Advantages of kerosene heaters
There are many advantages to choosing a kerosene heater for your cold weather needs. The indoor models, like the Sengoku HeatMate OR-77, don’t need to be plugged into an electrical outlet. Instead, they require the use of a battery, so they are perfect in emergency situations like a power outage.
The forced air models or a radiant kerosene heater, like the Pro-Temp PT-70-SS, do need to be plugged in, but they have high BTUs and larger coverage areas for heating up large workspaces. This can include garages, construction sites, warehouses, or other job-related areas.
Another advantage of the kerosene heaters is that they have large fuel tanks and long runtimes. This allows you to use them during an entire shift or for the length of a snowstorm that knocks out your power without needing a refill every few hours. When you’re not using these heaters, they are easy to store away for the next emergency or cold season.
Many of these models are lightweight when they aren’t full of fuel, with carry handles that make them easy to carry with you wherever you need them. Some of the heavier ones even come with wheels and handles for added convenience.
Features to consider while choosing a kerosene heater
If you’re having trouble deciding which kerosene heater is the right one for you, you may just need some more information to help you choose. The features each one has to offer will help you decide based on the space you want to heat and how you intend to use it.
All kerosene heaters come with a BTU rating. This tells you the amount of energy the heater produces per hour. The higher the rating, the more heat the unit can create. Of course, you shouldn’t just buy one with the highest BTU rating and think this is the right choice since this can cause some issues.
If the space is too small, you may think to turn down your heater, which means it isn’t burning the fuel at the proper rate, which can cause odors as well. These higher BTU models may also produce more carbon monoxide, which is extremely dangerous if you’re in an unventilated area.
When you’re trying to figure out the BTU level you need for a certain space, there is a way to calculate the highest rating you need. Just multiply the square footage of the room by 28. So, if your room is 400 square feet, multiply this by 28, which means you would need a heater with 11,200 BTU or less to give the most efficient heating possible.
As we said above, the coverage area is important when it comes to the BTU rating for the heater you buy. Most models don’t require you to use a BTU calculator, though, since the majority of them already have a recommended coverage area for their models. For instance, the Dyna-Glo RMC-95C6B has a coverage area of up to 1,000 square feet. This means it will work efficiently in a room of this size or smaller, heating it up quickly.
If you try to use this model in a larger room, it likely won’t work as well. It may take much longer to heat up the space or never reach the desired temperature at all. This is why it is best to check the coverage area on the model you’re considering to be sure it will work properly in the space you need it for.
You should also consider where you plan to use your heater. The smaller indoor models usually have a smaller coverage area than the forced air models, which are meant for more ventilated areas like construction sites, warehouses, or garages, all of which are usually much bigger than the rooms in your home.
The way a kerosene heater works is simpler than you may think. There is a large fuel tank at the bottom and a wick to draw that fuel from that tank up into the combustion area. Most of them also include an ignition system that lights the wick, plus an off switch that puts it out again. The combustion time depends on a few factors.
One is the size of the tank since the more fuel you have in the heater, the longer it can run. If you also have a thermostat that can change the temperature, this can also affect the combustion time. If you have the heater set at a lower temperature, it won’t be burning the fuel as quickly, so it will last longer than when set at a higher temperature.
Another feature that can affect the combustion time is the temperature of the building or area where you’re using the heater. If you have the thermostat set at a specific temperature, once it reaches it, it will turn itself off, saving some fuel, but if it never reaches that temperature, it will run continuously, burning the fuel faster.
This is the reason many heaters don’t have a specific runtime. Instead, they have a maximum run time. For instance, the Heatstar By Enerco HS50K has a runtime of up to 11 hours, so 11 hours is the maximum amount of time it will work depending on all of the factors listed above.
Fuel tank capacity
Though a huge fuel tank may seem like a good idea, the size you need depends on a few things. One is when you plan on using it. If you’re going to be running your kerosene heater on a daily basis, a large fuel tank may be a good option to reduce the amount of time you’ll spend filling it up. If you only need this type of heater for emergency situations, a large fuel tank may not be the best thing to get, especially if you don’t have a ton of space to store a huge model you’ll rarely be lighting up.
Another thing to consider when choosing the size of the fuel tank is portability. A kerosene heater may be light when empty but as soon as you fill it up with a few gallons of fuel, it will weigh quite a bit more. If you plan on leaving it in one spot, this won’t be an issue, but moving it from job site to job site is going to get pretty strenuous if you’re lugging a big heater like the L.B. White CP125CK, which has a huge tank that can hold up to ten gallons of fuel.
The size of the fuel tank also affects the combustion time, so if you only need to run it for a few hours at a time, a smaller fuel tank should be fine. A large tank will allow the heater to run for much longer, so for long work shifts, a bigger tank may be a better choice.
Kerosene heaters come in a few shapes and sizes. The indoor models can be round or squared, while the outdoor models are longer cylinder-shaped heaters. The dimensions of the model you choose depend on the type you need.
If you’re using your heater inside your home, basement, or garage, you need one that will heat the area efficiently without taking up too much of your space. Outside at a construction site or in a huge warehouse, you won’t have the same space issues, so a larger model like the L.B. White CP125CK or the Mr. Heater MH125KTR would likely work just fine without limiting the area you have to move around in.
Another thing you need to consider is storage and portability. A smaller model can be tucked away in a closet or the corner of your basement or attic when you’re not using it. A larger one may not fit so nicely. The bigger the kerosene heater is, the harder it will be to carry around, too, so keep this in mind if you plan on taking to work and then back home again at the end of the day.
The warranty of any product protects you from any issues that the product may have before you even purchase it. Most of the kerosene heaters in our reviews have a one-year warranty, which covers you in case of any defects with the parts or that are caused by the manufacturing process. There are two on our list that double this warranty time, the Sengoku HeatMate OR-77 and the Sengoku HeatMate HMN-110. This two-year warranty gives you extra time to test out the product, which is essential if you only plan to use it occasionally or only for emergencies. Some issues may not show up right away, so the extra time may be needed to give the heater a good workout to ensure it is in perfect working condition.
Though heating your home or job site well is the main reason to get a kerosene heater, there are a few extra features you may want to look for. These add to the convenience, making these models easier to use in any situation.
One thing you may want to look for is wheels on the bottom of the heater. There are usually only two of them, located at one side of the heater, similar to the wheel position on a wheelbarrow. For larger models, this makes it easier to move them around without straining your back. These also come with some type of leg on the back end and a handle for pulling it along.
Though smaller models may lack the wheels, they still need to be portable. This is why they come with at least one handle on the top of the heater that you can use to carry it around wherever you need it. Some models also have side handles for carrying it with two hands.
Another handy feature is an LCD display, which tells you everything you need to know, such as the temperature the heater is running at, the temperature of the room, and even any error codes for issues that may occur while it’s running.
A fuel gauge takes the guesswork out of filling the tank since you will always know exactly how much is in there. This also helps you figure out how much longer the heater will run before it needs a refill.
An ignition system lets you start the heater with a simple push of a button rather than using a lighter or a match. This is also safer since it keeps your hands well away from the wick when it is lit, so you won’t be risking any burns.
A temperature knob lets you adjust the heating level according to the chilliness of the room or area you’re using it in. A thermostat also adds to the convenience, shutting the machine off if the room heats up to the temperature you’ve set it at.
An auto shut-off is a great safety feature. If you should happen to bump the heater, knocking it over, you don’t want it to continue burning or a fire will be in your future. The auto shut-off turns it off if it starts to tip. Sometimes there is also an auto shut-off if the fuel tank runs low or if the heater starts to overheat.
Some safety tips
When using a kerosene heater, there are a few safety tips you may want to keep in mind.
- Only use it in a room that is well ventilated by opening a door or window.
- Though quite safe to use, installing a CO detector in your home is necessary.
- Read the instructions and follow them exactly to ensure the proper usage.
- Do not leave the heater unattended at any time.
- Keep the wick at the proper length for correct burning.
- Clean and maintain the unit regularly.
- Use only the fuel recommended by the manufacturer.
- Only refill the fuel tank outside when the heater is cool, using a proper siphon pump or funnel to reduce spillage.
- Always keep the kerosene heater away from combustible items, such as furniture, curtains, aerosol sprays, or stored fuel.
- Store the kerosene in the proper containers at all times.