Propane vs. Kerosene Forced Air Heaters

Propane vs. Kerosene Forced Air Heater (Which One Suits You?)

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Here’s the head-to-head comparison between propane and kerosene forced air heaters to let you determine which one suits best at your garage, construction sites, job places, and anywhere else you need.

I’ve kept no stone unturned to explain… 

  1. What’re their facilities or drawbacks? 
  2. Which one is the champion for power delivery and mobility? 
  3. Which one is safer than the other?
  4. Or which can save your pocket during operation? 
  5. Which one will beat the longevity? 
  6. What’s about straightforward operation and repairability? 
  7. Types of issues users face with them.
  8. And, finally, which one is suitable for specific projects or places?

Lately, I’ll submit a chart of great brands and their available BTU variants so that you straightly can identify your ideal size.

Here are all your answers.

Facilities and Drawbacks – Propane vs. Kerosene Forced Air Heaters

Pricing

Considering the price tag, the propane torpedo heater is a winner in most cases. But exceptions may appear for few brands.

For the brand, Mr. Heater, all the propane torpedo heaters are half-priced or $150+ less than the same capacity kerosene torpedo units! Example,

Mr. Heater MH125QFAV Propane Torpedo 125K BTU – $229

Mr. Heater MH125KTR KeroseneTorpedo 125K BTU – $449

The fun fact is, Dyna-Glo offers both at a similar price tag, or the propane torpedo remains expensive than kerosene. Though they seem overpriced to me. Example,

Dyna-Glo Delux 70K – 125K BTU Propane Torpedo – $353

Dyna-Glo Delux 95K-135K BTU Kerosene Torpedo – $329

Sounds ridiculous? I think so. 

Considering all brands, the average price of a forced air propane heater is lower than Kerosene.

Compactness

The Kerosene forced air heater beats all the propane models except one specific item called Mr. Heater HERO.

All the torpedo heaters require 120V electricity to spin the fan and ignitor. But, you’ll need a gas cylinder to operate a propane torpedo; on the other hand, a kerosene torpedo’s fuel tank can support it for longer than 15+ hours.

So, despite being heavier in weight, randomly, kerosene heaters are more compact than propane.

ExceptionallyMr. Heater HERO propane forced air heater has changed the game. It’s available in 30K or 60K BTU and contains an integrated battery to support the fan and ignitor for 12-15 hours by one charge. So, it’s operatable with only a gas cylinder in any remote location where’s no electricity, and you may enjoy 30K-60K BTU exotic heat with ultimate compactness!

Ventilation 

Both the propane and Kerosene forced air heater demand wide ventilation, though you require more for the kerosene unit.

4-cubic feet ventilation is necessary for each 100K BTU in terms of kerosene torpedo heater. For propane models, 1-cubic feet is sufficient.

But why? Here’s the short discussion.

Kerosene is C12H26, and Propane is C3H8 in chemical orientation. Kerosene contains 4X more carbon molecules than propane, so 4X more oxygen is necessary than propane to burn it entirely. 

So, for enclosed garages, job sites, or spaces, we recommend propane rather than Kerosene.

Rigidity

It’s a draw for the Propane vs. Kerosene forced air heater. Both can handle heavy uses load and rough handling.

But, propane torpedo heaters are 5X lighter than kerosene units. The 125K propane torpedo heater’s chassis weighs 20 lbs, while the same BTU kerosene heater’s chassis weighs around 50 lbs, and with 8.5 gallons of Kerosene, the whole unit will weigh about 106 lbs, too hefty.

For welding jobs, construction tasks, or stuff like these, an accidental push won’t be able to flip a kerosene heater. But the propane might get flipped.

But both of them contains tip-over sensor so the safety won’t be at threat.

Which one is Healthier?

The propane one is healthier. 

Both the propane and Kerosene forced air heater burns carbon compounds or fossil fuels and requires well ventilation and sufficient airflow to get the necessary oxygen. Additionally, in lack of oxygen, both might create carbon mono oxide, which is toxic.

But, the Kerosene requires 4X more airflow than propane, and in lack of sufficient airflow, producing CO is much easier through kerosene burn.

Additionally, kerosene heater speared pungent smell, and sometimes it releases fumes. From all these aspects, propane models are safer.

Longer Operation Hour

If you consider mobility and more extended operation hours together, the kerosene heater will be the winner. Cause,

The 125K BTU kerosene heater can run for 15+ hours with MAX power by each refill. On the other hand, you’ll require to carry a 100 lbs LPG cylinder to operate a 125K BTU propane torpedo heater for 15+ hours.

Silent Operation 

If I speak frankly, both are looser here. 

As you know, forced air heaters are a form of combustion jet engine, and both the propane and Kerosene torpedo sound crazy. 

But, if the sound level of propane torpedo remains 8/10, kerosene torpedo will get 10/10, which isn’t a big difference to make a difference.  

Power Output – Propane vs. Kerosene Forced Air Heaters

Theoretically, both the propane and kerosene torpedo heaters with the same capacity should perform equally, but practically, we’ve noticed a few differences!

We’ve tested 125K BTU propane and kerosene torpedo heater inside the same garage, and the propane model raised room temperature faster than Kerosene. However, the time difference wasn’t massive. (Around 5-7 minutes)

Also, we felt better warmth standing beside the propane torpedo, though its body remains colder than the Kerosene to touch.

Cause the propane torpedo’s combustion tip remains open, but the kerosene torpedo contains a film so that the fire can’t spread outside. So the barrel of the kerosene heater remains slightly hotter during operation.

Power Output - Propane vs. Kerosene Forced Air Heaters

We’ve tested with an infrared thermometer; the kerosene torpedo tip temperature remains around 1100ºF, but the inside portion propane torpedo barrel remains around 2300ºF+. 

So, what’s the scientific explanation and why propane torpedo heats faster?

Mixing with air propane-burn produces a blue flame which is of a small wavelength.

On the other hand, Kerosene produces a cherry red flame, which is of a larger wavelength.

As we all know, heat is an electromagnetic wave, and a smaller wavelength transmits faster than a larger one. So propane forced air heater transfers heat faster than kerosene heater, as it produces a blue flame.

Mobility, Learn Before You Start Handling

Mobility doesn’t mean the weight only. It means transporting the entire setup you require to operate the machine.

By this consideration, the Kerosene forced air heater will be the average winner.

The 125K BTU kerosene torpedo heater weighs around 50 lbs, and a propane one weights only 20 lbs. But for the operation, a kerosene unit requires only necessary fuels and an electric connection that any tinny generator can supply.

On the other hand, you need to carry a propane cylinder, hose lines, and cylinder trolly to operate a propane torpedo.

So, propane and Kerosene forced air heaters offer the same mobility for smaller sizes like 30K to 60K BTU. 

But for larger BTUs, you should choose the kerosene one confidently.

Safety Features, Which one is most reliable?

Both propane and kerosene forced air heater contains the same safety features with the same sensor.

Both contain a tip-over safety valve to get instant shut off in case of an accidental flip. Mainly the spark ignitor stops working while the sensor experience it.

Secondly, both contain a CAD cell sensor to detect the fire inside combustion. If the fire goes off for any reason, the sensor instantly turns off the gas/fuel valve and stops ignition. 

Both of these features are satisfying and sufficient for workshops or garage safety.

Operational Cost – Propane vs. Kerosene Forced Air Heater 

LPG Torpedo Cost Calculation

LPG refill cost = $3 to $4 depending on state. On Average, you may count $3.5

100 lbs propane = 100 ÷ 4.24 = 23.58 Gallon [4.24 lbs = 1 gallon]

So, 100 lbs LPG cylinder refill cost = 23.58 x 3.5 = 82.547 USD

125K BTU Propane Torpedo runs 17.5 hours in MAX setup with 100 lbs LPG, so hourly operational cost = 82.547 ÷ 17.5 = 4.71 USD 

Kerosene Torpedo Cost Calculation

Diesel Price in the USA = $3.307 per Gallon, on Average.

Random Pump Kerosene Price = $3.75 per Gallon, on Average.

K1 Branded Kerosene Price = $6.8 to $10.8 per Gallon based on Brands.

Now, 125K kerosene torpedo heater runs for 9.5 hours in MAX setup with 8.5-gallon fuels. So, hourly fuel consumption = 8.5 ÷ 9.5 = 0.894 Gallon.

So, running with Diesel will cost 3.307 x 0.894 = 2.958 USD per hour.

Running with Pump Kerosene will cost 3.75 x 0.894 = 3.3525 USD per hour.

Running with K1 Branded Kerosene will cost 10.8 x 0.894 = 9.6552 USD per hour.

However, which types of fuel you want to use that’s up to you. So, if you use optimistically, Kerosene forced air heater’s operation is cheaper than propane.

Longevity According to User’s Interview

We’ve interviewed 5 propane, and 7 kerosene forced air heater users and found that both of them are long-lasting but appear several minor issues after long-term operation.

The fun fact is, issues are common for both generic. Here’s the example.

Torpedo heater doesn’t stay Lit: This issue appears for the same reason for both propane and kerosene torpedo heaters. Either the spark ignitor is faulty, or the CAD cell is malfunctioning. 

Both sphere parts are available online and offline, and they might cost $35 to $50 to be replaced.

The heater isn’t getting turned ON: 99% of cases, it’s the spark ignitor or the electric wiring. For many instances, kerosene torpedo users found the fuel line jammed.

Unusual Fire Color inside the Barrel: It might be an issue for kerosene torpedo. Mostly it happens when the kerosene nozzle doesn’t sprinkle fuel ideally. Replacing the fuel pump’s rotor will fix this issue; if not, then the motor has lost power. 

These are generally the common issues of torpedo heaters, and considering them, both are equally long-lasting.

Does a Forced Air Kerosene Heater Ideal For Garage?

A forced air kerosene garage heater is the most inexpensive solution for heating your garage. All you need is a little ventilation.

No matter where you sit or remain standing inside your garage for any repairing or DIY activities, and kerosene torpedo will allow you to place it anywhere by its effortless mobility.

Even you don’t require a gas line hose connection like a propane torpedo. Refilling the kerosene tank is a far more easier and straight forward task than installing a new gas cylinder. 

However, no matter how oversized your garage is or how freezing the environmental temperature is, kerosene torpedo will handle it like a charm. 

Finally, a kerosene torpedo heater is applicable for even an uninsulated garage, so you may do your job keeping the garage door open. No matter how long you use the machine, the operational cost is one of the lowest compared to all other solutions. 

(Natural gas heaters are more efficient than kerosene, but they don’t have mobility. So, kerosene torpedo is your unconditioned inexpensive garage heating solution.)

Perfect Venues for Propane Torpedos.

Warehouses, construction sites, job sites, large halls, and large venues are perfect for operating a forced air propane heater.

The only condition, you need to carry an LPG cylinder and access to the electricity.

Even Mr. Heater Hero could be carried to camping or outing as it doesn’t require an electric connection; all you need is an LPG cylinder.

Propane torpedos are lightweight and healthier, too, considering the kerosene one. Though, there’s no alternative to proper ventilation.

Finally, for patio uses, a propane forced air heater might be an option too. As it’s available in a wide range of BTUs and you can pick one according to demand. However, these are inexpensive. So any larger venues with proper ventilation are suitable for the operation.

Available BTU Charts of Kerosene Forced Air Heater

Here are all available models and their associated BTUs of kerosene torpedo heaters from prestigious brands. I have ordered by HIGH>LOW BTUs

BrandModelBTUPrice
MASTERMH-45-KFA45K$358.84
Mr. HeaterMH50KR50K$263.35
Dyna-GloKFA50DGD50K$179.00
Dyna-GloSF70DGD70K$285.00
Mr. HeaterMH75KTR75K$308.83
MASTERMH-80T-KFA75K$432.39
Dyna-GloKFA80DGD80K$184.88
MASTERMH-80-OFR80K$630.00
Mr. HeaterMH125KTR125K$449.15
MASTERMH-125-OFR125K$1,481.20
Dyna-GloKFA135DGD135K$458.44
Mr. HeaterMH175KTR175K$500.59
Dyna-GloKFA180DGD180K$333.68
MASTERMH-190T-KFA190K$582.16
MASTERMH-215T-KFA215K$597.46
Mr. Heater MH210KTR210K$578.18
Dyna-GloKFA220DGD220K$379.99
Dyna-GloKFA400DGD400K$1,496.49
MASTERMH-400T-KFA400K$2,090.18
MASTERMH-600T-KFA600K$3,106.43

Available BTU Chharts of Propane Torpedo Heater

BrandModelBTUPrice
Dyna-GloFA60DGD30,000$114
Mr. Heater HEROMH35CLP35,000$218.34
Mr. HeaterMH38QFA38,000$139.52
Dyna-GloFA40DGD40,000$129.99
MASTERMH-40-GFA40,000$173.18
MASTERMH-60V-GFA60,000$174.33
Mr. Heater HEROMH60QFAV60,000$177.69
Mr. HeaterMH85QFAV85,000$210.57
Mr. HeaterMH125QFAV125,000$229.01
Dyna-GloFA125DGD125,000$353.19
MASTERMH-125V-GFA-A125,000$263.46
MASTERMH-150V-GFA-A150,000$293.49
Dyna-GloFA150DGD150,000$310.91
Mr. HeaterMH170QFAVT170,000$365.88
Dyna-GloFA300DGD300,000$417.25
MASTERMH-375V-GFA375,000$749.99
Mr. HeaterMH400FAVT400,000$723.86

Here’s the data chart of Propane Forced Air Heaters.  I have ordered by HIGH>LOW BTUs

Out of these brands, Dewalt, Dura Heat, and Remington also manufacture few cool forced air heaters which you also can check.