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Choosing a Portable Heater for Boating

Stay warm on the water by choosing the right portable heater.

October 19, 2016
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Whether you’re a live aboard or someone who likes to spend the weekend aboard, a portable heater can be a vital accessory when temperatures fall below freezing. We took a look at three popular models.

Caframo Marine DeltaMax Ceramic Heater
Caframo Marine DeltaMax Ceramic Heater Caframo Limited

Caframo Marine DeltaMax Ceramic Heater
The Warm: It has high- and low-power settings (750 and 1,500 watts) and a built-in adjustable thermostat. It uses 110-volt DC current, and it draws 14 amps. The DeltaMax comes with overheat protection and an automatic shutoff. The heating element is PTC ceramic, and the unit comes with a two-year warranty.

The Cool: At 67/8 inches wide by 75/16 inches tall and 71/8 inches front to back with a boxy case, it’s the bulkiest to store and presents the biggest tripping hazard on a rocking boat of the trio.

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Price: $49.99; caframolifestylesolutions.com/marine

Comfort Zone Ceramic Utility Heater
Comfort Zone Ceramic Utility Heater Comfort Zone

Comfort Zone Ceramic Utility Heater
The Warm: For maximum control, this unit features a four-position rotary switch for heat settings “off” and “fan only.” An adjustable thermostat lets you set the temperature, and the heater has a safety tip-over switch and an overheat-protection system. The ceramic element puts out 5,120 Btu of heat, and the wattage is 750 on low and 1,500 on high. Amperage draw is 12.5 amps, and the dimensions are 7 inches long by 8 inches wide by 8 inches high.

The Cool: The pipe framework could be sturdier, and it could also be a tripping hazard.

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Price: $49.99; comfortzone-us.com

West Marine Portable Cabin Heater
West Marine Portable Cabin Heater West Marine

West Marine Portable Cabin Heater
The Warm: With the lowest profile of the three, this model is only 5 inches tall, 11¼ inches long and 8 inches deep. It has three heat settings: 600 watts (2,080 Btu), 900 watts (3,120 Btu) and 1,500 watts (5,200 Btu). On the lowest position, it draws only 5 amps. The adjustable thermostat allows you set the temperature, and an antifreeze setting automatically turns on when the temperature drops to 38 degrees.

The Cool: You pay a lot for older technology. The other two heaters have ceramic elements, and this one moves air across hot wires.

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Price: $99.99; westmarine.com

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