Image source: Preparedness Advice
Whether you’re looking to save money on electricity or prepare for potential power outages, kerosene heaters are useful alternatives for electric space heaters. The type of heater you choose depends on your budget and the size of the space that needs heating.
What are the best indoor kerosene heaters available for your home? Let’s find out.
On this page
- What are BTUs?
- Convection vs. radiant heat
- The 5 best kerosene heaters for 2023
- Safety tips for kerosene heaters
- Is a kerosene heater right for your home?
What are BTUs?
Ideally, you want to choose a kerosene heater with the most BTUs (British Thermal Units) available. BTUs represent the amount of energy a kerosene heater will use to heat a specific space.
The type of heater you choose depends on your budget and how much space you need to cover. While most kerosene heaters will include BTU to square feet conversions on the label, you can easily calculate it by multiplying the square footage by 20 to find the required BTU.
Convection vs. radiant heat
The two different types of portable kerosene heaters are convection and radiant. BTU forced air kerosene heaters and propane heaters are incredibly powerful but heavy, and significantly more expensive. We don’t recommend them for indoor residential spaces.
Typically, convective heaters are used best for larger areas and radiant heaters are best suited for smaller areas. There are a few differences, but we’ve laid them out to help you decide what’s best for you.
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Convection kerosene heaters operate by pulling in cool air and distributing heat, which rises and eventually diffuses back to the bottom, creating circulation and even distribution of warm air. These types of heaters are best suited for larger areas and rooms that need more warmth.
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Radiant heaters don’t rely on circulating air or any fans and provide heat directly to you. While they may not heat a room as well as a convection heater, radiant kerosene heaters can be more energy efficient by heating their immediate surroundings faster. You’ll see radiant heaters outside at restaurants and in smaller apartments.
The 5 best kerosene heaters for 2023
Dyna-Glo WK24 Convection Heater
Image source: Amazon
- Black: $184.80
- White: $152.57
The Dyna-Glo WK24 is an indoor kerosene convection heater with a 23,000 BTU output up to 1,000 sq. ft for 8-12 hours. According to Dyna-Glo, the WK24 is a similarly updated version of the RMC-95C6B model, which was discontinued in 2015. This non-electric heater also features an automatic ignition and a one-touch shut-off button.
Sengoku KeroHeat CV-23K Convection Heater
Image source: Amazon
The CV-23K is similar to Dyna-Glo’s WK24, with the same fuel capacity and similar heat output of 23,500 BTUs, but it also includes several safety features such as a flame adjuster, a start push-button, and automatic shutoff in case it tips over or overheats. Perhaps the biggest selling point to this heater is its low price point, making it one of the cheaper heaters available.
Sengoku HeatMate HMN-110 Radiant Heater
Image source: Amazon
Best for small spaces like garages and basements and outdoor use, this radiant heater can heat up to 400 square feet for up to 14 hours. The HeatMate HMN-110 prioritizes safety, featuring a protective grill, carrying handle, an automatic shutoff, flame adjuster, and a tip-over switch that will shut off the heater if it falls over.
Kero World KW-24G Convection Heater
Image source: McLendon Hardware
The Kero World KW-24G heater is perfect for large areas, providing up to 12 hours of heat up to 1,000 square feet. In addition to protective grills, the KW-24G also includes a top grill, drip tray, and anti-tilt protection. Its pleasant mica window also allows you to view the flame while it burns.
Kero World KW-12 Compact Convection Heater
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If you need a smaller indoor kerosene heater, look for the KW-12 compact heater. This lightweight heater still packs a punch with 10,500 BTUs for up to 15 hours with a one-gallon tank size of kerosene. The KW-12 also includes a two-year warranty If you need something small for emergencies, this is a solid choice.
Safety Tips for Kerosene Heaters
There are several key safety factors to keep in mind before using your indoor kerosene heater. We recommend reviewing these tips to ensure you're heating your home safely.
Only use kerosene
Always use 1-K grade gallons of kerosene for your heater. Never use any type of alternative fuel source such as gasoline or diesel fuel, as this could lead to a fire or an explosion. Refueling your heater can also be dangerous, so make sure to follow the manual and use the siphon pump for refilling convective heaters. Radiant heaters typically have a removable fuel tank, which allows the heater to stay in one place. Never refill it in a warm space and make sure it’s away from any central heating systems to avoid a fire or explosion.
Kerosene heaters can emit harmful and deadly chemicals like carbon monoxide. Make sure to place your heater in an area with ventilation and that your carbon monoxide detector is functioning properly so you don’t run the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
Keep away from furniture
Make sure that you keep your kerosene heater away from any furniture like window curtains or couches that could easily catch on fire. We recommend setting up your kerosene heater in your garage as opposed to your bedroom, far away from any flammable materials.
Check the wick and change fuel
Performing routine maintenance such as checking the wick once a week and cleaning any spilled fuel is essential for safe use. Using old fuel from the previous season can also be dangerous, so make sure to use a full tank of new kerosene before it spoils.
Where you live
Kerosene heaters are currently banned in California and Massachusetts due to the high risk of carbon monoxide poisoning without proper ventilation.
Is a Kerosene Heater Right for Your Home?
If you live in an area where power outages are prevalent, indoor kerosene heaters are an inexpensive, non-electric option for heating parts of your home in case of emergencies. Kerosene is a combustible heat source that can be dangerous if treated improperly. Always follow your heater’s manual and perform routine maintenance to safely use your kerosene heater.