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Whether you’re tinkering around in your workshop or trying to keep warm when the power goes out, a forced air propane heater can be a valuable tool. Unlike electric space heaters that struggle to heat a few hundred square feet, a forced air propane heater can easily heat thousands of square feet.
Propane is easy to stock up (not to mention a valuable commodity in a collapsed economy), and as long as you have a wall-outlet or backup generator nearby, you can quickly convert that propane into life-saving heat.
Shopping for a forced air propane heater can be confusing with all the technical jargon. It doesn’t take an engineering degree to decipher the labels, but you’ll need a basic understanding of a few important principles:
There are a number of factors that may impact your purchase, but the most important consideration when purchasing a forced air propane heater is how much square footage you need to heat. Heating a two-car garage is a whole different ball game than heating a two-story barn, large shop space, or open-air porch for emergency reasons.
Unless you need a versatile forced air propane heater that can heat a variety of indoor and outdoor spaces, purchasing a massive heater with more BTU than you need is wasteful. On the other hand, purchasing a cheaper heater that can’t sufficiently heat your large space will only raise the temperature a few degrees (though it may bring you to your boiling point when you have to buy another one).
Take some time to measure the primary space you need to heat, then consider any other spaces that you may need to heat down the road. Will you use the heater on your outdoor patio? In your barn? A campsite? Once you have a firm grasp on how you’ll use the heater, check the recommended square footage for the product in question — and take it with a grain of salt. Check the reviews to see what actual customers are reporting for square footage, and you’ll get an accurate picture of what to expect.
Our list of the top 5 forced air propane heaters offers dependable heaters for customers with modest needs to massive spaces. That said, each of these products are part of a line with power-level options from 30,000 BTU to 400,000+ BTU. If you find a brand that you like but need a different power level, take a look at what upgrades are available to meet your needs.
L.B. White is the leading manufacturer of portable gas heaters for construction sites and industrial facilities. These guys have perfected the modern heater to withstand harsh working environments. Their heaters have a reputation for durability, reliability, and easy serviceability in the field — all important considerations in a survival situation.
L.B. White’s Tradesman line of portable gas heaters are engineered to deliver reliable, directional heat in high-dust environments. These heaters feature a superior tri-shield finish for extended protection against corrosion and abrasion. They employ a dependable electronic spark ignition, thermostatic temperature control, and are easy to service and maintain in the field. All Tradesman heaters are 100% test-fired at the plant, and are CSA US and Canadian Certified.
The Tradesman 170 is one of the most popular members of the Tradesman line. It offers a variable output of 125,000 to 170,000 BTU/H, which helps you save fuel when you don’t need as much heat.
The Tradesman 170 features the industry’s heaviest gauge combustion chamber and burner plate, a unique three-trial ignition system, and an adjustable front leg for enhanced directional control.
DeWalt has an expansive line of industrial-grade forced air propane heaters with plenty of options to fit your needs. They’re thermostatically controlled with heating elements that cycle on/off to maintain the set temperature. While running, they utilize patented Quiet Burner Technology to reduce the combustion and operation noise by up to 50% (compared to standard units of similar size).
DeWalt Forced Air Propane Heaters also feature a rugged two-piece split barrel that’s easier and safer to clean and maintain, a large ergonomic handle, recessed controls, and a continuous electronic ignition that reduces fuel pooling and collection.
Within the DeWalt Forced Air Propane Heater lineup, the 170,000 BTU model is arguably the most popular. Boasting a variable output of 125,000 – 170,000 BTU/H, this heater can use a 100lb propane tank to heat 4,250 square feet of space for 17 hours on low, or 13 hours on high. The heater includes a 20-foot hose and a regulator.
For smaller spaces that don’t require 125,000+ BTUs, go with the Dyna-Glo Delux. For a fraction of the cost of 170,000 BTU heater, you can heat up to 1,350 square feet of space with 30,000 to 60,000 BTUs of forced air heat.
The Dyna-Glo Delux relies on a permanent split capacitor motor — the most reliable motor style in the industry. It’s durable, efficient, and proven to deliver better performance over a longer lifespan. Eschewing the traditional rear-mounting design, the Dyna-Glo motor is mounted to a sturdy bracket secured to the lower shell for greater stability and performance. The indestructible brass nozzle is the most durable burner system on the market, and the construction-grade, fully-enclosed steel base locks out dust and debris.
The Dyna-Glo Delux uses a low-pressure 0.5 PSI system that consistently delivers maximum BTU outputs, even when the thermometer outside dips below freezing. This is a major upgrade as higher-pressure PSI heaters may see reduced BTU outputs in cold weather, frozen tanks, and extremely dangerous situations surrounding leaks.
The Dyna-Glo Delux is incredibly easy to set up, with most owners reporting less than 3 minutes of assembly required. It features an adjustable leg for angular heat control, continuous electronic ignition, and an integrated safety sensor that shuts off the heater in the unlikely event of a flame-out or overheating. The package comes with a 10-foot hose and regulator.
The Mr. Heater line of forced air propane heaters ranges from 38,000 to 400,000 BTUs, with a heater for every size and budget. Their 60,000 BTU model is the most popular model, with a rugged design built for tough environments. It’s a great choice for construction sites, factories, utility buildings, patios, sporting events, and barns.
The Mr. Heater 60,000 BTU Forced Air Propane Heater couldn’t be easier to operate — just plug it into a 115v outlet, hook up a 20-pound propane tank (or larger), and you’re ready to heat things up. The heater features continuous ignition, thermoelectric safety valves, and factory-installed high-limit switches.
It also leverages patented Quiet Burner Technology for 50% less noise. You’ll get everything you need out of the box, with a 10-foot L.P. Gas Hose and Regulator.
The Pro-Temp 60,000 BTU Variable Propane Forced Air Heater is one of the highest-rated forced air propane heaters on the market. It can heat a 1,500 sq.ft. space for up to 11 hours on a standard 20-pound tank of propane, with variable heat settings to control the flow of heat. It’s ideally suited for outdoor venues, though you can use it in workshops, garages, warehouses, and barns with sufficient ventilation.
The Pro-Temp 60,000 BTU Variable Propane Forced Air Heater features electronic ignition, state of the art safety features, and an adjustable heat angle for accurate heat flow. There’s an easy-lift handle for improved portability and convenience, and it comes with a 10-foot hose and regulator.