Did you know, a wrong construction heater can entirely mess up your job? Thinking how? Let me explain…
“John” is a civil contractor and brought his gigantic kerosene torpedo heater during a concreating job. Although these are highly portable, it’s heavy and roll on wheels. Results? A massive mess up on the floor by wet raw cement kept John isolated from the heated spaces.
“Mark” is very meticulous at his carpeting jobs and skips no ingredients to ensure the most dainty wood polish. So, methodically he keeps spirits, burnishes, turpentines, and several flammable goods with him. Unfortunately, he brought a high BTU forced air propane heater during wintertime carpentry construction, and think what? The session was ended with a fire alarm!
Surely you won’t desire to be like “Mark” or “John.” That’s why you are reading this article! To avoid all these unwanted phenomena, we’ve researched out specific heaters for specific construction jobs.
Which type of heater will exactly suit your construction purpose? How much BTU will keep you warm in frigid weather? Or, which fuel type will give you the most advantage?
Here’s the entire discussion…
13 Lessons to Choose the Perfect Construction Heater.
1. Which type of heater is perfect for my job site?
You will find mainly four types of heaters suitable for construction sites based on fuel type & how they heat the space.
Here’s a bit explanation about where they perform optimistically and what their drawbacks are.
A. Kerosene Torpedo Heater
Also called forced air kerosene heaters, and undoubtedly they are mighty powerful and highly efficient. They might be used as the primary heating solution in any residential, commercial, or private construction project.
But, they are too heavy, and their weight increases along with heat production capacity (BTU). With a full fuel tank, they weigh more than 100 lbs.
But these heaters are placed on two wheels, so moving around the job site might not be that challenging! On the other hand, if your construction project is multi-storage, then lifting it through stairs will be a horrible experience for sure.
Additionally, they require a 115V electric connection to drive the fan & spark ignitors; keep that in mind. Although, it’s low wattage & you can take it from any random electric outlet.
B. Propane Torpedo Heater
Considering the power, they are monsters. Even some propane torpedo construction heaters are more potent than kerosene torpedo heaters! But they are tremendously lightweight, and you can lift them effortlessly with a single hand.
As you must require to carry an LPG cylinder, I shouldn’t say these heaters are compact. But if you use a long hose pipe, moving it around would be an easier task.
The main drawback is, you will require a 150V power line and the gas hosepipe together to operate these units. In addition, all these lines might create a mess up on the floor!
Secondly, the exhaust tip remains extremely hot. You won’t want to keep any flammable goods nearby this machine.
C. Propane Convection Heater
I always recommend these for the carpenters and for those construction projects where numerous flammable goods remain stored.
There’s no forced air to spread the heat strenuously inside this unit, and it runs almost silently. So if you work with wooden polishes, terpenes, petroleum, alcohol-based paints, coating, lacquers, mineral spirits, or spray cans, using this type of heater will be the safest option.
The main drawback of this category is that the entire body remains too hot during operation, and you can hardly move it in case you need it.
D. Electric Heater
Hardly you may use electric heaters on a construction site because they don’t produce heat sufficiently to cover uninsulated, damp open spaces. However, they are sufficient for an enclosed garage or workshops.
The main drawback, all these high BTU heaters require 240V electricity and draw a massive current (ampere). So you’ll need a high configured breaker to handle the load, and all these criteria may cause complexity of arrangements in an under-construction job site.
2. Should a construction heater always be of high BTU?
It totally depends on the venue, where you wanna use your heater.
If the construction site is small in size & well insulated (which is almost impossible), a low BTU heater will perform nicely!
But as a professional, you won’t work in the same venue, and the heat output of large BTU units can decrease using the thermal regulator. So I always would recommend a higher BTU variant to get the advantage in every single construction site.
Again, there are few models with excessive BTUs (400K BTU, for example), which I won’t suggest at all. Cause; in most cases, they are a waste of fuels.
3. Portability or Heating Capacity, which should I prioritize first?
Both are important in construction sites. But depending on the type of your activity, you may prioritize them.
(We know kerosene torpedo heaters are tremendously powerful, on the other hand, propane heaters are easy to move.)
Suppose you’ve to work on laying tile on the floor. Or you may have to do a painting job. So you will require to change your position too frequently, and in these cases, propane heaters are better as they are lightweight and easy to move. So, you can move the heater in any direction you want almost instantly.
On the other hand, if you work on building construction or install steel beams, then highly powerful but heavy kerosene heaters might be okay. As they are compact and able to raise the temperature of the entire space.
4. My construction site remains open & Uninsulated; how will the heater perform?
In most cases, construction heaters are made to perform in uninsulated and open spaces. However, as you have seen, most models are forced-air heaters, and they can effortlessly perform in windy open areas.
But you have to keep in mind, if “X” amount of BTUs are required to cover an insulated closed space, then 2X-3X BTUs will be needed to handle the same sized open or windy space.
So while selecting your construction heater, you should calculate the required BTU keeping the venue in mind.
5. Which construction heaters need ventilation?
In 99% of cases, construction sites remain well-ventilated open spaces, so nothing appears to mind about ventilation.
But, in case you require to work on an enclosed insulated venue, you might require ventilation.
All the propane & kerosene heaters require ventilation around 3 cubic feet per 100K BTUs. Additionally, you must have to keep the window cracked in a closed location to access fresh environmental air inside.
On the other hand, electric construction heaters don’t require any ventilation!
6. Are the construction heaters repairable?
Yes Indeed! Most of the construction heaters are highly repairable.
Kerosene torpedo heaters mostly contain all the complicated mechanisms comparing other types, but they never get defected randomly. Here are the main elements of kerosene heaters.
- A Mini Electric Air compressor to spray the kerosene inside combustion.
- An Electric sparkler to ignite the fuel.
- A brushed motor & fan to produce forced air.
- The electronic thermostat & a few circuits.
None of them get defective randomly, and all sphere parts are available.
In most cases, after very long-term uses, the spark ignitor might have defected. They are similar to the spark plug of your car. So if you are a handyman easily, you can fix the ignition issue by cleaning sticky carbons on the spark ignitor.
I’ve never heard the fan motor or thermostat of these heaters get damaged. If that happens, you can replace it. But, in most cases, they get jammed by dust. By opening the barrel, you may get access to the fan-motor and keep it clean.
Propane torpedo heater has a very minimal defection rate. In most cases, we’ve heard about the sparker or piezo ignitor’s issue. However, they are replaceable within 10 minutes and don’t cost more than $15.
Electric construction heaters have a little curse of getting burned in the long term. However, if you use the correct cable gauge and the breaker, this might not happen. Unfortunately, these heating elements are not sold separately.
7. Which type of construction heaters are most efficient?
Undoubtedly the kerosene heaters. But the price of kerosene varies from state to state. So things might be slightly different for you.
Propane heaters are efficient, too but, they consume colossal gas to produce a sufficient amount of heat. Here’s a real-life cost comparison.
85K BTU Kerosene heater consumes 1.68 Gal Fuel per 3 hours.
85K BTU Propane heater runs for 3 hours with 20 lbs propane tank.
1.68 Gal kerosene costs around $5~$6 in retail, lower in wholesale.
But refilling 20 lbs propane tank costs around $14.5
So, of course, running a kerosene heater is more inexpensive!
Electric construction heaters shouldn’t be a part of this discussion cause none of them can produce that massive BTUs like kerosene or propane. Additionally, their wiring cost is too expensive. But, if you are too excited, then,
5.7 KW Electric heater produces 20,000 BTU. If I combine 4 of them, then
22.8 KW for 80,000 BTU.
So, running them for 1 hour will cost 22.8 x $0.1319 = $3.00
Accordingly, running them for 3 hours will cost $9
So, finally, we can say, running electrical heaters is inexpensive than propane but expensive than kerosene heaters. But the electrical arrangements are tremendously costly. Isn’t it?
8. Does the construction heater emit fume?
Kerosene Construction heaters emit a little bit of fume and produce a little bit of NOx. For a cleaner burn, you may mix diesel and kerosene in a 1:1 ratio. Or you may use jet fuels too.
A propane construction heater doesn’t emit fumes except for a little bit of CO2 and some vapor if the place is well ventilated.
9. Must-have Features of Construction Heaters
- Heating Output: Construction sites consume more energy comparing to your enclosed insulated home/garage or workshops. So while calculating BTU, you have to keep that in mind. For uninsulated construction sites, 50,000 BTU should be great for each 1000 square feet space. You shouldn’t go for lower than it.
- Overheat Safety: Must ensure your construction heater has this feature. Mr. Heater, Dyna Glo, Dura Heat, Dewalt, and few other brands that I’ve enlisted in my list contain this feature with some additional safety equipment.
- Higher Portability: Kerosene heaters are heavy but compact; propane heaters are light but require gas & electric cable lines. Before you choose one, ensure what’s your necessity.
- Easy Operational Procedure: It’s essential; you will never want to take half of your days to turn ON the construction heater. Ensure the heater you pick supports single press electrical/mechanical startup. Electric sparkers are more effective comparing piezo ignitors.
- Lower Maintenance: The 4rth product I’ve reviewed is almost maintenance-free & one of the most powerful. However, propane heater requires lower maintenance than others.
- Restless Operationability: It’s something too crucial that users forget to justify. All heaters can’t tolerate a restless use of 10-15 hours—especially the torpedo-type heaters, except a few models. I have prioritized this fact on my recommendation list and picked only those models that can be driven for very long hours without a break.
- Warranty: I don’t know why, but all manufacturers offer only a 1-year warranty for these types of heaters. But, among them, Dyna-Glo provides better service.
10. Can I use the heater to dry the construction site?
Some people have the misconception that they could use their HVAC system or heater to dry their construction site.
Mainly, the machines are used to dry the construction site are a combination of dehumidifiers & HVAC. So, only using the construction heater to dry the construction site isn’t an ethical thought.
But yes, if you need to dry 100 square feet or such a smaller space, you may do that by combining your heater with a high-velocity utility fan.
11. Are these heater works both in Indoor & Outdoor at the job site?
Yes, these heater is effective for both indoor & outdoors but, in outdoor spaces, you will require 2X to 4X higher BTUs depending on the environmental temperature, wind speed, weather, and sunlight.
Forced air or torpedo heater might perform slightly better outdoors.
12. How to avoid any accidental flame caused by the heater on the construction site?
It happens mostly by torpedo heaters and high-wattage electric heaters.
- Avoid keeping any flammable objects directly in front of the torpedo barrel.
- If you are a carpenter or works with paint spray, a convection-type heater should be the best option for you.
- Keep the propane cylinder, kerosene barrels, or construction requires far away from the heating unit.
- Don’t use a heater unless it has an overheat protection valve.
- Ensure your heater contains a flame failure shut-off valve.
Thus you may protect the construction site from spreading any accidental flame.
13. Can I use my construction heater in the garage?
I would not recommend you do that unless your garage is too large (4-5 cars garage).
If you do so, ensure keeping 3 cubic feet ventilation for each 100K BTU and keep the window slightly cracked.
The 8 Best Construction Heater (Kerosene, Gas & Electric!)
1. Best Residential Construction Heater – Dyna Glo KFA135DGD
Dyna Glo 135K BTU unit is a fantastic multipurpose residential construction heater for any single storage, duplex, or multi-storage building construction site.
Firstly, as it’s a kerosene heater, so the operational cost is very inexpensive. The fuel tank can hold 10 gallons of kerosene, sufficient for a long 14 hours operation with maximum heat output. In moderate uses, a full tank of fuel lasts for around 25+ hours.
Secondly, a 120V power line is required for ignition and to power the torpedo fan’s motor. There’s no necessity for complicated electrical wiring or any high ampere breaker; any casual electrical outlet of a construction site can handle this machine.
With 98% fuel efficiency, the Dyna-Glow construction heater can cover any job site with up to 3200 spaces.
Why do I like it?
Electronic Temperature Control
The construction site’s temperature never remains the same! Therefore, you will require multiple heat output depending on the weather, season, airspeed (in case you work on multi storage building), or insulation of your job site.
Dyna-Glow 135K offers an electronically controlled thermostat with an LED that allows you to control the climate according to your exact preference. Most importantly
- By twisting the thermal knob, you can preset any comfortable temperature.
- You can prefer HIGH/LOW fan speed to control the forced air level, which helps a lot in a windy construction site.
The heater takes shutdown once it raises the preset temperature and restarts again with a cyclic order.
The operation is too Handy!
The heater starts within 3 steps!
- Refill the tank.
- Connect the unit with an extension power cable.
- Preset the thermostat and turn ON the power button.
The refilling cap is placed at the side panel, so you can refill hassle freely when the unit remains ON. A fuel gauge shows the fuel level, which is very accurate.
The power cord is a dual-source that will help you a lot in construction projects. You can connect any power drills, grinders, power saws, or any 120V hand tools on top of it.
The unit contains a built-in error diagnosis to detect any internal issues automatically. Accordingly, you will get digital resources through the Dyna-Glow app if you require instant assistance in troubleshooting any problems.
The fan motors and all the internal mechanical components are easily accessible. Therefore, you can quickly repair it if any defects occur.
2. Best Commercial construction heater – DeWalt DXH215HD
DeWalt is a very renowned brand for manufacturing handy tools and numerous construction gadgets. Thus they have manufactured this gigantic kerosene heater remaining focused on the useability at any commercial construction projects.
“Rigidity,” “extreme heat output,” “straightforward operation” are the three key factors to explain this machine. This robust construction heater produces 215K BTU heat per hour with a 400 CFM rating, which means each minute, this machine will heat up to 400 cubic feet of open spaces.
Meanwhile, I would give it a 9 out of 10 easy repairability score. Unscrewing a few bolts, you can detach the barrel and get access to the fan, motor, and combustion chamber while requiring a restoration.
While working on steel beam construction in a commercial multi-storage complex, this heater can cover up to 6500 sqft open uninsulated spaces and maintain a comfortable temperature restlessly! In insulated places, the performance level will get increased.
What do I like about it?
Long Time Operation
Refiling a machine too frequently is a hassle while working on a construction site, especially while running a heavy fuel consumer unit.
Fortunately, the DeWalt DXH215HD heater’s fuel tank can store 14 gallons of fuel that provides around 14+ hours of operational hours in MAX settings.
So, a single refueling can drive the construction heater for 9.5+ hours.
It’s tough to remain too careful in large construction jobs. You won’t wanna keep a machine at the center of caution.
Fortunately, DeWalt DXH215HD comes with all the safety precautions you require to be secured. It contains
- CSA certification
- Auto shutoff feature, if anything, appears to its tip.
- Overheat Safety
- Flameout Protection
You won’t require to handle it with care.
- With a full fuel tank, this unit weighs around 158.9 lbs. But the foldable trolly handle and the foam-filled flat-free tires allow you to move it around anywhere on the construction site.
- You will require a 120V power connection, and during runtime, it draws around a 2.5-4.5 amp current. So, no additional breaker is needed.
- The fuel gauge shows the fuel level, and the refueling cap is placed at the side. So you can refuel it during operation without turning it OFF.
The unit will take startup simply by twisting the thermostat and pressing the power button.
3. Best Private Construction Heater – Dura Heat DFA135C
If you own a private construction farm or a part of it, you must require such a construction heater suitable for handling various types of projects of numerous sizes. Dura Heat DFA135C kerosene heater stands to fill your exact criteria.
The heater weighs around 120 lbs with a full 10-gallon fuel tank, but it has enhanced mobility with a flat free tire & duel trolly handles (front & rare). Both you can pull or push the heater to move it around the job site.
An electronically controlled thermostat allows you to preset the temperature upon 40F to 120F, which makes this unit suitable for any size construction project. Additionally, you can choose low & high forced air pressure, which might help you getting efficient performance in both insulate & uninsulated construction sites.
What do I like about it?
Dura heat can perform both “indoor & outdoor,” as well as “small & large” venues, which means this one heater will suit any of your job sites perfectly.
Powerful Heat Output
The unit contains a very high-speed fan to pass the hot air through the combustion unit forcefully.
The spark ignitor & the fan motor consumes 1500 watt and requires 120V to be driven.
This massive combination of forced air and kerosene combustion has made this unit a monster of construction heater.
Safety & Functionalities
The heater contains all safety features and advanced functionalities, including
- Overheat protection.
- Instant Shutdown, if anything, appears at the tip of the barrel.
- Electronic Self-diagnosis for troubleshooting.
- CSA certification.
- LED display that shows preset temperature.
- Electric power switch. (Single press to startup).
- Fuel gauge to show fuel level.
- 40F,50F,60F,70F,80F,90F,110F & 120F thermal setup.
Duel channel power cord. (You may connect other electrical appliances on it’s a plug)
4. Best Carpenter Construction Heater – Mr. Heater MH200CVX
Flammable goods are widespread materials in carpentry construction, and you won’t like to leave them at risk. So, Mr. Heater has come with the MH200CVX convection type construction heater, undoubtedly a perfect solution for the carpenter’s job site.
The unit is available in three aspects of 25K BTU, 30K/80K BTU, or 75K/200K BTU, and the largest one can effortlessly cover up to 5000 sqft open spaces.
Built-in piezo ignitor allows you to start the unit with a single twist. So even it doesn’t require any batteries or electric connections.
Mr. Heater always pays the deepest concern about safety. So along with CSA certification, this unit comes with a thermal safety valve that instantly turns off gas flow if the flame goes out.
What do I like about it?
Longer Operational Hour
The largest variant can produce 75K BTU at low settings and 200K BTU at the highest setup.
A 20 lbs propane tank lasts 14 hours in low & 5.8 Hours in high heat setup. Additionally, the 100 lbs propane tank lasts 29 hours in max settings & almost 70 hours in low heat settings.
Most importantly, among all propane construction heaters, this particular unit is the most fuel-efficient and safe.
Everything Included in Packaging
No hassle for installation or assembly! The unit comes with a 12 feet long hose pipe with a standard P.O.L. connection regulator.
The operation of this powerful heater is nothing but plug and play.
One Twist Startup
The thermal knob isn’t like a thermostat and contains only a low/max thermal point with an integrated piezo ignitor.
The heater will get startup by a single twist, and you may preset your heating level and leave it ON.
Note: The entire convection unit remains too hot!!! You can hardly move it around unless you hold it at the bottom of the barrel.
5. Best for Concreating Work – Mr. Heater MH400FAVT
Concreating is one of the most sensitive procedures in construction sites. While thinking of a heater to use during this critical task, you must require something easily portable so that you won’t feel any issues moving it around raw cement castings. Also, the heater should be extremely powerful to cover the whole uninsulated area with sufficient heat.
Mr. Heater MH400FAVT fills all these requirements to handle the exact scenario that I’ve just explained.
Despite being mighty in heat production, the unit contains flat feet surface to keep standing even on raw floors, and you can carry it anywhere holding the handle.
MH400FAVT is the largest model among this generic, producing around 250K BTU and 400K BTU at the low & high setup to cover around 10,000 sqft raw uninsulated under construction surfaces.
Two smaller variants are also available that generate 75K/125K BTU & 125K/170K BTUs, which are perfect for smaller job sites.
What do I Like About It?
Very Rigid Build Quality
The manufacturer has specially designed it to use at construction sites, so there isn’t any single compromise in building materials.
The entire external components are sturdy, made of stainless steel, and can handle any rough situations randomly on a construction site.
The fan motor and all electrical components are easily accessible with higher repairability.
Hardly you will find a torpedo-type heater that doesn’t sound scary.
Fortunately, this unit is one of the quietest I’ve ever seen in life, and it won’t draw your full attention during working hours.
The unit requires a 115V electric connection to be operated.
You will get two different regulator knobs, one for maintaining the fan speed and another for low/high heat output.
Using a 200 lbs propane tank (2X 100 lbs), this heater can run around 17 hours in a high heat setup.
Inside the packaging, you will get 10 feet long hose pipe with a universal P.O.L connector with a regulator.
6. Best Heater for Painting Construction – Sunnydaze Decor 85K B.T.U.
While doing painting jobs on a construction site, you never remain stood on a single position. You would have to move around here & there to reach the painting point. So to keep you comfortable, you need such a heater that can be moved along with your paint’s bucket.
That’s why Sunnydaze Decor 85K is the exact construction heater that a painter should look for.
This heater weighs only 14 pounds, and the manufacturer has excluded all its weights as far as possible, including the internal complicated electrical circuits.
But, it’s sufficiently powerful. By producing 85,000 BTUs heat, this unit can keep you comfortable in its surrounding areas covering up to 625 sqft.
Packaging includes a 10 feet hosepipe with a universal P.O.L connector & regulator, and you can connect it to any propane tank. On a high heat setup, a 20 lbs propane tank lasts about 3+ hours.
What do I Like About it?
Though the unit contains an electric sparker, it has a piezo ignitor beside the thermal knob. In chilled weather, when you require to work outside, this feature helps a lot. You won’t face any issue with ignition.
Low Wattage Operation
This device consumes only 48 watts of electricity! (Similar others consume up to 1500 watts!)
So, you may take the 115V power from any tiny portable generator or AC power source.
Straight Forward Operation
The operation is plug-and-play. There’s no complexity. Again you can select low/high heat output.
Additionally, the unit is highly repairable. You can access the fan-motor unscrewing the rare grill.
Finally, the unit has all integrated safety functionalities, including automatic shut-off, overheating protection, flameout protection, and everything you need for the safest operation.
7. Best Electrical Construction Heater – TPI Corporation HF686TC
If you work in an electrical construction site, there must be 240V/208V circuits to operate any heavy-watt appliances, as well as this TPI corporation HF686TC construction heater. However, simply by inserting the plug of this device, you can enjoy a toasty job site without the hassle of carrying a propane cylinder or kerosene tank!
The unit comes with 6 feet NEMA plug and a built-in thermostat that’s able to maintain your job site temperature around 35F to 85F. As it’s a forced-air electric heater, the warm wind reaches up to 10 feet, raising the temperature of 262 cubic feet of open space each minute.
You can connect the heater to a 240V or 208V circuit, and thus the heater will consume 5600 watts & 4200 watts by sequence, producing massive heat to cover up to 560 sqft working space.
This high wattage machine draws 23.4 amps at max, so installing a 40 amp breaker is highly suggested.
What do I like about it?
The whole exterior is well insulated, and steel grills cover the internal heating elements. So the safety level is top-notch!
Again, it comes with CSA certification and overheat-protection features to get instantly shut off in any unwanted occurrence.
Additionally, the entire heater is powder-coated so that it will remain strain-free for its lifetime.
The unit contains a mounting bracket that allows you to keep it mounted on the floor, wall, or ceiling.
So, at the same time, it’s a portable unit, and you can permanently mount it on the wall.
Additionally, you can easily integrate a wall thermostat to make it more functional.
Among commercial electric heaters, this one is the most powerful!
Tubular heating elements are the heart of this mighty machine, and the entire unit is highly repairable. All the single components are available as sphere parts.
8. Best Welding Construction Heater – Dimplex DCH4831L
Dimplex is a tiny handy construction heater and would be an excellent choice for small welding job sites. Welders must have a 240V electric outlet, where you can connect its 6 feet power cable and place the heater anywhere in your comfort zone.
It’s the lightest weight & most handy model on this list, and the forced air powerful heating output is beyond the description. Each minute Dimplex heats around 300 cubic feet of open space and effortlessly can cover a 350 sqft working space.
Stainless steel-made tubular heating coil, the main electrical component of this machine, is highly durable and has a meager defection rate. Of course, the unit has higher repairability, and all sphere parts are available at an inexpensive rate.
What do I like about it?
Despite being tiny in size, the heater is 4800 watts consumer and draws around 20 amps in max setup. Using a 30 amp breaker is highly suggested for trouble-free operation.
It may be unbelievable, but the truth is this construction heater is cheaper than a household electric heater that you do use in your bedroom. So, it’s 100% value for money and worths every penny.
Welders love rough and tough appliances for careless operation, and Dimplex is a perfect example of that. Rarely, this heater could be injured and defective, even being angry if you threw it away.
You may have a look at my guideline on electric garage heater 240v in case you wanna learn more about it!