heater the correct way, you’re using it the way it was designed and that makes it pretty safe. Even if you follow the directions exactly, there are some things you need to be aware of when using an appliance like this. I wanted to share with you a few things to be aware of so you and your loved ones are as safe as possible.
One of the most obvious safety hazards when using a kerosene heater is causing a fire. In 2010 space heaters were the cause of over 30% of fires that happened in homes. This is normally because people don’t realize that the heater is near a combustible item.
This is why you need to make sure that your heater isn’t too close to things like furniture, curtains, rugs, or blankets. Even that pile of clothes you keep on that chair in your room can be a massive safety hazard if your space heater is too close. Every heater is different so make sure to check the clearance that is designated for the specific heater you’re buying.
Another equally as scary safety hazard with kerosene heaters is that they can explode. This can happen if you use the wrong fuel. You should always be using kerosene 1k-grade fuel with these heaters. If you use the same type of gasoline that you put in your vehicle, there is a very high chance your heater is going to cause an explosion.
On that note, if you’re using your kerosene heater to heat your garage or barn, make sure there aren’t any gas cans or things like lawn mowers nearby that could have leaky gas around them. Also make sure you label your gasoline and your kerosene fuel to help avoid any possible confusion.
Lastly, you should be aware that kerosene heaters can cause burns. This can happen if you touch the unit before it’s cool enough. When you refill the heater, make sure it’s had enough time to cool off. If you don’t, you can get burned due to a flare-up that can reach several feet away from the unit.
Buying Guide: What to Look For in a Kerosene Heater
Below you’ll find a few things you should be aware of when shopping for your next kerosene heater. If you’re unfamiliar with kerosene heaters, this section will give you a bit of peace of mind.
You’ll learn a bit about what key specifications are for these heaters, how to properly clean and maintain your kerosene heater, and what features set one heater apart from the next. Let’s start off by talking about what exactly BTU is.
Quick Kerosene Safety Tips
With all that being said, you shouldn’t be too scared to use a kerosene heater. To avoid any possible mishaps, I’ve listed a few pointers to keep in mind to make sure you’re as safe as possible when using your heater.
- Make sure that you’re only using 1k-grade kerosene in the unit. It should always be crystal clear. NEVER use gasoline, even a little bit can cause an explosion or a fire.
- Keep the kerosene fuel in a kerosene specific container. This will help you be able to tell it apart from gas. If you have a gas container at home, you’ll notice that it’s likely a red or orange can. Kerosene is usually in blue cans.
- When you’re filling the container, quadruple check that it’s kerosene and not gas. When you’re doing this at a station, the kerosene pump is usually in a separate area, away from the gas pumps.
- When buying 1k-grade kerosene, make sure that it is certified. Only buy it from someone that is an out-licensed dealer. This will ensure that you’ll get 1k-grade and not something different. Anything else can negatively affect your health by putting pollutants in the air.
- Refill your kerosene heaters outdoors. I’ll repeat that for you; DO NOT fill your heater inside. When you refill it, make sure that it is off and cooled down enough that you can touch it. Do not fill the unit past the maximum fill level. This will allow the heat to properly expand without causing a leak.
- Last but not least, don’t place your heater in a doorway or hallway.
British Thermal Unit (BTU) is a measurement of thermal energy. If you want to get into the nitty gritty of what it is, then we have an in depth guide on BTU here.
But basically, the BTU rating of a heater is a measurement of how much heat it can put out in an hour.
So a heater with a higher BTU rating will put out more heat than one with a lower rating.
It is important to choose a heater that is right for the space you want to heat, choosing a heater that is too big will result in inefficiencies, while a heater that is too small will fail to heat the space adequately.
The tank capacity is the amount of fuel a heater can hold. This is shown by measuring in gallons. A 10 gallon tank capacity can hold 10 gallons of kerosene. The more fuel it can hold, the longer the burn time tends to be and vice versa for smaller tanks. Be sure not to fill past the maximum fill line in order to give room for the fuel to burn.
If you need a heater that can run for many hours without needing refuelling, then get a heater that has a larger tank capacity.
Convective or Radiant
There are a couple different types of kerosene heaters: convection and radiant. Convection heaters take the cold air that’s already around and pulls it in. It then uses the kerosene to heat this air so that when it’s removed it’s hot! Convection heaters are less likely to heat the items around them such as curtains and furniture.
On the other end of things there is radiant heat. Radiant heat essentially does the same thing, but it will heat the items around it. If you have a radiant kerosene heater, be careful about where you place it and what flammable items are nearby.
Indoor or Outdoor Heating
You can use a kerosene heater inside or outside. No matter where you use it, there are a few safety guidelines that may affect you if you’re indoors or outdoors. For starters, when you’re filling the heater with kerosene, this has to be done outdoors.
You should make sure the machine is completely cooled down and turned off. When you do this outdoors, make sure you’re far enough away from anything that could catch on fire, such as a house, shed, or tent.
If you are using it inside, that’s great! Just make sure that the machine isn’t placed in a walkway like a doorway or hallway. Doing this will avoid it getting knocked over and causing a fire. Also make sure that your heater isn’t too close to curtains, blankets, clothing, or furniture.
Another note if you’re planning on using a kerosene heater indoors: be sure that your smoke detector and carbon monoxide detector are in working order. These should be tested often to prevent any safety hazards. Be sure to have a fire extinguisher on hand as well.
One of the best features about kerosene heaters is that they’re portable. They can be used to heat areas like pole barns, garages, houses, basements, and more. Many users enjoy the fact that these heaters are so versatile and can be used almost anywhere.
Imagine you’re having guests over and it’s cold in common areas such as the living room. You can simply set up the heater in the living room to bring more heat in. It’s a lot cheaper than increasing the degrees on your thermostat, plus the heating effect is instant.
Portability can be important if you plan on taking the unit to your cabin or if you work on site outdoors. Most kerosene heaters are portable, but some larger units require quite a bit of strength to move.
We have already gone over some of the safety features that need to be considered in order to use this appliance correctly. Some units will have an overheating protection feature that turns off the machine if it detects that it’s too hot. This is great because it keeps you safe, while also extending the life of the machine!
Another great safety feature that nearly every kerosene heater has is an anti-tip switch. If you have kids or pets, you should definitely have this feature on your unit. This feature basically makes it so that the heater can’t be knocked over. Even though you can’t guarantee it won’t tip, this safety feature will automatically turn the machine off if it’s been tipped over.
Lastly, I want to stress again the importance of making sure your smoke detector and carbon monoxide detector are working properly. This will help you know if the oxygen level has gotten lower than what is considered safe.
Make sure your kerosene heater has a removable tank to make it easier on you when it comes to refilling it. This is great if you’re using the machine to heat your home throughout the winter.
Maintaining a Kerosene Heater
Maintaining a kerosene heater properly will ensure it lasts many years and heats efficiently and effectively.
Below you’ll find some important tips on maintaining, storing the heater and cleaning your kerosene heater. Doing both of these steps will ensure that your heater will last for years!
Storing Your Heater
When it comes to storing the heater, one thing you need to know is that it should never be stored with fuel in the tank. This makes the tank collect water and increases the likelihood of mold growing. If this happens, the appliance will be damaged and unusable.
You can remove the excess fuel with a siphoning pump. Try your best not to spill any, but if you do, it needs to be cleaned up immediately as it’s not only flammable, but it can be toxic as well. After the fuel is removed, you can burn the heater for a short amount of time until it’s dry.
Another thing you want to do is to check that the igniter is working as it should be. You can do this by checking if it lights up quickly and if it’s easy for you to move. If it isn’t working as it should be, it needs to be replaced before you use the heater again. Some kerosene heaters have battery-operated igniters. If this is the case with your heater, be sure that the battery is removed and stored in a different area between uses.
Next, you’ll want to make sure the heater is free from dust and soot. These things can be avoided if you store the heater in the box you got it in and if it’s kept in a dry place that isn’t too warm.
Cleaning Your Heater
When it comes to cleaning your heating, there are a specific set of instructions to get the job done properly. For starters, you’ll need to make sure you have ammonia and water on hand. If you’re using regular cleaning supplies that you use throughout your house, make sure they are non-flammable.
Always clean your kerosene heater outdoors. If your heater is too dirty for just water and ammonia, try using oven cleaner and some patients! Some heaters have a glass panel on them. If yours has this, remove it and just rinse it off with warm water, a wash cloth and some soap.
When it’s time to clean the inside of the heater, be sure you’re away from water and the cleaning products you were using. Believe it or not, you just use 1k kerosene to get the interior of the tank clean. Use a scrubby and this should get rid of any gunk and dirt that may be inside the tank.
You can also use a siphon on the inside of the tank to get rid of dirty kerosene. Take the dirty kerosene to a disposal center and whatever you do, don’t try to reuse it.
Next, be sure to see if there are any deposits of carbon within the chimney burner. If there are, they can simply be washed off with a heavy duty brush or towel.
You should follow the instruction manual on what routine maintenance needs to be carried out for your heater, but here is a list of the basic tasks you will need to carry out to keep your heater in top shape:
At The Beginning Of Each Heating Season
- Clean fan blades
- Inspect photo cell
- Clean fuel nozzle
- Check/clean fuel filter
- Replace/Clean air filter
- Replace lint filter
- Check/replace wick
At The End Of The Heating Season:
- Flush fuel tank
Kerosene Heater FAQ
Are kerosene heaters safe to use indoors?
Yes, they are mostly used as indoor heaters. There are plenty of safety features you’ve read about to keep in mind when you are using it indoors. Make sure it can’t be tipped over and, if you can, add in a drip tray so that kerosene doesn’t leak all over your home.
Are kerosene heaters bad for the environment?
They can be if used improperly. If you’re using it in an unvented area, you are actually exposing yourself to an unsafe amount of nitrogen dioxide and carbon monoxide. Make sure the room is properly ventilated and that all the detectors in your home are working.
Can I leave a kerosene heating running when I’m not home?
Yes you can. Though it’s up to your discretion if you think that’s safe. I understand not wanting to come home to a freezing cold house, but I’d also be anxious leaving a fuel heater running when no one is home. If you have to, just double check that the surroundings are clear from anything that could set on fire.
Are kerosene heaters efficient?
They absolutely are if you use them correctly. This is why it can be important to know the heating capacity and burn time of a heater before you buy. You wouldn’t want a heater capable of heating 400 square feet and expect it to heat your entire home.
Can every kerosene heater be used both indoors and outdoors?
Not necessarily. Some are built for outdoor use only and should only be used outside. This is to ensure maximum safety and is likely because it will give off too much heat for insulated areas such as bedrooms.
Do Kerosene Heaters Break Down?
Yes, they do break down. But in general, they are probably more reliable than more technologically advanced heaters. If you are having problems, you can check out our guide on kerosene heater problems