Complete Guide to Finding The Best Kerosene Heater

A kerosene heater is a portable kerosene-fueled space heating device. Also known as paraffin heaters, kerosene heaters are the primary sources of home heating in countries like Japan.

But in many other countries, kerosene heaters are considered secondary to the main space heating appliances. As such, they’re mostly used as a supplemental heat source or during emergencies, such as power outage.

Kerosene heaters are famous for their versatility. You can use them to heat virtually any space in your home, from the garage to a shed. Paraffin heaters are also ideal for outdoor use and may even come in handy in an office.

The main selling point about kerosene heaters is the fact that they don’t require electricity to operate. That makes them highly portable as well as convenient for use in places with no access to power.

But how do you choose the best kerosene heater for you? Typically, that comes down to your individual needs. In this post, we shall review some of the best kerosene heater models, along with answering many questions you have regarding kerosene heaters.

Quick Picks: Best Kerosene Heaters Reviewed

Our Pick
Mr. Heater F270270 MH75KTR Contractor 75,000-BTU Forced-Air Kerosene Heater
Dyna-Glo RMC-55R7 Indoor Kerosene Radiant Heater, 10000 BTU, Ivory
Sengoku HeatMate 10,000-BTU Portable Indoor/Outdoor Omni-Radiant Kerosene Heater, OR-77
Dura Heat DH2304S 23,800 BTU Indoor Kerosene Heater
Heat Output:
75,000 BTUs
10,000 BTUs
10,000 BTUs
23,800 BTUs
Heat Capacity:
up to 1,875 square feet
up to 500 sq.ft.
up to 380 sq.ft.
up to 1,000 sq.ft.
Electricity Required:
Fuel Capacity:
4 gallons
2 gallons
1.2 gallons
1.9 gallons
Our Pick
Mr. Heater F270270 MH75KTR Contractor 75,000-BTU Forced-Air Kerosene Heater
Heat Output:
75,000 BTUs
Heat Capacity:
up to 1,875 square feet
Electricity Required:
Fuel Capacity:
4 gallons
Dyna-Glo RMC-55R7 Indoor Kerosene Radiant Heater, 10000 BTU, Ivory
Heat Output:
10,000 BTUs
Heat Capacity:
up to 500 sq.ft.
Electricity Required:
Fuel Capacity:
2 gallons
Sengoku HeatMate 10,000-BTU Portable Indoor/Outdoor Omni-Radiant Kerosene Heater, OR-77
Heat Output:
10,000 BTUs
Heat Capacity:
up to 380 sq.ft.
Electricity Required:
Fuel Capacity:
1.2 gallons
Dura Heat DH2304S 23,800 BTU Indoor Kerosene Heater
Heat Output:
23,800 BTUs
Heat Capacity:
up to 1,000 sq.ft.
Electricity Required:
Fuel Capacity:
1.9 gallons

How Do Kerosene Heaters Work?

A kerosene heater operates using the same mechanism as the standard kerosene lamps. The heater features a circular wick that’s made of fiberglass or cotton. The wick is usually built into a burner unit, which is mounted just above a tank containing 1-K kerosene.

The wick draws paraffin from the tank through capillary action and when you light it, it heats the kerosene until the kerosene vaporizes. The gas is then burnt, thereby heating up the surrounding air via convection or the nearby objects through radiation.

A kerosene heater contains a burner that automatically oxygenates to distribute the flames uniformly throughout the space. You can control the height of the flame by adjusting the height of the exposed wick through a unique adjustment mechanism. To extinguish the paraffin heater, you fully retract the wick, such that no portion of it remains exposed.

For convenience purposes, a battery-powered igniter is built into kerosene heaters to eliminate the need for matches. The kerosene heater industry has witnessed tremendous improvements over the recent past.

You might come across heaters that use electricity to activate a fan, which forces the heated air out much faster. Some modern kerosene heater models also use a thermostat mechanism. However, standard paraffin heaters are designed to not use electricity, and most people like it that way.

What Are The Advantages of a Kerosene Heater?

Kerosene heaters come with numerous benefits compared to other space heaters. The following are some of the reasons to invest in a paraffin heater.

1. Cost Effectiveness

If you live in regions that get chilly and frosty during the winter months, then you probably already understand the importance of having a space heater. But most space heaters out there are cost-inhibitive, both in terms of their initial purchase price and energy requirements.

If you’re keen on keeping your monthly heating bills down, then you might consider a paraffin heater. With these heaters, you won’t need your central heating system.

Large homes with many rooms may require a kerosene heater for each room. But don’t let that dampen your resolve to get a kerosene heater, as you’ll find that their prices are significantly lower than those of other conventional space heaters. What’s more – kerosene heaters have powerful fans that can blow the heated air to all the rooms in your house.

2. Portability

Portability is one of the overriding considerations when buying a space heater. And how reassuring to know that kerosene heaters are the most portable of all the space heaters out there!

As these heaters don’t require electricity to run, you can use them anywhere, from your garage to the garden and even in the office. They are also remarkably lightweight, which makes them all the more portable.

3. Emergency Heating

A power outage in the dead of a cold winter night is a thought that you wouldn’t want to entertain. But power outages are frequent during chilly weather, and they usually occur when we least expect them.

If you’re using an electricity-powered space heater and the power goes out, your only options would be to sit tight and hope that electricity is restored before you succumb to hypothermia.

But with kerosene heaters on standby, you won’t have to worry about such emergencies, as these heaters work independently. Besides, kerosene heaters provide instant heating needs. You won’t need to wait for the appliance to warm up.

4. Large Spaces Coverage

Modern kerosene heaters contain fans that help to blow the heated air throughout the room, making these appliances more efficient at heating larger rooms than other space heaters.

A standard paraffin heater can supply heat to an area of 4,000 square feet. Therefore, they’re ideal for large homes, warehouses, outdoor events, etc.

How to Choose the Most Suitable Kerosene Heater

As the market teems with thousands of kerosene heaters, you can only get your hands on the right heater if you know how and where to look.
The following are some of the factors to consider when shopping for a paraffin heater.

1. Portability and Storage

Portability is one of the most outstanding benefits of kerosene heaters. And the convention is to purchase a heater that you can easily carry from room to room or from your home to the garage, your workplace etc. Generally, lighter kerosene heaters make for excellent ease of carriage and storage.

2. Convective vs. Radiant Models

Convective kerosene heaters pull in the ambient cold air, heats this air so that the air is removed when it’s already hot. A convective paraffin heater only heats air and not the items around it. Most of these kerosene heaters are round, a design that enables them to disperse heat uniformly throughout the room.

Also, their fuel tanks are normally hidden below the wick to allow all the fuel to rise up the wick for continuous burning in the combustion chamber above.

For optimal heating benefits, place your convective kerosene heater in a central location so that it can evenly supply heat to the entire space.
Radiant kerosene heaters use the same mechanism but in addition to heating the air within the space, they also heat the items around.

Unlike convective kerosene heaters, radiant heaters don’t emit heat in all directions. Instead, they direct the heat towards nearby people and objects. These rectangular paraffin heaters are ideal for smaller spaces but aren’t suitable for use around flammable objects.

Most radiant kerosene heaters come with removable tanks, which allows you to refill the tank without necessarily moving the appliance.

3. Presence of a Fuel Gauge

Some kerosene heaters emit odors right after turning them on or off, or when they run out of fuel. The odors usually result from incomplete combustion of the fuel, which often produces carbon monoxide.

Therefore, you should always monitor the fuel gauge and ensure you replenish the paraffin before it runs out. And that would mean investing in an easy-to-read fuel gauge.

If you can, also purchase a carbon monoxide detector to help determine when the levels of oxygen in the house drop too low.

4. Ease of Fueling

A kerosene heater should be easy to fuel. Therefore, the heater should be light enough even when it’s filled with kerosene.

You might also need you to purchase a heater with a higher tank capacity. That way, you won’t have to keep refilling more frequently than you should. And when refilling the tank, don’t exceed the maximum fill line. Allow some room for the fuel to burn.

5. Safety Features

One of the safety features to look out for is overheat protection. This will ensure the heater automatically turns off if the appliance gets too hot.
Another safety feature to consider is an anti-tip switch, especially if you have young children or pets. The switch will turn the heater off in the event it’s tipped over, to prevent it from burning the leaking fuel. Also, keep an eye out for heaters with a removable fuel tank to ensure safe emptying and refilling.

6. BTU Output

British Thermal Units (BTU) is a unit for measuring the quantity of heat that’s required to raise one pound of water by two degrees Fahrenheit. In the case of a paraffin heater, the BTU implies the amount of heat the appliance can give out in one hour.

The higher the BTU ratings, the more powerful the heater is. You’ll find that most kerosene heaters with higher BTU are the larger models. So, keep this in mind, especially if you’re also shopping based on size considerations.

How Do You Adjust the Wick on a Kerosene Heater?

It’s recommended that wicks should be changed yearly. This all depends on how often you are using your kerosene heater, however. It’s definitely a good idea to check the wick yearly to ensure you are taking the necessary precautions needed to utilize your heater properly.

If the fuel you’re using is of low quality you should change the wick yearly just to make sure no issues arise when heater is in use, better safe than sorry, right? When the wick shows signs of black tar deposits, it’s time to either clean the wick or to replace it. dirty kerosene wick   

Remove the deposits with a soft brush or comb on a regular basis to keep the wick in proper working order and to increase its longevity. If your wick is made of cotton you can trim it a bit (roughly 1/8″) to keep it working for a more prolonged time period. A best practice to use when it comes to replacing your wick is if it seems like it’s getting crusty and old, it’s best to just replace it to ensure no injuries occur.

6 of the Best Kerosene Heaters Reviewed

  • Air pressure gauge
  • LED temperature indicator
  • Highly portable
  • Fuel compatibility

The Dyna-Glo Delux has a heating capacity of 4,200 square feet, making it suitable for large homes and industrial places. It comes fully-assembled and ready to use. The kerosene heater is 98% fuel-efficient and comes with inbuilt temperature controls that allow you to adjust it to your preferred heating requirements.

It also features a thermostat and a host of safety specifications, such as a run-time fuel gauge and a flameout sensor. The CSA-certified appliance is compatible with different kinds of fuels, from 1K kerosene to Fuel Oil #1 and #2, Diesel #1 and #2, and Jet A and JP-8. A handle on the front and back side of the heater makes it incredibly portable.
  • Weighs a paltry 28 pounds
  • High BTU and runtime
  • Emits heat in a 360-degree radius

The Dura Heat kerosene heater comes with a unique no-lift heat chamber, which eliminates the stinky odors that most heaters give when you start them up. The heater has a BTU of 23,800, a runtime of between 8 and 12 hours, and a heating capacity of 1,000 square feet.

Dura Heat is a convective heater, which means it uniformly heats up the room where you place it. To safeguard your safety, the manufacturer included a protective grill around the hot surface. The heater also produces light, which makes it handy during power outages.

  • Fuel gauge for monitoring fuel level
  • Lots of safety specs
  • Batteries and a siphon pump included

The first thing you’ll notice about the Sengoku’s HeatMate Omni Radiant Kerosene Heater is the small and sleek design that makes it ideal for smaller rooms and studios. Sengoku’s HeatMate has a heating capacity of 380 square feet, which is relatively small. However, the appliance makes up for its smaller room coverage by doubling up as a light source.

Sengoku’s HeatMate highly portable, thanks to its 20 pounds weight and a convenient handle. Safety features incorporated include a safety shut-off that kicks in when the machine gets too warm or when the fuel is running low. There’s also a flame adjuster, protective safety grills, and a tip-over switch.

  • BTU of 80,000
  • Capable of Heating 2,000sq/ft
  • Up to 6-hours of Operating Time

Pro-Temp Forced Air Kerosene Heater weighs only 28 pounds, which makes it easy to use both indoors and outdoors. Besides its light weight, portability is also made easier by a handle that’s built on top of the unit.

The machine has a heating capacity of 1,700 square feet and is compatible with both kerosene and diesel. When you buy this heater, you get a built-in thermostat, which you can adjust easily using a large knob that’s designed on the side of the appliance.

  • Delivers BTU of 75,000
  • 6-gallons tank capacity
  • 11-hours runtime
  • 1,750 square feet area covered is relatively large

Dewalt DXH75KT 75,000 BTU is a forced air kerosene heater that’s designed with a two-piece split barrel to ensure durability. The two-split barrel construction also accounts for the heater’s ease of cleaning and maintenance. A convenient handle and two large wheels make this 39 pounds machine fairly portable.

DeWalt DXH75KT also comes with an electronic ignition that eliminates the need for matches. The appliance boasts recessed controls as well as a thermostat control that prevents the valves and knobs from getting damaged during accidents. An intuitive design keeps the fuel from pooling and collecting even when the heater is not being used.

Mr. Heater 175,000-BTU Forced-Air Kerosene Heater

  • 14-gallon tank!
  • Larger heating capacity
  • Larger controls for visibility
  • 10-hours runtime!

The main defining feature of this kerosene heater is its remarkable BTU of 175,000 and as the name suggests, it’s another forced-air kerosene heater on our list. The heater has a heating capacity of 4,375 square feet, making it suitable for warming large houses and industrial sites.

The manufacturer included extra-large controls for ease of operation. Though it’s reasonably heavy, the heater comes with convenient handles as well as a set of wheels that enable you to move it from room to room. The best part is – this heater doesn’t require an outlet to run.

Caring for Your Kerosene Heater

Using your kerosene heater the right way will help you stay away from the four most common hazards associated with these machines while also prolonging their longevity. These hazards include fires and explosions, burns, asphyxiation, and indoor air pollution.

  • The following are some of the care and maintenance procedures you can implement on your kerosene heater.
  • To avoid fires and burns, use the heater in an open place, free from clothes, furniture, curtains, and wall hangings
  • To prevent explosions, never use gasoline and instead, keep to 1K-grade kerosene
  • To preserve the air quality in your room, ensure there’s an adequate ventilation system
  • Refuel the heater outside, and only after turning it off and allowing the tank to cool down
  • Regularly replace the wick
  • Before using the heater, inspect the photocell, check the fuel filter, and clean the fuel nozzle and fan blades. Also, clean or replace the air filter and the lint filter. And after using the heater, flush the fuel tank and store the appliance in a well-ventilated spot, away from high foot traffic
  • For maximum safety, also invest in a fire extinguisher, a smoke detector, and a carbon monoxide detector
    There goes our comprehensive guide on kerosene heaters. We hope you can now proceed to purchase your ideal heater from a point of information.