Top 12 Kerosene Heaters For Prepping And Survival

In the prepping world, a common rule is to have a backup for your backup plan. This methodology applies to many aspects of prepping and survival but is especially important when it comes to heating your home.

kerosene heater

In today’s society, we have ample access to electricity and you will typically find furnaces and fireplaces in homes across the country, but how do they cope when there is no electricity?

This is one scenario where a kerosene heater would be advantageous to have as an alternative source of heat.

They are incredibly efficient on fuel, in the sense that they can heat large spaces for a relatively small amount of kerosene.

Kerosene heaters can heat a space without the need for electricity which is vital in a multitude of situations.

This article will give you the information you need to make when picking a kerosene heater for your home. It also includes a list of top kerosene heaters with a detailed breakdown of their pros and cons.

Before we get to that part, let’s learn about some of the best practices in owning a kerosene heater.

There Is More Than One Type Of Kerosene Heater

Kerosene heaters come in a few varieties with some being better at things like heating large spaces or providing even heat in more than one direction.

Luckily, it’s not complicated to understand and each model will tell you what category it falls in.

Forced air vs radiant kerosene shop heater ... WOW

Forced Air Kerosene Heaters

These kinds of heaters are the powerhouses meant to heat large garages or single room spaces.

Not only do they pump out some impressive BTUs, they include a forced air fan that projects the heat outward from the heater.

Forced air heaters are designed to heat a large space as fast as possible. Some models come equipped with built-in thermostats to regulate the heat output.

The downside to these units is that they are generally quite expensive and require electricity to power the fan part of the heater which doesn’t work when there is a power outage.

Some of the fans are so powerful that you’ll need a heavy-duty battery setup to be able to meet the energy requirements.

Radiant Kerosene Heaters

Radiant heaters heat objects and spaces directly in front of them. You could call them directional heaters since they only heat in one direction.

It consists of a reflector to help push the heat and some have fans built in to push it out more, not as powerful as a forced-air heater, however.

They come in many sizes with some being portable and others that can’t be moved around as much.

You can find models of radiant kerosene heaters that don’t require electricity, instead of relying on battery power to initiate the spark that ignites the wick. These heaters are perfect for directing heat to a sleeping space.

Convective Kerosene Heaters

If you’re looking to heat a large space then convective heaters are ones you want to look into. They pull in cold air, heat it, and then disperse it in all directions as it rises up.

As the heat rises the cold air is then pushed down towards the heater and the cycle continues. This has far more even heating effects than a radiant heater.

This is the more common type of kerosene heater that doesn’t require electricity to run. You can light the wick yourself or use the battery-operated function to light it for you.

Out of all the above heater types, this is one that is best suited for heating a large room in your home during a power outage.

Don't Miss These Hidden Advantages Of Kerosene Heaters!

What Qualities Define The Top Kerosene Heaters?

There are so many kerosene heaters on the market that making a decision can quickly become difficult.

Here are some key things to consider when looking at kerosene heaters before you buy one.

British Thermal Units (BTU)

This is a rating that tells you how much heat is being produced by the heater.

Every heater has a BTU rating and it’s designed to give you an idea of how powerful the heater is. It can also help interpret how big of a space it can provide consistent heat for.

If the space you want to heat is too large for the BTU rating on your heater then you will have reduced efficiency which leads to increased fuel consumption.

Smaller kerosene heaters can produce up to 20,000 BTU which is great for a small tent or room up to 1000 square feet.

Medium-sized heaters can get up to 70,000 BTU and are meant for less than 2,000 square feet.

It’s when you get to the larger heaters that you start to see BTUs over 120,000 which is great if you work in a large garage or a small warehouse.

Tank Size And Consumption

Tank sizes on a kerosene heater will always match the heater output capabilities. Larger tanks won’t necessarily last longer than smaller tanks because of heating differences.

Gallons are the most common measurement for tanks and they will often have a runtime rating in hours associated with it.

The tanks range in size from 1 gallon to 15 gallons for the larger models.

Kerosene heater tanks also come in two varieties: removable and permanent. Smaller portable heaters generally come with removable tanks so that you can move them around more.

A lot of the larger kerosene heaters come with permanently fixed tanks on them. It’s easier to fill a removable tank than it is a permanent one, however, it’s best to fill them both outside.


Some consumers will want their kerosene heaters for camping or heating a hunting camp, while others will need it as a backup if their furnace cracks out.

Portability is important for the former group and there are models that can easily heat a small single room dwelling. Ensuring that electricity isn’t needed is a must for these units.

You’ll also generally find portable units with removable fuel tanks so they can be packed away easier.

The downside is that you will have a smaller heater with a smaller tank which cuts down on how long you can use it before it needs to be refilled.

Additional Features

Pay attention to any product features that could be included in your kerosene heater. These can include things like:

  • Automatic shutoff for low oxygen or accidental tipping
  • Battery-powered kerosene heater starter
  • Safety guards around the burner to stop anything from catching fire
  • External thermostat for temperature regulation

These features are not necessary nor will they impede the function of the unit but they are great to have included, especially for safety reasons.

Tips On Using A Kerosene Heater

Kerosene heaters are pretty easy to use but there are some key things you can remember to get the most out of them.

Keep It Watertight

If you are storing your kerosene heater over the winter it is important to make sure that no moisture can get at it while it is packed away.

Ensure you empty your kerosene tank and remove the wick so that there is no chance of accidental ignition.

Filling Kerosene Tanks

Even if the tank is removable you should fill them outside because if you end up spilling kerosene inside on the floor or furniture it then becomes a fire hazard.

Ventilation Is Required

Having some form of ventilation, whether it be an open window or open door, is important since kerosene can emit carbon monoxide.

As with all heaters it is recommended that you don’t leave it on without your attendance.

The Top 12 Kerosene Heaters

Here are the top 12 kerosene heaters you can buy on the market.

They cover a range of types and features and should give you a good idea of what would suit your specific situation the best.

How to Change the Wick on a Dyna-Glo Kerosene Heater

1. Dyna-Glo RMC-95C6B Indoor Kerosene Convection Heater

Battery-Powered IgnitionQuite large at 27 inches
Automatic shutoff for tipping
Heats up to 1,000 square feet
Adjustable temperature

This kerosene heater is made to be used indoors and since it can heat up to 1,000 square feet makes for an excellent product for smaller-sized rooms.

This is a convective heater and gives you heat all the way around.

The tank holds almost 2 gallons of kerosene and the company boasts a 12-hour runtime. The BTU rating on this unit is 23,000 BTU.

The nice thing about this heater is that if it is tipped over there is an auto shut off that also stops kerosene from spilling out.

Check out the Dyna-Glo Indoor Kerosene Radiant Heater

DuraHeat Kerosene Heater Review

2. Dura Heat DH2304S

BTU rating is high at 23,800A heavy heater at almost 28 pounds
10 hours of burning on a 2-gallon tank
Built-in fuel gauge
Small form factor

It has one of the largest BTU ratings of a small heater and can heat a 1,000 square foot for over 10 hours.

It gives you a 360-degree radius of heat which means it can heat up a room pretty quickly.

The interesting thing about this heater is that it comes with a built-in fuel gauge so you’re never caught off guard for fuel. It has an automatic ignition which doesn’t require electricity to start up.

You can check one out here

Dyna-Glo 10K BTU HeatAround360

3. Dyna-Glo 10K BTU Indoor Kerosene Radiant Heater

Small unit at only 11 inches tallCan have a strong smell when lit and in use
Can run for 14 hours on a one-gallon tankThe internal wick needs regular replacing
Removable tanks

This tiny indoor radiant kerosene heater is amazingly efficient and uses a powerful reflector to push out heat in one direction.

It includes a removable tank and safety features like an automatic shutoff when accidentally knocked.

Want to know more? Check it out here

Craftsman 80,000 BTU heater unboxing and test

4. Craftsman Forced Air Kerosene Heater

Rugged metal constructionThe thermostat can sometimes be inaccurate
Heats up to 2000 square feet
Runs on multiple fuel types
Lots of quality of life features

Craftsman makes some powerhouse heaters and this model is a testament to that. This is a forced air kerosene heater that runs on multiple diesel fuels as well as jet fuel.

It has a fuel gauge and air pressure gauge to give you readings which is convenient.

A lot of attention has been given to safety and you can see it in the construction. The handles are top-mounted so that they never get too hot to handle.

Here’s a link for you to look into it

Heatmate HMN-110 Kerosene heater 10k, it's so easy to use.

5. Sengoku HeatMate HMN-110

Price is economicalCan be a stinky heater
Provides up to 14 hours of heat on a tank
Fuel gauge included
Lots of safety features

A budget-friendly radiant heater that can heat a small trailer or tiny home, the Sengoku HeatMate is a powerful solution for 380 square feet or less.

It features a fuel gauge, battery-operated starting function, and safety grills to minimize the chance of a fire.

You can get one here

KeroHeat CV-2230 Off-Grid Heater Review

6. Sengoku KeroHeat CV-23K

Heats up to 1,000 square feetIt’s a heavy unit at over 20lbs
It runs 12 hours on 1 gallon of kerosene
Includes fuel gauge and siphon

The Sengoku KeroHeat is ideal for workshops or large living spaces since it can heat up to 1,000 square feet.

It even distributes heat 360 degrees which means it can easily be used outdoors.

It has many of the safety features you’d expect to come from the company including the guard that runs all the way around the heater.

Disclosure: This post has links to 3rd party websites, so I may get a commission if you buy through those links. Survival Sullivan is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. See my full disclosure for more.

You can find them here

Mr. Heater F270370 MH125KTR & F232000 MH9BX (Portable Buddy) Review -EricTheCarGuy

7. Mr. Heater MH125KTR

Has wheels for easy movingNosy
Built-in thermostatComponents can break down if left in the cold
Heats up to 3100 square feet
Shutoff switch for overheating

This is a high-powered forced air kerosene heater that pumps out 125,000 BTU of heat. It can use a variety of fuels such as kerosene, diesel, and oil used in home oil furnaces.

This provides a lot of flexibility when certain fuels may not be available. You’ll need power for this one as the forced air fan requires it to use so it’s not designed for off-grid use.

Check it out at this link

ProTemp® | 80,000 BTU SilentDrive® Radiant Heater

8. ProTemp 80,000 BTU SilentDrive Oil-Fired Heater

Portable and lightThe heat can be intense if used in smaller spaces
Heats up to 2,000 square feetRadiant heater only directs heat in one direction
Multi-fuel heater (kerosene and diesel)

This heater is unique in that it is a small and portable forced air kerosene heater. The fact that it can heat up to 2,000 square feet with a 4-gallon tank at 0.5 gallons per hour is pretty substantial for fuel economy.

An additional benefit is that this is one of the forced air heaters that is quieter than some of the larger competitive models.

Have a look at one here

Dyna Glo Pro 80K BTU Heater Review

9. Dyna-Glo Delux 80K BTU Forced Air Kerosene Portable Heater

Indoor/Outdoor ConstructionPretty heavy at 26lbs without wheels to move it.
The thermostat controls fuel usage
The air pressure gauge included
Auto-shutoff feature for the flame going out during operation

Dyna-Glo is known for its smaller kerosene heaters so this is a nice change from the usual. It runs off kerosene, diesel, jet fuel, and household furnace oil.

It can heat up to 1900 square feet for up to 9 hours on a 5-gallon tank. One interesting feature of this unit is that it has a self-diagnostics tool for troubleshooting.

Here’s a link to check it out

Dewalt 20 volt Multi Fuel Heater DXH90CAK 2-2

10. DeWALT 50,000 BTU Forced Air Kerosene Heater

An efficient heater that can run for 11 hours on a 5-gallon tankAn expensive unit for what it provides
Two-piece split barrel for easy disassembly
Heats up to 1250 square feet

DeWalt is a brand that you wouldn’t expect to see in the kerosene heater aisle of the internet but they have a pretty robust offering.

This forced air heater gives you 11 hours of runtime on a 4-gallon tank which can heat up to 1250 square feet.

The barrel has an innovative split design and features a continuous ignition system. As with a lot of forced air heaters it can run on multiple types of fuel aside from kerosene.

You can get more information about it here

11. ProTemp 140,000 BTU Kerosene/Diesel Radiant Heater

Both a radiant and forced air heaterA heavy unit at about 68lbs dry weight
Noticeably quieter than other models of the same rangeUses almost 1 gallon an hour
Runs off of kerosene and diesel
Has wheels for easy transportation

This heater is unique in that it’s a radiant heater with the capability of using a forced-air fan to push the heat out.

ProTemp is known for how quiet its heaters are and this one is no different. It can heat around 500 square feet of space.

If you have the power capacity to run this machine then it’s a good option for heating your place up.

Check it out here

Stanley 80,000 BTU Forced Air Kerosene/Diesel Space Heater, Silver

12. STANLEY ST-80T-KFA Kerosene/Diesel Forced Air Heater

Sealed electric motor to keep out moisture and dustSome users have noted that it can leak when the tank is full so be mindful when you move it.
Convenient carry handle that won’t get hot
80,000 BTU with a built-in thermostat that is able to heat up to 2,000 square feet

Stanley is another one of those companies that specializes in tools so it’s refreshing to see them have kerosene heater options.

This one has all of the bells and whistles you could want including safety shutoffs, a thermostat, and a built-in air pressure gauge.

Have a look at it here

Frequently Asked Questions

Do kerosene heaters smell?

As with any fuel heater, there is a chance that you will notice some off-gassing. This is especially true upon start-up and shut off as the unit heats up and cools down.

If your kerosene heater starts to smell a lot, it could be an indication that there is a fault within the machine.

Does a kerosene heater require electricity?

Most radiant and convective heaters don’t require electricity as they can be lit manually or with a battery-powered ignition. They use reflectors and physics to throw the heat in the desired direction.

As soon as you cross over into the forced air kerosene heaters you’ll need electricity to run the fans and ignite the kerosene.

How Many BTUs is enough to heat a large room?

Generally, the higher the BTU count the more space it can heat. To heat approximately 1,000 square feet you will need about 40,000 – 50,000 BTUs for even temperatures.

A forced air kerosene heater can help with this as it actively blows out the heat into the room.

top kerosene heaters for prepping and survival pinterest

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