Throw out your dangerous heat lamps and remove that high-wattage space heater from your cart. Here are the seven best heaters for chicken coops that can save you over $120 in electricity bills, not to mention fire damage. Gently warm your chickens in the most energy-efficient and safest ways possible. The cold will never bother you or your chickens again.
Reviews: the 7 Best Chicken Coop Heaters
Start your chicken coop heating journey with our carefully curated list of the seven best chicken coop heaters. Get an idea of what you really need and what you can live without.
Still unsure which of the heaters above is the best for you and your chickens? Read our in-depth reviews below starting off with our pick for the Best Choice:
The best chicken coop heater award goes to the CL Cozy Safe Chicken Coop Heater by Cozy Products. [Cue cheering]
It is the safest space heater on the market, certified by the ETL. The temperature is lower around the edges of its panel just in case one of your chickens snuggles next up to it.
Plus, this Cozy coop model uses a measly 200 watts of power – that’s 10% of the power other chicken coop space heaters use!
This best heater for chicken coop works out-of-the-box too. Just plug it in, turn it on, and boom, instant heater for your chickens. Plus, unlike our runner-up, this one has an indicator light, so you don’t have to freeze your butt off waiting for it to turn on.
But that’s not all.
The center of the panel heats up to 175℉ at 185W on the high setting, which is best for warming up your backyard chickens in below-freezing temps. On less frigid days, switch it down to low, and you still get up to 150℉ at 85W.
The best part? You can control the temperature without stepping inside the coop because its switch sits on the cord and not on the panel.
Since this heater gives off more heat, it’s better for a bigger coop of around 12 or more chickens. More heat, in this case, still eats up less power than others. And the low power consumption saves you money. Gentle AREA heating gives you peace of mind that your chickens stay warm without burning their plumage. Just trust in the 75% of 4,529 users who think this heater is the best of all worlds.
The Petnf Chicken Coop Heater is a great heater that gave our top pick a run for its money. Let’s talk about its advantages first.
Using a radiant and convection heating system, chickens don’t need to be super close to the panel to stay warm. They can still be cozy if they’re about 1.5 feet away from the heater!
With a temperature knob, your chickens won’t end up getting sick because of drastic temperature changes in just high and low settings. Consuming 140-watts and in compliance with UL electrical safety standards, it’s the most energy-efficient flat panel heater that is not a fire risk.
Seems great so far, right?
It is just missing one feature – a power indicator light. It also only has a “do not touch” panel sticker. What does this mean? You have to hang in the coop an extra 5-10 minutes before you can safely say that it’s emitting heat. By the time the sticker turns red, you’re cold yourself!
And oh, it doesn’t have an auto-power off feature.
Don’t get us wrong. The Petnf Chicken Coop Heater is completely safe. But at this point in the competition, every little detail counts.
If you’re willing to sacrifice extra convenience and safety features, the Petnf Chicken Coop Heater is perfect for you.
The K&H Pet Products Thermo-Peep Heated Pad is small in size but big on savings making it our budget pick. Get this. For less than the cost of a Starbucks Cafe Latte, you can give 24/7 heat to your chicks FOR A MONTH.
This heating pad gives off and maintains the right amount of heat for your newly hatched chicks. Keeping them comfy reduces their stress. And trust me, you don’t want to deal with stressed chickens. It makes them sickly and prone to developing habits like feather plucking as they get older.
There’s a reason why this is called a PEEP heated pad. The manufacturers thought about what peeps do and what they need.
First off, they are messy! Solution? Thermal plastic is easy to clean. It’s also water-resistant. Don’t worry about spilled water shorting the pad and shocking your chicks. A downside is that plastic is slippery.
User hack: Put one of those heat-resistant placemats with holes on top of the pad. It’s non-slip, easy to clean, and the holes won’t overheat the pad.
Chicks also need bedding. Disclaimer: This advice goes against the product description. That said, this heating pad is USER PROVEN safe to use with pine shavings as bedding.
The MET certified that this heating pad complies with the electrical safety standards. So sleep well knowing that your heating pad won’t start a fire.
Shell out less than 50 bucks and save even more in the long run. You don’t need to switch the heating source as your chicks get older. Plus, it runs on only 25 watts. This small pad is a huge money and energy saver. Easy to see what makes it our best budget choice, huh?
The K&H Pet Products Thermo-Chicken Heated Pad only uses 40 watts. Warm your small flock with a fraction of the price of other heaters.
The small size of this chicken coop heater makes it versatile. A lot of users have used this on the floors of their brooding boxes. That way, the chicks have constant warmth—no hot spots and fluctuations.
When they get older, you can just transfer it to the wall of your nesting box. It warms up enough to make hens lay eggs during the winter. Year-round fresh eggs, anyone?
The MET deemed this a safe heat source. Your clumsy chickens can spill water on the water-resistant pad, and there won’t be a fire. They can also peck at the steel-wrapped cord without getting zapped. All this gives you a sense of security. Plus, it keeps your property insurance intact.
The K&H Pet Products Thermo-Chicken Heated Pad is an energy-efficient heat source that regulates temperature only as needed. This heating pad is best for small flocks in a small space. Try another heat source if you want a bigger heated area.
Let’s bump up the heat with the Farm Innovators HM-60P Heated Chicken Mat. Using 60-watts over 247 sq. inches, it gives more heat to go around for more chickens.
A red light comes on when you plug this baby. But the manufacturers suggest testing out the heating before you put it in the coop. Put a book on it for 30 minutes. If the book’s bottom is warm, it works well.
The keyword here is WARM. This pad does not get hot. You might not even feel anything when you activate it in the middle of winter. But don’t panic! That’s a safety feature.
It only warms up when your chickens’ bodies come in contact with it. The temperature stays in the sweet spot as long as the chicken remains on it. It’s also warm enough to keep water from freezing, but only if you put it next to the heating pad.
Unlike the K&H Pet Products Thermo-Chicken Heated Pad, this one is not certified by electrical overlords like MET or UL. But it has built-in electrical safety precautions for your peace of mind. Wire coil wraps the power cord, so don’t worry about freezing wires.
ABS plastic is the material of choice here. It’s sturdy enough for your chickens to lay on. And it’s really easy to clean. Putting this on the chicken coop floor will guarantee poop build-up. So the easy-to-clean plastic is a definite time-saver.
The Farm Innovators HM-60P Heated Chicken Mat keeps brooding hens and chicks warm and toasty. A lot of users put this heating pad on the wall of nesting boxes.
It’s a good size for a small hen house. But get a few pads for a large flock in a bigger chicken coop.
The SWEETER HEATER Infrared Heater uses targeted heating. As long as they stay under the hanging panel, they’ll warm right up. Your birds never get too hot because they can move out of heat range whenever they want.
Going back, you probably read “hanging” and then thought, “Well, that’s not safe.” Au contraire mon amie, this is totally safe. It hangs on durable chains and hooks but still moves from side to side. So if the chickens try to roost, the tilt makes them hop off—no harm for the fowl. Plus, if they can’t perch on it, they can’t poop on it. That’s less clean-up for you.
Let’s say the off chance happens, and the lightweight coop heater falls. The internal snap action thermal control kicks in. It automatically shuts the heater off, so there’s no trapped heat and no fires.
This radiant chicken coop heater heats up to 180℉ but stays almost cool to the touch. That’s both a warm and cool feature of infrared! Plus, operating at 50 watts cuts down your power bill. Yay for savings! We’ll talk more about the beauty of infrared in the buying guide.
The ABS plastic shell and fiberglass lens manage heat well. It’s also fully sealed and dust-proof.
The good thing about hanging heaters is you can adjust the height. Baby chicks can stay with their older siblings in a bigger brooder. Keep the heater at an angle so that everyone stays warm without the older ones hitting their heads.
The Magicfly Chicken Coop Heater is the only one on our list with a remote control thermostat—no need to go out into the cold just to change the temp inside the coop. As long as your chicken coop is within 6 meters from your warm house, you’re golden.
And don’t worry about your chickens getting too hot either. Since it is a radiator heater, it only heats up the small area around the panel. Plus, it’s a UL-certified panel, so it is still safer than space heaters.
The best part is you can set up this heater in three different ways – flat facing down, floor-standing, and wall-mounted.
Put in flat facing down if you have newly hatched chicks that need constant warmth. For low-roosting chickens, use the floor-standing orientation and place it in the middle of the coop. And wall-mounted for extra heat during freezing nights.
Get the Magicfly Chicken Coop Heater if you want a super safe flat panel heater with three different mounting style options and if you can adjust the temperature within the comfort of your home.
How to choose the Best Chicken Coop Heater For Your Flock
Now that you’re familiar with the different types of heaters out there. Let’s get you educated on what factors you need to consider before you make your order.
What are the different types of chicken coop heaters?
There are five types of chicken coop heaters:
a. Heat Lamps
Many backyard chicken keepers use heat lamps for chicken coops because it generates a lot of heat Unfortunately, its heat efficiency is a double-edge sword – it is a major fire hazard and uses up a lot of power (1).
b. Heating Pads
On the other hand, heating pads automatically warm only to match the chickens’ internal temperature. You can put them anywhere the chickens can cozy up to without taking up space. These sturdy plastic heaters are also easy to clean.
c. Infrared Heaters
Infrared heaters use targeted heating that saves on energy (2).
Think of it like when you go out into the sun and feel warm after a while. It only warms up anything within a few inches of range. But you have to make sure there’s clearance, or you can start a fire.
These heaters can either be in the form of bulbs or panels. The SWEETER HEATER Infrared Heater is a panel-type heater with no light.
d. Flat Panel Heaters
Flat panel heaters are like cooking hotplates but not as intense. These guys look like a flatscreen TV with no display. Like infrared heaters, they only heat a general area. The chickens can move out if they’re warm enough. But, unlike infrared heaters, their panels get really hot.
e. Space Heaters
Space heaters use electricity to heat oil or air and pump out the heat into the chicken coop. Examples of these are radiators or convectors.
These are fast-heating and can warm up an entire space. But they are expensive to maintain and can cause chickens to overheat.
The safest options for backyard chicken coops are the heating pads, infrared heaters and flat panel heaters. That’s why those are the types we focused on reviewing.
There is also an option for solar chicken coop heaters. However, there aren’t as popular so you won’t find a commercially available product yet. If you want one, you’ll have to make one or convert a regular solar panel light to solar chicken coop heater.
How easy is it to use?
Now that you know more or less what type works for your convenience think about how you’re going to use it.
Choose a heater that is easy for you to use. After all, you’re the one that’s going to be monitoring it. Take the petnf Chicken Coop Heater, for example. You just have to plug it into a power source to work.
Next is location, location, location. With heaters, you want to maximize their heating capability. The options on our list only heat up small areas. That’s great because you want to give your chickens the option to move away. It’s like when you’ve had too much sun and want to go into the shade.
Where you put the heater depends on a couple of factors:
a. Chicken coop size
For small chicken coops and brooder boxes, put the heater on one side of the space. That way, the birds have designated spaces for warming and moving. You don’t want to take away floor space from the already small area.
Bigger chicken coops have more options. You can keep them free-standing next to the waters. This way, the water doesn’t freeze, and the chickens stay warm walking near the heater.
You can also mount it on a wall that everyone can huddle up against. See why mounting options are a selling point?
b. Type of heater
Heating pads like the K&H Pet Products Thermo-Chicken Heated Pad need physical contact to heat up. That said, it can only go on the lower part of a wall or the floor.
c. Heat demand
Think about how much heat your chickens need and when they need it the most. It gets coldest in the middle of the night during the dead of winter. So, your best option is to keep your panel up on the wall facing the roosting bars.
Baby chicks need nearly constant heat. So you can put a gentle heater under the chicken brooder cover. It’ll keep them comfortably warm. Placing a pad on the floor can be too much for them, especially if they don’t have a space to hop off when they’re warm enough.
Wattage And Heating
The first thing you need to know before adding a heater to your chicken coop is how much heat a chicken needs. Chickens have a higher body temperature compared to humans (3).
That’s over 10 degrees more than yours. So what feels hot for you is usually just right for them. As for the cold weather, they naturally tolerate it better than heat. But they have their limits. So what exactly is too cold for chickens?
There’s not a general answer to that because some chickens can tolerate winter weather better than others.
But all chickens prepare for the cold. They molt their summer feathers and grow out a layer of down feathers (4). It’s like a built-in sweater.
Here’s a definite answer, chickens will die if their internal temp goes below 75 degrees (outside temp being around 25 degrees).
Now let’s talk about how much heat they need and how much energy you need to end up with the right temperature.
The actual computation of this involves advanced Physics concepts. Let’s leave all that to the engineers and save your head from spinning. We’ll stick to the basic concepts.
What you should know:
The ideal surrounding (ambient) temperature for fully grown chickens is between 70-75 degrees. But they can tolerate a 15-degree difference on either end.
Newly hatched chicks need a higher temperature since they don’t have feathers to keep them warm. The brooding temp should be constant at 90 degrees. Lower the heat every week until the chicks are ready to come out and join the coop. The Magicfly Chicken Coop Heater helps with the transition. It has a thermostat that you adjust to a specific temp. Not just a low and high setting.
Coop humidity affects temperature (5). Think of this like the reading on your weather app. Say the actual temp reads 85 degrees, warm, not bad. But when humidity is up at 75%, that brings up the “what it feels like” temperature to 95 degrees, HOT.
Chickens radiate their own heat. The heat that their body gives off is equivalent to around 10 watts. So if you have ten chickens in a coop, they give off heat equivalent to a 100-watt bulb. In a 20 square meter coop, that’s about 55 degrees of added heat (6).
Higher wattage means more heat generated. And the smaller the coop, the warmer it can get. Pretty basic. The nearer you are to the heat source, the warmer you feel.
If you live in a winter wonderland, keep a thermostat in your coop that measures the factors above. And then decide if your chickens need more heat.
The best way to tell is by their behavior. Check on them as the temperature drops. If they cuddle up more than usual, they’re cold—time to bring the heat.
Okay, we’ve got the hard part out of the way. Now let’s save you some money! To do this, you need to understand power consumption. It’s really easy. Lower wattage means less consumed energy and lower electric bill (7).
You already know that you shouldn’t go overboard with the wattage of your heater. So now let’s do a sample computation of how much it costs to run different heaters.
Okay, so here we’re comparing extremes: Budget pick vs. Top pick. Both are running 24 hours because you shouldn’t shut a coop heater off once you’ve introduced it to your chickens. You’ll have to wean them off slowly. That way, they don’t go into shock and die from the drastic temp change.
As you can see, there’s a huge difference in cost and wattage. But also remember the space it heats up. The peep pad only heats an area of 0.75 sq.ft. In contrast, the Cozy chicken coop heater can heat an entire 12 sq ft coop.
Of course, as we’ve come to know. A lot of factors affect heating and, as a result, consumption. Aside from wattage, the type of coop heater and the coop conditions also affect the power usage.
For example, an insulated coop makes your heater more efficient. Why? Because it helps keep heat inside the coop. What’s the use of a coop heater if you’re not going to keep the heat in?
Don’t get us wrong. You shouldn’t make the coop fully enclosed either. There should be fresh air circulating.
The type of coop heater matters. That’s why we chose the ones that are the most efficient. Gentle, targeted heating is the key for backyard coops.
Safety And Certification
Safety is obviously a major concern when buying a heater. That’s where the product testing comes in. These labs make sure that your heaters (and other products) are safe to use.
These product testing bodies are Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratories. They are recognized by the US Government’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
Certification varies depending on the criteria. Here’s an overview on these labs and what standards they use.
a. Underwriters Laboratories (UL)
This is the oldest and most recognized testing lab in the US. They basically wrote the book on safety standards (8). The coops we listed are either UL-compliant or UL-Listed. Compliant means that only the parts used in manufacturing the heaters follow the safety standards of UL. While UL-Listed means the entire product went through more detailed testing to pass the safety test. The petnf Chicken Coop Heater is UL-compliant.
b. Electrical Testing Labs (ETL)
ETL recognizes the standards that UL uses but is not totally dependent on them. Products need to jump through hoops to pass the North American safety standards and get that ETL certification (9). This lab is pretty much the lesser-known, cheaper version of the UL.
c. MET Laboratories
This testing body is the one that follows the government safety standards the closest (10). But it also has criteria of its own. People trust it because the combination of standards makes this testing more thorough.
Each of the safety standards is different. They are also private information to the testing laboratories. Although manufacturers choose what they want to be tested, they typically ask for efficiency and safety certification.
Heaters that don’t have certifications are still safe. Getting certified by these overlords is not mandatory, but it helps assure consumers.