Kerosene heaters seem like a throwback to an early pre-1900s era, but they are still used today in some different situations.

Convection style kerosene heaters are capable of being used indoors or outdoors with an exciting 360-degree design that pushes out heat in all directions. 23,000 BTU’s of warmth is what some of these types of products rated for, and it is not difficult to believe the rating.

Whether needing to deal with power brownouts, wanting to be off-the-grid, or to have an alternative heating source available whenever it’s needed, a kerosene heater is one solution to match this need. Just fill up the heater, turn it on, and heat is going to warm up the home, cottage, or cabin relatively quickly.

A good convection style heater will have a drip tray to catch any escaping kerosene fuel and a shut-off tilt switch that turns off the heater should the heater begin to tip over.

The second type of heater is a portable forced air kerosene heater. It is designed to be used exclusively outside of a property in an open area. Many of these units use kerosene, No.1 fuel oil or No. 1 diesel oil which provides more flexibility.

The above type of kerosene heater is typically cylindrical in shape, sits on a stand, has a fuel gauge to check the oil & heating time remaining, and an LCD indicating the current temperature. These types of outdoor heaters can push out 650,000 BTUs which will heat an expansive outdoor area. Construction sites and other large spaces often use this types of kerosene heaters when working without cover or in the winter time.

What’s Included with The Best Kerosene Heater

The central heating unit comes pre-assembled, as a self-contained unit. It just needs to be filled with kerosene and positioned in a suitable place ready for use.

Most kerosene heaters have a fuel gauge or LED display which indicates either the amount of fuel or the estimated remaining heating time.

What to Know Before Making a Purchase

As a guide, a 23,000 BTU indoor heater is capable of heating up to 1,000 square feet in the home.

All kerosene fuel must be removed from a kerosene heater before it is transported or repositioned in the home. Taking this precaution avoids fuel spills which are dangerous due to the nature of this fuel type.

The owner of the kerosene heater is responsible for the safe management of the fuel source and is subject to local, state and federal regulations concerning this. There are a few states where indoor kerosene heaters are not permitted to be sold. Outdoor portable forced air kerosene heaters don’t usually come under the same restrictions.

Anyone with large dogs in the home should consider other heating options rather than a kerosene heater due to the risk that the dog will jump up and knock the standing heater over with his or her body weight. Many indoor kerosene heaters do have tilt safety mechanisms that immediately turn off the heater should it become unbalanced or tip over. Most notably, this is particularly a concern when the homeowner is away from the property or just out briefly on a shopping trip (the heater should be disengaged when the homeowner is away from the property for any period).

Other Considerations

Kerosene heaters in the USA are supposed to use K-1 kerosene which avoids the levy that applies to kerosene used in motor vehicles. K1 kerosene presents as a clear liquid which also makes it much easier to see if it is a pure type of fuel, unlike with other cloudy kerosene alternatives.

Kerosene fuel should not be stored longer than three months, with a one-month holding period being the best idea. As such, it does not make sense to try to stockpile kerosene fuel for a heater due to its shorter shelf life.

Best Brands

Sengoku Works Ltd is the oldest manufacturing company located in Japan, with international distribution now reaching US shores.

Dyna-Glo is one of the brands from the GHP Group, which also includes Vitapur, Greenway, and Pleasant Health.

1B White is a manufacturer of poultry, swine, greenhouse, tent and construction heaters to a global market.

Master Industrial Products has been making torpedo-shaped heaters since the 1950s. Their Kerosene heating equipment fills every need for outdoor heating requirements.

Dura Heat offers both indoor and outdoor kerosene heaters. The home heaters especially come in a variety of pleasing decorative designs that accentuates the home décor.

What Consumers Say

Taking a look at consumers’ reviews, these are a few of the opinions most often voiced by buyers:

Prepare for blackouts: In winter months in isolated locations, an indoor kerosene heater prevents the family from being locked in with the cold with no way out.

Running costs: The running costs are reasonable for the fuel and the heat it provides.

Zero temperature: Zero and sub-zero temperatures get pushed up into the 40s and 50s after 30-60 minutes with a good indoor kerosene heater running. Anyone working in their garage or workshop feeling the cold in their bones will be grateful for the extra warmth.

Cleaning: Some kerosene heaters will acquire a layer of soot after prolonged use. It is a good idea to perform some routine maintenance on them periodically to clean them. At the end of the cold season, this is particularly true when the heater will not be touched for a few months until the cold spells return later in the year.

Guards: Safety protection grills are fitted to the front of kerosene heaters to protect from accidental touches by hands and other objects. The guard is likely to heat up over time but is still better than the alternative.

Fuel capacity: The larger fuel tanks with kerosene heaters mean heating delivered for longer before needing to refill them again. A 12-gallon tank will supply heat all day with many outdoor heaters and for longer with the smaller ones. Heaters with higher BTUs, turned up full, will burn through fuel much faster. Buyers need to monitor their usage to get a benchmark for how long a tank of fuel will last based on their temperature settings and calculate their fuel costs accordingly.