Mr. Heater Portable Big Buddy Propane Heater – Item of the Day — 29 Comments

  1. When you use the large tank adapter, where do you put the big tank? Do you bring it indoors? Seems like it should be kept outside in case of a leak. Maybe you can run the hose through a slightly-open window and then put some towels in the gap for insulation?

    • In most places, it is against fire code to bring a 20# (barbecue) propane tank indoors due to it supposedly being a fire risk. In reality, the risk is minimal. If you’ve secured the hose onto the heater and the tank properly, it isn’t going to leak. But to be really sure that it isn’t leaking, take a spray bottle with water and soap mixed and spray it on all the connections. If bubbles form, you have a leak; otherwise, you’re good to go.

      • First if propane leaks you will know it, it smells like ass. Second “fire code”, uh, government, whatever. I would also think this would only apply in commercial properties (rentals) and high density properties. As bad as government is I don’t think they have the power to tell me what size propane tank I can bring into my private detached residence.

        Frankly where I live I know they don’t we have no codes here and somehow no one dies daily from it.

        • That’s why I said “supposedly.” I agree that it’s not something worth worrying over. The only reason I would even both double-checking for leaks is because propane is heavier than air, so if you did have a leak in an otherwise ‘still air’ room, especially if you weren’t in it, it might be a problem. But I don’t care either what the government says about it. Heck, I’m storing four of the big tanks in my attic right now.

        • William, how hot does your attic get? I read that in excessive heat may require overpressure venting. This would be meaningless if you are in AK.

    • As I said to William it is not possible for propane to leak and you not to know it.

    • I was going to pose a similar question but in a vehicle. I just bought a Sprinter van to convert into a camper/mobile office and these heaters are very popular for that purpose. My original idea was to use a diesel heater, but am worried about my wife complaining about the smell. The common worry with propane is with leaked gas pooling in the vehicle and low oxygen or excessive CO2, as the vehicle may be tighter than a standard home. Also I’ve heard propane tanks may need an over-pressure venting system if they see high temperatures. I don’t expect to see high temperatures, but some people may if they store their propane in an outside shed.
      Would you use one of these in a large vehicle? And if so what precautions would you take?

      • For any vehicle or trailer I would mount propane on the outside on a rack a similar. That is my view.

  2. Is it safe to leave this heater attached all the time to a #20 tank via the required hose?

  3. If i was to run this heater with a 20 pound tank on low for 5 or 7 hours a day how long will the tank last?
    THANK YOU James

    • On low, it runs for about 4 hours on one pound of propane, so a 20 lb. tank would last about 80 hours, just over three days.

  4. I totally agree with Jack on the propane issue. Almost 20 yrs as a firefighter and I wouldn’t hesitate so long as I checked all the connections with soapy water from a spray bottle. A little common sense and all is good. No different than having a pipe from a tank running to stove, drier or water heater. I have one of these and wow it does great for projects in my garage with an uninsulated door. It will definitely be in my house should the need arise.

  5. This is so wrote about an item the same day we needed it. THANK YOU FROM ALASKA…..In the middle of the night our power went off and continued. So my husband drove 35 miles to town to pick this very heater up. As soon as we had it running we couldn’t believe the heat coming from such a small device. The power didn’t come on till later that night into the second day but we were toasty in the front room. Living in the middle of nowhere we still had not finished installing our fireplace in the cabin so believe me we were extremely pleased with how this little machine worked.

  6. I just bought two of these units a month or so back with two 20# regulated adapter hoses, and four propane tanks for the upcoming winter in case the power goes out. Two is one, one is… well, warm until something breaks.

    One thing to watch is the 20# large tank hose accessory model number, and know if you need a filter.

    Apparently there are two different hose material types and three different options to connect the 20# tank to the heater unit (that I know of):

    1.) They sell a few models of hose material that will release a plasticizer into the hose under the high pressure of a 20# tank and, if not used with a filter, will supposedly clog up the heater. Mr Heater recommends using the additional filter accessory in this high pressure configuration from tank to heater to remove the plasticizer before entering the integrated regulator in the heater unit.

    2.) They sell a shorter and less flexible plasticizer free hose that doesn’t require a filter or regulator. This has high pressure from the tank to the integrated regulator in the heater unit, but doesn’t require the filter since the hose has no plasticizer to release.

    3.) They sell a hose with the plasticizer to make it more flexible that has a regulator on the tank side of the hose (similar to what you see on a BBQ pit). This drops the high pressure of the tank to a low pressure across the hose to the internal regulator in the unit – and therefore won’t squeeze the plasticizer from the hose… so no need for the filter.

    See this following Amazon review for the request for information from the manufacturer and the response from a Mr. Heater employee:

    My preference was to go with the regulator style hoses rather than dealing with a shorter hose that doesn’t flex very well, or screwing around with filters.

    Jack – I would have bought through your affiliate link had the timing been better! Sorry man!

  7. When these are burning, do they smell?

    Background: I have a 30,000 btu propane bullet heater I use for heating my garage when it is below 30F and I’m working in there. I find I need to crack the doors and windows so much to combat the fumes that I’d be better off without the heater. I’m very sensitive to the exhaust of the bullet heater and the kerosene heater I have. I always run the bullet heater with a CO monitor as well. Before I invest in another propane heater I’d like to figure out if this one emits the same amount of exhaust fumes. Getting a headache for the remainder of the day in the name of being warm is not worth it to me.

  8. We got one of these last year. We prefer to use the one pound tanks but have an adapter and large tank on standby in case we need it. I wouldn’t hesitate to bring the propane tank inside but that is not the intended use.

    My advice would be to get some 1 lb tanks and just use the large ones if necessary (i.e. your power goes out).

  9. I bought this and it worked well to heat my old Airstream.  I use it to keep the space warm when i’m not around, think this is safe to do?  I am still trying to figure out my off grid heating here.  Any suggestions?

    • Yes it is indoor safe, think about it, is your gas stove indoor safe? If you really are concerned crack a window.

      But it has a CO2 detector that shuts it off if there is an issue. The bigger concern would be a large propane tank indoors. If that leaked you could have a problem.

      Oh and I found out what the Canada/Mass version is, same exact product but labeled for outdoor use only. [sarcasm] So it will kill you in Mass or Canada but is safe everywhere else I guess. [/sarcasm]

  10. Another awesome use….it warms up a deer blind like a dream..Ran it on low 1/2 hour on, 1 hour off and 2 of the 1lb tanks kept me going all day. Allowed me to stay in the woods far longer than usual when I would have been jonesing for my woodstove after a couple hours. Wouldn’t want to carry it too terribly far…but I’m blessed to have a pretty decent hunting area not terriby far from the parking area.

  11. I used some of these heaters 20 years ago. I don’t know why they stopped working after a couple of years. I believe they gummed up somehow but it discouraged me from using them. I don’t know if that’s still a problem or my case was unique in any way but it happened on two different heaters

    • I bet if you light them with a match or lighter and run them a bit they will work fine. Also remember you have to push in the dial when lighting them and hold it in until they start to run right. I find when people don’t use them in a long time they forget about that. It is a good point I will add to today’s show.

      • Mine gummed after I used some refilled green bottles. Store-bought bottles are filtered so no problem with clogging. Using my 20 lb tank with hose and filter no problem.

        From the 20 lb to refill the bottles there is no filter so I am concluding that I got some “dirty” propane in my 20 pounder maybe.

    • I can’t remember if I tried that, it’s been so long. I may have to dig around in my shed to see if I still have these old heaters

  12. These are great. Thanks Jack. I just picked up a smaller version of this on sale at Costco last night. $60 and comes with a filter and the hose needed to hook it up to a 5 gallon propane tank.