It is no surprise you will need to stay warm when out on the lake for a day of ice fishing this winter season. Lucky for you we researched the best heaters for ice fishing and list them on this page. Whether you are inside an ice fishing shelter or sitting on a bucket outside, you will need a heater to keep you toasty.
Best Ice Fishing Heaters
- Mr. Heater Portable Buddy Indoor Safe Propane Heater
- Mr. Heater Little Buddy Indoor Safe Propane Heater
- Mr. Heater Portable Propane Heater
- Mr. Heater BTU Cooker
- Mr. Heater Double Tank Top Outdoor Heater
- TMS Portable Military Camping Wood Stove
- IOOkME-H Portable Butane Gas Heater
- Texsport Portable Outdoor Propane Heater
Mr. Heater Portable Buddy Indoor Safe Propane Heater
Mr. Heater Little Buddy Indoor Safe Propane Heater[amazon box=”B001CFRF7I”]
Mr. Heater Portable Propane Heater[amazon box=”B0002WRHE8″]
Mr. Heater BTU Cooker[amazon box=”B004W7VJU2″]
Mr. Heater Double Tank Top Outdoor Heater[amazon box=”B008PAYU76″]
TMS Portable Military Camping Wood Stove[amazon box=”B002XNWC8A”]
IOOkME-H Portable Butane Gas Heater[amazon box=”B07MXT5R1J”]
Texsport Portable Outdoor Propane Heater[amazon box=”B000P9GZSW”]
Best Ice Fishing Heaters – Buyers Guide
Ice fishing is a popular pastime in many parts of the United States and continues the angling season even as the temperature drops. With a few friends to share the time with, the water glimmering just below, and some good luck, you will create some great memories.
Before you can get started, you have to tackle the challenges of ice fishing. Some of these include iced-over guides, frozen lines, and frostbitten fingers that make tying a jig impossible. If you have found yourself crouched over an ice fishing hole and shivering, you understand!
This brings us to one of the most important pieces of equipment for ice fishing: a good ice fishing heater. There are many qualities that separate a decent option from the best ice fishing tent heater. We put together a list of the prime factors of a good heater, and what to consider before taking the plunge and purchasing your own.
What to Look for When Buying Ice Fishing Heaters
Now it is time to dive into the special features that make each ice shanty heater different. You will want to consider each of these when deciding which type of heater is best for your needs. It’s likely that you’ll be interested in a kerosene tent heater, but these are not the only option. Whether it’s kerosene or a battery-operated heater for tents, these are all essential factors to consider.
Always Put Safety First
You can find many reviews and descriptions on the internet, so you need to make sure to do adequate research on the best way to heat an ice shack. For one thing, your life depends on it. Not only do your risk hypothermia without one, you also open yourself up to injury or death if you use a heater not suited for indoor tent use.
An outdoor heater, unlike a fish house heater, is specifically designed to open-air locations such as sporting events or construction sites. These heaters do not work in a tent because they produce carbon monoxide, which is dangerous in any enclosed space. Any ice shack heater you choose must be rated for indoor use!
Low Oxygen Sensor
While on the topic of carbon monoxide, indoor heaters should have low oxygen sensors. When the ice fishing propane heater is being used, it will consume oxygen. If your ice shack is not properly ventilated, you risk carbon monoxide exposure. Carbon monoxide makes you sleepy and ultimately unconscious, which can lead to death.
An ice fishing heater with a low oxygen sensor will alert you if oxygen levels are low – which can ultimately save your life. If a heater does not come with this feature automatically, it is an option to purchase the sensor separately. Of course, that is another piece of equipment to get, but a good option if you just need this one add-on.
Auto Tip Over Shut-Off
A great safety feature of some heaters is the auto tip over shut-off function. This means the heater will automatically turn off if it is tipped over for any reason. This helps prevent fires and other accidents as a result of a tipped over heater.
Another feature is the BTU output of your heater, which should be compared to the size of the shelter. BTU is known as the British thermal unit, which is a scientific measurement for the amount of heat needed to raise the temperature of one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit.
The BTU of an ice fishing heater will be determined based on the square feet of your ice shelter. You should match these two elements as closely as you can, but some heaters will have multiple BTU output settings. Multiple settings will allow you to match the output to the size of the shelter.
Portable Propane or Full Size?
An ice fishing propane heater can either be attached to a portable propane tank or a full-size propane tank. This is typically not an interchangeable feature so the heater you pick will be designed for one or the other.
This feature is up to personal preference. For some, it is a lot of work to bring a full-sized propane tank onto the ice. For others, the idea of refilling cylinders is a lot of work.
While on the topic of size, this also plays into other types of heaters. Ideally, the goal is to have a compact size that is easy to store and transport. However, size might be affected by the BTU output you need to warm your tent. Ice fishing heaters often indicate the size space they can handle, so you should be able to match the size of the heater with the size space and BTU output you need.
At the same time, do not sacrifice size for portability if that is not the right option. An undersized heater will not be effective for heating the space, leaving you out in the cold. If the heater is too large for the space, you will have less room and more weight to carry.
Try finding a heater with high capacity and additional settings. This way, you can adjust the settings to the size and temperature at the time. The right size heater will warm the ice shack much faster.
Ice Heater FAQs
Of course, you probably still have questions at this point. To help answer all your concerns, we have some FAQs to help you out.
What is an ice house heater?
This is simply a heating appliance that delivers radiant infrared heat to warm people, air, and objects in the vicinity. It can provide warmth even in sub-zero temperatures.
Why do I need one?
Given the extremely cold nature of ice fishing, you need to make sure the conditions are as safe as possible. This includes wearing multiple layers and preparing for unexpected conditions. Once out on the ice, the conditions can worsen suddenly, or it can take hours before you get a bite on the line.
Bottom line: a heater keeps you safe and warm, prevents frostbite, and lets you fish longer.
Is it safe to use a gas heater in such a small place?
As indicated in the buyer’s guide, these products are safe as long as you use one enabled with oxygen depletion sensors and tip over shutoff. It should always be placed on a stable surface and the ice shack should be well ventilated for optimal safety. You can always read portable heater reviews to check for safety recommendations of certain products.
Will the heater melt the ice?
Bringing warmth to an icy environment does seem counter-intuitive. After all, what if the ice melts and you fall in? Fortunately, these heaters are designed to heat small spaces quickly. They do not exert enough energy to melt the thick ice you are fishing on. It would take an extremely powerful portable heater to melt even just an inch of the ice.
What is a good heater size?
The answer to this depends on the size of your ice fishing shelter, the BTU output, and personal preference. Ideally, you want a compact one so you can carry and store the portable butane heater easily.
The ultimate goal with an ice fishing heater is to stay both warm and safe while enjoying the sport of ice fishing. This might mean compromising on size in favor of space coverage, or splurging on a battery operated heater for rechargeable purposes. At the end of the day, choose an ice shack heater based on personal preference, safety ratings, and safety features.
Stay warm out on the ice with the proper clothing, ice fishing gloves, and more.
Also see these articles on additional ice fishing gear for this season: