If you have an unheated shop or garage, and you want to warm it fast so that you can get straight to work, this crazy-macho heater really does the job. It’s very powerful (70,000 BTU) and, amazingly, creates no detectable odor while burning kerosene. Sold only in Home Depot stores (not available anywhere online) it retails for around $200, which is slightly less than similar models by other manufacturers. While many forced-air heaters of this type are propane-powered, this one allows you a choice of kerosene or diesel, eliminating the hassle, weight, and expense of a propane cylinder.
Inside the heater a pump vaporizes the fuel, which is ignited in a tube containing a powerful fan. The blast of hot air feels good and is much more effective than a passive convection heater. The device looks and functions like a small rocket motor, which adds to the fun of it for me, since I feel nostalgic for the days when consumer products were unencumbered by tiresome safety features. Some people however may be disconcerted by the yellow flames that emerge about 1 to 2 inches from the business end during normal use. If you live in Massachusetts, you’re supposed to get a local fire department permit before you plug it in and induce ignition.
You must have a fresh air supply through a partially opened door or window, and you don’t want pets or children around. Probably a concrete floor is advisable, and (even though the instructions somehow fail to mention this) you should not stand directly in front of the heater while switching it on! In 35-degree weather, in a workshop of 20 x 25 feet with a very high 16-foot ceiling, the heater created a 70-degree environment within about 15 minutes. The burning vapor makes a muted roaring noise, but you probably won’t need to run it for more than a few minutes at a time.
Although the heater has a thermostatic control, I prefer to use mine manually, since a gadget resembling a small rocket motor which ignites itself at unpredictable moments is enough to make me a little jumpy. Dyna-Glo also manufactures a smaller, propane-powered version, which I tried but didn’t like as much. They offer two larger liquid-fueled models which I haven’t tested, because I don’t have that much space to heat.
[The current model has 75,000 BTUs. -cc]