The search for a propane heater isn’t a task you’d want to tackle alone. Vented propane heaters, specifically, are difficult in general, let alone finding a high-quality one. Well, luckily for you, I’ve come to the rescue with this list of my top picks for the best propane heater on the market. I’ll also walk you through everything you need to know before buying a propane heater, so stick around!
Best Vented Propane Heaters
- Martin Direct Vent Propane Wall Heater
- PrecisionTemp RV-550 Tankless Water Heater
- Rinnai EX08CP Wall Propane Heater
- Rinnai EX38CTWP Propane Heater
The 4 Best Vented Propane Heaters in 2022
Without wasting any time, let’s jump right into the four best vented propane heaters with their pros, cons, and everything in between.
1. Martin Direct Vent Propane Wall Heater
My top pick as the best vented propane heater is the Martin Direct Vent one. Not only does this propane heater offer a modern, sleek look, but it’s also quite energy-efficient with excellent heating capabilities.
As you can guess from the name, the Direct Vent propane wall heater can be wall-mounted, which is an excellent feature if you’re running low on space. Its modern design allows it to fit with any decor. Also, if you’re worried about the heat damaging the wall, this heater’s backside doesn’t warm up at all!
This 8,000-BTU Direct Vent propane wall heater is powerful enough to heat a large-sized room with no issues. I loved having this heater in my large living room because it kept my whole family warm without using up too much gas.
Also, there’s another model of this propane wall heater with a heat output of 20,000 BTU/hr, but it comes at a high price.
What’s more, this vented propane heater has a built-in thermostat that allows you to control how hot you want the room to be. It has two settings, which are high and low. To be honest, I would’ve loved if it had more settings, but it gets the job done.
If there’s one thing to complain about, it would be the fact that this heater’s pilot shuts off randomly. It’s nothing major, but it’s surely inconvenient.
- High-quality build
- Slim design
- Powerful enough to warm up large rooms
- Can be wall-mounted without damaging the walls
- Has a built-in thermostat with two heat settings
- The pilot light goes off occasionally
2. PrecisionTemp RV-550 Tankless Water Heater
This incredibly small PrecisionTemp RV-550 water heater has got your back during cold winter days when all you need is an endless hot shower. It’s best suited for trailers or small houses considering the fact that it doesn’t use a tank to store heated water.
The fact that this vented propane heater is tankless makes for a much more energy-efficient operation because it doesn’t preheat water, and therefore, it doesn’t waste propane. When you turn the hot water on, the heater starts working and heats up your water on the go, so there’s no possibility of water running out.
Using VariFlame technology, this heater is able to adjust itself according to your water pressure and temperature. During already-hot summer days, this heater won’t overheat your water to the point where it’s dangerous, which results in not using its full potential and, therefore, saves energy. On the other hand, on cold days, the heater goes all out to ensure you get hot water in minimal time.
As you can see, this is an all-season vented propane heater. It has freeze protection, meaning when it senses freezing-temperature, the heater protects itself and its electric components from freezing and getting damaged by turning on for a few seconds.
If I’m nitpicking, I’d say that the RV-550 water heater takes a few minutes to actually start producing hot water. However, that’s completely understandable, considering it doesn’t store preheated water.
- Auto-adjusts according to water flow and pressure
- Freeze protection
- Perfect for use all year long
- Energy-efficient and doesn’t waste propane
- Takes a few minutes to start heating up the water
3. Rinnai EX08CP Wall Propane Heater
Back to our regular vented propane heaters, the Rinnai EX08CP is another propane wall heater. This compact heater is perfect for any room size; whether you’re getting this heater for a small hallway or a large master bedroom, it can handle it.
Its minimum heat output is 3,000 BTU/hr, while its maximum output is 8,000 BTU/hr. As you can see, this heater can use its low or high settings to adjust the temperature of the room to your liking, especially considering the fact that it has a built-in thermostat.
Most propane heaters of its size don’t even have a thermostat, to begin with, while the Rinnai EX08CP has a programmable one that you can control using Celsius or Fahrenheit units.
What I loved most about this heater is that it stays cool to the touch. Such a feature is critical if you have pets or children at home to prevent accidents.
This cabinet-shaped heater is as easy to install as can be. I always recommend getting vented propane heaters professionally installed because gas isn’t something you’d want to mess with if you don’t know exactly what you’re doing.
Well, there’s more to this heater than using propane; it also has to be connected to a power outlet. It uses electricity to ignite the pilot, which is incredibly safe. However, most of us get vented propane heaters to avoid dealing with power going out during storms, for example. If that’s the case for you, this might not be the heater for you because it turns off if the power goes out.
If you don’t mind plugging it into an outlet or the power doesn’t usually go out where you live, the EX08CP automatically resorts when power is restored, so you don’t need to do anything.
- Easy to install
- Has a programmable thermostat
- Cool to the touch
- Suitable for any room size
- Needs electricity to operate
- A little pricey
4. Rinnai EX38CTWP Propane Heater
If you’re on the lookout for a heater that can warm up large areas rather than going for multiple less powerful units, you need to take a look at the Rinnai EX38CTWP. This incredibly powerful vented propane heater also has a very modern design that’ll fit right into any room.
Even though this heater comes with a programmable thermostat that you can adjust according to your liking, it’s also compatible with wall thermostats if you already have one. Additionally, its built-in thermostat can be programmed in Celcius or Fahrenheit units.
If you’re worried about the fact that this heater is quite large in size considering that it’s 26.4 inches in height and 36.63 inches in width, it actually won’t take up any room space. It’s a wall-mountable vented propane heater, so you can choose to place it on any wall and keep it out of your way.
This propane wall heater can detect if there’s a change in temperature and starts working towards readjusting the room’s temperature to your pick. It can produce heat energy starting from 13,200 up to 36,500 BTU/hr, which is a massive range. Such a range indicates that this is an energy-efficient heater because it uses just the right amount of power and therefore doesn’t waste propane or use too much electricity.
Electricity? Yes, this heater needs to be plugged into a power outlet because it uses electricity to spark its pilot, which can be regarded as both a blessing and a curse. It’s a lot safer to use electricity for ignition, but it’s also very inconvenient; the heater stops working if the power goes out.
For safety, the heater stays cool to the touch, and it has a tilt switch that turns off the heater in case it falls down. Also, it’s able to self-diagnose errors.
- Extremely powerful
- Stays cool to the touch
- Has a programmable thermostat and compatible with wall thermostats
- Needs electricity to work
How to Pick a Vented Propane Heater
Finding a high-quality vented propane heater isn’t as easy as it may sound. There are a lot of safety concerns regarding vented propane heaters in general, which makes your decision even more difficult. Here’s everything you need to know before purchasing your next propane heater.
The installation process of a vented propane heater is a pain in the neck. Besides installing the heater itself and connecting it to your propane gas tanks, you also need to properly install the vents or pipes.
I always recommend getting your heater professionally installed for multiple reasons. Firstly, in case you get a defective unit, the installer will let you know immediately, and you’ll just know that if any hiccups arise, it’s most likely a defect in the unit itself rather than in poor installation.
Secondly, carbon monoxide gas isn’t something you’d want to mess around with. It’s a toxic gas that has many side effects, which can be dangerous. It’s better to be safe than sorry!
While we’re on the subject of carbon monoxide, let’s discuss critical safety features that your vented propane heater must include.
ODS (oxygen depletion sensors) are the most important part of any venter propane heater. Those sensors shut off the heater if they detect low oxygen levels or high carbon monoxide levels. Also, I recommend installing a carbon monoxide detector in your home if you don’t have one already; even if you don’t have a propane heater, that detector could save your life someday.
Other safety features that you need to be on the lookout for include tip-over protection, which shuts-off your heater if it’s knocked down. Tip-over protection is especially important for standing vented propane heaters rather than wall-mounted ones.
Lastly, overheat protection is always a bonus. At the end of the day, a heater is a device that can fail and produce too much heat, which can be dangerous. Overheat protection will shut your heater off if it’s temperature gets abnormally high, preventing fire hazards in the process.
Make sure your propane heater of choice is energy-efficient. In other words, make sure it doesn’t use up too much propane or too much electricity if it requires so.
Speaking of electricity, some vented propane heaters require to be plugged into a power outlet at all times because they use electricity to ignite the pilot. While that method is much safer than manual ignition, it can be quite limiting. If your power constantly goes out during storms, having a heater that requires electricity is counterproductive. For your convenience, I recommend going for a heater with battery-powered ignition.
Now that you’re at this point in the article, you’ve seen me mention a heater’s BTU multiple times. Well, let me tell you what you need to know about a heater’s BTU output.
British Thermal Unit (BTU) is used to describe heat output; the higher a heater’s BTU/hr is, the more powerful it is. As a general rule, you need around 20-30 BTU/hr for every square foot. Of course, that measurement isn’t very accurate because we’re not taking into consideration whether the room is insulated and how high the ceiling is, but it’s still a good rule to follow.
However, don’t take the easy way out and just get the highest BTU-rated heater you can find. Not only will that heater be expensive, but it might also be too powerful for your needs. Additionally, higher BTU-rated propane heaters tend to use more energy, be it propane or electricity, so you’ll be spending a lot more money than you need.
Take your time calculating how big the room you want to heat is, and make sure you get the heater with the most suitable BTU rating for your needs.
Going for a propane heater with a built-in thermostat should be your goal. Even though vented propane heaters with thermostats tend to be a little more pricey, I’d say they’re actually worth the investment because they’ll be saving money in the long run.
The thermostat can turn off the heater or lower the settings according to the room’s temperature so that the heater won’t operate all day long. Additionally, if you’re looking for a heater to use overnight, having one with a thermostat is life-changing because it’ll just shut down on its own! You won’t have to leave the comfort and warmth of your bed to turn it off in the middle of the night.
However, some heaters offer another alternative, which is having multiple heat settings. While that doesn’t mean that the heater will shut off when the room is at the desired temperature, it’s still energy-efficient because you can control the settings depending on how hot you want the room to be and how cold it currently is.
Size and Design
As a general rule of thumb, the more powerful the heater is, the bigger it’ll be. Actually, that’s quite understandable considering you’d only need a powerful heater if you have a large room, so the size of the heater isn’t as much of an issue.
However, as I said, that’s just a general rule, and it doesn’t apply to every heater on the market. To make things easier for you, I recommend going for a compact heater so that it won’t take up too much room. Additionally, small vented propane heaters just fit better into rooms and don’t take away from the aesthetics.
Actually, you can even pick a heater depending on its looks. For example, if you found multiple propane heaters with the BTU rating you’re seeking, and they’re quite similar in technical specifications, just go for the one that looks better!
I mean, installing a heater into the room is not a temporary change because that heater is supposed to last you years and years, so make sure it looks good and fits with your decor.
Wall-Mountable vs. Standing
Even though most options on this are wall-mountable, some of them can be attached to legs to stand on their own. So, which one should you go for?
Wall-mountable propane heaters are much more space-efficient because they don’t take up much room. Also, they look like they’re a part of the room rather than a standalone device.
However, wall-mounted propane heaters aren’t portable. You can’t just take the heater off the wall and move it around with you. I recommend going with a standing heater if you want to carry it around the house to warm up whichever room you’re in.
Now that you’ve seen my top vented propane heaters, you should have a clear idea of which one best fits your needs. Nonetheless, here’s a quick recap of my absolute favorite vented propane heater, Martin Direct Vent Propane Wall Heater.
It’s made from high-quality materials that provide it with excellent efficiency and enough power to warm up a large room. Its heat output is 8,000 BTU/hr, so by the calculations I told you about, this heater can handle a 400-square-feet room with no issues.
Regarding size and design, this heater is quite slim but without sacrificing power. Its overall looks and color are very modern and will fit well with any decor you have.
Also, if the 8,000-BTU configuration isn’t enough to cover your room, there’s also a 20,000-BTU model that you can opt for, but it’s a little larger in size, so keep that in mind.