11 Best Kerosene Heaters – Universal Emergency Options

Unless you’ve got a stand-by generator that can supply your home with continuous energy, it pays to know what your alternative power source can bring to life. Certainly, lots of generators can supply your entire home, but only for as long as there’s fuel in the tank.

That’s why many homeowners pick and choose which devices and appliances they consider vital during a power outage. And more often than not, heating is ranked first place. The only problem? A typical central heating system will use around 5000 watts of power over a 9-hour period.

If you were going to hook it up to your generator, you probably wouldn’t be able to power anything else. So, what’s a humble homeowner can do? Save your generator for all of the other devices and appliances you need, and invest instead in the best kerosene heater.

Designed to provide affordable, lasting heat within a radius of open space, these nifty little machines can keep you and your family warm while you wait for the power to come back on. Sure enough, there are quite a bunch of them presently on the market and to help you narrow down your choices, we’ve gone ahead and ranked the 11 best picks for you.

Our Top 11 Kerosene Heaters 2019

Now, you’ve probably taken a gander at the available kerosene heaters only to be welcomed by an overwhelming selection. Indoor, outdoor, portable heaters, all equipped with a variety of features that set each model apart. Where do you even begin?

We used our own list of criteria to compare and rank each of the top performing models presently available. Looking into space coverage, hours of operation, heat rating, safety features, economy, convenience, and maintenance, we were able to choose the 11 top-shelf options that are guaranteed to satisfy.


Editor choice 1 Dyna-Glo RMC95C6B
Dyna-Glo RMC95C6B
(Best Indoor Kerosene Heater)

Compact, lightweight, yet powerful and efficient, the Dyna-Glo RMC95C6B is your all-around indoor heater – literally. Its cylindrical body allows heat to flow around evenly around a 360-degree radius, keeping your entire space nice and cozy.

2 Sengoku HeatMate HMN-110
Sengoku HeatMate HMN-110
(Best Radiant Kerosene Heater)

The warm, radiant glow let off by the Sengoku HeatMate HMN-110 can create a gorgeous golden hour feel inside your home. But aside from its lighting benefits, the unit produces substantial heat sufficient for enclosed rooms and small living spaces.

3 Pro-Temp PT-80-OFR
Pro-Temp PT-80-OFR
(Best Utility Kerosene Heater)

The ever-capable PT-80-OFR was designed to keep you warm even as you move around outside your home. The perfect utilitarian choice, this unit can make even the coldest garage a comfortably heated safe haven.

Best seller 4 Dyna-Glo KFA180DGD
Dyna-Glo KFA180DGD
(Best Forced Air Kerosene Heater)

The Dyna-Glo FKA180DGD is a well-endowed machine that boasts a wealth of added features for your convenience. Producing up to 180,000 BTUs of adjustable heat, this unit can efficiently heat up even the most spacious of utility spaces.

5 Mr. Heater MH50KR
Mr. Heater MH50KR
(Best Kerosene Heater for Extremely Low Temperatures)

Touting the badge for best cold-weather starting capabilities, the Mr. Heater MH50KR is an efficient, well-built design that extends versatility by letting you use a range of fuel types to sustain seamless operations.

Best value 6 Dura Heat DH2304S
Dura Heat DH2304S
(Best Kerosene Heater for Tight Spaces)

Designed for small dwelling spaces, the minimal-emission, no-odor operation of the Dura Heat DH2304S make heating up your tiny home safe and hassle-free. And with just enough power to warm up your entire dwelling, this might very well be the only heater you’ll need for your compact space.

(Best Versatile Kerosene Heater)

Here’s a model that’s ready to match your changing needs. The STANLEY ST-80T-KFA features a multi-fuel engine and an adjustable thermostat that you can tweak and adjust to extend run time and adapt temperatures to meet your unique needs.

8 Sengoku HeatMate OR-77
Sengoku HeatMate OR-77
(Best Portable Kerosene Heater)

Whether it’s a camping trip or a power shortage, the portable Sengoku HeatMate OR-77 is here to deliver. The tiny unit produces 10,000 BTUs for a comfortable, toasty feel that can keep you warm for more than half a day.

9 DeWalt DXH75KT
DeWalt DXH75KT
(Best Durable Kerosene Heater)

Looking for something that will see you through the roughest, toughest winters? The DeWalt DXH75KT is the result of world-class North-American engineering, ensuring maximum return on investment over decades of reliable performance.

10 L.B. White CP125CK Tradesman K125
L.B. White CP125CK Tradesman K125
(Best Powerful Kerosene Heater)

Basketball court or warehouse? Whatever you’re trying to heat, the L.B. White CP125CK Tradesman K125 packs more than enough power to put a lid on the cold with its aggressive motor that generates up to 125,000 BTUs.

Best price 11 Dyna-Glo WK11C8
Dyna-Glo WK11C8
(Best Budget Kerosene Heater)

The nifty Dyna-Glo WK11C8 is small and affordable, yet impressively powerful. Working effortlessly to heat up spaces up to 500 square feet, this compact companion can be a perfect choice if you’re looking for quick and easy back-up heating.



1 Editor choice

Dyna-Glo RMC95C6B – Best Indoor Kerosene Heater


  • Space capacity: 1,000 square feet
  • Fuel tank capacity: 1.9 gallons
  • Run time: 11 hours
  • Fuel: 1-K grade kerosene only
  • Heat rating: 23,000 BTU/hour
  • 2 “C” cell batteries are included

Our top pick for the best indoor kerosene heater is none other than the Dyna-Glo RMC95C6B. The efficient unit produces an impressive 23,000 BTU per hour, and heats up spaces up to 1,000 square feet inside. The cylindrical body shape means that it can cover 360 degrees of space around it, allowing equal heat distribution all throughout your space.

A space heater is an ideal means of keeping warm without heating up the entire house so choose your Best Space Heater For Basement and stay warm during the cold seasons!

Dyna-Glo RMC-95C6

Compact yet robust, this durable little model doesn’t need electricity to run, letting you leverage its benefits even when the power’s out. On a single 1.9-gallon full tank, the RMC95C6B can operate for up to 11 hours at maximum heat, so running the device for a whole day takes no more than 4 gallons of kerosene. On top of all that, the unit weighs a mere 23.1 pounds which paves the way for easy transport, set-up, and storage.

Equipped with a wealth of safety features including automatic ignition, one-touch shut-off, and a protective grill, the RMC95C6B delivers excellent performance for residential applications. In fact, some people might call it the perfect kerosene heater, if not for the slight odor it lets out at shut off. Note that the heater is recommended to be used in properly ventilated premises only!

  • Lightweight construction allows easy set-up and storage in and around your home
  • Able to heat up to 1,000 square feet of living space, which may be more than enough to cover up to 3/5 the floor area of an average household
  • Impressive fuel economy requires no more than two full tanks for a whole day of operation
  • Equipped with safety features that prevent all sorts of accidents and injuries while using the device indoors
  • Convenient operation allows automatic on and off for instant heat when you need it
  • Needs assemblance
  • Let’s off a mild chemical smell upon shut off

Sengoku HeatMate HMN-110 – Best Radiant Kerosene Heater


  • Space capacity: 380 square feet
  • Fuel tank capacity: 1.2 gallons
  • Run time: 14 hours
  • Fuel: 1-K grade kerosene only
  • Heat rating: 10,000 BTU/hour
  • 2 “C” cell batteries are included

Designed to project heat towards a single, large, specific area, the Sengoku HeatMate HMN-110 makes the perfect household addition for spaces where there might be cold spots. The intuitive design uses an insulation panel that intensifies heat and throws it towards your desired direction.

The Sengoku HeatMate HMN-110 produces roughly 10,000 BTUs per hour, covering up to 380 square feet of space. For these reasons, it makes and ideal choice if you’re hoping to heat up an enclosed room within your home, like your master bedroom or your kitchen.

If you’re using your basement as a living space, working area or gym you should keep it warm during a cold season. Therefore check our guide and find your Best Space Heater For Basement!

Compact at just 22.6 pounds in weight, this model comes with a modest 1.2-gallon fuel tank capacity that can last a whopping 14 hours at maximum heat. This makes it one of the most fuel-efficient choices on our list, using no more than 0.08 gallons per hour of operation. You can notice during assembly though that the pieces ‘snap’ together in a weird, cheap sort of way. They’re definitely well put together, but lacking that robust feel you would want out of something that could potentially be a hazard.

  • Lightweight build lets you carry and store the kerosene heater around with relative ease
  • Radiant functionality maximizes heat and directs it to your designated area
  • Extended run time reaches up to 14 hours on just 1.2 gallons of kerosene
  • Substantial heat production enough to heat up an enclosed bedroom or similar spaces
  • Creates a lovely sunset-colored glow that doubles as lighting for power outages
  • Pieces might feel cheap which can be a bit of a drawback for users looking for a durable build that protects against potential hazards

Pro-Temp PT-80-OFR – Best Utility Kerosene Heater


  • Space capacity: 2,000 square feet
  • Fuel tank capacity: 4 gallons
  • Run time: 6 hours
  • Fuel: 1-K grade kerosene, or diesel #2
  • Heat rating: 80,000 BTU/hour
  • No electricity or batteries required

Moving away from the emergency selection of kerosene heaters intended for power shortages, we have the Pro-Temp PT-80-OFR. The utilitarian choice is a powerful kerosene heater that was designed for a bunch of different household applications. A popular choice among homestead keepers, this model works well for barns, garages, workshops, and other utility areas in and around your property.

Built for reliability, this beastly machine produces 80,000 BTUs per hour, covering an area of up to 2,000 square feet with no problems. Made of toughened steel, the burner housing features ceramic material that helps to maximize the power of the heat through radiation. For an added layer of safety, the unit uses an innovative cooling fan to keep all of its internal mechanisms in proper working condition during extended operations.

At 37 pounds, the Pro-Temp PT-80-OFR is certainly one of the easier choices for effortless operation, set-up, and storage. Designed with your convenience in mind, this model features a carrying handle, an easy grip fuel cap, and a fuel gauge monitor that improves the overall user experience. Sure, it guzzles quite a lot of fuel over a short period of time. But with its combination of power and compact size, it does make up for it.

  • Construction feels sturdy and stable, and the durable design survives even the toughest of outdoor conditions
  • Intuitive ceramic interior works to radiate heat to maximize each BTU
  • Provides near instant heat even in significantly colder situations
  • Versatile design accepts both kerosene and diesel to give you more options
  • Relatively compact for the kind of power that it produces
  • Guzzling 4 gallons of fuel over a short 6-hour period, it’s not exactly the most economical choice
4 Best seller

Dyna-Glo KFA180DGD – Best Forced Air Kerosene Heater


  • Space capacity: 4,200 square feet
  • Fuel tank capacity: 13 gallons
  • Run time: 10-12 hours
  • Fuel: 1-K grade kerosene, diesel #1, diesel #2, fuel oil #1, fuel oil #2, jet A, and JP-8
  • Heat rating: 140,000-180,000 BTU/hour
  • Electricity required
  • There are 50k-, 80k-, 135k-BTU models available

Now, here’s a choice for those who need to heat up a really big space. The Dyna-Glo FKA180DGD is a monster of a kerosene heater, delivering up to 180,000 BTUs per hour. The juggernaut covers a space of up to 4,200 square feet, letting you provide sufficient warmth to large, well-ventilated areas like barns, open garages, and job sites.

The top-of-the-line heater comes with a range of features that put it a cut above the rest. Comfort Control Thermostat, built-in digital diagnostics, air pressure gauge, and run time gauge all tell you about current operations without having to do more than glance over at your heater. All of this is fitted into a control panel that rests along the side of the ergonomic frame. A push handle and a set of never-flat tires make transporting the FKA180DGD a breeze, and an integrated shut-off heater turns the unit off in the unlikely event of overheating or flame-out.

Letting you adjust BTUs from 140,000 up to 180,000, the Dyna-Glo FKA180DGD is a unit that lets you maximize fuel savings by matching its performance with your needs. On the downside, it consumes much fuel due to heavy-duty heating and won’t function without electricity.

  • Versatile functionality lets you adjust BTU output to match your needs and extend run time
  • Takes in a various number of fuel types, giving you more options for every kind of situation
  • Supreme build quality survives heavy utilitarian abuse through the toughest conditions
  • Digital diagnostics and gauges tell you exactly how your unit is working at a glance
  • Ergonomic construction allows easy transport and storage
  • Needs electricity
  • Consumes pretty much fuel

Mr. Heater MH50KR – Best Kerosene Heater for Extremely Low Temperatures


  • Space capacity: 1,250 square feet
  • Fuel tank capacity: 4 gallons
  • Run time: 11 hours
  • Fuel: 1-K grade kerosene, diesel #1, diesel #2, fuel oil #1, fuel oil #2, and JP-8
  • Heat rating: 50,000 BTU/hour
  • Electricity required

If one thing’s for sure, it’s that life doesn’t stop even in the cold of winter. So even as that snow piles up, all of the tasks in and around your home or job site still need to be done. That’s where the Mr. Heater MH50KR comes in. Designed for especially cold weather, the machine can start effortlessly and immediately even in the coldest conditions, letting you enjoy instant heat with a single press of a button.

Inside, the unit uses fully enclosed motors that allow optimal performance even in the most challenging conditions. A high output fan works to distribute the heat produced by the unit, creating an even warmth throughout your space that covers every square foot. And of course, to give you a little extra peace of mind, the model is prepared with CAD cells that turn the unit off in certain unsafe conditions.

Running on a wide variety of fuels, the MH50KR can take up to 4 gallons for 11 hours of operation. But kerosene heater first time owners beware – the manual that comes with this thing might very well be written in some alien language. Unfortunately, they don’t do such a good job at providing instructions. On the upside, tech support is relatively easy to reach and you can find manual in English on Amazon.

  • Starts effortlessly in freezing conditions providing almost instant warmth within minutes
  • High output fan aims to spread out heat as rapidly as possible to combat cold quickly
  • Capable of operating with up to seven different kinds of fuel to let give you more options depending on your situation
  • Fully enclosed motors promise exceptional performance and durability even under the toughest of conditions
  • Adjustable thermostat lets you pick from a range of 50,000 to 180,000 BTU – the widest on our list
  • The user manual could be more helpful
6 Best value

Dura Heat DH2304S – Best Kerosene Heater for Tight Spaces


  • Space capacity: 600 square feet
  • Fuel tank capacity: 1.9 gallons
  • Run time: 12 hours
  • Fuel: 1-K grade kerosene only
  • Heat rating: 23,800 BTU/hour
  • 2 D batteries are included

Apartment dwellers, rejoice! The Dura Heat DH2304S is here to take your small living space and turn it into a toasty retreat, even in the dead of winter. This 23,000 BTU unit can easily heat up your entire space, letting you enjoy comfort anywhere in your apartment as long as you leave some doors open.

Another thing that makes it especially ideal for those who live in smaller dwellings is the fact that it boasts the lowest emissions among the available choices. The no-lift chamber reduces odor and allows a relatively smell-free operation, perfect for homes with limited ventilation. The compact 30-pound cylindrical body projects heat around a 360-degree radius, ensuring even heat distribution when placed centrally in your space.

Efficient, silent, and odor-free, the Dura Heat DH2304S might just be the solution to that crippling cold that bites into your small space during power shortages (for more heaters for smaller areas read our guide – 8 Best Tabletop Patio Heaters and create your warm and cozy evening). Do note though that the no-lift design also limits you to auto ignition since there’s not enough room to reach the wick with a match. Sure, it will light with the auto feature, but it might take more time than you’re willing to wait.

  • No odor operations let you work the heater in tight spaces without the offensive smells
  • Minimal emissions make the heater safe to run even in areas with restricted ventilation
  • Exceptional fuel economy lets you run the heater for a full day with less than 4 gallons of fuel
  • 360-degree heat projection evenly distributes warmth throughout your space
  • Relatively compact size and lightweight body permit easy storage
  • No lift design makes it difficult to reach the wick in case you were hoping to light the heater faster than the automatic ignition permits

STANLEY ST-80T-KFA – Best Versatile Kerosene Heater


  • Space capacity: 2,000 square feet
  • Fuel tank capacity: 4 gallons
  • Run time: 9 hours
  • Fuel: 1-K grade kerosene, diesel #1, diesel #2, fuel oil #1, fuel oil #2, JP8, and jet-A
  • Heat rating: 80,000 BTU/hour
  • Electricity required

The STANLEY ST-80T-KFA is easily one of the most versatile choices you’re likely to find. This outdoor kerosene heater lets you adjust almost every aspect of operations, including thermostat and fuel type so you can achieve functionality that matches your needs. The durable build boasts STANLEY brand stability, using premium quality steel and motors for excellent functionality even through heavy abuse.

The multi-fuel design accepts seven types of fuel, letting you fire up your heater with what’s available to you. Sure, anything other than kerosene might combust and cause some smoke and odor, but positioning your heater somewhere well ventilated might help relieve that issue. On the topic of fuel, the ST-80T-KFA takes up to 4 gallons of fuel at a time, keeping the unit up and running for up to 9 hours max.

Turning down the thermostat can help extend the machine’s run time. And of course, that’s also what makes the ST-80T-KFA particularly attractive to buyers in search of a unit that meets their ever-changing needs. Now, why didn’t we rank it higher? The unbelievably short cord that comes with the unit seems more than unreasonable, especially if you’re using it on a job site. Fortunately, an extension cord can easily rectify that issue.

  • Heavy duty construction works well against the typical wear and tear damage of daily use
  • Adaptive design allows users to adjust thermostat for more precise heating
  • Uses a variety of fuel types to let you operate no matter what’s on hand
  • Comes with built-in shut-off safety system and air pressure gauge to add a layer of safety
  • Strong fan output effectively distributes heat within minutes of turning the machine on
  • Combusts and produces smoke when running on fuel other than kerosene
  • Very short cord necessitates the use of an extension cord in almost all cases

Sengoku HeatMate OR-77 – Best Portable Kerosene Heater


  • Space capacity: 380 square feet
  • Fuel tank capacity: 1.2 gallons
  • Run time: 14 hours
  • Fuel: 1-K grade kerosene only
  • Heat rating: 10,000 BTU/hour
  • Batteries required

The Sengoku HeatMate OR-77’s tiny footprint lets you bring warmth wherever you go. This portable design permits both indoor and outdoor use, allowing you to leverage its benefits whether you’re sitting in the comfort of home or enjoying the great outdoors (for more heaters suitable for indoor use read our review – 8 Best Tabletop Patio Heaters and choose your best one). The compact little unit features a modest 1.2-gallon fuel tank that can keep you warm for up to 14 hours.

What if it’s windy outside? Lots of users have complained of kerosene burners flaming out with a gust of wind. And with that in mind, the guys behind the HeatMate OR-77 made sure to design a brand-new burner that protects your flame form even the strongest winds. For that reason, the nifty little device makes a suitable companion for camping trips and other nature excursions.

Equipped with a wealth of safety features including an automatic safety shut-off, push start, EZ flame adjuster, and a tip over switch. So, what’s keeping it from those higher seats? Aside from the fact that wick replacement can be an absolute pain, the build quality might be subpar especially if you’re comparing it to some of the burlier models on our list.

  • Compact footprint and lightweight build allow easy transport and storage
  • Indoor and outdoor functionality let you leverage the heater in a variety of situations
  • Redesigned burner silhouette allows optimal heat distribution without putting the flame at risk of wind
  • Exceptionally safe, featuring a handful of features that protect against typical hazards
  • EZ flame adjuster knob lets you tweak the wick and flame intensity with no more than a twist
  • Wick replacement can be a total pain in the neck
  • Made from cheap metals, the entire heater might feel less than well-built

DeWalt DXH75KT – Best Durable Kerosene Heater


  • Space capacity: 1,750 square feet
  • Fuel tank capacity: 6 gallons
  • Run time: 11 hours
  • Fuel: 1-K grade kerosene, diesel #1, diesel #2, fuel oil #1, fuel oil #2, JP8, and jet-A
  • Heat rating: 75,000 BTU/hour
  • Electricity required
  • There are 50k-, 135k-, and 180k-BTU models available

DeWalt means serious business. The brand has been around for nearly a century, and has dished out tons of premium quality essentials and tools for the construction, manufacturing, and woodworking industries. The North-American based brand takes pride in its releases, and boasts expert craftsmanship and careful engineering to deliver ultra-durable devices that are built to stand against the test of time.

DeWalt DXH75KT -3

And so it comes as no surprise that the DXH75KT is branded one of the most reliable, heavy duty kerosene heaters currently on the scene. The robust workhorse features the signature DeWalt construction, using high-grade reinforced steel and high-impact, high-density, heat-resistant polyethylene base. All together, these materials work to strengthen the heater against perilous conditions, allowing incredible resistance to potentially damaging conditions.

Lasting decades without so much as a scratch, the heavy-duty DXH75KT promises excellent return on investment. If you can forgive the noise it generates and the offensive odor produced from fuels other than kerosene, then you should have nothing but blissful experiences with this heating solution.

  • Reinforced steel and high-density polyethylene produce a heavy duty build that’s capable of surviving decades of heavy abuse
  • Flexible fuel requirements let you use whatever you have at the ready without sacrificing heat output
  • Relatively economic compared to other kerosene-slash-diesel heaters for utilitarian applications
  • Comes with a built-in thermostat for easy heat adjustments to meet your requirements
  • Near instant heat distribution for quick comfort in freezing temperatures
  • Generates quite a lot of noise all throughout operation
  • Foul odors produced when burning anything other than kerosene can take some getting used to

L.B. White CP125CK Tradesman K125 – Best Powerful Kerosene Heater


  • Space capacity: 5,000 square feet
  • Fuel tank capacity: 10 gallons
  • Run time: 8 hours
  • Fuel: 1-K grade kerosene, diesel #1, or fuel oil #1
  • Heat rating: 125,000 BTU/hour
  • Electricity required

At 125,000 BTU, the L.B. White CP125CK Tradesman K125 is the most powerful heater on our list. This workhorse covers close to 5,000 square feet of floor area, letting you heat up spacious warehouses, workshops, commercial garages and more. With its robust steel and brass construction, this powerful behemoth delivers directional heat to sustain productivity even when temperatures try to put life at a standstill.

The heavyweight comes in at 55 pounds – relatively weightier in the kerosene heater market – and features an ergonomic push handle and never-flat tires for easier transportation. To turn the unit on, a dependable dual-prong ignition lights the wick to create instant heat that readily spreads throughout your space. In most cases, the machine can heat up the limit of its space coverage in no more than 10 minutes.

To add a touch of convenience, an LCD temperature gauge on the side panel lets you determine how well your machine is working at a glance. On the downside, the thermostat can only be adjusted by increments of 10 degrees which can be limiting if you’re looking for something more precise. It’s also worth knowing that the model can generate a bit of odor that comes and goes. Setting it up in a well-ventilated space should help rectify the issue.

  • Sufficient power heats up the most spacious utility or function areas to supply generous heat with a single device
  • Durable construction easily withstands the challenges of freezing temperatures
  • Never flat tires and push handle allow easy, effortless transport and storage
  • Dependable dual-prong ignition breathes life into the unit for almost instant heat
  • Adjustable thermostat lets you fine-tune operation to meet your specific requirements for heat
  • 10-degree thermostat increments can be limiting in certain situations
  • Produces foul odors every now and then – make sure there’s enough ventilation to help ride it out
11 Best price

Dyna-Glo WK11C8 – Best Budget Kerosene Heater


  • Space capacity: 500 square feet
  • Fuel tank capacity: 1.1 gallons
  • Run time: 13 hours
  • Fuel: 1-K grade kerosene only
  • Heat rating: 10,500 BTU/hour
  • Batteries required

At an incredibly pocket-friendly price, the Dyna-Glo WK1C8 delivers satisfying heat under a budget conscious cost. The economical machine features that signature, lantern silhouette that Dyna-Glo budget heaters are known for, providing heat around a 360-degree radius.

Despite being relatively affordable, the Dyna-Glo WK11C8 doesn’t fool around with performance. Producing 10,500 BTUs of heat, this nifty companion covers up to 500 square feet – more than enough for small apartment dwellings or spacious living areas. And because the burner unit allows an open-flame aesthetic, the model can very well work as a light source during a power outage as well.

As expected, it comes with all the basic safety features that have become a standard with Dyna-Glo series. Automatic off and on, protective grills, and an EZ turn thermostat knob help improve the user experience. Watch out, though – the unit itself can get pretty hot to touch after a few hours of operation. And, as with previous Dyna-Glo models in the same segment, the build feels a little subpar.

  • Compact construction permits easy storage, set-up, and transport in a variety of situations
  • Open flame aesthetic means the unit can double as a light source during a power outage
  • Modest fuel capacity heats up a relatively large space for a long period of time
  • Attractively affordable, costing just a fraction of other more expensive choices on our list
  • EZ thermostat knob enables users to adjust temperatures without having to manually move the wick
  • Build might feel flimsy and unstable
  • Metal heats up and becomes hot to touch after extended periods of use

Buyer’s Guide

Although every kerosene heater promises a single end result – and that is warmth – they all work towards that goal in various ways. And the manner by which a model achieves its purpose can have great impact on your satisfaction.

Buying the best kerosene heater will largely depend on how well you’re able to determine whether it matches the features that mean the most to you. So, before you click through to check-out, make sure you take some time to consider these essential factors.

11 Best Kerosene Heaters -44

Space Coverage

How much space are you hoping to cover with your kerosene heater? Space coverage tells you how much floor area a heater can sufficiently spare from the cold. The Dyna-Glo RMC-95C6 can cover up to 1,000 square feet of open space, letting you heat up a larger area with a single unit. The Sengoku HeatMate HMN-110 on the other hand, covers just 380 square feet.

Keep in mind that heat will not be able to penetrate through walls – you have insulation to thank for that. So even with its impressive 1,000 square foot coverage, the RMC-95C6 won’t be able to provide heat to areas that are separated from its location by walls.

If you were hoping to heat your entire home, then you may need to consider purchasing various heaters and placing one within each walled space. But if you don’t mind gathering with the members of your household camp-fire style while you wait for the electricity, then a single unit might suffice.

Another thing worth considering is outdoor use. An indoor-slash-outdoor kerosene heater that claims to cover a certain floor area might be able to deliver exactly that indoors. But because outdoor conditions tend to be more demanding, you might expect it to fall slightly short of its space coverage when lit in a wide, open, outdoor space.

If you use your basement as a living space you will need a space heater for the cold seasons. Therefore, read our guide – 10 Best Space Heaters For Basement and stay warm all year round. 

11 Best Kerosene Heaters -44

Heat Rating

Kerosene heaters are given a heat rating using the British Thermal Unit or BTU measurement. Don’t be confused – it’s nothing like Celsius or Fahrenheit that tells you how hot something is. Instead, BTU is a measure of thermal energy. To put things into perspective, it takes 1 BTU to cool or heat one pound of water by 1-degree Fahrenheit at sea level.

When it comes to your heater, you’ll see a rating for ‘BTU per hour’, and that simply pertains to the amount of cold that the unit can remove from the ambient air per hour. So, to make it even easier to understand, the higher the BTU per hour, the bigger the space your heater should be able to address.

For instance, you can expect monster models like the L.B. White CP125CK Tradesman K12 that produces 125,000 BTU to cover a bigger space than the modest Sengoku HeatMate OR-77. And that stands true, with the models producing heat for 5,000 square feet and 380 square feet respectively.

Do note that there are other factors at play, and the maximum BTU won’t always be the end result. Kerosene heaters let you adjust heat levels to achieve the kind of comfortable warmth you’re looking for, or to extend your fuel. What that BTU per hour rating tells you is the maximum capability of your device.

How much BTU do you need to heat your space?

That’s the big question. Here’s a step by step computation to help you arrive at an accurate measure.

  1. Measure the square-footage of the space where you intend to use your kerosene heater. For the purpose of this example, we’ll be referencing a 500 square foot living-slash-dining room.
  2. In cooler climates, it should take an average of 10 watts to heat each square foot of space. Multiply your floor area in square feet by 10 watts to arrive at the number of watts needed to heat your space. In this example, we multiple 500 sqft by 10 watts to arrive at a total of 5,000 watts.
  3. Multiply the number of watts by 3.41 to convert the value to BTU. Here, our BTU would be 17,050. That means your kerosene heater should be rated with at least 17,050 BTU per hour to effectively heat your entire space.

Remember that certain variables change depending on your unique situation. For example, some areas where weather tends to be warmer might not require as much as 10 watts for each square foot. Knowing the details of your circumstances should help you determine the appropriate specifications.

11 Best Kerosene Heaters -2

Safety Features

A kerosene heater works just like a kerosene lamp. You ignite a wick with a tail-end that’s soaked in the fuel reserve. Then, the burning wick produces heat that enters the burner unit to warm your surroundings. To adjust the heat, you have the option to change the height of the wick or alter the amount of air that passes into the unit through its ventilation.

Now, you might be thinking that having a burning flame in your space might be a bit of a hazard. But the manufacturers behind these units are careful to incorporate the appropriate safety features to minimize the risks of having their kerosene heaters burning in your home.

Here are some safety features you might want to look out for:

  • Automatic safety shut-off kills the flame as soon as the kerosene dips below the appropriate levels.
  • Tip over switch automatically douses the fire if the unit is accidentally tipped over.
  • Safety grills prevent you from unintentionally touching the burner unit, limiting the risk for burns.
  • Push start button lets you ignite the wick without having to light a match.
  • Non-heat handles allow easy and proper transportation and storage.
  • Gauges for fuel, air pressure, and thermostat provide ample information on the unit’s operations at a glance.

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Fuel Considerations

Not all kerosene heaters will use only kerosene. Some models – especially those for outdoor, commercial, or industrial use – will accept other forms of fuel, like diesel 1 & 2, fuel oil 1 & 2, jet A, or JP8. A prime example would be the Dyna-Glo KFA180DGD which accepts seven different types of fuel. For the most part, they’ll produce pretty much the same heating results. But the difference lies in the emissions they generate.

Kerosene is the cleanest burning option on the list. But not all kinds of kerosene will burn without smoke or smell. Most manufacturers will only recommend the use of 1-K grade kerosene which is a clear, debris-free fuel that burns with minimal odor, smoke, and carbon monoxide. For indoor heaters, this might very well be the only viable choice since the lack of ventilation may prove to be a risk.

On the other hand, all the other types of fuel will produce both smoke and smell. That’s why the machines that allow their use should only be operated in areas with lots of ventilation. This prevents the build-up of emissions and reduces the risk for hazards like carbon monoxide poisoning.


While the cozy warmth might make you want to doze off, it’s important to know that most kerosene heaters will require some supervision as they operate. Read the manufacturer’s warnings to determine whether your heater is safe for unattended use. If not, make sure there’s someone ready to respond to any potential hazards if they arise.

 Most indoor and portable kerosene heaters are designed so that they won’t need to be plugged in to work. That simply makes them more practical in the face of an emergency where electricity isn’t available. Some models include batteries that operate the fuel gauge, automatic start, and other indicators on the unit.

Larger heaters that are intended for job sites, work hops, or barns might have to be plugged in to work. This goes for forced air kerosene heaters like the Dyna-Glo KFA180DGD which use a fan to distribute heat evenly across its coverage area. Without a power source, these types of models can’t operate.

Heaters rated for outdoor use will likely release carbon monoxide, but not enough to pose an immediate risk to the environment. Those intended for indoor use will produce even less, and will have to undergo strict testing to meet regulations for indoor applications. If you’re worried about emissions, make sure you use the cleanest kerosene even for models that can use other types of fuel to minimize the risk. You might also want to invest in a CO meter or Carbon Monoxide alarm to keep an eye on existing levels in your space during operations.

For instance, most homes in Japan use kerosene heaters as their main source of warmth. If they were to run the unit 24 hours a day for several months on end, significant carbon monoxide emissions could lead to poisoning. For that reason, it’s recommended that you use your heater where the manufacturer claims it should be used to avoid any untoward incidents.

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Combining efficiency, economy, and convenience, the Dyna-Glo RMC-95C6 comes out on top as the best kerosene heater for indoor residential use. Its 360-degree heating structure, supreme BTU rating, and impressive fuel economy make it a wonderful choice for wide open indoor spaces.

But if for some reason, the Dyna-Glo RMC-95C6 just doesn’t match your needs, there are a bunch of other picks available – 10 of them, to be exact. Scan our list and find your next best heater companion and secure comfortable warmth in your home or around your property with these top-rated models.

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