Golf is a sport best played on warm sunny days. However, a little frigid weather is not enough to stop hardcore (and hard-headed) golfers. While it’s true that most golf courses will be practically empty on cold days, meaning you do not have to put up with the presence of other players, it’s hard to argue that playing golf in cold weather doesn’t get uncomfortable fairly quickly. You will be effectively playing with several handicaps – your hands will be a little numb, your muscles will be a little stiff, and your swing may not be as powerful as it normally is.
Even though you may not be setting any personal records, playing in cold weather does not need to be a miserable experience. You could resort to the usual ways of keeping warm such as wearing several layers or having a hot drink on hand. Another option is to equip your golf cart with a heater. Since you will be spending most of your time in the golf cart, why not make it as comfortable as possible? If a golf cart heater is something you would be interested in, then you have come to the right place. In this guide, we show you what to look for when shopping for a golf cart heater and what the best brands are.
|Name||Mr. Heater Golf Cart Heater||Cleveland Golf Climate Caddy in a Cup||Coleman GolfCat Perfectemp||Heater Craft G200x||Stansport Deluxe|
|BTU heat output||4000 BTU||2300 BTU||3000 BTU||4500 BTU||3500 BTU|
|Where to buy|
Shopping for a golf cart heater
Propane or electric?
Practically all golf cart heaters use either propane or electric. To choose the right option for you, you must consider the initial price of the heater, the recurring costs of using it, ease of installation, and compatibility with your golf cart.
Propane heaters are simple, lightweight, and compact devices that can be mounted on just about any golf cart. Without the need for permanent installation, propane heaters make for excellent on-the-go heaters that you can bring along wherever your golf game might be. A propane heater can be safely used in an enclosed golf cart as long as there is some provision for ventilation.
The main disadvantage of a propane heater is that you will need a constant supply of propane fuel. Depending on its heat output, a propane heater can use up a 1-pound canister of propane in about five or six hours. Although propane is not expensive, these expenses can add up over several weeks and eventually offset the low cost of purchasing a propane heater.
Another disadvantage of a propane heater is that you will literally have a container of flammable propane inside your golf cart. Incidences of propane catching fire in golf carts have been documented in the past few years. But, to be fair, said incidences have been rare and have mostly involved larger propane tanks.
Electric heaters are generally more expensive and need some form of installation since they are powered by the golf cart’s battery. Most models also need to be permanently mounted to the golf cart’s dashboard. In terms of flexibility and portability, electric heaters don’t quite match the convenience that propane heaters provide.
Electric heaters are also about 30% to 40% more expensive than their propane heater counterparts. However, they run on the electricity from your golf cart’s battery – a far more efficient and economical way of generating energy than direct fuel ignition. Without the recurring costs of buying propane, electric heaters are actually the cheaper long-term option.
Although battery power is more efficient, it also has its drawbacks as a power source. Leaving a golf cart heater turned on has the potential of draining your golf cart’s battery, leaving you cold and stranded. To avoid such a disaster, it would be best to choose an electric golf cart heater which comes with an automatic low voltage shutdown function.
Temperature control in electric heaters usually provides more discrete settings and is more intuitive than in propane heaters. A flexible temperature control mechanism can be very useful for severely fluctuating weather conditions.
How many BTUs?
Golf cart heaters are commonly advertised with the amount of BTU’s of energy that they can generate. Although these numbers sound great in advertisements, the reality is that people cannot translate them very well into real world terms. For instance, is a 4000 BTU heater necessary to stay warm in 40 °F weather? Or will 1500 BTU suffice? Let’s do the math and try to answer that question.
A standard 2-seater EZ-GO golf cart has about 105 ft2 of internal space. A golf cart enclosure can trap some heat, but it is not a very good insulator. If the prevailing temperature is at 40 °F, and you want to hit at least 70 °F to be comfortable, then you are going to need at least 2800 BTU of heat. If the temperature drops to 30 °F and below, then you are going to need 3500 BTU or more to stay comfortably warm inside your golf cart.
The top 5 best golf cart heaters
1. Mr. Heater Golf Cart Heater
The Mr. Heater Golf Cart Heater has an adaptor that connects directly to standard 1 lb propane tanks. The heater’s propane burner can generate up to 4000 BTU of heat, which will consume 1 lb of propane fuel in about five and a half hours – just the right length of time for one game of golf.
The main strength of the Mr. Heater is that it is highly portable. Its compact design means you can bring it along anywhere. It also comes with a base that fits and locks into most golf cart cup holders. If you need a heater that you can bring with you wherever your golf game may be, then the Mr. Heater is the perfect golf cart heater for you.
The interior of the heater has porcelain-coated reflectors to focus the heat towards its front side. The front face of the Mr. Heater can get hot pretty quickly, but the steel safety guard should keep errant users from hurting themselves. The external frame also has a wind guard that should keep the heater burning no matter what weather conditions you may find yourself in.
The design of the Mr. Heater is very top-heavy so it does tip over quite easily. Fortunately, tipping over also activates the heater’s auto-shutdown function, so you shouldn’t have to worry about your golf cart burning down.
Perhaps the most noticeable feature that the Mr. Heater lacks is a knob for temperature adjustment. 4000 BTU of heat is a lot, and it may not be necessary at all times. An adjustment knob also goes a long way towards conserving the propane fuel.
- Portable and can be used in any golf cart
- Wind shield keeps the burners operating even in windy conditions
- Auto shutdown feature when the heater is tipped makes it a safety-conscious option
- No heat output adjustment
- The propane needs to be changed every 1 or 2 games
2. Cleveland Golf Climate Caddy in a Cup
The Climate Caddy in a Cup is a portable electric heater that should fit in most golf cart cup holders. This heater avoids the usual hurdle of installation for most electric heaters, but it still has to be connected to the golf cart’s batteries. The included alligator clips might make this task easier, although there is still the matter of opening up the battery compartment. In any case, the Golf Climate is a good middle ground for a portable electric heater.
According to the manufacturers, the Climate Caddy can generate hot air at more than 100° F. This sounds like a nice and warm temperature, but the power consumption of the Climate Caddy also implies that it can only generate about 2300 BTU of heat. This figure may be too low for extremely cold conditions.
On the plus side, this heater was designed for battery conservation. Aside from its low power drainage, it also has an auto-shutdown feature when it detects low battery voltage. An intelligent electric eye function starts the operation of the heater only when the golf cart is occupied.
- Somewhat portable, with only minimal installation required
- Auto shutdown feature ensures that it does not your run your battery empty
- Cheaper in the long run, especially considering its low power consumption
- Power wires still need to be connected to the golf cart battery’s terminals
- Low heat output may not be warm enough for frigid weather
3. Coleman GolfCat Perfectemp Catalytic Propane Heater
The Coleman GolfCat Heater produces 3000 BTU of heat for seven hours for each 16.4-oz propane cylinder. Starting the heater is made easy with a single-button electronic ignition system. It comes with a cup holder adaptor which should fit any golf cart but can also function in a free-standing position for various other outdoor activities.
This Coleman heater gets plus points for being highly portable, as it even comes with a carrying bag. There has been some user feedback which states that the cup holder adaptor does not fit snugly in some types of cup holders, so there is still a risk of the heater toppling over, especially given its top-heavy design.
This heater has a provision for temperature adjustment with high and low settings, giving it a little flexibility for different weather conditions. The main limitation of the Coleman GolfCat heater is its heat output of 3000 BTU – which may not be enough for very frigid weather in the neighborhood of 35° F.
- Comes with a carrying bag for maximum portability
- Provision for temperature adjustment
- Reliable single-button electric ignition
- Propane needs to be changed every 1 or 2 games
- The low heat output might not be warm enough in frigid weather
4. Heater Craft G200x Golf Cart Heater
The Heater Craft G200x is an electric golf cart heater that can generate up to 4500 BTU of heat. It has an incredibly compact design and comes with a universal mounting bracket that should fit on most golf carts. This heater is specifically designed to work in golf carts with 48V batteries.
Being an electric heater, the Heat Craft G200X is far from portable: mounting the heater on a golf cart will involve drilling holes to screw in the bracket and connecting the power supply wires to the cart’s battery terminals. This process will require some level of technical know-how and a few specialty tools. Thus, it is not an “out of the box” solution.
Without a propane tank, the G200x is a much safer heating option. It is more expensive than propane heaters, but not having to buy propane refills may offset the higher cost eventually. The heat flow from the G200x feels more consistent, but it offers no adjustments options. Its 4500 BTU heat output is huge and may be unnecessarily wasteful if it’s not too cold outside.
- Safer option due to absence of a propane fuel tank
- Provides more consistent heat output
- May be cheaper in the long run
- Complicated mounting and installation process
- No heat adjustment means maximum power consumption at all times – your golf cart batteries might get drained in the middle of a game
5. Stansport Deluxe Infrared Propane Heater
The Stansport Propane Heater is compatible with disposable 16-oz propane cylinders and can generate up to 3500 BTU of heat for up to 8 hours per cylinder. It has a compact and portable design. It comes with a cup holder adaptor stand as well as a standard four-prong stand, so you can even use this portable heater for your camping trips and other outdoor activities.
The Stansport heater uses a matchless ignition system that is convenient and safe, although it may take several tries to start the propane burner. To concentrate the heat towards its front facing side, the heater is equipped with a durable reflector material. Although the reflector functions well, it also makes the heater very top-heavy, putting it in danger of tipping over. Without an auto-shutdown mechanism, a tipped over Stansport heater can lead very big problems.
Many users have noted that the lack of a wind shield frequently results in the propane burner blowing out. Re-igniting the burner is a simple matter but having to do it repeatedly in windy conditions can become inconvenient.
On the bright side, the Stansport heater comes with an adjustment knob with low, medium, and high settings. There is no information on the heat output per adjustment setting, but this a nice feature that makes this heater more flexible.
- Portable design should fit any golf car cup holder
- Durable reflector material
- Comes with an adjustment knob with three settings
- The lack of wind shield means the burner gets blown out in strong winds
- No auto-shutdown feature should the heater tip over
If you’re a golfer who is not the type to let a little cold weather get in the way of a game, then a golf cart heater is an excellent accessory to stay comfortable and to keep those swinging muscles warm. Luckily, there is a good number of golf cart heater products available out there. Picking the best one is a matter of convenience, safety, and heat output. With this buying guide, we hope that we have helped you pick which golf cart heater works best for your situation.