The Best Ice Fishing Heater: Our Top Picks

Ice fishing is about camaraderie and a little recreation in the cool winter months as it is about the fishing sport. Ice-fishing is as essential for fishers as a hole, a line, and a stool waiting for the fish to bite. Those who need a few animal comforts build robust ice houses to keep them busy until the fish decide to look. To start with ice fishing, do you know the best ice fishing heater that you can use?

Best Ice Fishing HeaterProduct ImageRatingGet It On Amazon!
Mr. Heater F232017 MH9BXRV Buddy Grey Indoor-Safe Portable RV Radiant Heater (4,000-9,000-BTU)Check Price
Mr. Heater F215100 MH4B Little Buddy 3800-BTU Indoor Safe Propane Heater, Medium
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Texsport Portable Outdoor Propane
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Safety of Ice Fishing

best ice fishing heater

All ice fishermen have two things in common: patience and resistance to biting, cold weather. Even if a permanent ice fishing shelter has a padded chair, a heater, and satellite TV, when you go fishing in subzero temperatures, that isn’t exactly a comfort sport. When a majority of fishers put the rod and the reel in the winter closet, ice fishers take the drill and equipment for a chilling experience.

Even the simplest piece of safety advice we can give is: never ice fish alone. Icefish alone must be careful, and possibly your life, to the wind. Always fish with a partner-when an accident occurs. An additional pair of hands can be a literal lifesaver. Hypothermia can fall into 32-degree water within minutes and can kill very quickly. Avoid ice death and make sure a friend comes along.

You should also always tell somebody where you are going, what you are doing, and expect to return. If the ice you fish for breaks apart and floats with you, someone expects your return. If you do not, the authorities can alert you. Don’t forget to bring in a lifejacket and mobile phone, and picks or clutches for ice rescue.

What You Should Know About Ice

best ice fishing heater

The minimum recommended thickness of 4 inches for a person to walk on ice. Some anglers take their lives in their own hands and only two inches away. Don’t do that. Do not do that. You are more likely to end up drinking than catching, so please don’t. If you plan on putting a snowmobile or an ATV on the ice, it needs at least six “of ice, and you will need a sumptuous 7-12” if you live a life of luxury and possess your own ice-shanty. 

Don’t even think of driving on ice for full-sized lorries, unless it is well over a foot in size. Anything less and your F150 will not take them to sleep with the fish. Be aware that the thickness and strength of the ice can vary in the same water body. One area may be safe, while danger lurks below only one foot away.

Rotten Ice can be identified most easily with a decoloration. However, cracks, breaks, holes, water streams, and pressure rims are other good indications of poor ice quality and risk. 

Ice can be easily moved by the wind and broken off. In some cases, it is right to break a large portion of ice off the shore and flow into the open sea, leaving fishermen, their equipment, and even vehicles drifting offshore for full-scale restoration operations, including helicopters and boats and hovercraft. So, don’t be the man who needs to be rescued.

Equipment For Ice Fishing

best ice fishing heater

Ice-fishing requires more than a bucket, a fishing rod and some bait at refrigerated temperatures and Ice several inches thick. You need to bring some basics like shelter, stool or chair, sled, propane heater, flashlight, and compass before you embark on an ice fishing expedition-and this just to help you get out, stay comfortable and find a way back home. 

Your basic fishing gear, rod, line, and bobbins, bait, lures, buckets, and fishing license will also be needed (most states will not leave you fishing without it). However, fishing on the ice requires additional equipment. A spud bar is a tool for checking the thickness of the ice. An auger is a screw-like device that can be cut into the ice. A skimmer or a scoop ladle slushes the hole. And a gaff hook pulls fish across the little hole.

The toughest ice fishers sit on the ice, waiting for a catch. But there are several kinds of shelters available for those who want a little — or a lot — protection from elements.

An ice fishing shelter looks somewhat like a tiny tent. This portable structure has a canvas-covered aluminum frame with zip doors at both ends and clear vinyl windows. Some ice fishing shelters are folded into the suitcase to be transported to the lake easily. Although not strong, an ice shelter — and possibly a friend — can keep you out of the wind.

An ice hut is a small wooden or plastic shelter. You can do it yourself or rent it from a fishing sports shop. Moreover, it measures approximately 6 feet by 6 feet and is large enough to stand in. Some cabins have an indoor bench.

More Information

The most elaborate shelter is an ice fishing house, which can be rented or drawn down to the ice on a trailer. Some of them are as large as 8 to 16 feet and can house four or more people. This permanent structure has wood or aluminum sidings and comes with many home comforts – propane heat, sleeping areas, tapestries, lighting, kitchens, toilet, and shower bathrooms. 

The softer models can cost up to USD 30,000. Also, they come with luxury accessories like hardwood floors, cathedral ceilings, and even satellite TV. The TV can even be attached to an underwater camera to keep tabs on the fish’s position.

In the winter months, lakes become frozen villages of ice fishing shelters, shanties, and shelters in the northern climates. But all of these shelters must go back to their country at the end of the winter. Otherwise, during a spring thaw, they will end up at the bottom of the lake.

How To Start Ice Fishing

First of all, check with the Natural Resources Department of your state for further information on ice fishing, rules, regulations, and licensing requirements. Fishing never goes without a license – for one reason, namely preventing overfishing and the loss of lake stock.

Finally, choose your method of fishing. Three conventional ways of ice fishing are available, and one old-school aggressive method involves a club.

During the winter months, fish don’t spend as much energy, so they both are slow to move and slow to react. If you move your bait or jig too quickly, a fish could release the bait or hook to save energy-the best way is slow and steady. Finally, you’re going to win the race.

How To Make An Ice Hole

best ice fishing heater

In order to make a hole in the ice, a saw, an ice chisel, or an auger (either hand or gasoline-powered) are needed. Use any of these tools to dig through the ice until open water is reached. The hole should not be larger than 10 cm (so that people don’t fall in accidentally) and less than 8 cm (it should be big enough to actually hit the fish).

Then remove any remaining chunks of ice from the hole with an ice skimmer; you want the hole to be free from the ice when fishing so that it will not by accident set you off or fool you to believe you have the morsel. 

It is almost impossible to keep the hole open if the temperature is below 20 degrees Fahrenheit, so be sure to choose a day when the temperature is at or below freezing but above zero. And remember to mark it by a branching tree, ice pile, or some other clearly visible object in order to alert others to its presence when you leave your hole.

How To Choose The Best Ice Fishing Heater

To help you choose among the various heaters, you’ll find the best ice fishing heater for your needs. The following are the functionality and safety considerations. Here’s a buying guide to help you choose the best ice fishing heater.

best ice fishing heater

Insulation

Firstly, consider how isolated your shanty ice or tent is to keep the cold air out and keep warm. If you have a well-insulated and ventless ice fishing shelter, ensure that you have an indoor safety rated heater. If your ice shack is not insulated but is very well ventilated, you need an outdoor heater or can use it.

Time

You will also have to consider how long you need warmth on the ice. Each fuel cylinder for your heater will give you warmth for several hours, depending on whether you run your heater low, medium, or high. Make sure the heater can last as long as you fish or have a gas supply tank.

Size

When choosing the best ice fishing heater, compact size is good for easy transportation and storage. The capacity of the BTU output you need depends on the size of the space. Most heaters have space for which they are designed. We recommend that you choose a unit with variable BTU and high, medium, and low heat adjustments. It will help you better, as you can adjust the settings according to the heat you want.

Safety

When you use a heater in your tent or cabin, it uses oxygen and emits carbon monoxide. If your shelter is not well ventilated, carbon monoxide can reach deadly concentrations. For security, ensure that only indoor heaters are used to warm up enclosed spaces. It is also important to ensure that the air flows through the windows, doors, and windings. Always place the heater away from walls and objects on a solid surface.

Power source

Check the type of fuel and cylinders with which the heater is compatible. Most portable heaters use propane containers of 1 pound. Also, some large units are mounted on both disposable and rechargeable cylinders. Some small heaters use butane. A heater for electric ice fishing is not a very viable option. In your ice fish house, you would need a very powerful generator to power it.

Sensors for oxygen depletion

A sensor for oxygen depletion is an essential safety when using an ice fishing heater in an ice fishing shack or in a tent. It will notify you when the oxygen level in the shack is low and carbon monoxide high. Some ice shack heaters have this feature built-in, but also, the sensor can be purchased separately.

The Best Ice Fishing Heater: Our Top Picks

Our Top Pick!

Product Name: Mr. Heater Buddy

Product Description: North America's Most Popular Portable Propane Heater! This patented radiant 4,000-9,000 BTU Liquid Propane heater connects directly to a 1 lb. cylinder and is the perfect solution for heating enclosed spaces like large tents up to 200 sq. ft. The expertly engineered size to BTU ratio is augmented with a fold down handle to give this heater maximum output while retaining a minimalistic footprint. A swivel regulator gives you the ability to adapt usage from a disposable cylinder to a remote gas supply with the purchase of a hose and filter. To light the unit, simply rotate the knob to pilot and push. Then the integrated Piezo sparking mechanism will take care of the rest. With the Oxygen Depletion Sensor (ODS) and accidental tip-over safety shut-off you can be sure that you will enjoy years of comfortable indoor safe heat.

  • Ease Of Use
  • Durability
  • Value For Money
  • Heating Capacity
  • Portability
Overall
4.7

Are you ready for the next ice fishing season? For some enthusiasts of ice-fishing, no discomfort or trouble is too much to endure. If the wind is breaking through your shelter and your hands are frozen into a permanent claw, it is impossible to fish effectively. The next thing you go is your toes, and suddenly you don’t feel like fishing. 

While some fishermen prefer to go to old school and have a hole in the ice and a stool, more and more are choosing to keep them comfortable until the fish starts to bit. Here are our top picks for the best ice fishing heater.

Mr. Heater Buddy

Pros
  • High and low settings
  • Great fuel consumption
  • Safety features
Cons
  • The product may not function if placed above 7,000 feet

Mr. Heater dominates the propane-fueled portable heater market. This is an accurate evaluation of the products that the company offers. We have not been able to find another company that makes indoor propane heaters for use on ice even after extensive research.

Features

Perhaps Buddy is their most popular model. It’s now light gray, formerly available in bright red, but it offers the same superb performance. By pressing a Piezo button and turning the “pilot” control switch, you can get this portable heater up to a damp 9,000 BTUs per hour or as low as a fuel-ship 4,000. At high altitude, one pound of fuel cylinder is expected to last about three hours. Six hours is the norm at low speed.

You can connect the Buddy with an optional hose and filter to a complete, 20-pound reusable cylinder. This means no fuel worries, but it adds a bit of weight and bulk.

In terms of warmth, even at low temperatures, a standard handheld shelter will swell quickly, and you probably have to cycle the Buddy on and off as the temperature changes. That might sound like a hassle, but we believe this model is the best option.

If you’re fishing from a larger shanty town or need the heat in the RV or trailer, Buddy’s ability to warm up to 225 square feet is truly his own. And we feel very comfortable running this heater in an indoor space with both an oxygen sensor and a car tip shut off. Be careful to provide the ventilation needed.

Verdict

This heater has a fold-down handle to reduce the space it takes. Mr. Heater warns that his units can not operate over 7,000 feet, though the users report no problems. Based on a number of factors (size, output, price, and positive reviews), Mr. Heater Buddy is recommended as the best heater for ice fishing for money.

MH4B Little Buddy Heater

Pros
  • Consumes gas sparingly
  • Oxygen depletion sensor
  • Heats up space very quickly
Cons
  • Only one heat setting

Buyers report that it is straightforward and fast to set up and start this compact heater. The reports suggest that it was used and found to be genuinely functional in extreme winter conditions. In addition, many customers reported using it in outdoor environments such as camping and ice fishing and found it helpful.

Features

The most characteristic feature of this heater is its design and construction. The unit is also foldable with shock-absorbing isolation. This makes it really convenient for the user to take fishing trips as well. It is, therefore, one of the best heaters on the market.

This heater has a 3,800 BTU / h heating setting and can heat up to 95 sq—Ft., with continuous heat at a 45-degree heating angle up to 5-1/2 hours. The system comes with an indoor safety shutdown in the event of an accidental tip over and a low-oxygen shutdown system that allows you to control the comfort level. The handle folds down to reduce space for storage.

The heater also features a four-pose control and an integrated Piezo ignitor with on / off and high/low heat configuration to adjust the heating level. It includes a cable guard that resists high temperatures and a swivel controller to ensure that the LP cylinder and the hose can be installed easily.

The porcelain-coated heating surface is wide and durable and covers a wide area with radiant heat and a ceramic brûler tile that provides shock-absorbing isolation to make it easy to replace.

If you plan to travel, camp, or enjoy outdoor activities where it is cold, this portable, easy-to-travel heater will be great for you. It can also be used in small to medium-sized rooms. People with limited space can use it greatly.

Verdict

In summary, the heater has an outstanding design and build quality. It is produced by one of the best brands on the market and is thus a truly reliable product. It is characterized by a foldable design, automatic shut-off features, and easy temperature adjustments.

Ideal for small areas like a 95 square-feet ice-fishing shanty, this small heater will keep you warm during your next fishing tour. It comes with lots of safety features, and with its integrated Piezo switch, it is convenient to light.

Texsport Outdoor Portable Propane Heater

Pros
  • Durable
  • Stylish Look
  • Consumes gas sparingly
Cons
  • Outdoor use only

Many buyers used the heater in small to medium-sized camping tents. They report that it is very easy to use and suggest that it heats up a small area very quickly. Other buyer reports also suggest that the operating time at low temperatures is over 6 hours, which was fairly satisfactory for most buyers.

Features

The heater stands out on the market for a number of reasons, but its plastic paddle foot is its most prominent and worthy of mention. This large base enhances the heater’s stability so that it does not tilt or fall off easily. It thus proves safe and reliable, especially in small areas where the heater is more likely to fall.

This propane heater is suitable for outdoor use, so it’s ideal for people who require radiant heat while fishing ice. The Texsport Propane Heater has a capacity of 16.4 oz. Or 14.1 oz. Or 14.1 oz. Available propane fuel cylinders and up to 2,890 BTU adjustments.

It is easy to use and transport and has safety features such as a large paddle foot to hold the unit stable, an automatic fuel shut-off valve when the fire is extinguished, and a safety grid on top of the aluminium reflex. Moreover, it lasts for about 4-6 hours per lb fuel cylinder. It has a durable stainless steel burner and is finished in stainless steel.

This easy-to-use, efficient heater is strongly recommended to people who want to warm up small spaces in less time with extreme cold. The heater is also good for beginners because it is also safe and easy to use. Because it is highly stable, it makes for a great fishing trip.

Verdict

In summary, this outdoor propane heater is one of the most popular and best-selling products on the market. It is supported by a bunch of good user feedback that increases the reliability of the product. It has an efficient design and function, with adjustable temperature, auto shut-off, a stable base, and a comfortable steel carrying handle.

This small heater will be great to keep you warm on your next fishing trip. It is equipped with many safety features and is easy to light with its integrated part switch and is specially made for external use.

Final Words

Since you know what to look for in an ice fishing heater, there should be no trouble choosing the right heater for your needs. Consider the safety characteristics, the heating requirements for your ice fishing hut, and whether it should be used as a grill. When winter comes, until ice thaws, you don’t have to give up fishing. 

With your companion the best ice fishing heater, you can stay warm and safe and fish as long as you like. We wish you a successful and fun ice fishing trip. Remember to keep warm and secure on the ice.