Trying to find the best battery powered heater is like searching for a unicorn or that elusive pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Battery powered heaters have taken on a mythical quality over the years, and whether you’re living off the grid or just want something portable that isn’t reliant on electricity, we have you covered.
In our guide to the best battery powered heater alternatives, we are focusing on lightweight heaters that are small, portable, and easy to take with you wherever you roam. While none of our top options use traditional batteries, there are a number of cordless units that made the cut that rely on propane instead of electricity.
- The Best Battery Powered Heaters
- How to find the Best Battery Operated Heater Alternative
- Why do you need a battery powered heater?
- Types of Portable Heaters
- Size and Weight
- Portable Heater Features
- Final Thoughts
The Best Battery Powered Heaters
- Style: Battery/Propane
- Power: 12,000 BTU
- Size: 14"H x 15.7"W x 10.5"D
- Weight: 14 lbs.
- Warranty: 2 years
Sengoku KeroHeat CV-23K
- Style: Kerosene
- Power: 23,000 BTU
- Size: 25.5"H x 18.5"W
- Weight: 22 lbs.
- Warranty: 2 years
Caframo True North
- Style: Electric
- Power: 1,500 watts
- Size: 9.6"H x 12.2"W x 5.2"L
- Weight: 5.86 lbs.
- Warranty: 5 years
Mr.Heater Big Buddy
- Style: Propane
- Power: 18,000 BTU
- Size: 11.8"H x 12"W x 19"D
- Weight: 17 lbs.
- Warranty: 1-year
- Style: Cordless Propane
- Power: 35,000 BTU
- Size: 18"L x 10"W
- Weight: 17.5 lbs.
- Warranty: 1-year
Ridgid Hybrid Heater
- Style: Battery/Propane
- Power: 60,000 BTU
- Size: 16"H x 19.3"W x 11.6"D
- Weight: 13.5 lbs.
- Warranty: 3 years
The battery powered heaters on our list are far from the traditional style and built more for large open areas or job sites. All are portable, however, which was one of the standards we set for these reviews. Each of the heaters on our list are easy to transport from room to room or outdoors, and all will certainly keep you warm when the temperature drops in your area.
#1 DeWalt DXH12B Portable Heater
The Best Battery Powered Propane Heater
The DeWalt DXH12B is one of the only heaters that uses a battery and is entirely portable. They don’t use your standard batteries, however, and this propane heater has several handy features you won’t find anywhere else.
This heater uses one of DeWalt’s 20V MAX or FlexVolt batteries, but it doesn’t actually require one to run. It’s more of a bonus, as adding a battery enables you to charge a mobile device or an LED light bar that’s built into the handle. It also allows you to use a small but powerful 135 CFM fan to help spread heat throughout an area.
All of the electric components have their own switch, so no juice is wasted, although you can get 3-4 days of power from a 5Ah battery. It does need an AAA battery for the electronic ignition, but that’s the only power required to produce heat. The DeWalt DXH12B is rated at 12,000 BTUs at full power or 6,000 BTUs on low.
Another advantage of this heater over similar systems is the fact it works with dual 1-pound propane tanks. Each side has a compartment with a swiveling regulator for those tanks, but you can also use 20-pound propane tanks with an adapter. With two small tanks, you’ll get enough heat to last around 7 hours on low or 3 hours on high. It’s also incredibly easy to use, as you can see from the video below.
There’s no shortage of fans when it comes to DeWalt’s lineup of Lithium-ion power tools, and the DXH12B propane heater has been well-received by most consumers. This radiant heater will have no problem heating up small areas outdoors but is CSA certified as indoor safe and has an ODS sensor along with a tip-over switch for additional safety. If you don’t mind the weight of this system, it should be at the top of your list.
#2 Sengoku KeroHeat CV-23K Kerosene Heater
The Best Kerosene Heater
Kerosene heaters are an acquired taste, and not quite as popular as they were in the 70s and 80s. They are still a great choice for remote locations, however, especially when you need a fuel-based heater that doesn’t require electricity. Sengoku has been producing these types of alternative heaters for years, and the CV-23K is one of the top models around.
This heater may not win any awards for its design, but it’s built to be efficient and safe to use. Unfilled, the Sengoku KeroHeat CV-23K tips the scales at 22 pounds and is 25.5” tall and 18.5” in diameter. It’s not the type of cordless heater you’ll want to take up a trail, but it’s easy to move from one room to another.
There aren’t many bells & whistles to speak of on this kerosene heater aside from standard features like the fuel gauge and a push-button electronic ignition system. There is an EZ Flame Adjust as well and a siphon pump to help you fill the heater without making a mess. It’s surrounded on all sides with a protective safety guard, which feels a bit cheap but is par for the course with kerosene heaters.
On a full tank of kerosene, you can expect a burn time of around 12 hours per fill from this heater. It can hold 1.9 gallons of fuel and is rated at 23,000 BTUs. That’s more than enough heat to handle medium-sized rooms with ease along with larger spaces up to 900 square feet. Safety features on this system include automatic safety shut off and a tip-over switch.
While the Sengoku KeroHeat CV-23K is not a permanent heating solution by any means, it’s great as a supplemental heat source when you need to heat up a room quickly or for emergency heat in the winter. If you prefer a form factor that’s in-line with propane heaters, the CTN-110 is a solid 10,000 BTU alternative.
#3 Caframo True North Electric Space Heater
A Compact Portable Electric Heater
Caframo is a brand that may not be familiar to most homeowners unless you spend a lot of time on the water or in a camper. They specialize in manufacturing heating and cooling solutions for the outdoor crowd, which includes heaters like the True North electric space heater.
The True North heater holds a special place on our list as the only corded system that requires electricity from an outlet or portable power source. It made the cut partly due to its size, but also for its power and a nice array of features. This compact system is wider than it is tall and only weighs 5.86 pounds, which is impressive, considering it has a solid steel outer shell.
This system was engineered for ease of use like all of the best portable heaters. While the thermostat is manual, there are two large dials on top of the heater, and it has built-in anti-freeze protection as well. That kicks in when the temperature drops below 38°F, and dual overheat protection will keep the system from overheating.
Unlike most wireless or battery powered heater alternatives, this heater has five settings. There are three fan speeds to choose from and two heat modes at 1,500 watts on high or 600 watts on low. At maximum power, it can produce up to 5,125 BTUs per hour, which is enough to warm areas around 100-150 square feet.
There’s a lot to like about the True North heater from Caframo, from its low-profile design to the tough outer shell. Consumers feel the same way as this heater has received high scores from folks that use it almost anywhere can imagine. The fact it uses electricity is an obvious drawback, but we feel it’s one of the better options if you need a heater that packs flat and has plenty of power.
#4 Mr. Heater Big Buddy Propane Heater
The Best Budget-Friendly Propane Heater
If you like the design of DeWalt’s portable propane heater but not the price, we have the thing for you. The Mr. Heater MH18B is a stripped-down propane heater that’s comparable to the DXH18B, and while it’s just as effective, it’s considerably cheaper.
This heater is the bigger version of the popular Buddy Heater and has a rating of 18,000 BTUs. It has quite a bit of power for a system this size, and it accepts two 1 pound propane tanks. The regulators swivel, and while there’s no fan on this particular model, it does have three heat settings at 18,000, 9,000, or 4,000 BTU.
The DXH18B is slightly taller and wider than DeWalt’s heater, but not as deep considering there’s no battery pack involved. We’re fans of the safe design as well, with a grill that wraps entirely around the burner, even if it’s not as thick or sturdy as our top option. Without tanks attached, the heater weighs 17.1 pounds, which makes it one of the heavier systems on our list.
While there aren’t any noteworthy features on this heater outside of the three heat settings, it has a tip-over switch and low oxygen shut-off or ODS sensor. The room rating for the heater is 450 square feet, and it’s compatible with larger 20 pounds tanks as long as you have the proper hose and adapter. If you prefer something slightly smaller and cheaper, the Buddy MH9BX is well worth a look.
It’s hard to argue with the value the Big Buddy provides for the price, even if it’s not exactly lightweight. We like the dual-bottle setup on the MH18B as well, and the fact it has a low, medium, and high heat setting. It is somewhat of a downgrade from the older model, however, if you are interested in a propane heater with a built-in blower.
#5 Mr. Heater Hero Cordless Propane Heater
The Best Rechargeable Heater
Our second choice from the Mr. Heater company is completely different than our first, although both rely on propane to produce heat. The compact Hero propane heater MH35CLP is larger than the Big Buddy but twice as powerful with a very unique feature.
While this heater may look like a traditional gas-powered space heater, it’s cordless and capable of running for around 4 hours before needing to be recharged. This forced air system pulls its power from a 12-volt lead-acid battery, which takes 5 hours to reach a full charge, but you can add a second battery to bring the runtime up to 8 hours.
This heater is designed to work with a standard 20-pound propane cylinder and can heat areas up to 875 square feet. Noise won’t be a major concern thanks to the company’s Quiet Burner technology, and it’s easy to fire up with a one-touch valve and Piezo ignition system. Safety features for this system include a high-limit temperature switch and a flame safety shutoff.
You won’t be able to charge multiple devices from this system, but Mr. Heater did include a built-in trickle charger on this model. It can also run while it charges, a feature you’ll be thankful for during a long day outdoors. This heater is lightweight at 17.5 pounds and measures 18”L x 10”W. It comes with a hose, regulator, and is covered by a standard 1-year guarantee.
As mentioned, cordless systems are rare in the heating world, and the Hero rechargeable heater is one of the only systems to pull off wireless heating with ease. It’s not the ideal choice for residential use unless it’s for a large garage, but is one of the best battery operated heater for outdoor spaces. Quality control appears to be a little spotty on these units, however, and we’re not big fans of the plastic fan.
#6 Ridgid 18-Volt Hybrid Forced Air Heater
The Best High-Powered Battery Operated Heater
If you appreciate the form factor and style of the Hero Cordless heater but need something a little more powerful, we have just the thing for you. This hybrid system from Ridgid takes advantage of the company’s 18-volt battery platform and happens to be the most powerful system on our list as well.
What a rating of 60,000 BTUs on high, this heater is almost twice as powerful as the cordless Hero. It has a variable heat control dial on the side that allows you to adjust this unit from 30,000 to 60,000 BTU in seconds. That’s good for areas around 1,350 square, which is extremely impressive once you consider the size of this heater.
At 16”H x 19.3”W x 11.6”D, this heater is larger than comparable models but far from bulky or heavy. In fact, it only weighs 13.5 pounds, which makes it the lightest propane heater on our list. A sturdy handle on top makes it a breeze to transport, and it works with an extension cord or any 18-volt battery from the company’s cordless lineup.
Another advantage of this heater is the fact it has a brushless motor. That’s a premium feature that’s typically only found on high-end power tools. As for the burn time, you can expect 12 hours of heat on low from a 20-pound tank. The fan time is listed at 7 hours from an 18-volt 4.0Ah battery. You’ll need to have a battery and charger from the company on hand to take full advantage of this heater, but both are reasonably priced compared to the competition.
The ability to produce up to 60,000 BTUs of heat on the go is invaluable if you’re working outdoors or have a large workshop to heat. While not as small as other portable propane systems, Ridgid’s 18-volt forced air heater is powerful and has a great price point for a cordless heater. It doesn’t feel as well-built as similar space heaters but comes with a solid 3-year warranty.
How to find the Best Battery Operated Heater Alternative
If you’re reading our guide, you’ve no doubt tried to find a heater that operates off battery power. While that isn’t practical given our current technology and how much power a heater requires to run, there are several different ways you can go if you need a small, portable heater that you can take wherever you go.
Why do you need a battery powered heater?
The most important question you need to ask yourself is why you need a battery operated heater. Are you a gadget aficionado that just “wants” a battery operated heater, or do you need something small for emergency heat?
Those are just two reasons consumers search for battery-powered heaters, but you also have campers that want portable heat and homeowners that live off the grid where electricity is a luxury. Once you know why you need a battery operated heater and come to grips with the fact you can’t buy one that uses traditional batteries, it’s time to take a look at the most suitable alternatives available.
Types of Portable Heaters
When looking for the best battery powered heater alternatives, the first thing you should do is think about alternative forms of power. While solar power may seem like a viable option, there are no suitable solar power heaters that are portable. As we already know, heaters with batteries that are AA’s or even large D batteries aren’t an option, which leaves us with the three alternatives below.
Backpackers and outdoor adventurers have been keeping warm with propane heaters for decades, and it’s the most portable form of heating when a power outlet isn’t an option. Propane heaters come in all shapes and sizes as well, so you can find something that can clip onto your backpack or larger heaters that can handle spaces up to 500 square feet or more.
While propane heaters are the best choice for a battery operated heater alternative, they are not without their drawbacks. You’ll need to have a fuel canister on-hand to use these heaters, and considering propane is a combustible gas, it’s not as safe as a portable electric heater. Natural gas is an option as well, but only for fixed heaters, which rules them out if you need something portable.
Liquid Fuel Heaters
There are a variety of heaters that use liquid fuel like gasoline, diesel, and kerosene. These heaters are meant to be used outdoors or in large areas with adequate ventilation. While you won’t find any gas or diesel-based heaters on our list, kerosene heaters are an excellent option for temporary or portable heating.
Kerosene heaters are affordable but not as safe as propane or electric heaters. Storing kerosene can be a problem, as are the fumes released from gas-based heaters. Carbon Monoxide may be the biggest problem, but you have to consider danger from the fuel source itself as well.
Hybrid Battery-Powered Heaters
There is a small niche of portable heaters that actually rely on batteries, but not the traditional kind. Hybrid battery-power heaters typically run off propane and use a lithium-ion tool battery for power. If you’re already invested in a company’s tool line, these heaters are an excellent choice, even if the selection is sparse.
The downside to hybrid heaters of this nature is their size and price. They are usually 2-3 times the price of a standard propane or electric heater, and you’ll have to have a tool battery on hand to operate the heater as well. These systems can produce a large amount of heater, however, and are still light enough to carry around.
If you don’t mind using electricity and have access to power but still want something small and portable, there are a handful of suitable options that will fit into a glove box, backpack, or purse. We covered several of these systems in our list of the best camping tent heaters, but there are dozens of options under 8” tall.
The obvious downside to purchasing an electric heater is the fact you need electricity. With that in mind, there are a number of ways you can get around that. A few unique solutions include power stations like the Jackery Explorer or massive power banks with AC outlets.
Size and Weight
If you’re not concerned about the size, weight, or general portability of a heater, feel free to skip ahead to our next section. Otherwise, it’s a good idea to consider size and weight when you’re thinking about purchasing a heater for a camping trip, your workshop, or an emergency situation.
With an electric heater, you simply need to consider its size and where you plan to use it. Most small heaters have a boxy form factor, which isn’t exactly ideal for packing. There are a few exceptions, but you won’t have to worry about weight considering they are largely made from plastic. A portable propane heater can be incredibly light, but there’s one factor most folks forget.
If you use a propane heater, you need fuel, which means you’ll need to brink a tank along. A small 1-pound tank is light and won’t take up much space, but your burn time may be limited. Heaters that use a battery pack still need fuel as well, while you’ll need a proper Blue gas can if you plan on storing or using kerosene for a heater.
Portable Heater Features
This is an area that can quickly make consumers reconsider a cordless heater or battery-powered alternative. The smaller the heater, the fewer features manufacturers can pack into the unit, so your options are limited if you want a system that can oscillate or has a half-dozen heat settings.
With portable heaters in general, the most common features are systems with multiple heat settings. It’s rare to find anything with over two settings, however, although several heaters have 3 or more fan speeds. Keep that in mind when a heater manufacturer talks about modes, as the fan speeds and heating modes are separate.
Thermostats are another feature you’ll find on most heaters in this class. Dial-based systems outnumber electronic thermostats by a wide margin, but you won’t have to look hard to find a gas-based heater with an electronic ignition. The rest of the features fall into the safety category and are more important than creature comforts at the end of the day.
If the heater stands upright, it should have a tip-over switch unless it’s on a wheeled base. Even wider heaters can get kicked over, so it’s important that the heat shuts off immediately if this happens. Any natural gas or propane heater should have an ODS sensor as well, which shuts things down if the oxygen level drops below a certain percentage.
As you can see, there are a handful of battery powered heaters on the market, even if they aren’t desktop-friendly models or heaters that rely on AA batteries. Whatever heater you choose, remember to keep safety in mind and always follow the guidelines when using propane heaters indoors. If you’re interested in systems that are built for the trail, be sure to check out our list of the best tent heaters for camping.