Cold weather is no fun at the football game tailgate. Cold garage results in cold hands that frustratingly can’t get much done. Even cold hands can’t type very fast at a computer!
Tank top propane heaters can get an outdoor space or garage heated efficiently. They can do this without running things through a complex heating system. A propane tank top heater can efficiently convert gaseous propane into great heat that keeps you warm and going (Source).
The heaters on this list run from a little over $30 to a little over $70. They range in heating output from 15,000 BTUs to 45,000 BTUs.
The right product depends on the number of people you want to heat and the space you’re trying to heat. The 15,000 may do you just fine or you’ll need to opt for the full 45,000. You’re looking for something that has appropriate heat output for your usage scenarios.
What Is A Tank Top Propane Heater and How Does It Work?
Table of Contents
- 1 What Is A Tank Top Propane Heater and How Does It Work?
- 2 How Much Do Tank Top Propane Heaters Cost?
- 3 Comparison of the Top 5 Products
- 4 1. World Marketing DH
- 5 2. Mr. Heater
- 6 3. Dyna-Glo TT15CDGP
- 7 4. Dura Heat TT-360
- 8 5. Sunrite by Mr. Heater
- 9 Tank Top Propane Heater Brands
- 10 Factors to Consider Before Buying a Tank Top Propane Heater
- 11 How to Use a Tank Top Propane Heater
- 12 Ready to Buy a Tank Top Propane Heater?
A tank top propane heater is a simple heater construction that draws propane and turns it into heat. Tank top propane heaters measure the temperature of the heat output in BTUs (British Thermal Units).
The tank top propane heater works by converting the gas of the propane. It moves the gas under pressure into heat. The heat bounces around the steel and mesh heating coil construction and escapes in the radius outward.
Some of these heaters have full 360-degree coverage, while others are pointed in a single direction. Most of these heaters will work on a 20-pound propane tank for anywhere from 10 to 50 hours. It depends on the intensity of the heat output.
Obviously, if you’re using something that puts out 45,000 BTUs you’ll drain your propane tank roughly three times as quickly as if you were doing 15,000 BTUs.
How Much Do Tank Top Propane Heaters Cost?
Each of the tank top propane heaters on this list is under $100. The World Marketing DH will keep things under $50, as will the Dyna-Glo. If you want to go with the Mr. Heater brand but stay under $50, you’ll need the Sunrite model.
The Mr. Heater model is over $70 but delivers 45,000 BTUs. That is three times as much as the World Marketing DH model delivers.
Also, the 360-degree output head helps to keep a larger group of people warm at the same time. It’s a bit more cost-effective than buying 2 of the World Marketing DH heaters.
The Dura Heat model is also a bit over $70. It produces a little bit less heat than the Mr. Heater model and also doesn’t have the automatic start, but it makes up for these shortcomings through a super quiet construction and long-lasting design.
Comparison of the Top 5 Products
|World Marketing DH|
|Dura Heat TT-360|
|Sunrite by Mr. Heater|
It’s easy to set up. Connect it by hand without using any tools at all. The ignition will require a match or piezo electric start.
While it claims to be wind-resistant, there can be some problems with the wind putting out the propane source and disconnecting from the heater. If you plan on using the heater in conditions that involve an amount of wind, you’ll need to figure out a way of blocking it.
You can even simply stick it in a cooler with the lid up to block the direct wind! It’s also protected from rain so that you don’t have any hazards or lost flames from the weather.
The heater only weighs three pounds, and easily stores, with dimensions of 12.2 x 8.9 x 7.7 inches.
2. Mr. HeaterThe Mr. Heater model has an output of anywhere from 30,000 to 45,000 BTUs to keep things nice and warm in even the chilliest of environments. It has a safety valve that shuts the thing off automatically in the event that it tips over.
The 360-degree head makes sure that a few people can crowd all the way around the heater without crowding each other out.
Plus, you’ve got some options. You can move around easily or even mount it to a wall or fasten it to the floor. It even includes the brackets and fasteners that you’d need to do it!
The blue flame tube burns cleanly so that it uses the natural burn to circulate the warm air. There’s even a factory standard oxygen depletion sensor to prevent any dangerous funny business in the case where oxygen runs low in the room.
Piezo ignition is built into the heater itself so you can activate it with the simple turn of a knob.
It has a double mesh covering for the burner, zinc plated steel support leg, a porcelain coated back and a safety grill in the back, and a switch that automatically turns it off in the event that it is tipped over.
Goes up to 15,000 BTUs over three different heat settings. It can heat up to a 15 ft. radius, covering about 700 sq. ft. in total.
This heater is built to last and costs under $40, making it a very affordable heating option. The coverage is just fine, and it won’t sound super loud when you start it up! Great heating coverage for not a lot of money.
360 degrees of infrared heat keep everything warm and toasty. The automatic shutoff valve keeps everything safe. It can operate up to 14 hours on a 20 pound propane tank. The chrome emitter guard is rust resistant.
Of course, you’ll have to use matches to light and start the heater. This can be a bit more annoying than an electric ignition.
The connection is super easy to put on and remove. It’s great for times where you expect to be burning through a lot of propane in a short amount of time. Plus, the infrared heat is super quiet and avoids the loud wind sound that other heaters can have.
The 15,000 BTUs are sufficient to keep you and a friend warm, and the high, medium, and low settings will let you remain comfortable even when really close to the heater.
As a safety measure the heater shuts off in a low oxygen environment to prevent draining the oxygen for people in the room. It also shuts off if accidentally tipped over.
On medium it can last up to 50 hours on a 20-pound propane tank. That’s enough to get you through an entire vacation without ever changing the propane tank!
The long-lasting construction is also great for people who want to save money on propane. A cheaper model that will definitely do the trick if you’re avoiding large rooms and extreme conditions.
Tank Top Propane Heater Brands
World Marketing is a heating company based out of Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania. Based on the east coast in the cold Pennsylvania winters, they know a thing or two about what it takes to keep people warm.
They were founded in 1982 with the mission of providing better solutions for heating in North America. They quickly became a trusted brand for reliable, low-cost heating solutions.
They’ve now got products in more than 12,000 retailers and online retailers. They do everything from indoor kerosene heaters to gas appliances.
World marketing also makes and sells the Dura Heat brand, which is their slightly fancier version. The dura heat model is a more expensive version of the world marketing heater that is on this list.
Mr. Heater is sold by Enerco, a heating company which has been operating out of Cleveland, Ohio since 1957. They specialize in infrared combustion technology and build commercial and construction level heating products.
Mr. Heater itself was started in 1984 as a way of delivering great, low cost heating solutions to individual consumers. Contractor series heaters from Mr. Heaters have also become the industry standard to create workspaces in winter months.
Dyna-glo is made by the GHP group, a company that specializes in fireplace sets and then branched out to portable heating products. They sell products all over North America.
They pride themselves on senior management with hundreds of years of industry level experience. They care about their customers and produce rigorously tested, high quality products. Dyna-glo products are built to gain lifetime customers who keep coming back.
Factors to Consider Before Buying a Tank Top Propane Heater
The Size of the Space
If you want to heat a large space you’ll need the higher output heaters. Then again, if you’re outside, you have no chance heating the outdoors itself against the cold tides of winter rolling in.
But if you expect to be in a high-cold environment, you’ll need the more powerful heater to work against the cold. Don’t overpay for heat. Don’t get something that is a lot hotter than you’ll actually need unless you know that you need it.
The Number of People
If you have a ton of different people that will need to share the heater, the 360 model works great. Need a personal heater for tailgating? Grab the directional version. Want to heat the whole crew? Go for the 360 model.
The Use Case
Need the heater aimed at your body or hands to keep warm outside or for a short time in a specific situation? Get the cheaper heaters that have a directional heating element to them.
If you want to heat a larger room or move around in a heated space, the 360-heater placed near the center will do the trick better.
Remember that getting a more expensive model with a high heat output doesn’t merely cost more in the short term for the acquisition cost–it also costs more in the long run as you’ll have to buy more propane.
The higher the heat, the more the propane will drain from the system. Getting something that drains a lot of propane is expensive in the long run.
How to Use a Tank Top Propane Heater
First, make sure the heater is properly installed on the propane tank. Most of the heaters include simple instructions on how to tighten it. Place the tank and heater upright and ensure that the connection isn’t loose. If you’ll be using the tank for two different appliances, having the greatest propane tank splitter will make is easier for you.
Next, open the valve to the propane tank and get a gentle flow.
Then, light the heater. All of the models on this list are a bit different. The easiest one is the Mr. Heater main model that includes an automatic ignition built into the heater itself. Simply turn the knob and you’ll be fired up and good to go.
For any of the other ones, you’ll need a piezo lighter or good old-fashioned matches. See the directions to be sure you know exactly where to stick the lighter or flames. And obviously, don’t open the propane tank until you’re actually ready to light the thing.
Using a Tank Top Propane Heater
Ready to Buy a Tank Top Propane Heater?
Tank top propane heaters can make cold spaces a lot more bearable. Going on a camping trip that needs a little extra heat away from the fire pit? Attending a tailgate that would be too cold to stand without some extra juice? Doing work in a small garage or construction site that needs heat?
A tank top propane heater can keep everything toasty for a low cost. All the heaters on this list are less than $100. If you want to keep the cost low, you can score one of the under $50 models that is also really good at burning propane slowly.
You can run one of those models for up to 50 hours on a single propane tank. Need more power to heat the garage or workshop in the winter? Go for the model that gives you 40,000 or even 45,000 BTUs. Finally, make sure to get a regulator so you don’t run out of propane.