What To Look For When Buying A Kerosene Heater

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When you are choosing the best kerosene heater for your garage, home, RV, workplace or even take camping, there are a few points to keep in mind and inbuilt safety mechanisms to look for.
As long as you know what to look for when buying a kerosene heater, the newer models and designs of kerosene heaters offer a good inexpensive heat source. They can be used either as an area heater, or as a supplemental heat source in case of emergencies when the power goes out.

4 Reasons To Buy A Kerosene Heater

Buying a good branded kerosene heater is a great heat source for your home. The best kerosene heaters for indoor use can be used at home, in the garage or shed, in the RV when traveling and you can even take them camping. There are any number of reasons why you may want to choose a kerosene heater. These are just some of them.

1) Used as a supplemental heat source, you can save money on your winter heating bills by using a kerosene heater. You can turn off the central heating system and heat only the room you are occupying.

2) Do you experience power cuts in the wintertime? Don’t be caught out and freeze. Use your handy kerosene heater to provide that much needed heat.

3) Stay warm on the job and work more effectively. A good kerosene heater just may be the ideal solution. Being portable, you can take them to job sites easily. As they pump out instant heat, there is no down time waiting for them to heat up.

4) Kerosene heaters are useful for heating larger sized rooms that many other heater types can struggle to do. Some of the more industrial kerosene heaters incorporate a fan, and can heat areas in excess of 4,000 square feet. These are the ideal choice for warehouses and public events.

Are Kerosene Heaters Dangerous?

When used correctly according to the manufactures instructions, kerosene heaters are as safe as any other heater. Keep in mind they are powered by kerosene which is a combustible fuel source. If used incorrectly and care isn’t taken, they can be dangerous.

Reduce Fire Risks – some reports have mentioned space heaters were the possible cause of up to 32% of all home fires out of all heating appliances. Fires occurred because heaters were too close to combustible items such as curtains, clothing, furniture and other sundries. Make sure you a safe wide space around your kerosene heater and well away from curtains and any furniture. Check the manufacturers  instructions for how much clearance you need to give your appliance.

Fuel Exploding –the best kerosene heaters for indoor use don’t explode unless you use the wrong fuel. Always choose quality brands and always use kerosene 1K-grade fuel. If you decide to use gasoline instead of kerosene, well, this may well be the cause of your heater exploding. If you keep both kerosene and gasoline containers on your property, make sure to keep them both separate and very clearly label them to avoid any confusion.

Burns – It goes without saying – let your heater fully cool down before you refill. Flareups can happen if you try to fill a hot heater with fuel. You can burn yourself or worse burn bystanders. Obviously make sure children stand well back whilst refilling and do stop children from playing near the heater. That goes for pets too. Ensure pets are always supervised.

7 Kerosene Heater Safety Tips

Follow the correct safety procedures when you are using kerosene heaters. Although they are designed to be as safe as possible, like any heater, these units can be damaging if used incorrectly.

  • 1) First of all, only ever use 1K-grade kerosene. 1K grade is clear. Never ever use gasoline as this could cause fires or at worst an explosion, even when used in very small amounts.
  • 2) Store kerosene fuel in the correct kerosene container. Never use a gasoline can or a can that has ever contained gasoline. This prevents fuel contamination. Kerosene containers are coded in blue and gasoline containers are red.
  • 3) When filling the kerosene container with a pump, always carefully check the pump is for kerosene only, and not gasoline. Many stations use a separate island for kerosene fuel.
  • 4) Make sure the 1K-grade kerosene is certified. Contaminated kerosenes that are not 1K release more pollutants into the air and are bad for your health. You can’t tell what grade the kerosene is by simply looking which is why the certification is vital.
  • 5) Always refill the tank outside. Turn the heater off before you start filling it. Make sure the heater is cool to touch before refilling. Check the maximum level mark and don’t overfill. This allows for fuel expansion without leaking out of the tank.
  • 6) When in use, position the unit away from walkways in the house
  • 7) Don’t obstruct the heat flow with furniture, curtains or anything that could possibly catch fire.

Picking The Most Suitable Model

What’s The Difference Between Convection And Radiant Kerosene Heaters?

When you are looking at the different types of kerosene heaters, you’ll notice there are 2 main types. Convection and radiant kerosene heaters. Knowing what the difference between convection and radiant kerosene heaters is can help you decide which type to buy.

What Is A Convection Kerosene Heater?

Convection kerosene heaters are generally designed with a round shape which throws out the heat in 360° to heat your entire room. The fuel tanks in convection heaters are mostly tucked away under the wick. This allows the wick to absorb fuel which burns in the combustion chamber above.

benefits of using a kerosene heater

Convection kerosene heaters are designed to heat large areas, plus they may even heat several rooms in your home at once. If they are positioned in a central location, they can circulate hot air upwards and outwards in all directions from the heater. Dyn- Glo and Sengoku design some of the best kerosene units for home use.
If you have a smaller home and keep all the doors open, you may be able to keep a medium-sized home warm throughout with just one of these larger BTU heaters.

What Is A Radiant Kerosene Heater?

best indoor kerosene heater

Radiant kerosene heaters are mostly rectangular in the shape. Radiant models are designed for smaller areas and don’t emit heat in 360 degrees. These types of heaters work by pumping heat out directly towards people or objects in close proximity. These types are good safe garage heaters

They work in the same manner as infrared heaters. Some of the radiant heaters have an fan to more effectively disperse the heat around the room.

Some models feature a removable tank, allowing you to leave the heater where it is without needing to first empty out the fuel tank. The fuel tank can be stored away from your home over the warmer months.

Buy A Battery Operated Ignition Model

It is a good idea to choose a battery operated igniting device. This means you don’t need to use matches to light the fuel which can be a dangerous way of starting up your kerosene heater!

Using a Kerosene Heater in Your Home

If you are using a kerosene heater for home or garage use, you may notice there may be a lingering smell of kerosene when you enter. This is normal. However, when the heater is in use, you shouldn’t notice any unpleasant strong smells or smoke. This is a sign of a good kerosene heater which is running efficiently.

On the occasions kerosene heaters will emit a strong odor is after they have been turned on or off, or when they run out of fuel. It’s good practice to keep an eye on the fuel gauge.

When you buy your kerosene heater, check it comes with an easy to read fuel gauge. That way you can see at a glance exactly when you need to refuel.

One of the biggest dangers of using these heaters in your home is carbon monoxide poisoning. Carbon monoxide poisoning is very real and dangerous. We strongly recommend if you’re going to buy kerosene heater for your home, you buy a good branded carbon monoxide detector at the same time.

To prevent or lessen the danger of carbon monoxide poisoning, take care to place the kerosene heater in a well ventilated location. Ventilation is key when using any heating method that may produce carbon monoxide. Adequate ventilation ensures oxygen can enter the room and carbon monoxide can escape.

If you want to heat one room in your home, say a bedroom, you may need to rethink your choice. Kerosene heaters are not the best options for heating smaller rooms or rooms where all door and windows are tightly closed. You are better off choosing a good infrared heater.

Safety First

When you research the many different types of kerosene heaters, choose the model which incorporates the safety features you need to feel safe.

  • Overheat Protection. This sensor ensures the heater instantly turns off  when it detects it is too hot. This feature protects you, and it will also prolong the life of the heater.
  • Anti-tip Over Switch. These switches are essential for any kerosene heater. Especially so if you have pets or small children, as the risk is increased in the heater being accidentally knocked over accidentally. Even under ideal circumstances, it isn’t impossible for heater to tip over! The safety switch prevents leaking fuel from self combusting which is why it’s important to have a safety switch that turns off the heater the instant it’s knocked over.
  • Carbon Monoxide Monitor. It’s a good idea to install a carbon monoxide detector in your home or workspace to monitor levels so you know when or if oxygen levels drop too low.
  • Removable Fuel Tank. Some people like to leave their heaters indoors when they are not using it. Check the kerosene heater includes a removable fuel tank. The benefit of this- you don’t need to empty the tank before moving it. Instead, simply disconnect the fuel tank and store it in the garage, shed or patio.

How To Refuel Your Heater

Knowing what to look for when buying a kerosene heater makes make life easier. Buy a model that is easy to fuel. To refill the heater, it’s easiest to refill the unit outside to avoid spills running onto the carpet or floorboards, unless it has a tray to catch excess fuel. Check the heater is light enough to carry and that it isn’t too heavy once filled with fuel. How long do you want the heater to run for?

It’s wise to check how long the tank of fuel will last before you need to refill. Refueling can be a lengthy process, as you will need to wait for the heater to cool down before you can refill it. Many heaters can run for 8- 12, even 14 hours quite comfortably with a larger capacity tank.

Where To Store Your Heater In The Warmer Months

Have you considered where you’ll store your heater over the warmer months? Most people tuck them away in their garage, shed, basement or patio, so check the size of the unit before you buy to make sure you actually have suitable storage space. Remember too, those fuel containers need storing as well. Remember to check the manufacturer’s guidelines before making your purchase so you know what, if any particular storage requirement are needed.

Kerosene Heater Indoor Use

Many people ask if  kerosene heaters are safe for indoors which they are providing you follow a few important safety guidelines.

Fuelling –Remember when filling your kerosene heater to ensure that it is always turned off. You should never refill the tank if the heater is still hot. To avoid spills damaging any floor surfaces, take the heater outside to refill the unit. Fill the tank away from anything that could set it on fire- no naked flames nearby! Only ever fill the fuel tank to the manufactures maximum level. Don’t overfill.

Location –Make sure the kerosene heater is situated in a well ventilated area. Avoid placing your kerosene heater close to furniture, curtains, side tables or newspaper racks. Another tip is keep the heater out of any busy movement areas in your home. This will reduce the chance of it accidentally tipping over.

Carbon Monoxide Detector–Invest in a carbon monoxide detector, smoke detector and a fire extinguisher. They should all be tested frequently so you know you can rely on them to keep you safe when using your heater.

What To Look For When Buying A Kerosene Heater:Kerosene Vs. Propane Heating

Another question people ask is kerosene vs propane heating? Which is best for me? When it comes to using portable infrared space heaters, portable propane heaters and kerosene heaters, it really boils down to personal choice. Each of these models have their own advantages and disadvantages. People also ask can I use diesel in a kerosene heater? In short, no.

Propane is a clean burning fuel and as a result, often more popular as a source for home heating than kerosene heaters. This fuel is a low emission fuel which makes it more environmentally friendly. Propane fuel is heavier fuel and it is usually compressed into tanks. These tanks are sold at gas stations or hardware stores.

One of the main issues in using propane, is that it is combustible. When propane is inhaled it can be dangerous so care needs to be taken.

Kerosene, unlike propane, is a liquid. It can be clear or slightly colored. It can’t leak as propane can. However, it does vent a small amount, so is worse for the environment.

Kerosene creates a lot of heat quickly and generates more heat with a single gallon of fuel. Considering the fact propane costs more per gallon, kerosene is a far more cost efficient fuel to use in regards value for money.  Kerosene costs around $2.25( depending ) per gallon of kerosene and $3 per gallon of propane.


Can You Get Carbon Monoxide Poisoning From Using A Kerosene Heater?

Yes, it is possible and they do indeed produce carbon monoxide. Keep in mind many other appliances produce carbon monoxide at different levels including wall heaters, gas heaters and stoves, candles, and oil lamps. Some kerosene units produce higher levels of carbon monoxide than others. By regularly servicing your heater, keeping it well maintained and running properly the health risks associated with carbon monoxide poisoning are virtually nil.

Using the kerosene heater indoors? Always have plenty of fresh air coming into your room. Adequate ventilation is essential which can be as simple as opening the window an inch or so. Always use a carbon monoxide detector in your home. These have a test button you can press to check the battery has not run flat in the detector. This is a vital piece of equipment will quickly alert you as soon as it senses an increase in carbon monoxide levels in the air.

Don’t close yourself into a room by closing the doors and windows. That isn’t very smart and it’s dangerous when you have a kerosene heater. if you want to keep doors and windows tightly closed, choose a different space heater to keep all the family safe.

Kerosene Heater Care and Maintenance

Learning the basic care and maintenance of your kerosene heater takes very little time. By learning the basics, you don’t need to call in the professionals! Some of these tips have been noted already and while this may be repetitive, it’s better to be safe!

As we mentioned previously, empty the fuel tank when the heater isn’t in use. Take the heater outside to fill the tank. Make sure the heater has fully cooled before draining the tank.
Never ever use gasoline in your kerosene heater. Remember to store kerosene and gasoline away from each other so that the two won’t get confused.


When storing your kerosene, make sure to use a suitable container. Color code the container to signify the type of fuel contained. If you have gasoline containers on your property, color code those gasoline containers clearly. Never store kerosene in gasoline container.

From time to time, your heater wick will require replacing. Don’t use a generic wick. Use the wick recommended by the manufacturer to get the best performance from the heater.

What To Look For When Buying A Kerosene Heater: Kerosene Heater Reviews

If you are looking for fast, instant and effective heat, purchasing a kerosene heater is certainly a good option. As long as you keep the safety aspects in mind when using them, these heaters are great for heating larger areas, or in spaces where electric heaters aren’t an option.

Hopefully you’ve found some useful information in this buying guide about how to care for your heater as well as sourcing the best kerosene heater to fit your needs. Keep the safety and maintenance details in mind such as ventilating your room properly and sufficient heater clearance and this just may be the perfect type of heater for your home.

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