It’s late October as I write this. Looking up from the computer screen, there’s a beautiful view of a northern Wisconsin lake. With winter just around the corner Kris and I can look forward to watching the lake freeze.
Then comes the onslaught of ice fishing shacks. The movie Grumpy Old Men was filmed in Wabasha MN, about 90 miles from us. The scenes of the ice shanties are truly authentic to what our view will be in about 60 days or so.
The Buddy Heater by Mr. Heater, The Ice Fisherman’s Choice
As these shanty’s show up, there will be various sources of heating brought in by the owners. The most popular heater is always a Buddy Heater from Mr. Heater. And for good reason.
Three Reasons The Buddy Heater by Mr. Heater Is So Popular
- Everyone wants to stay warm. I’ve had a couple of small heaters that screw onto the top of a small propane cartridge. They’re great hand warmers, but they’re not room heaters. The MH9BX offers 4,000 to 9,000 BTU range. The MH18B goes all the way up to 18,000 BTU.
- Safety. You don’t just want to stay warm. You want to stay safe. Both of these heaters include safety features designed to keep you safe when using the heaters indoors. You can read more about this in the following paragraphs, but these units are approved for indoor use by their manufacturer.
- Fantastic Reviews. Both of these units have hundreds of reviews. Both average 4.5 or higher on a scale of 1-5. That’s pretty darned good. With over 2,000 reviews on Amazon alone, this is a tried and true product.
Let’s take a closer look at two great options.
The Mr. Heater MH9BX
This indoor-safe portable radiant heater is perfect for more than an ice shack. The Mr. Heater F232000 MH9BX Buddy Heater is perfect for a small camper. Whether it’s just a camper shell or a slide-in pickup camper, you’ll be safe and warm.
You’ll be safe because of the built-in features. If the unit get’s tipped over, it shuts itself off. The Buddy Heater also has a built-in low-oxygen safety shut-off so you can rest easy, knowing you’re safe.
The unit uses a ceramic burner tile that’s been installed with shock absorbing mounts for durability and easy replacement. Other features include:
- 4,000 and 9,000 BTU settings
- 4 position control with built-in igniter
- Hi temperature wire guard
- Swivel regulator for easy cartridge replacement
You can expect a 3 to 6 hour run time with a one pound propane cartridge. You can also connect the heater to larger 20 pound propane tank with the optional Mr. Heater 75,000 BTU 12-Foot Propane Hose Assembly, giving you a run time of up to 110 hours of continuous heat.
The Mr. Heater MH18B
This heater is much like the Buddy Heater above, but bigger. The Mr. Heater MH18B Big Buddy has a maximum BTU rating of 18,000. It’s also wall mountable. This bigger heater has a built-in fan that runs on D cell batteries, or you can use a MR HEATER Power Adapter and forgo the batteries.
Again, the automatic shutoff features are built into the unit. Tip it over and it shuts off. The low oxygen level sensor will also shut the unit off. It even shuts off when the propane gets low so you don’t waste battery life.
This heater offers a couple of benefits over the standard RV furnace in our pickup camper.
- Unlike the camper unit, the Big Buddy doesn’t have the huge temperature swing between on/off cycles.
- With that on/off cycle comes the accompanied noise. On, off, on, off all night long. It’s one of the few things that we dislike about cold weather camping.
What Others Are Saying About Buddy Heaters by Mr. Heaters
Mr. Heater sure heats up a room, and it works fast, too. The only problem is that the portable propane canisters don’t last long; only about 6 hours on low and 3 on high. With the 20-lb tank and connector, it’s a 5-star product.
PERFORMANCE IN COLD WEATHER
For the past 5 years, I’ve used the Big Buddy heaters to heat two small cabins, 200 sq feet each, with vaulted ceilings. Without the Big Buddy, my primary cabin averages 37 F in the winter, and my studio averages 35 F. With the Big Buddy, I can keep either cabin at a toasty 65 to 70 F. In the past, I used the smaller Mr. Buddy for years to heat a tent in winter for 2 weeks at a time while working in the mountains.
Varying temperatures and works fast! Heats up a large tent in minutes. Very safe. Any bumps and it turns itself off instantly. No release of odor at all. Very light and easy to transport. Propane bottle goes in well and stays put. Propane lasted longer than anticipated. Highly recommend.
Keep in mind, this is a gas powered catalytic heater. Read all of the accompanied documentation and follow the usage guidelines.
Although many use these it tents, I would do so cautiously. Most tents are quite flammable.
There are hundreds of answered questions along with the Amazon Reviews. They are worth the read.
The old adage “use only as directed” is dead on with any product that produces heat. This one is no exception.