Propane or kerosene heater for the garage is a burning question. Both heaters burn clean, but there are some fundamental differences between them. A garage space, especially in cold seasons, is too confined to accommodate two heating systems at once.
What is the difference between a propane or kerosene heater?
There are two main types of heaters to consider: ventless and vented, as well as the 2 main types of fuel: propane and kerosene. Although both may look similar, there are significant differences in the product itself and its use.
Comparison of kerosene and propane heaters by their appearance
Both burners appear very similar, but the main difference is that propane heaters burn at a cooler temperature (propane gas heats to about 1200°F and burns at around 1800°F). Kerosene heaters, however, burn at much higher temperatures.
Comparison of kerosene and propane heaters by their fuel
While both burners use similar types of fuel, the method of burning these fuels differs.
Propane heaters burn propane gas from a tank much like you would expect with your home’s heater. The propane is then burned in a ‘flame holder,’ which uses either ceramic or aluminum to hold the flame. From here, the entire heating element gets very hot, and the surrounding air and surfaces (walls, floor) heat up as a result.
On the other hand, Kerosene uses an enclosed chamber to burn its fuel. The fire from the kerosene flame gets to its temperature by heating the air in its chamber. The Kerosene heats up, becomes very hot, and ignites, causing combustion.
Comparison of kerosene and propane heaters by their use
Kerosene heaters are the most powerful and efficient type of heater on the market today. This heater does not rely on anything other than just the fuel to heat. As a result, it can continue to burn even in colder climates up to -40°F.
On the other hand, propane heaters do not fare as well in very cold weather. Since propane gas burns at a high temperature, more of this type of fuel is needed to have the same effect. Therefore propane gas is difficult to use in colder climates.
Due to their power, convenience, and mobility, kerosene heaters are much more popular in outdoor settings where ease of use is essential for survival. At the same time, propane heaters are often used in homes or garages where they provide supplemental heating that is sufficient for short-term use.
What is safer: propane or kerosene heater?
The propane heater has some safety features installed. For example, it automatically shuts off when the fuel level gets low, so there are no chances of having an accident. It can also shut off when it’s tipped over or overheats.
However, propane is still a flammable material, so you have to take some safety precautions before using it. It releases butane and propylene into the air, which can explode if there are open flames nearby. In this case, a kerosene heater is safer because it has a burner that creates heat and a fan that blows the heat out. As a result, it only emits water vapor and a very small amount of carbon dioxide.
So which one should I choose?
Both propane and kerosene heaters are great for garages. However, there are some essential differences that you should consider before purchasing a heater of any kind.
Propane tends to be more efficient in empty heating spaces, while Kerosene is better for smaller areas, where it is less expensive to refill the tank. It also tends to provide more heat. Kerosene is safer, but it’s important to note that propane will never spill or leak, making it a better choice in garages where everything has to stay untouched.
It should be mentioned that in any case, it is essential to keep in mind safety precautions as well as environmental issues because propane and Kerosene both are toxic fuels.