Kerosene heaters are one of the most popular emergency heating options in case of power outage. The heaters are generally cheap compared to electric heaters. Also, kerosene is cheaper than most other fuels.
This guide answers any questions you might have when shopping for a kerosene forced air heater. First, however, let’s review some of the top products in this category.
The following are six of the best forced air kerosene burning heaters to consider. Pay particular attention to the tank size, power output (in BTU), and safety features.
6 Best Kerosene Forced Air Heater Product Reviews
1. Dyna-Glo KFA135DGD Forced Air Heater 135,000 BTU
The Dyna Glo KFA135DGD is a durable, reliable heater that produces instant heat and comes with many convenience features to make heating fun and hassle-free. It utilizes a patented dual-heat technology that allows for easy switching between low (95,000 BTU) and high (135,000 BTU) heat settings.
The KFA180DGD is designed for spaces up to 3,200 square feet and runs for 10 to 14 hours when on a full tank. It has a 10-gallon tank, weighs 52.2 lbs, and measures 41.9 x 21.5 x 32.4 inches. The unit itself requires little to no assembly and is 98% efficient. Sure-fire spark plug ignition, LED temperature indicators, tall ergonomic handles, and 10-inch flat free wheels are the other key features that makes this unit a worthwhile purchase.
Moreover, it comes with an in-built thermostat maximizes fuel savings over the life of the equipment while a pressure gauge and pump screw makes it possible to adjust optimal pressure and performance.
- Heats up to 3,200 sq. ft
- Dual source power cord
- Built-in pressure gauge
- UL Listed and CSA Certified
- Flame-out and overheat protection
- Most expensive on this list
2. Dura Heat DFA75T 75,000 BTU Portable Forced Air Heater
The 75,000 BTU DFA75T Dura Heat is another excellent option when shopping for a best kerosene forced air heater. The DFA75T features a heavy duty ceramic igniter, an auxiliary power outlet, a built-in thermostat, and fuse-protected electrical system. Ignition is easy as the unit implements one-touch electronic start ignition.
To help you monitor fuel usage, the DFA75T has a “run time” fuel gauge. Check the fuel gauge to find out how many hours of fuel you have left. An easy-lift handle makes moving the unit around a lot easier.
Unfortunately, the DFA75T doesn’t have wheels, which is a significant drawback. That’s because although lighter than the above mentioned Dyna Glo, for instance, it still weighs over 30 pounds.
- Uses multiple fuels
- Heats up to 1,800 sq. ft.
- One-start electronic ignition
- Run-time fuel gauge
- No wheels
3. Pro Temp 80,000 BTU Kerosene/Diesel Forced Air Torpedo Heater
The versatile Pro Temp 80k BTU kerosene heater is another good option to consider. The Pro Temp is designed for spaces up to 2,000 square feet but can work even in larger areas as long as there’s proper insulation. Better still, it doesn’t only use kerosene. Instead, it’s a multi-fuel heater that can also run on Grade 1-K kerosene, #1/#2 diesel, and fuel oil.
Top of the Pro Temp’s impressive list of features are thermostat control and easy-grip handles. The thermostat makes it easy to adjust temperatures while the handles are easy to lift whenever you need to move the heater around. Also, the Pro Temp is also equipped with fuel and pressure gauges.
The entire unit is made from stainless steel for durability. Besides, the 35-pound heater boasts a 5-point safety system and comes with a 1-year warranty.
- 5-point safety system
- Multi-fuel heater
- In-built thermostat
- 1-year warranty
- No wheels
4. Mr. Heater MH125KTR Contractor 125,000 BTU Heater
Mr. Heater is one of the most respected brands in the home heating sector and they’ve done a magnificent job on the MH125KTR kerosene heater. The MH125KTR can heat up to 3,125 square feet and runs continuously for nine hours when on a full tank. It’s side list handles make it easy to troubleshoot whenever there’s a problem. And the 8.5-gallon fuel tank is easy to refill.
Other features of the MH125KTR include fully-enclosed motors that guarantee safety and large, glove-friendly controls. High limit safety switches turn off the flame whenever overheating is detected while a fuel gauge tells you how much hours of fuel you have left. The unit also features an air pressure gauge, steel drain plug, and an electric outlet.
The MH125KTR comes on 10-inch pneumatic tires and is CSA Certified. It uses multiple fuels including kerosene, Jet A fuel, and filtered 1 and 2 fuel oil.
- It’s a multi-fuel heater
- Inbuilt thermostat
- Auto overheat shutoff
- CSA Certified
- Assembly required
5. Master MH-135T-KFA 135,000 BTU Kerosene Forced Air Heater
The Master MH-135T-KFA kerosene heater is an ideal heating solutions for spaces up to 3,375 square feet. It features Master’s torpedo heater design and comes with multiple safety features including an automatic safety shut off that turns off the heater in case of overheating. Flame-out fuel cut, a thermocouple, and robust safety guards are other safety features.
The heater has a 10-gallon tank that keeps the flame burning for up to 9 hours. It also has an inbuilt thermostat for precise temperature reading and features digital temperature readouts and LED diagnostics.
The Master MH-135T-KFA is certified to run on Kerosene, #1 & 2 diesel fuel, #1 & 2 fuel oil, and Jet A fuel. A fuel gauge, extension cord warp, easy-lift handle, and heavy-duty wheels are the other notable features.
- Heavy-duty tires
- Multi-fuel heater
- CSA certified
- 540 CFM
- A bit expensive compared to other unit on the list
6. DeWalt DXH190HD Forced Air Kerosene Heater
Finally, the DeWalt DXH190HD is a thermostat-controlled forced-air multi-fuel heater that burns at 190BTU/hour. Aside from kerosene, it can use fuel oil and JP-8 fuels. It comes with a wheel kit and protective roll cage, and delivers up to 10 hours of continuous heating. The DeWalt is designed for spaces up to 4,750 square feet – the highest on this list.
The DXH190HD features an inbuilt thermostat, with a heating element that cycles on/off to maintain the set temperature. The 10-inch wheels make mobility a non-issue. Front barrel support, recessed controls, roll cage style handles, and continuous electronic ignition are other notable features.
The 74-pound DXH190HD has a 14-gallon tank, moves air/heat at 450 CFM, and comes with a one-year manufacturer’s warranty.
- Heats up to 4,200 sq. ft.
- Multi-fuel capability
- Multiple safety features
- CSA Certified
- Weighs a massive 120lbs with a full tank
Best Forced Air Kerosene Heater Buying Guide
With the reviews done, let’s turn to the buying process. How do you choose the right forced air kerosene heater? Consider the following factors;
What is a Kerosene Heater?
A kerosene heater is simply a heater that operates using kerosene as its fuel. The heaters are mostly used to supplement primary sources of heat or in times of emergency such as when there’s a power outage.
Aside from the lower cost, kerosene is preferred over other types of fuels because of the low volatility. Also, kerosene is safer as it’s hard to ignite and has 99% combustion efficiency.
How Does Kerosene Heating Work?
The working mechanism of kerosene heaters is very simple. The heaters have a circular wick in the center. The wick hangs over a tank filled with kerosene, with the bottom end of the wick dipping into the tank. When the tank has kerosene, a portion of the wick ends up in the fuel and draws up some of the kerosene through capillary action.
To start the heating process, all you have to do is light the top end of the kerosene-drenched wick. When ignited, kerosene instantaneously becomes a gas. Burning of the gas generates heat. The greater the surface area of the wick exposed, the bigger the flame and amount of heat produced.
What is a Forced-Air Kerosene Heater?
In a typical kerosene heater, the heat generated is moved throughout the intended space through radiation and natural convection. Radiation is where heat travels as electromagnetic waves, heating objects on its path. Convection, meanwhile, is where warm air rises as cold air takes its place closer to the ground or floor.
Unsurprisingly, these two natural processes aren’t always sufficient. Natural convection, for instance, is heavily dependent on movement in the air (wind). On a still day, the air would move around, yes, but very slowly. Radiation, on the other hand, is ineffective as radiant heat becomes colder and colder the further away you move from the heat source.
To offset these issues, modern kerosene heaters incorporate a fan to boost the air blowing process. And these fans are often powered by electricity.
Types of Forced-air Kerosene Heaters
There are two broad categories of forced-air kerosene heaters – convective and radiant. The difference is in how the heat is moved.
1. Convective heaters
Also the more common type, convective kerosene heaters are primarily cylindrical in shape in order to disperse heat in a 360-degree fashion – upwards and downwards. They are the better option for large areas and can even be used to heat multiple areas simultaneously.
Most convective kerosene heaters have fixed fuel tanks. To refill the tank, you need to move the heater itself and use the siphon pump for refilling.
Convective heaters are generally larger than radiant heaters. In addition, they also have a higher energy output and consume more fuel.
2. Radiant heaters
Radiant forced air kerosene heaters, meanwhile, mostly have a rectangular shape and are designed for smaller spaces. They work by reflecting heat from the burner element into the open space. They have a reflector for this purpose (convective heaters don’t). The reflector directs the heat towards people or objects in the room.
Most radiant heaters come with a removable fuel tank. This means that you can take out the tank and refill it without moving the heater.
Advantages of Forced air Kerosene Heaters
Forced-air heating is used even in whole-home furnaces to ensure faster, more even distribution of heat throughout the house. Some of the key benefits of these heaters include;
1. Instant heat
When it’s freezing cold, such as in the middle of winter, you may not want to wait a few minutes for the room to get warm. Unfortunately, heaters that depend exclusively on natural convection and radiation can be slow, especially on still days. A forced air heater solves this problem by making use of electric-powered fans to ensure faster heat dispersion. Within seconds, the entire space will be warm.
2. Even heat distribution
Aside from dispersing heat faster, fans also help distribute the heat more evenly. Take an example of convective heaters. Convection is defined as the process where warm heat rises and cold air takes up the vacated space closer to the floor/ground. But, who needs warm heat up there at the ceiling? We need the heat most at the lower half of the room, right? Fans can help blow the heat around so that every area of the room is uniformly heated, ensuring optimal comfort.
3. Higher energy efficiency
Finally, forced air heating systems have been found to be very energy efficient. One study found that forced air furnaces have an Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) value of 78%. AFUE is the amount of heat a heating system delivers relative to the amount of fuel consumed. Going by the findings of the study, forced air heaters have a much higher AFUE value than fan-free models.
Considerations When Choosing Kerosene Forced Air Heaters
There are several factors to consider when choosing a forced air kerosene heater. These include;
The heater type
We’ve discussed the two main types of heaters in this category (radiant and convective). Which of the two best suits you application? In general, choose convective heater for larger applications such as whole room heating. Radiant heaters, on the other hand, are best for spot heating.
Size and capacity
Kerosene heaters come in different BTU sizes. Some are rated close to 200,000 BTU while others are at 50,000 BTU or less. When making the decision, think about application. For whole room heating, you need more heating power, thus more BTUs. Spot heating, however, doesn’t need so much heating power. Always check the product label to learn how much space the heater can heat.
Do you intend to keep the heater in one place for its entire life or are you shopping for a heater than you can move from one application to another? If you’re looking for the former, then a larger, heavier model with a bigger tank would be ideal. For the latter, however, a smaller, more portable heater would be needed.
In the end, you also must think about the cost of acquiring and running the heater. In general, smaller heaters are less expensive. Ones without fans are also less expensive than fanned models. But, again, keep the application in mind. Sometimes, a larger heater with a fan might be better long-term. Forced air kerosene-heater prices range from $250 to over $500.
Environmentally-friendly components, thermostats, and timers are some of the extras to keep an eye out for. Thermostats allow for closer control of indoor climate while timers are an invaluable convenience feature that let you program your heater in advance. All these features boost the heating experience.
Kerosene Heater Safety
Like any other heating appliance, kerosene heaters aren’t 100% safe. There is a genuine risk of burns and carbon monoxide poisoning. In forced-air models that use electricity, the risk of electrocution is also present. The following safety tips are recommended;
- Keep track of the fuel gauge: A fuel gauge helps prevent overfilling or unnecessary refilling. Also, ensure that the heater comes with a siphon pump to prevent accidental fuel spills.
- Check for a safety shutoff: The heater should have an automatic shut-off switch that snuffs off the flame if the heater tips over.
- Professional certifications: Check for approval or certification by a recognized professional agency such as the Underwriters Laboratory (UL) or Factory Manual (FM).
- Use Grade K-1 paraffin: Grade K-1 kerosene is clear as water. Yellow or colored kerosene is not pure and may damage the unit as well as cause excess smoke and emit strange odours. Learn how to stop the kerosene heater from smelling here.
- Use kerosene fuel only: Never use any other fuels such as gasoline, camp stove fuel, or other flammable liquids in the heater unless the manufacturer permits it.
- Ensure sufficient ventilation: Kerosene heaters require plenty of oxygen to burn completely. Poorly ventilated rooms may result in incomplete burning, creating the poisonous carbon monoxide (CO) gas.
- Ensure sufficient clearance: The heater must be placed at least three feet away from flammable items such as window curtains and furniture. Make sure the heater isn’t blocking a path or walkway.
- Don’t get burned: Kerosene heater surfaces get very hot. To avoid burns, keep the heater out of the reach of young children and pets. Also, don’t touch the surfaces with your bare hands. When refilling, turn it off, allow the surfaces to cool, and carry the unit outside.
Forced-air kerosene heaters are a great supplemental heat source especially in areas with frequent power outages. The heaters generate strong heat that moves around the room quickly thanks to fan-aided convection and radiation. When shopping for one, to consider factors such as size (in BTU), portability, noise, and digital controls. Also, make sure you find a safe heater that’s certified by a recognized agency such as the Underwriter’s Laboratory (UL) or the CSA.
Jesse Pinkman is a passionate HVAC professional writer who grew up repairing any home appliance on which he could lay his hands. He is responsible for ensuring that every article we publish is SPOT ON. When he’s not in the office, he enjoys hiking, watching football, and spending time with his family.