The best 12v battery powered heaters in 2023

The best 12v battery powered heaters in 2023

I was surprised to discover that there aren’t any true battery-powered heaters available that can effectively heat large spaces. While there are battery-operated devices that can warm your hands for a few minutes, and some 12v compatible heating items like camping chairs and blankets, there are currently no battery-powered space heaters or forced-air heaters that can run on batteries. The main issue is the significant power draw required to produce heat, and there simply aren’t batteries that are powerful enough to do this efficiently.

Even if batteries existed that could meet the power needs, they would be incredibly expensive. Based on my experience living in an RV and a camper van, as well as my passion for cold weather camping, I looked into alternative options and found that there are plenty of non-electric heating alternatives that produce more heat than even the priciest lithium batteries.

While a battery-operated heater seems like a great idea in theory, in practice, even a large 100 Ah 12V battery would only power a standard 1,500W space heater for less than an hour. Space heaters require significant amounts of power, with a 1,500W heater using as much electricity as a washing machine. While Tesla-type batteries could potentially meet the energy needs, they are prohibitively expensive, and the cost of a battery-powered space heater would likely exceed $1,000.

The best 12v battery powered heaters in 2023:Our choice

1.DEWALT DXH12B Portable Heater

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  • Powered by propane (heating) and batteries (3 USB chargers, LED lights, fan)
  • Can generate twice the heat a standard space heater can generate (up to 12,000 BTU)
  • 1 lb propane tank can last up to 7 hours and you can refuel it quickly (much quicker than recharging a battery, of course)
  • Additional safety features for indoor use; ODS and thermoelectric safety valve


  • It does weigh 14 lbs empty and 15 lbs full; that might be too heavy if you need to hike to your camping location
  • USD charges are powered by a battery and batteries run out; you have an extra concern to change the batteries once in a while

The DEWALT DXH12B still relies on propane as its main power source to generate heat, but it’s one of the most capable battery-powered heater options out there. It’s able to produce up to 12,000 BTU of heat when it’s running at 100% capacity, which is pretty impressive. Plus, even when set to the lowest setting, the 1 lb propane tank can provide up to 7 hours of heat. And if you’re planning on a longer camping trip, you can always bring along a 20 lbs propane tank to refuel the DXH12B up to 20 times.

One of the best things about the DEWALT DXH12B is its high heating output and indoor safety features. It’s the closest thing to the best battery-operated tent heater, thanks to its factory-installed Oxygen Depletion Sensor (ODS) and a thermoelectric safety valve. These features make using the DEWALT DXH12B inside your tent a lot safer.

But what about the battery-powered features? Well, the DEWALT DXH12B has you covered there too. In addition to the propane-powered heating output, it also comes with 3 USB chargers to keep your devices powered up, an LED light on top to help you see in the dark, and a fan that distributes the heat evenly. All of these features require electricity, which is where the 20V MAX or FlexVolt batteries come in handy.

2.Mr. Heater F232000 MH9BX Buddy

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  • Provides 4,000 BTU / 9,000 BTU of heating output (more than a standard 1,500W electric heater)
  • One of the more portable units with below 10 lbs
  • 1 lb propane tank can last for up to 7 hours
  • Probably the most popular alternative to the non-existent battery-powered heaters
  • Very budget-friendly price tag (below $150)


  • At the highest heating output, the running time on 1 filling can drop to about 2-3 hours
  • Doesn’t have a light; lights might be useful when camping (when the dark falls)

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 observe, the propane tank is conveniently attached to the Mr. Heater MH18B, which holds a 1 lb propane tank that can last for up to 7 hours on the lowest heating setting. Of course, if you plan on going camping for an extended period, it’s wise to bring a 20 lbs propane tank with you to make it easy and quick to refuel the heater.

The Mr. Heater MH18B is exceptionally portable, weighing in at just under 10 lbs (9 lbs, to be exact). In fact, if there were a battery-operated heater that’s perfect for camping, it would have pretty much the same specifications as the Mr. Heater MH18B.

3.Mr. Heater MH60QFAV 60,000 BTU

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  • With 60,000 BTU, it can heat up 1,500 houses
  • A low setting (30,000 BTU), the 20 lbs propane tank will last up to 14 hours (very energy efficient)
  • Perfect battery-operated heating system alternative for power outages
  • Costs less than $200


  • It is a big unit you need to store in your garage
  • For continuous heating, you will have to have extra propane reserves to power it if the power outage lasts for more than a day

When the 20 lbs propane tank is set to a low heating output of 30,000 BTU, it can keep the Mr. Heater MH60QFAV running for an impressive 14 hours. This lengthy runtime is due to the highly energy-rich propane fuel, as well as the near-perfect energy efficiency of the Mr. Heater MH60QFAV.

Typically, these heaters are best used in a garage setting, as they can generate a significant amount of noise. Unlike their nonexistent battery-powered counterparts, these propane heaters can produce a considerable amount of noise. Fortunately, the Mr. Heater MH60QFAV comes equipped with a silencing QBT technology that can reduce the noise level of these larger heating alternatives by up to 50%.

4.Generac 7117 Gp2200I W 50St Inverter

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  • With 1,700W running watts, it can neatly run a standard 1,500W heater without much overhead
  • 10 lbs tank size will run a 1,500W heater at 100% heating output capacity for more than 3 hours
  • Generac is one of the biggest and most reliable generator producers
  • It costs way less than $1,000; you can get it even at below $500 when it’s on sale


  • If the surge wattage of the heater is above 2,300W, this generator would be able to start it
  • Generators are in general quite loud which is not ideal

The Generac 7117 Gp2200I is fitted with a 10 lbs propane tank, which can provide a maximum output of 1,700W for 2.7 hours. This implies that the generator can power a 1,500W heater at full heating capacity for slightly over 3 hours. However, most heaters have a lower setting of 750W, which will allow for at least 6 hours of runtime.

The advantage of generators is that they can always be refueled, which is a much faster process than recharging a battery. This, of course, assumes that a battery-powered heater even exists.

Why Isn’t There A True Battery Operated Space Heater Option Available?

While there are heating devices that you can use with 12v batteries and rechargable USB hand warmers, there are no actual battery operated space heaters.

The real reason is that it’s just not practical. Although we do have the technology, it’s not a practical application. The energy draw of any kind of electrically-powered heating elements is far too great for any battery to reasonably power without being destroyed.

If there were a battery powered space heater option, it would probably be extremely expensive. Not only that, the cost and size of the batteries it would need to properly maintain it would cost a ton, too.

Are There Heaters That Don’t Require Electricity?

There are plenty of heaters that don’t require electricity! Whether you need a heater for camping and sporadic use or you’re looking for a true off-grid heating source, here are your options.

Types of Non-Electric Heaters

All non-electric and non battery powered heaters rely on some sort of combustion for heat. Without an electric heating element, you need fire to produce heat! Here are the main types.

  • Radiant Heaters
  • Catalytic Heaters
  • Wood Stoves

The types of fuel needed to run these different types of heaters includes propane, natural gas, wood, and sometimes butane.

Catalytic heaters produce radiant heat by burning a fuel, like propane. This flameless heat is very hot, but does not require electricity.

Radiant heaters burn a fuel like propane or natural gas and produce a semi-open flame to produce radiant heat near the heater.

Wood stoves burn wood inside a metal stove to produce radiant heat which vents through a chimney.

Can a 12V battery power a heater?

Car batteries only deliver DC current. Household space heaters need AC. So, you would need to install an electrical inverter (a device that transforms DC to AC). Additionally, car batteries have a voltage of 12V, whereas a space heater needs 120V (or 240V in Europe).

Do they make a 12V heater?

RoadPro brings you 12-Volt Heaters, Electric Blankets, and Fleece blankets to help you get a good night’s sleep. A little extra heat can make things a little more warm and cozy, and help with a more comfortable sleep. Choose from small to large electric heating blankets to suit your needs.

Will a 12V heater drain a car battery?

In cases where the heater is used as a garaging alternative—to warm up the vehicle prior to a cold morning commute—a 120V space heater may be the better option. Running a 12V heater when the vehicle is off will quickly drain the battery to the point where the vehicle won’t start.

Can a 12V battery power a heater?

Car batteries only deliver DC current. Household space heaters need AC. So, you would need to install an electrical inverter (a device that transforms DC to AC). Additionally, car batteries have a voltage of 12V, whereas a space heater needs 120V (or 240V in Europe).

How long will a 12 volt heater run on a car battery?

If you have a car-starting sized automotive battery (about 600–700 watt hours) and a 1500 W heater of the correct 12 V rating, then you will be able to run about twenty minutes to a half an hour.

Are there 12 volt heaters?

Especially for this time of year, you might want to get yourself a portable 12V heater or defroster for your vehicle. Instead of having to wait ten minutes for your car to heat up with the engine running, these units plug into any 12V cigarette lighter and heat up almost instantly!

Will a 12V heater drain a car battery?

Running a 12V heater when the vehicle is off will quickly drain the battery to the point where the vehicle won’t start.

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