Buddy and Big Buddy Heaters

Discussion in 'Functional Gear & Equipment' started by Thunder5Ranch, Dec 15, 2020.

  1. Thunder5Ranch

    Thunder5Ranch Monkey+++

    Was at Rural King a few weeks back on a mission to obtain welding rods and wood stove gaskets and it was unfortunately Black Friday and passing through the heater section Somehow a 170,000 BTU torpedo heater, a overhead garage heater, and both Models of the Mr Heater Buddy Heaters made onto my flatbed cart before I got to the gaskets :) Mrs T5R was a little bit less than impressed with the $500 extra I spent on unintended heaters but the marked down on sale prices were too good to pass up on all of them.

    The Buddy Heater is a 1 burner that I figured would make a decent little propane heater to run in my camper that I converted to my office/Mike Cave. Expected it would keep the front room and kitchen warm. With a small fan running it keeps the entire camper warm on the low setting in the 73-75 degree range when outside temps are in the 40s. On the high setting it does the same have been dipping down into the mid 20s-30s the last few nights and it has no problem keeping the camper warm.

    The Big Buddy is the same as the Buddy except it has a 3rd setting and two burner plates instead of one and made MRs T5R Happy enough to get over being angry about the heater buying binge :) On the high setting and both burner plates going it heats the 16x46 cabin up pretty quickly on a cold morning until the wood stove is refueled and cranking out cheap BTUs.


    I am not a fan of 1# disposable cylinders. So I keep a good selection of gas lines to hook the things set up for 1# cylinders into my 20#-150# tanks. I have an abundance of 20 pounders like 20 exchange tanks, four 100# and three 150# that I run on the Chuck Wagon. During the winter they all get used for Propane heaters and the gas lights. RK I noted also sells 12' hoses that fit the Buddy Heaters and hook to the bigger tanks. You Do NOT have to hook two hoses and two tanks or build a hose with a Y to hood into both propane ports on the Big Buddy. One hose and Tank into the right port (Facing it) does the job. Anyway I have a Narrow propane tank shed built beside the Cabin that holds the seven 100-150# tanks and them all jumped together on a main line with quick connects. The main line comes into the Cabin and feeds a hub of 4 quick connects that various things can be connected to...... like the propane stove, some indoor propane lights etc and the Big Buddy fit right into the mix. When one tank on the line runs dry, just go outside and open the door and turn it off, put the empty tag on it and spin the knob on the next one in line. Have yet to empty all 7 tanks over the course of a winter. Came close to emptying the last one last spring with the cold that just kept going. But still had all of the full 20pound tanks in reserve.

    I don't remember exactly what I paid for them but am thinking the Buddy was like $80 and the Big Buddy was $120 ish with the Black Friday sale. The overhead garage heater was 50% off and is 240 electric I know it was $69.99 because I have 3 of them already that I paid regular price for a few years back. I use them in the Chuck Wagon, my woodshop, the warehouse and now have one to mount in the Commercial Kitchen. Even at regular prices they are cheap and make a lot of heat BUT they are electric hogs on the high setting and there was the one that caught on fire inside, Looked like the thermostat and on off switch connected to it malfunctioned and shorted the entire thing out and the little wires ignited and then the big wires followed suit. No damage and RK replaced it no questions asked. All encased in steel so little to no chance of a fire spreading beyond the inside of it. The other two have worked well and without incident. I prefer gas or wood heat but there are some places I just won't risk a open flame. LOL if a barrel of gas springs a leak in the warehouse a lot lower odds of the electric heater making a big ball of fire than a wood stove or a propane job :)

    A LOT of propane things should never be used indoors. The Buddy Heaters are not among them, they are indoor safe and don't require any special venting. I get 5 days burn time on a 20# tank on the low setting in the camper and the Big Buddy (Hooked a 20 up to it to test gas use) gets the same on low and 2 1/2 days on high and 3-3.5 days on medium. A whole lot better and just as warm as the previous heater that burned through 20 pounds on low in 1 1/2 days. And the Big Buddy heats just as well. The previous heater to its credit on its high setting would take it from 40 degrees to 80 degrees in the cabin in about 5 minutes, at a huge propane cost. The Buddy takes about 30 minutes to go from 40 to 70 on high and then maintains it on medium or low.

    I totally expected to not be impressed with these little heaters and have found myself being really impressed with both the heat they make and the fuel efficiency they have in making that heat. A small fan for circulation is a must as they are a radiant heater. I just use little 12 volt fans in that camper hooked into the batteries the solar panels keep charged and the ceiling fans in the cabin. LOL the camper has a RV furnace that as soon as you turn it one it feels like the two 20 pound tanks go empty instantly LOL makes and blows a lot of heat fast but is a total gas hog.

    Anyway thought I would share my experience with the Buddy and Big Buddy Heaters here since they have proven to be very good little heaters.
    Oddcaliber, Motomom34, GOG and 5 others like this.
  2. Cruisin Sloth

    Cruisin Sloth Special & Slow

    IMG_2794.JPG You need filters Sir !
    I'll update and show
    Needed to take a few pictures of the stuff folks.
    So the filter is a Buddy option ,and is recommended to use with large tanks and the hose , just a small bit of crud from a tank or hose will plug the pilot orifice and then no thermal-couple to let the main gas to the burning plate .I got my 2 units from garage sales because they would not light . (small blue flame at bottom).

    This is the way I fill the butane tanks with propane , and the one pounder's , filter is silver and screws into buddy and then hose -----to tank. How I gang up my tanks is the brass Tee , and one pound cap.




    Last edited: Dec 15, 2020
  3. Cruisin Sloth

    Cruisin Sloth Special & Slow

    Last edited: Dec 15, 2020
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  4. madmax

    madmax Far right. Bipolar. Veteran. Don't push me.

    Our Buddy heater heats a 16' by 16' cabin just fine.
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  5. Tempstar

    Tempstar Old and crochety

    Like Sloth said, put filters on them. I ruined a Big Buddy two years ago as everything in the fuel circuit was full of black gunk.
    Oddcaliber, Motomom34 and Gator 45/70 like this.
  6. Illini Warrior

    Illini Warrior Illini Warrior

    the Mr Heater cabinet unit makes a good alternative to the Big Buddy - runs off the 20 gal tanks and is dressed up for regular usage ....

    18,000 BTU Cabinet Heater
  7. Thunder5Ranch

    Thunder5Ranch Monkey+++

    Yep should have mentioned filters, all of my filters are at the tank behind the quick connects or in front of tank quick connect-filter quick connect-then quick connect to the main line. And I figured everyone here that uses propane would already have the good sense to have line or end filters. Have 1000# tank for the commercial kitchen with a valve for filling the 20#-150# tanks as needed. Then just have the FS truck fill it up as needed. Hard to beat Walmarts $14 exchanges on the 20#s though. LOL went one show without filters on the Chuck Wagons tanks for the grills....... spent a lot of time the next day unclogging orifices. The bouncing around with the truck really gets the rust and crud in the tanks stirred up good and proper :)

    The filters I use are not compatible with the small propane fittings so I had our local gas shop man build me quick connects on one end to hood to the inside hub and the small cylinder compatible ends on the other end. Secondary filter between the iron pipe mainline and the brass hub as well. Don't really see the need for a 3rd filter at each appliance, since those are all brass fittings and rubber hose :)
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  8. Cruisin Sloth

    Cruisin Sloth Special & Slow

    Sir when it is convenient Plz take a few pix to show . (Filters and the quick connects ,, I use them as well )
    Id thought you would have had filters , but just in case , and for others !!
    Us OF/OP (Old Pharts ) are here to help and learn , right ?
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  9. BTPost

    BTPost Stumpy Old Fart Snow Monkey Moderator

    Ok you Propane Gurus, got a question for you.... Last spring AlaskaChick was swapping out 100# Propane Tanks on our Blue Cabin, and accidentally twisted off the Valve Stem on a Full 100# tank... So how do you empty such a Tank when you have No access to the Valve Stem because it broke flush with the Top of the Valve body? Is it possible to save the Propane? Any Ideas?
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  10. sdr

    sdr Monkey++

    Funny how things work. I'm going on a little solo winter camping trip in a few days. Taking my backpack in case. Figured I would probably sleep in the suburban though. Picked up a used Mr Buddy last Saturday. Been using it in the garage most nights just to see how it works. Did get a 12' hose from Lowest yesterday but didn't find a filter. Also picked up a 12v fan/light combo.

    Good to hear reviews on how well it works. Can't really tell in a 20 degree drafty garage.
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  11. Cruisin Sloth

    Cruisin Sloth Special & Slow

    Picture Plz @BTPost ,,Then we know the valving . There are many and it depends on year of the Valve .
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  12. Thunder5Ranch

    Thunder5Ranch Monkey+++

    That is a interesting one...... Might be possible to drill into the stem and use a T handle with a rod the diameter of the drill bore hole dipped in jb weld to turn it. Or a small tap to thread the hole opposite and screw a long bolt into it to turn it with a wrench. For most folks I would just say toss it in the truck and take it to the propane tank shop, as they see about every kind of damage that can be done to a exchange tank. Not quite that simple fer you though. Seems to me you just need to get it hooked up and open one more time.

    Sloth might have some better ideas on that one.
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  13. oil pan 4

    oil pan 4 Monkey+++

    I use the little buddy heater on a 40lb tank occasionally.
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  14. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    Won't substitute for the buddy heaters that can be used indoors.
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2020
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  15. Wildbilly

    Wildbilly Monkey+++

    Got any AP or API bullets? How about some tracer rounds?
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  16. Illini Warrior

    Illini Warrior Illini Warrior

    read into Mr Heater products - the same thing is advised ALLLL over - you're not supposed to use an extension hose and tank inside for the Buddy heater either ...
    NONE can be used in a bedroom per Mr Heater ...

    PS >> note that the Mr Heater products accordingly stop working once they cross the Canadian border
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2020
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  17. Cruisin Sloth

    Cruisin Sloth Special & Slow

    I do , but need valve type and pictures , We have a propane bottle cemetery here , just beside me , they do the island ,, and i get all my free toys there .
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  18. Gator 45/70

    Gator 45/70 Monkey+++

    Funny how those 1# propane jugs and a 2x4 cost about the same money....
    Thunder5Ranch likes this.
  19. Altoidfishfins

    Altoidfishfins Monkey+++ Site Supporter+

    I have one of those little buddy heaters that I used in my earlier days at the BOL, when I was staying in a metal shed for a few days at a time.

    It got to the point where it seemed to give off some really noxious fumes that burn the eyes and throat in an enclosed space, even in a really leaky metal shed. Finally had to stop using it. Didn't remember it doing that when it was new.
  20. Cruisin Sloth

    Cruisin Sloth Special & Slow

    You needed a filter for the added flavor / smell of mercaptan , that is the chemical that kills the rubber hose , and that's why one poster here said that the inner were all black..

    Last edited: Dec 16, 2020
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