In this Mr Heater Little Buddy review you will find out why it isn’t as little as you might think, how effective it is at heating small spaces and whether or not it’s worth spending your hard-earned moolah on it.
But first, a quick overview.
As far as portable camping heaters go, this is definitely one of the top products out there. (I personally think it is the best tent heater on the market, depending somewhat on your intended use). It’s bigger than you might imagine so it’s not great for backpacking. But for an average-sized tent, small RVs, workshops and sheds, it’s a very handy bit of kit to keep the cold at bay, especially during the winter months.
The Mr Heater Little Buddy MH4B pumps out 3,800 BTU which means it heats up to 95sq feet. It runs on propane (1lb tank) which will last up to 5.5hrs. It weighs the best part of 6lbs and is fairly large at around 12” tall and 10” wide.
For safety features, it has an 8” round base to give it stability. It also has a low-oxygen monitor which, if triggered, will automatically shut the heater down. It will also automatically shut off if tipped over.
Things to Consider
I always find it helpful to put some context around what someone would want to use a product for before passing judgement. To that end, there are a few questions you might want to ask yourself before jumping into the longer review.
How big a space are you heating?
If you can calculate how big a space you need to heat, it will be very helpful in determining whether or not the Little Buddy will work for you. The heating measurement that you are looking for to match the space is BTU (which, you may or may not be aware, is a unit of heat defined as the amount of heat required to raise the temperature of 1lb of water by 1 degree fahrenheit #FunFact).
How far are you travelling?
I’ve already said that it’s not a great heater for backpacking because of its weight and bulk. But you will want to make a determination as to how far you need to move any heater you buy. Little Buddy is very portable (and comes with a handy carry case as an extra if you want). But if you have oodles of space, don’t need to move it far and will need to be heating a large space, there could be a case to make for a bigger heater...
Do you have a preference for how a heater is powered? The Mr Heater Little Buddy runs on a propane cylinder so, obviously if you’re looking for an electric heater this won’t work! And if for some strange reason you really, really want to use butane for fuel, you’ll want to look elsewhere too.
And the size of the propane cylinder is also worthy of consideration as it adds to bulk and weight. It also has a significant impact on run time. Are you thinking of running your heater all the time? Or just to take the edge off now and again?
Using any indoor heater comes with valid safety concerns. Most heaters have decent safety features. And the Mr Heater Little Buddy certainly does. Any gas heater should be used with a carbon monoxide alarm just to be sure.
The main thing you will need to think about when it comes to choosing the right heater for you is ventilation. Mr Heater Little Buddy requires at least a 4” sq vent to operate safely. If you don’t think you’ll have that, you should probably re-think using a heater...
Mr Heater Little Buddy Review: Pros & Cons
Does the job!
Great safety features, including low oxygen sensor
The anti-tip, auto-shut-off feature can be very sensitive
You’ll need to clean it periodically
The ignition button can stiffen over time
Features & Benefits
The heater is fantastic if you’re looking to heat a relatively little space like a tent, RV or a shed. Mr Heater say that it will heat 95sq feet. I don’t think you have to follow this slavishly as it will continue to take the edge off larger spaces.
Don’t expect to be roasty toasty warm when using it (unless you're in a small tent)! You still have to layer up and have a good sleeping bag. But when you use it you will absolutely notice a difference between the indoor temperature and the outdoor temperature. And if you sit directly in front of it, you’ll get the maximum benefit of those extra degrees F.
I don’t personally feel comfortable running a heater all night while I’m sleeping in a tent but you could certainly do that in an RV or a hut as the base is very stable. I prefer to use it at the start and end of the day to make things a lfew degrees warmer when getting up or going to bed. But however you choose to use it, it’s a fantastic way of extending the camping season, especially if you are looking to try winter camping.
It's got two excellent safety features. It will automatically shut-off if knocked over. And a low oxygen sensor will also shut it off if low oxygen is detected.
The only real issues I have with it are that if you move it, it will shut down because of the accidental tip-over feature. In a way that’s very comforting! But if you think you’ll want to shift it around a lot, you might find it quite a frustrating exercise. The other thing is that the ignition button does stiffen over time which can make it less easy to light after a while. But if you notice this within a year, I would 100% recommend testing out the warranty.
All in all, it’s a cracking little propane heater and it’s well worth testing it out! Still not convinced? Check out the video below or read the reviews on Amazon...
The Texsport Propane heater is an even more portable propane heater. It is almost half the weight of the Mr Heater Little Buddy, weighing 3lbs instead of 5.5lbs. It also has an adjustable heat output which is nice with a max of almost 3,000 BTU. So primarily because of the size I’d definitely recommend it over the Mr Heater Little Buddy if you are looking for more of a backpacking heater, or if you want a heater to use in a hunting blind.
For larger spaces, like a big tent or an RV, you might want to consider looking at Mr Heater Little Buddy’s bigger brother. The Mr. Heater MH9BX weighs almost 10lbs and pumps out up to 9,000BTU which makes it really effective at warming a place up. Highly recommended if you have the space in your vehicle and are camping in a largish size group.
How long will a Little Buddy Heater run?
You should be able to run it for up to 7 hours on a low setting. The manufacturer promises it will run for around 5.6 hours. And if you use an adjustable model, the 1lb propane tank will last for around 3 hours on high.
How do you use Mr Heater Little Buddy?
- Screw on a 1lb propane cylinder until hand-tight and place the cylinder into the stand.
- Depress the “ON” button to light pilot flame (if it doesn’t immediately light, press again until it does).
- Continue to hold the “ON” button in for 30-60 seconds.
- When the pilot light is lit, release the “ON” button to light the heater.
- To shut the heater off, press the “OFF” button!
Can you use a Little Buddy Heater indoors?
Yes, you can use a Little Buddy Heater indoors. It’s a little bit larger than it looks in the pictures but is very portable and has a number of automatic shut-off safety features including, an accidental tip-over feature and low oxygen sensor, that make it perfect for indoor use (including a tent). It's worth using it alongside a carbon monoxide alarm just to be on the safe side.
How do I clean my Mr Heater Little Buddy?
- Make sure the heater is shut-off and COLD before cleaning it.
- Remove the propane cylinder from the heater.
- Remove the little plastic service panel on the right hand side by removing the six screws holding it in place.
- Look inside the casing for any dust, lint or spider webs. (Use a vacuum cleaner or compressed air if it needs cleaning)
- Check out the main main burner and clean it (again by using a vacuum or compressed air)
- Inspect the pilot tube and clean with a pipe cleaner if necessary. Blow out the remaining debris.
- Use compressed air to clean the ceramic tile of burner assembly and the venturi tube.
- Replace the plastic service panel, screw the propane cylinder back on and you’re done!