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A Guide to Types of Gas Heating: Propane or Kerosene?

A Guide to Types of Gas Heating: Propane or Kerosene?

Jon Hubal
6 minute read

Heaters are what separates us from the cavemen – indoor heating is the modern man’s campfire! Say you’re looking to upgrade or replace your current gas unit but don’t know which one to get. There are many types to choose from, and they’re not all the same. We got you covered. Not all fuels are created equal, and not all of them are even really a gas. In order to decide which is better for you, read our article A Guide to Types of Gas Heating: Propane or Kerosene?

We’ve broken down the Pros and Cons of the main types of gas heaters available by fuel type, giving you the key points, you’ll need to know when shopping for your gas-powered heat source.

Gas Heaters

Gas heaters have been around for a long time and continue to be an effective source of heating today. They conventionally run on either propane, natural gas, or Kerosene, each with its own benefits and disadvantages. 


Propane Heaters

Propane Pros

  • Either a liquid or a gas, depending on the pressure and temperature, propane is stored in liquid form inside tanks but turns into gas when released. Being a much denser version of propane, the liquid allows you to keep much more on hand than you would if it were stored in gaseous form.
  • Per equal amount burned, propane produces about twice as much heat as natural gas – making it the more potent fuel. Counter actively, buying is often more expensive, which can offset the energy savings. 
  • Traditionally a powerful means of heating, propane heaters provide a noticeable amount of heat very quickly – allowing you to warm up faster.
  • Propane heaters can use propane tanks for portability or be hooked up to utility lines for longer usage.
  • Propane is not considered a greenhouse gas but an approved “clean energy source.”

Propane Cons

  • Propane is usually more expensive than natural gas, but not always. Check your local utility rates for more accurate info.
  • Because it is a fossil fuel, propane causes emissions. These emissions, however, are not considered a greenhouse gas, making them less impactful than others like natural gas.

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Kerosene Heaters

Kerosene Pros

  • Kerosene heaters have long run times and will generally not overheat if appropriately designed. However, they are limited by the size of their fuel tank, whereas electric heaters can run indefinitely. 
  • Kerosene is a very stable fuel and will not freeze, at least not until -40°F, which, luckily, most of us will never see. Stability is important for any heating oil. It allows it to be stored safely even when temperatures drop.
  • Not really a gas but a liquid, Kerosene is the most environmentally friendly fossil fuel. When burnt in its paraffin form, Kerosene produces fewer fumes than others like coal or wood. As a result, as far as fossil fuels go, Kerosene is a better option.
  • Highly combustible with a low flashpoint, but non-explosive – making it incredibly easy to light. Yet, because it only produces low levels of fumes, it is not inclined to explode like natural gas, making it a reasonably safe option.

Kerosene Cons

  • No cancer-causing agents (carcinogens) have been found in Kerosene; it burns cleanly and minimally fumes. Historically, it’s been viewed as safe to burn indoors; that’s why it’s been a popular choice for home fuel. But recent science has shown possible links to health issues tied to kerosene use. The jury may still be out on this one.
  • Though they are the most carbon-friendly fossil fuel, it does still produce emissions when used in heaters. 

Natural Gas Heaters

NG Pros

  • Natural gas heaters can often be a wall, or ceiling-mounted, providing useful space-saving efficiency.
  • Energy security. The U.S. has ramped up natural gas production in recent years, having exports surpass imports even. That means we’ll have plenty on hand to reduce domestic price and have it when you need it.
  • Natural gas serves a dual purpose if you drive a car, as it is also road fuel.
  • Storing natural gas is easy since it does not freeze over but turns liquid at a whopping -258.7°F.
  • Though it fluctuates wildly, natural gas (or petroleum) is often the cheapest of all the fossil fuel options.

NG Cons

  • Gas lines have been known to rupture in natural disasters like earthquakes, or more commonly people may be exposed to a leak – suffering negative health effects. 
  • Like Kerosene, Natural gas creates greenhouse gas emissions. Electric is the only conventional option that does not produce emissions.

What Heater Will You Buy?

Gas heaters can be a lifesaver, particularly in times when electric power is inconvenient, unavailable, or too costly. That is the beauty of it. “Effective power when you need it,” unlike renewable energy, which often cannot be stored and is inaccessible during hard times. Whether you’d like to take advantage of the impressive heat capabilities provided by gas or would like to be ready for any emergency simply – gas heaters can be the perfect solution to keep you cozy and comfortable when you need them most. 

Maintenance and portability are typically negligible between the three main fuel types, depending more on the design of the heater specifically. If price is your driving factor, check your local utility rates for more information relevant to your area. The fuel cost will vary – making it difficult to compare which is more cost-efficient economically for you. See which is cheaper in your area before buying!

Contact The Trade Table

Have questions about Propane or Kerosene: A Guide to Types of Gas Heating? Or need help deciding what kind of Heater is perfect for you? Please feel free to contact one of our real representatives by chatting with the chat button in the bottom right, calling us at +1 (256) 633-6553, or emailing us at

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