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8 Best Tent Heaters for 2024

You don’t have to stop camping just because it’s winter. If you dream of a winter camping expedition or sleeping under the stars in a tent close to home, you’re going to need to know how to stay warm. It’s intimidating to spend a night outside in winter, but remember, being cold is optional.

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If you’ve avoided winter tent camping because you’ve been freezing, woke up not able to feel your toes, or didn’t have a warm enough sleeping bag, then it’s time to get a tent heater.

Finding the best tent heater can make all the difference, ensuring you stay cozy and comfortable all night. There is nothing better than being cozy in a tent when it’s cold outside.

In this guide, we’ve hand-selected the best portable tent heaters, from the easiest to use to the best heater for a bigger tent.

Our top pick is the Mr. Heater Buddy Portable Propane Heater because it has the most warmth for its size and portability, and it’s super easy to use.

Whether you’re a weekend camper or obsessed with spending every night outdoors, we’ve got you covered with our expert recommendations for the best portable heaters and all the best tent heaters for 2024. It’s time to stay warm and snug in your tent, even in the coldest of conditions.

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If you don’t have much time, you can jump to our quick summary of our recommendations based on your needs :

Best Overall: Mr. Heater Buddy Portable Propane Heater

best-tent-heaters
Image by Mr. Heater

Specs:

  • Heating Capacity: Up to 9,000 BTUs
  • Heating Area: Up to 225 square feet
  • Fuel/Power Source: Propane

The best overall tent heater is convenient and easy to carry and use, Mr. Heater Buddy Portable Propane Heater. The best part about these portable heaters is that they don’t need batteries. The Mr. Heater Portable Buddy operates using propane fuel and does not rely on external power sources.

If you’re camping, you’re on the go. So the compact and portable design of the buddy heater is perfect for camping trips, outdoor excursions, or any overnight trip where you may be in a tent. The fold-down handles make it easy to move around and store without having to spend a lot of time disassembling.

This heater is extremely powerful and will heat up your tent with no problem and you can use it to heat an RV. Reviewers say it works to heat areas that are not insulated like a charm.

We prefer the integrated piezo igniter for easy starting, not just for safety but for convenience and not needing to remember a lighter. Additionally, it has a swivel regulator so you can move it around without compromising the fuel attachment.

The heater buddy includes several safety features such as an auto-shutoff function that activates if the unit is tipped over, as well as an oxygen depletion sensor (ODS) that shuts off the heater if oxygen levels become too low. 

These features ensure peace of mind while using the heater in enclosed spaces such as tents or cabins, but we do always recommend having your own oxygen sensor just in case and always leaving your tent open while using a heater.

Best 2 in 1 Tent Heater: Campy Gear Chubby Portable Propane Heater and Stove

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Image by Campy Gear

Specs:

  • Heating Capacity: Up to 9,000 BTUs
  • Heating Area: Suitable for small to medium-sized tents
  • Fuel/Power Source: Propane

If you’re looking to have less gear and pack multipurpose items, the Campy Gear Chubby Portable Propane Heater and Stove is the best choice. You can use it to both heat and cook, which is really quite incredible and convenient.

It gets extremely warm and can heat a standard tent. It’s a very small and compact size at 7.28″ L x 7.28″ W x 8.27″ H. It has three different modes, cooking, heating, or cooking plus heating mode. It heats up rapidly in heater-only mode and works better with a propane tank.

This heater is a bit more concerning for a two to three-person tent, as it is an open flame and there is no safety shut-off. While it offers versatility, as with most products, there is a compromise of certain heater-specific features, such as safety and it is not advisable to use this on uneven ground.

Our only qualms about this useful heater is that it’s difficult to adjust the air value once the heater has been used as it’s very hot. The cook-only mode is also quite hot being so close to the stove, so it may end up burning your food if careful.

Best Electric Tent Heater: De’Longhi Capsule Ceramic Heater

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Image by De’Longhi

Specs:

  • Heating Capacity: Up to 1,500 watts
  • Heating Area: Suitable for small to medium-sized tents
  • Fuel/Power Source: Electric

If you have access to a power source and you’re looking for a heater that is compact and convenient, the De’Longhi Capsule Ceramic Heater is a great space heater.

Using an electric heater comes with perks. It is cheaper in the long run and there is no concern with carbon monoxide poisoning. This heater uses a fan and hot air to heat up a space.

If you’re sleeping in a canvas tent and have access to power, it’s one of our favorite ceramic heaters. With its compact size and powerful heating capacity of up to 1,500 watts, this heater is designed to keep small to medium-sized canvas tents, or small spaces warm.

You can even use it in your office or bedroom when at home. Being electric, it’s already safer than many of the other portable heaters we suggest, like the heater buddy.

It offers a cool touch handle so you can move it even after using it, a two-stage overheat protection with auto shutoff so it won’t overheat (which is a concern for fan heaters) and it will automatically turn off if it falls over.

The adjustable thermostat has multiple heat settings, which is ideal for being comfortable.

It’s lightweight and portable, making it easy to transport and set up in different camping locations. Whether you’re embarking on a weekend camping trip or a longer outdoor excursion, this electric tent heater is definitely a great choice if you have access to power and want consistent heat.

Best Tent Stove: DANCHEL OUTDOOR TSG Foldable TA1 Titanium Tent Stove

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Image by DANCHEL OUTDOOR

Specs:

  • Material: Titanium with side glass
  • Heating Area: Suitable for small to large tents
  • Fuel/Power Source: Wood stove

If you want to heat your tent or cook without using fuel or electricity, then a tent stove is the way to go.

We like the DANCHEL OUTDOOR TSG Foldable TA1 Titanium Tent Stove, one of the most highly rated stoves online, because it’s surprisingly compact and light and easy to take down and store. It’s only a little over six pounds including all the parts.

It’s made of titanium which is preferable to steel because it’s more temperature resistant and durable.

This stove comes with safety features such as a side glass so you can monitor the fire without having to open the stove, a spark arrestor to prevent sparks from splashing out and causing any damage, as well as ring, handles to avoid getting burnt while opening the vents. 

The stove also comes with protective heat gloves, which we recommend always using for safety.

It’s a wood-burning stove, that requires a chimney (this one is 7.2 feet) so you will need a tent that is chimney-compatible Unlike other wood stoves, the DANCHEL OUTDOOR TSG has reasonably sturdy legs and won’t topple over easily. That makes it safer and preferable to other portable wood stoves.

While a wood-burning camp stove is technically safer to leave running if you want to sleep, the stove is not quite big enough to pile with enough logs for overnight so that may be a factor if your tent does not hold heat well.

Best for Large Spaces: Mr. Heater Big Buddy Portable Propane Heater with Safety Shutoff

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Image by Mr. Heater

Specs:

  • Heating Capacity: Up to 18,000 BTU
  • Heating Area: Up to 450 square feet
  • Fuel/Power Source: Propane

The only complaint about this big buddy heater is that it’s almost too warm. This convenient heater has the power of many heaters and is great for heating a larger tent.

It has multiple heat settings to allow you to adjust your heat output. When it comes to heating the largest space, the big buddy is the absolute winner. You can place it onto the tent floor safely or use it while camping in your RV.

It has essential safety features such as an oxygen sensor with a low oxygen shut-off system (ODS) and safety shut-off if it gets accidentally tipped over.

Best Simple Tent Heater: Biddeford Electric Blanket

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Image by Biddeford

If you don’t like heaters, aren’t a fan of propane, and have access to a hefty power bank or an outlet with an extension cord, an electric blanket is a great substitute for a fuel heater for staying warm in your tent.

This camping gear is perfect if you love glamping and want to be warm from the bottom up.

This heated blanket comes in multiple sizes, Twin, Full, Queen, and King. The heat produced by this polyester blanket is more subtle and maybe your preferred method for heating your tent safely.

Of course, you need access to power, so either a suitable portable battery is required with a high enough output or you will need to use an extension cord to a power source. There are adjustable heat settings and the heating element wires are very thin, so they will not bother you as you are sleeping.

In terms of indoor heaters, a blanket is versatile and easy to use compared to the other gas heaters. It does turn off automatically after 10 hours, so you may need to turn it to a low setting to sleep or wake up to turn it off if it’s too warm.

Best User-Friendly Heater: Kovea Cupid Gas Heater

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Image by Kovea

Specs:

  • Heating Capacity: 3,333 BTU
  • Heating Area: Suitable for small tents up
  • Fuel/Power Source: Propane

This handy heater is great for warmth and is super easy to use. It flips open with a convenient stand to turn on in just a few moments and have heat in seconds.

We particularly like how you can position it to direct heat upwards instead of in a general direction to warm yourself up while you’re sitting outside or in your tent.

As with all fuel heaters, you have to use it with your tent open, but it provides a lot of warmth for such a small and light heater. The fuel fits inside nicely so it’s not bulky and all you have to do is flip a switch for it to turn on.

The stand folds up so it’s simple to pack away into the car. If you’re the type of person who wants to be warm and not be too bothered with a complicated setup, this is definitely the best heater for you.

Best Budget: Mr. Heater Little Buddy

best-tent-heaters
Image by Mr. Heater

Specs:

  • Heating Capacity: 3,800 BTU
  • Heating Area: Suitable for small tents up to 95 square feet
  • Fuel/Power Source: Propane

The Little Buddy is a small personal burning portable propane heater that is great if you want to be warm, without spending a ton of cash. This small portable propane heater is great for a small tent, a single camper, or an expedition where you want a heater but don’t want to be carrying something large.

Even though this heater is small you still have to make sure your tent is properly ventilated. The specifications state that it can heat up to 95 square feet. It requires a venting area of four square inches for safety. It runs about 5-6 hours if you leave it on the minimum heat setting.

It ignites it, you just use a simple on/off button. The specifications say that using this heater about 7000 feet in elevation is not possible and/or safe. Oxygen sensors are not accurate above that elevation so it’s important to mind this specification.

While it does have a low-oxygen sensor, it’s important to always make sure your tent is properly ventilated. It has an auto shut-off feature if it falls over.

Buyers Guide: Best Tent Heaters

Choosing the right tent heater for you is crucial to maximize your comfort. With numerous options available, it’s essential to consider several factors to make an informed decision.

Our buyer’s guide outlines key considerations to help you choose the best tent heater for your needs, keeping you warm and cozy during camping trips in any weather condition. Investing in a high-quality tent heater is the best way to stay warm and comfortable in a tent in cold weather.

When you’re searching for your heater, consider factors such as heating capacity, what fuel type you’d like to use, if is safe to use in a tent, and how portable and easy to pack up and set up it is.

Heating Capacity

You’re going to want to know what size tent you plan to heat before purchasing a heater. Most tent heaters use propane or butane and in that case, the heating capacity is typically measured in British Thermal Units (BTUs). A large tent will require more BTUs.

Once you know how big of a tent you’ll be heating, opt for a heater with a higher BTU rating for a bigger tent or colder climates, and a smaller less powerful heater if you are only camping solo or using a smaller tent. Being too hot while camping can also be a problem, so get a heater that is the right size.

Make sure to double-check that the heater’s size aligns with your tent’s dimensions and ventilation requirements to prevent overheating, insufficient heating, or creating an unsafe environment in terms of air quality.

Fuel Type

Tent heaters are available in various fuel types, including propane, butane, electric, and wood. Propane heaters are popular for their portability and convenience, but they do require adequate ventilation to be safe. You’ll also need to ensure you have an adequate fuel supply for your entire trip.

Electric space heaters are convenient for tent use but require access to a power source, limiting their suitability for remote camping locations, unless you purchase a powerful portable battery that can support a space heater. Test out the heater with the battery before you go!

A wood stove is a great alternative for remote camping and can even add to your camping experience. You must purchase a tent that is compatible with a stove and chimney, so make sure to align your products before hitting the road.

Safety Features

It’s important to prioritize safety when selecting a tent heater, especially if you favor propane tent heaters. Look for models equipped with safety features such as automatic shut-off, oxygen depletion sensors, and tip-over protection.

However, it’s important to have your own personal oxygen sensor as it’s unclear how well these sensors work from product to product and in different elevations. The risk is not worth it.

Make sure to verify that the heater complies with relevant safety standards and regulations.

Safety features are useful, but the safest thing to do is not sleep with your tent heater on.

Using a tent heater safely includes turning it off while you are not nearby, not using it without proper airflow, and not using it while you are sleeping.

Portability

If you plan to transport your heater to different camping locations, a smaller and more compact heater might be a better option for you. If you are car camping with a huge SUV and plenty of space, then the larger heater (to go with your bigger tent) will be a better choice.

Compact and lightweight portable tent heaters are easier to carry and store and are better for backpacking or hiking trips.

Frequently Asked Questions

What types of fuel are commonly used for tent heaters?

Tent heaters are typically fueled by propane, butane, electricity, or wood. Propane heaters are popular because they are easy to use, but if you have power, you can’t beat an electric heater. A wood stove tent heater offers a more unique camping experience but is certainly less convenient overall.

How can I heat my tent without electricity?

You can heat your tent with a butane heater, a propane heater, or a wood stove. Fuel-based heaters require ventilation for safety.

You can use a fuel heater with your tent open to warm it up and then turn it off and seal the heat inside. Some other more unique tips include hot water bottles and warm rocks wrapped in a towel or foil that you can place in your bedding to stay warm.

Are tent heaters safe to use inside a tent?

Tent heaters are safe as long as you follow the warnings. The main issue with a fuel tent heater is to protect against carbon monoxide.

Choose a heater with built-in safety features against carbon monoxide, such as automatic shut-off mechanisms, and oxygen depletion sensors, but it’s important to leave the tent open when you use a fuel heater and to never, ever leave a heater on unattended or while you are sleeping.

How do I determine the heating capacity needed for my tent?

The heating capacity of a tent heater is measured in British Thermal Units (BTUs). To determine the appropriate heating capacity for your tent, check the BTU on the product versus your tent size.

Everyone will have a different preference but many companies provide the square footage appropriate for the heater. Choosing a heater that offers multiple settings can also help with versatility, to know you could heat your smaller or larger tent with the same heater.

Can I use a tent heater for other outdoor activities besides camping?

You can use a tent heater for various outdoor activities besides camping. Be careful if using a heater with an open flame out in the wild in case there are fire warnings in your area.

How do I maintain and store a tent heater properly?

Proper maintenance and storage are essential for prolonging the lifespan of a fuel-based or wood tent heater. Regularly clean the heater’s components to help prevent debris buildup and keep your heater in a dry, well-ventilated area away from moisture and extreme temperatures when you’re not using it.

Can I leave a tent heater unattended while it’s running?

Never leave a tent heater unattended while it’s running, especially inside a tent.

Always supervise the heater while you’re using it and turn it off when you leave the tent. Follow your portable tent heater’s manufacturer’s instructions and safety guidelines to prevent accidents and ensure safe usage of the heater.

Can you leave a tent heater on all night?

Fuel-burning heaters can be a fire risk and can produce invisible but deadly carbon monoxide. Low-power electric heaters can be used in tents at night if you follow safety advice, but may not be recommended for fan heaters that do not automatically shut off at a certain temperature.

Wood-burning stove heaters may have protection against flame leakage and be safe to use at night, but take precautions with any heater while sleeping.

Wrapping Up

Choosing the right tent heater for you is crucial. A great heater can significantly enhance your camping experience in the cold.

With so many options available, it’s essential to consider important factors before making your purchasing decision, like safety concerns, the size of the canvas tent, the space you want to heat, and the type of power source you’re most comfortable with and have access to.

Our top pick for the best tent heater is the Mr. Heater Buddy Portable Propane Heater. It’s really easy to use, heated a lot of space for its size and price, plus we love all the extra safety features.

Whether you prefer the convenience and affordability of a propane heater like the Mr. Heater Little Buddy, the versatility of a 2-in-1 heater and stove combo like the Campy Gear Chubby Portable Propane Heater and Stove, or the reliability of an electric heater such as the De’Longhi Capsule Ceramic Heater, or the experience of the DANCHEL OUTDOOR Tent Stove.

No matter what you’re looking for, there’s a tent heater out there to suit everyone.

Remember to prioritize safety when using any tent heater, and always follow the manufacturer’s instructions and safety guidelines. With the right tent heater keeping you warm and cozy, you can enjoy camping year-round, no matter the weather conditions. 

For more gear recommendations on how to stay warm this winter, here are our picks for best-heated ski socks and the best-heated ski gloves.

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  1. If you ever tried to use propane heaters in temperatures in the teens, they won’t run long at all. They will freeze. 1500 watts for an electric heater is nuts unless you’re going to be running a gas powered generator all night. Diesel Heater works the best IMO.

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