Big Buddy Heater Run Time

Buddy Heater Run Time | 1-lb & 20-lb Tanks

I believe that the Mr Buddy Heater is one of the best indoor portable propane heaters for emergency preparedness. I have one and can attest to its performance. One common question is about the Buddy Heater run time. How long will it last (low – high) with a 1 pound or 20 pound propane tank…

( jump to heater run times )

Mr Heater Buddy & Big Buddy

MH9BX (4,000 – 9,000 BTU) Indoor-Safe
(view on amzn)

MH18B (4,000 – 9,000 – 18,000 BTU) Indoor-Safe

For the cold winter season, evaluate your emergency backup heat sources. Run through the scenario of a power outage. Especially one that might last longer than just a few hours!

One product that I discovered (and purchased) is the ‘Mr Heater Buddy’ (pictured above). I have found them to be quite effective (and portable) for winter preparedness emergencies, and peace of mind!

It’s a portable propane heater – and is indoor safe. You might use it for emergency heating at home. Or portable use in a cabin, garage, workshop, trailer, RV, greenhouse, porches, patios, hunting blinds, etc..

(See below for how long it will run on a 20 pound tank or 1 pound cylinder of propane)

Regardless of whether you heat with oil, natural gas, LP, or electric – chances are that somewhere in the heating system is a component that requires 120-volt electrical power to operate. Susceptible to power outage.

Examples include a blower fan, pumps (oil pump, water circulation pumps), electronic igniter, thermostats, etc.. When the power goes out, so will your furnace.

The Power Might Be Out Longer Than You Think

Common power outage scenarios include severe weather during winter. Heavy snow. Wind. Ice storms. Trees and limbs come down – and power goes out.

A power outage during a winter storm (especially an ice storm) will often last longer than you might expect due to the poor weather conditions and getting crews out there to begin repairs (getting through the snow and ice, cutting trees, limbs, repairing lines, etc.).

The sheer number of repairs may take the power company a long time to catch up.

The ‘Mr Heater Buddy’ portable heater will function without electricity and will operate during a power outage.

Safe for Indoors

It is listed safe to use indoors (VERY important!).

It is a very efficient catalytic type heater. Although it’s essentially 100% efficient, I highly advise being equipped with a carbon monoxide detector. Also, sleeping in space heated by any type of fuel combustion is always potentially risky. I would not sleep without a CO detector nearby, regardless.

This is the CO detector that I use:
Carbon Monoxide Alarm with Battery Backup
(view on amzn)

[ Read about: Carbon Monoxide Poisoning ]

Lots of BTU’s

The Mr Heater Buddy really cranks out the heat!

Two models – one up to 9,000 BTU, the other up to 18,000 BTU.

Attach 20 lb Propane Tank

In addition to 1 lb propane bottles, the heater can optionally connect to a barbecue grill style ’20 pound’ propane tank for a long lasting fuel source.

You might consider using the following adapter hose with a larger tank because the 1-lb propane bottles are much more expensive (although convenient for quick portability!).

Hose Attachments for 20-lb propane tank:

(view on amzn)

This fits only the Big Buddy (18,000 BTU model),
>> 12-Foot Propane Hose with Regulator

This fits both the Buddy (9,000 BTU model) and Big Buddy (18,000 BTU),
>> 10-foot No-Leach Hose Model# F273704

UPDATE: You can also refill your own 1lb cylinders with the following adapter: 1# bottle refill adapter

If you do use a 20 pound (BBQ) tank, it is recommended to keep that tank outdoors. You might snake the hose through a window. Stuff a towel in the crack (to keep cold air from getting in) as you close the window on the hose.

[ Read: How To Tell How Full (or Empty) Your Propane Tank Really Is ]

Safety Features

Safety features include:

– Automatic low oxygen shutoff
– Accidental tip-over safety shutoff
– 100% efficient

Note: When operating the heater at altitudes over 7,000 FT above sea level the heater may shut off. (low oxygen shutoff)

Some common questions asked about this heater:
(answers below)

Buddy Heater run time on low?

How long will a Buddy Heater run on a 1 lb tank?

How long will a Big Buddy Heater run on a 20 lb tank?

Mr Heater Buddy (4,000 – 9,000 BTU)

>> MH9BX (up to 9,000 BTU)

The 9,000 BTU model has a standard design to accept a 1-lb disposable propane bottle.
See reference above for 20-pound tank adapter.

MH9BX Portable Buddy Heater Run Time

1-lb bottle: 5.4 hours on low
1-lb bottle: 2.4 hours on high

20 lb tank: about 92 hours on low
20 lb tank: about 41 hours on high

20 pound propane tank run times based on typical ‘full’ fill level of 4 gallons, and propane weighing 4.25 pounds per gallon (17 pounds of propane).

Mr Heater Buddy (4,000 – 9,000 – 18,000 BTU)

>> MH18B (up to 18,000 BTU) Indoor-Safe

The 18,000 BTU model will accept two 1-lb propane bottles.
See reference above for 20-pound tank adapter.

MH18B Big Buddy Heater Run Time

(2) 1-lb bottles: 10.8 hours on low
(2) 1-lb bottles: 4.8 hours on med
(2) 1-lb bottles: 2.4 hours on high

20 lb tank: about 92 hours on low
20 lb tank: about 41 hours on med
20-lb tank: about 20 hours on high

Typically, you will not leave this heater on all the time. So the propane fuel consumption numbers listed here may actually last longer.

The use-case scenario may be to heat up the room (area) and then shut off the heater until needed again. Saves lots of fuel this way. The better insulation you have in your home, the longer it will take to cool down again.

During an emergency, you are better off to ration your fuel and survive in a cooler home while wearing layers of warm clothes – rather than blowing through your fuel wearing a T-shirt…

NEW: I love this Heater Buddy carry bag cover for portability. It will fit two extra 1-pound cylinder propane tanks, the hose, and other accessories.

Portable Carry Bag

(This article has been updated with more information, including big buddy and little buddy heater run-times, and re-published for your interest.)

There are LOTS of great comments below.

[ Read: The Best Heavy Duty Extension Cords For A Generator ]


  1. Works great In the deer stand….below freezing and will keep that “chill” out on low

  2. Spent a week in a tent at 8,000ft hunting turkey last November & the Mr. Heater was our best friend.

  3. We lived in our motorhome last May, when the nighttime temps were high 30s low 40s. The buddy heater was our only source of heat, as our furnace was not hooked up. On high, we would be nice and toasty, but on low you would get a bit chilly. A 1 lb. tank would last about 6 hours on low…and 3 hours on high. We also wore extra layers and had sleeping bags.

    1. Yeah you can get one of those 5-gallon paint roller grate that hooks on the bucket and it could be adapted to the mr. Buddy top for a cooktop

  4. I use this heater in a small hunting shack, used with a BBQ tank ( 20 pounder) it takes the chill off the night and early morning. Worked all week on half tank, it really made our hunt more pleasent.

  5. The 18k BTU/hr Tough Buddy I have works very well. The blower operates on 4x D-cell batteries or an optional 6V/800mA adapter. I also purchased the 12′ hose assembly for connecting to a larger tank, a fuel filter, and a 1# bottle refill adapter. The Mr Heater supplements a Toyo kerosene heater. The Toyo may put out more heat, but I must say the Mr Heater is my favorite for portability and ease of use.

  6. For those of you that live or camp at higher elevations be aware that the automatic low oxygen shutoff will cause you some problems.

    I was in my truck camper at 10,000 plus feet and after a few minutes the Mr. Buddy Heater would shut off. Tried the heater again when I got home 4,700 feet and the heater worked great. Took it with me next time I went xc skiing at 10,000 plus feet, and had the same problem.

    Unfortunately I never took the time to figure out at what altitude the automatic low oxygen shutoff will start causing problems. I just bought a different type of heater with out a low oxygen shutoff as my camper has both a CO2 detector and smoke detector.

    1. When I was in college in Montana, I was living at about 6,000 ft elevation and never had a problem with the Buddy heater. Worked perfectly fine for a few winters there.

    2. We are at 7600 feet and couldn’t get it to work. A friend tried to fix the O2sensor and it worked for a while and shut off. Unfortunately it isn’t our buddy

      1. Since then and because of modern survival blog we bought a new one. We camped at Bryce Canyon around 8000 ft. in the snow in MAY! The heater worked with no problems. It went through a lot of bottles but we had it on high most of the time. It is now our buddy!

        1. Thanks for the report regarding your elevation experience! Sounds good…

          We visited Bryce Canyon several years ago during a cross country road trip. What a beautiful place. (Off topic, but I had to mention it)

        2. I use my redneck camper, which is an enclosed 4 horse trail for elk hunting, when I bought my buddy heater I was afraid it wouldn’t work where I camp, but at 9000 feet I’ve never had any problem. Trekker Out

  7. Used the smaller one all winter long in my trailer at 5300 ft. On low it kept my TT at 67 deg. Even when the outside temps were in the high teens and low 20s which is average where I live. I had NO problems whatsoever. I am hoping it will continue to work this winter. Its going to be in the teens this weekend already.

  8. Worked in our hunting cabin on our recent elk hunting trip. Worked like charm.

  9. I have a 400 sq ft all glass sunroom with a high ceiling and hot water baseboard heat that can’t adequately keep up when the outside temps drop to the mid-twenties. Mr. Heater Big Buddy solved that problem. I refill the one pound bottles from a 20# tank using the adapter. Easy to do. Screw on the bottle, turn the tank upside down, open the valve, wait for the hissing to stop, close the valve, turn the tank upright, and unscrew the bottle. Takes five minutes to fill both bottles. I do have a CO detector, but the ceramic heating elements pretty much ensure complete combustion. I turn it off when I leave the house.

  10. I have both the large and small Mr. Heater Buddy models and have used them both to heat tents, campers and hunting blinds…and they’ve worked flawlessly. The time listings for the LP usage are pretty accurate from my experience. I would recommend these heaters to anyone looking for an alternate or backup way of heating a space.

  11. We’ve been using a Big Buddy to suppliment our heat in our 40′ 5th wheel which we live in the North Georgia Mountains. Since it is a catalytic type heater there is very little carbon mox generated. We’ve used it for 2 years now and it does a great job. The RV furnace is only about 40% effective and most of the heat goes our the exhaust. This heater is great to augment the heating system saving us a great amount of propane and money in the RV during the day. These heaters are almost 100% effective. We do not leave on unattended…..

  12. Several years ago had 1 week power outage in NC from ice storm. Temperature below freezing every night. Used Little Buddy with 20lb tank to heat three rooms-bathroom and two bedrooms. On high for 2-1/2 days on 20lb tank. No CO problems. Put heater in bathroom. Rooms about 65F. A daughter and 80year old grandmother slept in bedrooms with only extra blankets. Have CO detectors now but don’t think it was problem. Real efficient and easy to use.
    Highly recommended.

  13. I live in an RV and the built in heater went out in early January of this year.
    Two electric heaters kept the place warm when it was nice, but in sub freezing temps I used a Portable Buddy heater to warm the place up when it was too cold inside.
    It took 20-30 minutes to raise the temp from the low 50s to the upper 60s. That’s pretty good considering the built in heater can run all night in that cold of temps.
    The CO detector never went off.

  14. We have travelled for 2 years of winter … fishing northern Canada … I wanted to escape hotel life, travel with my family, and started travelling with an older rv .. we also found our onboard furnace to tear through propane fast (and the furnace fans draw the batteries down at the worst time). finding rv refill stations is hard but bbq tank swaps everywhere. setting out a bbq tank on the street made moving around harder. a bbq tank with the furnace would last about a day, while we would get the same heat or more for 3 or 4 days from the buddy heater … being paranoid installed 4 CO detectors have never had one chirp. Our rv seems to have plenty of fresh air coming in through cracks that we never needed to open a window. Maybe not the best unit for a sealed tent type vehicle, but to keep your rv warm during winter travels does a great job. Tight lines, Joel Theriault

  15. Similar, have a Big Buddy, 20 lb. tank hose, fuel filter for back up to the generator and woodstove. Many extra 20 lb. tanks and 1 lb. bottles, need the refill adapter now.

    In the duck blind I use the Buddy heater that is a small portable that screws onto the 1 lb. BOTTLE, can’t recall the formal name, unfreezes the hands. Have a small canvas tarp over the lap to capture the heat while sitting most of the day in the woods deer hunting, no more shivering and have dropped a couple deer while toasty warm, a little extra weight to hike in but worth it.

    1. It’s a Mr. Heater Portable Buddy, works nice, even better for the camp unheated glassed porch late October cigar time.

      1. We have a an unheated enclosed back porch. During the winter when the wife and I go ‘out side’ to smoke, luke with tje gentleman with the cigar… The buddy heater warms the porch up great- about 200 sq ft. Keeps it about 65°f even in the heart of a Michigan winter.

  16. Our home furnace is propane (we live out in the country). We have two semi-permanently mounted emergency/supplemental propane heaters that hang on the wall. They are connected to the main propane tank just like our furnace. The connections are not meant to be fussed with as they are set like one for a furnace or kitchen stove. There is a little petcock valve to shut off the propane supply to the heater when not in use.
    The problem is one of them is broken and they are both very old – need replacing. New versions of the same heaters run about $300 each.
    I”m wondering if two of these buddy heaters would be a better option, but not sure how we could accomplish connecting and disconnecting them to the main supply.

    1. restoringBrad,

      May be a regional thing, but in the small town closest to my place, the hardware store, and even one auto parts store, stock propane wall heaters every fall, and inevitably, sell those that haven’t sold by spring for half price. Sometimes they even have free standing heaters for even less. Have seen them for less than $100.

      I have a couple of old style open flame propane heaters, one that I bought at an auction when I was 12 years old. I use them as portables, running them off 20# bottles using the hose and regulator scavenged off of propane grills.

    2. restoringBrad,

      On connecting the Buddy Heaters to your household propane system, the answer is no. The regulator on your current propane source is set for appliances w/o their own regulators. Buddy heaters have the regulator built in, and require full pressure coming in from the tank to work properly. I’m guessing you could cut the built in regulator off and attach fittings to connect to the house source, but a lot of work and may be opening a can of worms. Would definitely void any warranty.

      1. The Big Buddy has an additional quick connector that requires regulated pressure. So, that is an option.

      2. Don’t know about the single tank Buddy heater, but the dual tank “Big Buddy” has a connector for either type hose. One is for the hose without a regulator (goes through the built in regulator) and another connector for a regulated hose. The Buddy company sells both type hoses. The regulator equipped hose is 10 feet long, the non-regulated hose is 12 feet long. Buddy company recommends use of a filter with the non-regulated hose. Don’t need one with the regulated hose.

    3. Install a shut off valve near the heater, that way you can burn off access gas after you shut off the feed to the buddy heater. Once you shut off the supply line it’ll go put naturally.

    4. Ifnyoubhave copper lines they sell the fitting to hook to 1lb propane appliances justbhave to know whatbyour looking for and the buddy heaters have screw mountings on the back also.

  17. Remember the reverse threads on the bbq propane tank when attaching that hose 😬
    You can also connect to many other things with one, like a Coleman two burner stove.

    I’m going to get a 1# refill adapter– amazon also sells those propane connection little rubber o-rings, that might be good to have for backups…

  18. We use them in our greenhouse if we lose power… 1 18000 and 1 9000 connected to a 40 Lb bottle with a T connector keeps it going all night on high without problem. Haven’t tried any larger bottles as 40 is heavy enough for me to move! There is a filter that you can use with the 12 ft hose and external bottle that does seem to keep the innards cleaner that without (YMMV, but it works for us)

    I also have a few as backup with the 1lb bottles, just in case (as someone else commented, end of year they (and the 1lb bottles) are usually on sale.)

    1. RedStix
      Do the heaters have a thermostat? Will they go on and off to hold a temp? Or sorta hold it, just curious, that would work in my greenhouse for raising temps for starts.

      1. The Buddy heaters do not have a thermostat. Just adjust the dial for the desired heat output level.

        1. I think for us a buddy would be perfect for keeping the greenhouse warm for faster seed starting, hook it to a big tank and turn it on every night, combined with a couple big grow lights and i can quickly propagate year round, during the winter months the greenhouse is a bit sketchy, overnight lows in the high 40s low 50s is just too cold, the stuff sprouts and grows but not with the usual vigor that i get during warmer months.

  19. I also have both the single and double Mr. heaters, and the hose for 20 pound bottles. Looks like those are going to be my backup heat for now, as I don’t have a wood stove right now. I buy a few 1 pound bottles whenever they’re on sale. Have got quite a few now, and have 4 of the 20 pound. I figure I could go about 3 months before I run out, then freeze to death. Guess I’d better get more.

  20. When using it in the house or camper I put a sheet pan turned upside down to reflect the heat away from the floor

    1. Matt in O.
      Good idea. I bought one of those stove boards that you put under a wood stove to set mine on. Not to big, about 28 in. x 32 in., and 1/2 in. thick. Same principle as sheet pan.

      1. That’s right Mikie. The Buddy Heaters are raked back about 10 degrees with a radiant reflector. Floor never gets hot and I use three of them, inside the house, all winter long.

        1. That’s good to know that they don’t get too hot.
          I can tell you that when I hunt the floor does get warm about 6” or so in front of it. That’s where my feet hit the deck when I roll out of the rack because of it. It’s all I run in that camper and it’s usually around 15-20 degrees and the remaining floor is very cold.
          When I used it in the house during the ice storm I decided it was best not to chance it and place the sheet pan down. Melting the carpet is counter productive to my relationship and marriage. Burning the house down more so.
          If you have children or grandchildren like me it keeps toy trucks from rolling near it. It also provides a physical and visual no go barrier for them reinforced by the adults.
          I’ve no shortage of sheet pans in the place so I’m gonna continue to err on the side of caution.

  21. GF bought a single one pounder Buddy, long before we got together. She told me supposably there is a built in CO2 detector???, that shuts the unit down if CO2 is detected.
    In any case we still crack a window open on the horse trailer when using it and I installed a CO2 and smoke alarm JIC. Usually just the pilot light takes the chill off and then crank it up to low/high when changing clothes.
    We are fair weather campers not too often we camp when the night time temps are below freezing….. except last October when I went. I think she purposely sent me out that weekend…

    Anony Mee
    I would like to know also about those patio heaters.
    Seems like being out in the open they wouldn’t do much?¿?

    1. There’s not a built-in detector. There IS a built-in low oxygen sensor AND a auto shutoff if it tips over or kicked.

      1. There is a built in low oxygen sensor, right? At least that’s what I understand. I think it would have to be a pretty small space to produce low oxygen, and I think the instructions recommend cracking a window or something just a tiny bit to ensure a little fresh air.

        1. A while back someone here helped me with this question. I believe that the heater has a built in low oxygen sensor but it isn’t the same thing as a carbon monoxide detector. Not sure how far I would trust a sensor in something that is bound to get knocked around. I got a carbon monoxide detector for less than $20.

      2. Ken,

        That’s exactly correct. CO detectors are just now being mandated for generators. But I’ve run Buddy heaters indoors for ten years or so. My CO detector, mere feet away never go above 1 ppm.

        1. tmc,
          yes, they are designed to run at high efficiency with little CO produced. I think the issue is that, in the event something got clogged, or the catalyst block somehow got damaged, it would produce CO. How could it get damaged? how about if it somehow got sprayed with a cleaning chemical or similar. ( I remember the issue they had with woodstove catalysts getting ‘poisoned’ when people burned newsprint in their stoves. ) the CO detectors are there for ‘off-normal’ conditions.

  22. I have two of the big ones, long hose, splitter and two short hoses.
    This IS a must.

  23. Big Buddy heaters are the bomb! I was on vacation a couple years ago and the furnace went kaput. The house sitter called, it was 10F outside and the furnace guys could not get there for 2-3 days to fix it. The house sitter called around and managed to get 3-4 electric heaters. They kept the house warm enough to keep the from pipes from freezing. The furnace guys showed up and fixed the problem, nothing was damaged.

    After-Action-Report findings- Bought 4 Big Buddy heaters, the hoses, adapters, AC adapters to run the fans, the bags to store them, a pallet of 1 pound Coleman propane cylinders. 10ea 20LB cylinders and 5ea 40LB cylinders in reserve. All of this is stored in the shed and ready to use.

    Bill W- That is genius! I’ll order up the splitters and short hoses ASAP

  24. We use propane heaters in the garage because they light fast and heat fast. A bunch of years back we rediscovered kerosene heaters. We put one in the living room, bedroom and barn workshop. They’re a little slower to get going but go a long way on a tank of kero. They’re safe to use indoors as well. We pick ’em up at yard sales. We’ve never paid more than $15.00 for one.

    If you use a Mr. Heater, go with the 20lb tanks, and have a fireplace with an ash dump, you’re in luck. Snake the hose through the ash dump to the outside and hook up the tank. The ash dump door is easier to seal against drafts than a window is, and is more secure; you don’t need to worry about an intruder forcing a “cracked” window. We also use this route when we need to run an extension cord into the house from the genny. A bonus when doing things this way is that the heater ends up sitting on the hearth, which is already a safer place for an open flame.

  25. Just a thought on “back-up heat.”
    We have two wood stoves and they are our primary heat source. We do have central air and heat. I rarely use the propane furnace, other than a yearly test. Years ago I attached a 2-12 with ground cord with a high quality male electric plug, on the furnace. This allows for powering the furnace (igniters, fan, etc.) from an off-grid source. Generator or solar/wind. Just a matter of plugging the furnace into the grid or into “another” source.

    We had our central air/furnace replaced a couple of years back. The heating and air guy was going to wire the furnace into the house wiring. I had to stop him and explain the reason for the plug-in connection. I don’t think he ever understood the necessity of this connection. Kind of rolled his eyes and wired it up as I had done. He made a comment about not being code. There is no code, where I live. It is just as safe using a plug-in connection as wiring direct.

    I would recommend having options for powering the necessities. In a grid-down situation, you’ll have to power your propane/natural gas furnace with 120 VAC. It won’t work without it.

    These Buddy heaters sound good. I have no experience with them. I guess I’m just a low-tech kinda guy. Wood is my go-to fuel, with propane as a back-up.

    The more options you have, the easier to find a solution. Your brain is the best tool you own.

    1. For sure, heating with a wood stove becomes a non-issue. Unless you run out of wood ;)

      One thing that I like most about the Buddy Heater (other than it’s safe for indoors), is the portability. I can quickly place it or move it anywhere. A nice little backup.

      1. Ken,
        Agreed. I may look into one of these.

        My only point with the above comment, be prepared. If ya think through all of the potential problems, and can mitigate them ahead of need, why not do it? I’m amazed at the number of folks who do not realize, their furnace will not work without 120 VAC. It’s the same issue with SOME water heaters. Does your water heater have a pilot light or an igniter? Is the igniter a battery powered thing or is it plugged into the wall? The oven on your cook stove?

        None of these issues are difficult to solve. Far easier to think it through ahead of need. Part of this comes from NOT being wealthy. I do most of the home repairs, myself. Might as well make it easier for the next repair/power outage/appliance replacement, etc.

        You know the old saying “Happy wife====Happy life.”

      2. It will certainly be an issue once your fuel runs out! Manual felling, bucking and splitting enough wood to survive a winter in this neck of the woods will be a full time, year round job!

        1. kevinH

          Yep, doing wood by hand is a tremendous amount of work.

          Here, on my homestead. we fell green, cut into lengths, split, and stack, a year in advance.

          Most of the time we use power equipment, But, to keep us all honest, I REQUIRE at least 2 cords be done all by hand. Takes about 5 times longer than power equipment.

          Doing wood, warms you up, many times, before it actually warms you up. LOL

  26. i have the coleman blackcat ( i believe that is the name of it) and i have only used it a few times over the years but it is there if i need it along with 1lb and two large tanks.

  27. The problem with heaters that don’t have a vent is that they generate a lot of water as a side effect of combustion. There is CO2 of course also, and a tiny bit of carbon monoxide as well. Open air combustion rarely creates enough carbon monoxide to matter. it is the water vapor that is the problem. It condenses on everything and you can quickly end up being cold because everything is wet.

    The oxygen depletion sensor is simply the relationship between the distance of the thermocouple that keeps the gas valve open and the flame. If there isn’t sufficient oxygen the flame isn’t hot enough which causes the gas valve to close.

    I’d probably just make sure you have a good cooking stove and use that instead. Sure, it has an easily touched open flame but at least it is more adjustable. But there are decent cooking stoves that cost less that can also run on butane/Sterno cylinders…. And you can buy a quick connect hose and adapter to run on modern OPD propane valves for what the advertised Buddy heater costs.

    1. pinky,
      While it is advisable to have a good portable cooking stove for preparedness, I would not advise using one as a source of heat. In fact, it could be deadly to do so (carbon monoxide). The only portable cooking stove that’s safer for indoors is one that’s fueled by butane. I’ve written about it (here).

      Again, for everyone, regardless of what you’re using for heat, buy and plug-in a carbon monoxide detector!

      1. Out of curiosity, what exactly do you think this Buddy heater is doing? Do you think that just because there is a piece of ceramic in front of the flame the gas magically combusts differently that a propane camp burner?

        1. pinky,
          You’re obviously anti-Buddy. That’s okay. We’ll leave it at that.

        2. pinky, and anyone who is interested,

          The reason catalytic heaters are safer indoors is because of the platinum impregnated/coated ceramic “burners”. When propane and oxygen comes in contact with the platinum, it goes through a chemical reaction that lowers the flash point of the propane/oxygen mixture resulting in much cleaner combustion. The chemical reaction itself produces heat.

          Think of the catalytic converter on your vehicle. As the heated gases from the engine combustion enters the catalytic converter, those heated gases go through a platinum impregnated ceramic honeycomb where the same chemical reaction occurs, producing more heat, and burning off the majority of the pollutants produced by normal fuel/air combustion.

          In your defense, pinky, I was raised up in homes where open flame space heaters were used exclusively, with no known effect on my health. I do know our homes were never as “airtight” as newer homes today. I still use an old Dearborn Heater in my shop (no where near airtight).

          Final note. My 5 element propane catalytic wall heater (50,000 btu I think), is not vented. We have a carbon monoxide meter/alarm mounted less than 10 feet away. The meter has never registered over a couple ppm when the heater alone is used. That count goes up significantly when the propane kitchen range is in use (some 30 feet away), but nowhere close to setting off the alarm.

        3. The aforementioned Buddy Heater is not a catalytic heater. Catalytic heaters are way different like you said.

          A gasoline car catalytic converter is exothermic but only by a tiny amount. Most of the heat coming in and out of one is from combustion before it gets to the converter.

          Funny thing about all of this is I’m trying to find an affordable way to digitally tune a Beckett AFG oil burner without spending $2k+ on a high end combustion analyzer and CO meter. Normally I just borrow stuff like that from work (not intended for HVAC but it works) but I don’t have anything at home. I tried to use a heated wideband oxygen sensor for a car but it is too sensitive. I purchased a Fieldpiece SOX3 which is a bit at the bottom end. No idea if it is any good but it was only $350. The goal is to be able to run my boiler off anything I can get that is a liquid or gas. So one burner for natural gas and propane, one for regular fuel oil and its cousins including JP8, and one for biodiesel. It is kind of a weird pet project. It is really easy to get random fuels from people for free around here. diesel/kerosene/#1/#2/b20.

        4. Reply to Pinky below-
          Does the Beckett Burner oil furnace have a viewing port where you can see the combustion?
          You might be able to tune it that way, admittedly less accurate than an sensor, though.

  28. Hose Attachments for 20-lb propane tank:


    FYI, In the article, I had only listed one hose assembly. That one ONLY fits the Big Buddy (18,000 BTU model) – which is what I have.

    If you have a Buddy (9,000 BTU model) then you’ll need to order a different hose (which happens to fit either model – go figure…).

    I have updated the listings/links above in the article for these two hoses, for your reference.

    If you’ve already ordered the wrong hose, no worries, amzn is great about returns/exchanges. Apologies for not having pointed that out earlier.

    1. The hose has to be made out of oi-free materials otherwise it can ruin the heater.

  29. And butane is no safer than propane for cooking indoors. Both suffer from being made from carbon and both suffer creating carbon monoxide the same way.

    Most carbon monoxide is caused by reburn (not enough oxygen/poor stack venting) or from flame impingement (flame kissing something instead of open air).

    This is why most portable heaters have a thermocouple tied to the gas valve. When the flame doesn’t get enough oxygen it won’t burn hot enough to keep the valve open. The assumption is that if there isn’t enough oxygen then reburn may be happening thereby generating carbon monoxide. Which is fine and dandy until you get to higher altitudes in which there is less oxygen.

    Air is normally around 21% oxygen. Humans like 19% or better. Most humans feel really bad at 16%.

    Humans usually feel bad by 1000 parts per million carbon monoxide. Or .1%. You don’t live to see 1% carbon monoxide.

    An amusing tidbit is that a conventional electric oven that has a boil over food problem, say cooking yams at Thanksgiving, easily surpasses 1000ppm as the yamness burns off. Nobody notices because it dilutes in the house and the doors are constantly opening, the range hood has been running all day, etc.

  30. I have one and we love it…
    I bought a Mr. Buddy propane hose and a Mr. Buddy filter. I’ve heard that if you buy a regular propane hose and don’t have filter there is a good chance that the heater will get gummed up from the hose. I’m not taking the chance…

    1. According to the Buddy company, the pressure from an unregulated source is enough to “de-grade” the interior of most rubber hoses. They recommend using a filter to catch the by-products of this so called “de-gredation They DI sell a regulated hose for the big buddy, but it is 2 feet shorter, 10 feet instead of 12 feet. Not a big deal. Either buy the twelve foot and a filter, or the ten foot with a tank-side regulator. No filter is required with it.

  31. I received an email today from Tractor Supply. They have Buddy heaters on sale – Nov. 6-10. 25% off.

    1. Have never used the Heater Buddy indoors. Since no one has mentioned anything about moisture buildup, it appears safe to assume that there is minimal moisture output from the propane. Perhaps it is burned off in the process of the cleaner burn by the ceramic.

  32. If you set your buddy heater on the floor I suggest setting an upside down sheet pan under it to reflect the heat away from the flooring.
    I’ve done this on a carpeted floor with no ill effects over a 3 day storm. I run mine like this hunting for up to 10 days on linoleum camper flooring.
    If it’s near anything use another sheet pan leaned against the object for the same results.
    Be safe.

  33. I keep seeing the statement that the heater will go to 100 hours on the low setting. Only once this winter did I get 84 hours from a 20 lb tank. The usual I have found to be about 70-75 hrs. max. and has varied between 66 hrs. to the single instance of 84 hrs. Any thoughts as to why I am getting so much less? I am on Social Security and every penny is vital. I keep the heaters on low 99% of the time simply because I cannot afford not to do so. The rare occasions I have turned one to high, I have limited it to 15 minutes. Again, I must keep my money in mind so I can’t afford to be too comfortable.

      1. Yep. Around here a company with the initials B.R. does the tank exchanges at most of the stores around here. It has right on the label that it only has 15 lbs. I guess that it’s the convenience trade off. Just grab and go. Funny, getting a full 20lbs and waiting while they fill it is usually a lot cheaper.

        1. I recently spent $36 filling 2 tanks @3.75/gal when the stores do the exchanges for $20 @. I can remember not too long ago it was ~1.50/gal.

  34. They recommend a filter if using an external tank; a 20# lp tank for example. You link a refill adapter that has none in the line. Will this void the warranty?

    1. You will have to read the warranty wording from the manufacturer. However I can say this… I have run the Buddy Heater on a 20 pound tank without issue.

  35. I live in 32′ 5th wheel trailer here in Alaska.
    I have insulated the windows and cupboards as well as the roof.
    I can run a 20lb tank 5 days on low keeping me at about 65 when its in the single digits here. I will crank it up to high before bed for about an hour to get to 80 and again in the morning. I have the 6v adapter but, prefer to use a little 10″ fan behind the unit for better circulation. Great little heater.

  36. Have one with 20 tank and regulator. Love it. In deep south but gets cold a bit. For the misses in shower. Just need only one burner 20 tank lasts all winter.

  37. I love my Mr Buddy heater. It sure helps the shower stay warm in the winter.

  38. This is actually my primary heat source in my off grid life. I use the big buddy. I have not been able to run it all night even with cross ventilation. I usually just, through a combination of electric space heaters and the big buddy, heat my place (12×16 with loft bedroom) to about 82-85 deg and turn off at 2130-2200 hrs and go to bed in loft. I can get about 3 weeks out of a 7 gal/30 lb tank, with average lows at 16-19 and as low as 3 this year. I usually wake up to inside temps 20-25 deg warmer than outside.
    Next day I just start over running the heat a couple hours at low or medium during course of day an on low continuous at 1700 til bedtime. Caution, propane is dirty, change the filter every year and cover in off season. Mine has been in service for 4 years now.

  39. JINXMASTER!!!!!!!

    I had on my list check the heaters after reading this article. . Sure enough the red knob broke as I was testing it. Of course this is before the coldest week of the winter. Even Amazon cannot get me one in time. The upside is I learned you can work the device with a pair of needle nose. Thank you for the reminder.

  40. The Big Buddy is great. You want the hose/filter combo for use with BBQ tank. Nod your head “Yes”, they will eat those little 1 pound canisters like candy with any real use.

  41. Went to WM today and found a Mr. Heater propane tank refill adapter. Made in USA. It refills the 1lb bottles from the standard BBQ tank canister. I have not tried it yet, but it may be better solution than buying the individual tanks which are about $5 apiece now.

  42. Have 3 Big Buddy heaters and adapter hoses. I also have 3 BBG tanks (two are in my camper). Never used any of them myself ,yet. Grandson borrowed one last winter. Maybe I should find some filters? Thank you for the info.

    We have a fireplace, but its insufficient. I also learned on here that you open the ash pit, along with the damper. I’m going to try that. Thank you to whoever made that suggestion.

  43. Deborah,
    they say that the 20lb tanks can have rust in them. i don’t know about that for sure but i have filters on mine just in case. if trash were to get into the gas valves in the heaters they are not repairable. it’s a sealed unit.

  44. I live in Loon Lake, Wa in a RV, in winter so far this winter in 2021 its been below zero, i run my Mr Heater during the morning and evening and let me tell you its a gods send..keeps my place toasty,,,recently added a 30 lb tank outside running the hose into where the heater is located, saves a ton instead of buying the one gal green tanks.. yep got to say Mr. Heater is truly a life saver..

  45. I use a 6ft hose with a 20lb tank and it seems like I need to tighten the hose at the tank more than in the past in order for the tank to open up. Do these hoses ‘go bad’ or am I imagining this?

    1. I’ve had the same problem with some of my 20 pounders. I think some tanks just have problems. I sometimes have trouble refilling the 1 pounders with the 20’s using a ‘dozy-ant’.

    1. Yes, I’m using a lil buddy 4-9000 on a 20lb tank and after probably 20 or so hours of use it’s feels alot lighter and I run it on Low

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