Best Safe Tent Heaters – 6 Heaters For Winter Camping


electric tent heaters

If you are looking for an electric tent heater and are wondering whether it is safe for use when camping? If so, you have landed in the right place.

When you’re camping over autumn, winter and early spring there are few things less pleasant than waking up in the night and being cold (Possibly waking up and finding a bear in your tent is worse but that only happened one time, but if it’s looking for somewhere to hibernate you might be able to snuggle up together, at least). If you’re not likely to come across bears, but are likely to feel chilly, investing in an electric heater for your tent is a good idea. You’ll be able to stay warmer and more comfortable, and there’s a good chance that you’ll sleep better and are less likely to get ill. 

An electric tent heater is the ideal companion to go with your cold weather or winter tent! Keeping you and your family warm throughout those icy nights in the wild! 

Safe Tent Heaters Quick View:

Best electric tent heater: Opolar Tent Heater
Next best option: Mini-Space Tent Heater
Cheap tent heater: Foxbus Electric Tent Heater 

Best Safe Electric Tent Heaters For Camping

OPOLAR Ceramic Electric Tent Heater

Quality

4.5/5

Ease of Use

4.2/5

Cost

4.3/5

Product Summary

This is an excellent choice when considering your next electric tent heater. It is portable, powerful and comes with all the safety functions you expect from a top electric tent heater. An added bonus with this option is that it is extremely quiet, making sure you don’t annoy your weekend neighbours at the campsite!

Key Features

  • Long-lasting ceramic tent heater
  • Built in safety features such as automatic shut off functionality if tipped over
  • Quiet (only 50db)
  • 3-heat mode, that is extremely easy to use
  • Has a handle and is very portable 
Mini-Space Electric Tent Heater

Quality

4.2/5

Ease of Use

5/5

Cost

5/5

Product Summary

When I first invested in this fan (yep! I own one), I was skeptical. I thought that a product which was a fan and a heater would be a ‘jack of all trades, and a master of none’. Put simply, I wasn’t convinced. However, I have come to rely on this little machine more than I could let you know. It is great for year-round use and is a constant companion on all my camping trips. 

Let me be clear, this heater will not keep a large 6-man tent warm – but it isn’t designed for that! Instead, it is designed for personal use and to this end it is the ideal electric tent heater. Whether it be warming your hands, or getting the feeling back in your toes – this fab tent heater will do it. 

At the ultra-low price, this is a win-win option, with a high floor and high ceiling potential. Overall, one of my favourite camping products – ever and would go perfectly with a tent with an AC port

Key Features

  • Has built in safety features such as automatically turning off if tipped over, or over-heating. 
  • Two in one device (heater and fan)
  • Small and portable, being ideal for lone travellers or personal use 
  • Funky retro design (which I love)
  • Includes an air filter which purifies the air as it is released from the device

Portable Electric Space Heater For Tent Camping

Quality

4.5/5

Ease of Use

4.5/5

Cost

4.5/5

Product Summary

Another great portable electric tent heater is this option. There is a couple of safety features that are great for camping in a tent. This safe tent heater will shut off once it tipped over. The electric heater can also automatically shut off when the overheat temperature is reached 190℉(87℃).

The heating element is ceramic and therefore heats up to your desired temperature almost instantly after pushing the on button. Weighing only 2.9lbs this safe tent heater is small enough to pack away and light enough to carry with the rest of your camping gear.

Key Features

  • Made from flame-retardant materials
  • 3-modes: Low heat, high heat, and fan only
  • Small and compact
  • Silent operation
  • 45-degree heating angle with auto oscillation
Joy Pebble Portable Ceramic Space Heater

Quality

4/5

Ease of Use

4.1/5

Cost

4.2/5

Product Summary

This electric tent heater offers 360 circulation and with a round base offers extra stability for rocky or rough terrain. 

Key Features

  • 3 different reclining positions.
  • 4 insulated drink holders.
  • Removable umbrella
  • Extendable footrest. 
  • Lightweight construction.

Alternative Option: Safe Gas Tent Heater​s

Mr. Heater MH9BX - Portable Tent Heater

Quality

4.6/5

Ease of Use

4.7/5

Cost

4.1/5

Product Summary

This is a top of the range propane tent heater which is not only well-priced but has all the built-in safety features that give confidence when in use. These features include an oxygen depletion sensor which will shut off the heater if levels drop too low, and will automatically turn off if it is tipped over. This heater is powerful and emits heat which will keep you warm all night long. This electric tent heater won’t burn through your propane tank too quickly and is a great option for your next camping trip. 

Key Features

  • Portable heater with dual sensors 
  • Clean burning and nearly 100% efficient
  • Safety features include a clever ‘turn-off’ function if the heater is tipped over
  • Built in oxygen depletion sensor 
  • Hi-Lo heat settings and a swivel handle for easy adjustments depending on your needs
Martin Portable Outdoor Camping Infrared Propane Gas Heater

Quality

4.5/5

Ease of Use

2.5/5

Cost

4.2/5

Product Summary

This product is different from the others on our list because it does not require electricity or hook up to use. It can be used wherever you are roughin’ it out in the wild. That being said, as a safety warning – I would not advise using this product inside your tent! Instead, use it outside to keep warm whilst you are star-gazing. 

That quick warning aside, this product is amazing. It is high powered and gives off a generous helping of heat to keep you warm in even the coldest of conditions.

There are also a tonne of built in safety features such as an auto shut-off fuel valve if the flame goes out, large paddle foot base for stability, and a safety grid.

Key Features

  • Propane gas tank is used as fuel
  • Built in safety features such as a auto shut-off fuel valve
  • Comes with a convenient travel handle and is extremely portable

How To Choose The Best Safe Tent Heater

safe tent heaters

When you’re camping over autumn, winter and early spring there are few things less pleasant than waking up in the night and being cold. Possibly waking up and finding a bear in your tent, but if it’s looking for somewhere to hibernate you might be able to snuggle up together, at least. If you’re not likely to come across bears, but are likely to feel chilly, investing in an electric heater for your tent is a good idea. You’ll be able to stay warmer and more comfortable, and there’s a good chance that you’ll sleep better and are less likely to get ill. 

So, let’s look at some of the features to look for.

Gas or electric tent heater?

The short answer is electric. Gas heaters can be much more efficient, but you can’t use them in the tent because there’s a risk of carbon monoxide poisoning, which can literally kill you.

You could use a gas tent heater outside, where it’s properly ventilated, but it’s coldest late at night when you’re asleep in the tent, so gas heaters aren’t usable when you need them most.

Electric tent heaters can be less efficient than gas heaters, but they’re still the better choice.

Heat output

This is really up to you and will depend on your preferences. If you’re going to be in a bigger tent you’ll need a higher heat output, but if there are two people in the tent you can use a lower heat output because of your combined body heat.

You should consider how many people will be camping, how cold it’s likely to get and how warm you like to be.

We’d recommend going slightly warmer when in doubt because it’s much easier to unzip your tent for a minute to let the heat out. 

Some of the heaters will have the option to adjust the temperature and more expensive models may even be able to monitor how warm the tent is and adjust their heat output to keep it consistent, but other heaters just have an on/off switch.

This can be better if you feel confused by new devices, but most manufacturers try to make them as user-friendly as possible and will have instruction videos and manuals to help.

Portability

Honestly, most tent heaters aren’t especially portable and you won’t be able to take them with you if you’re kayak camping or trekking.

However, there is some variety in size, weight, and how awkward it will be to carry: even if you’re camping near to your car, you’ll have to be able to pack and unpack it.

Some electric tent heaters will have handles so you can carry them more easily, and this is also a good way to know where the heater has been reinforced to be carried.

Others will have wheels, which can be useful if you’re camping on smooth terrain. 

Safety features to consider for your tent heater for winter camping

As we’ve discussed, there are things that can go wrong with tent heaters and it’s important to make sure that you’re safe and responsible with them.

Carefully check through the user guide, don’t cover the heater, and make sure it’s not pointing directly at anything flammable.

You should make sure that the ground underneath the heater is flat, so there’s less chance of it falling over unexpectedly.

Some heaters will have built-in temperature detectors to make sure that they don’t overheat.

Others have tip switches that turn the heater off if it’s knocked over.

Ultimately, it’s better to have as many safety features as possible. Even if the price tag is slightly higher. 

Temperature Control

Ideally, you’ll have a tent heater that produces the right temperature and then stabilizes.

However, some heaters will only work for a few minutes and then drop, which can become an issue.

Therefore, it is best to check reviews and make sure that other customers have not had this problem.

It is more common with cheaper models and is part of the reason that it’s often worth investing in a more expensive tent heater.

Tent Heater Noise

Camping can get noisy, regardless of where you are. Between other campers staying up late or their children waking up early, or the sounds of bugs, roads, or the wind, there’s usually a lot of background sound and it can make sleep difficult.

Some people like to use earbuds when camping because tents themselves are not very good at insulating sounds.

Now, heaters can make a lot of noise and exacerbate this, so it’s a good idea to get an understanding of which heaters are likely to be loud, and how much of an issue this will be for you.

There are certain models that are specifically designed to be as quiet as possible, but it’s really up to you to work out if you’ll want this feature.

Safety Tips: Camping Heaters For Tents

There are some things that we would definitely recommend doing to make sure that you stay safe whilst using a camping heater.

Firstly, two things we’ve already touched on: you should make sure that the heater is on firm, even ground or a stall or surface, so there’s no way that it can get knocked over.

Additionally, make sure you’re careful around the cables and don’t trip over them if you need to get into or out of the tent at night.

If you’re concerned about this, some glow in the dark paint or tape might be a useful investment.

Also, we really do not think that gas heaters should be used in the tent.

If you’re still keen you might be able to use one outside, but this seems extremely inefficient and it actually might just be safer to have a campfire – or grab an extra jumper!

Look for electric camping heaters with tip-over switches. This just means that if the heater is knocked over, it will automatically turn itself off and shouldn’t accidentally set fire to the tent.

It’s worth checking that this feature works in a safe and controlled environment.

Additionally, if you’re using an electric appliance and it does catch alight, do NOT throw water onto it. This can electrocute you. Instead, turn the power supply off and unplug it. 

Find a model with an automatic cut-off. This is where the power turns off after a certain amount of time, so you’re not blasted with heat all night as this can get too warm and uncomfortable.

If there’s a camping heater that you like but it doesn’t have this, see if you can find a plug with a timer so you can set the hours for the heater to turn on and off.

Finally, make sure you read the instructions carefully before you use the camping heater, and don’t use it if it’s damaged in any way.

If there’s something you’re unsure of, contact the manufacturer or the place you bought the heater from, but don’t risk putting yourself in a dangerous situation because of the tent heater.

The pros of a safe tent heater

1) It’ll keep you warm! Camping can get cold and unpleasant sometimes, and being chilly can make you feel miserable. If you’ve got a good tent heater this won’t be an issue, and you’ll feel much more cosy.

2) You can (VERY CAREFULLY*) use it to help dry clothes. We’ve all been caught out in the rain whilst camping at some point, and there’s nothing worse than wet, cold jeans. They just seem to hold onto the iciness for weeks, and it’s incredibly unpleasant. However, if you’ve got a camping heater you can set up a little drying rack nearby and get drier, more pleasant clothes much faster.

*make sure you do not put the clothes directly over the tent heater or too close to the heater. This could cause electrical malfunction which could lead to a fire.

 

The cons of an electric-powered (or gas) tent heater

1) You could probably just grab a jumper. Taking extra clothes is annoying, but they will probably take up the same amount of space as a heater and they’re much less hassle. We also recommend a really good, thick pair of socks.

2) There is a fire risk. There are, of course, things you can do to minimize the chances of this happening and choose a safe tent heater but there is still that possibility and it often puts people off using these heaters

3) You’ll need access to electricity or gas. If it’s gas and you have a canister, that can be heavy and annoying, and if you need constant access to electricity you’ll need to stay in a campsite that has accommodations for this.

We’ve already mentioned that you’re probably not going to be taking one of these heaters on a trek with you, though, so perhaps this won’t be an issue. 

To run the electrical cables through the tents, you should look into a tent with an AC port

Final words

Tent heaters can be a great way to improve a camping trip. They’ll keep you warm and cozy, and you’ll probably sleep better with their comfort.

There are some important things to consider, though, and it’s imperative that you stay safe and make sure that there aren’t any accidents. Always read reviews before you buy, and always check for any signs that your heater isn’t operating as it should each time you use it. 

Ned

Growing up in the Lake District, UK I've always been surrounded by nature, whether it's snowy mountains, lakes, or the sea. Throughout school, I gained qualifications in Outdoor Education, and mainly focus my time camping, hiking & kayaking.

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