Kerosene Heaters Vs Natural Gas

Kerosene and propane are the most common fuels used for heaters. While both are fuels, they have differences that set them apart.

Propane is an outcome of natural gas processing and petroleum refining that has recently gained popularity. In contrast, kerosene is a liquid used for ages to power oil lamps. 

Keep reading to clear your confusion about kerosene heater vs natural gas. You might be wondering, which of these fuels is more efficient and worth using? We have conducted thorough research about both of these heating fuels to ease your dilemma.

Key Differences Between Kerosene Vs Natural Gas

A few key differences make kerosene and propane heaters unique in their ways. We have each difference along with details below.


Portability is a crucial factor you must consider before purchasing the type of heater you want. If you dwell in a mostly warm region throughout the year, having a permanently installed heater can be useless.

Whether propane or kerosene, all heaters must be stationary while operating. However, you can move around small emergency heaters easily. They are capable of heating up to 1,000 feet in some cases.  

Portability depends on the model you choose and is available in both kerosene and propane heaters. Therefore, if portability is a decider, it is a draw between both the heaters.

Kerosene Heaters Vs Natural Gas


The maintenance for kerosene heaters consists of changing the wick periodically. If you run a heater for ten to twelve hours per day, you will be required to burn the wick dry at least weekly. You will also have to clean a kerosene heater occasionally to prevent carbon buildup. 

In contrast, propane heaters require relatively low maintenance. However, you will need to frequently clean the heater’s surface, thermocouple, and gas jet with a fine wire brush. It will prevent carbon from building up and hampering the efficiency of your heater. 

Running Time

You can run both propane and kerosene heaters for up to twelve hours a day if they are fueled and maintained properly. However, the running time largely depends on the size of the fuel tank.

The fuel reservoir constructed in a kerosene heater often limits its running time. You would need to refuel the tank frequently due to its inability to be connected with larger tanks. 

On the other hand, propane heaters can be easily connected to large 100-pound cylinders or your home propane plumbing system. You can also connect it to small one-pound bottles if you want a shorter period of warmth.

When it comes to running time, propane heaters are the winner. Although it is easy to refuel kerosene heaters, a self-reliant heater is much more efficient. 


You can find kerosene tanks at camping or home improvement stores, but they can be of poor quality. With kerosene heaters, it is important to use high-quality kerosene to run the heater safely and efficiently.

Buying kerosene from a gas station that has a kerosene pump is a wiser option. However, if you cannot locate a kerosene pump, go for propane heaters, as propane is more easily available.

Propane is easier to find as they are mostly used for gas grills. You can find propane in convenience stores, grocery stores, home improvement stores, and quite a few other places. You can also store propane in bulk by buying a large propane tank.

Kerosene Heaters Vs Natural Gas

Head to head differences Kerosene Heaters VS Propane Heaters 


Kerosene heaters are good choices for both indoor and outdoor. They are also considered safer compared to other gas-fueled heaters. 

Additionally, they are portable, so carrying them around with you is easy. Kerosene heaters are an excellent choice for when you need heat but do not have electricity, as they don’t require electricity to operate. 

Unvented kerosene heaters can cause fire hazards if proper ventilation is not provided. They are high maintenance, and the wicks need to be cleaned as dirty wicks can cause black smoke. You may also be unable to control the heat output depending on the model you have. 


With propane heaters, you get to control the heat output. It means that the amount of fuel you need is up to you, cutting down your costs of purchasing fuel. 

Propane-operated heaters are portable and can also be fixed in one place, depending on the model you choose. Unlike kerosene heaters, propane heaters usually do not emit harmful gases. 

Propane is much cheaper than kerosene and can be found easily in most gas stations and grocery stores. Propane heaters do not need electricity to operate, similar to kerosene heaters.

However, a few downsides to propane heaters is their inability to operate properly above a certain level. In addition, portable models would require ventilation. 

Pros And Cons

There are both pros and cons to kerosene and propane heaters. They are as follows.

Propane Heaters


  • Cost-effective 
  • Clear burn and efficiency 
  • Quick heating 


  • Good ventilation is required to use portable models.
  • It might not work efficiently above 4500 feet.

Kerosene Heaters 


  • Heats rapidly 
  • Burns fuel efficiently 
  • Portable and easy to use


  • It can cause a fire hazard if not used correctly.
  • Can build up carbon monoxide due to poor ventilation 
Kerosene Heaters Vs Natural Gas

Which Is Safer: Propane Or Kerosene?

Both propane and kerosene heaters are capable of emitting carbon monoxide. It is essential to vent your heaters properly, regardless of the fuel you use. 

Carbon monoxide does not have an odor or a visible color. It can be dangerous if you inhale it. However, ventless indoor propane heaters do not risk carbon monoxide buildup as they have low oxygen shutoffs. 

You should take into consideration that propane is cleaner than kerosene. Therefore it emits less harmful fuels than kerosene. Yet, it is a highly combustible gas and needs extra caution. 

Things To Consider Before Purchasing 

There are a few factors that you should consider before purchasing a propane or kerosene heater. Firstly, you should seek a reputable supplier of fuel. A good supplier can help increase the efficiency of the fuel with the quality they provide.

You will also have to consider where you will be using the heater. Different models are recommended for different uses. The area you live in might be mostly warm and not require a permanently installed heater.

You will also have to consider the time you will be running the heater and its portability before choosing the fuel type.

Is It Safe To Keep Your Heater Fueled Up All Year?

Whichever fuel you are using, it is not recommended to keep your heater connected to the fuel source year-round. It is a matter of safety and fuel preservation. 

If you keep fuel outside its approved storage container, it can cause a fire. Avoid fueling your heater if it is not in use. 

If you put fuel in an appliance and do not use it for half a year, it can cause an accumulation of particulates or can gum up the injector or carburetor. This rule, however, does not apply to other propane appliances except heaters. 


Choosing fuel for your heater solely depends on you and your preferences. Both kerosene and propane have their own set of advantages and drawbacks. One is more cost-effective, while the other is relatively safer, and so on. 

We hope our article could clear your confusion regarding the differences between natural gas and kerosene heaters. Before you decide on using either of the fuels mentioned here, keep the information in this article in mind.

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