The Best Portable Car Heaters in 2020

A portable car heater is a compact, lightweight device designed to generate and disperse warm air within the confines of a vehicle in order to heat it up. While they are designed expressly for the purpose of heating up the environment they are placed in, most of them also go the extra mile and are capable of generating cool air when switched to a specific mode.

Since they’re “portable” and can be moved around, they can be used to supply heat to whatever area of a car is in need of it, and they can also be used to defrost windows that are regularly plagued with frost and therefore become a flight risk in the winters.

Now all of that sounds great, but finding a decent car heater which is also portable isn’t as easy as you might think. There’s no cause for worry, however, as we’ve narrowed down the list to 5 of the best portable car heaters available in 2020.

1. Zerostart Interior Car Warmer

Best Overall

  • Portable yet more powerful than the rest
  • High heat output
  • Perfect for defrosting windows
  • Requires a bit of knowledge for installation

37 Reviews

Weight: 1.37kg/ | Power: 120V AC | Output: 900W

The Zerostart 2600900 Interior Car Warmer is an easy pick for the top spot on our list. Confusing model name aside, this is a portable car heater that basically claims to have it all. It’s small, doesn’t weigh a whole lot, and has an impressive heat output for its size.

This Zerostart heater isn’t your typical car heater that plugs into the 12V cigarette lighter in your car. Have a quick look on Amazon and you’ll find that a lot of those heaters don’t have the most positive reviews. If you really need a permanent solution to deal with the cold weather, you’ll need a proper powerful heater.

Yes, this car heater does require a 120V AC power input, but that is to be expected with a car heater outputting this much power. We will admit, it’s not the easiest to set up on your own, and you will require some prior knowledge. But, all things considered, it’s not the most impossible thing in the world and with a bit of help from a friend you can get it done in 20 minutes.

Once you get through all that trouble, however, you will be quite satisfied. This car heater is leaps and bounds ahead of any 12V heater that may or may not work in the first place. Mount at the bottom of your car or under the dashboard for optimum efficiency. For the price, it’s the best car heater out there.

2. Sojoy Universal 12V Heated Cushion

Best Seat Heater

  • Simple yet effective
  • Easy to install
  • Works with most vehicles
  • Breathable and comfortable
  • 45 minute timer is annoying

1,489 Reviews

Weight: 453g | Power: 12V | Output: 115°F (30°C)

We know it’s a bit different compared to others on this list. But we’re not trying to restrict ourselves to just one type of car heater. Apart from that, this simply heated cushion actually works better than a lot of other car heaters out there, so it is definitely worth a mention on this list.

If you’ve never experienced a comfortable heated seat in the winter, you are definitely missing out. Some newer cars have these heaters built-in but unfortunately, it’s not that common. This particular Sojoy cushion takes about 3 minutes to warm-up, and it can heat up the seat up to 115°F (30°C). The polyester fabric is soft and breathable, so even people with back pain will find this comfortable. You can even change the heat output with the included control module.

The only con we can think of is the annoying 45-minute timer. After that set time period, the heater will turn off and you will have to power it back on manually. On longer drives, this can get a bit annoying. Apart from that, this is the best seat heater cushion in the market, and it’s relatively inexpensive as well.

3. The Schumacher Car Heater and Fan

Budget Pick

  • Small and lightweight
  • Easy to power
  • Incredibly affordable
  • Maybe underpowered for some

165 Reviews

Weight: 490g | Power: 12V | Output: 150W

The Schumacher’s most noteworthy feature is not something tangible, but rather its price tag – where most portable car heaters come it at somewhere between $30 (and only go up from there), the Schumacher costs even less than that. Do not mistake its low price for its weakness, however, as the product offers a lot of bang for your buck.

While the unit doesn’t excel quite well at what it does, still the current optimization that has been described as somewhat lackluster, it does an amazing job of heating up your car within minutes and is more than competent at supplementing your car’s native heat output – which is what portable car heaters are designed for in the first place. The Schumacher has an adjustable bracket that can be mounted anywhere on a car, is rated at 150 watts and doubles as both a heater that can be used to heat up your car and defog your windows and a fan that can be used to blow cold air throughout your car in the summers.

However, don’t have extremely high expectations with an incredibly cheap heater like this one. Sure, it gets the job done, which is heating up the interior of your car, but it’s not going to blow your socks off. For the price, it’s a good replacement until you can afford to get your factory heater fixed.

4. Mr. Heater Cart Heater

Portable Powerhouse

  • Convenient design
  • 4-5 hours of continuous heat
  • Sufficient heat output
  • Not intended for every type of car
  • Propane tank not included

699 Reviews

Weight: 700g | Power: Propane tank | Output: 4000 BTU

Mr. Heater is the top-selling brand on Amazon which sells, you guessed it, heating products. Most of their lineup is intended for outdoor use and their Cart heater is not any different. It’s a small heater which weighs about 700g (without a propane tank) and can output heat up to 4000BTU. It has a very convenient design language. Below the fan exists a cavity where you can attach a 1lb propane tank to power the heater.

With that 1lb tank, you can get up to 5.5 hours of continuous heating. Mind you, this is a much better solution than the weaker 12V heaters out there. However, we wouldn’t exactly recommend this for every type of car. Sure, it fits in most cup holders with a diameter of 3 inches, but it’s really intended for outdoor use.

If you have a buggy, cart, or some other sort of smaller outdoor vehicle, this should do the trick. For larger cars such as sedans or vans etc, we’d recommend you to look elsewhere

5. Yeahpy 12V DC Car Heater

Best For Defrosting Windows

  • Small and lightweight
  • Included light is handy
  • Underpowered
  • Does a better job at defrosting than heating

Weight: 550g | Power: 12V | Output: 150W

Last but most certainly not the least is this little Yeahpy 12V car heater. We’re not sure what is with the ridiculous naming scheme for these car heaters, but that’s not important when the product is this good. With a strong ABS plastic exterior, this unit is designed for long-lasting portable car heating. This car heater has a long cable that allows for it to be moved all over a car, but the unit is also highly effective when mounted to a car’s dashboard.

The unit is lightweight even though it is made of premium plastic, and is rated at 150 watts. It heats up pretty quickly for its size. It’s not exactly as good as the factory heater in your car, but it is a good cheap replacement and does a good job of defrosting the windows in harsh weather.

It plugs into basically any 12V DC outlet, and its 180-degree rotating base allows for improved logistics. For those who would prefer the unit mounted to their dashboards, the base can be mounted anywhere using double-sided sticky tape which, fortunately, is included in the packaging.

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Bill Wilson


Bill is a certified Microsoft Professional providing assistance to over 500 remotely connected employees and managing Windows 2008 to 2016 servers.
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