DIY Clay Pot Candle Heater

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Survivalists, particularly in 2023, always try to create practical things by themselves to reduce costs for gear. I have heard about several items you can construct that will help you to survive in field conditions, but one of them surprised me too much.

Do you know how you can make a space heater available at home objects? This article will introduce you to the topic of self-made radiators for survival and will explain the principle of their work.

There are plenty of variants of mini DIY heaters that you can build for free, but they will keep the warmth inside your shelter perfectly. The main source of heat in them is a usual candle. You may have never thought that a tealight can help you get a light and increase the temperature inside. That is why the topic of this review can be unexpected for you as well as it was for me.

As you know, improvisation is an essential factor for successful survival, and a DIY candle heater is one of the products of improvisation. However, survival also requires trustful gear, and that is why we need to know more details about candle heaters. Here is a useful video with the first implementation of the clay pot heater for camping.

Diy Candle

It will be difficult to understand how this construction may work correctly, especially if you know physics. Nevertheless, a structure consisting of flower pots and tea light candles can generate enough heat for survival in cold weather. Of course, the effect of the clay pot heater cannot be compared with electronic devices, but there are several advantages of such an invention.

Some kerosene or propane heaters can be dangerous and not better than a terracotta pot heater. That is why we will investigate the main characteristics of using clay or terracotta pots as heaters in this post. We will explain these aspects here:

  • The Simplest Construction of Clay Pot Heater
  • Technical Part in Heating
  • Debates About Clay Pot Heaters
  • Modifications of Clay Pot Heaters
  • Risks of Clay Pot Heaters Usage


The Simplest Construction of Clay Pot Heater

The Simplest Construction Of Clay Pot Heater

Fiskars 12 Inch Even though there is a variety of ways how to use tealight candles as heaters for a small room, the main constructions of such devices are similar. The video above presents this design that people use for different heaters. There are the central bolt and several clay pots in such constructions. However, you should know how to unite clay pots to achieve the highest performance of the candle heater.

There are spacers inside the pots that are attached to the steel bolt. They save the space inside and generates the main heat exchanger.

To make the gaps between clay pots, people build a multi-layer structure using more than one pot. The minimum number of layers equals two, but some upgraded versions have more layers inside.

When the pots are ready, you need to turn them over and install them on the base. You can choose bricks or another foundation for this purpose. Make sure there is a space for a candle under the pots and set it in such a way that cancer will be located under the steel bolt.

Montopack Unscented To achieve the heating, you need to make everything correctly — tea light candles should warm the central bolt, and then this item should share the heat to clay pots.

At this time, clay pots will keep the candle-powered heat from reaching cold temperatures outside and heat the pots’ sides. This process is not fast, but after a few minutes, the pot will become hot and will start to heat the room. Do not try to test the temperature in this construction because even one tea light candle can create great heat inside.

This self-made device can work for you but let’s understand the technical details of the heating.

Technical Part in Heating

Technical Part In Heating To tell the truth, it should not make any sense to locate flower pots over the candle because the amount of generated energy will not be changed by this. According to physical laws and common sense, it is impossible to reduce or increase energy in one space.

So, if we are following the logic of thermodynamics, the amount of warmth does not depend on any factors outside, such as the installation of flower pots and others.

One candle transforms chemical energy to warmth and light, and its capacity remains constant.

Montopack Unscented Tea It means that you need more than 50 tea light candles to heat an entire room, but it is not as affordable as we were told. For example, you can buy 125 candles for $12.79, but it is not convenient to light them all and buy new ones every time you need a heater. Besides, this number of tea lights will burn for about 4 hours — it is not the best investment in survival.

However, the point is not in the volume of energy but in the way of its distribution. Once you convert a type of heat exchange, the temperature inside can become higher even with two candles. Terracotta pots help to perform this exchange of warmth to make it more beneficial for you.

Ways of Heat Transfer

We know three types of heat distribution from physics: conduction, convection, radiation. Now we will discuss all of them.


Conduction is the process of exchange of warmth when two items of different temperatures touch each other. The thing with a higher temperature transfers its energy to another item with a lower temperature.

For instance, if you touch a wax in a candle with your finger, the wax will heat your finger. I guess you have tried it by yourself.


When air or water heats, small elements inside them begin to move faster because of the increase of energy, besides, the warmth from a candle flame follows the convection process and forces particles to develop their speed.

Power goes up from the heat source and integrates with cold air during the convection. As the performance of the candle is effective only in a small area, you will need to spend hours heating a room.


Another way is to heat air with infrared rays or radiation. As regards a simple candle, there is a small amount of radiation from its light, but it is not enough even for warming your hands.

The bigger is the mass of energy, the more efficient it will be to heat with infrared rays. However, heat from the candle does not have enough mass to influence the temperature in the room.

Performance of Candle Heater

Now we know everything about types of heating and how the tea candle behaves in terms of physics, but we do not understand the necessity of flower pots here.

The thing is that terra cotta pot cannot enlarge heat. It can convert it to another type and make it more practical for us.

Clay pot stops the warmth from getting outside to avoid heat loss. Hot air goes up from the candle through convection and accumulates between pots what makes their sides warm. As the masses and sizes of the flower pots are big, the power goes in another way than from small candles. Clay pot becomes to be a battery with a huge amount of accumulated warmth.

The clay pot heater becomes a bonfire that shares its heat in different directions. Radiation from a space heater can warm up your hands and even the entire room, but the latter process will take more time.

So, you can touch a clay pot heater and get warmth from it according to conduction laws. It will be as useful as using a hot cup of tea for hand-warming. Of course, if you use several candles, you will not need to keep your hands around the clay pot for so long as you could do with a hot cup.

As far as the distribution of air in the room is concerned, the difference between the integration of warm air from one candle and the clay pot heater is huge. While air from the candle will follow the trajectory of a tiny column going up, candle-powered heat will be located near the floor. The reason to use this emergency heater is to concentrate warmth near you. On the contrary, candle firepower goes near the roof, and it will reach you in hours.

A terracotta pot heater is a battery that keeps warmth near you and does not move it to the ceiling. To clean all this up – use a straw broom.

As you may notice, the amount of warmth from candles and clay pot heater is the same. However, location and way of distribution play a huge role in heating a room. That is why many survivalists recommend a clay pot heater as a functional device for winter weather.

Debates About Clay Pot Heaters

Debates About Clay Pot Heaters There a lot of disputes and questions on the topic of clay pot heaters on the Internet because not everyone can understand the principle of its work. Various videos confirm that there is no magic in heating the room with a clay pot heater, but others say that it is impossible. Unfortunately, these debates are not polite and reasonable sometimes, and that is why we need to investigate the arguments of both parties.

Opponents of Flower Pot Heater

Most of those who are against this device just say that the time and money spent on it are more valuable than the result they produce. Here is the video with arguments in favor of this view.

Those Against

Supporters of Flower Pot Heater

If my explanations are not reliable enough for you, you can watch these two videos that confirm the usefulness of the clay pot heater.

Supporters Of Flower Pot Heater

Supporters Of Flower Pot Heater

Modifications of Clay Pot Heaters

Modifications Of Clay Pot Heaters If you believe in the practical benefit of a candle power pot heater, some upgrades can make the process of installation, usage, and heating more convenient for you.

Replacing Candle with Sterno

There is an option to use Sterno can instead of candles and put it under the clay pot. People usually use Sterno for food heating, but someone applied it for room heating.

Usage of Sterno can double the amount of BTU in comparison to candle heat. Two or three of them will be enough to generate as much heat as it can be done by the electronic heater. Do not forget that it will work only if you set the structure of flower pots properly.

However, Sterno cans are more expensive than tea lights, and that is why you will not be able to use them every time you need to make the air warmer. It is a good alternative for candles, and you can use Sterno cans as an emergency heater. Store a couple of them in your gear for crises.

Make sure you control the heating process because excessive warming up can cause a fire in your shelter.

Hanging Space Heater

This alternative has nothing more useful than an ordinal clay pot heater, but its appearance is more attractive. Besides, it can protect your table or another surface from damages.

Opponents Of Flower Pot Heater

Risks of Clay Pot Heaters Usage

Risks Of Clay Pot Heaters Usage You should control everything connected with fire, and the clay pot heater is not an exception. You should follow several strict rules to avoid the emergency in your house:

  • Check whether candles are located close to each other or not. Wax in the candles will melt in high temperatures, and it can start burning. Not only wick but paraffin itself can create a huge flame if you do not regulate it.
  • Wax can drain out the candles and hit the floor or another surface. To avoid defects in your furniture, do not forget to control your candle heater.
  • Do not leave candles active while you are not at home or you are sleeping. Candles are one of the main sources of domestic fires — make sure your heater will not create a fire.

A flame is a dangerous phenomenon for property and people’s lives — use it with accurate preparedness.

A Flame Is A Dangerous

Summing Up

Summing Up DIY candle heater is one of the ways to warm yourself in frozen camps. Of course, you will not use it at home for heating the rooms because many devices can do it in the city. However, candle powered heater can become an essential thing during survival when there is no opportunity to start a fire or turn on an electrical heater.

Do not waste the source of heat even if you use a candle for lighting. You can cover it and get both light and warmth in your room.

Once again, the clay pot heater will not increase the amount of warmth that the candle generates. It will relocate the heat to make it more accessible for you.

It is not convenient to put a clay pot into your survival bag. You can use Sterno cans or propane heater in such conditions.

Read our extensive prepping guide! Actually, our blog on the website provides lots of info as to the following things and more:


How do you heat a candle with a clay pot?

You should create a basement for the terra cotta pot and leave a place for candles under the pot. It can be the construction of bricks, aluminum stack, loaf pan, or another item that matches required sizes. After this, you should light up the candle, and it will generate warmth and light that will be transferred to the sides of the terra cotta pot.

Can you heat a room with candles and flower pots?

The success of this process depends on the area you need to heat. I guess candle heater design can help you to raise the temperature in a small room, but there is no sense to use it for home heating. As we said in the article, the flower pot space heater will not produce a huge amount of warmth. It will distribute the heat near the floor, and you will feel it faster than heat from a tealight. So, a flower pot heater is one of the radiators that do not require a lot of money and materials.

Can you put a candle in a clay pot?

Of course, you can use candles as the main heating source for your DIY candle heater. The idea is that such heaters are more affordable than manufactured devices or burners. You can replace a candle with Sterno can, but it will cost more than candle powered heater.

Can clay pots withstand fire?

Clay pots are resistant to high temperatures because they are processed by flame during their creation. You can use clay plates for cooking in the oven or using a fire, and the same case is with clay pots. Some types of pots can be less reliable, but most of them are suitable for being burnt with fire.

How to make a terracotta heater?

The main idea of terra cotta heaters is to spend as little time and money as possible. That is why the creation of such a space heater is an easy process consisting of several steps. Firstly, you should find appropriate pots, tealights, or another heating source, a bread pan or bricks, and a steel bolt of proper length. Then you need to unite these elements according to the video in the review and light a candle. This easy construction will allow you to warm your hands and add hot air to the room.


A former USA Army sergeant and a highly educated survivalist and prepper with a degree and interest in Engineering and Electronics, Mike Millerson applies his extensive expertise in survivalism, homesteading, backpacking, hiking and hunting, spreading his deep knowledge about handling emergencies and prepping for them reasonably and effectively.




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