The Best Kerosene Heaters of 2020

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Are kerosene heaters useful or a ghost of the past come lately to haunt your dwindling garage storage space? Contemporary electric heaters may be affordable, powerful, and energy efficient. But there are still reasons to keep a kerosene heater around.

Kerosene heaters work without electricity, can be used for camping and can efficiently heat a larger space than most electric heaters. Here we’ll cover some of the pluses and minuses of kerosene heaters and look at a few of the best models on the market.

Find out more about why these make a great option for keep cozy during cold weather!

Quick Comparison Chart of the Best Kerosene Heaters

PRODUCTDETAILS
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Dyna-Glo RMC-95C6 Indoor Kerosene Convection Heater

  • On a full tank, it can work for up to 11 hours
  • Burns with 99.9% efficiency, making it a cost-effective option
  • Simple operation with a push button on/off design
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Kero World KW-24G 23,000-BTU Indoor Portable Convection Kerosene Heater

  • Kerosene heater heats up to 1000 sq. ft. with 23000 BTU
  • Matchless ignition makes it easy to use it
  • Portable design that comes with 360-degree protective grill for safety
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Sengoku HeatMate OR-77

  • Ideal for zone heating for spaces up to 380 sq. ft.
  • Tank capacity of 1.2 gallons can go on for 14 hours without refilling
  • Comes with several safety features including protective safety grills and tip-over switch
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Dyna-Glo RMC 55R7B

  • With 10000 BTU, it can heat spaces of up to 500 sq. ft.
  • Since it doesn’t need electricity, it helps you save on utility bills
  • Easy and convenient to use with one-touch shut-off and automatic ignition
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Sengoku Heat Mate Portable Convection Kerosene Heater

  • With 23000 BTU, this works as a fantastic emergency heating source
  • With a tank with capacity of 1.9 gallons, it can work for 12 hours
  • Can heat a room of up to 900 sq. ft.
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How Much Heat Can a Kerosene Heater Give Off?

There are two main reasons to get a kerosene heater: power and a freedom from being tethered to electricity. When it comes to power the facts speak for themselves:

In order to heat a room that is approximately 10’x10’x10’ with moderate insulation should require roughly 9,000 BTU per hour in winter.

The average electric space heater is capable of putting out about 5,000 BTU/hr. 5,000BUT/hr is enough to warm the room a bit but not get it to a comfortable level.

By contrast, a good commercial kerosene heater should put out 10,000 BTU/hr, sometimes even more.

To take it even further, “contractor” kerosene heaters–meant for industrial spaces and professional applications–can produce as much as 40,000 BTU/hr.

What this means is that a good kerosene heater will heat your room more efficiently than an electric space heater. It is a better option for large spaces. They’re also efficient for heating areas outside while camping, keeping a bedroom or family space warm during a winter power outage or for heating a large, unpowered space like a garage or a storage container.

In this article, we’re going to focus on portable home kerosene heaters rather than the large, installable contractor heaters. Contractor units can be very expensive and are not suitable for home use.

Radiant vs. Convective Heaters

The two main types of kerosene heaters are radiant and convection heaters.

Convection or convective heaters tend to be round, like a glass oil lamp someone would carry through a dark, haunted house in a movie. These heaters are generally best for large open spaces since they give off heat in all directions and are meant to be placed in the center of a room.

Radiant heaters are often square and contain a metal grid that will glow to red hot. They’re usually meant to be placed near a wall and pointed in the direction you’d like heat to flow. Because the metal grid holds in heat better, they actually can work outdoors without heat being lost.

K1 and K2 Fuel

Keeping your kerosene heater will require a good wick and the proper fuel. With regards to fuel, The New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, Bureau of Weights and Measures delineates two types of kerosene: K-1 (or 1K) and K-2 (or 2K). The difference between the two is the sulfur content and purity. Most kerosene heaters will require K-1 which should be clearly indicated on the fuel tank. This is because K-1 is a purer form of kerosene and will not deteriorate internal air quality as much.

The other important thing to manage is your wick. Many kerosene heater issues can be fixed by adjusting or replacing your wick. Kerosene heater wicks are wide and straight, like the hem of a shirt. They must be kept clean and trimmed evenly or they won’t burn efficiently.

Kerosene Heater Safety

By now most of us have been lulled into a sleepy daze of carelessness by the relative ease of electric heaters. Turn it on; don’t put it too near anything flammable; don’t forget about it.

But that same sleepy daze around a kerosene heater might indicate carbon monoxide poisoning. One of the biggest drawbacks of a kerosene heater is that their convenience is at the expense of safety. But this doesn’t mean you should avoid them or be frightened to use them in your home. It does mean you should be aware of safety precautions.

Proper ventilation

This is maybe the biggest difference from a typical electric heater. Burning kerosene can decrease indoor air quality and put young children and elderly people at risk. These impurities can include airborne smoke, sulphur, and carbon monoxide. Signs of carbon monoxide poisoning include drowsiness, nausea, confusion, and headache, and can eventually lead to asphyxiation and death.

Because of these risks, it is recommended only to use a kerosene heater in a well-ventilated area. If you’re using it in your home, keep a window or two cracked 1-2 inches to get fresh air.

Fire Risk

Fires are the other major concern. Unlike electric heaters, kerosene heats have an active flame inside them. Spilled fuel near the unit, furniture that’s too close or a unit that is knocked over all can cause your house to burn.

To avoid risk of fire, keep the kerosene heater several feet away from furniture, cloth and carpets. Avoid placing it where someone may trip over it. Don’t use the heater in the same spot where you filled it in case there was spilled fuel. Regularly check to make sure your unit is not leaking.

Children & Fuel

We probably don’t need to remind you that children and flammable liquids don’t mix. That said, the National Fire Protection Association reports that a majority of kerosene heater-related accidents come from children being poisoned by ingesting kerosene.

Always keep your kerosene fuel out of reach of children, in clearly marked and child-proof containers.

Reviews of the Best Kerosene Heaters

If you’re looking for the best kerosene heater, you shouldn’t run around searching like a headless chicken. Instead, consider your heating requirements and check out our in-depth pros and cons to learn about some of the best models on the market.

1. Dyna-Glo RMC-95C6 Indoor Kerosene Convection Heater

Dyna-Glo RMC-95C6 Indoor Kerosene Convection Heater, 23000 BTU, Ivory

The RMC-95C6 is a 360º convection-style heater. It is rated at 23,000-BTU, and can heat 1,000 square feet for 8-12 hours. This design is ideal for an indoor situation, especially for rooms up to 1,000 feet.

Features

  • 1.9 gallon tank
  • Easy start button
  • Convection-style 360º design

Pros

  • 1-year warranty
  • Wick is adjustable to control heat output
  • Safety switch to automatically shut off if knocked over

Cons

  • May cause an excess of soot
  • Not durable, cheap construction

Kero World KW-24G Indoor Kerosene Heater, White

The KW-24G is a 23,000 BTU full-area convection-style heater. It has a long-lasting fuel tank that will run with intermittent use over the course of several days. It is rated for rooms up to 1,000 feet.

Features

  • Easy statrt/shutoff
  • 1.9 Gallon tank
  • Uses K-1 fuel

Pros

  • 2-year warranty
  • Wick is easy to clean and replace
  • Comes with batteries for auto-ignite system

Cons

  • Some kerosene odor
  • Handle comes loose easily

3. Sengoku HeatMate OR-77

Sengoku HeatMate 10,000-BTU Portable Indoor/Outdoor Omni-Radiant Kerosene Heater, OR-77

This model is designed to heat up to 380-feet of space for either emergency heat or for zonal heating. It is portable and has 10,000 BTUs of power. The 1.2-gallon tank will last for 14 hours, while the heater includes safety features such as an auto shut-off and tip-over protection. This makes the unit perfect for homes with children and pets.

Pros

  • Tank Lasts Quite a Long Time
  • Engineered to Be Protected From the Wind
  • Heats Outdoor Areas Quickly and Efficiently
  • Simple to Transport, Making Zonal Heating Easier
  • Excellent Safety Features - Tip-Over and Overheat Protection, Safety Grills, Flame Adjuster, and Push-Start Button

Cons

  • Push-Start Can Sometimes Be Temperamental
  • Users Cannot Control the Wick Height, Making it Harder to Warm Larger Spaces

Bottom Line:

This is a great kerosene heater for smaller spaces. Although you cannot control the wick height, the flame controls are simple to use and the safety features make this a good choice for those with worries about their family’s safety.

Dyna-Glo RMC-55R7B Indoor Kerosene Radiant Heater, 10000 BTU, Black

The RMC 55R7B is a forward-facing radiant kerosene heater. It is intended for spaces as large as 500 square feet, with a 10,000 BTU rating.

Features

  • 1.1-gallon tank
  • Run-time fuel gauge

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Easy-to-fill tank
  • Built in safety shutoff
  • Comes with siphon pump and batteries

Cons

  • Not as powerful
  • Hard to adjust the wick

Sengoku Heat Mate Portable Convection Kerosene Heater 23,000 BTU, Beige #HMHC2230

The Heat Mate is a convection-style kerosene heater that offers full-area heat coverage. It is rated for 900 feet at 23,000 BTU. It takes clear 1K kerosene and can burn for up to 12 hours.

Features

  • 1.9 gallon tank
  • Single-button start/shutoff
  • Built-in safety features

Pros

  • Fast heat
  • 2-year warranty
  • Long-lasting wick

Cons

  • Flimsy handle arrangement
  • Wick will need adjustment before using

6. Dura Heat DH2304 Indoor Kerosene Heater

Dr.fasting|Electric Plug in Personal Heating Instant Wall Heater for Room Indoor Small Space |1000W 100-120V|Adjustable Thermostat & Fan Speed|Auto Shut Off, 22.5' H x 18.05' D x 17.9' W, Beige-New

The DH2304 indoor kerosene heater is also a 360º convection-style heater. It is meant to be used indoors, offering 23,800 BTU. It can operate for 9-12 hour of constant heat. It has an adjustable wick knob and fully enclosed construction.

Features

  • Convection-style 360º design
  • 1.9 gallon tank
  • Uses 1K kerosene

Pros

  • High heat output
  • Easy-to-use on/off switch
  • High quality, metal construction

Cons

  • Not suitable for outdoor spaces
  • Igniter may fail after repeated use

Storage and Putting Your Heater Back in Use

Many people invest in kerosene heaters as emergency heat solutions so they often aren't used too frequently. It is important to know how to safely store and prepare your kerosene heater.

Before storing your heater, be sure to empty the kerosene in the unit. Unfortunately, kerosene does not keep well and cannot be used season-to-season. It is recommended that you properly dispose of any leftover kerosene inside the heater.

The easiest way to properly dispose of kerosene is to use up whatever you’ve filled the unit with. Otherwise? Contact local hazardous waste disposal companies or your local fire department and ask how to properly dispose of leftover fuel.

Before you store your heater is a good time to replace or clean your wick. This is to ensure the heater is ready-to-go next time you need it. Cleaning/changing the wick before storage prevents you from getting caught in a bind during an emergency. Also replace weak batteries.

When you next use it, double-check your wick & batteries, fill the unit with fresh kerosene, and it should be ready to go!

Conclusion

Kerosene heaters may seem intimidating, but they’re an excellent item to keep around for emergencies. Or use them to lower your home heating bill in the winter time. With proper safety observed, they’re nothing to worry about. You may find yourself being very glad you had one during the next winter storm!

Every style of unit is a bit different, but ultimately the important things to look out for are safety features and BTU rating. So don’t worry too much about the garage space, and go find yourself a solid backup to the standard electric heater!

People Also Ask

A kerosene heater is a great option to explore if you do not want a heater that powers on electricity. They are more effective compared to electric heaters when it comes to heating up large spaces. Here are a few frequently asked questions you should know before purchasing one of these.

Are Kerosene Heaters Safe to Use Indoors?

Yes, kerosene heaters can be used indoors safely if they are properly managed and kept an eye on. They should be given good ventilation so that the carbon monoxide can escape and not pose as a health hazard or safety risk for you or your family.

Do Kerosene Heaters Need to be Vented?

Yes, kerosene heaters need to be vented as they breathe on oxygen to radiate heat, and can make a concoction of harmful gases if they are not vented properly. These gases can be sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, and carbon dioxide, which can be fatal to humans.

Are Kerosene Heater Fumes Bad for You?

Kerosene heaters are bad for you if they are not given space for the circulation of air and/or ventilation. They can produce harmful fumes that can be detrimental to your health and even cause serious brain damage or death.

Can I Use Diesel in my Kerosene Heater?

It is highly dangerous to use diesel in your kerosene heater, because diesel fuel does not evaporate properly, and does not heat or burn if thrown in a mass. It needs to be finely sprayed for it to provide heat, which is not safe for your health as it is not a clean method of radiating heat.

How Long Does a Kerosene Heater Burn?

On a full tank, a kerosene heater can cleanly burn for about 8 hours without producing any harmful gases. This stands true if the unit has a good ventilation system. 

Which is Safer? Kerosene or Propane?

If you’ve got a ventilated space such as a garage, kerosene heaters are better than propane heaters, because they provide a large amount of heat. However, for clean-burning and a cheaper alternative, propane heaters are more recommended than kerosene heaters.

How to Light a Kerosene Heater

  • Turn the heater’s knob to the right and open the front door for access
  • Lift up the wick’s ring and shake it a bit so that the kerosene saturates the wick
  • Turn on the electric ignition and keep looking for a flame to light up

How to Change a Wick in a Kerosene Heater

  • Turn the heater off and then wait for it to become a bit normal and let the wick dry
  • Take apart your heater’s knobs, old wick, fuel tank, as well as the converter
  • While removing the old wick, put a mark where the old wick was placed
  • Now it is time for you to install the new wick in the mark you made in the holder