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TomJefferson
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Posted: 12/28/2011 7:00:23 PM
[Last Edit: 2/11/2012 10:47:42 AM by TomJefferson]
Following the Tj tradition of giving Survival type Christmas presents, this year I gave a family member a "New" Mr. Heater Buddy. Besides having two older models myself, I got such a good deal, Tractor Supply $65, I bought one for myself. I thought you guys would like a review.

This review is based on you already know what the Heater Buddy is and how well they work, but just for those who don't, here's a fast review.

The Mr. Heater Heater buddy is a catalytic small propane heater, indoor rated with no detectible CO (carbon monoxide), low Oxygen shutoff, and tip over protection. Its a classic thermocouple pilot light stove with two heater settings, 4,000 btu/9,000btu. IT operates on convenient 2lb cans like a Coleman stove/lantern and a low cost hose adapter for 20 gallon or larger tanks is available at about any Lowes etc. Usual cost is retail around $100 with usual sales about $89. I've used these little stoves since they came out, for years and find them reliable and flat out unbeatable compared to the Coleman line, which I have two of those too. I use them indoors all the time and have in both tents and vehicles. I've yet to have a CO detector activate. On low, they are good for about a good nights sleep and about half that on high. They're high on the Tj recommend list.

The New Heater Buddy has a number of new features but still incorporates the major features we have become so enamored with in the older model.

About the most noticeable new feature is they eliminated the pilot ignition button. The old button was in the rear and it took two hands to light, one holding down the pilot button (lights just like a gas hot water tank) and the other to hit the ignition button. This can be quite a pain at night in a sleeping bag in a tent. The new system the ignition is in the same switch in the front. This has some distinct advantages but also has a down side. Unlike the old one, you can't just hold the pilot valve open button down, wait till gas comes out, then ignite. Its in one movement now, which can mean you may have to do it a few times especially if the heater has not been used for a while. Still its a one hand operation now which is a major plus. Otherwise the control switching from pilot to low then high and back is the same.

The next feature is the female receiver for the small tank or hose connection swivels outward. A two position, it then can swivel back in to the classic position for the 2lb tank. Once again, this is a major improvement for one hand changing of tanks and no longer is it necessary to pick the little stove up to change them. It is also in the out position a much better position for the hose big tank connector.

Another new feature is the handle which is fixed into position on the old model, the new model now is higher and swivels back out of the way during operation. The old handle works quite well but what this new one does is allow for the overall heater height to be the same as the old one, There is a reason for this.

The new Heater Buddy has a much larger heater plate surface area. Totally redesigned, the new ceramic and catalytic screen is about the same width as the old model but much taller. The BTUs being the same, this means a smaller pore size for the same amount of heat. There is one advantage. Though the amount of heat is the same, the larger surface area noticibly increases the radiant heat ability (the red light heat which is directional out the front of the stove). Obviously, this too is an improvement.

Overall the new model, mine is a nice woodland green, is a little lighter not as sturdy in appearance but otherwise works just as well even a little better than the older models.

I have three of these little stoves now. I use them on and off all winter every winter. In fact, we are using one as I type this (the new one) and used one of my old ones in a tent at freezing temps during the last OHV camp here a few weeks back. I can't honestly say I have a major preference, new model vs old model. That in its self, I guess is an endorsement. If for any reason, I'd probably recommend the old model for home regular use due to the potential less use of the ignition feature but the new one definitely gets the nod for tent use when one hand operation becomes a major plus.

I hope you enjoyed the review. I really love these little heaters. I also was given a gasoline Army tent heater this Christmas, which is a vented through wall, has a chimney. I plan to do a review on that with pics (its quite unusual) after I get some time on it, sometime this winter.

Tj

"We prepare so we don't have to go to the Superdome!"
Curry
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Posted: 12/28/2011 7:09:36 PM
Thank you. I just learned abou these things and plan to get one or two.
die-tryin
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Posted: 12/28/2011 7:10:07 PM
That is the same one I used on the TN trip. the new one from Tractor supply. It worked great once I figured out the air flow in the tent. lol. I still need to get the hose to run mine off a 20lb bottle.
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TomJefferson
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Posted: 12/28/2011 7:21:52 PM
[Last Edit: 12/28/2011 7:23:49 PM by TomJefferson]
Originally Posted By die-tryin:
That is the same one I used on the TN trip. the new one from Tractor supply. It worked great once I figured out the air flow in the tent. lol. I still need to get the hose to run mine off a 20lb bottle.


I'm glad you posted. This brings up another comment.

These things work just like a gas grill and if the temps are cold, it can present a problem. The propane in the tanks is in the liquid form but it bleeds off in gas form. The change of state from liquid to gas is an endothermic reaction. In short, it creates cold. Everyone probably has noticed this on their gas grills. The outside of the tank will actually frost from the cold. This typically doesn't happen on a Heater Buddy on low but is not uncommon when its on high.

The only time this presents a problem is if you are using offbrand cheap propane which the gas was not dried so contains moisture. That moisture can freeze up in the lines making you think the tank is empty when its not.

When using the small tanks, I highly recommend Coleman brand propane tanks with a second being Ozark Trails. I've not had a problem with either of these brands, at least not yet.

This is not a problem with the heater but the gas. It doesn't hurt the Heater Buddy but sometimes when using cheap moisture ridden gas you have to turn the thing on pilot, let the tank thaw some, and then turn it up again.

I remembered you had an issue the first night. I didn't think of it then but when you gave me your empties, one of those was not empty but about half full. It was a off brand tank then it came back to me in a head rush.

Tj

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die-tryin
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Posted: 12/28/2011 7:25:11 PM
AH..musta been the nite I had that puppy on high. lol. yea the tanks froze up. It worked out but lessons learned for sure. while some would think just putting a heater in a tent is a no brainer, there is a bit of science and trial and error.
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Marty369
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Posted: 12/28/2011 11:00:36 PM
So is the 4000-9000 btu model pretty decent for general room and garage use or do you guys recommend the larger version?
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die-tryin
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Posted: 12/28/2011 11:15:08 PM
Originally Posted By Marty369:
So is the 4000-9000 btu model pretty decent for general room and garage use or do you guys recommend the larger version?


Go bigger, these sizes are good for small rooms, tents or vehicles. I wouldnt count on it doing much for a concrete garage. Maybe in the immediate area like a fire place, but that would be it. Someone using them in a garage might have better results.

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Posted: 12/28/2011 11:26:25 PM
Originally Posted By die-tryin:
Originally Posted By Marty369:
So is the 4000-9000 btu model pretty decent for general room and garage use or do you guys recommend the larger version?


Go bigger, these sizes are good for small rooms, tents or vehicles. I wouldnt count on it doing much for a concrete garage. Maybe in the immediate area like a fire place, but that would be it. Someone using them in a garage might have better results.



Yeah thats more what I meant, something near me more than to keep the whole garage warm. I never realized these were ok to use indoors. Learn something new here every day
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die-tryin
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Posted: 12/28/2011 11:41:16 PM
for a 10' x 10' space itll work good. They are designed for indoors, even have a "tip off" switch that will shut em off if they fall over.
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Skibane
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Posted: 12/29/2011 12:52:04 AM
[Last Edit: 12/29/2011 12:53:19 AM by Skibane]
Originally Posted By TomJefferson:
The Mr. Heater Heater buddy is a catalytic small propane heater


Open-flame - not catalytic.

Catalytic heaters use a platinum-impregnated pad that allows the propane/air mixture to burn at a much lower-than-normal temperature - so low that it won't ignite a piece of toilet paper held directly against the pad while the heater is operating. It greatly reduces the chance of igniting clothing or anything else that might accidentally come in contact with the heater, but also adds considerable cost (due to the expense of the platinum). Also tends to produce more radiant heat than open-flame heaters - warms distant objects, rather than the air immediately around the heater.

Example of a catalytic heater
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Posted: 12/29/2011 12:55:57 AM
Great little heaters. Around here they go on sale at the big box stores in march for $30.
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Posted: 12/29/2011 8:30:30 AM
I've got a tough buddy, big buddy, and I gave my mom and sister an older portable buddy heater. Now I am going to have to buy a new portable buddy at the end of the season.....thanks TJ.
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TomJefferson
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Posted: 12/29/2011 9:14:46 AM
[Last Edit: 12/29/2011 9:35:59 AM by TomJefferson]
Originally Posted By Skibane:
Originally Posted By TomJefferson:
The Mr. Heater Heater buddy is a catalytic small propane heater


Open-flame - not catalytic.

Catalytic heaters use a platinum-impregnated pad that allows the propane/air mixture to burn at a much lower-than-normal temperature - so low that it won't ignite a piece of toilet paper held directly against the pad while the heater is operating. It greatly reduces the chance of igniting clothing or anything else that might accidentally come in contact with the heater, but also adds considerable cost (due to the expense of the platinum). Also tends to produce more radiant heat than open-flame heaters - warms distant objects, rather than the air immediately around the heater.

Example of a catalytic heater


You know I don't want to get into this but will say, requires platinum to be catalytic is a market ploy. Catalytic as an engineering term simply means has catalyst which in the case of the Heater Buddy is a wire mesh over the ceramic core that provides a secondary burn for a more complete burn. An open flame implies no secondary burn simply an open flame. The difference is an open flame heater does not remove CO while a catalytic heater does by means of a secondary burn. What metal is used as the catalyst doesn't really matter as long as what is used works.

Tj

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Posted: 12/29/2011 9:39:42 AM
I got my self a Big Buddy for Christmas. I used it for the first time yesterday. All I can say is-WOW. It really puts out the heat. I put it in a 6.5x12 bunk house and after 10 min on low had to cut it off. And that was without the fan running. I got it,the fuel filter and hose adapter from Northern Tool for $129 ( It was on sell and I had a $25 off coupon).
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Posted: 12/29/2011 8:06:53 PM
[Last Edit: 12/29/2011 9:34:53 PM by Woodsman20]
Here is a pic of mine, a couple of seasons old and still running strong. Love being able to hook up the larger refillable tanks.

Skibane
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Posted: 12/29/2011 8:59:47 PM
Originally Posted By TomJefferson:
Originally Posted By Skibane:
Originally Posted By TomJefferson:
The Mr. Heater Heater buddy is a catalytic small propane heater


Open-flame - not catalytic.

Catalytic heaters use a platinum-impregnated pad that allows the propane/air mixture to burn at a much lower-than-normal temperature - so low that it won't ignite a piece of toilet paper held directly against the pad while the heater is operating. It greatly reduces the chance of igniting clothing or anything else that might accidentally come in contact with the heater, but also adds considerable cost (due to the expense of the platinum). Also tends to produce more radiant heat than open-flame heaters - warms distant objects, rather than the air immediately around the heater.

Example of a catalytic heater


You know I don't want to get into this but will say, requires platinum to be catalytic is a market ploy. Catalytic as an engineering term simply means has catalyst which in the case of the Heater Buddy is a wire mesh over the ceramic core that provides a secondary burn for a more complete burn. An open flame implies no secondary burn simply an open flame. The difference is an open flame heater does not remove CO while a catalytic heater does by means of a secondary burn. What metal is used as the catalyst doesn't really matter as long as what is used works.

Tj



There is a reason why manufacturers of heaters that use ceramic blocks (like the Buddy heaters) do not refer to their products as "catalytic" heaters.

From a practical standpoint, there is a huge difference in the way these two types of heaters operate. Ceramic block heaters will readily ignite a flammable material that touches them; catalyst pad-type heaters won't.
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TomJefferson
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Posted: 12/30/2011 8:27:20 AM
Originally Posted By Skibane:
Originally Posted By TomJefferson:
Originally Posted By Skibane:
Originally Posted By TomJefferson:
The Mr. Heater Heater buddy is a catalytic small propane heater


Open-flame - not catalytic.

Catalytic heaters use a platinum-impregnated pad that allows the propane/air mixture to burn at a much lower-than-normal temperature - so low that it won't ignite a piece of toilet paper held directly against the pad while the heater is operating. It greatly reduces the chance of igniting clothing or anything else that might accidentally come in contact with the heater, but also adds considerable cost (due to the expense of the platinum). Also tends to produce more radiant heat than open-flame heaters - warms distant objects, rather than the air immediately around the heater.

Example of a catalytic heater


You know I don't want to get into this but will say, requires platinum to be catalytic is a market ploy. Catalytic as an engineering term simply means has catalyst which in the case of the Heater Buddy is a wire mesh over the ceramic core that provides a secondary burn for a more complete burn. An open flame implies no secondary burn simply an open flame. The difference is an open flame heater does not remove CO while a catalytic heater does by means of a secondary burn. What metal is used as the catalyst doesn't really matter as long as what is used works.

Tj



There is a reason why manufacturers of heaters that use ceramic blocks (like the Buddy heaters) do not refer to their products as "catalytic" heaters.

From a practical standpoint, there is a huge difference in the way these two types of heaters operate. Ceramic block heaters will readily ignite a flammable material that touches them; catalyst pad-type heaters won't.


Then I suggest you write a letter to Coleman and straighten them out.

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Posted: 12/30/2011 8:52:39 AM
Originally Posted By Woodsman20:
Here is a pic of mine, a couple of seasons old and still running strong. Love being able to hook up the larger refillable tanks.

http://i40.photobucket.com/albums/e234/Woodsman20/heater-1.jpg


Yours go out frequently? Mine is a steaming pile of shit. Tried a few of the fixes, no dice. Steaming pile.
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Posted: 12/30/2011 11:41:47 AM
The big buddy has the knob that will also ignite the pilot light as you turn it so it seems to me they are just consolidating things a bit.

I am happy with my old ones but I do have a habit of picking up new ones as they get discounted.

I have 2 really good kerosene tower heaters right now from when they want on discount a year or two ago.

I use a filter when using the rubber hose and a big propane tank on my buddy heaters. I had problems with my very early buddy heaters clogging up the line to the pilot light, and with no pilot light they won't run unless you start modifying them.

I might look at the new ones, then again they might be all bought out since everyone seems to be looking for stuff when it first goes on clearance.

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Posted: 12/30/2011 2:53:10 PM
Originally Posted By TomJefferson:
Originally Posted By Skibane:
Originally Posted By TomJefferson:
Originally Posted By Skibane:
Originally Posted By TomJefferson:
The Mr. Heater Heater buddy is a catalytic small propane heater


Open-flame - not catalytic.

Catalytic heaters use a platinum-impregnated pad that allows the propane/air mixture to burn at a much lower-than-normal temperature - so low that it won't ignite a piece of toilet paper held directly against the pad while the heater is operating. It greatly reduces the chance of igniting clothing or anything else that might accidentally come in contact with the heater, but also adds considerable cost (due to the expense of the platinum). Also tends to produce more radiant heat than open-flame heaters - warms distant objects, rather than the air immediately around the heater.

Example of a catalytic heater


You know I don't want to get into this but will say, requires platinum to be catalytic is a market ploy. Catalytic as an engineering term simply means has catalyst which in the case of the Heater Buddy is a wire mesh over the ceramic core that provides a secondary burn for a more complete burn. An open flame implies no secondary burn simply an open flame. The difference is an open flame heater does not remove CO while a catalytic heater does by means of a secondary burn. What metal is used as the catalyst doesn't really matter as long as what is used works.

Tj



There is a reason why manufacturers of heaters that use ceramic blocks (like the Buddy heaters) do not refer to their products as "catalytic" heaters.

From a practical standpoint, there is a huge difference in the way these two types of heaters operate. Ceramic block heaters will readily ignite a flammable material that touches them; catalyst pad-type heaters won't.


Then I suggest you write a letter to Coleman and straighten them out.



Not sure what your point is. All the Coleman "catalytic" heaters I've seen or owned actually were catalytic heaters.
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Posted: 12/30/2011 6:22:50 PM
Timely discussion.

Needed a small heater for deer/duck camp.

Picked one up today.


Woodsman20
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Posted: 12/30/2011 6:42:02 PM
Originally Posted By NAM:
Originally Posted By Woodsman20:
Here is a pic of mine, a couple of seasons old and still running strong. Love being able to hook up the larger refillable tanks.

http://i40.photobucket.com/albums/e234/Woodsman20/heater-1.jpg


Yours go out frequently? Mine is a steaming pile of shit. Tried a few of the fixes, no dice. Steaming pile.


Mine never goes out unless I turn it off or tilt it, I can leave mine on and come back in 2 hours and it is still running as long as there is gas in the tank, I have no filter or mod's between my unit and the tank.

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Posted: 12/30/2011 7:31:07 PM
Originally Posted By Woodsman20:
Originally Posted By NAM:
Originally Posted By Woodsman20:
Here is a pic of mine, a couple of seasons old and still running strong. Love being able to hook up the larger refillable tanks.

http://i40.photobucket.com/albums/e234/Woodsman20/heater-1.jpg


Yours go out frequently? Mine is a steaming pile of shit. Tried a few of the fixes, no dice. Steaming pile.


Mine never goes out unless I turn it off or tilt it, I can leave mine on and come back in 2 hours and it is still running as long as there is gas in the tank, I have no filter or mod's between my unit and the tank.



Mine's been great, but the fan went out after only a couple hours. Oh well, it was noisy anyway.
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Posted: 12/30/2011 8:14:00 PM
Originally Posted By Mainsail:
Originally Posted By Woodsman20:
Originally Posted By NAM:
Originally Posted By Woodsman20:
Here is a pic of mine, a couple of seasons old and still running strong. Love being able to hook up the larger refillable tanks.

http://i40.photobucket.com/albums/e234/Woodsman20/heater-1.jpg


Yours go out frequently? Mine is a steaming pile of shit. Tried a few of the fixes, no dice. Steaming pile.


Mine never goes out unless I turn it off or tilt it, I can leave mine on and come back in 2 hours and it is still running as long as there is gas in the tank, I have no filter or mod's between my unit and the tank.



Mine's been great, but the fan went out after only a couple hours. Oh well, it was noisy anyway.


It's a known issue with them... after about 20 minutes or so, the pilot light will flicker... and eventually go out, killing the heater. supposedly oil or moisture gets in the lines and plugs stuff up. And from what i've read, the only way to fix it is to send it back in.
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Posted: 12/30/2011 10:34:36 PM
When they go out, don't overlook a dirty O2 depletion sensor.

Also when they go out due to 'frozen' up propane 1# bottles, it's often not due to moisture but instead the propane being cooled by vaporization down to a temperature that insufficient propane vapor 'boils' off inside the tank to support the burner.

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Posted: 12/31/2011 11:14:55 AM

Originally Posted By EXPY37:
When they go out, don't overlook a dirty O2 depletion sensor.

Also when they go out due to 'frozen' up propane 1# bottles, it's often not due to moisture but instead the propane being cooled by vaporization down to a temperature that insufficient propane vapor 'boils' off inside the tank to support the burner.


yep. look up propant tank specs. they will specify a max amount of btu per hour that can be used. if your tanks keep freezing up, then upgrade to the next larger size. I have a dyna-glo version of the big buddy. sometimes the pilot gets clogged and needs a thorough cleaning. Thankfully, i have a commercial size ultrasonic cleaner
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