Kerosene heater suggestions?

I am in need of picking up a kerosene heater for emergency back up heating in my home. I have checked out the offerings at Wal-Mart and the couple models I have seen were very similar to this model seen HERE on Amazon. I have no experience with kerosene heaters other than staying at my brothers house many years ago and he heated the house with a couple. 

Overall I thought kerosene worked extremely well. I didn’t care for the smell when I first walked in the house but I got used to it and then forgot about it. For a grid-down, SHTF situation in winter kerosene could be a life saver.

Here’s my question and I would like to hear from some of you – What has your experience been with kerosene and are there any current models you would recommend?

Take care all  – 


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27 thoughts on “Kerosene heater suggestions?”

  1. I recall my dad using one looooong ago to heat the house in moderate winters. it was about two feet tall, mint green enameled or porcelain, about 12″ dia at the base. IIRC it was by Coleman. Worked great. My mom use to place a small pan of water on top to keep the air from drying out. I’d like to find one. D.

  2. There is also an odorless kerosene which we use in the lamps which is not as smelly as regular kerosene although the smell is somewhat of a safety factor which makes you aware that it is indeed burning which I have used many times in the past in my Kero Sun heaters (which only required a wick change to a better quality wick for peak performance)and begin using this type since it burned better, longer and brighter in the Rochester mantle oil lamps and I wanted to have only one type of oil in use to prevent accidental misuse. Hope this helps. Would recommend the electric ignition type of heater however along with the installation of the Coleman flint strikers for gas lanterns in the oil lamps for convenience’s sake although it destroys their collectible value though adding safety in not having to remove the globe to light nor having matches lying around. Harold

  3. Hi Rourke,
    We use them daily up here in Indiana. It’s a great back-up heat source also. Kerosene stores for a long time, just be sure to treat it with denatured alcohol to keep water out of it for long term storage. We’ve used the red oil and K1. The oldest kero we’ve burnt was 10 years old and it trashed a wick but I’m pretty sure that was due to water.

    As far as heaters go, we use the large ones like the one in your picture to heat our outbuildings every day. They can get thirsty, about a gallon every 12 hours or so. Wick life is 2 seasons for us if we keep the kerosene clean and water free. We use the small rectangular heaters as zone heaters in the house, they will heat about 300 sq ft with ease and use less than a gallon a day.

    We have several heaters and rotate them in and out of service every other year. They get new wicks and a good cleaning and then set back on the shelf ready to go when needed. Whichever heater you decide to get, buy a couple extra wicks for it ASAP.

  4. One more thing worth mentioning…. Kerosene refrigerators are popular up here. Having a small kero fridge and a heater on hand would be a great prep combo.

  5. We have two. A KeroHeat CV2230 23,000 BTU and KeroHeat CTN110 10,000 BTU heater. The smaller one does a great job heating up a 10 X 20 room. It doesn’t have much smell at all to it as long as you start it outside and let it get going for 10 minutes or so before bringing it in the house. The 23K model puts out A LOT of heat. Used it inside once in power failure in a large family room with cathedral ceilings and it held the temp pretty well. The family room opens up to amost every other room in the house so it struggled a bit trying to raise the temps. We started it after waking up to the power failure so things had already cooled a bit in the house. Confined to a smaller room it would probably only need to be run for short intervals. I use the big one in the garage (3 car) sometimes in the winter to warm it up and it does a good job there once it’s run for a while. The larger one does smell quite a bit more even after letting it run for a while outside. All in all I’m completely confident in their ability in an emergency situation. Since purchasing them we took a more layered approach to preps with a generator and some propane heat as well.

  6. I have one that I picked up at Home Depot for about $100 several years ago for backup heat here in south central PA. We have a two story 1,400 square foot home and it heats the entire hone. I suspect I could cook on it if I needed to. It gets that hot.

    My father-in-law picked one up. But his always smoked terribly. I’ve never had that problem.

    I suggest getting a CO detector as well, just in case.

    Does anyone know the run times per gallon of kerosene? Would love to know this in order to know how much kerosene to store for a winter’s worth of heating.

  7. One more tip… ALWAYS light them and extinguish them outdoors (on the porch for instance) and that will keep the smell to a minimum.
    (we did use one in a tent in Afghanistan and we burned Diesel#1 and Jet fuel (JP-8 I think…) and it worked well, again though, lit it outside to get it burning well before bringing it inside.

  8. Check out web site. all the info you need to know about Kerosene
    Heaters. He also has wicks&igniters for all types of Kerosene heaters.
    I have bought wicks and igniters from him .Excellant service.Excellant site
    hope this helps.


  9. Its 40 years since I regularly used a kero heater and that was on the other side of the world to you.

    Just know that although they heat well they also give off a gallon of water vapour for every gallon of fuel you burn, or so I was told back then. So if you live in a damp place it adds to the dampness of the house. Also you can only dry clothes directly over the heat source. The humidity from the heater means that any washing on a line that is not over the heat source won’t dry. I know this from personal experience trying to get baby diapers dry in the cold damp climate I lived in at the time – back before disposables were available in our country.

  10. I use one out in the shop.

    To keep the smell down, you need to turn the wick down one or two notches on the control. This also keeps it from generating any black smoke. If you have the window view into the chamber, there won’t be any yellow flame, but blue flame.

    In the manual for it, it says to leave a window open a little to allow fresh air. And not to use it in a totally closed environment. But, using a CO detector, it has never gone into alarm while using it.

  11. This is the one I have if someone is interested in a particular model. I got it at Home Depot, but this is the same unit. Again, I had no problem with mine, but my father-in-law never did get his to work correctly.

    A lady in my church had some sort of antique pot bellied kerosene heater that you could cook over. It was sold at her estate sale and I’m kicking myself that I didn’t try to get it. I didn’t even know what it was at the time.

    Lehman’s sells Kerosene cook stoves, but they are pricey. Not worth it in my opinion. I have the Kerosene heater and a Coleman dual fuel two burner camp stove that I picked up at a yard sale for $10. That’s $110 versus $700 to cover the same bases.

  12. I have one, its brown and made by Sears, that used to be my grandmother’s, I remember her using it when I was little in the 70s, last time I remember her using it was in the late 80s. My mom used it in the 90s and it has spent probably 15 years in the garage unused. I just used it this year to heat the living room in our new house as a supplement to the electric heat pump which I hate and will be replacing next year with a propane furnace.

  13. I have a Camp Chef three burner propane stove which can be fitted with a grill and other options for cooking and canning, found the silicon pads on the bottom of the range grates would not take the heat when canning. Rourke, thanks for the help.


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