[Baltimore Sun] For great space heating, try the best Mr. Heater products

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What are the best Mr. Heater products?

Mr. Heater has been making consumer, commercial and construction-site heating products since 1984. The company is known for using innovative technology to design and build high-quality products, and its propane space heaters have become the industry standard for dependability.

What are space heaters?

Space heaters are designed to heat small areas indoors and out, not entire rooms. The smallest are made to heat spaces smaller than 100 square feet and the largest provide warmth for spaces up to 5,000 square feet. Most are portable and most sit on the floor.

Types of space heaters

Fan-forced heaters push air over a heating element. Because they heat rooms quickly and take up little space, they are ideal for places where short bursts of heat are needed.
Infrared heaters: Infrared heaters emit electromagnetic waves. These waves warm human bodies as well as objects such as walls, floors and furniture, just as the sun’s rays heat the Earth. There is no fan and the heat lasts long after the heater has been turned off.
Radiant heaters: These are made for warming people and small rooms. They are a flameless and nearly silent version of sitting next to the warmth of a fireplace — your body gets heated on one side only, without the whole room having to be warm.
Oil-filled heaters: This looks like an old-time steam radiator on wheels, with an electric cord attached. The oil inside gets heated and circulated through coiled tubes, warming the air around them. They have no fans and the heat lasts long after it’s been turned off. They’re efficient but heavier than other types, and only work well in smaller rooms.

Fuel types

There are four basic ways to fuel portable heaters. Mr. Heater makes products that use all of them, but focuses on propane-powered heaters because it’s built its reputation on efficient, affordable ones.

Propane: Propane is a clean-burning gas used to power indoor and outdoor heaters. The fuel comes in a pressurized container and an electric spark is used to light the gas, generating heat as it burns. Small propane tanks are easy to handle but large ones are heavier, bulkier and harder to deal with.
Kerosene: These run on the same fuel as most camping lanterns. They’re cheaper but have a smell some find unpleasant and are not suited for indoor use. Kerosene is usually bought at gas stations, home supply stores and campgrounds where you bring your own container and fill it yourself.
Diesel: Like kerosene and furnace oil, diesel fuel is less refined than gasoline. Heaters using these fuels are good for large outdoor areas such as farms and ranches that keep their own tanks of fuel oils. Generally speaking, they’re smokier and smellier.
Electricity: Electric heaters are among the cleanest, most energy-efficient ways to heat indoor spaces but are impractical for outdoor use. As a rule, they cost more to operate than propane heaters.

How powerful a heater do I need?

Multiply the length of your room by the width to get the square footage. Now multiply that number by two if your room is well-insulated, three if your insulation is average and four if it’s poor. Round up that result to the nearest thousand and you have the number of Btu you should look for to get the warmth you need.

What’s a BTU?

A British thermal unit is a measurement of thermal energy. The formula used to calculate Btu lets people compare machines that use different energy sources on an equal basis. The official definition is that 1 BTU is the amount of energy needed to heat or cool 1 pound of water by 1 degree at sea level. BTU numbers are seen on packaging and in descriptions of room heaters, water heaters, air conditioners and the like. Generally speaking, the larger the area you want to heat, the more Btu you need.

Top Mr. Heater products

Mr. Heater Little Buddy 3,800 BTU Indoor-Safe Propane Heater

If you’ve got a space that’s 100 square feet or smaller, this is a handy, ultra-portable appliance. The heat is odorless and continuous. Using a standard 1-pound disposable propane cylinder, it has a run time of 5-6 hours.

Mr. Heater Hunting Buddy 6,000-12,000 BTU Portable Propane Space Heater

This portable heater uses a standard 1-pound propane cylinder and can be connected with a hose to a 20-pound cylinder for longer run times. It makes no claims to square footage because it’s built to be used outdoors. It turns off automatically when it detects low oxygen levels or if tipped over.

Mr. Heater 20,000 Btu Vent-Free Radiant Natural Gas Heater

This 25-pound heater with five heat levels and an automatic shut-off is made to heat spaces from 500-700 square feet. You attach the legs for use on the floor or use the included hardware to mount it on the wall.

Mr. Heater 75,000-125,000 BTU Forced Air Propane Heater

This little 3-pound machine heats up 3,000 square feet with burner technology that’s 50% quieter than a standard propane heater. It’s got a temperature-limit switch and an ergonomically designed handle.

Mr. Heater 175,000 BTU Forced-Air Diesel or Kerosene Heater

This nearly 4-foot-long, 68-pound corded electric unit sits on a steel cart that rides on oversized pneumatic tires. The low-lift handles make it easy for two people to lift it in and out of your work vehicle. It heats a 4,000-square-foot area with a 14-gallon fuel tank for up to 10 hours.

Mr. Heater 75,000-200,000 BTU Propane Convection Heater

This tower unit heats an area of 5,000 square feet and runs for nearly 30 hours on a 100-pound propane tank. It comes fully assembled with the regulator and 10-foot hose already attached. The pilot light shuts off if the unit is tipped over.

Prices listed reflect time and date of publication and are subject to change.

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