Best Vented Propane Heaters 2020 – Reviews & Top Picks
Propane heaters are great for staying warm when the temperatures start to drop. However, because this is such an important piece of equipment, it is particularly important to get the right one.
We don’t want your propane heater to die in the middle of a brutal January evening. That is why we’ve compiled a list of six of the best options on the market.
We tested each product featured on the list today to make sure that it succeeds in all of the ways that are important with propane heaters—output, durability, ease of installation, and price.
Read on for some vented propane heater reviews!
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites
|Best Overall||Martin 766013||
|Best Value||Mr. Heater Big MHU80NG||
|Premium Choice||Rinnai EX08CP||
|Empire Comfort Systems||
|US Stove AGDV20N||
The 5 Best Vented Propane Heaters – 2020
1. Martin 766013 Vent Propane Heater — Best Overall
The Martin 776013 is a heavy-duty space heater that mounts directly onto your wall. It features a thermostat that allows you to adjust the temperature up to the exact degree. The body of the furnace is made from cast aluminum which should fortify it against basic wear and tear, and the installation is advertised as very simple.
Granted, if you aren’t very tool savvy, you will probably need to hire a professional, but some may be able to save money on the cost of installation.
Bear in mind that this is a fairly pricey heater. It also seems to struggle somewhat in larger spaces.
2. Heater Big MHU80NG Heater — Best Value
Our runner-up product is also the best vented propane heater for the money on our list today. At roughly half the price of our top choice, it will be much more appealing to buyers on a budget.
The unit is designed to work with propane, but can also be converted to natural gas with the help of a conversion kit.
The system advertises that it can heat a room up to 2,000 square feet, though in reality, it will probably thrive in smaller spaces.
Buyers should note that it is a wall-mounted unit that requires a fairly difficult installation. You can attempt to do it yourself, but most will need to hire out which adds to the cost.
Ultimately, it is not as sophisticated as our top choice, but it is good for buyers on a budget.
3. Rinnai EX08CP Direct Ventilation — Premium Choice
The Rinnai mounts directly to the wall to circulate air in larger spaces. Like our top choice, this unit can be adjusted to a precise temperature (in either Fahrenheit or Celsius).
The control interface is also very simple, making it easy for the layperson to control. Last but not least, it also features a low power mode. When you are not using the heating element of the equipment, it uses virtually no resting power.
As you may have noticed, we did list this as our premium choice. As you might expect, this means it is one of the pricier options on our list today. Still, if you are hoping for a reliably decent product, this might be a good choice to consider.
4. Empire Comfort Systems Direct-Vent Wall
The Empire Comfort System is a wall-mounted unit that generates 24,500 BTUs of energy. This level of power makes it suitable for heating spaces around 1,000 square feet. The unit features an attractive powdered beige coating that ensures it looks decent on your wall.
And, with dimensions of 37″ x 11.5″ x 27.75″ it is relatively modest in size, which will be good for people trying to conserve wall space.
There are a couple of things to note. For one thing, installation is very difficult, which means professional assistance will be required. It is also one of the more expensive products on our list.
5. US Stove AGDV20N Direct Vent
Last but not least, we have the US Stove AGDV20N. This unit generates 17,000 BTUs of heat, making it well suited for a space of about 350-450 square feet. This also happens to be another unit that is on the smaller side. It includes dimensions of just 8.4” x 20” x 27.4”, which means it will keep a fairly low profile.
Finally, it also features safety sensors that will shut the equipment off in the event of excessive heat or insufficient oxygen levels.
There are a few problems that put it at the bottom of our list. For one thing, it takes a long time for the heat to circulate. Some users also report that it begins to release a confronting odor over time. The smell is safe but unpleasant.
It is ultimately an effective heater but it does suffer shortcomings not found with other units on our list.
Here are some buying considerations that will make it easier to decide between the options on our list.
Who this is for?
Vented propane heaters tend to be used by people that have little to no access to central heating. They may be used in homes or cabins in which retrofitting is an impractical option.
BTU (British Thermal Unit) is how most manufacturers explain the power capabilities of their heating systems. BTUs refer to the amount of energy required to raise water one degree in temperature. Not super relatable for your purposes though, huh?
Here is another way to look at it. Most people agree that it takes 5,000 BTU to adequately warm a 100-square foot space. The bigger the space, the more BTUs you will need to have on hand. Some of the heaters on our list feature levels similar to those of central heating systems. A higher BTU threshold tends to cost a pretty penny, but it is an effective way to substitute or supplement a furnace.
Some space heaters feature onboard thermostats that allow you to control the temperature up to an exact degree. In that way, they perform like a miniature version of a central heating system. You aren’t going to find this feature on the cheaper units, but if you’re looking for something to supplement your furnace, this will be an important quality to have access to.
Keep in mind that these units are going to be on display in your home. That being the case, it can be handy to have something that looks decent. Appearance won’t impact the performance but it can be nice to have.
Gas-powered heaters can be a little bit challenging to start. Some units fix this probably by featuring an easy start component. Just press a button and the motor begins to activate.
This is a relatively simple feature that usually doesn’t add money to the cost of a product so be on the lookout for it.
Propane heaters come in all shapes and sizes, but often enough they are fairly small. More compact units are great for carrying around, but they can also be fairly easy to knock over. A tipped over propane heater can be a major fire hazard but fortunately, some products have a solution for this.
Some heaters include a tip-over sensor that immediately cuts off all fuel the moment it is knocked down. This is a feature that can prevent catastrophe so prioritize it as you shop around.
Heaters come in all different shapes and sizes. Many users may find it very handy to get a piece of equipment that includes wheels or handles.
Heaters produce carbon monoxide. In the case of space heaters, the quantity is usually fairly modest, but it can be dangerous over time. Fortunately, the risk is typically mitigated by the amount of oxygen that it also produces. However, should something happen to the oxygen supply, you may be at risk for dangerous carbon monoxide exposure.
As a result, many space heaters feature an oxygen shut off component that immediately deactivates the heater if a problem is detected.
In larger heaters, this is a mandatory feature, but in any case, it is always critical to your safety.
Some heaters also use a sensor to evaluate the temperature levels of the unit. If the heat gets too high, the equipment shuts off to lower the risk of fire.
It’s another basic but critical feature that may preserve your family’s safety.
Different Types of Heaters
It is also worth keeping in mind that there are several different methods of operation that space heaters will make use of. Here are the two main types that you are likely to encounter.
Radiant heaters produce waves of heat that only warm things that the rays come into direct contact with. Because they don’t feature a fan, they can only warm a very limited amount of space at a time. However, they are great for offices or bedrooms.
Convection heaters are different from radiant units in that they circulate warm air. Using a fan they can increase the temperature of a much larger space. In that sense, they operate much the same way as a central heating unit.
Convection heaters are noisy because they make use of a fan. However, if you are trying to heat a larger space, there is no beating a convection heater.
Of course, you want to be able to exercise some level of control over your heater. The more settings you have at your disposal, the more comfortable you will be able to make your home. Some units measure their settings in terms of “low, medium, high,” while others may have additional stop points.
Where the heater goes matters. Some are sized to fit on tables and desks while others are designed to sit on the floor. And of course, most of the heating panels on our list are mounted directly onto your wall.
The style of heater you decide on will depend on several factors. For example, if you have kids in your home, you may favor a wall unit so that it won’t be at risk of getting knocked over. On the other hand, if you are heating an office or bedroom, you might look for a product that fits on a desk or dresser.
There are many options which mean everyone should be able to find the right one for their needs.
As with any product, there are options available for most price ranges. You can definitely get a good product for a fair price, but there are some concessions you don’t want to make. For example, forfeiting a few heat settings will probably be fine. Forfeiting safety sensors will not be.
Which propane heater review leaped out at you? Did you prefer the high level of quality that our top choice, the Martin 766013 Direct Vent Propane Wall Heater had to offer?
Or perhaps you are a budget buyer. If you don’t have much money to spend, you can still get a great product from our runner up, the Mr. Heater F260560 Big Maxx MHU80NG Heater. It includes many of the features we so liked in our top choice, but at a fraction of the price.
Of course, you know quite a bit about propane heaters now, so you shouldn’t have any problem picking the right product for your needs.
- A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites
- The 5 Best Vented Propane Heaters – 2020
- Buyer’s Guide