Camping heater: Best picks to warm up in 2023

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Best camping heater

MR. heater MH9BX buddy

mr heater mh9bx buddy

An easy-to-use, quiet, and durable camping heater.

Best versatile heater

campy gear 2 in 1 propane heater

A well-built, multipurpose camping heater and stove top.

Best for large spaces

Dewalt DXH12B Portable Heater

A powerful, heavy-duty heater for bigger-scale adventures.

When temperatures outdoors start to drop, taking care of your warmth during the night becomes a whole new challenge. Of course, starting a campfire is always a popular option, though it’s not the safest or most practical. 

A good camping heater will take the chill off cold nights, help dry out damp gear, and add warmth to any gathering around the campfire.

Camping heaters come in all shapes and sizes, from small personal heaters to large group heaters. Portable gas camping heaters are famous for their convenience, while electric tent heaters are often the safest option. Some even come with handy features like built-in lights or USB charging ports.

And the best part is they’re not just for camping – many people use them in their homes, offices, and RVs.

We’ve rounded up the best camping heaters for 2022 that’ll keep you warm and comfortable in any camping adventure. From portable and lightweight models to more powerful options – here’s what we got.

Top 3 best heaters in 2023

Now, let’s jump straight into the winning camping heaters out there!

1. Best camping heater: Mr. Heater MH9BX Buddy

mr heater mh9bx buddy
Best camping heater overall


  • Size: 8.3 x 13.4 x 15 inches
  • Weight: 8 pounds
  • Power source: Liquid propane
  • Heat output: From 4,000 to 9,000 BTUs
  • Heating coverage: Up to 225 square feet


  • Shuts off automatically when tipped over, pilot light goes out, or detects low oxygen levels
  • Fold-down handle
  • Swivel-out regulator
  • Easy to use
  • Heats up fast


  • The propane tank needs to be purchased separately
  • Too small for large open spaces
  • No fan

Mr. Heater Buddy is an easy-to-use, quiet, and odorless camping heater suitable for indoor and outdoor use. To turn it on – rotate the knob to pilot and push to light the unit, and the integrated Piezo ignition system will take care of the rest. 

It works with regular small-sized propane cylinders for easy setup. One 1-pound canister should run for around 4 hours, so to avoid switching between canisters in the middle of the night, we’d recommend taking a 5-pound propane tank with you. 

For small tents and RVs, you’ll most likely want to open the vents to avoid a low oxygen situation in which you’d have difficulties breathing while wondering why your heater shut off. 

The Buddy is a convenient camp heater that hits the safety jackpot with its Oxygen Depletion Sensor (ODS) and a tipping feature, ensuring an auto shut-off for secure heating.

2. Best versatile camping heater: Campy Gear 2 in 1 Propane Heater & Stove

Best for versatility


  • Size: 24.66 x 16.9 x 16.78 inches
  • Weight: 13.45 pounds
  • Power source: Butane, propane, isobutane 
  • Heat output: Up to 18,000 BTUs
  • Heating coverage: Up to 50 square feet


  • Compact
  • Two versatile modes
  • 360-degree heating 
  • Shuts off automatically when tipped over or detects low oxygen levels


  • Unsuitable for longer uses and larger spaces 
  • No fan

Campy Gear is a multipurpose, 2-in-1 camping heater and stove top that will keep you full and warm in smaller indoor and outdoor spaces. It’s an easy-to-carry-around model, coming with a comfortable carrying case. 

What we love about this heater is its versatility in heating sources. It’ll do the job with propane, butane, or isobutane gas just fine – whatever you choose. 

Being a small yet powerful model, Campy Gear might only stand as a heater throughout the night with switching the gas tanks. However, it’s a perfect multitool for shorter uses, whether you’re warming up or cooking dinner.

3. Best for large spaces: DEWALT DXH12B Portable Heater

Best for large spaces


  • Size: 10.5 x 15.75 x 14 inches
  • Weight: 14 pounds
  • Power source: Gas-powered
  • Heat output: Up to 12,000 BTUs
  • Heating coverage: Up to 1,700 square feet


  • Auto shut-off when tipped over 
  • Throws off lots of heat
  • Doubles as a fan 
  • Uses less propane than Big Buddy
  • Long battery life 


  • Not suitable for tightly-closed spaces
  • Not the best in high winds 

The Dewalt Portable Heater is a versatile heavy-duty model designed to withstand even the harshest weather conditions. It features a robust LED light bar, a built-in high-speed fan, and three USB ports to charge your portable devices. 

It’s the most powerful heater among our reviewed options, with up to 12,000 BTUs heat output that can heat 1,700 square feet and run for over 13 hours (on a lower setting) on a 1-pound propane cylinder.

The Dewalt camping heater isn’t the model that you’d comfortably bring to a smaller-scale camping trip. But if you’re up to an adventure with a group of friends, in a large tent – give all the heating hustle into the Dewalt’s hands, and it’ll serve you well.


Of course, there are other heaters in the market that are worth noting for their unique features. Here’s what they are: 

A powerful propane heater


  • Size: 18.9 x 18.3 x 11.9 inches
  • Weight: 14.4 pounds
  • Power source: Propane gas 
  • Heat output: 4,000 / 9,000 / 18,000 BTUs
  • Heating coverage: Up to 450 square feet


  • Automatic low oxygen and accidental tip-over shut-off 
  • Convenient fold-down handle for easy moving 
  • Heavy-duty wire guard adds extra tile protection


  • No fan

Mr. Heater Big Buddy is a powerful propane heater that throws lots of heat, amounts suitable for large indoor and outdoor spaces of up to 450 square feet.

Whether you’re a fan of longer camping trips, love getting outdoors with a group of people, or stay in a sizable cabin-like tent, this heater will be there for you. 

Like any self-respecting gas-powered heater, Big Buddy features a safety shut-off in case you kick it in sleep, or the oxygen level goes low. In fact, choosing this camp heater, you’ll have to take an extra step and open your vents to ensure it doesn’t get airless inside. 

Overall, it’s easy to set up – Big Buddy hooks up with propane in seconds – a portable heater that’ll give plenty of power on a more extended camping trip.

Bonus tip

Many campers prefer bigger, 20-pound propane tanks for the length they run and value for money. Propane can go for $3 per gallon in larger tanks compared to $3 per quart in smaller, disposable tanks.

A lightweight model


  • Size: 10.7 x 11 x 19 inches
  • Weight: 2.3 pounds
  • Power source: Propane gas 
  • Heat output: Up to 3,000 BTUs


  • Automatic low oxygen and accidental tip-over shut-off 
  • Foldable plastic base for increased stability 
  • Stainless steel reflector with safety grid 
  • Molded plastic cup holder comes in the package
  • Durable


  • Not much heat for the gas it burns

Initially designed for sports like winter golf, the Texsport is the lightest model in the review, most suitable for backpackers concerned about each ounce on their shoulders.

The Texsport propane heater is a convenient and compact heater with nearly the smallest heat output among our reviewed options of up to 3,000 BTUs. Even so, it still brings enough heat for one or two campers, so it’s perfect for a small 2-person tent.

This heater combines simplicity, ease of use, reliability, and price just fine.

Quite little yet solid


  • Size: 11 x 11 x 11 inches
  • Weight: 5 pounds
  • Power source: Propane gas 
  • Heat output: Up to 3,800 BTUs
  • Heating coverage: Up to 95 square feet


  • Automatic low oxygen and accidental tip-over shut-off 
  • Solid and stable
  • Ergonomic handle 
  • Easy to use


  • Head is not movable so must be placed on the ground
  • The base could be sturdier

Mr. Heater Little Buddy is a little yet solid camping heater that’ll heat the space of 95 square feet within minutes. All you need to run this little heater is a small propane tank and a 4-inch space for adequate ventilation.

It’s relatively lightweight (if we talk about Mr. Heater, it’s the lightest model from the manufacturer). The Little Buddy is a fantastic choice for tent camping, though it might not be the best choice for solo tents due to the lack of ventilation space. 

Overall, this sturdy, well-designed, and safe heater will make winter a go-to season for your camping trips.

A powerful electric heater


  • Size: 15 x 6.69 x 10.31 inches
  • Weight: 4.4 pounds
  • Power source: Electric
  • Heat output: 5118 BTU per hour per foot 
  • Heating coverage: Up to 200 square feet


  • Includes LED display and control panel 
  • Shield360° tip-over and overheat protection
  • Has a remote control 
  • Eco mode 
  • Upward blowing so you can put it on the ground
  • Washable filter easy to access and clean


  • Suitable for indoor use only

Dreo Atom One heater is a powerful electric heater that reaches the temperature you want in a matter of minutes. Featuring the Dreo Hyperamics Technology, it’s an efficient tabletop device that is relatively light and easy to carry around.  

This camping heater shouts safety – thanks to its tip-over and overheat protection and flame-retardant materials, you won’t have to worry about using it. And if you’re up to saving some energy, Drea has an eco mode that balances your comfortable temperature and energy saving. 

Overall, it’s a well-built, quality electric heater that gives you the warmth you need in a quiet, power-saving way.

A budget-friendly, small-sized option


  • Size: 7.9 x 6.2 x 10.2 inches
  • Weight: 2.9 pounds
  • Power source: Electric
  • Heating method: Forced air
  • Heating coverage: Up to 200 square feet


  • Lightweight and portable 
  • Doubles as a fan 
  • Auto turns on and off to control the temperature 
  • Auto shut-off when tips over or is in risk of overheat


  • Longevity concerns 
  • Louder than others

If you’re up for something that’s small in size, versatile, and budget-friendly in one, the Portable Electric Space Heater is for you. It’s a tiny heater with a built-in carry handle that can heat up to 200 square feet in seconds, thanks to its high-efficient PTC and 12 heating plates. 

It has a manual thermostat that shuts off when a set temperature is reached and turns back on when it drops, thus saving you energy and money.

The Portable Electric Space Heater is made from flame-retardant materials, plus a long-lasting cord and 2-prong connection. At a budget-friendly price, this camp heater doubles as a fan – so it’ll come in handy in winter and summer camping trips.

A durable and compact electric heater for smaller spaces


  • Size: 8.5 x 7.25 x 23 inches
  • Weight: 5.6 pounds
  • Power source: Corded electric
  • Heating method: Convection
  • Heating coverage: Up to 300 square feet


  • Comes fully assembled
  • Self-regulating ceramic element
  • Automatic overheat protection
  • Auto-off timer 
  • Remote control 
  • Doubles as a fan


  • Fan speed switch missing
  • Not suitable for outdoor use

It’s a durable, compact camping tent heater perfect for smaller spaces up to 300 square feet. It’s easy to use and has everything you need at an affordable price. The Lasco Oscillating comes with a remote control with all major heater functions for extra convenience. 

The Lasko Oscillating Ceramic Heater provides a decent amount of heat – you might even want to turn it off quickly – and doesn’t take too much space thanks to its slim design. 

Overall, this camping heater does everything it says and is a perfect addition to your winter camping gear.

What you should look for in camping heaters

Some features you’d always expect from any camping gear include quality, durability, and portability. Then, your personal preferences jump on the stage. 

Where will you use your heater primarily – in a tent or outdoors? If it’s a tent, what kind of – solo, family, or maybe a truck tent? Are you looking to heat yourself, your companion, or the whole family? Safety features shouldn’t be forgotten, too. 

We’ve listed all the aspects you should consider before buying a camping heater. Rely on this guide to choose the best one! 

Power source

Power source, or type, mainly defines in what weather conditions and how long they can run. The three most popular heater types are:

  1. Electric: Electric heaters need a source of electricity like a generator to operate. Ultimately, they’ll run out of power if you use them for a few days straight. 
  2. Butane: Butane camping heaters use a butane tank. They’re a nice option for milder temperatures, as their liquid will turn into gas and stop working in the higher ones. 
  3. Propane: Propane heaters run on, obviously, propane. These are the most reliable for winter camping, as the liquid inside remains in its form even in colder conditions. 
  4. Battery-powered: Some small heaters can run on batteries, but they’re not commonly classified as camping heaters. 


Runtime comes down to how efficiently the heater burns a tank of propane or butane. It’s a waste of time and money to go to sleep if you’re only warm for a few hours. Gas-powered heater manufacturers should list how long they’ll run on various canister sizes. 


You’ll most often use your camping heater at night when off to sleep. But the heater can actually ruin your rest, especially if you’re sensitive to sounds. 

Taking noise-canceling headphones or earplugs into the wild isn’t a good idea, so it’s best to test the noise level of a heater to find out if you can live with it. All the camping heaters we review in this article are quiet enough not to cause distractions for light sleepers.


When we talk about gas-powered heaters, camping safety is particularly worth-mentioning.

We recommend looking for a camping heater with a so-called safety feature, which makes the heater turn off if you accidentally knock it over while asleep. This will stop a fire from starting in your tent at night. In essence, this feature gives you more security and mental peace.

Heat output

Heat output indicates how big of a space your heater will warm up. The bigger the tent (or a camper, or a space in general), the more heat output – measured in BTUs (British Thermal Units) – you’ll need. 

Often you’ll find the heat output in BTUs, plus heat coverage in square feet listed in technical specifications.

How much heat in BTUs do I need?

You can calculate the approximate amount of BTUs you need straightforwardly. Measure the interior of your tent, van, or camper to determine its height, width, and length (you’ll most likely find these measurements in your tent’s specifications, too). You’ll get the cubic footage. 

Next, think about the thickness of the material. If your tent is extremely flimsy and it’s bitterly cold outdoors, you’ll need more BTUs. 

Tents often have insulation rates assigned. Suppose you have 100 cubic feet of room and go camping in the middle of the winter; then you’ll probably need no less than an 800 BTU heater. The greater BTUs, the more power you’ll have. 

Many camp heaters let you adjust the heat settings and choose your desired temperature. A general rule is to go with more BTUs than you think you’ll need.

Size and weight

Depending on your camping style, the importance of size and weight will change. If you’re out car camping or RV camping, you’re flexible enough not to seek the smallest heater out there.

Sure, if you’re a backpacker counting every inch and ounce on their shoulders, it’ll be wise to go for a lightweight option. Keep in mind smaller heaters like battery-powered pocket-sized ones will have less power – they’ll come in handy to warm up your hands but won’t heat the whole tent. 

Safety tips you can’t skip 

When playing with fire – do it wisely, and this means applying all the security tips without exceptions. You definitely don’t want to risk yours, your friends’, or your family’s safety here. 

1. No stands

Disclaimer: If your heater comes with an integrated stand, use it. If it does not – don’t improvise. 

If you feel your camping heater is too low, remember not to use any objects to raise it. A carton box or piece of firewood can melt underneath your heater and give a bigger distance for it to fall down, scorching your sleeping bags or even a companion. 

2. Place wisely

What’s “wise” in your case ultimately comes down to your tent’s (or wherever you use it) shape. Most importantly, don’t place it too close to the walls as they can melt or catch fire. 

In a more spacious tent, it’s nice to find a place somewhere in the middle to spread the heat, although it’s not necessarily practical. Use your judgment. 

3. Be aware of the ground

While campsites are often designed for camping gear or activities to have their specific places, it’s not the case with dispersed camping. 

Be careful not to put your heater next to dried leaves or twigs, as they might ignite and spread fast. 

4. Know your heater’s maximum heat

Finally, one more tip that intertwines with the above. Learn your heater’s maximum heat in practice to grasp better where it’s best to place it and how (if at all) risky it’s for it to start a fire.

Bonus question: How hot is too hot for my tent?

Simply put, your tent is too hot if it impacts your breathing or if you’re sweating under your clothes. Though our bodies do not always wake up if it’s hot or humid outside, the heat might resemble a fever. 

You may start experiencing gradual brain damage if the heat is causing your core body temperature to rise above 106.1 degrees. However, this is quite unlikely, especially in winter, unless you have a really powerful tent heater and a well-insulated tent. 

Got anything to add?

Still unsure what’s the best heater for camping? Or have something to add or ask about camping heaters? Leave a comment below – we’re excited to hear from you!

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