Should you get a kerosene or propane portable heater?

Posted on: October 24th, 2018 by mitm_admin | 37 Comments

best portable heaters

Kerosene or Propane Portable Heater

In our post-industrial world, we take a lot for granted.

Flip a switch and, voila, you have light. Twist a dial and your oven begins to heat. Turn a key and your car starts. Punch a button and your clothes are cleaned.

But when the power goes out at home, we’re all left in the dark. When we go camping, it’s man/woman vs. nature. Or when we’re doing an outside project, we must face the elements.

A portable heater may not be top of your mind, but perhaps it should be. Unless you have a wood-burning fireplace or stove, a heater is always a good investment. To prepare ahead for a loss of power, you should also consider one of our portable generators.

If you spend a lot of time outdoors or enjoy tinkering in your garage, propane and kerosene heaters from Mi-T-M will help keep you warm. Our heaters come in all different shapes and sizes and we offer dozens of portable heating options. Remember though, all units do require ventilation while in use.

 

portable heaters

See our full selection of heaters at https://www.mitm.com/industrial/portable-heaters/

As you begin shopping, here are 4 questions to keep in mind:

  1. Where and when will you use the heater? We recommend different models for different uses. If you’re on a job site, for example, our kerosene indirect duct-able series is an excellent choice. In a ventilated garage, you might prefer a kerosene forced air model. For dinner parties on the deck, try one of our outdoor patio heaters.
  2. Do you prefer a kerosene or propane model? Kerosene is combustible, burns strongly, and offers a strong amount of heat. By contrast, propane is cleaner burning and can easily be found at most gas stations and grocery stores. It’s also much cheaper than kerosene.
  3. How long will you need to run the heater? A propane model running off a 20-pound propane cylinder set at low will last for 65 hours and set at high will last for 24 hours. However, if you just need some warmth while you’re tooling around in your garage, you might prefer a kerosene forced air model.
  4. Will you need to carry the heater long distances? If so, you will need to consider the weight & wheel kit of each model. If you’ll be using a heater at a job location, be sure it will be accessible.

Heaters can be used in a variety of situations and locations: for emergency power outages, to heat outdoor events, to keep warm while shoveling snow, in ventilated garages and work areas, on construction sites, and the list goes on and on. Wherever you need warmth, a portable heater is the solution.

 

jobsite heater

At Mi-T-M, we’re happy to answer all your questions about portable heater questions. We want to ensure you find just the right heater for your lifestyle.

What’s the easiest to use? Which is more convenient to carry? What’s the price difference? Let’s compare the two types and find out what’s best for you.

 Kerosene Portable Heater

portable kerosene heater

You get more heat for your buck with Mi-T-M kerosene forced air heater, which is a more powerful fuel source. The heat from kerosene heater—measured in British thermal units (BTU’s)—starting about 75,000 BTU’s per gallon. Mi-T-M Propane heaters offer BTU’s starting at 18,000 BTU’s per gallon. Therefore, kerosene will keep you warmer under the stars.

Mi-T-M Heaters come in all different shapes and sizes and usually have only one or two settings, so you’ll need to determine the right size to keep you warm. Mi-T-M offers dozens of portable heating options.

The cost for each type of fuel is something else you’ll want to ponder. Let’s compare apples to apples by looking at just one state. According to the New York State Energy and Development Authority, in that state, kerosene averages about $4.20/gallon, while propane will run you around $3.10/gallon.

Kerosene is combustible, burns strongly and offers a strong amount of heat. Yet propane is by far the cleaner-burning of the two fuels and it’s usually much easier to find and buy.

Next you’ll want to consider how long each type of heater will keep you warm. A propane model running off a 20-pound propane cylinder set at low will last for 65 hours and set at high will last for 24 hours.

portable propane heater

Propane Forced Air Portable Heater

Finally, think about how much weight you’re willing to schlep around. As you weigh the different features of kerosene vs. propane heaters, don’t forget to actually weigh the models themselves. Many units feature wheel kits for ease of transportation, consider how far you will need to transport your heater to and from job sites and work areas.

Contact Mi-T-M with all your portable heater questions. We’ll make sure you find just the right heater. Why? We want to make sure you’re a happy camper!

37 Responses

  1. Donny says:

    Which heater lets off less moisture? I do drywall and need some heat to help dry in colder months

    • mitm_admin says:

      Hi Donny, thanks for he great question. The kerosene heater lets off less moisture than the propane. Hope that was helpful.

      • Knudj says:

        So what is the moisture out between the two heaters, I know propane heater is about 0.98 gal pr hour at 100,000 btu, what is the kerosene water output?

        • mitm_admin says:

          A kerosene heater puts out about 1.1 gallons of moisture per gallon of Kerosene used compared to the propane that puts out .98. The moisture is not something you’ll see, as in a puddle, but more fogging up windows or leaving moisture of surfaces.

          • Gregg says:

            This is not true. Combustion ALWAYS produces water. When the oxygen in the air combines with hydrocarbons they release CO2 and H2O(water). How much water would need to be calculated but water is produced.

          • mitm_admin says:

            Hi Gregg,
            Yep. We were wrong. A kerosene heater puts out about 1.1 gallons of moisture per gallon of Kerosene used compared to the propane that puts out .98. The moisture is not something you’ll see, as in a puddle, but more fogging up windows or leaving moisture of surfaces. Thanks for setting us straight.

  2. Bob Reid says:

    I have a 30-60 btu propane heater. I got it to heat an area in the garage i’m working. The problem is after about an hour it slows down putting out heat. I shake the 20lb propane tank and the heater goes back to putting out max heat for about 10 min. The temp today is 5 above. I’m thinking the cold is effecting how the propane burns. This heater does not me my needs. I’m leaning towards 150btu kerosene unit. Other than the fuel cost, what would be the downsides of using this type of heater in my garage. How many hours of usage running at 150 but would I get per gal?

    • mitm_admin says:

      Hi Bob, Thanks for reaching out to us…I will check with one of you service techs & get you an answer here shortly.

      • mitm_admin says:

        Bob,

        Thank you for your interest in our Mi-T-M Equipment. Do you plan to move towards a Kerosene fired 135k or 190k? Or do you plan to move towards a 150k LP unit? I want to make sure we are giving you correct information on the exact unit you are looking for.

  3. George Watson says:

    I am concerned about safety in terms of ventilation. Which one will give the best safety in the area of air quality while working in my 18×24 garage? I am likely to buy one today.
    George Watson
    North Battleford,
    Saskatchewan Canada

    • mitm_admin says:

      Hi George,
      When using Kerosene or Propane heaters you must have adequate ventilation. If you are using one of these in your 18 x 24 ft. garage you should have all doors open. For propane, we’d recommend the 18,000 BTU cabinet heater, which has a heating area of 600 sq. ft. or the 40-60,000 BTU propane forced air heater with a heating area of 1,500 sq. ft. For kerosene, we recommend the 75,000 BTU kerosene forced air heater that has a 1,700 sq. ft. heating area.

  4. We just moved into a 30 x 60 pole barn for our workshop. We are a non-profit that hires veterans to build burial flag cases for our veterans cemeteries and are the only burial flag case offered at Arlington National Cemetery.

    We have 2-6 veterans a day right now working in our shop. I am very concerned about fumes of a kerosene vs propane and not that educated on either. Putting a heater on and then opening the doors to let the cold back in seems odd to me. Please recommend what you think would work for us. Also, if you offer non-profits such as ours any discounts or promotions please advise.
    Many Thanks !
    Joe Montgomery
    Founder Operation Honor

    • mitm_admin says:

      Hi Joe,

      We do not recommend using our kerosene or propane heaters in any enclosed environment. It sounds like an electric heater would be best for his needs. Mi-T-M does not offer electric portable heaters unfortunately. Hope this was helpful, Thanks!

  5. Pete says:

    Would a propane forced air torpedo heater be a viable option to heat a 15×30 enclosed tent on a deck? Would moisture be an issue? Thank you.

    • mitm_admin says:

      Hi Pete,

      We do not recommend using our kerosene or propane heaters in any enclosed environment. It sounds like an electric heater would be best for his needs. Mi-T-M does not offer electric portable heaters unfortunately. Hope this was helpful, Thanks!

  6. Ole Tater says:

    How much ” outside air” is needed per heater.. Propane – Kerosene to keep the carbon monoxide levels at safe levels in a 650 sqft garage and should you use a certified meter for safety..

    • mitm_admin says:

      Hi Ole,

      It is important to run these heaters in well ventilated areas. Having a fresh air opening of at least 3 square feet for each 100,000 BTU per hour of heater output is recommended. A larger opening will be needed if more than one heater is being used. And yes, you should use a certified CO detector while running these heaters. Hope that answers any questions you may have, Thanks!

  7. Bev Reinbeau says:

    Hi I’m living in my camper for few more weeks my propane furnace went out which of the portable heathers do you recommend in my camper for heat propane or kerosene

    • mitm_admin says:

      Hi Beverly,

      We do not recommend using our kerosene or propane heaters in any enclosed environment. It sounds like an electric heater would be best for his needs. Mi-T-M does not offer electric portable heaters unfortunately. Hope this was helpful, Thanks!

  8. Would like to use a kerosene heater to warm up my bedroom. Will place the heater in the passage in front of my bedroom. Will that be safe. The front door will only be a few feet from the heater. Will I have to keep the front door open for air. Will be using the heater especially at night. May not be too safe. The passage in front of my bedroom leads to a large family room. Will that be enough for ventilation. Please let me know. Thanks.

    • mitm_admin says:

      Hi Karen,

      Unfortunately the kerosene heaters are not safe to use in a home, you will need to find an electric alternative. Kerosene heaters are great for outdoor use or in a well ventilated area, but the fumes are unsafe in enclosed spaces. Hope that helps, let us know if you have any other questions.

  9. vicki clinger says:

    Which heater would be better for storing in case of an emergency power outage?

  10. Sergio Diaz says:

    Hi, I live in Omaha and my garage (one car) has a 238sqft area with a permanent opening in the ceiling of 2sqft. that connects to the attic in addition to two side windows, the back and garage door. ventilation should not be a problem, in fact, it appears that just the opening above is sufficient for a 60000 or 75000BTU unit.
    I have access to K1 kerosene six blocks from home and propane within a mile. So my question is; kerosene or propane? Is it a matter of preference or in my case you have a suggestion about one or the other? What would you do if you live in my house?
    Thank you.

    • mitm_admin says:

      Hi Sergio,

      Either a kerosene or propane heater will work. You will have less fumes with a propane, however we recommend to keep your garage door completely open while using the heater. Let us know if you have any other questions & feel free to give us a call at 1-800-553-9053 for quick response. Thanks!

  11. Hi I run a 3,000 sq ft yoga studio. It is currently heated by an air blower and 10 infrared heaters. I am looking to reduce the cost of my bills. I was looking at either deisel , keresone, or parafin heater to use before the class started to boost the overall warmth of the space. I have read the Parafin gives off moisture, is it a lot? also concerned with smell as. What would your recommendations be please ?

    • mitm_admin says:

      Hi Heather,

      Diesel and kerosene heaters are not intended to be used indoors with limited ventilation because they give off carbon monoxide. MI-T-M does not have a paraffin heater in our product line unfortunately. Hope that helps, let us know if you have any other questions & feel free to give us a call at 1-800-553-9053 for quick response. Thanks!

  12. Eddie says:

    er…

    “Next you’ll want to consider how long each type of heater will keep you warm. A propane model running off a 20-pound propane cylinder set at low will last for 65 hours and set at high will last for 24 hours.”

    You didn’t mention of how long a kerosene heater will run on with comparable fuel costs? lol.

    • mitm_admin says:

      Hi Eddie,

      For direct comparison, it depends on the unit:

      135K BTU = $5.15 per hour on propane
      135K BTU = $10 per hour on kerosene

  13. Brian says:

    i have a 24×32 with 8′ ceiling R19 walls R15 insulation . Been considering getting a propane torpedo style heater to heat up fast before I go out to work in the pole barn and then turning off and I feel will keep it comfortable for several hours my question 100,000 BTU propane heater how mush propane will it use currently I only have a 20 lb propane cylinder and how long do you think it will take to bring the inside temperature from 40 degrees to 60 degrees ?

  14. James says:

    I’m a plasterer and do cultured stone, in the winter we tent and run heaters . We use kerosene forced air heaters but because of expense of kerosene we use diesel fuel.
    What do you think about this? How safe and whatever thoughts about doing this I would like to know .

    • mitm_admin says:

      Hi James,

      Diesel fuel can be used and will not affect the operation of the kerosene forced air heater. Make sure you have proper ventilation with any portable heater. Feel free to give us a call at 1-800-553-9053 if we can help with any other questions. Thanks!

  15. John says:

    Hi,

    I know you say you cannot use forced air propane heaters inside an enclosed area. However, what if I have the heater outside and than duct the heat inside my building. Would this be considered safe?

  16. Holly says:

    Hi, we are looking to warm our garage on cold days where we’ve made it into a hangout room for our teenager and overflow space of our home. Our garage has an additional external side door that goes from outside to in the garage. With an 18,000 btu propane heater is it safe to leave just the extra door open and keep the garage door closed and but a carbon monoxide detector just to be safe? Our gas water heater is located in the garage also. I was just reading one one of your responses that a 3×3 opening is sufficient for a 100,000 btu heater. Did I understand that correctly and will just opening that one door with something propping it open be ok to do? Thanks!

    • mitm_admin says:

      Hi Holly,

      Leaving the walk door to the outside open should provide enough air exchange to operate the heater. However when a room is going to be occupied, make sure there is also a working CO detector in the room. Feel free to give us a call at 1-800-553-9053 if we can help with any other questions. Thanks!

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