Top 10 Best Engine Block Heater in 2020 – Guide For Beginners

People living in harsh weather conditions like North America and Europe face difficulties every winter with their vehicles. Besides the hassle of driving in the snow, they face a more primal condition – getting the vehicle to start.

Thanks to modern technology, we can now warm-up our vehicle engines. This prevents them from getting damaged due to cold starts. Such starts are detrimental as the parts inside the engine start to move before reaching their operating temperature.

You could select a universal block heater to warm the engine or you could pick one that’s the most suitable. There are various types of these heaters but it takes some research to pick the best engine block heater.

To make a guided choice, read through this article that covers the finest brands of engine block heaters. After going through the user reviews, take a decision that you won’t regret later on.

What is an Engine Block Heater And Benefits Of Using It?

The engine is the most important part of any automobile. It is through the engine that oil is transmitted. Oil makes the other parts of the vehicle move, and thus we are able to drive.

In very cold climates, the engine hits a low temperature. The oil that flows through it is naturally viscous and cannot flow smoothly if not warm enough. Colder climates don’t make it easy for the oil to flow through if the engine is cold.

This is where we need an engine block heater. It’s embedded within the engine of your car and heats it up. Basically a small heater, it preps your engine before you turn on the ignition. The freeze plug in the heater warms up the coolant so that the flow through the engine is smooth.

There are several benefits to using this product. Read on to know more.

Prevents Engine Wear-Out

Since the car block heater warms up the engine, the latter is in the right state before starting to work. Thus, there won’t be any premature wear and tear. It doesn’t have to work extra hard as it’s already warmed up.

Prevents Spills

An engine block heater like the freeze plug prevents the engine from getting cold. It surrounds the cooling system and the engine in warmth. Thus, you won’t get any mess from sticky and thick engine oil.

Smooth Operation

If you have a block heater for car, you’ll get mental peace. That’s because your car will operate without any hitch. This is especially a much-needed feature for vehicles operating in extreme cold conditions.

Easier Ignition

With an engine block heater, it’s easier to start your car after a very cold night. Without it, you’ll not only find it hard to start your car, but you will also cause damage to the engine.

Saves Fuel

An engine block heater will save fuel for you. For the first 20 kilometers, your vehicle will save at least 15% gas. These savings are even higher if you own a bigger vehicle like a Jeep, that houses a bigger engine.

Environment-Conscious

Since an engine block heater prevents the engine of your vehicle to start before it reaches the optimum temperature, there is less emission of gases that are harmful to the environment.

Top 10 Best Engine Block Heater Reviews in 2020

1. Kat's 1160 Handi-Heat Magnetic Heater For Car, Trucks, SUVs

Are you looking for a heater that will warm up your tractors and other farm equipment?

If you are, then look no further. We have you covered with this magnetic engine block heater. Besides warming up engines of heavy-duty vehicles, they are great for regular sedans and SUVs.

With two powerful magnets, this magnetic heater does a wonderful job of warming the engine and the transmission of your vehicle. This device provides continuous warmth to your vehicle, thereby ensuring better lubrication and long life of your engine.

Its expanding heating surface makes it an ideal heating solution for trucks and larger vehicles. It warms up to 20 square inches of the area easily. To get the most effective outcome, place the heater on the flattest and lowest side of the oil pan. You can choose the bottom of the pan as well.

This is a multifunctional heating device that you may also use on chainsaws, snowmobiles, and snow blowers.

If your vehicle has an aluminum alloy oil pan, the magnets will not work on them. Although with some improvisation, you can make it work. On the other hand, the magnets work perfectly on all other types of oil pans, without falling off.

The solid construction of this magnetic heater makes it sturdy and durable. You won’t need to replace it anytime soon.

Highlighted Features:

  • Magnetic truck block heater for heavy-duty and regular vehicles.
  • Two powerful magnets to provide warmth continuously.
  • Expanding heating surface covers up to 20 square inches of area.
  • Attachable to oil pan of vehicles.
  • Solid construction for durability. 

2. Kat's 13150 Aluminum Circulating Tank Heater

“It’s better out than in” – as Shrek says. And sometimes it’s applicable for engine block heaters too!

This is the good quality of engine block heater for external use with which you can warm up your engine or the car transmission. Either way, it helps tons to get your car started in the coldest of mornings. Plus, it protects your engine from the damage that cold starts can incur.

With this engine warmer, you can save fuel. As it produces better lubrication, your engine won’t need to do extra work by guzzling extra fuel. This also results in your engine life getting extended.

In a circular shape, this heater has straps for mounting on the engine, making it flexible and versatile. The outlet design is tapered so that it can facilitate the flow of the coolant more efficiently. The installation needs some mechanical experience and it is better left to professionals if you’re uneasy.

The molding is in a one-piece form, making it resistant to leaks if any. Keeping in mind the health of the environment, the product has used die-cast aluminum that’s easily recyclable. It also protects the device from any strong impact as well as from corrosion.

With a thermostat fitted, you can control the temperature between a range of 135 and 175 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s a small but powerful engine heater with the ability to transmit 1500 Watt.

Highlighted Features:

  • A small but powerful external heater of 1500 Watt.
  • Control temperatures between 135 - 175 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Aluminum body to resist corrosion and impact.
  • Tapered design to facilitate the flow of coolant.
  • It comes with straps for mounting. 

3. Zerostart 3500043 Engine Block Heater

If there’s one engine block heater out there that have been specially made for the major auto manufacturers, then this is it.

For owners who have one or more of Nissan, Ford, Caterpillar, Detroit Diesel, Mack, Mercury, International, Hino or Lincoln, this heater will serve the purpose of engine warming for all.

Approved by experts, this product will keep your engine from the damage caused by an ignition without warming it up first. This device will ensure all the fluids and oil are at the right temperature for the engine to function. Thus, it helps to keep your engine free from wear and tear.

A tough customer, it can transmit power of 1000 Watts or 120 Volts. It helps to ready your vehicle engine so that you can start it at one go. Even after your car has been left out in freezing temperatures, you won’t fail to start the engine.

The efficiency of the product is palpable as it directly heats up the engine block and coolant. This saves your time as other types of heaters may indirectly heat the engine through an oil pan. It takes between 3 to 4 hours to get warm for it to transmit the heat to the engine.

If you use only the heater element without replacing the stock cord, it also gives you great heating results.

Highlighted Features:

  • Especially suitable for Ford, Lincoln, Nissan, and other major auto brands.
  • Powerful at 1000 Watts or 120 Volts.
  • It heats up the engine and coolant directly, saving time.
  • Takes between 3 and 4 hours to warm up.
  • Only the heating part can be used with the stock cord. 

4. Zerostart 3400017 Portable Electric Heat Magnet Heater

Touch the heat without getting burned – that’s what this multi-use engine block heater is all about.

this is a best engine block heater and It’s suitable for only non-aluminum engine blocks of both large and small sizes. You can use this product on a range of vehicles like farm equipment, snowmobiles, motorbikes, tractors, snowblowers, and generators.

Connect it to 120 Volts or 200 Watts AC outlets and the built-in thermostat will do the rest. It will ensure that the temperature doesn’t exceed 250 degrees Fahrenheit or 121 degrees Celsius. Attach this heater to any metallic surface and you can be certain that the optimum temperature will be kept.

You can apply this heater on steel gutters, oil pans and transmissions of vehicles, hydraulic equipment, and stock tank to get rid of the cold and resultant ice or snow.

The greatest part is the quick grip handle with which you can remove the heater from the oil pan or engine block without getting your hands singed. It’s the most efficient way of warming up your engine, coolant, and oil in the harsh winters.

The powerful magnet is strong and sticks to the metal surface without sliding off. It even sticks well to the bottom of an oil pan.

Users have praised its ability to turn off after reaching 200 degrees Fahrenheit and then remain constant at 180 degrees Fahrenheit.

Highlighted Features:

  • Multi-use heater for non-aluminum engine blocks.
  • Built-in thermostat controls and maintains optimum heat.
  • A quick grip handle to protect the hands from burning.
  • Powerful magnets to help stick firmly on a metal surface.
  • It connects to 120 Volts or 200 Watts outlets. 

5. Zerostart 2600900 Interior Car Warmer

Afraid of being greeted by frosty windows first thing when you get out of the house? No need to fear as the car interior heater is here!

This is the real deal when it comes to toasting the inside of any recreational, light-duty or passenger transport. It’s easy to install with the enclosed brackets. You can place it either under the dashboard or mount it on the floor.

With frost-free windows, the propensity of having road accidents is reduced.

The compact heater is powerful, transmitting 900 Watts or 120 Volts power through the blower fans. These ensure the entire interior is uniformly warmed.

Measuring only 2.75 feet in height, 4.5 feet in width, and 7 inches in length, the device offers space-saving dimensions. With a 7.5 feet cord, it gives you much flexibility and convenience.

It takes a few hours to warm up your car interior. It’s a good idea to set it to a timer so that you don’t waste energy unnecessarily. Besides doing a great job on heating up the inside, it melts away inches of snow from your windshield.

However, to avoid overheating, it’s advised to keep it at a distance of 3 feet in the front. Also, this lacks a thermostat and you have to unplug and re-plug it to adjust the temperature.

Highlighted Features:

  • Car interior heater with fan blowers.
  • Compact and powerful to clean up frosted windows.
  • It helps to melt away inches of snow on the windshield.
  • Might overheat so mounting at a 3 feet distance is advised.
  • A timer can be set to save energy. 

6. Kat's 1155 200 Watt Magnetic Heater

Extreme cold weather conditions call for extreme countermeasures.

When the temperature drops to minus 40 degrees Celsius or even lower, you can rely on this engine block heater to warm up your truck or car. Besides the engines on your automobiles, it works equally well in snow mobiles, snowblowers, chainsaws, and any other engine of small stature.

This heater can also be used in the oil pan of your vehicle to warm up the fuel. If you find your gutter is all frozen, use this heater to thaw the ice and get the drains functioning again.

Many pipes, locks, and animal feeders freeze in very cold regions. This machine can help you to thaw them so that life can go on normally despite the sub-zero temperatures.

As the heater needs no mechanical installation, it is easy to use. Its convenience and reliability features make it a necessary tool to warm up equipment and vehicles in the coldest months of the year. You can use this to warm up your vehicle transmission.

Cold starts can irreparably damage your engine. To avoid this, use the heater to warm up your engine for twenty minutes or so. This will keep all the fluid in your engine and the engine itself warm and ready for running.

It has a thermostat so that you can control the temperature. This will prevent electricity wastage due to overheating.

Highlighted Features:

  • Multipurpose use on engine vehicles, transmission, snowblowers, etc.
  • Thermostat for controlling the temperature.
  • Prevents engine damage from cold starts.
  • Reliable, convenient to use in sub-zero temperatures.
  • Zero mechanical installation for easy operation. 

7. HOTSTART ENGINE HEATER

Start me up! That’s what your car engine screams when the harshest winters hit your part of the country.

This heater can be used on cars as well as on most generators, buses, boats, trucks, and tractors. Its design is such that you can replace the main parts without throwing it away. Thus, it gives you an opportunity to be kind to the environment and your wallet by helping you reuse it.

The device has been made from materials that are resistant to rust and corrosion. Therefore, it’s a durable block heater for your vehicle engine. Another point that prolongs its service life is that it’s tested for shock and vibration before it hits the market.

Be sure that the coolant of your engine will have a temperature between 100 and 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Thanks to the thermostat, you can regulate the temperature easily. Through convection heating, this device warms up the coolant in your engine.

To give you more value for money, this heater has been designed to minimize any heat loss. Hence, it’s a win-win situation for all concerned.

Users have claimed that they have had this heater working fine for 18 years. That’s concrete proof about the durability of this product. It comes with a power cord of 4 feet in length. With 120 Volts, this heater packs in a punch.

For easy installation, the package includes universal mounting brackets and other accessories.

Highlighted Features:

  • Powerful heater at 120 Volts.
  • Designed for reusability.
  • Prevents heat loss and saves energy.
  • Adjustable temperature with a thermostat.
  • Easy installation with provided bolts and universal brackets.

8. Ford F7TZ-6A051-AA - HEATER ASY

For your Fords only! A bespoke engine block heater for the car manufacturing giant.

Small but smart, this heater has been specifically for Ford owners. It fits all 1999 to 2003 Ford Super Duty models with 7.3 Diesel. It is a genuine Ford part and comes without a cord.

Although the installation is easy, you need to drain out the radiator first. Otherwise, you may lose some of the coolants. The draining bit of the process may create some mess. A user’s hint: when the motor is hot, it’s easier to loosen the nut. Plus, be quick with the replacement to minimize coolant loss.

Even when temperatures hit to -2 degrees Celsius, this heater will keep your engine and all the fluids warm. There’s no chance of any damage caused to the engine with a cold start. It takes about an hour to fire up a truck’s engine in negative temperatures.

It’s the best engine block heater as you won’t face any difficulty in fitting it. As it has been manufactured for specific Ford models only, it fits like a glove. In addition, it has proven to be reliable and made to last for several long winters.

This heater speaks volumes about the quality standard and functionality of Ford and all its OEM parts.

Highlighted Features:

  • Bespoke heater for Ford 1999 – 2003 Super Duty 7.3 Diesel models.
  • High quality, functionality, reliable, and durable.
  • Easy to install but a messy process.
  • Fits said Ford model engines perfectly.
  • It works great in minus temperatures. 

9. Ford 2011-2016 Super Duty 6.7L Diesel Engine Block Heater

Any owner of a Ford would want to have this heater for their engine handy.

This heater is applicable for all Ford models between 2011 and 2016 with a 6.7-liter engine. The heating core comes with a cable cord wire harness for easy installation. If you have a swivel socket to remove the existing plug and a power cord extension, then installation will be easier.

Make sure that your truck or car is cool before you install this heater. After installation, you will notice how quickly your engine and all the system fluids warm up. Even in the worst of winters, this heater won’t let your Ford down.

Since this product has been made especially for Ford models, it will fit it in without any hassle. During installation, you will lose some of the coolants. But if you are careful, the maximum coolant you can lose is about 6 ounces.

The maximum temperature provided by this heater is 50 degrees Celsius. With an easy installation process, you can save money by doing it yourself instead of getting professional help.

Cold starts can ruin the engine of your car on cold mornings. Install this heater to have greater fuel efficiency along with the prevention of any engine damage. Before you turn on the ignition, allow the heater to warm the innards of your Ford.

Highlighted Features:

  • Made for 6.7-liter Ford 2011 – 2016 models.
  • A cable cord wire harness is enclosed for easy installation.
  • Maximum temperature of 50 degrees Celsius.
  • Some coolants will be lost during installation.
  • Prevents engine damage. 

10. Zerostart 350-0015 Engine Block Heater

The challenging weather will not be able to damage your vehicle engine if you have this block heater to warm the main system.

With quality heating solutions from this product, you can use it to thaw the coldest engines of your car, trucks, off-road vehicles, and even generators.

If you warm your engine sufficiently during the cold months, you will do a favor to both your car and the environment. That’s because a warmed-up engine will release fewer emissions that are detrimental to the environment. Plus, the coolant and other liquids in the system will prevent engine damage.

You will see that the heater will warm up the engine and the vehicle cabin within minutes. While you get ready in the morning, this heater will work to make the car ready for you and will also prolong the engine life in the process.

It has been designed to fit perfectly with factory settings of the engine. Therefore, it saves you from any installation time wastage and hassle. It will take a maximum of 20 minutes for the installation.

Use the AC power in your home to turn on the heater. This will warm up the coolant and heat the engine through convection.

This product will work for both gas and diesel vehicles. Thus, it gives you the versatility of an engine block heater that many others don’t.

Highlighted Features:

  • Suitable for both gas and diesel vehicles including trucks and off-roads.
  • Instant warming of the coolant and engine.
  • Factory setting compatible for easy installation.
  • Installation time approximately 20 minutes.
  • Runs on the standard home AC power outlet. 

How To Choose The Best Engine Block Heater

With a host of engine block heaters available, making a buying decision is a tough choice. However, you need to consider several factors before making the final purchase of an engine block heater. Read on to know more.

Temporary Or Permanent

Engine block heaters can be either temporary or permanent. Depending on whether you need one for a short vacation up north or you live permanently there, it will be a deciding factor for your purchase decision.

If you’re in the market for temporary heating solutions for your car engine, pick a dipstick heater or an engine-warming blanket, or an oil pan heater.

However, if you live in extremely cold regions, other types of engine heaters should give you more long-term solutions. You could go for the most efficient type of heater for your car – in-line coolant heater or freeze plug heater.

Climate

Not all weather conditions demand the use of a car block heater. It’s only the extreme cold to very cold climates where you need a heater for your vehicle. Due to this type of climate, the coolant and oil in your car freeze, causing damage to the engine.

It’s only when the temperature goes down to 5 degrees Celsius then you ought to run the engine warmer.

Engine Size

The bigger the engine of your vehicle, the bigger the power or Wattage of your engine block heater is needed. For example, the tractors and trucks used on a farm have a big engine. For these types, you need a truck block heater with at least 300 wattage power.

Ease Of Installation

Some engine block heaters are easier to install, while others need professional help. Before you choose one, first decide if you want to install it or get the pros to do it. Depending on your decision, select the right engine block heater for you.

The stick-on types of heaters like the dipstick heater, oil pan heater or the engine-warming blankets are the easiest to install. Others require more expertise as these need to be in electrical harmony with the engine system.

Multi-Vehicle Usage

If you own more than one vehicle that runs regularly, then you need to choose a heater for your engine that can be used on multiple cars. You can opt for an engine-warming blanket. This type of engine warmer installation is temporary. Therefore, you can move this from one to another vehicle easily.

You can also get an oil pan heater to warm up your fleet of cars. Although they are not the most efficient, they still provide the warmth that your vehicle engines need in cold weather.

Types Of Block Heaters

Engine block heaters are available in a few types. But they all use the basic mechanism of heating to keep the engine and fluids warm. Let’s take a look at these types.

Dipstick Heater

A dipstick heater for an automobile engine is placed in the part where the oil dipstick is usually found. This is a temporary heater, easy to install, and directly warms up the oil and air. Thus, the cold weather cannot make the fluids thick. Hence, the warm oil keeps the engine running smoother and for a long time.

Bolt-On Heater

This type of an engine block heater is latched on the outside of the engine. It heats up the engine directly, which in turn, heats up the coolant. It’s totally effective but the installation part is difficult.

Engine-Warming Blankets

This is a larger size heater for your car, especially suitable for cold weather. It will make sure your engine doesn’t freeze.

This type of engine heater needs a power source to be plugged into. You need to put it under the hood and turn the switch on. The heat is spread uniformly and keeps the car warm throughout the night.

This is a temporary installation and gives you the flexibility to use it on other vehicles as well. This requires no such installation and is, therefore, easy to use. Moreover, it warms the entire car, much like an aftermarket car heater.

In-Line Coolant Heater

This type of heater for vehicles is installed in line with the engine’s coolant circulatory system. More specifically, any part of the coolant hose is selected and a slit made. The two parts are then connected to the heater’s input and output.

When the coolant flows through the system, it will be warmed up. You can also put it near the thermostat or at the radiator’s output.

The installation level is difficult as this type of heater is driven by a pump. However, the system is very efficient.

Oil Pan Heater

This is a plastic pad that encloses a heating element. Just attach it to any metal part of your engine and it will heat up the entire engine. It’s better to attach it to the engine oil or the transmission oil pan. However, you could use two of these oil pan heaters to connect to both.

If you are using two oil pan heaters in your vehicle, always keep the power cables separate.

Although they are not as efficient as other types, they are easier to install and allows you to use on more than one vehicle.

Freeze Plug Heater

This is the good quality engine block heater in terms of efficiency. Every engine has a freeze plug and this is replaced by the freeze plug heater to warm the engine. It directly warms up the coolant. It’s small in size but difficult to install. Especially if you have multiple cars to warm, this turns out to be tricky.

Cartridge Heater

To install a cartridge heater, the model of your vehicle should have space for it. This is usually found near the heard of the engine. Here, you can attach a cartridge heater with the help of a bracket. It comes in contact with one of the coolant channels and thus warms it up.

Installation of cartridge heaters is easy, taking only up to 15 minutes.

Drain Plug Heater

The nature of the drain plug heater is similar to the freeze plug heater. The only difference lies in the installation method. In the case of the freeze plug heater, the freeze plug of the engine is replaced by it. In this case, the drain plug of the engine block is replaced by the drain plug heater.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

1. Why Do I Need An Engine Block Heater?

Answer: If you live in extremely cold climates, especially in areas like North and South Dakota, Alaska, Montana, Wyoming, your car probably needs an engine block heater.

That’s because the freezing temperatures bring down the temperature of the engine. With an engine block heater, you protect your engine as it stays warm even when your truck is not running. If the oil is cold, it won’t flow through smoothly, harming your engine.

2. Which Type Of A Block Heater Is Appropriate For My Vehicle?

Answer: You should choose the type of engine block heater that fits the engine size of your vehicle. Also, check how easy or hard the installation of the heater is before deciding to buy one. Another major important consideration is the weather.

3. Which Type Of Engine Block Heater Is The Most Difficult To Install?

Answer: While most engine block heaters are fairly easy to install, the most difficult one is that which uses a pump to circulate warm coolant. The constant circulation prevents the coolant from getting frozen in winters.

Both circulating and non-circulating forms of in-line heater should be installed professionally.

4. If I Don’t Run My Vehicle Regularly, Do I Need An Engine Heater?

Answer: Even if you don’t run your vehicle daily, an engine warmer for winter will come to use. Many of us are into drag racing and we don’t use these cars often. As a result, they sit idle. When the engine is not running, it will wear and tear. Having an engine heater will prevent this.

5. How Do I Know When To Use An Engine Block Heater?

Answer: The first indication to watch out for is the weather. It will tell you if your car needs to be plugged into a heater or not. The antifreeze in your car should tell you that. If you see it’s not in its fluid state, then it’s better to have an engine warmer connected. Otherwise, your engine block may crack.

6. What Is Meant By Warming Up The Car?

Answer: When you turn on the ignition and let the car sit idle with the engine running for a while, you’re warming up your car. It’s important because your engine has been sitting inactive and the coolant, oil, and other fluids are not sufficiently warm to start driving.

7. Which Is The Least Efficient Type Of Engine Block Heater?

Answer: The oil pan heater is the least efficient type of engine block heater. That’s owing to the roundabout way of warming the coolant of your engine. It takes a long time for the oil to be warmed and then transferred to the pan and to the engine.

8. How Do I Locate The Block Heater Cable In My Car?

Answer: To locate the cord for the block heater in your vehicle, look at the grille of the car. You might see it hanging from there. If it’s not there, then check inside the hood of your car.

Final Word

Vehicles are one of the most important parts of modern life. But oftentimes, we only look at the outside of the vehicle and take care of the exterior. Taking care of the vehicle engine should be number one on the list for car care.

This is especially applicable for denizens of cold and dry climates. When vehicles are left to rest overnight, it becomes difficult to get them to start the next day. That’s why engine block heaters are the perfect solution. They help to prevent damage to the engine and save money in the long run.

To help you know more about why you need one and to enable you to select the best engine block heater, we have compiled a list. User reviews have also been factored in. We hope this helps you in hunting for the right engine warmer before the next bout of winter hits you.

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