Best Heaters for Hunting Cabins


I love hunting cabins but I have always wanted to know the best way to keep them heated. I did a bit of research and here is what I found.

So, what are the best heaters for your hunting cabin? The best heaters will be anything propane operated, preferably one with a wall mount. Any such medium sized heater can easily heat a 20′ by 25′ cabin.

There are a lot of options when it comes to heater and the best fit for you depends a lot on the size and power capabilities of your cabin.

Heating Your Cabin

I have spent plenty of crisp winter nights in a cabin, so I know how chilly it can be. While spelunking in a cave of blankets every night can be fun, there are better ways to stay warm.

There are Basically three different means of heating your hunting cabin. They are:

  1. Wood
  2. Gas/Propane
  3. Electric

Each fueling method has its own advantages and drawbacks. Let’s go over the specifics of each so you can decide which will work best for you.

Wood

I have a cabin in a beautifully wooded area. If your place is anything like mine then you are never in danger of running out of lumber.

An abundance of wood means an abundance of fuel which could potentially save you hundreds of dollars. Maybe for that reason so many people love wood burning heaters. Plus, there’s just something about the smell of burning wood that helps put a man at ease.

There are a lot of other distinct advantages as well. For instance, a lot of small wood stoves are EPA certified. Not only do they heat for a low price, but they do so with minimal environmental impact.

Plus, because of their design, they are much more efficient than, say, a fireplace. And compared to oil and gas burners, wood burners are way more efficient.

I like wood stoves, but its important to examine some of the drawbacks as well. For example, while they may be efficient, wood stoves may also be hazardous to your health. Burning wood emits carbon monoxide into the air which, if not properly ventilated, could suffocate you.

Burning also releases soot and ash into the air which could lead to scarring in the lungs if inhaled too often.

You also have to consider the fact that while wood is cheap, it also burns very quickly. You can easily run through three cords of firewood if your trapped in your cabin all day. 

Hauling wood to your cabin can be a pain and assiduously tending to the fire can be even worse. On top of that, you will need to find a place to store all the wood once it’s collected. You may not pay much money to buy wood, but a wood stove does cost a lot of time and effort.

Another thing to be aware of before you purchase a wood stove is the need to install it. Unlike a propane or electric heater, installation can be tricky with these bad boys. Make sure you have a space to put it and that you can add a chimney without damaging the integrity of your roof.

On final notice before we dive into the specific stoves. Remember, fire can be dangerous and accidents do happen around live flames. Be careful if you decide to go with a wood stove. Exercise caution and have a healthy respect for fire and you will be fine.

Alright then! With that out of the way let’s look at a couple of the best wood stoves.

Wood Stoves

Hi-Flame Shetland

The Hi-Flame Shetland extra small wood burning stove is one of my top picks for any hunting cabin. Small, elegant with amazing fuel efficiency. And I mean amazing fuel efficiency. Rated at 85% efficiency, this little guy can easily warm 800 square feet for half the wood a bigger stove would.

The Shetland is compact which means you won’t have to give up half a room to use it. Plus, because it is so efficient it doesn’t need a ton of space from a wall. It also burns so efficiently that it’s relatively easy to maintain.

Posted on Amazon with a price of $630, the Shetland sells for about the same as other comparable heaters.

Newport Solid Fuel Heater

The Dickinson Solid Fuel Heater was originally designed to heat yachts and other recreational boats. Capable of keeping small space, anything smaller than 25 feet, warm this may be the ideal heater for your small hunting cabin.

A distinct advantage the Newport heater has is its diminutive size. Unlike other heavy heaters, this baby weighs in at an incredibly light 15 lbs.It’s so small that it can even be easily mounted on the wall unlike any other wood stove I’ve seen.

The Newport can produce anywhere from 3000-8000 BTU. Impressive, but don’t expect it to do you much good if your out klondiking. While the Newport will work fine in most climates, it struggles in the extreme cold.

Vogelzang Defender

The Vogelzang Defender is an incredibly efficient and portable oven. Not only does it have a sick name (Vogelzang. Sounds like a soldier of fortune that bops Nazis for fun), but it also boasts some pretty great features as well.

The Vogelzang has a huge 14.5 by 8 in ceramic glass window that lets your fire light up the whole room. Not only that, but its adjustable legs make it easy to place anywhere in your cabin.

It is also very efficient. The Vogelzang Defender can can easily burn for several hours on a single fueling and heats up to 68,000 BTUs. But don’t worry about it breaking.

The Veogelzang is built with a heavy gauge 3/16-inch reinforced plate steel with a firebrick lining. No matter how hot this thing gets, there is no way it will bust up. 

If you go with this stove you will be nice and toasty in your hunting cabin. It will easily heat up an area of up to 1,200 square feet. You won’t be sleeping in the cold with this in your home.

Pleasant Hearth WS-2417

The Pleasant Hearth WS-2417 is a great stove from a great company. It is small and easily portable. Capable of heating up to 1,200 square feet you won’t be needing extra blankets in your cabin.

The WS-2417’s main appeal is its efficiency in burning. Its interior is lined with firebrick that improves the quality of the air and helps you spend less on fuel as well.

It is EPA certified with an efficiency rating of 81%. Terrific for a heater of this size and quality. It also has a 5 year warranty so even if you do somehow damage it, you will be able to return it for a new one.

The WS-2417 also comes with an instruction DVD on how to install and maintain it. Maintenance is a breeze on this model as well. It comes with an air wash system that not only helps improve the quality of the burn, but also helps cleaning as well.

The WS-2417 is great model for those more environmentally conscious and those looking to save a little money on fuel as well.

Summers Heat Timber Ridge 50-SVL17

The Summers Heat Timber Ridge 50-SVL17 has a lot of great features that I love. Not only is it EPA certified, but it also looks great. It comes with both nickel and brass handles that make it really customizable.

It is capable of a heat output of up to 40,000 BTUs that heat anywhere from 800 to 1,200 square feet. It also comes with a blower at no extra cost. The blower can be used to improve heat distribution throughout the whole cabin.

A real handy feature on the Summers Heat Timber Ridge 50-SVL17 is a space underneath dedicated for log storage. Although this stove is compact it can still take logs up to 16-inches in size.

Installation is nice and fast too. It fits a standard 6-inch chimney which makes setting up nice and easy.

Propane/Gas Heating

Next, we will talk about propane and gas heating which I will refer to as simply “propane heaters” from here on out.

Propane heaters seem to be the go-to when it comes to portable heating sources nowadays and it’s easy to see why. Not only is propane an efficient fuel, but the heaters themselves are generally cheaper than a wood stove. 

Not only are they cheaper, but they are much easier to install and maintain as well. With a wood stove you need install a chimney or flue and constantly clean it. I’m not sure if you’ve ever scrubbed out a chimney before, but trust me when I tell you it’s not fun.

Propane, on the other hand, burns clean. Or at the very least it doesn’t leave buckets of soot floating around in the air. Installation is a piece of cake as well. With most models, all you need to do is mount it to the wall, attach a propane tank, and your ready to go.

While propane is a great way to heat your hunting cabin, it has some distinct drawbacks as well. For one thing, propane prices are always fluctuating.

Wood is cheap or even free. Most of the time I can just gather scattered branches from around my property, but the price of propane can be a bit more volatile. A 15-lb tank of propane could cost $20 one year and $40 the next. That’s just something good to be aware of.

Propane heaters are also not aesthetically appealing. A wood heater sits elegantly in the corner of a room. Its flames dancing majestically inside and casting boisterous shadows across the walls of your cabin. Propane heaters are plain ugly. Nothing more needs be said.

All that being said, propane heaters are still an excellent choice to heat your hunting cabin. Compact, inexpensive and efficient. Guys, I really do like the propane option.

Now lets take a look at the best propane heaters.

Propane Heater

Mr. Heater Big Buddy Indoor Propane Heater

I don’t think any list on cabin heating would be complete without a Mr. Heater on it. These babies have a great reputation for being effective and reliable.

The Mr. Heater Big Buddy is capable of heating up to 300 square feet, which is perfect if you have a smaller hunting cabin.

It also boasts some useful safety features as well. A big fear with burning any fuel, but especially propane, is the constant risk of carbon monoxide. Luckily the pilot light on the Mr. Heater Big Buddy blows out automatically if oxygen levels are too low. So no more need to fear falling asleep with the heater on.

Of course you should always take care to have proper ventilation.

Another useful safety feature is the automatic shut off if the unit is tipped over. I’m not sure if you have ever tipped a propane heater over before, but it can be scary. Especially if it falls in particularly dry spot. But not so with the Mr. Heater Big Buddy.

It also has a low, medium, and high setting which allows you to save energy for when you don’t need so much heat.

The only problem with the Big Buddy is that it can’t operate at altitudes over 7,000 feet. So if you were planning on trekking high into the mountains, this isn’t the heater for you.

Dyna Glo Cabinet Heater

The Dyna Glo Cabinet Heater is a nice option especially for the safety conscious. Like the Big Buddy, the Dyna Glo has an automatic shutoff for when oxygen levels get dangerously low.

In addition to that, the Dyna Glo has a piezo ignition, which ignites the pilot light without having to put a live flame up to it. The Dyna Glo is small and compact, only 20 lbs, easy to carry and transport.

It has a 600 foot heating radius. Great for your hunting cabin. It also has three different heat settings which is handy when you want to conserve energy. 

This heater can also be easily rolled around on the locking casters at the base of the unit.

Procom Propane Wall Heater

This next option is for those who are looking for something more permanent in their home. The Procom Propane Wall Heater is useful because you install it directly into your wall. No more need to lug around a heater every time you go hunting.

The Procom can be operated with both natural gas or liquid propane making it more versatile in its functionality. It also has 5 heating settings so you can micromanage the temperature of the room. I know my wife really appreciates that.

It also has an easy push button pilot light ignition which means you won’t have to get near this thing with an open flame.

You can also feel safe knowing that the outer casing is heat resistant and won’t warm up, so it’s safe to be touched.

The Procom can easily heat your entire cabin and doesn’t take up much room making it an excellent heating option.

Camco 57331 Portable Propane Heater

The Camco 57331 Olympian Wave-3 3000 BTU LP Gas Catalytic Heater is an easily portable heater that can be stored in the cabin as well as taken out to heat up a tent.

The Camco 57331 burns at an adjustable rate of 1600 to 3000 BTUs/hour so it won’t heat up your entire cabin, but it will easily heat a single room. This makes it great to take on the go, especially if you will be roughing it in a tent.

Not only that, but you will also be able to use this as a secondary heat source if your primary heating source just isn’t putting off enough energy.

There are no batteries or electricity of any kind involved and it also blows silently. So not only will you be able to sleep warm, but you will also be able sleep in silence.

The Camco 57331 has an automatic safety switch that shuts off the unit if oxygen levels get too low. And finally, to top it all off, it comes with a one year warranty.

Avenger Dual Fuel Blue Flame Heater

The Avenger Dual Fuel Blue Flame Heater is able to burn both propane and natural gas. It is capable of burning at 30,000 BTUs that can easily heat a 1,400 square foot space. Now that’s powerful!

Not only does it pack a punch, but its also small in size. The avenger weighs in at an incredibly light 26 pounds making transportation easier than ever.

This heater comes with a built-in thermostat allowing precise control of the temperature. You don’t like how hot it is? Use one of the 5 heat settings to adjust it how you like.

The Avenger is also great for those that like to camp as well. This unit can easily be used to warm up a tent on those cold nights spent outdoors. 

Electric

The final heating source we will discuss here today is electric heating. Electric heating isn’t very popular with hunting cabins because they are usually off the grid. If you are one of those lucky blokes with electricty in your cabin, stay tuned!

Electricity may be your best heating option if it is available. Relatively cheap, extremely versatile, and no need for chimneys or other add-ons. Electricity is a great option.

One problem with electric heating in cabins is the lack of central heating capabilities. Due to the size and architecture of most small hunting cabins, it doesn’t seem necessary. If you do have central heating in your cabin the my hat is off to you.

Another issue is maintaining the electric line to your cabin. I have read a lot of stories of people whose electricity goes down in the middle of winter leaving them hurting for warmth pretty badly. While this is relatively rare, it still happens and is something to be aware of.

After all, who wants to be stuck in their small hunting cabin with only a few blankets? Better to always be prepared.

Now let’s take a look at some specific ways to heat your cabin using electricity

Electric Heaters

King Baseboard Heater

The King Baseboard Heater is great for warming your hunting cabin. The great thing about baseboard heaters and the King especially is their ease of installation. You just plug it in, place it on the base of your wall and get warm.

The King Baseboard Heater is great because it utilizes a thermostat that allows you to get the exact temperature you want.

The King also uses a smart crush proof design creates a chimney-like flue that maximizes heat transference. In other words, it can get you warmer, faster. Very important. I know after a long day of hunting its great to come back to the cabin and get warm fast.

Home Leader Mica Heater

The Home Leader Mica Heater is another great option for electric heating. Easily installed and easily transported, the Home Leader’s compact design will be a great fit in your cabin.

The Home Leader utilizes sophisticated heating technology that provides warmth to your whole cabin. 

One of the great things about this heater is how responsive it is. Turn it on and it starts heating instantaneously. It also doesn’t make a ton of noise like a propane heater would. And on top of all that it is low energy consumption.

One of my favorite things about electric heaters is the degree to which you can manage the temperature and the Home Leader is no exception. The Home Leader uses a thermostat, but unlike a lot of other heaters, the thermostat is already built in. No separate purchase is necessary.

Edenpure GEN32

The Edenpure GEN32 SuperBuddy Infrared Space Heater is a great supplementary heater during the cold winter months. I want to stress that this little guy doesn’t have the power to heat the whole room, but is great for personal use. Place it next to your bed and you will stay toasty warm in the night.

The Edenpure GEN32 Is built to last. It has an average life expectancy of 80,000 and heats at 500 Watts on the lowest setting and 100 Watts on the highest. Not only that, but its small. Able to be fit inside your suitcase you will have no problem transporting the Edenpure.

The Edenpure GEN32 is also very safe. Not only is it more durable than other infrared heaters you may find on the market, it also has an exterior that’s cool to the touch. No curious pets or dogs can accidently hurt themselves around the Edenpure.

One of the best things about the Edenpure GEN32 is its versatility. Not only does it function as a heater, but you use it as a fan too. During the hot summer months the Edenpure GEN32’s fan only setting will help you stay nice and cool.

DeLonghi Full Room Radiant Heat

The DeLonghi is my number one choice when it comes to electric heating. Low energy and silent, this heater comes with a lot of cool features that I love.

One is that it never needs to have its oil changed. A lot of electrical heaters will get worn over time and require an ocassional oil change, but not the DeLonghi.

Its patented thermal chimney design make it the fastest working heater that I have ever seen, but it still manages to maintain a cool exterior.

It also is easily transported. It has four locking wheels on its base that are super convenient.

The DeLonghi can heat up to 250 square feet, so if you need a little more heat, don’t be afraid to get a couple of these bad boys.

Conclusion

There are a lot of ways to heat your cabin and each method has its pros and cons.

Wood is a cheap fuel that is easy to burn. I love the way it smells and there is something manly about hauling cords of fire wood to my hunting cabin, but its also a pain to store wood and clean out the chimney.

Propane heaters are easy to maintain. They provide a lot of heat and they work fast, plus they are reliable even if the weather gets rough outside. On the downside, propane prices are constantly fluctuating and you never know how much a barrel may cost you.

Electric heaters are convenient and cheap. Being able to control the temperature to the degree is a huge plus in my book. Plus, they couldn’t be any easier to use. Just plug them in and watch them go.

On the other hand, electricity isn’t as reliable as wood or propane. It may go out just as the weather gets roughest. It also is weaker when compared to the other fuels. You made need two electric heaters to do the job that one propane heater could do.

In the end, you need to pick which option works best for you. I personally love the efficiency and ease of propane heaters, but you are free to choose what you think is best.

Related Questions

Are propane heaters dangerous? They can be if not properly ventilated. When using propane heaters make sure that you have some oxygen coming into the room, otherwise you may suffocate.

Is wood or propane more efficient? Wood usually burns at about 60% efficiency. Compare that to a propane stove that burns at usually 96% efficiency. While wood may be easier to find, propane is definitely the cheaper option.

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