An essential need in a cool climate during an emergency power outage is a safe heating source. There are many options for this, but one of the safest and most affordable is a kerosene portable heater. Kerosene heaters have been tried and tested for a long time!
Kerosene can be stored in large quantities and lasts a very long time, making you self-sufficient for your heating needs during the emergency. Furthermore, kerosene space heaters have been proven to be quite safe after over a century of use and have other desirable attributes. A good kerosene heater, for example, produces very little, if any, odor once it’s broken in. Furthermore, it will burn cleanly and with up to 99% efficiency; a gallon of kerosene will go a long way!
Here are top five picks for kerosene space heaters. Read on below for more great information about kerosene heaters: different types, how they work and more detailed reviews of our top five!
1. Sengoku CTN-110 KeroHeat Radiant is light and very portable with a flat design. It’s perfect for heating a cold room in your house or even a cold campsite.
2. Dyna-Glo RMC-55R7B Indoor Radiant Heater has a flat design and can be placed against a wall to heat one of the large rooms in your house.
3. Sengoku CV-23K KeroHeat Convection Heater is great for heating a large area and does so very quickly.
4. Dyna-Glo RMC-95C6B Indoor Kerosene Convection Heater is also great for heating a large area up to 1000 square feet.
5. The Dura Heat DH2304 Indoor Kerosene Convection Heater is comparable in its features to the Dyna-Glo RMC-95C6B. It produces a ton of heat for such a small unit!
Also, if you’re looking for an amazing garage or worksite heater that also requires electricity to power the blower (so not really useful from a preparedness point of view but still pretty cool), check out one of the Dyna-Glo Delux series kerosene or multi-fuel heaters. These will heat up a large room in minutes and make for a very comfortable work environment during cold days. Below, we’ll take a quick look at the Dyna-Glo Delux KFA180DGD, which can quickly heat up a large area up to 4200 square feet! You can also check Amazon here for the latest prices and available discounts for the Dyna-Glo Delux series of forced air heaters.
What Is A BTU?
One of the product features of every heater and one you will see repeated in the reviews below is its energy output. How much heat can one of these portable kerosene heaters produce? This heat output is measured in BTUs (British Thermal Units), which is the amount of heat required to raise the temperature of one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit. Therefore, the more BTUs a kerosene heater can produce, the more it can heat up a larger room or area quickly.
Types Of Kerosene Heaters
Kerosene heaters can be classified into two types of heaters: radiant and convection. It’s important to understand the difference between these, as they each have certain characteristics that may determine your choice of models.
Comparison Between Radiant And Convection Heaters
Both types of heaters use a circular fiberglass wick to transport the fuel (via capillary action) from the kerosene tank to the burner unit, which is the heart of the heater. In a radiant heater the burner unit is surrounded by a glass cylinder with a half circle of reflective stainless steel behind it. While the burner is glowing red, infrared heat waves are reflected onto surrounding objects heating them directly. Radiant heat waves do not affect the air, so there is not heat loss to the environment through which they travel – very much like the sun’s rays. Convection heaters, on the other hand, heat the surrounding air, which then transfers heat to the environment.
Which Type Of Heater Do You Need?
Radiant heaters tend to be better for drafty, poorly insulated rooms or even outdoors, where people will be physically close to the heater: garages, jobsites, patios, construction sites.
Since radiant heat is not lost to the surrounding environment, it can be more effective than convection heat in rooms where the air is harder to heat, e.g. rooms with bad insulation or drafts. The radiant heat waves are absorbed directly by the people and objects in the room exposed to them, so they can provide immediate warmth to them.
Convection heaters are oftentimes better choices for homes, bedrooms and offices. They are ideal for larger spaces where there are several people spread out over the large area, e.g. spread out in multiple rooms or in a large single room but far away from the heater. In general, convection heaters have a further reach and result in a more even distribution of heat through the entire space.
More On Convection Kerosene Heaters
Convection kerosene heaters usually have a round shape allowing the heat to spread out in all directions (360 degrees) heating an entire room equally. They are made for large areas and are ideally placed in a central location allowing the heat to spread in all directions. Because they heat the surrounding air, thus transferring heat to the environment, they can even be used to heat several rooms in your home at a time.
Most new convection kerosene heaters are large and heavy with heat output over 22,000 BTUs. I have seen smaller heaters (on the order of 10,000 BTUs) being sold second hand at flea markets or on ebay. The larger newer heaters are capable of heating a fairly large home safely. Of course the further parts of the house from the heater will be more cool, but this may not be a problem when trying to get through a short term emergency. They typically have a fuel tank capacity of about 2 gallons giving them a 9 to 12 hour burn time.
Because they need to be in the center of the room, you may need to move a convection heater from time to time. You may want to move it out of the way when not in use, or you may want to move it to a different room or part of the house for heating needs. You may also want to take it outside to refuel. To easily transport the heater, you may want to purchase a cart or even build your own.
How Do I Use A Convection Kerosene Heater?
Using a modern convection kerosene heater is very simple and safe when proper precautions are taken. Check out the video below to see how easy it is and also get some safety tips.
More On Radiant Kerosene Heaters
Radiant heaters on the other hand are usually rectangular in shape and are ideal for smaller areas, as they project their heat in one direction. The generated heat waves affect the nearby people or objects directly. The heat will not circulate through the air to the ends of a large room or to neighboring rooms, as it does with a convection heater.
Radiant kerosene heaters are an obvious choice for small apartments and homes. They can be placed against a wall, out of the way in a small space. Also, their heat output is not over-powering like that of a convection heater. Most radiant heaters can operate 12 to 15 hours on one gallon, a common fuel tank size.
Why Use Kerosene?
Kerosene is combustible and while it usually gives off a smoky smell in the first few minutes of use, the smell dissipates quickly providing clean and odorless heat. A gallon of kerosene will produce about 134,000 BTU’s of energy and will efficiently heat up your space. Here’s an article comparing values of different heating fuels.
What Type Of Kerosene Should I Use?
Always use the type indicated by the manufacturer, which is usually clear 1-K Kerosene.
Is It Safe To Use Kerosene Heaters Indoors?
Kerosene heaters can be safely used indoors when the hazards are understood and the proper precautions are taken! As with burning any fuel, there are hazards, but these can be minimized by following the instructions that come with the heater. Some key steps to kerosene heater safety are:
- Keep your heater in good condition per manufacturer’s instructions
- Make sure you have adequate ventilation (open windows or doors to keep air circulating)
- Install a smoke alarm and a carbon monoxide detector
NOTE: Kerosene heaters are illegal in some jurisdictions. You can find out about restrictions in your location by contacting your local fire department or fire marshal.
What Do I Need To Know About Kerosene Heater Wicks?
The wick is the porous material, made of cotton and fiberglass, up which the kerosene is drawn by capillary action (link) to the igniter in the heater.
It’s important to allow the wick to soak completely (at least 60 minutes in a tank of fuel) before initial ignition. This will prevent the development of air pockets in the wick capillaries that can block kerosene absorption and eventually lead to decreased performance and carbon build up on the burner tube and wick.
Recommendations for wick replacement from the American Lung Association and the EPA are to replace wicks at least yearly. You should inspect the wick more frequently and either replace or clean if you notice carbon build up.
Popular Kerosene Space Heaters
The Sengoku CTN-110 KeroHeat is a popular radiant heater that’s very light and portable. It does not require electricity making it ideal for use during a power outage or to daily heat an occupied room in your home.
- Weight: 20 pounds
- Dimmensions: 20 x 12 x 19 inches
- Heats a room up to 380 square feet with an output of 10,000 BTUs
- Automatic igniter requires 4 C batteries, which are included
- Safety features: an automatic shut-off switch, tip over switch and safety guard
- Fuel capacity of 1.2 gallons providing 14 hours of runtime!
- UL certified
This is another great radiant heater that heats up to 500 square feet. It is also portable and similar in weight and dimensions to the Sengoku CTN-110.
- Weight: 20.9 pounds
- Dimensions: 22.3 x 11.9 x 19.3 inches
- Safety features: safety guard and a safety tip switch
- Automatic ignition requies 2 D batteries
- 1-year limited warranty
- This model is black, but it can also be purchased in ivory (Dyna-Glo RMC-55R7)
This heater is very dependable and can be counted on for daily use to help cut on heating costs, and is perfect for emergency situations
The Sengoku CV-23K KeroHeat Convection Heater is another amazing heat source for emergencies and puts out a lot of heat! (This one is manually lighted with a match) – Check
- Weight: 22 pounds
- Dimensions: 18.5 x 18.5 x 25.5 inches
- Heats a room up to 900 square feet on 1.9 gallons of kerosene for 12 hours
- Safety features: safety guard and automatic shut-off
- Easy start button
The Dyna Glo RMC-95C6B is an indoor convection kerosene heater that produces up to 23,000 BTUs, warming an area as large as 1,000 square feet! That could mean potentially huge savings on your heating costs!
- Weight: 23.1 pounds
- Dimensions: 17.5 x 17.5 x 27 inches
- Fuel capacity: 1.9 gallons, heats up to 1,000 square feet for 8-12 hours
- Safety features: safety guard and safety tip switch
- Automatic ignition requires 2 C batteries
- 1-year limited warranty
- This model is black, but it can also be purchased in ivory at Amazon
This heater is a great choice, especially for indoor use. It is light for a convection heater and quite portable and helpful during an emergency.
The Dura Heat DH2304 is 23,000 BTU portable kerosene heater that will warm areas around 1000 square feet for up to 8 to 12 hours without needing a fuel refill.
- Weight: 8.1 pounds
- Dimensions: 18.8 x 18.8 x 27 inches
- Fuel capacity: 1.9 gallons
- Safety features: safety guard and automatic safety shut off
- Automatic push-button ignition
- Includes a fuel gauge, siphon pump and batteries
- Heats a space up to 1000 square feet
- Has a fuel gauge
This is another excellent choice for indoor heating, especially for hard to heat spaces like garages, basements, etc…
Dyna Glo Delux KFA180DGD Kerosene Forced Air Heater, 140K or 180K BTU
The Dyna Glo Delux KFA180DGD is a multi-fuel forced air heater. Therefore, it can use the following different fuel types: 1 K kerosene, # 1 diesel, and # 1 fuel oil. While they require electricity to operate, therefore not useful during an emergency power outage, they are so impressive in how quickly (almost immediately) they can provide warmth from cold working conditions in such a large space! This heater can heat a room up to 4200 square feet and is ideal for both residential and commercial use.
- Fuel Capacity: 13 Gallons
- Heating Hours: 10 or 12 Hours
- Sturdy rugged construction
- 98% fuel efficiency
- Low and high heat settings
- Comfort Control Thermostat
- Built in diagnostics
- Built in air pressure gauge
Kerosene portable space heaters can be an incredible source of heat both for emergencies, since they do not require electricity, and for daily use to heat your home or parts of your home to help cut down on heating costs. Safety should be a priority when operating a kerosene heater, and safety instructions should always be followed! Try to understand your needs in order to select the best type of heater for your circumstances. In conclusion, convection and radiant kerosene heaters can provide heating solutions for all the rooms of your house and even for some of your outdoor heating needs as well!