Top Five Types Propane Heaters Explained
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Below you will find a list of the five most widely used propane heaters at home and in industry. The uses for a propane heater include, but are not limited to: Sports events, farm/barn buildings, workshops, tailgating, construction sites, patios, docks, large tents, hunting, hiking, camping, and countless more.
Forced Air Heater
Forced air propane heaters consist of a hollow tube with a propane emitter inside. Propane is forced out of the tube with a high speed fan. Forced air heaters can serve as both a directional and whole-room heater. Designed for industrial applications such as in a warehouse of construction site, these models use a hefty 100 gallon propane tank with run times ranging about 8-17 hours. Run times vary depending on the variable heat settings. These units start up near instantly and can heat large areas in moments (Up to 4000 square feet). A 110v outlet is required for ignition and to power the fan. Automatic shut-off on many models ensures that the unit shuts off when the fuel or power is cut off / runs out. Here are some commonly seen features:
- Range of 35000-400000 BTU/hour
- Instant heating at startup
- Efficient – A high percentage of fuel is burned
- High speed 110v fan circulates air quickly
- Automatic shut-off in the event of power / fuel loss
- Durable – Steel tube construction
- Easy hookup with hose and regulator
- Uses 100lb tanks
- Variable heat settings with high temperature limit
- No assembly – ships in one piece
- Solid state ignition
Tank Top Heater
A tank top propane heater attaches to the top of a propane tank and acts as a heat radiator. With this setup, no heat is lost to the air. Highly portable, tank top heaters are prime companions for tailgating and camping. Models are available for both 1lb and larger 20lb propane tanks. Since they attach directly to the tank’s neck, no tubes are necessary. In addition, propane heaters are also a great option since they require no electricity. The lack of blowers or fans makes tank-tops very quiet and efficient. Having no moving parts, the heater is very rugged and is not likely to break down.
- Range of 8000-14000 BTU/hour
- Desired heat is reached in seconds
- Very efficient – no electricity needed
- No loss of heat to air
- Fully assembled
- Quiet – no fans
- Rugged design with no maintenance
- Temperature control – Low, Medium and High
- Auto shut-off
- Models for both 1lb and 20lb tank sizes
Garage / Shop Heaters
Propane gas heaters for workshops heat up a cold outdoor space much faster than a small area heater. A garage heater is typically a gas radiator which can be vented or vent-less. The vented heaters are more directional, while the vent-less ones radiate heat in a wider arc. Mounting of these heaters is done in a strategic raised location which will direct heat to a location of choice, such as over a workbench. If hung from chain away from wood beams, they are safe to use in wooden barns. Most units come with all of the hardware needed for proper mounting. Some garage heaters can operate with as little as 1 inch of clearance between the frame and ceiling.
- Range of 22000-72000 BTU/hour
- Heats spaces up to 750-1000 square feet in size
- Very quiet- no fans
- Easy installation with included hardware
- No electricity
- Spark igniter
- Vented / Vent-less
The same concept which cycles heat throughout your kitchen oven is used in convection heaters to warm large rooms. Consisting of a large vertically oriented steel tube, these units send heat in all directions to warm quickly and efficiently. These particular models can use 20lb or 100lb tanks depending on the specific model. The pilot light is activated using a Piezo button, and from there the heater runs on its own until fuel is exhausted. A wide base combined with automatic shut-off in the case of a tip-over make the convection heater very safe. A small degree of assembly is required, as the frame is shipped in multiple snap-together pieces.
- Range of 30000 – 200000 BTU/hour
- For spaces ranging from 1900SF-4700SF
- Quick heating – 360 degree heat projection
- No electricity
- Piezo push-button igniter
- Hose and regulator connect heater to tank (20lb or 100 lb)
- Tip-over safety switch
Portable Heater (Radiant)
Portable propane heaters serve as ideal companions for camping, ice fishing, hiking and other on-the-go activities. Their radiant panels are designed to pass right through the air to heat people and objects only. Radiant heaters such as these have no fans or blowers, making them near silent. Powered by tanks ranging from 1lb to 60lb, the portable radiant heater is very versatile. No electricity means that users can set up shop in virtually any location. They are typically coupled with a large handle on the top for easy carrying.
- Range of 35000 – 125000 BTU/hour
- Passed through air to heat objects only
- Efficient – no electricity, burns cleanly
- Instant ignition and heat – Piezo push igniter
- No fans
- Rugged steel frame
- Large models have wheels for portability
- Safety shut-off
That’s our list of the most common types of propane heaters. If you have more specific questions about any of the models we described above, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment.