Pros: Easy to use. Electric fan. Pushbutton ignition. Safe indoors.
Cons: Be careful not to damage the catalyst pad.
I have debated getting one of these heaters for years. After a friend of mine got stranded in his car and had to walk 6 miles in -10?F weather, I made up my mind!
Originally, I bought one of the Coleman BlackCat match-light models. I quickly found out that this was pretty inconvenient, so I exchanged it for the Pro Cat. Having the built-in fan is really nice. The heat circulated out rather than just going up. The pushbutton ignition is a great convenience.
These heaters work by burning the propane in a catalytic pad made with ceramic and titanium fibers. They burn much cleaner than other heaters, and produce very little odor or carbon monoxide. You only need a few square inches of vent area in an enclosed space.
To light the heater, you turn the gas knob on and hold it in the "light" position. Then press the ignition button. There is a brief flame and whoosh sound as it lights. Continue to hold the knob in the "light" position for about 10 seconds, then let go. If it's relatively dark, you can see that the catalyst pad glows orange. Now you can choose whether to turn the fan on or leave it off.
Coleman claims 8 hours of run-time on a standard 16.4oz propane cylinder. I have not timed it, but this is pretty accurate. The fan should run nearly twice as long on a set of D-cell batteries. I have not run the batteries down yet, so I can't be sure.
The heat output is 3,000 BTU. I have used the Pro Cat as a portable space heater in colder areas of my house, as well as in my car. Coleman actually sells a small catalytic heater in a "car emergency" kit. However, that heater is only 800 BTUs and only claims to keep an average car 20?F over ambient temperature. I am keeping the Pro Cat in my trunk during the winter -- just in case I get stuck somewhere.
The heater works really well. I can't wait to try it out in my tent. It's also nice knowing that I have it around in case of power failure or some other emergency.