The kerosene you buy at the hardware store is grade K1. Although you can purchase K2 kerosene, most modern kerosene appliances such as heaters, lamps and stoves require K1 kerosene. K1 kerosene is lower in sulfur and burns cleaner than K2 kerosene.

Old fashioned lantern in darkness. Light concept.
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A kerosene lamp lights up a table on the beach.


K1 kerosene can be either clear or dyed red. The red dye is added to distinguish it from diesel fuel because diesel fuel requires a motor vehicle tax and kerosene does not. Red kerosene is less expensive than clear kerosene, and when you buy K1 kerosene in bulk to heat your home, you are buying red kerosene.


K1 kerosene in bulk is also known as #1 Stove Oil. K2 kerosene is known as #2 Stove Oil.

Where to Purchase

You can purchase small quantities, such as 1 or 2 gallons, of K1 kerosene at hardware stores. To purchase K1 kerosene in bulk, contact a local heating oil or fuel supplier.


Store K1 kerosene in a blue plastic or metal container clearly marked KEROSENE. Do not store kerosene in a red gas can because it could be mistaken for gasoline. Unlike gasoline, kerosene is stable in storage and does not evaporate as quickly as gasoline.