Top 5 Picks for the Best Heaters for Ice Fishing in 2023

Published: July 30, 2023


Imagine yourself on a shiny frozen lake, surrounded by a winter wonderland, just chilling and waiting for the fish to come to you. Doesn’t it just seem like heaven? Well, Ice fishing is a type of experience that makes anglers the happiest people on Earth every winter.

But, since the olden days, humans can never stay happy for too long, and in the case of ice fishing, you get exposed to harsh, bone-chilling cold.

Basically, without having proper gear, the low temperatures can turn your ice fishing tent into an inhospitable freezer, which would obviously make you cut your trip short and go back as soon as you can.

Hence, to ensure comfort throughout your fishing journey and make the most out of your ice fishing adventure, you would need to take a heater for ice fishing.

If you choose a good quality ice fishing heater, you can easily transform your tent into a cozy, warm blanket, making you focus more and more on catching fish than shivering in the cold and worrying about getting sick.

In this article, we will present you with the top 5 picks for the best heaters for ice fishing in 2023. We have carefully curated the selected ice fishing tent heaters by using them in our own ice fishing adventures.

The ice fishing heaters we have suggested below prioritize safety, portability and provide exceptional heating performance.

Plus, you don’t have to worry about your preference; we have suggested a wide variety of ice fishing tent heaters.

Before we dive down into the top 5 Best Heaters for Ice Fishing in 2023, let’s have a look at what factors you have to look into while choosing an ice fishing heater.


How to Choose the Best Ice Fishing Heater

When you are choosing the best ice fishing heater, you need to consider a number of factors so you stay warm and safe on your ice fishing venture.

Below are the four main things you need to keep in account while getting an ice fishing heater.

BTU Output vs. Size of Shelter: First of all, you need to assess the size of your ice fishing tent and match it with the BTU (British Thermal Unit ) output of your heater.

BTU determines how much heat energy is being produced by your ice fishing heater.

For smaller tents, heaters with fewer BTU outputs will be sufficient, but if your tent is quite big or you are in a shelter, then you will need an ice fishing heater with more BTU output.

Or try to get a heater that has adjustable BTU settings so it can cater to different-sized tents, and you won’t have to go through this problem.

Safety Features: One of the most significant things you need to look out for is how safe is your ice fishing heater.

You should look for fishing heaters that have all the essential safety features in them, such as auto shut-off mechanisms (this activates when the heater detects a low oxygen level in your tent or if your ice fishing heater tips over)

Fuel Consumption and Compatibility: When you are in the wilderness and living in a tent while ice fishing, you will need a portable and efficient fuel source for your ice fishing heater.

Propane is a common choice for most ice-fishing heaters because of its portability and easy availability.

Some heaters use butane or isobutane too, so if you prefer other fuel options, you can go with butane ice fishing heaters.

Ventilation and CO2 Monitoring: When you are using a propane or gas-powered ice fishing heater, you will need proper ventilation in an enclosed space like a tent.

As we talked about before in the safety feature section about the auto shut-off mechanism, the same thing can be used as a sensor for oxygen depletion.

This sensor will automatically shut off the heater if the oxygen level becomes dangerously low, so try to buy an ice fishing heater that provides you with this sensor.

Along with that, when you are using an ice fishing heater in a tent, try to have a carbon monoxide alarm or sensor so you can get alerted by it if something goes wrong.

After you carefully consider all these factors while choosing your ice fishing heater, you can be confident that during your trip, you’ll have warmth and comfort that will make your ice fishing experience 100 times more fun.

Reviewed: Top 5 Picks For Best Ice Fishing Heaters

1. Mr. Heater Buddy – Single-element 9,000 BTU Indoor-Safe Propane Heater

Mr. Heater Buddy – Single-element 9,000 BTU Indoor-Safe Propane Heater

Mr. Heater Buddy-Ice fishing heater

Mr. Heater Buddy is liked by all ice anglers because of its affordability, performance, and design, which is quite user-friendly, and that’s why it’s the first choice of beginners and seasonal anglers.

Mr. Heater Buddy has a heating capacity of 4,000 to 9,000 BTUs, so it’s quite perfect for a small to medium-sized ice fishing tent and shelter, as it can provide you with warmth in spaces up to 225 square feet.

Plus, it’s quite lightweight, and you can just easily pick it up and go, allowing you to move easily while traveling between fishing spots.

How does Mr. Heater Buddy Functions?


Mr. Heater Buddy is connected to a propane canister; it can be a 1lb disposable canister or a larger 20lb tank (which you will be using for longer ice fishing trips ). Using an adapter hose, you will easily be able to start Mr. Heater Buddy.

Along with that, the control knob of Mr. Heater Buddy is quite user-friendly and doesn’t create a hassle for you when adjusting the heat.

It contains an automatic shut-off function and oxygen depletion sensor too, so if your ice fishing heater tips over or there is less oxygen in the tent, it will shut off automatically.


Adjustable heat output for personalized comfort 

It efficiently produces up to 9,000 BTUs of heat, making it suitable for smaller to medium-sized ice fishing tents. 

Indoor-safe design with auto shut-off for enhanced safety 

Compatible with 1lb propane canisters or 20lb tanks using an adapter hose 

Weighing just a few pounds, the Mr. Heater Buddy is highly portable and easy to carry. 


Limited heating capacity for larger ice fishing shelters 

Propane canisters may need to be replaced frequently during extended trips 

Should not be utilized indoors or in poorly ventilated spaces without proper ventilation


2. Mr. Heater Big Buddy – Dual-element 18,000 BTU Indoor-Safe Propane Heater

Mr. Heater Big Buddy – Dual-element 18,000 BTU Indoor Propane Heater

Mr. Heater Big Buddy Indoor-Safe Propane Heater

If you want a powerful heating performance and versatility from your ice fishing tent heater, then Mr. Heater Big Buddy stands as an exceptional choice for you.

It is equipped with two heating elements and offers a combined output of 18,000 BTUs, enough to heat every part of any big tent or shelter as it can warm spaces up to 450 square feet.

How does Mr. Heater Big Buddy Function?


The dual-element design of the Mr. Heater Big Buddy provides you with access to choose between two heating modes.

You can run both elements at the same time to get quick and intense heat up in your tent or operate them as a single element for a gradual and consistent increase in temperature.

And just like Mr. Heater Buddy, you can easily change the temperature of the ice fishing heater according to your preference using a user-friendly control knob.

Mr. Heater Big Buddy also includes an automatic shut-off function and oxygen depletion sensor, just like its sibling heater.

Due to Mr. Heater Big Buddy’s high BTU output, you need to be mindful of its high propane consumption as it will use up your propane more fastly.


Dual-element design for powerful and efficient heating and can heat up to 18000 BTUs. 

Suitable for larger ice fishing tents as it can heat up a space of 450 square feet. 

Indoor-safe with auto shut-off for added peace of mind 

Compatible with 1lb propane canisters or 20lb tanks using an adapter hose 


Consumes fuel more quickly on maximum heat settings 

Additional accessories, such as a hose and filter for tank connection, may be required for optimal performance 

3. The Camco Olympian Wave 3 Catalytic Heater: Efficient Heating for Larger Ice Fishing Spaces

The Camco Olympian Wave 3 Catalytic Heater

The Camco Olympian Wave Ice Fishing Spaces

If you have a midsize ice fishing tent, then Camco Olympian Wave 3 Catalytic Heater is literally made for you.

It provides you with a cozy and comfortable environment with a BTU ranging from 1,600 to 3,000.

One of the main advantages of using Olympian Wave 3 is its wall-mountable option.

If you have a semi-permanent or stationary ice fishing setup, then by using this heater, you can easily install it at any place, and it will eliminate the need for constant repositioning, making it an easy solution for those anglers who frequently visit the same ice fishing location.

How does the Camco Olympian Wave 3 Catalytic Heater Function?


The Camco Olympian Wave 3 Catalytic Heater operates on a catalytic technology that provides a flameless heat source, and this highly reduces the risk of fires and the emission of harmful gases like carbon monoxide.

Its design converts propane directly into heat, and hence you get warmth in a safe and comfortable space.

It also includes an automatic shut-off feature if the heater is tipped over, and just like other heaters we suggested, it also contains an oxygen depletion sensor.


The adjustable output of 1,600 to 3,000 BTUs for efficient heating of larger ice fishing shelters. 

Wall-mountable option for semi-permanent installations 

Ideal for larger ice fishing shelters and more permanent structures 

Catalytic technology ensures a flameless heat source, reducing fire hazards and minimizing harmful gas emissions. 


Separate legs may be required if not wall-mounted 

It may require additional venting in enclosed spaces for safety  

Wall-mountable option may not be ideal for anglers who frequently change ice fishing locations. 

4. Mr. Heater Little Buddy – Compact and Efficient Heating for Ice Fishing Enthusiasts

Mr. Heater Little Buddy Compact and Efficient Heating



Whether trekking across frozen lakes or exploring snow-covered terrains, you can take Mr Heater Little Buddy anywhere.

The smallest sibling of Mr. Heater buddy’s family, this heater is made especially for those anglers who are always on the move.

Mr. Heater Little Buddy is made to provide warmth to an area of 100 square feet with 3800 BTUs heating capacity, making it a perfect companion for small ice fishing tents.


How does Mr. Heater Little Buddy Function?


It is compatible with 1lb propane canisters, so you don’t have to use additional adapters or equipment, and its simplistic design makes it quite easy to use during anglers’ outdoor excursions.

Even though it’s quite small, Mr. Heater Little Buddy provides the same safety features as its siblings.

It automatically shuts off and has an oxygen depletion sensor to monitor oxygen levels in the tent.



Compact and easy to carry 

Indoor-safe with auto shut-off and oxygen depletion sensor for safety 

Suitable for small ice fishing shelters and tents 

Compatible with common 1lb propane canisters 


May shut off in powerful wind gusts; proper shelter and ventilation are essential 

Limited heating capacity for larger or more permanent ice-fishing structures 

For a longer stay, you’ll have to take many 1lb propane canisters. 

5. Heat Hog Portable Heater: Efficient and Targeted Heat Delivery for Ice Anglers

Heat Hog Portable Heater

Heat Hog Portable Heater

With an impressive heat capacity of 9,000 BTUs, the Heat Hog Portable Heater is able to provide substantial warmth to ice anglers during their frozen adventures.

One of the main selling points of this heater is its tiltable design, allowing anglers to have precise control over the direction heat is flowing in, and they can heat any area of their ice fishing tent.


How Heat Hog Portable Heater Functions?


Heat Hog Portable Heater works on 1lb Propane Cannisters and can heat an area of 225 square feet.

The control knobs are quite easy to use, as after connecting the propane supply, the user just needs to push a button and get the heater to work.


High heat output for effective warming of larger spaces 

Tiltable design for customizable heat direction 

Propane-powered for ease of use 

The proximity of the fuel canister to the heating element prevents freezing and increases fuel efficiency 


The pilot light may take some getting used to 

May require additional precautions in windy conditions to ensure stable operation 

Relatively shorter runtime with 1lb propane canisters, requiring extra canisters for longer ice fishing sessions. 

Wrapping up the Best Ice Fishing Heaters of 2023

Having the right knowledge for your ice fishing heater can significantly change the overall fun and comfort you’ll have during your ice fishing ventures.

With the top 5 picks for the best heaters for ice fishing, we provided, you have a diverse range of options to choose from, and now it all depends on your preference.

Each of the top 5 best heaters for ice fishing has their own pros and cons.

The most powerful, Mr. Heater Big Buddy, can supply you with 18000 BTUs of heat with its dual-element design.

While on the other hand, Mr. Heater Little Buddy can only offer 3800 BTUs of heat supply.

To differentiate between choosing them, it will all depend on your preference. If you want to be on the go all the time, then Mr. Heater Little Buddy is made for you, or if you have a big shelter and you want to stay for a long time in one place while doing ice fishing, then Mr. Heater Big Buddy is for you.

Some will offer you tilted heat, some will have a wall-mountable design, and some will offer you less usage of power, but the one important thing you need to remember is to always care about your safety.

If an ice fishing heater doesn’t seem safe enough for you but has all the other qualities, then you don’t have to buy it.

So, in the end, remember to stay warm, stay safe and embark on a journey of a lifetime with your companion: your ice fishing heater.

With our top 5 picks for ice fishing heaters, you can now easily gear up and face the cold with confidence. Happy fishing!!!