Need a tent heater to help you keep toasty warm during your next cold weather camping trip?
Here you have our list of the best camping tent heaters on the market today. There’s nothing better than enjoying nature with your friends and family. However, when the cold sets in, camping can quickly become uncomfortable. Please note that while there are many winter camping tent heaters on the market, not all of them are recommended by us. Without further ado, let’s dive in!
Best Tent Heaters for Camping
- Mr. Heater MH9BX Buddy Portable Propane Radiant Heater
- AmazonBasics 500-Watt Ceramic Heater
- Mr. Heater MH4B Little Buddy Indoor Safe Propane Heater
- Mr. Heater MH18BRV Big Buddy Portable Propane Heater
1. Mr. Heater MH9BX Buddy Portable Propane Radiant Heater
Our overall favorite tent heater is the Mr. Heater Portable Buddy Heater.
This propane tent heater has a footprint of just 14.25 inches by 9 inches, yet is able to heat spaces of up to 225 square feet, so it’s definitely powerful enough for even large tents. This portable heater has a fold down carry handle and weighs just 9 pounds, so it’s easy to move around as needed.
The Buddy Heater attaches directly to a one pound propane tank (not included) and has two heat settings, one with a 4,000 BTU (British Thermal Unit) output and one with a 9,000 BTU output. However, this size of tank will only last 3 hours on the higher heat setting and 6 hours at the lower one.
If you’d like to keep your Buddy Heater running through the night, you can use the heater’s swivel regulator, along with an adapter hose and filter (sold separately), to attach the heater to a 20 pound propane cylinder.
This tent heater also has a few important safety features to allow you to camp in confidence. The accidental tip-over switch and Oxygen Depletion Sensor trigger the safety shut-off if the heater tips over or the oxygen level in the air gets too low. The automatic shut off is also triggered if the pilot goes out.
2. AmazonBasics 500-Watt Ceramic Heater
This next heater is our most budget-friendly, as well as our most compact.
The AmazonBasics 500-Watt Small Space Heater measures just 5.87 x 6 x 3.2 inches, so it’s positively tiny, but has a 50 square foot coverage area, so it can still heat up medium sized and smaller tents well. The base features tip-over protection to ensure that the heater stays upright despite it’s small footprint.
It has a simple design, with only a single heat setting and no thermostat or timer settings. The only control is the on/off switch. Whether that’s an advantage or disadvantage is subject to interpretation.
It’s an electric heater, so it doesn’t have all of the same safety concerns as gas heaters, though fire is always a risk when using any kind of heating element. It will also run continuously as long as it has power. On the other hand, this heater has an electrical cord, not batteries, so you’ll need some kind of power supply.
If you’re planning on camping somewhere with an electrical hookup, you’ll just need an extension cord. If not, you’ll need to bring your own power source, such as a generator or portable power station. Of course, neither of those are cheap, so it’s probably not worth it unless you’ll be using them to power other electronics as well.
3. Mr. Heater MH4B Little Buddy Indoor Safe Propane Heater
That AmazonBasics heater is great for the price and all, but if you want something truly compact but powerful, you’ve got to go with the Mr. Heater Little Buddy Propane Heater.
Like the AmazonBasics heater, the Little Buddy has a simple design with a single heat setting (3,800 BTU) and one button ignition.
It’s larger, though, with the heater itself weighing 5.85 pounds. It fits on top of a one pound disposable propane canister, and comes with an 8 inch diameter round stand that attaches to the bottom of the canister to keep it upright. Portability is definitely still no issue, though.
It’s also more powerful than the Amazon option, with the ability to heat a 95 square foot heating area.
Like the regular Mr. Heater Buddy, the Little Buddy boasts automatic tip-over and low oxygen shut off features.
4. Mr. Heater MH18BRV Big Buddy Portable Propane Heater
For a seriously powerful tent heater, you’ve got to go with the Mr. Heater Big Buddy.
This propane heater is capable of heating areas up to 450 square feet and has adjustable heat output with low, medium, and high heat settings: 4,000, 9,000, or 18,000 BTU per hour. That makes it great for cabins, RVs, and even outdoor use. We don’t, however, recommend using it for small tents because it’s so powerful.
Although large and powerful, the Big Buddy is still easy to move from place to place, weighing 17 pounds. It also has a strong carrying handle on top.
Like the other Mr. Heater tents, this heater features auto shut-off if the unit is knocked over or oxygen levels get too low. All Mr. Heaters are also well constructed from high-quality materials, so durability isn’t a concern for any of them.
The Big Buddy uses two 1 pound disposable propane canisters, or it can be attached to a 20 pound tank with a hose and regulator.
Final Thoughts on the Best Tent Heaters
Tent heaters allow us to stay warm and cozy while camping in the cold, but campers should be careful when using them.
Whether you use a gas tent heater or an electric tent heater, always exercise caution when using a heater in an enclosed space. Follow manufacturer recommendations carefully and be sure to keep flammable items, like sleeping bags, well away from camping heaters. Only use authorized accessories with tent heaters to avoid damage, injury, and voiding the warranty.
Make sure the manufacturer has indicated that the heater is safe for indoor use before using a gas heater, whether propane or butane, inside a tent. In addition, make sure that your tent is also well ventilated, so that oxygen can enter and the carbon monoxide emitted can exit.
Now that all that’s out of the way, but sure to check out The Best Cold Weather Tents for Winter Camping to find a good tent to use your new heater in. Or, for a different tent heating solution, take a look at The Best Tent Stoves for Winter Camping and The Best Tents with a Stove Jack for for wood burning stoves that will warm a tent nicely and cozy winter tents to use with them.