Having a tiny house does not mean lacking the comfort and warmth, especially during winters. Your tiny home can be both mobile and stationary, and hence, you require an off-grid heating option, which you don’t have to be hooked up to. One of the cheapest and efficient solutions to heat up your tiny house well is a Propane Heater.
Readily available and compact, propane heaters are an apt fit to tiny houses that want great output with low energy consumption. The good thing is that there are numerous propane heaters for small homes available in the market. However, this makes things tricky and it is difficult to select the best among all.
We suggest picking propane heaters, which come with built-in ventilation systems. Sure you would not want cozy warmth in your house at the cost of harmful carbon-monoxide.
In this post, we will explain to you about various kinds of propane heaters for tiny houses and review the best of all of them. So, no matter which kind of propane heater you want, you will definitely get the best bet!
What is the Most Efficient Way to Heat Tiny House?
A tiny house means less space and limited size. This means you require a heating solution that lends exactly the same output as desired so that there is no wastage of the fuel or energy. You can select the most efficient solution only when you have understanding of the various heating options available.
Wood Stoves or Pellet – Wood stoves are self-sufficient units that offer the ease to be picked up and left whenever you want. They look pleasing and have low fuel cost, but high upfront cost.
Propane Heaters – They are the most energy-efficient beauties that are friendly to the pocket. They offer clean fuel burning, low fuel cost, and excellent convenience.
Electric Heaters – They are inexpensive to buy and require no installation. But you need to have a grid option to keep them working. Also, they are quite bulky and can end up having huge monthly power bills.
Kerosene Heaters – Definitely they are the cheapest and easily available among all other options. But they do not offer clean fuel burning, and hence, can be extremely dangerous for your health.
Mini-Splits – Designed to offer multi-functionality, these units are handy. You can mount them on the wall or ceiling along with their exterior heat pump. But when it is snowy the heat pump may get damaged involving high maintenance cost.
Considering the above mentioned and more other aspects, we consider Propane heaters the most efficient heating solution for tiny houses. The other reasons, which make them better than others are:
- Propane heaters are energy efficient units that consume less energy. They produce more heat on consuming less fuel resulting in high fuel efficiency. You can easily reach a high temperature with very less amount of propane gas.
- Propane gas is readily available, which means convenient refueling of the tank. You don’t have to search through many places in the windy, cold weather and enjoy warm comfort in your tiny home.
- Propane heaters with built-in ventilation systems ensure your home does not accommodate harmful carbon-monoxide gas. As a result, you can easily maintain safety in your home.
- They offer clean fuel burning and no mess. Also, they are easy to set up and do not require much space.
- You can control the desired temperature in your house with a thermostat.
Which is the Cheapest Tiny House Heating Option – Propane, Electric, or Kerosene?
A tiny house limits the use of most of the things, but this does not mean wasting the money. Affordability is still needed! Hence, you need to pick the cheapest option to heat up your tiny home.
Confuse Between Propane Electric and Kerosene
Kerosene heaters were most affordable earlier, but now the cost of propane gas has drastically reduced, which makes propane heaters equally economical. Electric heaters are the best options for places with consistent power supply, which is a rare case in tiny houses. Moreover, things can be complex with an electric heater if you have a portable tiny home.
If we compare the fuel cost in most of the countries, it is least for the propane heaters. The other reasons that make propane heaters the cheapest tiny house heating solution are:
- They consume fuel completely, which means no fuel wastage. Hence, you don’t have to spend again and again to buy the fuel.
- Portable heaters involve low setup cost in comparison to kerosene and electric heaters.
- For electric heaters, you need consistent electricity supply with more units being consumed each time. The cost of electricity in some regions is extremely high, and hence, you may end up paying huge power bills.
- Every time you ignite kerosene heaters, you need to keep the fuel markup to the desired level. This is not the case with propane heaters as most of them come with instant ignition mechanisms and start with the press of a button.
- In comparison to kerosene heaters, propane and electric heaters offer a much widespread heating capability. It implies more coverage in less time and with less fuel consumption. Since, propane gas is cheaper than electricity, so propane heaters are the cheapest solutions available.
Is it Safe to Use Propane Heaters Indoors?
Definitely! But it is extremely important to either have proper ventilation in your house or use a heater with a built-in ventilation system. Here we share some tips to help you use your propane heater safely. Also, it is necessary to understand about the various types of propane heaters so that you can make the right pick.
- Pick a heater, which is the perfect size for your space or room and holds UL or Underwriter’s Laboratory Label.
- Go through all instructions of the manufacturer carefully before you start using the heater.
- Make sure your propane heater holds features like high-temperature protection coating, low oxygen level sensor, safety guard, overheat protection, and automatic shutoff.
- Strictly prohibit placing anything on top of the heater.
- For a portable propane heater, avoid moving it till it is extremely important. Most importantly, wait for your heater to cool down and then touch it.
- Select a propane heater that comes with a non-combustible surface.
- Place your heater at a safe location away from combustible materials like curtains, furniture, bedding, towels, and doors. The surface you installed them at must also be non-combustible.
- It is best to install carbon monoxide detectors in your house.
- Never leave your propane heater on while you sleep.
- If you witness orange or yellow color flame in your heater rather than blue color, you must stop using it at once.
- Don’t use the heater for drying clothes.
- The outside and grilles of your heater can be cleaned using the hose of a vacuum cleaner.
- Avoid spraying deodorants, air fresheners, hair spray or aerosol spray cleaners near the heater.
- Have an annual inspection done for your propane heater?
- Get complete knowledge about propane safety before you start using a propane heater.
Different Kinds of Propane Heaters for Tiny Houses
Propane heaters are a great choice for both stationary and moving tiny houses. The best thing is that these heaters are available in a variety of forms, and hence, you can easily find a unit apt for your home.
Forced Air Propane Heaters
Forced air propane units deliver thermostatically controlled, constant, even heating. In order to use them you must be dependent on connecting to utilities. It uses less power than electric heaters.
Ducted and Non-Ducted Heaters
For bigger tiny homes, a conventional forced air furnace holding a smaller BTU rating is an adequate fit. Such ducted furnaces are hidden inside a cabinet, while their non-ducted counterparts are mounted into the wall.
Air is distributed by ducted furnaces through a vent and return mechanism. Hence, they render even and quiet heating across the house. But the unit itself is quite loud. For this reason, it is best to place the furnace as far as possible from the living room.
For tiny homes, furnaces with 120 volt AC power are ideal. Hence, you have to run the inverter 24 x 7 to supply power to the fan.
Direct Vent Propane Heaters
These are self-contained units, which need no or very little electricity. They draw all fresh air and vent the combustion gases through the wall behind them. A few of these units deliver fire viewing experience that makes them a great addition to your overall ambiance.
Depending on the model you pick, these heaters can be lightweight, inbuilt with a thermostat, have a ceramic viewing window, and can be converted from propane to natural gas heating.
Vent Free Propane Heaters
You can also go for the option of vent free propane heating units, which are available in both wall mount and freestanding configurations. Such burners don’t need electricity supply, but they have some issues associated with catalytic heating as they both feed from indoors and exhaust the air inside the room. We, therefore, suggest avoiding going for vent-free propane heaters.
For small tiny homes, propane equipped RV furnaces are lighter and compact than household units. These units have a lower BTU range 16,000 up to the output of a small household unit 40,000.
They are available in both ducted and non-ducted models. The ducted models can hide in a cabinet with air routed throughout the house with air vents. The non-ducted models blow heat air from a panel mounted on the furnace.
Mostly, these units need 13 volt power. Hence, they are ideal for tiny homes. But if you don’t have a 12 volt power supply, you can use a transformer to power the RV furnace.
A great choice for off-grid tiny homes is propane catalytic heaters. Such units are built-in with a special surface that decomposes propane into water vapor, heat, and carbon dioxide without any real flame. They offer heat similar to radiant heat and electric infrared heaters.
The feeding for these heaters is inside, and hence, they can create huge impacts on the indoor air quality if not used properly. Resulting in water vapor, these heaters can lead to too high humidity levels and condensation within the living space. In extreme situations, they can consume entire oxygen in the room leading to too low oxygen levels, which are unsuitable for survival.
If you wish to use a catalytic heater, we suggest using a vented unit to avoid experiencing moisture and oxygen problems. The functioning of a vented heater is the same as the standard one, but it utilizes a fan for venting the combustion gases outside. This way, water vapors are removed while oxygen is replenished with external air.
Reviews of Our 7 Best Propane Heaters for Tiny House
1. Martin Direct Vent Propane Wall Heater Built-in Thermostat
First we have a highly efficient yet cost-effective heating solution by Martin. This is an excellent performer that keeps spaces warm even under extreme cold conditions. It comes with a built-in thermostat that allows you to have complete control over heat dispersion.
It is a sleek and compact direct vent fireplace design generating clean and safe energy. It utilizes fuel to the fullest ensuring you don’t have to spend much money on buying the fuel.
Installing and using this heater is a breeze as it comes with a quick installation mechanism. You simply have to connect the heater to a gas fitter and it will heat the entire living space effectively with low maintenance. It is a heavy-duty grill design engineered using die-cast aluminum and glass creaming window offering you the highest safety.
- Adjustable, warm heat
- Built-in thermostat for monitoring temperature
- Easy and quick installation
- Produces clean energy
- Glass-ceramic window and robust construction
- Aesthetically pleasing
- Customer service is not up to the mark
- Customer service is not up to the mark
- Generates little noise while functioning
2. Mr. Heater Corporation Vent-Free Radiant Propane Heater
Next, we have another exceptional performer, which is a perfect heating solution even on the coldest days. Equipped with a robust thermostat, it offers you superior control over temperature maintenance in your space.
It is a wonderful unit for spaces with power outage as it does not require electric supply. The battery powered ignition makes it very easy to start the unit and gain warmth instantly. It comes with mounting fasteners and brackets ensuring you can easily secure the unit on your preferred location permanently.
With the factory standard Oxygen Depletion Sensor, the heater offers absolute security and years of comfort. The multiple burners utilize radiant heat and render variable output, thereby effectively warming up your space.
- Automatic low oxygen level sensor
- Built-in thermostat
- Wall and floor mounting
- Variable output capacity
- Instant electric ignition
- Durable build
- High-grade construction
- Not meant for using at altitudes over 4.500 FT above sea level
3. Ashley Hearth Products Direct Vent Propane Heater
If you want zoned heating within your tiny home, then this space heater by Ashley Hearth is the best solution to consider. This direct vent unit can be mounted to an exterior wall and offer adjustable vent assembly ensuring easy and secured installation.
With its sealed gas flame, you gain comfortable and clean heating in your tiny home. The air essential for combustion is drawn into the chamber from outside through the vent and combustion units are vented directly to the outside ensuring safe and great functioning.
Using this heater means you only get clean and warm heat into your room. You can keep your windows and doors closed while using it as it does not use room air for combustion. With Piezo lighting for instant start, it is a great fit to any home décor and ensures you stay warm and cozy.
- Superior Heating results
- Sealed burn system enhancing safety
- Incomparable Piezo lighting for a quick start
- Simple installation
- Does not uses room air for combustion
- Superior Heating results
- Sealed burn system enhancing safety
- Incomparable Piezo lighting for a quick start
- Simple installation
- Does not uses room air for combustion
- Vented directly to the outside
- Weak customer support
- Not a long-lasting performer
4. AmazonBasics 1500W Ceramic Heater with Adjustable Thermostat
Now, if you are looking for a lightweight and portable unit with manual operation and which you can easily carry anywhere in your tiny home, this one is here to serve you. With adjustable thermostat, this ceramic personal heater is ideal for enclosed spaces and offers consistent heat distribution across the space. Using it lets you find the perfect temperature and comfort with ease.
Its 1500 Watt electric power supply allows you to experience powerful heat output. It features a quick-heating ceramic element with variable output options. Hence, you can adjust it to various situations depending on your needs. Also, there is an LED light indicator that specifies the current operational status of the unit.
When it comes to safety, this heater is no less than others. It comes with a tip over switch and overheats protection functionality with automatic shut off. Thereby, you always gain effective and safe operation while enjoying complete peace of mind.
- Multiple safety features
- Quick heating ceramic element
- Variable heat output settings
- Portable and lightweight
- Adjustable thermostat
- Requires no installation
- LED power indicator light
- It is not meant to use for high-humidity spaces
5. Rinnai FC510 Vent-Free Space Heater
A quiet and brilliant unit, this space heater will keep the room warm without making any noise. With this heater, you can stay toasty warm even when the exterior temperature is in the single digits.
It is very easy to install and operates perfectly even when you use it at 6,400 feet elevation. Quality of this unit is unsurpassed as it is made with best-quality materials holding great durability and strength.
While its electric ignition starts quickly, the push button mechanism makes it very convenient to use. The best thing is that it stays cool to the cabinet or space installed, and hence, keeps you and your family always safe.
- Great results
- Convenient push-button operation
- Quick electronic ignition
- The outer surface stays warm
- Built-in thermostat for temperature regulation
- Quiet and effectual
- Easy to install
- Circulates hot air evenly
- The thermostat is designed at the bottom.
6. Dyna-Glo Liquid Propane Blue Flame Wall Heater
Designed with state-of-the-art technology, this vent free heater would be a great addition to your home. It requires no electricity to operate, which makes it an excellent pick for small, moving homes.
This heater works using blue flame heating technology and evenly distributes heat across the house. Hence, you experience a central heating mechanism with this unit. With a two-stage adjustable regulator, it is an economical and dependable solution to enjoy warmth during chilly conditions.
Integrated with a powerful thermostat, it automatically adjusts to your preferred temperature. Also, it is built-in with an Oxygen Depletion Sensor, which instantly shuts down the heater on detecting low oxygen levels or carbon monoxide. The battery assisted ignition is effortless and quick making it a suitable heating solution for almost every home.
- Efficient Blue Flame technology distributes heat evenly
- Adjustable heat output
- Thermostat control knob
- Oxygen Depletion Sensor
- Automatic shut off for enhanced safety
- Requires no electricity
- Dependable and economical
- Versatile installation
- Push-button assisted ignition
- It is suitable only for low traffic areas.
- With doors closing and opening, the flame keeps going out.
7. MR. Heater F215100 Little Buddy Indoor Safe
Finally, we have the safest and most handy heating solution for small homes. This indoor safe propane heater is suitable for small houses and rooms and renders continuous odor-free heating at an altitude till 7000 FT. With its automatic low oxygen shut-off system, you enjoy warmth safely in your enclosed space.
The one pound disposable propane cylinder runs up to 5.6 hours ensuring you can have a good night sleep and an all-day comfort. This fan-like, portable design can be carried both indoors and outdoors, which makes it worth buying.
While its accidental tip-over switch and low-oxygen shut-off pilot system ensures you enjoy complete safety, the single heat setting lets you have complete control over the temperature. Despite being lightweight, it delivers superior performance and will not occupy much space in your home.
- Portable and handy
- Augmented safety with ODS, accidental tip-over, and low oxygen sensor
- Simple on and off buttons
- Superb fuel efficiency
- starts easily work well
- It needs a vent area of 4 square inches for adequate ventilation while functioning.
The Other Off-Grid Heating Options for Tiny House
You can go for other off-grid heating options as well. With the off-grid heating units you are not bound to one location. It is because these units use energy generated by propane, wood, or solar.
Solar Power Units
Solar air heating units rely on the volume of solar energy collected, which heats air. The heated air is then circulated through the house.
They are eco-friendly, energy-efficient but depend on sunlight for functioning.
Geothermal Heating Units
These are electrically powered units, which can be used for heating and cooling spaces. They send heat between your tiny home and the ground using long loops of underground pipework. Though they are highly efficient, they involve too expensive installation cost.
While picking a firewood heater, you need to figure out the size of the wood stove required. Otherwise, it would occupy unnecessary space in your small house. Also, these heaters work with real fire. Hence, you have to be extra cautious while using them on the floor. Make sure your home’s perimeter around the unit is absolutely safe.
Tips to Pick the Best Tiny House Heater
There are various elements you need to consider for picking the best propane heater for your tiny house.
Check the BTU Required By Your House
The first important thing to consider when selecting a heater is how powerful it must be. For this you have to calculate the BTU rating of a unit. The BTU rating stands for British Thermal Time and let you know how much power a heater possesses.
Check for Installation and Ventilation
It is best to use vented propane heaters for your tiny home. But if you are going for vent-free heaters, you must have a proper ventilation mechanism in your house. Otherwise, you may end up witnessing low oxygen levels in your house. Additionally, check the installation mechanism for each heater.
Look for Clearance
Clearance is how much space is needed below the stove, next to the stove, above the stove, and behind the stove. Clearances differ a lot based on the unit you purchase. Understanding about the clearances of a unit lets you work out proper space in your tiny house.
Check for Built-In Thermostat
Having a heater with a built-in thermostat lets you have complete control over the temperature. You can easily regulate the desired temperature in your house and have adequate warmth.
Read the Manual
Going through the manual instructions allow you to check the kind of venting requirements for a heater. Some heaters are wall mount while others can be fastened to the floors. This will make the installation work simpler.
Picking up the best heater for your tiny home is tricky. However, we have shortlisted and reviewed the top-notch units for you. Also, we have tried offering you the maximum information on safely and efficiently heating your tiny house. Hope it helps!
Just remember, the heater you select depends a lot on your lifestyle, personal preferences, and size of your space. With precise planning, we are sure you will be able to make an ultimate pick that perfectly fits your tiny house.