Is your car heater not working and blowing cold air? Are you looking for the best portable car heater to stay warm while car camping or driving in the winter? If your answer is “Yes,” you have landed at the right place. This guide will help you find the most durable and best portable heater for car that you can use when your car heater is not getting hot enough.
We all know, it’s scary enough to step out into the freezing cold and snowy weather, let alone to drive to work or travel somewhere for fun. As you step into your vehicle, it is important that you keep yourself warm enough.
Sweaters and jackets can only ward off cold to a certain limit, but if you want to keep yourself and your car interior warm in the cold winter, portable car heaters come pretty handy. Now you might be thinking, what is the best portable car heater that can keep you warm without draining your gas tank, right?
Don’t worry, you don’t need to do lots of research or go anywhere to find the most suitable and long-lasting portable heater for your car or truck, because we have already done that for you so that you can have a convenient buying experience.
Here we have listed some of the most popular, reliable, and best portable car heaters to keep you warm, cozy, and your windshield ice-free even in the cold, freezing winter.
Do Portable Car Heaters Really Work?
A question that comes to the mind of every buyer is – do portable car heaters really work? Yes, if we talk about cigarette lighter heaters, you plug these heaters into the cigarette lighter socket of your car, but they won’t do much. Yes, they can defrost the windows and warm your hands, but these will not fulfil your requirements if you need to warm up your car.
There are other heaters, though, which actually work. You can grab a Direct-Wired heater. It connects to the electric system of your car and keeps you warm enough. But it is better to use when the car is running as they consume high battery power.
If you are stuck and need to spend the night in your car, a propane heater will work. Just open the window a slice, and start it. In the winters, these portable car heaters come as a boon. A seat heater paired with one of the best portable car heaters will help you face the scary cold, no matter how late you’re driving.
13 Best Portable Car Heater on the Market Right Now
If you have been wondering what is the best portable car heater on the market right now, you don’t need to anymore. This guide covers the list of the best portable car heaters which will keep you warm.
RoadPro 12V Direct Hook-Up Ceramic Heater
This ceramic heater is one of the best 12V heaters for cars, which instantly warms up your car or even a truck cab. This is one of those direct-wired heaters which emit warmth enough to warm your car and just not a defroster.
It directly hooks to your vehicle battery and has a 25 Amp rating. It includes all installation hardware, so even if you are not a pro at carrying out mechanical operations on your own, you can simply arrange a mechanic, and he can do it for you.
The best thing about this Ceramic heater is that it can switch from heat to cool settings as well, so you can adjust it at the temperature you want. It is not a small cigarette lighter heater but a 12V direct wired heater which warms you up quickly. With 300 watts of power, it is pretty powerful, and you will never be cold in your car again.
- RoadPro starts warming up the area immediately.
- It is suitable for a car as well as a truck cab.
- The swivel base of this product allows you to set the direction for the heat.
- It has a ceramic body which looks quite powerful.
- You may need a mechanic to hard-wire it to the battery as the procedure is not something everyone likes.
Zerostart Interior Car Warmer
You can call it an intelligent portable car heater. It is a universal fit and will defrost your windshield before the engine starts. If you have an RV, a light-utility vehicle, or a passenger vehicle, this is the best portable car heater to keep your interiors warm.
You must plug it into a 120 Volt AC plug, and you will never complain of being cold in your car. It is a 900 Watt/ 3000 BTU portable heater that comes with a mounting bracket so that you can mount it on the floor or under the dash to start warming up your vehicle.
It is an intelligent portable car heater because it heats your car, but as soon as the temperature hits 70⁰C or 158⁰F, it automatically turns off. It has a sensor which keeps assessing the heat level and will only restart after cooling down for 15-30 minute. Plus, it also has a one-time secondary use thermal safety sensor which turns off the heat if the temperature reaches 141⁰C. In this case, the heater dies and cannot be used further.
- It is best for RVs, passenger vehicles, and light Vehicles.
- It is easy to fit.
- With 900 Watts, it warms up space pretty well.
- It is not a good fit for smaller cars, as it may be too powerful for them.
Mr. Heater Indoor Safe Propane Heater
This MHB4 indoor heater is also known as Little Buddy. The name suits it perfectly as it is small, but it can heat up to 95 sq ft. You must remember that it is not for a motorized vehicle that you cannot use while driving. If you drive day and night and need to sleep in your car, this portable heater will keep you warm enough.
It has a one-button ignition and needs to be hooked up to a 1 lb. propane cylinder (does not come with the heater), and it will last for 5.6 hours at minimum and maximum BTU.
A good portable car heater that has a round stand that will let it quietly stand on your dash, and if it accidentally tips over, it has an accidental tip-over safety shut-off. Though it has an automatic low-oxygen shut-off system, it is better if you provide it with a 4 square-inch minimum ventilation window.
- Mr. Heater is small, compact, easy to transport and handle, and takes up little space.
- It is designed to keep you warm safely with automatic low-oxygen shut-off and tip-over shut-off.
- It is versatile and can be used in tents, for emergency heat, campers, patio, porch, garages, barns, sheds, workshops, cars, etc.
- Not to be used in a moving vehicle or a golf cart.
Lasko Heating Space Heater
Do you need a personal heater that will work like just the one at your office desk? Yes, do you want a personal heater that will keep your toes and hands warm while you drive to the grocery store? Lasko MyHeat Personal Space Heater is the best portable car heater you need.
It is a 6-inch long small heater that is easy to use. It does not need any hard-wiring or a propane cylinder to aid it. Just pull it out of the box, plug in its 2 pronged plug into the circuit, and you are good to go. It has ceramic plate heating, which makes it start blowing off hot air immediately.
It is so small that it can fit anywhere. It is a 200 Watt heater which is good for personal heating but cannot warm a room. It is easily portable and comes with a 6-foot long cord so that you can place it anywhere near you where there is a circuit.
- It is small, compact, easy to transport, and easy to install.
- It is odorless, quiet, with zero-emission, and comes in a variant of colors.
- Immediately starts warming up your personal space.
- Not suitable for warming up rooms.
- It does not have a safety auto-shutoff.
Caframo Limited True North Space Heater
If you need a rugged, small power-packed portable car heater, you must get your hands on Caframo Limited True North Heater. When it’s a cold cottage, your RV is freezing cold, and there is frost on doors and windows; Caframo is what you need. It’s a 9-inch long heater which is called the best portable car heater and will warm up your RV, cottage, and home with enough warmth.
This little but powerful heater has a minimum power of 600W and the highest up to 1500W. A 120 Volt power supply is enough for this one, and it also comes with 5 power settings with a 38⁰F thermostat.
It comes with a power plug. Just plug in, and you will start feeling the much-needed heat. This product also comes with a 5-year warranty. When it comes to portable heaters for cars, there isn’t much choice for large vehicles. The True North Space Heater solves that problem.
- You get dual overheat protection.
- It has an anti-freezing setting that comes on 38⁰F.
- It comes with 5 settings and a 5-year warranty.
- The True North Space heater is good for larger vehicles, cottages and smaller rooms.
- Not a good fit for smaller cars.
500-Watt Ceramic Small Space Personal Mini Heater
Want a nice toasting warm car as you step out into the freezing cold? This heater will get your car ready for you. This AmazonBasics mini car heater is so small and portable that you can carry it anywhere.
Thanks to its small ceramic coils that make your car warm in minutes. It has a little on and off switch behind it, which helps you turn down the heat as and when you want. It is cute and little and will sit on top of your dash without making any noise. It has a convection heating method and powers up with an electric cord.
It has a tip-over protection feature so that you don’t have to worry about seeing your car in flames if it accidentally tips over while you are buying a newspaper. This is one of the best portable car heaters, which is designed with your safety in mind. You can carry it easily with you to keep you warm as you start working at your desk. It is for small places like your car, and it also comes in different colors if you like some bright ones around you like blue, pink, and white.
- This mini heater is really small, highly portable, and easy to use.
- It has an automatic tip-power safety system.
- It’s a 500-watt personal heater suitable for heating one person.
- Not suitable for a big car.
Aqua-Hot 200 Cabin Heater
When it comes to RV heating, you can’t forget Aqua-hot. Its name is popular enough to make you buy it, and it has its name in all the lists of the best portable heaters for cars. This powerful but compact heater makes your RV or your small cabin petty warm in no time.
With 6000 BTUs/hour, it has a 200 CFM fan output. It comes with a mounting bracket with a 180-degree rotation which makes it easy to place. It is one of the best 12V portable heaters for cars.
Its portability is what makes it a strong recommendation for heating up bigger cars. It has an on and off switch which also helps to set the heat level. It is a water-based auxiliary heating system. This is a robust heater that is a good fit if you want to spend a day or two out in your cabin and need something to warm you up, or your RV needs defrosting.
- Aqua-Hot can make a place warm pretty quickly.
- It works nicely for small areas like an RV or a cabin.
- This product is very compact but heats up fast.
- It may not be very suitable for smaller cars, though it has a temperature control switch.
- It may be a little noisy when working at full capacity.
Mr. Heater Golf Cart Heater
It was designed especially for golf carts. If you are a golf-lover and can’t resist the game even in the freezing cold, this Mr. Heater Golf Car Heater will be your best bud to ward off cold. It is alright if you want to use it in your car. It comes with a cup holder and fits most cars. You can lock it in place and drive without any worries.
It works on a propane cylinder. A 1 lb propane cylinder is all you need, and it will warm up your car pretty good. It also has an Oxygen Depletion Sensor (ODS), which will turn off the heater if the oxygen level in your car reduces to a below-accepted level.
It has no electric cord attached to it. Just a push button, and it will start heating. Though you can lock it up in place even if it accidentally tips over, your car won’t catch fire as it has an auto tip-over shut-off system. It is a portable car heater which is loaded with lots of features.
- The wind-resistant screen, heavy-duty wire guard, Pilot wind guard, Cup Holder adapter, and ODS- are all incorporated to offer maximum utility.
- It operates at 4000 BTUs with a 5.5-hour capacity.
- It has a carrying handle which makes it easy to transport.
- It is very small and may not heat up your SUV as fast as its peers do.
- You need to get the propane cylinder separately.
Blue–net Universal Car Truck Fan Heater
If you want a Jack-of-all-trades, a heater that warms up your truck, de-mists the windshield, clears the fog, and shoo away the frost, you must get a Blue-net Universal Car Truck Fan Heater. This is a portable car heater that needs to be connected to your vehicle’s water tank, then connect it to power, and you are done. It may not be the easiest part, and you may need a professional to do it for you.
Once it is installed, you need not worry about the cold anymore. It is the best 12V portable heater for cars which quickly clears the fog and frost, and you can drive on the snow-laden roads with ease.
It comes with 6 ports. It has a 22×16.5 cm body which works nicely for the larger vehicle. You need to check the water temperature of your car as it does not have a temperature control switch or thermostat. It has a strong body and great potential to keep you and your large vehicle warm.
- Once it starts blowing heat, its 6 ports spread it evenly.
- It is good for lighter and heavy vehicles.
- It defogs and defrosts the windshield.
- The heating depends on the water temperature.
- It does not come with a temperature control switch. There is no safety switch either.
RoadPro 12-Volt All-Season Heater
If you live in a region where the temperatures do not dip below freezing low, you can get RoadPro RPSL-581 for heating up your car. Don’t get your hopes too high for defrosting as it has a one-blade fuse, and it only warms up the place in front of it. It does not warm the entire car, and you may use it in moderate temperatures.
It is a portable car heater that can be easily plugged into a lighter/power socket and start getting the warm blow. It also has an adjustable swivel base. It draws 15 amp current, and you must plugin when the engine is running; else, you will drain your battery. It comes with complete installation hardware and 6 foot, 10-gauge power cord.
It cannot get up even in a small car, and you can use it in addition to other car heating products like a seat warmer. If you are on a tight budget, you can get this one, and you won’t be disappointed.
- Good to use in moderate temperatures.
- It can heat enough to keep you comfortable.
- You can use it while the car engine is running; else, it will drain your battery.
- It only warms the area in front of it and can’t clear the chilly frosty windshields if the temperature is too low.
30,000 BTU High Output 12 Volt Auxiliary Heater
A strong vehicle needs a strong heater, and when it comes to a small van, truck, RV, and even boat, there is only one best 12V portable car heater, and that is 30000 BTU 12V Auxiliary Heater which keeps calm and makes your vehicle warm and toasty in no time.
It blows hot water forced heat and comes with a mounting bracket, an installation kit, and an instruction sheet, making the set-up easy for you. You may find it a bit costly than other heaters but with its 3 defrost ducts providing higher output, defrosting your windows in seconds, you will love it.
It comes with a one-year warranty and prides itself on having a strongly built powder-coated all-steel case with a strong aluminum core. It has 3-speed high-volume dual blowers and requires connecting to your cooling water tank. It does not come with a thermostat, but it won’t let you feel a sliver of cold in chilly weather.
- It comes with a sturdy, well-built, powder-coated all-steel case.
- It is a versatile and the best 12V portable car heater for boats, buses, trucks, vans, and RVs.
- This heater comes with a one-year warranty.
- It has 3-speed settings.
- Defrosts your windows, windshield, and back glass efficiently.
- It does not have a thermostat.
- Heating also depends on the water in your cooling tank.
- It takes some time to heat up in chilly weather.
Atomi Smart WiFi Portable Tabletop Space Heater
If you are looking for a good portable car heater that is smart, versatile, and able to warm up large areas efficiently, you must get Atomi Smart WiFi Tabletop Space Heater.
You can place it on your tabletop, under your desk, in your RV, and control it with Alexa or simply your phone. It can warm up to 750sq. ft of area efficiently and works silently. It is simple to set up, and you can start heating your place within five minutes of unboxing. First of all, its sleek, slim, and aesthetically beautiful body enhances your car’s interior. Second, you can carry it easily, and with its wobble-free base, you can place it anywhere in the house as well.
It comes with a smart app compatible with Google Assistant and Alexa so that you can control it from anywhere by simple voice commands. Plus, it also notifies you if it accidentally tips over.
It has 1500W of powerful heat, 3 switching modes; you can set the timer, the oscillation, and a 360-degree tip-over safety switch.
- It is easy to operate, carry, and work on any surface.
- It comes with 3 modes and 1500W powerful heating settings.
- It can be controlled with a smartphone as it is WiFi-enabled.
- A good fit for larger areas up to 750 sq. ft.
- No significant ones.
20,000 BTU 12V Low Profile Universal Auxiliary Cab Heater
Another robust and strongly-built low-profile heater from American Cooling Solutions is a great fit for several vehicles, like cars, trucks, tractors, buses, vans, UTVs, RVs, etc. It’s the various features of this auxiliary heater which has made it one of the best 12V portable car heaters of all time.
It also comes with a one-year warranty against manufacturing defects, but you won’t need it as it comes tested from the factory. It may require custom work for installation. It comes with a 12V fan motor, installation kit, has adjustable heat outlet ports, and copper tube core in this compact size heater. It also has a 5/8” hose barb and its overall dimensions are 14-1/4”x10”x4-7/8”.
The company is also known for its excellent customer service, and you will never be disappointed with the product.
- It is a versatile product that fits cars, trucks, tractors, buses, vans, UTVs, RVs, etc.
- It includes heater assembly, 8 hose clamps, mounting brackets, fan on/off switch, “Y” Connectors for coolant lines, and fuse and fuse holder.
- No cons found,
Best Portable Car Heaters to Stay Warm and Cozy in a Car [FAQs]:
Are Portable Car Heaters Safe?
Most people have questions such as “are portable car heaters safe?” or “are portable heaters dangerous?”. The answer is- portable car heaters are perfectly safe if only you are investing in the best portable car heater.
Alongside, it is important that you follow all the rules mentioned by the manufacturer. There are certain portable heaters that come with ODS, safety auto-shutoff, tip-over shut-off, etc. Reading the manual is very important.
Also, if you don’t know anything about installation, get help from a professional. It is perfectly safe to use a portable car heater and keep your car warm if you are following every instruction like providing ventilation, mounting bracket, using a propane cylinder, etc.
Is It Safe to Leave a Portable Heater ON Overnight?
For safety reasons, sleeping with electric heaters on is not good. If you are sleeping in a room with a portable heater, make sure that you turn it off before sleeping. If you talk about the best portable car heater sitting on your car dash, you need to take some precautions. First, you must provide a nice crack in the window for ventilation.
Secondly, choose portable heaters which have ODS, safety auto-shutoff, and tip-over shut-off. Sleep with a portable heater on if only it is very necessary as carbon monoxide pollution in an enclosed space can cause health issues like dizziness, headache, feeling nauseous, etc.
What is the Best 12V Portable Car Heater?
If you are looking for the best 12V portable car heater, you must check out these two.
RoadPro Direct Hook-Up Ceramic Heater- This is a direct-wired ceramic heater that instantly starts up heating your car and truck and also defrosts the windshield. It is connected directly to your battery and has 300 Watts of power along with a swivel base. It can also switch from heat to cool settings.
Blue–net Universal Car Truck Fan Heater- If you want something to spread heat evenly in your large vehicle, you need this one. It is best for regions that face bone-freezing cold as it defrosts and de-mists the windows for you and, with its 6 ports, keeps you warm enough to drive comfortably. Compare these two best 12V portable car heaters and choose one for your car.
How to Stay Warm in a Car if the Car Heater Not Working?
If your car heater not blowing hot air, you must know how to keep warm in a car overnight-
● Start your car early, i.e. before you get into it so that engine will warm it up for you.
● Park it in a covered area. It’s better not to let snow accumulate on your car.
● If you can’t park it in a covered area, at least cover the windshield. It will keep some of the colds away.
● Get a hot drink. It will warm up your body from the inside.
● Get a seat warmer if your car doesn’t have one. You can buy them off the market, and they help a lot.
● Keeping some blankets in the car will save you from freezing if your car heater is not working.
What is the Best Portable Car Heater to Buy in 2023?
It solely depends on the type of car you have and the regions you drive through. If you want to buy the best 12V portable car heater, RoadPro Direct Hook-Up Ceramic Heater is best for a small and big-sized car.
However, if you have a small car and want to invest less, you may get your hands on a small space ceramic mini heater. Yes, this one is easily portable, doesn’t require any installation or purchase of a propane cylinder separately, works silently, and keeps you safe as it has a tip-over auto-shutoff system.
First of all, you must identify your needs and then choose the best portable car heater for your vehicle. That’s all! Stay connected for more automotive guides.
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