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Outdoor Portable Propane Camping Heater

Updated on December 12, 2010

A Portable Propane Camping Heater and Outdoor Heater

Several models of the smaller Mr. Heater “Buddy” propane heater for use as a camping heater or portable outdoor heater are available. Knowing which is which is the difference between paying more for an older model versus paying less for the newest portable propane heater.

The three heaters are the Buddy models:

1) F232025

2) F232000

3) F273400

Mr. Heater F232025 MH9BX Buddy 4,000-9,000-BTU Portable Radiant Heater

The Mr. Heater F232025 MH9BX Buddy 4,000-9,000-BTU Portable Radiant Heater

This is the Buddy model to buy. It's the newest model and will save you a few bucks.
This is the Buddy model to buy. It's the newest model and will save you a few bucks.

The Price of Each Model

The Mr. Heater F232025 MH9BX Buddy 4,000-9,000-BTU Portable Radiant Heater is the newest model and sells for $79.95.

The Mr. Heater F232000 MH9BX Buddy 4,000-9,000-BTU Indoor-Safe Portable Radiant Heater is the predecessor to the model above and sells for $91.71.

The Mr. Heater MRHF273400 Buddy Portable LP Gas Heater, rated at 4,000 to 9,000 BTUs, sells at $96.89. According to Mr. Heater, it manufactured this model through 2008.

So the recommendation is to buy the newest model - the F232025 - and save a few bucks.

A Portable Propane Heater Ready to Go for $90

The cost will be $79.95 for the portable propane heater, plus about $10 for four disposable 16 ounce propane bottles. For a total of about $90.00, you’ve got yourself a portable heater ready to go.

The F232025 will also run on a separate 20 pound propane tank with a hose and filter, which is covered below.

This portable heater has an automatic shut-off if it detects a low oxygen level and shuts off if knocked over. It will also shutdown if the pilot light goes out.

It weighs a bit less than 10 lbs, so it’s easy to move where you need it. Two settings at either 4,000 BTU or 9,000 BTU will provide radiant heat for up to 200 square feet of space. It has no fan to direct the heat, which can be solved by aiming a small fan at the top of the heater.

As we wrote in the review of the Mr. Heater MH 18B Portable Big Buddy Heater, we’ll look at how consumers rate this heater by relaying their comments they made on Amazon.

Four Star Review for the Buddy Propane Heater

Because we’re relating comments from buyers of three different heaters, two of which are no longer manufactured but are still on sale, we looked at reviews from two buddy heaters, the model F232025 and model 273400. We combined the reviews from these two models for easier reading because they are both similar.

Model F232000 only had 4 reviews so it was excluded.

The overall rating of both the F232025 and F273400 is four stars.

Use in Trailers

One reviewer used the propane heater in his 8’ by 26’ RV trailer and said it gave out plenty of heat and was easy to set up and light. He cautioned, though, that it was “dandy” at sea level but in the high desert one should look for another heater.

In emergency use, this propane heater worked “flawlessly” in an ice storm, wrote a reviewer. With the temperature at 9 degrees, the portable propane heater warmed his Park Model trailer until power was restored. The heater proved to be “the right item in an emergency.”

Use This Heater Around the House

This reviewer who lived in a small apartment gave “Buddy” a thumbs up for heating his 900 square foot apartment well. He backed up the Buddy with a small space heater and wrote that the apartment is “nice and toasty!”

Another user said Buddy did well to keep the pipes from freezing and when the electricity went out it warmed his bedroom. “Can’t say enough good things about it...”

Use For Ice Fishing

In a two man ice fishing tent, one reviewer said this outdoor heater kept the shelter “nice and warm.” He also used it as a handy cooking stove to heat food.

Another ice fisherman wrote that the Buddy “worked flawlessly” in his fishing shanty.

Use For Hunting

Carry a Buddy heater along to your small hunting shack, recommended this hunter. He wrote that he needed to remove his hunting coat because it heated the shack so well. He also added that Buddy’s light weight made it easy to carry into the woods.

Use For Camping

One tent camper said he fired up the Buddy in his 9’ by 17’ tent while the temperature outside registered 35 degrees with a heavy frost. The reviewer said he stayed warm with the setting on low and the one pound propane tank lasted about five hours.

Another camper said that with temperatures dropping into the teens, the camping heater made the entire tent warm and comfortable “in no time.”

A camper wrote that he used it inside the tent where the propane heater maintained a comfortable temperature in the 60s.

This camper said the Buddy “puts out great heat,” and on the low setting, the 16 ounce propane bottle lasted 7 hours.

Another camper said his 11’ by 14’ tent reached a pleasant enough summer-like temperature that he was comfortable in shorts and a T-shirt.

“This is an excellent heater and did a great job keeping our 12x15 tent warm,” said one reviewer.

Does This Heater Work at High Altitudes?

This reviewer wrote that the heater was successfully used over nine days at various altitudes up to 8,500 feet with temperatures down to 25 degrees. The reviewer said he used one canister per night.

A Colorado reviewer said he used the propane heater ice fishing at the Antero Reservoir (8900 ft. altitude) and 11 Mile Reservoir (8600 ft. altitude) and it worked fine.

On the other hand, another person complained that the heater didn’t work above 7,000 feet altitude.

Mr. Heater warns that this heater may not work above 5,000 feet.

Miscellaneous Comments

How well does it operate? One reviewer said the Buddy reminded him of starting the old style furnace or water heater, but he wouldn’t complain because it beat the hassle of the old kerosene heaters.

Another reviewer marveled at the convenience of the throw-away propane bottles and how one bottle will heat on low for about five hours.

Finally, a word on carbon monoxide poisoning. A reviewer asks readers to check out the website about CO deaths. At the end, the article notes that there are heaters that are safe because they shut down when low oxygen is detected. The Buddy heater is one of those safe heaters, as it has a low oxygen shut-down system.

More on fuel use: A reviewer said the Buddy heats about 3 hours with the heater on high, using a 1 pound cylinder.

And don’t forget pre-game parties. One reviewer “loved it” for tailgating.

As for safety features, the Buddy has many including a wire frame that keeps the flame at a safe distance from anything flammable.

Hooking it up to the 20 lb. Propane Tank

This portable heater can be hooked up to the common 20 pound propane tank. For that, you’ll need a few accessories.

A word of warning: Not all hoses are created equally. Some need a fuel filter, some don't. Some hose connections work okay, but you may need different connections if you're hooking up to tanks larger than 20 lbs. You can read about propane heater hoses, fuel filters and adaptors at this link.

When hooking up a hose to a propane tank, there are three choices:

1) Mr. Heater 75,000 BTU 12-Foot Propane Hose Assembly #F273702.

2) Mr. Heater Hose with Regulator and Quick Disconnect for Big Buddy Heater #F271803.

3) Mr. Heater F273704 Plasticizer-Free Green Hose for Portable Buddy and Big Buddy.

A Propane Heater for Outdoor Use

By reading these Amazon reviews, it’s apparent the users have found a niche for this portable propane heater as a camping heater and outdoor heater. So if you're camping, fishing or hunting the Mr. Heater Buddy may be what you need. It works good, too, for heating RVs, ice shantys, hunting shacks, trailers and a single room.

Fuel Filter

If you're using a rubberized hose to connect to a 20 lb. tank, you’ll need a fuel filter. This applies to hose choice #1 above. The filter prevents oily residue from building up in your line and damaging the regulator and control valve in the propane heater. If your heater gets clogged up with this residue, it won’t operate well or could even stop working. You don't need a filter for the hose with a regulator of the "green" hose.

Replace this filter before every heating season.

The Mr. Heater F273704 Plasticizer-Free Green Hose can also be run without the fuel filter.

Big Buddy Portable Propane Heater

An Indoor Portable Propane Heater

If you need a workhorse indoor propane heater, try the MH 18B Portable Big Buddy Heater. This portable heater can blast out 18,000 BTUs and is capable of heating up to 400 square feet of space. It can be used with the 20 pound propane tank. You can read a complete review about this portable heater by clicking the link.

Tank-Top Propane Heaters

The Tank-Top Propane Heaters

Another portable propane heater you might consider is the Mr. Heater MH 12T Single Tank-Top Propane Heater. It has three settings - 8,000 BTU, 12,000 BTU and 14,000 BTU, and mounts atop a 20 lb. propane tank. You can read a review about this propane tank heater by clicking the link.

Also in the above review is information about the two and three burner tank-top propane heaters.

Don't Be Left Out in the Cold

But if camping, fishing, hunting or other outdoor activities are your game, then the Mr. Heater F232025 MH9BX Buddy 4,000-9,000-BTU Portable Radiant Heater should be in your sights.

And with the heating season right around the corner, these heaters are moving out the door fast. Don’t be left out in the cold without your portable propane camping heater and outdoor heater.

Propane Heater Accessories

Buying the right accessories for your portable propane heater will help assure your heater lives a long and maintenance-free life. Plus it saves money. For example, buying the right propane hose will save you hundreds of dollars each heating season. Learn about which accessory you need for your portable propane heater.


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