Most of us would love to have the very best battery-operated heater. These would be perfect heaters for camping or power outages (especially like the one that happened in Texas in February 2021).
Here’s the thing about battery-powered heaters:
They don’t exist. Don’t worry, we’ll look into cordless battery-operated heater alternatives further on.
A battery-operated heater is basically a pipedream. In theory, a cordless heater operated by a battery would provide heating for a tent when we’re camping, or use batteries to heat up entire rooms or homes. Imagine using a 5000 mAh power bank to run a tent heater, that would be perfect.
In practice, however, even the big 100 Ah 12V battery would keep a standard 1,500W space heater running for less than 1 hour (48 minutes, to be exact; we did some calculations on how long can a battery power a heater at the end of this article).
Space heaters are power-hungry devices. 1,500W heater uses as much electricity as a washing machine, for example. Conventional batteries are just don’t have sufficient capacity. Of course, you should use Tesla-type batteries but those are crazy expensive and would drive the price of such a battery-powered space heater past $1,000 with ease.
Note: You can find a whole lot of articles about the best battery-operated heater on the internet. None of those heaters are actually powered by a battery. They are 500W to 1,500W space heaters that require a standard 120V outlet and a 60 Hz circuit. You will immediately find out that those ‘battery-powered heaters’ don’t even have a battery, for example.
Ok, there are no cordless heaters that would run on batteries, you might be thinking. What’s the next best thing?
If you’re looking for a battery-operated heater, you will find a grand total of 0 of them. That’s why if you want to enjoy off-grid heating for camping or for when there is a power outage, you basically have 3 choices.
These are the 3 best possible alternatives to getting a battery-operated heater:
- Portable propane-powered heaters are the best off-grid alternative to rechargeable battery-powered heaters. Example: If you’re looking for the best battery-powered heater for camping, you can opt for propane-powered heaters. These can generate up to 15,000 BTU of heating output and cost anywhere between $50 and $300.
- For power outages, you would require a battery-operated heater for a room or even the whole house. For high heating requirements, the best alternative to battery-operated heaters are the big propane torpedo heaters. These can generate anywhere from 30,000 BTU to 100,000+ BTU and and can heat up an entire house in an event of an outage.
- If you really want an electric battery-powered heater, you can choose a power station + electric heater or generator + electric heater combo. Standard 1,500W electric heaters generate about 5,100 BTU of heating output and cost up to $300. The bigger cost are the power stations and generators here. These can cost well over $1,000; we found good 2,000W power stations and generators that cost less than $500.
All in all, if you want off-grid heating, you have these choices. To help you out, we have created a mix of 7 heaters that serve as the best battery-operated heater alternatives.
It contains 3 + 2 + 2 recommendations for portable propane heaters (for camping, room heating), big propane heaters (for home heating), and power station/generator + electric heater combos (camping, room heating).
These are the most adequate substitutes for battery-operated heaters. You can check the list, complete with a spec-by-spec comparison table here. Further on, we explain how these off-grid heaters work and review the selected heaters.
At the end, you can also find why batteries cannot operate heaters. We calculated the battery capacities (Ah, Wh, weight of the lead batteries, and Tesla batteries) and show that even the big batteries could operate space heaters for only a very limited time (few hours).
List Of 7 Best Battery-Operated Heater Alternatives (Off-Grid Heaters)
- Best Battery-Powered Tent Heater Alternative: DEWALT DXH12B Portable Heater (Actually Uses DeWALT 20V MAX or FlexVolt Batteries + 3 USB Ports)
- Best Battery-Operated Heater For Camping Alternative: Mr. Heater MH18B Propane Heater (4,000 / 9,000 BTU)
- Best Portable Battery-Operated Heater For Hiking Alternative: Mr. Heater F215100 MH4B Little Buddy (5 Lbs Ultralightweight; Backpack Ready)
- Best Battery-Powered Heater For Outages Alternative: Mr. Heater MH60QFAV Torpedo Heater (60,000 BTU With 1,500 Sq Ft Coverage)
- Superb Cordless Whole-House Heater: Remington REM-60V-GFA-O Torpedo Heater (Very Robust)
- Best Generator + Electric Heater: Generac 7117 Gp2200I Generator (2,200W Starting Watts)
- Best Portable Power Station + Electric Heater: EF ECOFLOW DELTA Power Station (Can Be Recharged With A 12V Car Charger)
1. Battery-Operated Heater For Camping Alternatives: Portable Propane Heaters
In many cases, you wish a battery-powered heater would exist because you want to use it for camping. There are no outlets in the forest; you have to bring electricity with you.
Well, as we know, batteries are too small to be capable to generate enough electricity to sustain an electric heater for several hours. The best alternative for battery-powered heaters are the portable propane heaters.
Propane is actually a very rich power source. A single gallon of propane contains 91,500 BTU of heating power. The burning efficiency of propane is very close to 100% making these units very energy efficent. That’s very important when you want a portable heater.
While a theoretical battery-powered heater for camping could last about 1-hour max., propane can last up to about 7 hours on a 1 lb tank of propane. As you will see below, these portable propane heaters have a 1 lb tank of propane attached to the heater.
Here’s the best thing about this battery-operated heater substitute:
You can bring a 20 lbs propane tank with you when you go camping. That means you will be able to refuel the heater 20 times and enjoy a maximum of 140 hours of heating.
These standard battery-powered heater alternatives can produce 5,000+ BTU of heating output easily. They can warm you better than a camping fire and can keep your tent warm at night. Let’s look at the 3 best portable propane heaters that can heat you better than any pipedream battery-operated heater could:
Best Battery-Powered Tent Heater Alternative: DEWALT DXH12B Portable Heater (Actually Uses DeWALT 20V MAX or FlexVolt Batteries + 3 USB Ports)
|Heating Power:||6,000 / 12,000 BTU|
|Room Coverage:||Up to 400 sq ft|
|Running Time:||Up to 7 hours|
|Power Source:||20V MAX Battery + Propane|
Of all these heaters, the DEWALT DXH12B is the closest to the true battery-operated heater. This heater actually uses batteries (20V MAX or FlexVolt batteries) but it only uses them for extra features like powering 3 USB plugs, LED lights, and the fan.
The main power is still generated by propane. This is one of the most capable battery-powered heater alternatives; it can produce up to 12,000 BTU of heat when running on 100% capacity. At the lowest setting, the 1 lb propane tank is can provide heat for up to 7 hours. Of course, you can always bring a 20 lbs propane tank with you on camping and refuel the DEWALT DXH12B 20 times.
Due to high heating output and indoor safety features, the DEWALT DXH12B is the closest thing to the best battery-operated tent heater. It has a factory-installed Oxygen Depletion Sensor (ODS) and a thermoelectric safety valve. Both of these make the use of DEWALT DXH12B inside the tent much safer.
Now for the batteries part: Propane is used to produce the heating output. On top of that, DEWALT DXH12B has 3 USB chargers (to charge your phones, for example), a LED light on top (useful when the night falls), and a fan that distributes the heat evenly. All of these are electric-powered featured and to power them, DEWALT DXH12B uses 20V MAX or FlexVolt batteries.
All in all, the DEWALT DXH12B is the closest we have come to a battery-powered heater. It weighs less than 15 lbs, has up to 7 hours of running time, and can generate up to 12,000 BTU of heating output. It’s one of the most adequate tent heaters on the market as well:
Best Battery-Operated Heater For Camping Alternative: Mr. Heater MH18B Propane Heater (4,000 / 9,000 BTU)
|Heating Power:||4,000 / 9,000 BTU|
|Room Coverage:||Up to 300 sq ft|
|Running Time:||Up to 7 hours|
|Power Source:||1 lb Propane Tank|
Mr. Heater MH18B is the most popular battery-powered heater for camping alternatives. Its 1 lb propane tank can generate 4,000 BTU (low setting) to 9,000 BTU (high setting) of heating output.
As you can see, the tank/bottle that contains the propane is neatly attached to the heater. That is a 1 lb propane tank that can last up to 7 hours on the lowest heating setting. As you might imagine, when going camping, it’s smart to bring a 20 lbs propane tank with you to easily and quickly refuel the Mr. Heater MH18B heater.
With below 10 lbs total weight (9 lbs, to be exact), it is very portable. In fact, if there were a battery-operated heater for camping, it should have pretty much the same specifications as the Mr. Heater MH18B.
You can easily use it outdoors and inside the tent as well. It’s reliable, robust, and it can provide plenty of heating wherever you go. With a price tag of below $150, it’s one of the cheapest battery-powered heater alternatives on the market:
Best Portable Battery-Operated Heater For Hiking Alternative: Mr. Heater F215100 MH4B Little Buddy (5 Lbs Ultralightweight; Backpack Ready)
|Heating Power:||3,800 BTU|
|Room Coverage:||Up to 95 sq ft|
|Running Time:||5.6 hours|
|Power Source:||1 lbs Propane Tank|
A perfect battery-powered heater would provide enough heat and be very lightweight. Well, even if they make a battery-powered heater, it will not be nearly as lightweight as the Mr. Heater F215100 MH4B Little Buddy. This is one of the smallest propane heaters; you can literally attach it to your backpack.
Mr. Heater Little Buddy might be small but it can produce 3,800 BTU of heating output. That’s enough heat to adequately heat up up to 95 sq ft tents even in cold regions.
Here’s the deal: It has a lower heating output than a standard heater (below 5,100 BTU). However, it still has a 1 lb propane tank. That means that it can generate 3,800 BTU for quite some time (5.6 hours, to be exact).
Its greatest quality is how lightweight it is. If you want to go hiking and will need a heater, the 5 lbs Mr. Heater Little Buddy is your backpack might not be all that hard to carry around.
Because it’s smaller it also has a more affordable price. You can get this battery-operated heater alternative for less than $100:
2. Battery-Power Heater For Home Alternatives: Propane Torpedo Heaters
Now, if you want to use battery-powered heating for power outages (we all know what happened in Texas in February 2021), no battery will cut it.
For heating a house, you need 10,000s BTUs. No battery is large enough to provide that. Example: How long will a big 100 Ah 12V battery be able to provide 60,000 BTU of heat needed to heat a 1,500 sq ft house?
If you use a BTU to watt converter here, you see that you will need 17,585 watts. Even a big battery has a 1,200 Wh capacity. That will last for about 4 minutes. That’s it; it will drain the battery in a matter of minutes.
The best alternative to the home heating battery-powered heater are the big propane heaters. They are in a shape of a torpedo so we generally refer to them as ‘torpedo’ heaters.
These heaters have 20 lbs of propane tanks and can provide 10,000s BTU of heating. The most popular ones for power outages are the 60,000 BTU heaters. Here are the two best battery-powered heating powerhouses that can produce 60,000 BTU of heat and can adequately heat a 1,500 sq ft house:
Best Battery-Powered Heater For Outages Alternative: Mr. Heater MH60QFAV Torpedo Heater (60,000 BTU With 1,500 Sq Ft Coverage)
|Heating Power:||30,000 / 60,000 BTU|
|Room Coverage:||Up to 1,500 sq ft|
|Running Time:||Up to 14 hours|
|Power Source:||20 lbs Propane Tank|
Mr. Heater MH60QFAV is a powerful torpedo heater, powered not by a battery (because that would be nearly impossible), but by propane. It can generate up to 60,000 BTU of heating output and heat homes with up to 1,500 sq ft square footage.
On a low setting (30,000 BTU heating output), the 20 lbs propane tank can keep the Mr. Heater MH60QFAV running for up to 14 hours. That’s quite a lot, and it has to do with the energy-rich propane and near 100% energy efficiency of the Mr. Heater MH60QFAV.
You usually put it in your garage because, unlike the non-existing big battery-powered heaters, these units can generate quite a lot of noise. The added advantage of the Mr. Heater MH60QFAV is the silencing QBT technology that can reduce the noise generation of these big battery-powered heating alternatives by 50%.
Despite generating a vast amount of heat, these units are pretty inexpensive. Mr. Heater MH60QFAV, for example, costs less than $200. Usually, it makes sense to be prepared for a power outage and getting a below $200 heater for your entire house is not all that big of an investment:
Superb Cordless Whole-House Heater: Remington REM-60V-GFA-O Torpedo Heater (Very Robust)
|Heating Power:||60,000 BTU|
|Room Coverage:||Up to 1,500 sq ft|
|Running Time:||Up to 10.5 hours|
|Power Source:||20 lbs Propane Tank|
Remington REM-60V-GFA-O is another off-grid cordless heater that can heat up an entire house. It also generates up to 60,000 BTU of heating output and can heat a 1,500 sq ft home (or a smaller one).
This is one of the most robust battery-operated heater alternatives. You can use it in the event of a power outage and you can also use it in construction sites, workshops, garages, and so on. It’s resilient and durable.
The 20 lbs propane tank will last for more than 10 hours if you set the heating output on the lowest setting. After that, you will need to refuel the torpedo heater. Luckily, refueling a propane heater is much faster than if you would have to recharge a battery-powered heater.
All in all, the Remington REM-60V-GFA-O is a very popular and cheap big battery-powered heating alternative for an entire house:
3. Battery-Operated Electric Heater Alternatives: Generator/Power Station + Electric Heater
Any battery-powered heater would operate by battery generating electricity to run an electric heater. A standard electric space heater is a 1,500W heater. Batteries have, as we have we surmised so far, too low a capacity to run battery-operated heaters anyway.
The most optimum (yes costly) way to create an off-grid battery-operated heater alternative is to use an electricity generator or a battery-operated power station to power an electric heater.
Of course, in this case, you would need 2 units: either a generator or power station and an electric heater. We will look at the best generator and the best power station to recreate a battery-powered heater.
You can check which are the best electric indoor heaters for large rooms here. Another idea is to get the most energy-efficient heater since you want to use the least amount of electricity to power it. You can check the list of the most energy-efficient space heaters with ECO modes here.
Here’s the thing: You need a generator or a power station that will produce at least 1,500W running watts and more than 2,000W running watts. Only such units can be used to recreate battery-powered heaters.
The main drawback of this setup is the price. Generators can cost well over $1,000. Power stations do provide you with multi-appliance charging options but they are even more expensive; over $1,500 on average.
Here is a good choice of a generator and a power station that don’t cost a fortune and can run 500W to 1,500W electric indoor heaters:
Best Generator + Electric Heater: Generac 7117 Gp2200I Generator (2,200W Starting Watts)
|Heating Power:||1,700W (5,800 BTU)|
|Room Coverage:||Up to 190 sq ft|
|Running Time:||2.7 hours at max. load|
|Power Source:||10 lbs Propane Tank|
Generac is one of the leading generator producers. This Generac 7117 Gp2200I model is the most fitting unit for the battery-powered heater alternative with a generator + electric heater combo.
To power a 1,500W electric heater as a battery would theoretically do, you need a generator with at least 1,500W running watts. Generac 7117 Gp2200I can generate 1,700W running watts (and 2,300W starting watts). That makes it one of the smallest (and most cost-efficient) possible generators to power a standard electric space heater.
The upside of this is that it doesn’t have to cost $1,000 or more. Generac makes price-performance units and the Generac 7117 Gp2200I costs less than $500 (you won’t find many generators with such a low price tag). On the downside, if you have a particularly high start-up wattage heater, it will spike past 2,300W and you won’t be able to start such a heater.
Generac 7117 Gp2200I comes equipped with a 10 lbs propane tank that can generate the maximal 1,700W output for 2.7 hours. That means it will run a 1,500W heater at 100% heating output for a little more than 3 hours. Most such heaters also have a lower 750W setting; you will get at least 6 running hours by switching to that.
Of course, the beauty of generators is that can always refuel them. Refueling takes much less time than battery charging; that would be the case if a battery-powered heater existed, of course.
All in all, if you want a generator and space heater combo as a battery-powered heater alternative, the Generac 7117 Gp2200I is one of the best generators for that combo that you can get:
Best Portable Power Station + Electric Heater: EF ECOFLOW DELTA Power Station (Can Be Recharged With A 12V Car Charger)
|Heating Power:||1,800W (6,142 BTU)|
|Room Coverage:||Up to 200 sq ft|
|Running Time:||0.7 hours|
|Power Source:||1260Wh Rechargeable Battery|
One of the most authentic (battery-wise) rechargeable cordless heaters you can make includes a power station. The power station is basically a big battery. It has multiple outlets; including USB charges and heater outlets. EF ECOFLOW DELTA is one of the best power stations that can be used to create a power station + electric heater combo that mimics battery-powered heaters very closely.
If EF ECOFLOW DELTA is just a big battery and it can run an electric heater, isn’t this a true battery-powered heater? Well, not really. A heater and a power generator (battery) are two separate devices. Together, however, they can function to use batteries to power an electric heater.
EF ECOFLOW DELTA includes a 1260Wh rechargeable battery. Now, if you have a standard 1,500W heater, it will use 1,500Wh (watt-hours) every hour. That means that you can, even if the power station is charged to 100%, run such a heater at its maximum heating output for 0.7 hours or about 42 minutes. After that, you will need to recharge the battery.
The battery can be recharged rather quickly. EF ECOFLOW DELTA can charge its battery from 0% to 80% within 1 hour. You can even do it with a 12/24V 8A car charger but, of course, that takes longer (usually about 10 hours for 100% charge).
This power station has 1,800W running watts and 3,300W starting watts. This is the perfect battery used to power an electric heater. On top of that, you have a total of 13 outlets you can use to charge your phone and other devices.
The drawback, of course, are the high prices of power stations. Most of them cost more than $1,500. EF ECOFLOW DELTA costs less than that, it’s quite an elegant solution for powering a heater with only batteries, but it’s quite a figure for most people.
All in all, EF ECOFLOW DELTA is the closest thing we have to be able to use a big battery to operate a heater:
Ok, now that we have seen which heaters you can use as battery-powered heaters, let’s finally answer this key question with some calculation:
Why Isn’t There A Heater That Runs On Batteries?
Simple answer: Heaters are electricity-hungry. Batteries don’t have enough capacity.
Long answer: We calculate a bit to show that making a battery-powered heater is rather futile.
Let’s presume that we would like for a battery to power a standard 1,500W space heater. Such space heaters run on 120V and draw 1,500W/120V = 12.5 amps. In 1 hour, they burn through:
- 12.5 Ah at 120V. That’s equal to 125 Ah at 12V; batteries operate on a 12V voltage.
- 1,500 Wh.
What does this mean?
Well, if we want to power a 1,500W heater for 1 hour with a battery, we will need a 125 Ah 12V battery. According to EPEC Engineering Technologies, such a 125 Ah 12V lead-acid battery weighs between 30 and 50 lbs. Outtake: It’s a 30-50 lbs battery that powers a heater for only 1 hour.
Now imagine that you would have to use a battery to operate a heater for 10 hours. What size battery would you need? You would need a 1,250Ah 12V battery that weighs 300-500 lbs.
Alright, what if we used Tesla batteries? Let’s leave out that that would be crazy expensive.
Tesla uses lithium-iron-phosphate (LFP) batteries. To be able to run a standard space heater for 1 hour, you would need a 1.5 lbs Tesla-quality battery. That’s durable, right? A Tesla battery-powered heater would last for 10 hours on a battery that only weighs 15 lbs…
… but costs more than $1,000.
There’s the catch.
It seems that for quite some time battery-powered heaters would be feasible. However, with propane-powered heaters, we have neat, powerful, and portable heating options as an alternative to heaters powered by electricity.