The propane cabinet heater appears to mind while we search for something with complete portability, longer operation hours, and crazy heat output simultaneously.
They are the only appliance that doesn’t require any electrical connection, batteries and can be moved around anywhere you want. (Thanks to those integrated caster wheels!)
The cabinet heaters can handle your demands in any unusual scenarios, such as power outages or a chilled morning when the entire city remains covered by snow, and the central air furnace becomes overloaded.
Again, you may use them regularly in workshops and garages and cut a little cost from your monthly electric bill.
Not only indoors, but this appliance is a perfect space heater for outdoor parties such as BBQ, camping, and everything else you want!
Finally, they aren’t expensive at all!
So…Aren’t they are almost perfect? Let’s check it.
Our Top Picks
Overall Best – Mr. Heater MH18CH
It’s the most familiar Cabinet heater from the most prestigious brand with a standard price tag.
Best Budget (Value for Money)– Dyna-Glo RA18LPDG
Cheapest in price, but the quality is top-notch, but the look isn’t much fancy.
Best for Indoor Use (Perfect Backup/Emergency Heater) – Gasland MHA18B
Nothing can beat its safety features & gorgeous look. The building materials are very rigid.
Best for Outdoor Commercial Purposes – Comfort Glow GCH480
Great for commercial users. Straight forward and solid build.
Best for Outdoor Parties – John Deere HR-18R
The most robust chassis that a hammer can’t break. Very durable!
17 Important Facts to Know about Propane Cabinet Heater
Why are they called cabinet heaters?
All these heaters have storage at rare, where you can store a 20 lbs propane tank securely to power this up. That’s why they are called cabinet heaters.
Additionally, that’s why they are completely portable and able to provide you a powerful heat output for an extended duration.
Manufactures Says “Outdoor Use Only.” Can’t I use them indoors?
Firstly, these propane cabinet heaters work on radiant technology. These are nothing different than the regular ventless gas radiant heaters that we use indoors. So, there’s nothing unusual using them indoors.
But, the cabinet stores a 20 lbs propane tank which could be explosive, and keeping them inside is a violation of fire codes. Additionally, while you keep the cylinder inside the cabinet, the radiator plates just remain next to it, which could be a cause of danger.
So the solution is, while you require to use them indoors, use a long hosepipe and keep the cylinder away from the unit. Thus it will be completely safe for indoor uses.
Can I use them as a regular household heater or in the bedroom at night time? Some Basic Cautions.
You shouldn’t do this unless your central heating system fails or the weather becomes too frigid, so that you need some additional heat to stay comfortable.
But, you may use them in the bedroom in those particular cases, maintaining some essential cautions. Those are
That’s how you can ensure safety while using them indoors.
Should I take a CO detector during Indoor Operation?
Of course, you should. But keep in mind if you install an air quality monitor, which may start alarming due to a bit increasing of carbon dioxide.
Any type of gas heater produces CO2, which is normal and isn’t harmful. But if you ensure proper ventilation, this might not happen.
Are the Propane Cabinet Heaters ventless?
These heaters don’t require any chimneys during installation, in that sense it’s ventless.
But, you have to keep your room or indoor area well ventilated so that fresh environmental air can entre sufficiently. In addition, it’s essential to prevent any toxic gas production like carbon mono oxide or NOx.
Do the cabinet heaters produce Carbon Mono Oxide?
These are propane heaters, and burning propane in the presence of sufficient air doesn’t create carbon mono oxides.
But, if there’s a lack of sufficient environmental air (mainly the O2), this burning will produce toxic CO.
So, well ventilation is required by keeping the door or window slightly cracked.
How longer a 20 lbs propane cylinder will last?
Most of the models (Gasland & Mr. Heater) lasts for 24 hours in MAX heat settings. Some other models last for 19-22 hours.
In medium heat output, they last longer than 45 hours.
And finally, in minimum heat output, 65-72 hours operation time should be expected.
But, moderate users get around 1-week backup by each 20 lbs propane cylinder.
Can the Cabinet hold a larger cylinder than 20 lbs?
No, it can’t.
Can I connect a 100 lbs propane tank?
Yes, indeed you can.
How far the output pressure of the gas cylinder remains, the same will work. And all the cylinders have the same pressure indeed.
But you require to add a hosepipe to connect that cylinder and an adapter to connect with the existing default connector.
You may use a hose called F273704 of Mr. Heater, which is around 10 feet long, along with the propane adapter called “steak saver.”
My house is at a high altitude from the seashore. Can I use a cabinet heater?
All these cabinet heater’s altitude limitation is up to 7000 feet from the seashore. So, in most cases, the heater will perform typically.
Unless you live in the mountain area, which is above this alt limit, you can surely go for them.
Can I use them in RV?
Yes, you can, but you have to maintain some rules and regulations.
We know several users who use cabinet heater inside their caravan, travel trailer, or even inside the shipping container.
You only need to keep your place ventilated and not place anything between 2 meters directly in front of the radiator.
How large Spaces the propane cabinet heater can cover? (Indoor & Outdoor)
For indoors, these heater covers up to 450 square feet area and max 6000 sqft insulated places.
For outdoor, it depends on the weather and airspeed. For example, if the environment temperature remains around 60 degrees Fahrenheit, the cabinet heater can cover around 150-200 sqft area in standard wind speed.
Does it perform as well as an outdoor patio heater?
The propane cabinet heater’s highest heat output capability is 18,000 BTU, while the patio heaters can produce 45K or even 60K BTUs. So, of course, they are not that powerful like patio heaters.
But it can cover small places like a charm.
How hot does the cabinet heater’s interface remain during operation?
The top, side, and rear portions remain cold to touch, but the front grill remains extremely hot. Also, the lower chin remains hot too.
We highly suggest you not go in front of it during operation. If you need to change any settings, do it from the side.
Could you suggest to me some good brands?
Mr. Heater, Gasland & Dyna-Glo are the main three brands that I like. But, my first recommendation will be Gasland MHA18B.
If you like something with ultra-strong chassis, then you may pick the john Dheere.
Radiant Heating Technology of Propane Cabinet Heater-Explained
A perfect example of radiant heating is the temperature that you feel while standing under the song.
In short, when the heating source doesn’t raise the air temperature but directly reflects the heat towards the objects or human body is called radiant heat.
Inside the radiant heater, you won’t find any flame. But the burner glows a radiator panel, and the panel reflects heat towards you.
The best advantage of this technology is that you will feel the warm seating inside the projection area, and there is no stern necessity for insulation.
Some Common Complain of Users and the Solutions. (Defects & Troubleshoot)
- The pilot doesn’t ignite: 99% probability is the sparker that ignites the pilot isn’t firing. You may clean it and place it nearby the pilot and try it again. If it doesn’t solve your issue, then it probably gets damaged. You may replace it, and for the initial solution, you may use a lighter to ignite the pilot in a similar way you light a gas stove.
- Run for a few minutes, then shut off: Either it’s a thermocouple issue. The thermocouple can sense whether the pilot is ON/OFF. To solve this issue, you need to clean the pilot using an air compressor. Or, it’s the tip-over safety valve issue. The valve may act like tipping over. In that case, you may bypass it for an instant solution then replace it with a new one.
5 Best Propane Cabinet Heater Reviews
1. Overall Best – Mr. Heater MH18CH Radiant Propane Cabinet Heater
Mr. Heater MH18CH is the most preferred and familiar among all cabinet-type propane heaters because of its smart price tag & decent quality.
The cabinet type heater from Mr. Heater fills up every user’s requirements according to their multiple arrays of demands. BBQ party with kids at the garden yard, or working at the garage on the coldest days, or even traveling with a caravan on the high altitude mountain, this heater can handle all your situations alone.
The unit contains 3-heat settings, including Low, Medium & High, to produce 6K, 12K & 18K BTU on the sequence. As it’s a radiant type heater, it contains 3 radiator panels, and each generates 6K BTU. Accordingly, the low heat setup glows a single radiator panel, similarly medium and high lights double and triple of them on the sequence.
The thermal knob has an integrated manual sparker to ignite the pilot light. Turning it ON rarely takes more than a single attempt.
These are real portable like “BUDDY” models. No electrical wirings or long hose line is required to operate it. At the cabinet that remains behind, a 20 lbs propane tank can be stored to run it for a very long duration. Here’s the number of continuous uses.
- Low (6,000 BTU) – 72 Hours
- Medium (12,000 BTU) – 48 Hours
- High (18,000 BTU) – 24 Hours
If you are a moderate user, 20 lbs tank will last around a week.
Things I like Mostly
- Push the knob and twist to the pilot position, and hold.
- Once you notice the pilot light is ON, twist the knob further at the low/med/high position to start this unit.
That’s the simple two-step start-up procedure. I would love to have a battery-powered spark ignitor, but the good side is, there’s no hassle of changing a battery!
This propane cabinet heater comes with caster wheels so the kid can move it around. Including a full propane tank, the unit weighs about 40 pounds. There are two carrying handles on both sides of it, which’s helpful for easy lifting.
Silent & Safe
You will be amazed by the ultra-quiet operation. As well as using a propane radiator unit is entirely safe in well-ventilated places. Though using these units indoors are discouraged, if you do so, don’t forget to keep a CO meter and keep the window cracked slightly.
The unit contains
- Tip-Over Safety Sensor
- ODS sensor to identify oxygen level
- CSA certification.
A Few Issues Detected by Users and Solution
- The unit has a manual ignitor (similar to a gas lighter) instead of a battery-powered sparker. So on cold days, it takes multiple attempts to startup.
- After several months, the pilot light may not stay lit. In that case, you may have to clean the pilot light & the thermocouple or replace them.
Several users have faced the tip-over safety valve is misleading after a couple of months. You may bypass it for an instant solution and replace it with a new one.
2. Best Budget (Value for Money)– Dyna-Glo RA18LPDG
Dyna-Glo is offering this propane cabinet heater for lower than $100; isn’t it charming?! Do you think if it’s cheap in quality? Never at all…!
Even it’s one of the best.
This model is built with rugged stainless steel and capable of handling rough situations in garages, workshops, construction sites, or anywhere else. The caster wheels are solid build & could be locked for holding the position. The entire designing language and solid internal, external building materials can handle any extreme commercial workloads.
You won’t need any additional things as the Dyna-Glo cabinet heater comes with all required equipment in packaging, including the hose and regulator. Only connect a 20 lbs propane tank, and you are good to go!
What do I like about it?
Red Striker Button for Ignition
All the propane cabinet heaters come with a manual piezo ignitor, and in most cases, it remains integrated with the thermal knob. Dyna-Glo isn’t different, but it contains an additional red striker button.
If the pilot doesn’t light while twisting the knob, you can press the striker to make it light.
This procedure saves you from the enormous hassle of twisting the knob again and again on a chilled day.
Slightly More Powerful
Though this propane radiant cabinet heater generates the same 18000 BTU as others, it seems slightly more potent comparing different models. Thus it consumes a bit more fuel too.
The unit contains low/medium/high heat settings that produce 6000, 12000 & 18000 BTU heat by sequence and remains operational with a 20 lbs propane tank up to 24-72 hours non-stop, depending on how much heat it’s creating.
20 lbs propane tank should last around 5-7 days by moderate uses in garages or workshops.
The unit has integrated tip-over safety, ODS sensor and contains CSA certification. You may use them indoors, maintaining safety precautions such as keeping a CO detector, keeping the window cracked slightly, and using a longer hose to keep the unit away from the tank.
Also, you should never operate this unit standing directly in front of it.
3. Best for Indoor Use (Perfect Backup/Emergency Heater) – Gasland MHA18B
Finally, Gasland has manufactured a perfectly portable propane cabinet heater that is useable indoors without a headache due to its safety features and secured design.
The unit contains 3-different heat settings of 6K, 12K & 18K BTUs to ensure efficient warming of any 150, 300, or 450 sqft indoor spaces without any necessity of electricity.
It could be your extremely essential appliance during a power outage or in frigid weather while the central air furnace becomes overloaded. With moderate indoor uses, a 20 lbs propane tank lasts more than a week.
Gasland is lightweight, including the 20 lbs propane tank; it weighs around 37 pounds. The rigid lockable caster wheels and carrying handle have given itself farther portability.
The cylinder holder cabinet is very easily accessible, and the cylinder remains securely fastened with a clamp. Changing the cylinder won’t take much effort and takes around two minutes. The hosepipe and regulator come with the packaging. You may require the converter and extended hose in case you want to use a large cylinder.
What do I Like About It?
This Gasland propane cabinet heater fires up almost effortlessly. Never were we required to attempt twice to ignite that pilot light.
Additionally, a strong striker red button is provided to handle any ignition issue in chilled weather. If you face any startup trouble, simply you will need to press and twist the knob to pilot position and hold, then press the red striker, that’s it!
The striker creates a strong spark near the pilot to light it forcefully.
It’s the best-looking cabinet heater among all others, and you have to agree with me. It doesn’t seem like bulky garbage like the most other renowned variants.
The front grill is positioned pretty much far from those radiant plates, which increases the security a lot. Additionally, the thermal knob, carrying handles, and body chassis all contain a decent build quality with a modern look.
As the unit is designed primarily focusing on indoor uses, safety was the most prioritized factor to the manufacturer.
The unit comes with an ODS sensor, Tip-Over Protection, and has the CSA certification. But here, the performance of the sensors are extraordinary. If you slightly lift one wheel up, the heater will take automatic shut off! That’s how sensitive they are.
Similar to the ODS unit too. If you leave the unit in a slightly unventilated place, it will get instant shut down.
But, using a CO meter during indoor uses and keeping the room well ventilated is a must.
4. Best for Outdoor Commercial Purposes – Comfort Glow GCH480
Comfort Glow GCH480 may seem slightly similar to the Dyna-Glow propane cabinet heater that I’ve reviewed as 2nd on the list. But it has several differences inside, including more rigid building materials; also, it’s slightly expensive compare to Dyna-Glow.
Comfort glow comes with lighter stainless steel chassis with few carbon fibbers, results in a more lightweight unit with enhanced portability. The lockable caster wheels, rare cabinets are substantial build to handle rough uses in commercial locations.
Additionally, the front safety grill is thicker and placed, keeping a bit distance from the radiator plate to avoid any accidental heat shock.
The piezo light starter works incredibly well, always starts with one shot. Again, the thermal knob is very functional and swiftly twistable.
Comfort Glow GCH480 has an integrated hose pipe and regulator, so no additional hose pipe is required. The cabinet can hold only a 20 lbs propane tank, but any size tank could be connected to this unit.
What do I like about it?
Such an extremely powerful unit! You can’t be able to stand in front of it while all the 3 radiator plates will remain on power.
Three separate radiators produce heat for the unit, while each of them can generate 6000 BTU. Low, Medium & High heat settings allow glowing single, double & triple radiators producing 6K, 12K & 18K BTUs by sequence.
This heating output will perfectly make your 450 sqft workshop or 2-cars garage toasty within 20 minutes in max.
Comfort Glow GCH480 is the lightest unit on this list. Including the full propane tank, the unit weighs around 37 lbs. So comfortably, you will able to move it around your workshops and car garages.
Some Issues We Found
Comfort Glow GCH480 uses the thermocouple to sense whether the pilot light is remaining ON or not will get defected after a long time of uses. Then either you will require to replace them or bypass them somehow.
5. Best for Outdoor Parties – John Deere HR-18R
Time to enjoy a BBQ party with family & friends! John Deere has designed a perfect propane cabinet heater that is suitable for any outdoor circumstance. It’s mighty powerful and very rigid at the same time as the building materials of the chassis are sheets from ships.
If you through it like a ping pong ball to your garden yard, the unit will remain undefeated!
For such a more robust chassis, the unit is slightly overpriced and weighs a bit heavier. Additionally, the base plate where the propane cylinder remains stands is quite thick and solid. Finally, the entire body is heat and rustproof powder-coated.
The radiators inside the unit are slightly broader and thicker; undoubtedly, they are incredibly long-lasting than most other models. Again, the pilot light and thermocouple are brass-made so that they won’t make trouble in random ways.
Not only the build quality, but the unit is also tremendously powerful. If you place it in your garden yard on a windy evening, you will remain entirely comfortable, remaining 10-15 feet away from it. Depending on the environment temperature, the cabinet heater can warm 150-450 sqft of outdoor spaces & up to 600 sqft of ventilated indoor areas.
What do I love about it?
As I’ve already said, the building materials of this unit are incomparable. From the chassis to the radiant burner and small components like piezo ignitor, thermocouple, and sensors, all are extremely solid build.
John Dheere can produce a maximum of 18,000 BTU by glowing 3 radiators. Each radiator produces 6000 BTU heat, and non-stop, the unit can run for 65+ hours using a 20 lbs propane tank in moderate setup.
Operation and Safety
The unit contains three heat settings, including low, medium, and high. The thermal knob has an integrated piezo ignitor, but an additional sparker button has given for further startup benefits. The caster wheel can be a lock to hold its position.
For safety features, the unit has
- Tip-over safety
- ODS sensor
- CSA certification
During operation, the heater’s body remains cold to touch. Using a CO detector and keeping the window cracked is suggested during indoor uses.