The Mr. Heater Little Buddy is powerful enough to heat a small space. (3,800 BTU/hour) There are two drawbacks, though, both of which this hack solves.

The first issue is that the Little Buddy is tall and top heavy and can easily tip over, even with the plastic ring that attaches to the bottom of the propane bottle. The Little Buddy has a tilt sensor that turns off the heater if it falls over, but there remains a risk the still-hot heater can scorch or burn something.

The second issue is that the Little Buddy uses 1-pound propane bottles, which are compact and convenient but are also a more expensive way to use propane. Refillable bulk tanks are much more economical. But how can you attach a 20-pound propane tank to a Little Buddy and also keep it upright and stable?

There are hoses that can attach Mr. Heater heaters to bulk tanks. It’s the same type used to connect something like a Coleman single burner stove. They come in five and twelve foot lengths. However, there’s a filter that must be used when connecting to a heater. Over time, propane and the pressure it’s under leaches a substance from the hose that can clog the heater’s system. The filter keeps that stuff out of the heater. As a bonus, that filter makes this hack possible. Here’s how.

Make (or repurpose) a wooden box, about 12 inches square and 6 inches tall,  with 1/2-inch thick wood. That 1/2-inch thickness is important. If making a box is too difficult, you could attach 6-inch legs to the corners of a piece of 1/2-inch wood instead.

Next, make a hole a little smaller than 2.25 inches in diameter in the top of the box. A hole saw or jigsaw should do the trick. You might want to make the hole slightly to one side so the angled head of the heater will be centered on the box for maximum stability.

Now put the filter into the hole, from the bottom. The widest part of the filter—the flange—should keep the filter from going all the way through the hole. Then screw the heater onto the filter. The filter will act like a big nut, holding the heater in place. Finally connect the hose to the filter.

If you make the box 13 x 12, you can store the heater and hose in it when you  don’t need to use it.

If you prefer to keep using 1-pound bottles but want a more stable base, you can screw the plastic base ring to a larger piece of wood. Or there are rings with feet that swing out to make a wider base.

For an even easier hack that requires no carpentry, see my new video here.