Looking for the best engine block heater?
If you live in a cold climate a block heater is such an important feature to ensure that your vehicle starts easily and that you are not putting unnecessary strain on your engine. Cold, viscous oil is detrimental to the health and performance of your engine so finding a good engine block heater can make all the difference.
Luckily, these are relatively inexpensive and, with a little know-how, easy to install as well. furthermore, good ol’ Shaun Bloodworth has made your life easy by listing the best products on the market.
Read until the end for the top pick!
Best Block Heater – Overview
Take a quick look at the top products before diving into the details:
|Image||Engine Block Heater||Benefits||Check Price|
|Zerostart Engine Block Heater(s)||Good option for smaller cars and trucks|
|Zerostart Silicone Pad Heater||Best engine block heater for Diesel trucks | Easy installation|
|Hotstart Engine Block Heater (Coolant Pre-Heater)||Long lasting and highly efficient heating|
|Kat’s Magnum Handi-Heat Magnetic Heater||Most convenient | No installation required|
|BMI engine block heater(s)||High Wattage options for cars and trucks|
|Ford Super Duty 6.7L Diesel Engine Block Heater||Perfect solution for select Ford vehicles|
|BMI Block heater controller (Bonus extra)||Best way to time and control your engine block heater|
Best Engine Block Heater – Detailed reviews
Now that you have a sense of the full list of products, let’s dive into the details so you can find the right product for you.
1. Zerostart Engine Block Heater(s)
Zerostart is a well-established brand in the engine heating industry. This is the first type of engine block heater from Zerostart which will plug directly into your engine blocks freeze plug’.
After installation, the heating element on the end of the device heats your coolant. The heated coolant then warms up your engine block as well as the oil flowing through it. They offer heating elements within the range of about 300 – 1000 watts at 120V.
These are CSA-approved block heaters so you can be sure that they meet the recognized standards for safety and performance.
The downside of this type of heater is that installation requires a fair amount of mechanical skill and tools (if you are not simply replacing an old one). The reason being, that you need to remove the freeze plug on your engine block which drains the coolant. Thereafter, you will need to manually fit the heating element and cable tie the power cable along a safe route to reach an outlet.
If you are looking for a simpler installation, have a look at the silicon heating pads and the magnetic heaters listed below.
There are options for almost every vehicle so if you are interested you can use the link below along with amazons ‘garage’ functionality to find one that fits your vehicle.
- It is CSA approved product
- Options for almost every car brand
- Affordable price
- Brand new installation can be difficult
2. Zerostart Silicone Pad Heater
So, now you know all about Zerostart as a company, this is another type of heater to consider. This particular type is arguably one of the best diesel engine heaters for trucks and really, any type of vehicle.
This type of heater has an adhesive pad that allows you to install it directly onto your oil pan. This heats the oil in your engine so that when you start your vehicle there is already warm oil to move around. Cold, viscous oil, is the enemy of engine health.
This product is great because it has a high output of 1000 watts and the installation is much simpler than the mechanical versions like the one above. Not only that, this type can actually last longer and do a better job.
This particular silicone pad heater needs to be connected to a three-prong plug or straight to an external battery supply with a switch and fuse. If you would like one that already has a plug you can look at this 500-watt pad.
- High output of 1000 watts
- Easy non-mechanical installation
- Fits almost any vehicle
- Relatively high price point
- Requires your own plug or switch to be fitted
3. Hotstart Engine Block Heater (Coolant Pre-Heater)
Hotstart specializes in thermal management and they have a broad range of products that can assist with pre-heating engines in cold environments.
This type of engine block heater works by attaching to your coolant hose and the device heats up and circulates the coolant using convection. It also has a built-in thermostat that regulates the temperature between 100 and 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
This type of engine block heater is the best for trucks, tractors, buses, boats, generators, and some cars. If installing in a truck or car you need to make sure that you have space in your engine bay to mount the device.
Overall, this is a very sturdy device that can withstand shock and vibration and its material construction provides rust and corrosion resistance. These features increase the longevity of the device and from a functional perspective, its design makes for very efficient heating.
- 1500 watts
- Shock & vibration tested
- Durable design and materials for increased longevity
- Rust & corrosion resistant
- Bulky design limits vehicle options
- higher price point
4. Kat’s Magnum Handi-Heat Magnetic Heater
Kat’s Heaters are manufactured in the US and they specialize in automotive heating products for cold weather.
This is a great option if you are looking for something that does not require any installation.
This device can be attached using its magnetic heating pad so it can be used for a very large range of vehicles or devices with engines. This is a very convenient device due to its magnetic pad because it allows you to connect it to any part of your engine requiring pre-heating.
For example, you can use it to warm your oil pan, engine block, and even your battery by attaching it to your battery holder. This gives you multiple options for warming up your engine for easy starting in cold climates.
Overall, this is a solid, convenient device and, with a 300-watt output, it should do the trick in most cold environments.
- Can be used for wide range of engines and more
- Requires no mechanical installation
- Magnetic pad
- 300 Watt output
- You need to place it before every use
5. BMI engine block heater(s)
BMI (Boston Motors inc.) produces a range of mechanically fitted engine block heaters and heater cords for diesel tractors, trucks, and other smaller vehicles. All the products are manufactured in the USA. So, while they do not have the widest range of options, they are great to look at if they have one for your exact vehicle or tractor.
They also have a few different types, depending on your vehicle so if you are interested the link below will allow you to filter the product for your vehicle. Furthermore, they offer some of the highest output for this type of engine block heater with some providing 1500 watts.
Be careful when you browse the options that you are getting the heater included and not just the cord. The cord on its own will only be useful if your vehicle came with an engine block heating element already installed.
- Very high wattage options
- Cord-only options (if your vehicle has pre-installed engine block heater)
- Small range for highly specific vehicle fit
6. Ford Super Duty 6.7L Diesel Engine Block Heater
This is a factory part made by Ford who you certainly know so it is the best engine block heater if you own a Ford with a 6.7L Diesel Engine between the years 2011 and 2016.
You cannot go wrong with an OEM part with its trusted quality. If you can handle the installation you will get a new engine block heater for a fraction of the price it would cost you by going to the dealership.
Be sure to make sure this will fit your exact engine and model before making the purchase.
- OEM quality
- Only fits select Ford vehicles
BMI Block heater controller (Bonus extra)
This is a bonus device because it is not an engine block heater. However, it can be used to control engine block heaters so it is a very useful accessory.
It allows you to save on energy costs by acting as a smart timer to only provide as much power as is required for an effective start. In fact, it actually senses the external temperature and adjusts its power output accordingly.
Furthermore, it has two modes namely, ‘timed ready’ and ‘maintain ready’ so you can customize its function to your driving requirements.
This is a very helpful device due to its smart functionality. However, you could get away with simply using a timer to do the same job. That being said, it will not have the same smart functions as this one and may not save you as much on electricity.
- Energy saving
- Sense outside temperate and adjust necessary output
- Can control up to 1800 watts at120 V
- It includes two modes
- Better than a simple timer
- ‘Smart’ capabilities
- More expensive than a simple timer
Below are a few key points to consider before you decide on the a purchase:
Do you need an engine block heater…
If you fit any of the following criteria it is recommended that you use an engine block heater.
- Diesel engine in cold climate (Diesel engines have a harder time in the cold than petrol engines)
- Regular motor oil in cold climate (Regular Motor oil is much more viscous than synthetic oil in the cold)
- Synthetic oil in -15degree climate or below
Generally speaking, if you live in an area that has a cold climate, it is a good idea to use an engine block heater, or your risk having starting issues and can prematurely wear out your engine components.
If you would like more information about whether it is for you, this video should help:
Gasoline or Diesel
As you may have noticed from above, your fuel type is a factor when it comes to cold environments. Therefore, it is a good idea to take this into consideration before deciding on whether you need a block heater and perhaps, what type of block heater.
If you are using a gas-powered car, you might not have as much of an issue starting in cold weather. However, it may be putting undue strain on the engine.
Now, if you are using a diesel car, tractor or truck, you may be more inclined to use an engine block heater. The reason being, that diesel has a higher temperature for combustion so in cold climates it can be much harder to start.
Maybe You Just Need a Cord…
If your vehicle was manufactured for cold climates, it may already have an engine block heater installed and you simply need to plug and route a power cord to it.
If this is the case, you can simply purchase yourself a power cord that fits your block heater. Here are some great options for just the cord by BMI.
Power Output (Watts)
You should usually go with as high as possible and about 1000 watts or more is generally a good output. However, this will also depend on how cold your climate is. Also, options like the magnetic engine block heater only have however, a 1000 w
Anything Else You Should Know
If you still feel unsure about an engine block heater this video should cover anything else you should need to know:
Frequently Asked Questions About Block Heaters
Can I leave my engine block heater plugged in overnight?
Yes, you can safely leave your engine block heater overnight. However, you will waste energy doing so because after a certain temperature is reached the heat will simply dissipate.
It is better to get yourself a timer (link above) or something like the BMI controller (link above). Either of these will make sure your engine is warm enough to start effectively when you need it, without wasting excessive amouts of electricity.
How long does it take for a block heater to warm an engine?
Depending on how cold it is your engine block heater could take between 1 and 4 hours to reach the maximum heat.
Where is the best place to put a magnetic block heater?
You have two good options for a magnetic block heater. The first is somewhere on the bottom or side of your block heater where it will warm the coolant and subsequently, the block and oil. Another good option is on the oil pan which will heat the oil inside the engine and make sure there is warm oil to reduce engine friction.
Can you start a car with a block heater plugged in?
Yes, it is completely safe to start your car with the block heater plugged in.
Does the engine block heater save fuel?
Yes, the engine block heaters can save fuel. In fact, in temperature that are as low as -20 an engine block heater can benefit your fuel economy as much as 10%.
At this point you may see how valuable engine block heaters can be for your diesel trucks, tractors or even just regular everyday vehicles. Furthermore, you should have a sense of the different types and the installation requirements of each.
The Shaun Bloodworth pick for the best engine block heater for diesel trucks is going to the Zerostart Silicone Pad Heater. This is because installation is simple and the product is highly effective.
The above is great for almost any vehicle however, for smaller vehicles or trucks, the mechanically-installed engine block heaters from Zerostart or BMI are perhaps better suited.
Lastly, if you are looking for the most convienient in terms of installation, that spot is going to the Kat’s Magnum Handi-Heat Magnetic Heater.
Always keep in mind your environement,fuel type and oil type when deciding on which engine block heater is right for you. From here, we wish you happy starting and long engine-life in the cold!