Propane Vs Kerosene Heater

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Propane vs Kerosene heater in 2023: this seems to be an uneasy choice. Both propane and kerosene are great substances to fuel your survival van or any other vehicle with sufficient energy.But which of the two produses more heat? Why is it necessary to perform ventilation in your garage while using the heater? How dangerous is carbon monoxide? Answers to all these questions you can find in the following article.

If you are reading this article, you definitely have a computer or smartphone, internet, power grid, and you are used to these and other civilized world benefits. We do not even notice how much we rely on modern conveniences in everyday life.

It is winter outside, and it is pretty cold, but we can easily hide in our warm houses with heating systems. We do not need to collect water from a well or go to the nearest village on skis (in most cases). We are making full use of the benefits of civilization.

But surely each of us had a case when the electricity was urgently turned off for an hour or maybe even a day. This is not a long time at all, but even then, it caused inconvenience. But imagine that heating and electricity disappear not for a couple of hours, but a week in the middle of winter. There is definitely little pleasant here, even more, likely it can be dangerous.

Do you have a plan of action in such a case?

You are lucky to live in a place where this does not happen at all or happens very rarely. But millions of people worldwide are faced with such situations on an ongoing basis and have learned to handle them.

As a responsible person, you should also have the means and a plan of action for such a case. It is good if you already have a wood stove or fireplace in your house, or you bought a tent stove just in case.

We hope you also stocked up on firewood.

But even if you have a wood-burning stove, it is best to have several options available.

A clay pot candle heater may also be a short term solution, but it is better to think of something more global.

A warm shelter is one of the human basic needs, so careful preparation is essential in this matter. We suggest you pay attention to propane or kerosene heater.

We are not specifically considering electric space heaters to keep in mind the worst-case scenario when the power grid is not available.

With a kerosene or propane heater, you can heat large room areas, a camper van, or even make your tent or a garage warm. In case you need to live off the grid, these emergency heaters will also be more useful.

Among other things, this method of heating your home can be a more economical variant than, say, using an expensive thermostat.

We believe that the two best fuels for heaters are propane and kerosene.

There are differences between them, which we will talk about in our article.

  • Which of these would be the best choice in your situation?
  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of each type of fuel?
  • What is more expensive and more difficult to buy?
  • Are there any specific storage rules?

We will answer all these questions below.

Kerosene Vs. Propane Pros and Cons

Let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons of each of the fuels.

1. Safety of Kerosene Vs. Propane


Kerosene wins in terms of safety. This liquid fuel is less explosive than gasoline or other fuels. Even if you throw a burning match into the kerosene, it will not ignite because a wick is needed to ignite. But it has a larger carbon footprint, so do not forget to ventilate the room.

On the other hand, propane is a gas whose vapors are highly flammable, so it needs to be stored safely. It is often decided to store propane in a large tank with valves that allow the fuel to be stored underground.

2. Availability of Kerosene Vs. Propane

  • Propane

In general, propane is more common due to its use in gas grills. Therefore, most propane tanks can be bought at convenience stores, grocery stores, home improvement stores. They also often offer propane tank rentals.

But if you want to get better prices and buy propane for a massive storage facility, you need to find a wholesaler. You also need to think about the large propane tank.

  • Kerosene

Small tanks of kerosene are fairly easy to find everywhere, and they are sold in both home improvement stores and hardware stores. But this purchase will not be very beneficial for you.

You can find a better deal at a gas station with a kerosene pump. The problem is that they are not available at all gas stations. Search in advance on the Internet if there is such a gas station near you.

3. Propane Vs. Kerosene Prices

One Dollar

Let’s start with the question of price. The fuel price is not stable and depends on many factors and the supply and demand in the market. We can quote you the current price in New Hampshire:

  • Propane — $ 3.06 per gallon
  • Kerosene — $ 2.92 per gallon

At this link, you can always see the current fuel price. For comparison, we took the price in New Hampshire, but be careful and check the price in your area, as it can vary from city to city.

Based on these figures, we can conclude that propane costs more but do not rush to conclude. We also need to consider the Cost Per BTU, that is, the energy potential of the fuel. 1 gallon of propane and 1 gallon of kerosene have different amounts of potential energy. Let’s find out what will be more profitable.

With simple calculations, you can find out the figure that interests us – Price Per BTU. We should divide the price by BTU and multiply by 1000.

We get:

  • Propane — $ 0.0335 per 1 000 BTU of energy.
  • Kerosene — $ 0.0216 per 1 000 BTU of energy.

It does not seem like a big difference in numbers, but you will get 35.5% more BTU of energy for your dollar with kerosene than with propane in reality.

But before running for a stock of kerosene, check the prices that are current in your area. They may differ.

Using propane and kerosene heaters can save you money over using a thermostat. Therefore, we advise you to do the calculations and think about a backup heat source.

4. Storage Life and Mobility of Kerosene Vs. Propane

  • Kerosene

Many types of reserve fuel sources are not suitable for survivalists due to the difficulty of storing them for a long time. Some fuels need rotating and fuel additives. Fortunately, when it comes to kerosene, you do not have to do any of that. All you need are quality containers, and you can make supplies that will last for years and decades.

We recommend stocking up on 50-gallon drums with good clips. To be on the safe side, it is recommended to purchase a secondary containment and place the drums inside in case of a leak.

If we talk about mobility, then kerosene wins here too, you can transport 50-gallon drums on a survival trailer or bug out the vehicle if you need to move your fuel supply to another location.

  • Propane

Propane can also be stored for many years in the right tanks.

If you plan on making a small supply of fuel, you can look for 11 lb. propane tanks. In other cases, you will need a large metal tank. You have probably seen one driving through the Midwest. These propane tanks will be a safe option for storing propane, and they can be stored in them indefinitely.

Unfortunately, these tanks are decent. If you consider purchasing a used tank, be careful as it is imperative to keep it in good condition.

If we talk about such a tank’s mobility with propane, then it simply does not exist. It is not possible to transport the big propane tank.

Kerosene Vs. Propane Heaters

There is no perfect fuel source. You have to decide which is right for you — propane or kerosene.

In general, if you want a backup heat source in case of a long power outage and an additional heat source for your home, then kerosene might be the best choice.

Let’s summarize all the advantages of kerosene:

  • It is a safe fuel;
  • Affordable prices;
  • Greater availability and prevalence (you can use the kerosene pump);
  • Easy and long-term storage.

But the choice may not be so obvious because propane is also an excellent fuel option, especially if you invest in fuel storage and purchase a large propane tank. Perhaps you already have such a tank, then we recommend that you do not bother, but choose propane.

Your main focus in the question of fuel selection is to do a little research to find out fuel prices in your area, which fuel is more common, and what fuel storage types are available. So you will understand what exactly is right for you — kerosene or propane.

Below we will give examples of kerosene heater and propane heater. Whichever fuel source you choose, we consider these propane and kerosene heaters to be among the very best.

Kerosene Heater

Dyna-Glo Rmc-95C6B Indoor Kerosene Convection Heater

We consider this kerosene heater to be a real find for anyone who is thinking about an inexpensive but high-quality heating of a house for emergencies or in addition to the main source of heating.

Dyna-Glo RMC-95C6B Indoor Kerosene Convection Heater is a portable heater capable of heating up to 1000 square feet of space in 8-12 hours while requiring less than 2 gallons of kerosene.

Other features of the Dyna-Glo RMC-95C6B heater:

  • Convenient and easy to use one-touch shutdown.
  • The increased safety of the heater is expressed in the power outage if the device topples over.
  • Its reliable and high-quality materials are suitable for everyday heating of a house or garage and emergency use.
  • Economical use when heating only the required rooms or spaces.
  • The price of this heater will also be a nice bonus.
  • Cylinder type of body.
  • Perhaps it cannot be argued that this is the best you can find at this cost, while this kerosene heater will completely satisfy you.

It would be an ideal option for garage or home heating. We also recommend watching an overview video below.


Propane Heater

Mr. Heater F274800 Mh18B, Portable Propane Heater This propane heater will be a great option for a home or garage heater.

Mr. Heater MH18B is relatively small (length 19.00, width 12.00) and can heat up to 450 square feet of space.

Consider the indicative parameters of this Mr. Heater Propane heater.

  • Safety.
  • Disables when rollover.
  • The low oxygen cut-off system is automatically activated.
  • Uses a heavy-duty wire guard for floor protection and extra durability.
  • Temperature switch controller, the ability to control the amount of heat.
  • Convenience and reliability.
  • The handle is equipped with a built-in fan for circulating heated air.
  • The heater is equipped with a convenient carrying handle, making it easy to move from room to room or even from home to garage. Also, a bag for storage of optional connection hoses is included.
  • Swivel regulator mount.
  • Attached swing-open cylinder hatch doors.
  • You will need 4D-cell batteries or an optional 6-volt A / C adapter (it is not included in the set) for the blower fan.
  • Manufacturers have added porcelain-coated reflector and dual ceramic burner tiles with shock-absorbing insulation to increase durability.

The bottom line is that this is one of the best propane heaters out there, especially at such a nice price.

Below we post a video for you so that you can clearly appreciate the benefits of this heater.

As a post scriptum: Our wide-scope survival blog will surely interest all of you keen preppers! There are so many relevant categories to delve into:


Are kerosene heaters safe to use indoors?

Yes, you can safely use kerosene heaters indoors. Kerosene is one of the safest liquid fuels to use. It is less explosive. But in any case, you need to adhere to safety rules. Do not use aerosol sprays, varnishes, solvents, anything that can easily ignite near propane air heaters. Keep children and animals away from the heater.

What is better propane or kerosene heater?

The question of what you need to prefer and what is better, kerosene heaters vs. propane heaters, can only be answered by you based on the possibilities and the situation. We invite you to compare prices for fuel types (you need to consider the BTU heater can give you per gallon), availability in your region, your storage capabilities. But if you want a direct answer from us, we will tell you that kerosene heaters are more likely to suit the average consumer.

Are kerosene heater fumes bad for you?

If you use your heater correctly, nothing bad will happen. Provide proper ventilation in the room. Even though these heaters provide heat very successfully, they produce small amounts of carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide, which can be harmful to pregnant women and people with respiratory problems. Read all restrictions and instructions carefully before purchasing a particular type of heater.

Are propane heaters safe to use indoors?

Propane heaters are safe as long as you use them correctly and follow the safety precautions. Be sure to read the instructions and follow all requirements. Do not put anything on top of the heater top; do not use aerosols or combustible mixtures nearby. It would be a good idea to place carbon monoxide detectors where you most often use the heater. Do not use outdoor propane heaters to heat indoor space. This may lead to carbon monoxide build-up. From time to time, provide proper ventilation in 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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