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Direct Vent Propane Heater vs. Ventless Heater: Which One Should You Pick?

by Jefferson Ebasan May 06, 2021 5 min read

Few alternatives can compete with a propane space heater when it comes to offering an extra kick for hard-to-heat rooms in your house. Today's space heaters come with thermostats, blowers, and other performance-enhancing features to keep your basement, hobby room, or any additional trouble space warm in any weather.

The benefits and drawbacks of direct vent propane heaters and ventless heaters are discussed in this blog post. This blog post is intended to provide you with the details you need to make an educated decision about which heater is right for you.

Please continue reading to learn more about the differences between direct vent and ventless propane heaters and which one is better for your home. To begin, choose between the two most common types of space heaters: direct vent and ventless. Let's look at each one in more detail.

Advantages and Disadvantages of a Direct Vent Propane Heater

Any fumes emitted by burning propane are vented directly outside your home through a small pipe via an exterior wall. Direct vent propane heaters are essentially closed combustion boxes that use outdoor air to generate heat.

Advantages of a Direct Vent Propane Heater:

Better Aesthetics

A direct vent propane heater has a more realistic-looking flame than a ventless heater. The heating temperature must be higher for a direct vent propane heater to minimize the chance of pollution being transmitted into the building. As a result of the higher temperature, the heat seems less natural and sometimes blue. Since the weather is regulated in a direct vent propane heater, it creates a realistic flame. This produces a heat that closely resembles that of a wood-burning fire. The direct vent will always beat ventless if realism and aesthetics are critical to you.

No Heat Loss.

For combustion, direct vent propane heaters use outside air. As a result, unlike a natural wood fire, no cold air enters the house through windows, doorways, or other leaks to fuel the fire. As a result, the air in the room retains its heat and warms up more quickly.

External Vent

An outdoor vent is needed for a direct vent propane heater. This venting could be done through an existing brick or masonry chimney, but only if you are not restricted to using an existing chimney to complete the task. The direct vent can be tilted horizontally through an exterior wall rather than vertically through a duct at the top of the roof if you don't have a chimney. This will give you more versatility and choices when installing your direct vent propane heater in your home. A direct vent heater can be installed anywhere there is an exterior wall.

Enhanced Safety

A direct vent propane heater will not impact the indoor air quality of your home due to its nature. A high-temperature glass panel separates the heater's burning region from the interior of your home in a direct vent propane heater. As a result, your direct vent heaters will draw air from the outside and then exhausts it all outside. A ventless heater, on the other hand, vents into the house.

Disadvantages of Direct Vent Propane Heater:

The benefits of a direct vent propane heater have been discussed. Are there any disadvantages of using a direct vent propane heater? There are a few slight drawbacks to a direct vent propane heater, but we don't believe they should deter you from purchasing one. There are only a few points to consider so that you can make the best choice for your home. Here are the top three drawbacks:

Direct Vent Heaters are less flexible

A chimney or an exterior wall must be used to mount a direct vent propane heater. This allows it to draw in fresh air from the outside while also venting the by-products of the fire inside the firebox. This isn't as adaptable as a ventless heater. The ventless heater does not need to be mounted in a location where it can vent to the outside because it vents directly into the house. As a result, ventless heaters may be used in areas of a home that don't have a chimney. Direct vent heaters are unable to do this.

No Flame Access

Because of the enclosed combustion behind the window, a direct vent propane heater is highly secure. The direct vent propane heater won't properly unless the glass is removed or access to the flames is gained. This could benefit those with small children or pets, but it could be a disadvantage for those who need access to the fire.

Usually more Expensive

Direct vent propane heater inserts are generally more costly to install than ventless heaters inserts. Direct vent propane heaters can cost between $3,500 and $8,500 with skilled installation and any required remodeling. On the other hand, a Ventless heater will set you back anywhere from $1,000 to $5,000.

Advantages and Disadvantages of a Ventless Heater

We will now equate ventless heaters to a direct-vent heater. The following are the most significant advantages of ventless or ventless heaters:

Advantages of a Ventless Heater:

More Flexible 

Since you don't have to vent the air to the outside, you have many options on where you can put your ventless heaters in the building. These ventless heaters can be used in a variety of locations where direct vented heaters cannot. It may be mounted on an interior wall that doesn't vent outside, such as a wall in the center of your house. There are no holes in the walls or ceilings, and no other home repairs or construction are needed. This opens up many different possibilities that you wouldn't have had otherwise with a vented gas fireplace insert.

Heating Efficiency

No heat is lost up the flue because the air vapors are vented back into the home with a ventless heater. As a result, your ventless heaters are very effective at entirely and quickly heating the room. In contrast, a direct vent heater can gradually but steadily heat your space.


As previously mentioned, a ventless heater is a more cost-effective option than a vented heater. So, if cost is a significant consideration, this alternative would be more feasible.

Disadvantages of Direct Ventless Heater:

But those are the benefits of a ventless heater. Continue reading to discover the drawbacks of using a ventless heater. Here are the top four disadvantages:

Artificial Looking Fire

Direct vent propane heaters are typically more natural-looking than ventless heaters. If you're primarily interested in appearance, the direct vent propane heater is the way to go. If you value warmth over aesthetics, however, the ventless choice is the way to go.


For installation in houses, ventless heater units must have a minimum clearance of combustibles. For example, wood mantles and other explosive objects must be kept safe from the heater. A ventless gas fireplace insert cannot be mounted in a bedroom or a bathroom in Massachusetts. They can't be the only source of heat in the space they're in, too. As a result, you must already have a traditional heating source in that space, such as coal, electricity, or oil.


With the vapors from ventless heaters venting into your house, you'll get the smells of diesel and soot regularly. This may be inconvenient or undesirable, depending on your preferences. This can cause pain or trouble breathing if you have a respiratory condition such as asthma. As a result, when deciding between direct vent and ventless, keep this in mind.


Natural air vapors are vented to the home through ventless heaters, raising humidity levels. Condensation can form on your home's windows or doors as a result of this. The increased humidity can cause problems with wooden items like floors and doorways, so if you don't keep an eye on it, this could lead to mold or mildew in your house.

Final Thoughts

Whatever option you choose, a propane space heater will quickly re-heat a "lost" or difficult-to-heat room; they're an excellent, cost-effective option for any home with a heating problem.


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Jefferson Ebasan
Jefferson Ebasan

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