How Much Kerosene Does A Heater Use?

Kerosene is a very reliable material to fuel heaters, especially when power is out during and after bad weather. By having kerosene readily accessible, you can rest assured that you can continuously provide warmth for the whole family. But how much kerosene does a heater need or use? We did the legwork for you on this matter.

The volume of kerosene you can put into your heater always largely depends on the size of the fuel tank. Additionally, you should factor in the number of hours you intend the heater to operate. Relatively, you can have 1.0 to 2.0 gallons (7.6 liters) of kerosene to fuel and burn your heater for more or less 18 hours. 

With the new technology and increased safety features for the use of kerosene in heaters, battling against chilly weather becomes much easier. To further help you guard your family against kerosene-related hazards and maximize its functionality, read on! 

Black kerosene heater on the floor, How Much Kerosene Does A Heater Use?

How Much Kerosene Does A Heater Use?

Several factors determine the amount of kerosene a heater burns. These are the length of time you intend to keep the unit running, the holding capacity of the fuel tank, the BTU rating, and the measure of the area to heat. 

For instance, a kerosene radiant heater running for approximately 12 hours with a 10,000 BTU output, needs 1.2 gallons of fuel a day. The said amount of fuel and BTU rating can provide heat in a 380-square-foot room.

A large convection heater, on the other hand, operating for 15 hours a day needs 14 gallons a week or 2 gallons a day.

What is Kerosene?

A garden torch flame on dark background

Understanding what fuels your heater is likewise important. 

Kerosene is a flammable liquid mixture of various chemicals originating from distilled crude oil. It is typically used in aviation fuel, cooking, and lighting. Most importantly, it carries a vital role in enabling the combustion process in a central heating system. 

Kerosene is different from gasoline. Often a fire accident or explosion happens at home when operators mistakenly use gasoline in heaters instead of kerosene.

Types of Kerosene Heaters

Portable kerosene heaters vary in terms of structure, shape, and air dynamics they create.  The two types of kerosene heaters are convective and radiant. 

Convective kerosene heater

Convective heaters are cylindrical and are designed to provide warm air in large areas and multiple rooms. Therefore, one should not attempt to use it in small enclosed spaces.

Given its heating capacity, this type of kerosene heater is perfect for spacious and well-ventilated areas such as garages, warehouses, and cabins.

Moreover, it has a fuel tank located at the bottom and a wick on top.  The said tank is not removable; thus, refilling it usually requires a siphon pump. 

Radiant kerosene heater

Use a radiant heater for small rooms. It has a reflector, sometimes a fan to enforce the flow of warm air, that helps concentrate heat and direct that heat to people or objects. Because of its confined heat, you will need to come closer to the unit to maximize its benefits. 

Unlike a convective heater, most radiant heaters have a removable tank that can easily be refueled.

Of the two identified heaters, a convective heater works more slowly but can surely provide continuous and even warmth over a long period given that the air it produces moves upward and outward in all directions. 

How much kerosene does a heater hold?

When it comes to the sizes of a fuel tank, it's crucial to take note of the following factors: heat output, portability, and removability. In general, large kerosene heaters have a fuel tank that can hold 15 gallons while smaller ones have tanks that can contain up to 2 gallons. 

How Safe Are Kerosene Heater Indoors? 

Large kerosene heater

There are several serious hazards a kerosene heater can cause such as fire or explosion, burns, asphyxiation, and air quality degradation. Despite how well kerosene heaters have been engineered, only the consumer's responsible use of these appliances, at the end of the day, can promote safety.

Burning kerosene produces fatal gases when inhaled in large quantities such as carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, and sulfur dioxide

The good news is that the Consumer Product Safety Commission report emphasized that using kerosene properly in heaters can prevent accidents and lung-related issues. 

That said, we've rounded up practical tips to keep your family away from the hazards of using a kerosene heater:

  1. Maintain proper ventilation in areas where kerosene heaters are used.
  2. Keep children away from heaters.
  3. Place the heater at least 3 feet away from flammable materials including solvents and combustible fuels. 
  4. Do not overfill the fuel tank.
  5. Do not leave a burning heater unattended.
  6. Install smoke and CO detectors in your home.
  7. Always operate the heater according to the manufacturer's instructions.
  8. After using the heater, do not store it with fuel remaining in the unit.

Can You Sleep with a Kerosene Heater On?

Paraffin stove

While kerosene heaters are designed with an overheat safety shutdown system, you must never leave it running all night as you sleep. 

Best Portable Kerosene Heater for Indoor Use

Using an electric heater may not always be practical, particularly in houses that have no generator. So as an alternative and backup, you can rely on, getting the best kerosene heater from your supplier. Your key criteria when buying this product should be safety, BTU rating, and fuel tank capacity.

We have listed here 7 of some of the best kerosene heaters available on the market:

1. Kero World Indoor Kerosene Heater

This all-metal, easy-to-transport, indoor kerosene heater can produce up to 10,000 BTU output to effectively provide warm air for an approximately 400 square feet area. It has protective grills to prevent kids from touching the heating component. 

Weighing only 20 lbs when empty, it can hold up to 1 gallon of fuel and comes with a pump for easy refueling. Most notably, it can provide heat for your room for up to 12 hours. 

Check out this radiant kerosene heater on Amazon.

2. Enerco Group Kerosene Heater

This durable, easy-to-maintain, and long-lasting kerosene heater is made of sturdy quality steel, and it can provide heat for a 2,000 square feet area

It has been designed with built-in thermostat control and a flame sensor. Plus, it operates with an automatic switch that turns off the heater when it reaches a very high temperature.

Check out this forced-air kerosene heater on Amazon

3. Heatstar Kerosene Heater

This heater has a 175,000 BTU output to heat up to 4,250 square feet area with 10 hours of running time on a full tank. It also has an overheat safety shutdown system and a thermostat for temperature control.

Check out this product on Amazon.

4. Dyna-Glo Indoor Kerosene Heater

Equipped with a 1.9-gallon fuel tank, this kerosene is ideal for home use with a run time of more or less 12 hours. Economical and convenient to use, Dyna-Glo looks like a lamp and is surrounded by a protective steel cage to prevent its heating component from being touched by kids. 

More importantly, the unit has a heating capacity of 23,000 BTU and a coverage area rating of 1,000 square feet.

Check out this convection kerosene heater on Amazon.

5. Mr. Heater Kerosene Heater

This heater that comes with a heavy-duty output fan prides on its tremendous heating capacity rating of 75,000 BTU. Moreover, with this impressive rating and a large fuel tank, it can efficiently work to turn up the heat for a 1,875 square feet area with an 11-hour run time. 

6. Sengoku HeatMate HMN-110

With a heating capacity of 10,000 BTU, this heater has a coverage range of approximately 400 square feet. It can run for up to 14 hours on a full tank with a 1.2-gallon capacity. It has a protective steel cage in front for safety. For added safety features, it also comes with an automatic safety shut-off and a tip-over switch.

Check out this radiant kerosene heater on Amazon.

7. DeWalt Kerosene Heater

When speaking of reliability and durability, the DeWalt heater never lags behind. Much like Mr. Heater, it can reach a super high heating capacity rating of 75,000 BTU; thus, it can provide warmth for a 1,750 square feet area. With its big 6-gallon fuel tank, it can run continuously for about 11 hours.

It also has an ergonomic handle for easy transport, recessed controls, and thermostat control. 

Is It Safe to Use Kerosene Heaters Indoors?

A boy warming a fire

Kerosene heaters designed for indoor use are generally safe. Although the brands and models of heaters identified above carry remarkable reviews with them based on their efficiency and performance, buyers like you should be mindful of these caveats. 

Harmful gases emission

Kerosene heaters will naturally release carbon monoxide (CO) as one of their byproducts. To avoid the build-up of  CO and other gases that can cause asphyxiation you must provide proper ventilation.

If you do not have a vent, at least, ventilate the room by leaving a door or window open. Install a CO detector in your home to help you assess any hazards. 

Bad smell production

Kerosene heaters do not generally produce a harsh odor, but when they do, the problem must be stemming from the poor quality of the fuel. Use 1-K grade kerosene and not a red dyed 1-K kerosene to prevent the cause of a disturbing odor. 


When power is out in the middle of a freezing day or night, a kerosene heater becomes our instant source of warmth. Using it, however, entails the practice of vigilance and common sense to protect our family from heater-related hazards.

Did you find this post helpful? You might want to take a look at these articles:

6 Best Heaters To Use During A Power Outage

7 Best Heaters For Multiple Rooms

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