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Mr. Heater Big Buddy vs Dewalt Portable Heater Reviews

DEWALT DXH12B Portable Heater 18,000 BTU Big Buddy Portable Propane Heater (No Fan),Red, Tip-over
Dewalt DXH12B Portable HeaterMr. Heater Big Buddy

No doubt you’ve heard about the Mr. Heater Big Buddy by now. It’s the most popular portable propane heater on the market. But did you know that Dewalt created their own Buddy heater?

We reviewed and compared the Mr. Heater Big Buddy and the Dewalt DXH12B heaters. We took into account price, features, heat output, and user reviews to find the winner.


Dewalt took what made the Mr. Heater Big Buddy great and turned it up to 11. The DXH12B has the same core design as the Big Buddy but boasts some ground-breaking features exclusive to Dewalt.


For starters, it has a built-in fan – something the Big Buddy no longer has. It essentially turns it from a radiant heater into a forced air heater, which does wonders for heat dispersion and fuel consumption.

By directing the heat with a fan you’ll prevent vertical heat loss, especially outdoors. You’ll also be able to feel the same amount of heat at a lower setting, allowing you to save fuel and prolong the heater’s runtime.

Another innovative feature is the integrated LED light bar on the handle. The handle can be upright for directional lighting or it can be folded down to light the room, making it a great choice for construction sites or ice shanties.

The final thing that makes the Dewalt heater stand out are the three USB ports for charging electronics. They’re hidden away in a front panel and can be turned on with the push of a button. There’s also a convenient green LED light that lets you know when they’re being powered.


Speaking of power, the fan, light, and USB ports can only be powered with either a 20V Max or 20V FlexVolt Dewalt battery.

All of these innovative features are what makes the Dewalt heater better than the Big Buddy, so using a battery is a must in our opinion.

Heat Output

The heat settings are as follows:

  • Low: 6,000 BTU, 7 hour runtime
  • High: 12,000 BTU, 3 hour runtime

The DXH12B is about 2/3 as powerful as the Big Buddy. It heats up to 300 sq. ft. of space, which is more than enough for a tent or deer blind, and can last several hours.


If you want portability, you can power it with two 1-lb propane cylinders, which are installed on both sides. If you’d like a more permanent solution with longer runtime, you can connect it to a 20-lb tank with a compatible hose.


The outer shell is built with steel, copper, nickel, and ABS plastic for ruggedness and durability. You can throw it in the back of a truck and not have to worry about it.


Last but not least are the safety features. Again, it’s almost identical to the Big Buddy in that it has an oxygen depletion sensor (ODS) and a tip-over shutoff switch. The heater will automatically shut off if the oxygen in the room reaches dangerously low levels or if the unit tips over.

Video Review

✅ Built-in fan❌ Extra features require Dewalt 20V Max or FlexVolt battery
✅ LED light bar on handle
✅ 3 USB ports
✅ Compatible with 20 lb or 40 lb propane tanks with a regulator hose
✅ Tip over safety shutoff and ODS
✅ Affordable

Dimensions: 10.5” x 15.75” x 14”
Weight: 14 lbs
Heating Area: 300 sq. ft.


The Mr. Heater Big Buddy is the largest portable propane heater that Mr. Heater makes. It holds two 1-lb propane cylinders on either side of the unit for allow for portability, or it can be connected to a 20-lb propane tank with a regulator hose for a longer runtime.


The outer shell is constructed with durable molded plastic, metal trim, and a metal grate over the heating area. The side doors swing open and shut to protect the propane cylinders from the elements and the control knob is located near the top.

There’s also some cool heater hacks for the Big Buddy, like being able to cook on it using a cooking grate (ebay link) or griddle (ebay link). Or you can always make your own, shown in the video below:

Heat Output

The Big Buddy has three heat settings:

  • Low: 4,000 BTU, 12 hour runtime
  • Medium: 9,000 BTU, 6 hour runtime
  • High: 18,000 BTU, 3 hour runtime

It’s capable of heating an area up to 450 sq. ft., about the size of a two car garage. If you’re heating a space that large then it may be a good idea to hook up a larger tank, since the 1-lb cylinders will only last a few hours.


The Big Buddy (and all Mr. Heater portable heaters) heat with radiant heat, NOT forced air. Unfortunately, Mr. Heater stopped installing fans in their heaters due to a tariff issue with the fan’s manufacturer.

You can modify the Big Buddy to use a stove top fan, but it will be an added cost. Please see the video below for installation instructions.


The Mr. Heater Big Buddy is safe to use indoors and has a tip-over shutoff sensor, as well as an oxygen depletion sensor (ODS). These safety features reduce the risk of fire in case the heater accidentally gets kicked over in the middle of the night or if the oxygen in the room dips to unsafe levels.

Portable Buddy

Please be sure to check out our Mr. Heater Buddy comparison reviews, where we reviewed and compared all three heaters in the Buddy series. The Mr. Heater Portable Buddy is a size down from the Big Buddy but is only a third of the price.

✅ Heats up to 450 sq. ft.❌ Expensive
✅ 12 hour runtime❌ Does not ship with a built-in fan anymore
✅ Compatible with 20 lb or 40 lb propane tanks with a regulator hose
✅ Three heat settings
✅ Tip over safety shutoff and ODS

Dimensions: 19” x 12” 19 3/4”
Weight: 17.1 lbs
Heating Area: 450 sq. ft.

Comparison Table

Dewalt DXH12BMr. Heater Big Buddy
DEWALT DXH12B Portable Heater 18,000 BTU Big Buddy Portable Propane Heater (No Fan),Red, Tip-over
Price$ $ $$ $ $ $
Heating Area300 sq. ft.450 sq. ft.
Heat TypeForced AirRadiant
Built-In LightYesNo
USB OutletsYesNo
Fuel TypePropanePropane
Fuel Canister Size2 x 1 lb Cylinders or
20 lb Tank w/ Hose
2 x 1 lb Cylinders or
20 lb Tank w/ Hose
BTU/hrLow: 6,000 BTU
High: 12,000 BTU
Low: 4,000 BTU
Medium: 9,000 BTU
High: 18,000 BTU
Run Time (Max BTU)3 Hours3 Hours
Run Time (Min BTU)7 Hours12 Hours
(L x W x H)
10.5″ x 15.75″ x 14″19″ x 12″ x 19.75″
Weight14 lbs17.1 lbs
Indoor SafeYesYes
Batteries Required1 x AAA for Igniter
Dewalt 20V Max or
FlexVolt for Fan & USB
Maximum Elevation7,000 ft.7,000 ft.
Regulator HoseSold SeparatelySold Separately
Safety Tip Over SwitchYesYes
Oxygen Depletion SensorYesYes
Warranty2 Year Limited1 Year Limited


In our opinion, the Dewalt DXH12B is hands down the better heater. While it’s slightly less powerful than the Big Buddy, it has several features that can’t be overlooked.

The LED light bar is great for those dark mornings, the USB ports keep your phone charged, and the built-in fan disperses heat to make up for the lack of BTUs.

If you don’t need all of these features then the Mr. Heater Big Buddy is still a fantastic heater. It heats a larger area and doesn’t require a battery to operate. Mr. Heater has a great track record with their heaters and have proven time and again that they produce some of the best heaters in the business.

We hope this review helped make your buying decision easier. Thanks for reading and stay warm out there!