Living in a tiny house is great, but you will definitely do some things differently than you would in a regular house. One thing that becomes a little more challenging is keeping your tiny house warm. Because many tiny houses are built for travelling, you will need to find a way to heat your house without relying on the grid or a ventilation pipe. If your tiny house is like this, then a ventless propane wall heater is the best option for you.
So what are the best propane wall heaters? We’ve compiled a list of space-saving, ventless propane heaters that are energy-efficient, complete with safety features and operational controls. Our top 8 ventless heater models are:
- Rinnai FC824P Space Heater
- Rinnai FC510 Space Heater
- Avenger FDT20BFA Dual Fuel Ventless Blue Flame Gas Heater
- Mr. Heater Blue Flame Propane Heater F299730-MHVFB30LPT
- Mr. Heater Blue Flame Propane Heater F299720-MHVFB20LPT
- Mr. Heater 30 000 BTU Propane Blue Flame Heater, VF30KBLUELP
- Dyna-Glo IR18PMDG-1 18,000 BTU Liquid Propane Infrared Wall Heater
- Dyna-Glo IR12PMDG-1 Liquid Propane Infrared Wall Heater
In our guide below, we’ll review these eight ventless propane heaters, explain the difference between ventless and direct vent propane heaters, and share some tips on what to consider when buying a ventless propane heater.
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The Best Ventless Propane Heaters for Tiny Houses
Who Should Buy It: Families looking for the best propane heater that is child-friendly
|It’s a safe option, complete with a tilt-switch, child-locks, and an oxygen depletion sensor (ODS).
|It’s one of the more expensive ventless propane wall heaters
|This model is a quiet heater, so it’s good to use for your office space.
|You will need a generator because once the power goes out, this heater needs to be reset manually.
|It can be a wall mounted heater, so it comes with all the equipment you need to mount the device.
|It may have a bit of a smell, but this disappears after a while.
The Rinnai FC824P is a high quality, ventless propane wall heater that is perfect if you have young children. It is one of the safest propane heater models available. It’s cool to the touch and you have the option to lock the control panel. It also automatically disables the gas supply when the heater falls off or gets connected.
One worry about ventless propane heaters is that the fumes from the combustion may cause asphyxiation. However, the Rinnai FC824P has a built-in ODS that keeps track of the oxygen levels in the room. If it detects that oxygen levels are low, it will turn itself off. Other users have also noted that their carbon monoxide detector always reads 0, which means the device manages its oxygen and carbon monoxide exhaust efficiently.
Overall, this model is user friendly and easy to install. It can be bolted on the floor or mounted to the wall. The only major downside to the Rinnai FC824P is that it will not run if the power is disconnected or shut off, so keep a generator on hand and you’ll be fine.
|Rinnai FC824P Vent Free Space Heater
|8000 - 22 000 BTUs
|600 - 900 square feet
|3 x 10 x 20 inches
|Average Amazon Score
Who Should Buy It: People who want to use a small and unobtrusive heater with high heating capacity
|The model has integrated safety features: tilt switch, cool-touch cabinet, control panel lock, oxygen depletion sensors, and more.
|It requires power to keep the heater running.
|It can keep small to medium-sized rooms warm without being noisy.
|The thermostat is at the bottom of the device, near the floor, so it may give inaccurate readings if the floor is drafty.
Much like the Rinnai FC824P, this Rinnai model comes equipped with similar safety features. The difference between the two is that the Rinnai FC510 has a lower BTU, so it can only heat up smaller to medium-sized rooms. It’s also smaller compared to other models, but that makes it perfect for a tiny house since it can fit into a space easily and won’t make noise.
You may have difficulty with the thermostat, since it may give inaccurate temperature readings if the floor is drafty. You will also need around 20 watts of power to keep this heater running.
|Rinnai FC510 Vent Free Space Heater
|5600 - 10 000 BTUs
|250 - 400 square feet
|3 x 23 x 20 inches
|Average Amazon Score
Who Should Buy It: People who are looking for a sleek propane wall heater
|It does not require electricity to operate, and runs on dual fuel technology.
|It does not include a blower.
|The model is sleek, slim, and would look great anywhere in your home.
|The fan that comes with it is weak and makes noise.
|It comes with a battery-assisted Piezo electronic ignition, an oxygen depletion sensor, and thermostat heat settings.
The Avenger FDT20BFA model runs on dual fuel technology, so you can use either propane or natural gas. This model uses an infrared burner design, which means it will reflect heat through ceramic plates. Its thermostat heat settings are very accurate and can maintain a room’s heat well.
The only downsides to this product are that it does not include a blower, and the fan that comes with doesn’t work well. Overall, the heat output is great for such a slim model, and it’s perfect for power outages since it doesn’t require electricity.
|Avenger FDT20BFA Dual Fuel Ventless Blue Flame Gas Heater
|20 000 BTU
|950 square feet
|26 x 20 x 10 inches
|Average Amazon Score
Who Should Buy It: Someone looking for a propane wall heater they can use even in high altitudes
|It can work even in high altitude areas (no more than 4,500 ft. above sea level).
|The product does not come with a blower, so it may take some time to heat up a room.
|This model is a CSA certified heater that comes with built-in safety features.
|The fittings supplied with it are not the most suitable parts for an effective installation.
|It has an electronic ignition which helps make it easier to start up.
The Mr. Heater F299730 is a blue flame heater that can effectively heat an area by warming the air through convection technology. You have the option to install this model on the wall, since it comes complete with mounting components. It also has legs for floor installation.
While it’s an easy product to install, you will need to purchase a few extra parts for it since the correct parts are not supplied with the product. The great part is that it throws a consistent warmth, as reflected on its accurate thermostat, and you can bring it to higher-altitude locations.
|Mr. Heater Vent Free Blue Flame Propane Heater F299730-MHVFB30LPT
|30 000 BTU
|750 sq. ft.
|23.75 x 11.25 x 27 inches
|Average Amazon Score
Who Should Buy It: People who need the best propane heater suitable for insulated areas
|This model can heat fairly large and insulated spaces well.
|Some of its fittings are a little fragile and may break easily.
|It includes a fan that helps speed up the heating process and blows heat evenly in a room.
|You can hear a loud popping noise when it operates.
The Mr. Heater F299720 is like the other Mr. Heater models in the series: it’s a liquid propane ventless heater that can throw heat in even the most insulated spaces. This product is designed with a thermostat, so you'll have an easy time adjusting the heat settings to your liking. Your tiny house is sure to get nice and toasty, because this product comes with a fan that will warm the room efficiently.
Be careful when installing this product, because some of its fittings are a little fragile. You can opt to buy better quality fittings instead. While it’s warming up, you may also hear a loud popping noise. Regardless, it works well for maintaining the room temperature.
|Mr. Heater Blue Flame Propane Heater F299720-MHVFB20LPT
|20 000 BTU
|700 square feet
|20.25 x 9.25 x 25.25 inches
|Average Amazon Score
Who Should Buy It: People who want to heat a larger space efficiently and well
|This model can heat up larger spaces.
|You may encounter issues with the pilot light.
|It’s very easy to install and comes with all the necessary safety features, such as an oxygen depletion sensor (ODS).
|The design is a little old school, so the thermostat is in settings of 1-5.
|The blue flame option offers low to no toxic emissions, so it’s odorless and runs quietly.
|You will need to purchase the fuel hose separately.
The Mr. Heater 30 000 BTU is not the best-looking heater of the bunch, but its design is part of its safety mechanism. The wire cage keeps dangling fabrics away from the flame, while the 1-5 thermostat settings make it easier to change the temperature by a few degrees.
It’s a safe, high-power, and energy efficient option that comes with an ODS and a high limit safety shut-off. This means that the device will automatically shut off when it senses low oxygen levels and a dangerously high internal temperature.
You won’t be provided with a fuel hose in your purchase, and you might have trouble with the pilot light. The time it takes for the pilot light to ignite depends on how long your fuel hose is, so keep this in mind when buying a connecting hose.
|Mr. Heater 30 000 BTU Propane Blue Flame Heater, VF30KBLUELP
|30 000 BTU
|1000 sq. ft.
|11.25 x 27.25 x 27 inches
|Average Amazon Score
Who Should Buy It: Families who are looking for the best propane heater that is affordable
|It can easily heat up a larger space in no time.
|The fan is not perfect - it’s a little loud, the output is not impressive, and it’s sold separately.
|You can install it in less than an hour.
|The knobs are fragile and there is no thermostat.
The Dyna-Glo IR18PMDG-1 is a budget-friendly heater that can use both propane and natural gas. As it runs on infrared technology, this small and lightweight device radiates heat very well. Installing it is also a piece of cake, and you won’t be looking at the instruction manual for long before you get it going. It can even work during emergencies.
One major complaint is that the fan (which is sold separately) makes a lot of noise when it’s running, and its heat output isn’t that great. There is also no thermostat on this device, so it’s tricky to adjust it to the temperature you want. For its price though, this product is still a good deal.
|Dyna-Glo IR18PMDG-1 18,000 BTU Liquid Propane Infrared Wall Heater
|18 000 BTU
|700 square feet
|20.94 x 10.8 x 24.02 inches
|Average Amazon Score
Who Should Buy It: Someone who prefers a manually-operated heater
|It’s very easy to install, ignite, and operate.
|The blower is not included with this product.
|This product comes with the oxygen depletion sensor and other safety features.
|All controls are manual and there is no thermostat.
The Dyna-Glo IR12PMDG-1 works best in emergency situations or blackouts, since it requires no electricity. With its infrared technology design, it easily warms objects first and can heat up to 300 square feet. For a small device, it provides a surprising amount of heat - so it doesn’t need a blower too badly.
If you’re not comfortable with manually adjusting the heat, then this might not be the tiny house heating solution for you. You will have to switch the fan on and off from behind the device, and its controls are limited to on, off, low and high.
|Dyna-Glo IR12PMDG-1 Liquid Propane Infrared Wall Heater
|6000 - 12 000 BTUs
|300 sq. ft.
|17.32 x 9.49 x 20 inches
|Average Amazon Score
What Is The Difference Between Direct Vent Vs. Ventless Propane Heaters?
Modern propane space heaters are advanced and efficient devices which can heat entire home sections, which is why they are perfect for tiny homes. Equipped with blowers, thermostats, and built-in safety features, space heaters can easily transform a space from cold to toasty warm.
Propane space heaters come in two forms: direct vent heaters and ventless heaters. This section will discuss the differences among propane wall heaters, so you are better informed before purchasing anything.
Direct Vent Heaters
Direct vent heaters operate as combustion boxes fueled by propane. These heaters use outdoor air to create heat, and the fumes they create are emitted outside your tiny house through a small pipe in an exterior wall. However, vented heaters lose heat because of the ventilation, which makes them burn more fuel. This means they are a little less efficient and eco-friendly compared to ventless heaters.
And while direct heaters are generally more flexible than a traditional boiler or furnace, they require direct vent wall furnace installation - which can be complicated. It’s crucial to find a licensed contractor who is familiar with national and local codes to perform the installation. They are trained to handle all the electrical and gas aspects to guarantee safe and efficient operational performance.
Some common features found in most vented space heaters include:
- Programmable thermostats: Some models allow you to adjust how your space heater operates based on your personal preferences, habits, and usage.
- Ductless operation: Instead of installing ducts the way you would with traditional boilers or furnaces, you can directly install a space heater through your wall. This makes them cheaper to install and maintain.
- Precision heating: You can change the fan speed and intensity of your space heater to make the temperature shift by even 1° Fahrenheit.
For tiny home owners who have difficulty installing outdoor venting or accessing an external wall, ventless propane space heaters are ideal. They don’t require venting nor ductwork, so they are less expensive and more flexible in terms of installation. However, propane wall heaters may cause problems for people who have allergies or are sensitive to odors.
While ventless propane heaters have an automatic system that detects if oxygen levels in the air are low, some remnants of the combustion fumes may linger inside the house and cause health concerns.
Ventless propane space heaters are available in blue flame and infrared types, which use around the same amount of gas to produce the same amount of heat. The difference lies in how they operate.
- Blue flame propane wall heaters: Blue flame heaters operate through convection, which means these heaters target heating the air rather than an object. While it may take longer to heat the air in a room, it can provide consistent temperature control. It’s a great choice for insulated spaces.
- Infrared propane wall heaters: Compared to blue flame heaters, infrared heaters use propane to heat up ceramic panels. These panels radiate heat inside a room to objects or people, rather than the air inside a room. This means that you will feel its heat once you stand directly in front of it.
The difference between the two propane heater types is that a direct vent heater requires an outdoor duct and external wall, while a ventless propane wall heater doesn't. Whichever one you decide on, these propane space heaters are a great, cost-efficient way to warm up a tiny house with heating challenges.
What To Consider When Buying Propane Wall Heaters: Purchasing Tips
1) Heating capacity
The heating capacity of a personal space heater is determined by the size of the space the wall heater will cover. For propane wall heaters, British Thermal Units (BTUs) will tell you if your heater has the power to warm your tiny house properly. As a general rule of thumb, you need 40 BTUs per square foot.
You will also need to consider how a propane heater ignites. Some of them have automatic ignition features, which activate once the heater is on. This makes it very effective for heating and easy to use. However, other models require manual ignition, which seems less convenient - but an electronic ignition does wear out over time, so manual heaters are somewhat more durable.
If you don’t already have a ventilation pipe in your tiny house, or there is no external wall, then ventless options remain your best choice. Ventless heaters are also great for improperly insulated rooms, and work well during the winter months to heat your house cheaply.
2) Safety features
Of course, safety is a major concern when it comes to space heaters. Manufacturers design heaters with advanced safety mechanisms, so look for a propane heater with features such as:
- Overheat protection: Overheat protection turns off the heater once its internal components reach an unsafe temperature, which prevents fires.
- Tip-over protection: Tip-over protection automatically shuts down the heater if it accidentally gets tipped over or knocked down.
- Cool-touch housing: Cool-touch housing prevents burns caused by accidentally touching the heater, since the casing remains cool even if the device radiates heat.
- Propane tank guard: A propane tank guard protects the propane tank from any debris, while decreasing the chances of getting burned.
- Oxygen depletion sensor (ODS): An ODS measures the oxygen and carbon monoxide levels in the room. They can also automatically switch off the heater when the oxygen levels are too low, the carbon monoxide levels too high, or when combustion isn’t happening efficiently.
Aside from buying a CSA-certified propane space heater with built-in safety features, keep yourself safe by following these tips:
- Make sure your tiny house has enough ventilation by cracking open a window when your heater is on.
- Install a carbon monoxide detector and make sure to check for gas leaks regularly.
- Run your heater only when it’s needed, and purchase one that automatically shuts off when it gets too hot.
- Place your heater on a surface level and keep it out of the way from foot traffic. Be sure to keep children and pets away from your heater.
- Purchase a model that has current safety mechanisms, even if they cost a little more. The safety and health of your family will rely on a high-quality propane heater.
3) Cost of propane
In September 2019, the US average price of propane was $2.78 per gallon. This is compared to the $3.53 price per gallon of kerosene in the same year. While kerosene used to be the cheaper option, propane is now the cleaner and more affordable fuel-choice for heaters.
Aside from the cheaper cost of propane, tiny house owners prefer it over kerosene for the following reasons:
- Kerosene has the tendency to leave an oil film on surfaces, while propane is a natural gas that burns cleanly.
- In tight living quarters, kerosene becomes extremely dangerous and should not be placed near electronic devices.
- Kerosene produces a strange smell that can be unpleasant inside a home.
4) Mounting location
The right location for propane wall heaters will make sure that they work safely and effectively. The propane tank needs to be set outside, so you will want to mount your heater as close to the tank as possible - this makes it easier to run the piping.
It’s also best to place your heater down low, since hot air rises. You can have a more consistent temperature since the heat can spread evenly throughout the room. If you’re planning to mount your ventless heater to the wall, make sure to check if there are vents in the back of the unit. You have to create a space between the unit and the wall, or else you may block air intake and heat flow.
5) Energy efficiency
Since propane heaters don’t emit exhaust, they are all rated 99.9% energy efficient. Most propane space heaters have a maximum of 30 000 BTUs, so they won’t give off enough warmth to heat a too-large space.
Find a heater suitable for the size of your space and your environment. If you live in a colder region, you would need to use a more powerful unit. You can also look for units with an adjustable thermostat, programmable timer, or low wattage to keep your propane gas bills from breaking the bank.
6) Noise level
Like many appliances, ventless propane heaters also emit some noise when turned on. Some models may produce more sound than others, however, so it’s important to choose one that produces a low noise level. Some powerful heaters will produce higher noise decibels, but these usually remain in the 20-40 dB levels. To get a good idea of how loud these noise levels are, check out this breakdown:
- 0 dB - lowest threshold of human hearing
- 3 dB - barely perceptible by the human ear
- 20-40 dB - sound equivalent of sitting in a theatre, library, or recording studio
- 50-60 dB - sound equivalent of a running dishwasher in the next room
- 70-80 dB - sound equivalent of a vacuum cleaner from a distance
- 90-100 dB - sound equivalent of a blender or lawn mower
- 110 dB - sound equivalent of being at a rock concert
If you’re hearing loud popping noises from your heater, make sure to have it checked by a professional. It could mean that your gas supply line has dirt, moisture, or an insufficient supply of gas.
Hey, there! We're Ivan and Manuela from Croatia, and we're crazy about tiny houses. We don't own one (yet).
This website is a result of our passion to share all the knowledge, photos, tips and tricks that we were able to learn while studying everything possible about the tiny house movement.