Winters are upon us and the cold is brutal, especially if you are living in a cold area. You might feel that your toes will freeze if you step out of the warm space of your home. Everyone these days hates getting up in the morning and leaving the comfort of their bed. The cold is even more dreadful for people who have to drive for hours in the freezing cold. You’d want to do whatever you can to stay warm. Bundling yourself up in coats and sweaters won’t do much to keep the cold at bay. You’d need some external source of heat to beat that cold. Luckily, there are multiple solutions to safely keep you and your car warm. We scoured the internet for you and came across some products that we thought would be best for this situation.
We are talking about portable heaters. Portable car heaters can be a lifesaver in the harsh cold. We can understand how uncomfortable it is to be dealing with cold in the car. It can get extremely frustrating if your windshield fogs up and you can’t see properly or if your window gets frosty and you can’t see the side mirrors. There are heaters for cars, large vehicles, and RVs. Many heaters will release warm air in your car and make it warm and comfortable for you to stay in. You can also find compact heaters that defrost the windows and windshield and heated massager cushions that will quickly warm you up.
With so many options out there it can get hard to find a product that is reliable. That where we come. In this article, we have carefully reviewed some of the best portable car heaters. We hope you find it helpful.
Our Top Picks
You might have tried many heaters but if they don’t seem to do much that just because of lack of power. Try getting yourself a propane heater. Mr. Heater is a very famous brand and their propane heaters are the best among in the market. This heater, the Big Buddy heater, is a bigger version of the Buddy heater, which was very popular. You can use this heater in the harshest of cold in your car or in your RV.
The heating power of a heater is its decisive feature. This heater provides good heating output in the range of 4,000 to 18,000 BTU. But you must keep in mind that it will give radiant heat and not concentrated heat in one specific area. It is ideal for a space of 450 square feet. You can also use it in your tent. It is suitable for both indoor and outdoor use. If you get stuck somewhere while driving, you won’t have to worry about freezing up at night with this reliable and powerful heater at your side. Plus it burns cleanly and keeps your conscience clean about the environment. The heating power may not be the highest but it is 100% efficient.
The heater has a knob that lets you adjust the heat output from low, medium to high. Not every heater has this option and you have to make do with whatever heat setting it is programmed at. You can put the heating at high when you first get in the car and then when the car has significantly warmed up you can put it on low. The portability of a heater is very important. Heaters should be compact, safe for use in cars, and should have some sort of mechanism for transport. This heater is compact with a slick design and a durable handle. It has the right size to fit your car or RV. It weighs about 7 pounds and is 19 inches long. It may not be the most compact but it will be suitable for your car.
You cannot forget about safety when it comes to heaters. People are wary of heaters due to safety issues. But the accidents that do happen are most commonly due to people misusing them. Don’t buy heaters that don’t have proper safety features. Keeping the user safety in mind this heater is equipped with a number of safety features. It shuts off automatically whenever it is tipped over. It is especially useful in cars since an unforeseen bump in the road can cause the heater to tip over. The automatic shut-off feature will also be activated when the heater detects a low oxygen level or if the pilot light goes out.
- Size suitable for cars
- Available in two colors
- The heat output can be adjusted in three levels
- Can heat up 450 square feet area very quickly
- Burns cleanly
- Very safe to use
- The power output could have been higher
- Shuts off at 7,000 feet above sea level
Automatic shut-off: This convenient heater comes with automatic shut-off features which makes it very safe to use in various conditions.
This portable car heater will not only keep you warm but everyone else who might be traveling with you. It will heat a large section of your car and make you feel safe and comfortable. This heater works just like other portable car heaters but it is much more powerful. It releases much more heat than your other car heaters. It is specially designed for use in cars. It comes with different brackets that will help you mount it up wherever you want in the car. This will save you the frustration of finding an appropriate place for the heater. The setup process is made easier by a set of instructions that comes with it. An installation kit is also included in the package.
This heater contains three blowers that throw out hot air on everyone setting in front of it. The vents push the air out effectively and help to quickly warm the air. Due to its large size, it can effectively heat large spaces. Its heat output is 30,000 BTU, which is a lot. Its size (L X W X H) is: 16 X 6 ½ X 9 inches. It is suitable for use in vans, buses, and trucks. It is also appropriate for regular size cars and other cars slightly bigger than your regular cars. The fan in the machine throws out hot air at three different seeds, you can adjust the speed to whatever is suitable for you.
Other car heaters will warm up the person sitting in front of it but this car heater will distribute the warmth in the whole car and drive the cold of your companions away too. If you have a big family and you often go to places with them, then this heater is a good option for you. Its construction is very durable so it will keep you company for a while in the cold.
When you’re driving around, the sound of the car running is enough, you don’t have any other machine to add to that. Loud noises can distract the driver, which can be dangerous. This heater is big and it uses fans to throw out hot air, so you’d expect it to be loud. But it is surprisingly quiet. It emits heat in a very noiseless manner. Your companions can rest comfortably in the warm car while you drive towards your destination.
- Suitable for cars of different sizes such as trucks, vans, buses and regular cars
- Heats up the large area quickly and efficiently
- Can be used at various speeds
- Very durable construction with aluminum core
- Comes with mounting brackets and instruction manual
- Operates very quietly
- May overheat your small cars because of its large size
Different speeds: The three hot air vents release the air at various speeds. You can run the heater at full blast when you have more people in the car so that it heats up quickly. Or use at low speed when it’s just you.
If you are worried that your car might break down due to the freezing cold conditions inside but you hate waking up quickly every morning to start it then this handy little portable heater is a perfect solution for your dilemma. This heater will heat up your car within minutes. It is small so you can carry it with you wherever you go and even use it in your office. It is very safe and will keep you warm throughout the whole day of work and drive.
This compact heater is also very energy efficient. You can save some money and contribute to a cleaner environment at the same time. You can use it as long as you need. When you feel like the air is warm enough you can turn it off and store it wherever you want inside your car. It will easily fit anywhere. Though it is not the most powerful car heater out there, it has still gathered a lot of praise due to its portability and ease of use.
This heater warms up pretty quickly thanks to the many ceramic coils placed on it. You’ll enjoy this ability of the heater if you’re really cold and would like some quick heat. It generates warm air consistently. It operates very quietly. The power on/off button can be found on its back. This heater comes with a tip-over protection feature. You can use it without a worry that the heater will damage your car or cause the fire to erupt when it falls. The size (L X W X H) is: 5.8 X 3.2 X 6 inches. Since it is small it is also lightweight, which adds to its portability. No more carrying around bulky heaters from car to home or home to car.
What’s more, this smart car heater comes in four colors (red, blue, black, and white). Now you can keep warm and make the inside of your car look lively too with the vibrant colors. However, keep in mind that it is suitable for small spaces only. One person can easily keep warm with it in a regular-sized car.
- Durable build
- Warms up very quickly
- Has tip-over protection, which proves useful on bumpy roads
- Available in four colors
- Energy efficient
- Highly portable
- Heat cannot be adjusted
- Only suitable for small spaces
Highly portable: This ceramic heater is compact in size and very lightweight. You can use it in your car and then take it to your office or home. It is extremely portable.
This portable heater is ideal for heating up small spaces quickly. But that is not why we included it in this list. Sometimes when you’re using a space heater, it works so well that you start feeling stuffy and hot. Manufacturers of this heater have kept that in mind and included a fan in this compact device as well. You can use the fan to get rid of the excessive heat and be at ease in your car. This also means that you can use it in summers as well. You use the fan of the heater and disperse the cold air of your AC in your car and breathe comfortably.
When this heater is used for too long and it gets very hot, it shuts off automatically. This feature is very useful, especially when you’re driving. The extra heat can make you feel uncomfortable. You won’t have to stop the car and manually shut the heater off when it gets too hot, it will do that itself. This saves you time and it adds to the safety of users of the heater.
One thing that users hate the most is putting together the product that they ordered. Hard assembly can even drive away potential buyers and rightfully so. When you get the product that you ordered, you want to be able to use it right away. That is an area that this heater excels at. It requires little to no assembly. You can start using it as soon as you get it.
The size (LXWXH) of this heater is 3.8 X 4.3 X 6 inches. It is small and lightweight, which means that it is very portable. The power on/off button is in front of the heater. It is very easy to reach, unlike some heaters that have their power button installed in hard to reach places like the back or sides of the heater. Since it is so quiet when it operates you might get confused and think that it is not on. But don’t worry, the power button in front of the heater will light up with an orange glow to let you know that it is on. It only requires 200 watts so it is very energy efficient. It is available in four decent colors (purple, blue, white and black).
- Shuts off when gets very hot
- Lightweight and very portable
- Heats up quickly
- Power button lights up to let you know that it is on
- Available in two colors
- Multifunctional (heater + fan)
- Energy efficient
- Attracts dirt a lot
- The automatic shut off feature can sometimes get annoying
Multifunctional: This compact heater will warm your car up very quickly, in case you feel it got too hot you can turn the fan on and disperse the excessive heat out of your car. You can also use the fan in summers.
If you are one of these people who get cold easily and want a generous amount of heat to feel warm all the time then this heater is perfect for you. You might have been using the compact space heaters until now in your car. Although they are efficient heaters, they might not be warm enough for you. This large space heater will fulfill your wish and make you feel cozy and warm in the harshest of winters in your car.
It is very popular as a car heater and any choose to purchase it because of its adjustable thermostat feature. The adjustable thermostat will give you a lot of options regarding what kind of heat you want at a specific time. You can change the mode of the heater from high heat, low heat to fan only. You can change the heating level depending on the weather. When the high heat mode is on, it will use 1500 watts of power. At low heat, it will consume 1000 watts. And at fan-only mode, it will only use 25 watts of power. It comes with a simple knob for changing the heating level.
This 1500 watt ceramic heater can be used as space and car heater. Your daily travels will be safe as there will be little chance of your car breaking down on you due to extreme cold. This heater is big but it operates noiselessly and doesn’t make any obnoxious buzzing or whirring sounds. You’ll almost forget that it is on. The size of this heater is 7 X 6 X 11 inches. It is big but not overly bulky so it is portable. With so many features you’d think that it would cost a lot but that is hardly the case. This powerful heater is very reasonably priced.
The manufacturer of this heater has also paid attention to the safety of users of this heater. It has a tip-over safety feature and protection from overheating. Overheating and tipping over heaters can prove dangerous especially if you are in the car. Never compromise on your safety. If the heater senses that some of its parts are overheating it will automatically shut off. The same happens when the heater tips forward or backward.
- Works as a heater and a fan
- Reasonably portable
- Heats up large spaces effectively
- Robust build
- Tip over and overheating protection
- Available in two colors (yellow and blue)
- Very affordable
- Not very power efficient
Quiet operation: This smart and portable heater operates very quietly. You’ll almost forget that is on in the background. You can rest and sleep comfortably in the car with this heater on, since it has overheating protection you won’t have to worry about that either.
If you are tired of frosted over windows, windshields, and cold sweats, and the internal heater of your car doesn’t seem to work then it’s time that you consider this product. It is a defogger plus heater. You may know that defoggers work by removing condensed water droplets from your windshield, side windows, and rearview mirror. That is why we recommend this product because besides keeping you warm it will also help you drive safely by clearing up the fogged-over windows and windshield.
Users say that this heater warms up pretty quickly. All that you need to do is plug it in and off you go to your destination all warm and toasty. This heater is multi-vented, so it releases that warm air in multiple directions. This way the air circulates quickly and readily warms up your surroundings. You would no longer have to shiver in your seat waiting for the heater to heat up the air.
It is small and lightweight so you can check portability off the list. You can carry it everywhere and use it to keep warm. When you are done with it, you can easily store it in your car or anywhere else. It won’t require much space. When using it all that you have to do is plug it in your cigar lighter. There won’t be any need for excessive cords.
This heater has a built-in thermostat, so it is up to you how hot or cold you want the heater to make your car. You can easily turn the thermostat on and change the temperature to what you want. If you feel like your car has warmed more than you are comfortable then you can reduce the heat and vice versa.
The heater has a very robust build. It is black and red in color. The main body of the heater rests on a bracket that is attached to it. Thanks to the mounting bracket, you can move the heater in an up and down direction. This way you can choose to direct the heat at a specific point. For example if your windshield has frosted over and won’t clear up then you can turn the heat full blast and move the heater up towards it. That’ll do the job very fast.
- Very durable construction
- Heater and defogger
- Multi-vented so the heat is distributed quickly
- Very easy to use (can be plugged into the cigar lighter)
- Compact size
- Built-in thermostat
- Is suitable for small spaces
Movable: The main body of the heater rests on a bracket that is attached to it. So, you can move the heater up and down. This feature proves useful when you want to direct the heat at a specific point.
This heater is originally aimed for golf carts but no one is suing for using it in your so why not. It is a very handy little device. It is designed like those little fans that you hold in your hands and direct at your face or neck. It is a bit bigger than those fans but it’s still small. For such a small device it heats up your body and different sections of your car quite nicely. Its heating output is 4,000 BTUs, which is a lot. It uses propane as a heating source and connects with a 1 pound cylinder. It is very suitable for small cars and one person uses.
This heater is small and has a handle so that makes it very portable. It also comes with a cup holder. That cup holder fits in different types of cars. You can put the heater in the cup holder and lock it in place. You can then drive without a worry that it will fall and burn things. We all know that when fuel burns oxygen is consumed. The heating source of this heater is propane, which is why the manufacturer has included an oxygen depletion sensor in it. When it detects low levels of oxygen in the air, it will automatically shut off to make for the reduced O2 level.
It is also very user friendly. It doesn’t require match sticks or electricity for turning on. It has an integrated piezo spark mechanism, which is triggered by one push button. Although the cup holder locks it in place, bumpy terrain can still cause it to tip over. That is why a tip-over protection switch has been included in it. If the heater tips forward or backward the switch will be pushed and the heater will turn off. It doesn’t come with the propane can, you’ll have to buy that yourself. It uses propane very efficiently, a can will last you up to 6 hours.
- Strong build
- Heats up very fast
- Easy to use
- Oxygen depletion detection sensor
- Comes in two colors (black and silver)
- Doesn’t come with propane can
- Small for some cars
Cupholder: This portable heater comes with a cup holder that locks the heater in place. It is very suitable for use in small cars.
This heater is among the most durable ones. It will keep you warm in a small room, tent and car for a long time. It provides radiant heat in an efficient way. It works by producing a good heat output via a catalytic combustion process. It is safe and economical. It uses about ¼ lb of fuel per hour. It doesn’t heat up the air but it throws the warmth it produces on objects and people. It works in a way similar to the sun. That is why the amount of heat lost in the process is very less. Flame type heaters can waste about 45% of the heat they produce. But you would not need to keep this heater running for a long time. However, you have to make sure that it is positioned perfectly.
The manufacturer claims that it can heat up to 230 square feet. The manufacturer recommends it as a secondary source of heat but with its fast radiant heating it can safely heat up a small room or your large vehicle very effectively. This heater can deliver up to 3200 to 6000 BTU per hour. You can adjust the heating level to whatever you feel comfortable with. It is very portable so you can use it wherever you feel cold.
It is also very easy to use. It has a mounting mechanism so you can hang it vertically or even horizontally. It can also stand alone. It also has optional leg stands if you’d like it to radiate heat upwards. It doesn’t have any electrical drain or battery so that makes it even more desirable. It has a 3/8 inch male flare SAE connection. There is a piezo switch on one side of the heater, which lets you start the heater by just a push and lasts for 20,000 starts. You don’t need a match stick or lighter to ignite it. On the other side of the heater is a knob for adjusting the heat. The three heat levels are low, medium and high. This knob can also be used to start and turn the heat off.
It is very safe to use as it is equipped with a shut-off valve. The safety valve will not allow non-ignition fuel discharge. It comes with a three-year limited warranty. You can rest assured that it will work very well for a long time but it is always nice to know that your product has a decent warranty.
- Can heat up large spaces quickly
- Very economical and efficient
- Heat can be adjusted to medium and low level
- Has strong build
- Equipped with a shut off valve for safety
- Backed by 3-year limited warranty
- A bit expensive
Piezo switch: This heater has a built-in piezo switch that will last for 20,000 starts. You wouldn’t need any external ignition source to light the heater up.
In our search for the best portable car heaters, we came across many battery-powered small heaters. In theory, they may sound convenient and good but in reality, they aren’t very effective and reliable. If you really want good heat that could be of use in emergencies then you need a decent electric heater. This heater uses an advanced PTC ceramic heating element and quick heat technology. Ceramic heaters are known to provide fast and efficient heating compared to traditional heaters. It also operates very quietly. It is very compact and has a size of 7.2 X 5.6 X 9.6 inches. It is also lightweight so you can use it in your car and then also carry it with you to your office, it is highly portable. It comes with a handle so that the user can easily carry it around. The length of the cord is about 6 feet which is long enough for use in small cars.
This heater has a built-in adjustable thermostat. You can use the dial to turn the heat to whatever you want. It has 3 heat settings: high heat, low heat, and fan only. In high heat mode, it consumes about 1500 watts. In low heat mode, it requires 750 watts of power. The fan only mode can be used when it gets too hot in the car and you’d like to disperse some of the excessive heat. You can also use it in summers.
Keeping the safety of the user in mind, this heater has an automatic shut off system. It is protected against overheating. The heater will turn off automatically when some of its parts get too hot. The tip-over protection feature will not let the heater burn if it tips forward or backward. Whenever the heater is on, the tiny light will turn on so that you’re not left wondering whether it’s properly plugged in or not. It is ceramic so you won’t have to worry about closed windows because it doesn’t consume oxygen. It is also certified by ETL for safety. However, know that it is not specifically designed for cars so exercise caution when using it. If you use it properly, you’ll be very happy with your purchase.
- Durable construction
- Very safe to use (overheat and tip-over protection)
- Heats up very quickly
- Highly portable (lightweight and compact)
- Heat can be adjusted (thermostat)
- Not specifically designed for cars
Quick heat technology: This ceramic heater is equipped with Quick heat technology that lets it warm you up within 2 seconds of being turned on.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. How do portable heaters work?
The power source of the heater heats the metal in it. This makes heat. The system then pushes the heat out. Some heaters use fans for this purpose. Other heaters use convection methods or other natural thermodynamic methods.
2. How do I clean my portable heater?
Heaters don’t require much maintenance. However, they may get dusty. Don’t use water as that may damage them. You can use a cloth or some kind of soft brush to dust the grate before use so that the dust particles don’t go inside the system.
3. Do portable car heaters really work?
Yes, portable car heaters do work. However, buy heaters with enough heat output for your car. If your car is large and the heater really small then it might take some time for you to warm up. Know the size of the space that the heater will be warming up. In general, the higher the wattage requirement of the heater the greater will be its heating output. That might not be true for all models so make sure that you read the product description before you buy the heater.
4. Do portable heaters cause a fire?
If you don’t use your portable heaters properly, they pose a fire hazard. Flammable objects such as clothes, carpets curtains, and rugs can catch fire if left for long with 2 to 3 feet of the heater. That’s why always be careful and do not leave the heater unattended.
5. Can I leave my ceramic heater on all night?
It doesn’t matter what type of heater you have, never leave it on overnight. There is always a high risk of electrical fire eruption if you do that.
6. How can I keep my car warm in the winter?
Waking up early and starting the car is a hassle. Below are a few ways to keep your car warm even if you don’t use a heater.
- Cover the windows of your car with a windshield cover
- Don’t leave your car idle for a long time. Whenever you park it, park it in a garage.
- Whenever you leave your car outside, leave it facing east.
- If you haven’t bought a car yet or are looking for a new car, buy one that has heated seats.
Car heaters can be very useful in cold weather. The heaters in this list are highly portable. You can use them in your car and at home. They are really helpful if you are in a rush. They will keep you warm in long and cold drives and also keep your car from breaking down in the extreme cold. They are all very safe but you still need to be vigilant when you turn the heaters on. We hope you find what you like.