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Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Planar Portable Diesel Heater Review

About six months ago, I picked up a new toy – the Planar Heaters 4kw diesel heater.

And since the last six months have been during the fall and winter, I’ve gotten a lot of use out of this thing.

So, is this diesel heater worth the price of admission? Absolutely! It’s highly portable, easy to use, is fuel-efficient, and quiet. Of course, there’s much more to discuss, too, but this gives you the gist of the situation. This is hands-down one of the best items I’ve gotten for my overlanding setup.

In the video above, you can get a detailed look at this diesel heater. I headed up to the mountains and wanted to get into the high country where it was actually cold and snowy, but unfortunately, the road was closed further up the mountain.

So, as you’ll see in the video, I dive into the details about this heater in the sunny Southern California weather!

Below is a summary of my review for your reference.

Table of Contents

Planar Portable Diesel Heater Specs and Features

diesel heater contents

Before I get into the nitty-gritty of this review, let’s have a quick look at the specs and features of this heater:

  • Heat Output: 3,400-13,600 BTUs
  • Fuel Types: Diesel or Kerosene
  • Power Supply: 12-volt
  • Airflow Rate: 70-168 m3/h
  • Fuel Consumption: 0.03-0.14 gal/h
  • Weight: 33 lbs.
  • Dimensions: 25x19x19 in.

planar heater

Additionally, this diesel heater is housed in a crush-proof, rain-resistant case (I can sit or stand on it without worry). The heater is equipped with a silencer for quiet operation, an air intake filter, and can operate in high altitude situations (above 8,000 ft.).

The diesel heater also comes with a wired remote controller – a critical feature since the heater unit sits outside the tent. You don’t want to have to get up and go outside to adjust the temperature on a cold night!

Now, this heater is definitely overkill for my rooftop tent. But, with 4kw of power, I can use it for all sorts of applications – heating my garage in the winter, heating critical areas of my home in case of a power outage, or if I ever get an RV, camper, or boat, this heater will get them toasty warm, too.

Why a Diesel Heater?

diesel heater fuel tank

There are a variety of methods I could have gone with to heat up my rooftop tent over the course of my winter overlanding adventures. But for my money, a diesel heater is the best option.

A small propane heater might take the chill out of the air, but it could also fill the tent with deadly carbon monoxide. An electric heater may again warm up the tent, but I’d need to run a generator all night to keep the darn thing going.

There’s also the issue of condensation with these heating methods. Condensation inside your tent is the last thing you want (well, maybe a close second to carbon monoxide). Not only will it leave your belongings moist, but it can help introduce mold and musty smells into your tent.

planar heater interior

But with a diesel heater like this one, there’s no concern about power consumption, carbon monoxide, or condensation.

This heater runs off of diesel or kerosene in addition to power from a 12-volt battery. The battery keeps the heater running all night long, and since the heater is so fuel-efficient, it can run for eight hours on about 3-4 liters of fuel.


What’s more, the Planar 4kw portable diesel heater sits outside the tent in an enclosed case. The warm air is pumped up into my tent via a hose, so I get the warmth I want, but with the heater on the ground below me, I don’t have to worry about carbon monoxide buildup in the tent.

This diesel heater also produces dry heat. That being the case, there are no condensation issues inside my tent.

So, in short, that’s why a diesel heater is my choice – it’s power and fuel-efficient, safe to operate, and there’s no worry about condensation.

How to Operate the Planar Portable Diesel Heater

planar connections 2

In addition to providing safe, reliable, dry heat, the advantage of this heater is that it’s super easy to operate.

As you can see above, there are two connectors. The small one is the power cable, and the larger one is the controller.

To operate the diesel heater, simply plug those connectors in, make sure there is sufficient fuel, and get power from a solid 12-volt power source.

planar connections

Next, insert the vent pipe into your tent, connect the pipe to the heater, and press the lower-right button on the controller to initiate the start sequence. That’s it! And to turn the diesel heater off, simply press the same button.

As the heater warms your tent, you can use the wired remote to adjust the temperature. It really couldn’t be any simpler!

It’s worth mentioning as well that this heater is quiet. Now, obviously, it will make some noise, but if you watch the video review of this diesel heater, you’ll get to hear it operating with your own ears, and I think you’ll agree, the silencer on this thing really keeps the heater from being too noisy.

What if I Don’t Need a 4kw Diesel Heater?

planar heaters 2kw portable heater

As I mentioned before, this heater is overkill for my camping needs, but better safe than sorry, right?!

Luckily, if you don’t want or need a heater this powerful, Planar Heaters has a 2kw portable diesel heater that puts out 2,700-7,000 BTUs.

Additionally, I have a 2kw diesel heater installed in the nose of my Turtleback Expedition Trailer. That unit is one that is permanently installed as opposed to being portable. The 2kw of power is just right for keeping my SMRT Summit Suite rooftop tent warm, even on the coldest nights.

So, there are plenty of options for you if 4kw of heating power is a bit much for your needs.

Six Months With the Planar Diesel Heater

diesel heater case

After six months of use, this diesel heater has more than proven its value. The portability alone is well worth the price.

As I noted earlier, I can use this for my rooftop tent, one of my ground tents, or to provide heat to friends or family in their tents when we go on adventures together. I can also use it in emergencies to heat my house.

And then when the weather warms up, I can simply put this heater in storage and wait until fall arrives.

heater thermostat

At the end of the day, you want your overlanding gear to be well-made, highly functional, and not take up a ton of room in your rig. The Planar 4kw diesel heater ticks all those boxes.

Add in the ease of use, the crush-proof housing, the instant dry heat, and the fuel efficiency, and you’ve got an ideal combination of features.

Check out the video at the beginning of this article to get the full review on this heater. And, of course, visit Planar Heaters if you want to pick one up for yourself!

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