Best Vented Propane Heater in 2021
Find the best vent propane heater for your home!
When it comes to heating your home during those chilly winter months, sometimes your central heating just won’t cut it by itself. Cranking the thermostat up wastes energy heating your whole house instead of targeting the room you spend the most time in. Energy prices are only climbing higher and higher, so your bills can quickly spiral out of control!
A vented propane heater is a great alternative! Vented propane heaters are powerful, energy-efficient, and heat spaces quicker than many other types of heaters out there. They’re also super-easy to install because they don’t use any ductwork!
Read on to learn what to look for when buying vented propane heaters for homes.
Table of Contents
- 1 Types Of Vented Propane Heater
- 2 Vented Propane Heater Buying Guide
- 3 Best Direct Vent Propane Heater Reviews
- 4 Vented Propane Heater: Frequently Asked Questions
- 5 My Final Thoughts
I’ve worked as a licensed heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) engineer for over a decade. I’ve used everything I’ve learned in that time to put together this essential vented propane heater buying guide. I’ve also picked out 5 of the very best vented propane heaters your money can buy today.
First, let’s take a look at the different types of vented propane heaters you’ll need to choose from.
Types Of Vented Propane Heater
There are two types of vented propane heaters, B-vent and direct vent. The venting system that’s right for you will depend on your needs and the room you’re going to heat.
B-vented heaters use fresh room air from inside your home for combustion and then vents it outside. It uses a chimney of sorts, but not the heavy, old-fashioned stove-type you may be imagining! A B-vent chimney is much smaller and easier to install.
They generate a lot of heat quite quickly, and they’re popular with homeowners for their large and visible flames that add character, ambiance, and warmth to the room.
Direct vent heaters work in a similar way to B-vent heaters, but they draw air for combustion from the outside instead. They don’t need an obtrusive chimney to work, using a small hole that can be drilled into the wall it’s fitted onto to vent exhaust fumes.
Direct vent heaters are generally more energy-efficient than B-vent heaters, so you’ll save money off your monthly energy bills. Direct vent heaters are an exceptionally safe heating option because they’re a tightly-sealed system and don’t use any indoor air.
Vented Propane Heater Buying Guide
When you go shopping for your vented propane heater, you should consider the following factors. Doing so will ensure you’re getting the right vented heater for you at the best possible value!
The heating output of a vented propane heater relates to how quickly and effectively it can heat a space of a specific size. Heat output is measured using British Thermal Units (BTUs). The higher the BTU rating of a heater, the more powerful that heater is.
With this in mind, it’s important to choose a vented heater with the right output for your home. One with a BTU rating that’s too low will mean you won’t be able to heat a space as well as you might expect. A rating that’s too high could make the space uncomfortable and needlessly add extra dollars to your monthly energy costs.
If you want to heat a larger space, you should look for a vented heater with a higher BTU rating. That way, you’ll know it’s powerful enough to cover that area. It’s even possible to work out the exact BTU rating you’ll need.
Calculating Your Heater Size
It’s a good idea to use this formula to give you an accurate idea of the size of the vented heater you’ll need. Don’t worry if you didn’t do well at math in school; it’s easier than it sounds!
First, measure the cubic footage of the room you want to heat by multiplying its length, width, and height together. If your room is 10 feet long, 10 feet wide, and 10 feet high (10 x 10 x 10), your room would be 1,000 cubic feet.
Next, work out your desired indoor temperature increase. Just subtract the cold outdoor temperature from your preferred indoor temperature. If your outside winter temperature averages around 15 degrees Fahrenheit, and you like a cozy indoor temperature of 68 degrees Fahrenheit, your desired indoor temperature increase is 53 degrees Fahrenheit.
Finally, multiply 0.133 by your desired temperature change and the cubic footage of the space you want to heat. Using my examples, you’d multiply 1,000 x 53 x 0.133 to get the figure of 7,049. Rounding up, you’d need a heater with 8,000 BTU’s of heat output to get your desired indoor temperature!
Because propane heaters use flammable gas to operate, misusing them can create a fire hazard. Fortunately, many modern vented propane heaters are fitted with multiple safety features that let you run them with complete peace of mind.
The best vented propane heaters will use at least one or more of the following safety features:
Anti-tip switches shut the unit off if it’s accidentally knocked over, usually by 45° or more. This is a great feature if you have kids or pets running around your home.
In-Built Overheat Protector
Overheating is an especially dangerous fire hazard. A unit with an in-built overheat protector will shut down before this happens, so you don’t have to supervise the heater constantly.
Oxygen Depletion Sensor
A normal and safe room oxygen level is 21%. A heater with an Oxygen Depletion Sensor (ODS) will switch itself off if it notices that oxygen levels have dropped from 21% to a minimum of 18%. Oxygen will always stay at a safe and healthy level.
A vented propane heater with thermostat gives you precise control over your indoor heating temperature. Not only does this mean that you can tailor your heater to provide your perfect desired temperature, but it can reduce your energy costs too.
Most modern vented propane heaters will have a thermostat built-in, but make you double-check before you buy, so you don’t inadvertently purchase one without!
A programmable thermostat is even better and will reduce heat output when it isn’t needed. Heaters with this feature may cost more upfront, but in the long run, they can save you hundreds of dollars off your energy bills!
Mode Of Heat Production
While all vented propane heaters use liquid propane as fuel, they can use different methods of generating heat. Some of these will be more suited to your needs and the room you want to heat than others.
Radiant Heating System
A radiant heating system uses thermal radiation to heat the floor and objects in a room. As these warm up, you’ll notice the indoor temperature rise too. Because they don’t need a fan to distribute heat across the room, they operate near-silently, making them a great choice for your bedroom or office space.
They’re very energy efficient but not as effective at heating larger spaces as a convection heating system. If you’re looking to heat a smaller space, a radiant heater may be best for you.
Convection Heating System
A convection heater circulates warm air around the room using a fan. They’re more effective at heating larger spaces than radiant heaters, but they do so less efficiently and can cost more to operate in the long term.
They’re still a great choice if you want to heat a larger space over an extended period. Just bear in mind that the internal fan can make them a little noisy, so they’re not the best option for spaces you use to work, study, or sleep.
If you plan on moving your propane heater around from room to room quite often, it’s worth considering a unit designed with portability in mind. They’re not just easy to pick up or push around, but they also don’t need to use power cables, and that gives you plenty of freedom when it comes to placement.
Heavier vented propane heaters will often be fitted with wheels for easy portability. Iron castor wheels are best because they’re robust and unlikely to buckle or break. If the portable vented propane heater you’re considering doesn’t have wheels, then make sure you check its weight before you buy. You don’t want to put your back out moving a big heavy heater around!
The cost of using your vented propane heater will depend on a couple of factors. A higher BTU heater will usually cost more to fuel, and heating a larger room consistently will add to your bills too.
Propane currently costs around $2 per gallon, and each gallon of propane can give out 100,000 BTUs of heat. That means if you run a 10,000 BTU heater for 10 hours each day, you’ll pay around $4 a day to run your heater. Try working out how often and for long you’re going to use your heater to decide if the daily or monthly costs are affordable.
Best Direct Vent Propane Heater Reviews
There are lots of vented propane heaters out there on the market today, and choosing the right one can seem overwhelming. Here’s my pick of the top vented propane heaters to get you on the right track!
Best Direct Vent Heater 2021
The Martin Direct Vent Propane Wall Heater is sleek and stylish enough to look great in any room around your home. It doesn’t need electricity to operate and is super-quiet when switched on, so you can use it in your bedroom, office, or study without being disturbed.
This Martin heater can provide 8,000 BTUs of heat, making it ideal for smaller spaces up to around 2,000 square feet. It’s very lightweight at only 29 pounds and easy to install even if you have basic DIY knowledge. A decorative glass-ceramic window lets you watch the flames for a cozy and comfortable setting.
The built-in thermostat lets you adjust temperature settings for different times of the day, so you’re always in control of your own comfort. You can even conveniently set the unit to turn the heat up towards the end of the day as the outside temperature drops or to turn it off after a quick blast of heat in the cold mornings.
The unit does tend to get quite hot on higher settings. Bear this in mind if you have pets or kids around the house to avoid any accidents.
If you need a stylish and functional propane wall heater that keeps the temperatures up without burning a hole in your pocket, the Martin Direct Vent Heater could be for you!
What We Like:
- Built-in thermostat for personalized heat settings
- Heavy-duty grill for extra safety
- Clean and stylish design
- Exclusive glass-ceramic window
What We Don’t LIke:
- Can only run on propane gas
- Tends to get very hot to touch
Best Propane Tank Heater For Mobile Or Modular Homes
Ashley Hearth has been making natural vent heaters, vent-free heaters, and direct vent heaters here in the US for years. They’re well-known and trusted for providing heaters that use clean energy sources at affordable prices. This unit is no exception!
This compact heater is perfect for a mobile home, modular home, or trailer since it puts out 11,000 BTUs of heat. That’s enough for smaller spaces up to 200 square feet.
A sealed burn system completely seals the gas flame inside for extra safety and means there’s very little risk of fire when used properly. A built-in pressure regulator stops the gas flow if the flame is extinguished to prevent deadly carbon monoxide buildup.
This unit has a low and affordable price compared to others on this list. It may not be the best for heating larger spaces, but it’s still a great option you should consider if you’re looking to heat smaller rooms, a mobile home, or a trailer.
What We Like:
- Perfect for heating your mobile home or trailer
- Great low price
- Propane hose included
- Matchless piezo ignition system
- In-built pressure regulator
- Sealed burn system
What We Don’t Like:
- Not great for larger spaces
Most Energy-Efficient Indoor Propane Heater
This Rinnai heater has a very simple control system compared to other vented propane heaters, making it easy to use. It’s remarkably energy-efficient for such a small direct vent wall heater. It can produce 82 BTUs of heating energy for every 100 BTUs of propane burnt, so very little goes to waste, and your energy costs stay nice and low all year round.
This energy-efficient furnace includes stainless steel bunsen burners that won’t rust, erode, or decay for years to come. Adjustable heat settings give you complete control over your indoor temperatures. You can save money when it’s not so chilly, but you’ll never be too cold during the freezing winter.
The unit uses a fan to circulate heated air effectively, but it’s still quiet enough to use in a bedroom or study. If you need a direct vent wall furnace that offers great value for money but can still heat a mid-sized room, this model is a solid option.
What We Like:
- Setback features standby power
- 10-year heat exchanger warranty
- Stainless steel bunsen burners
- Adjustable thermostat
- An energy-efficient furnace that’s cheaper to run than an electric heater or natural gas heater
What We Don’t Like:
- May need a professional gas fitter for installation
Best Small Vented Propane Heater
This simple and compact vented propane gas heater is an excellent choice for smaller rooms like your bedroom or bathroom. It can produce 11,000 BTUs of heat every hour to circulate warm air effectively in a space up to 350 square feet warm even in freezing temperatures.
A lot of people ask, ‘are vented propane heaters safe?’. This unit perfectly demonstrates that the answer to that question is ‘yes!’. A thermocouple safety valve stops gas from leaking and carbon monoxide building up in the room when the flame dies down. An automatic shut-off feature stops the unit from overheating too, so it doesn’t need constant supervision.
The unit is easy to get going, thanks to a piezo spark ignition system. No more searching through your cupboards and drawers for the matches when you need to warm up your home!
So long as you don’t need to heat a larger space, this US Stove heater could be a very solid and reliable choice for your home, garage, or trailer.
What We Like:
- Thermocouple safety valve to prevent carbon monoxide build-up
- Auto shut-off
- Small and compact
- Adjustable thermostat for multiple heat settings
What We Don’t Like:
- Not the best choice for larger spaces
Vented Propane Heater: Frequently Asked Questions
How Long Will My Propane Heater Last?
The best vented propane heaters should last at least 15-20 years. With proper maintenance, a direct vent heater could last even closer to 30 years.
Do Vented Propane Heaters Need Electricity?
Direct vent propane heaters need little or no electricity to run. Propane gas heaters offer more heating efficiency than electric heaters, so you’ll keep your energy bills low when you need the temperature high.
How Much Propane Does A Direct Vent Propane Heater Use?
A direct vent gas heater will consume around 1 gallon of propane for every 100,000 BTUs of heat output. A 10,000 BTUs direct vent wall furnace will run for about 10 hours using 1 gallon of propane, depending on the size of the propane tank.
How Are Propane Heaters Vented?
Ventless propane heaters don’t need to be vented, but a direct vent gas furnace does need ventilation. Such a heater needs to vent exhaust fumes outside using a small hole that can be drilled into the wall behind the space heater.
My Final Thoughts
Now that you understand how vented propane heaters work, as well as their pros and cons, I hope that you feel more confident about going out and finding the best one for your needs and your home!
Remember to check back to this buying guide whenever you need it. The heaters I’ve reviewed are the best propane heaters on the market today, so they’re a great place to start looking for yours.