As the weather cools off and the air becomes chilly and crisp, most of us are not quite ready to give up our time outdoors. Outdoor patio heaters are growing in popularity as their manufacturing becomes higher in demand and the units are more accessible to the average person who would just like a cozy space to sit in their yard.
Today there are patio heaters for many types of use, from simple tabletop patio heaters to large commercial heaters that restaurants use. According to Tactical Business, the market for outdoor patio heaters is expected to have a compound annual growth rate of 7.34% through the year 2022.
We’ve looked at the different types of patio heaters, as well as fuel options and safety concerns to help you find the best patio heater for your home, restaurant or business. We have carefully considered other patio heater reviews and have compiled a list of our top picks.
Quick Guide – Our Top Picks
Types Of Outdoor Patio Heaters
There are several different types of outdoor patio heaters, and it’s important to know the differences between them so that you are best able to outfit your space. As with most items, there is a fine balance with patio heaters and we wouldn’t want to overheat or freeze our guests.
Free Standing Heaters
Free standing patio heaters are used to cover a large area of patio or deck. They usually have a slim design, that makes them easy to fit without taking up too much room for your guests’ tables and chairs. A general rule of thumb for free standing models is to keep them at least 30 inches away from any flammable materials. If your deck has a pergola roof or awning, you will especially need to consider this distance.
Free standing patio heaters comes in different sizes to achieve warmth for your desired space. Based on your preferences, free standing units can be fuelled by propane, electricity, or natural gas. Restaurants often choose free standing patio heaters because they are efficient at covering larger spaces (100-150 square feet of space) by running at 40,000 BTUs (which don’t worry, we’ll get to shortly. A BTU stands for British Thermal Unit.)
Table Top Heaters
Table top patio heaters are a great option for smaller spaces (such as balconies and porches) and infrequent use. They are easily portable and can be safely stored in your garage or shed in the off-season. Table top patio heaters are either run by electricity or by a small (usually 1lb) propane tank that fits seamlessly into the unit.
Wall Or Ceiling Mounted
Although typically pricier than free standing or table top patio heaters, wall or ceiling mounted patio heaters are a popular choice because they don’t take up any floor space at all. Mounted patio heaters are a good choice for smaller patios and for families with young children who might otherwise be curious to touch the unit. Due to their high positions, nearly all wall or ceiling mounted patio heaters are run by electricity. This type of heater is also popular in the garage as we have featured many models in our workshop heaters article.
Hanging Or Umbrella Heaters
Hanging patio heaters are small units that resemble a hanging lamp in most cases. They are run by electricity, and because of their small nature they are sometimes also approved for indoor use, which could be super helpful for working on projects in your garage or shed during the cooler months.
An umbrella heater is literally what you think it might be – an electric heater that attaches to the underside of a patio umbrella to keep the area around the table warm. The umbrella heater is not only a great source of heat but also an excellent source of light, which means that you can use your outdoor space well into the night.
Fire Pit Heaters
Made mostly for their aesthetic designs, fire pit heaters resemble typical fire pits or fire bowls without all the additional work of actually building a fire. And unlike true fire pits, fire pit heaters don’t require and dousing with water or cleaning-up of ashes. Most are controlled with a simple switch and run by a propane tank concealed within the base.
Outdoor Patio Heaters Compared
Considerations Before Buying A Patio Heater
Size & Shape Of The Area
When planning your purchase of an outdoor patio heater, the most important element will be to measure the size and the shape of the space that you would like heated. For example, a small table top heater might be perfect for an apartment balcony at a two-person table but might not offer enough heat to be used on a deck with an eight-person table.
Most models of patio heaters will tell you how many square feet they typically cover, so this is a useful number to have during your shopping. You will also want to consider whether your patio is covered or not. A covered patio will hold heat in better than one that is completely open to the elements.
Heat Output (Btus)
BTU stands for British Thermal Unit. It’s basically a fancy way of saying how much heat the patio heater can produce, so you can assume that the larger the BTU unit, the greater the power the patio heater has. Most free-standing patio heaters operate at 40,000 BTUs, which put simply means that they supply heat to roughly a 20-foot diameter. Looking at this number, it’s obvious that 40,000 BTUs would be ideal for a large deck and would be way too powerful for a small space like a balcony.
It is important to check the product safety features of any heater before purchasing one for your home. Here are the top four safety features that you should look for in an outdoor patio heater.
- Safety Tilt Switch:
Most outdoor patio heaters have a built-in safety tilt switch. This means if the unit is tilted for any reason past a certain degree, that the unit will automatically turn off.
- Automatic Turn-Off:
The same automatic turn-off feature that you might expect from a coffee maker or small hair appliance are also featured in most outdoor patio heaters. The auto turn-off will make sure that the unit doesn’t get too hot. Some appliances will also turn off after a certain amount of time.
- Cool-Touch Feature:
If you’re planning to use your outdoor patio heater around children or pets, look for heaters with the cool-touch glass feature. You should still encourage children not to touch, but this safety feature will help prevent accidents and burns.
- Safety Approvals:
Although outdoor patio heaters are not very regulated in the United States, you can still find units that have been UL or CSA approved. These are companies that will thoroughly evaluate products to make sure that all safety requirements have been thought of and met. Choosing a product that has been safety approved it basically taking the extra step to protect everyone who will enjoy your outdoor patio heater.
Nearly all outdoor patio heaters will have the option to adjust the temperature in the old-fashioned sense, from low to high. Much like the burner on your stovetop range, the output can easily be changed from low, medium, or high in a quick manner. However, if you’re pickier about the temperature around you (perhaps you’re a restaurant owner who wants to make sure his guests are perfectly comfortable) you might want to consider finding a unit with a completely programmable thermostat.
Although electric patio heaters do not put out heat as quickly as gas heaters, electric patio heaters are much more energy and cost efficient over time. When looking at the same size electric and gas heaters being run for ten hours each, the electric heater will cost about 1/6th of that of the propane heater.
This article does a good job explaining why this is the case. If cost is of great concern to you or you plan on using your outdoor patio heater often this is something you will want to consider. This image also provides an estimate as to the expenses surrounding patio heaters.
How portable your outdoor heater is will be more important to some people than others. For the average homeowner, their patio heater will stay in one space for most of its uses. Many models have wheels on one edge of the bottom, making it easy to maneuver from location to location. Smaller table top units will be able to be carried. When storing your patio heater, you will want to make sure that you consult with the owner’s manual, as most patio heaters are required to be stored upright to protect the integrity of the product.
If you are a business owner, however, you may not want your outdoor heater to be very portable, as the chances of theft are higher. It is highly recommended to use outdoor cameras as well as special locks to secure your units when this is the case.
Design & Features
Like everything else these days, patio heaters are quickly becoming streamlined to fit seamlessly into our everyday lives. Once made for just the use of heating an outdoor space, outdoor patio heaters come in a variety of different designs that are made to be aesthetically pleasing to the eye. Some patio heaters give off an ambient amount of light, while some are shaped like artistic towers of heat.
There is really a lot to consider when purchasing the best outdoor patio heater for your home. If you’re really looking for extra features, there are models of patio heaters that have all the bells and whistles including wireless outdoor speakers and remote-control access.
15 Best Outdoor Patio Heaters Reviewed
1. Golden Flame XL-Series – Best Outdoor Propane Patio Heater
|How long will a gas bottle last?||6 – 8 hours|
|Heating Area||Up to 1000 sq. ft.|
The Golden Flame outdoor heater is a top choice for patio owners who want to stay warm while enjoying their outdoor space. This 46K BTU flame heater runs on propane gas and is as powerful as it gets. It uses a double mantel heating grid system to deliver warmth quickly while dispersing it over a wide coverage area.
This outdoor heater is a member of the XL Series line of products from Golden Flame. Every XL Series patio heater is designed with the latest advancements in heater technology, such as the pilotless burner system. With the pilotless burner, you don’t have to worry about fuel washing. By eliminating the standing pilot, you’re no longer at the mercy of the wind blowing out the tiny pilot flame, causing the heater to shut down and leaving you out in the cold.
Another cool feature of the Golden Flame heater is the easy-start system. There’s no traditional manual push-button igniter, but instead, this heater is built with an easy press, easy start, “Rapid Spark” ignition system. All you have to do to get your heater up-and-running is press the ignition button and wait a few minutes for the heat to crank up.
Even as one of the most powerful outdoor heating units on the market, the Golden Flame is light and easy to operate. It weighs just 10 pounds before the sand is added to the bottom reservoir to weigh it down (you’ll have to buy the sand separately), so you should have no trouble moving it to your desired location.
All in all, the Golden Flame heater has a lot going for it. It’s not the most budget-friendly option, but considering it uses 46,000 BTU and comes with all the right convenience features, the high price is definitely justified. The only other flaw is that the standard 20-lb gas bottle runs out in about 8 hours, so you’ll need to refill frequently depending on how much you’re using the heater.
2. Hiland HLDSO1-WGTHG – Best Quartz Glass Tube Patio Heater
|How long will a gas bottle last?||8 – 10 hours|
|Heating Area||10 sq. ft. (or 5-ft circumference)|
Quartz glass tube patio heaters are a great choice if you’re looking to combine style with functionality. With the Hiland HLDSO1 quartz glass tube heater by AZ Patio Heaters, you won’t just stay warm, but you’ll be staying warm while sitting around the focal point of your outdoor space. This heater is functional and nice to look at, bringing an added sense of flair to any patio.
This pyramid-style gas heater is built on a set of wheels for easy transport. It comes in a few different color options, like matte black and silver, but the most popular is the hammered bronze finish. It’s rated at 40,000 BTU and uses a standard 20-pound propane tank. When running on high heat, you’ll get between 8 to 10 hours of runtime, but even more when you have the heat on a lower setting.
The only real flaw of this patio heater is that the coverage area is small. The manufacturer says that it can heat a 10 square foot space, but it’s more accurate to say that it heats the area within a 5-foot circumference around the base of the heater. That just means you’ll have to sit close to feel its warmth.
The igniter is reliable and easy to use, and there’s a safety auto shutoff tilt valve to keep you, your family, and your patio safe. The tall 87-inch height isn’t ideal for everyone, especially since you need to add on an additional 3 feet (36 inches) of clearance space on top of this. But all in all, the Hiland heater is a great choice if you’re looking for a mesmerizing focal point to keep you warm.
3. BELLEZE 014-HG-PH03-BRO – Best Commercial Patio Heater
|How long will a gas bottle last?||~10 hrs (20 lb tank)|
|Heating Area||175 square feet|
|Warranty||1 Year Warranty from Company|
Every time that I search for this patio heater by Belleze online, it’s out of stock! And for good reason too – this patio heater is a sturdy, solid piece of art and ambiance for any backyard. It doesn’t give off quite as much heat as some of the other free-standing heaters on the market (34000 BTUs), but it’s design and flame lighting make this model very popular among consumers.
One of my favorite features of this patio heater is that it is only 5.5 feet tall (larger option about 7 ft.), which means that it can safely fit under most covered porches or pergolas. The specifications for this heater say that it gives off heat for about 15 feet, but most users will agree that you will be more comfortable within about half of that.
The weather-resistant glass casing means it can be used in light rain or strong winds without getting damaged. A 20 lb. propane tank will last approximately 10 hours and keep you warm whilst eating, drinking and socializing outside.
This is another step up in quality design and appearance. It is a great tower patio heater but once again, be prepared to pay a higher price.
4. Hiland HLDS032-BB – Best Propane Tabletop Patio Heater
|How long will a gas bottle last?||1-lb tank: 4-6 hrs |
20-lb tank: 16-20 hrs
|Heating Area||10 sq. ft. (or 5-ft circumference)|
If you know that you spend most of your outdoor time sitting around a table, you might want to consider a tabletop heater like the Hiland HLDS032-BB. This propane unit sits securely and comfortably on a table surface. It’s very similar to the Hiland HLD-SO1, just much smaller and much more portable. Instead of being 87 inches tall, this one is only 38 inches tall, which is ideal for patio users who want a more compact heating solution.
Even though this Hiland heater has a BTU rating of just 11,000, it’s surprisingly powerful. You can hook it up to either a 1-lb or 20-lb propane tank, but it’s suggested that you go with the longer tank if you want to enjoy longer runtimes without needing a tank refill. The only downside of using a 20-lb tank is that you’ll have to connect the tank to the heater with an adapter hose, which isn’t as nice to look at. With a 1-pounder, the tank can sit comfortably inside a hidden compartment within the base.
One concern that many people have about smaller heaters is whether or not they’re stable enough (especially if you plan on placing it on a table). AZ Heaters definitely thought a lot about this with the HLDS032-BB’s design, which features an added weight plate for more stability. Other extras include a burner screen guard, a thermocouple for measuring temperature more accurately, and an anti-tilt safety device.
It’s not as powerful as the 40K+ units covered earlier, so that’s a flaw for some. However, the smaller size is ideal for anyone living in a more moderate climate and doesn’t need to go all out with BTUs. If you prefer your heater to sit on the patio floor, you’ll have to look elsewhere, but if sitting around a table or countertop is normal for you, this is an outdoor heater to consider.
5. Hiland HIL-1821 – Best Electric Table Top Patio Heater
|How long will a gas bottle last?||N/A (runs on electricity)|
|Heating Area||Up to 50 sq. ft.|
This next one is very similar to the last Hiland tabletop heater, which makes sense since it’s brought to you by the same manufacturer. Just like the HLDS032-BB, the HIL-1821 model is designed to sit on top of a table, but this one is powered by electricity rather than a propane tank. It’s a 1500-watt heater that uses an infrared heat lamp to get the job done, and get the job done it certainly does.
Since it runs on electricity, the best aspect of choosing this tabletop heater is that you’ll never have to refill a propane tank. As long as you have the 96-inch cord connected to a power source, you’ll get to enjoy a continuous runtime. It’s not the hottest heat lamp on the market, but it’s great if temperatures dip below 50 and you want to enjoy the outdoors.
The manufacturer says that the HIL-1821 is rated for covering 50 square feet. This may not sound like a lot, but if you’re sitting around a table with the heater on top, this is plenty of coverage area. It’s IP certified as waterproof, so you don’t have to worry about lugging it inside every time you’re finished using it. However, if you don’t plan on using it for an extended period, it’s a good idea to store it in the garage or shed to protect it from the elements.
6. Bromic Smart-Heat – Best Wall Mounted Patio Heater for Home Use
|How long will a gas bottle last?||N/A (runs on electricity)|
|BTUs||6,800 (other options available)|
|Heating Area||64 sq. ft.|
Another option if you’re in the market for an electricity-powered outdoor heater is the Bromic Smart-Heat. This radiant infrared patio heater comes in a few different wattage options, ranging from 2000 all the way up to 6000. The thing that sets this electric heat apart from the Hiland products is the mounting style. With the Bromic, you can easily mount the heater on the wall or ceiling without taking up floor or table space.
This heater creates radiant convection heat and distributes it evenly thanks to the spectral reflector. It takes into account both aesthetics and functionality, so it looks good while heating an area of 64 square feet. If you want a larger coverage area, just go with a higher-wattage (the 6000-watt Bromic has a coverage area of 160 square feet). If you go with a higher wattage, you’ll need access to a 230/240v power source.
If you prefer to control the heater with a separate switch or smart control system, you’ve got that option. You’ll have to purchase these accessories separately, but the good news is that the heater is compatible with many different add-ons. You can even pair it with a dimmer if you prefer lower light levels from the heat lamp.
Because of its sleek design and multiple mounting options, this is a go-to choice for commercial business owners who want to keep operations running outdoors for as long as possible. The price tag of the Bromic isn’t ideal for everyone, but that’s the general trend with infrared heaters (especially with high wattage levels).
7. Infratech WD-4024 – Best Wall Mounted Patio Heater for Commercial Use
|How long will a gas bottle last?||N/A – Electric|
|Heating Area||100 square feet|
|Warranty||1 Year Warranty from the Company|
These Infratech patio heaters are the Mercedes Benz of heaters. They have a super stylish stainless steel finish, and they can be mounted in several ways. They can be wall mounted, hung, or completely installed into the wall or ceiling (by a professional, of course) to create a seamless design with your outdoor patio. I love that they are also safe to use indoors!
This is a great choice for homeowners with a three-season room or for business owners with an open-air theme going on. The 4000W power is huge in comparison to most out heating units and this one will keep you and your guests toasty and warm.
Not only are these Infratech patio heaters eco-friendly, but they are also made right here in the United States, whereas most patio heaters on the market are coming directly from China. The only downside to this heater is that it is more expensive than many of the other brands on the market and you will likely need to have a professional electrician help you install it. But if you don’t mind dishing out the few extra dollars, it will be worth it!
8. Briza – Best Electric Infrared Patio Heater
|How long will a gas bottle last?||N/A (runs on electricity)|
|Heating Area||7 ft in all directions|
The Briza heater is very similar to the Bromic wall-mounted patio heater, only it’s the much better choice if staying within a budget is a concern. This unit uses the same infrared heating technology as the Bromic, all without breaking the bank. Thanks to the carbon infrared technology, it heats an area quickly and effectively and eliminates the need for propane or another gas source.
This radiant heater can be used both indoors and outdoors and comes with all the necessary safety features. The Briza brand believes that safety should always be the first priority for buying a heater, which is why they’ve focused on protecting the heating element with a durable metal sheath. This keeps even curious animals and young children safe, and you never have to worry about a hot-to-the-touch heater surface.
Not only is the heater itself cost-effective, but the same goes for the heating costs associated with the Briza. It uses zone heatings, so it only heats the space that you’re using. Adding this into your home’s heating regimen (whether for indoor or outdoor use) can save you up to 50% on heating costs, so it’s 100% a wise investment.
You’ve got a few different mounting options with this heater, and it even comes with a tripod stand if you don’t want to drill into the wall or ceiling. When you factor in the potential energy savings, the even heat distribution, and the easy mounting and maintenance, this is a great choice for a patio, workshop, garage, or any space that could benefit from some infrared warmth.
9. AmazonBasics – Best Cheap Propane Outdoor Patio Heater
|How long will a gas bottle last?||6 – 8 hours|
|Heating Area||18 ft in all directions|
The AmazonBasics brand is all about affordability, so it’s no surprise that the cheapest propane outdoor patio heater is an Amazon product. The AmazonBasics propane-powered heater is considered a commercial-grade product, only without the commercial price tag. Similar to the #1 product, it’s a powerful 46,000 BTU and requires the standard 20-pound LP cylinder.
The heating range extends 18 feet in all directions, so even large patio spaces can benefit from this unit. It’s a standalone heater, so there’s no mounting involved, and the wheel assembly makes it easy to move around the patio based on heating needs and group gathering size.
The best feature of the AmazonBasics heater is probably the sturdy construction. It’s built for secure placement and enhanced stability with durable steel construction. Outdoor elements are no match against the steel components and sturdy base. The powder-coated bronze finish ties everything together and gives this heater a contemporary look.
Honestly, there’s nothing bad to say about the AmazonBasics heater, except for maybe the fact that it goes out of stock frequently. This just speaks to its popularity, though, and it usually comes back in stock within a few weeks. If you have your heart set on this heater but see a “Currently Unavailable” or “Out of Stock” message, just click the “Email Me” button to receive a notification as soon as it becomes available again.
10. Thermo Tiki Deluxe – Best Looking Backyard Heater
|How long will a gas bottle last?||8-10 hours|
|Heating Area||15 ft in all directions|
If style and aesthetics are your top priority for your patio heating needs, you’ll want to go with the Thermo Tiki Deluxe. This pyramid-style heater is nice to look at and can make any backyard space look like a million bucks. It has a lot to do with the pyramid design, but the dancing flame feature takes this heater to the next level when it comes to looks.
This heater isn’t just pretty. It’s also durable with high-grade steel and aluminum frame parts and heating components. Saying that this heater was “built to last” is an understatement; it’s made with a corrosion-resistant finish and designed to withstand whatever is thrown its way, including extreme climates, salty air, and harsh UV rays.
If you plan on using this under a covered area, just make sure you have plenty of clearance. It’s a tall heater, measuring 7’6”, so it’s recommended that you use it in an open space with nothing over the top. Set up is easy, just supply your own 20-lb propane tank, hook it up in the concealed base compartment, and fire it up using the push-button ignition.
Unfortunately, beauty doesn’t come cheap, and this is one of the more expensive outdoor heaters on the list. But if you’re willing to pay for the unique design, reliable heat, and durable components, you won’t regret it.
11. Bromic Heating Tungsten 300 – Best Natural Gas Patio Heater
|How long will a gas bottle last?||Natural Gas – Home Hook-up|
|Heating Area||120 square feet|
|Warranty||Limited 1 Year Warranty from the Company|
The best option for permanently placed outdoor patio heaters is the Bromic Heating Tungsten 300 Smart-Heat. I love that it’s hooked up to your home’s natural gas line and that you won’t ever have to worry about replacing the fuel source. Additionally, you will still have that hot, instant gas that keeps you warm for hours on a chilly night.
I feel like the designers have really thought of everything when it comes to this compact design. If your patio heater will be in the open air (as opposed to under a covered patio), there is a special deflector shield that can be placed on the unit to direct the heat right to where you want it to be. It also is one of the only models of mounted patio heaters that comes on an adjustable bracket so that you can fine-tune as necessary.
My local cafe uses about 10 of these heaters and they are fantastic. I’ve noticed how easy they are to adjust, project heat in any conditions and the sleek design really turns heads. Of course, all of this comes at a hefty cost but for commercial and even residential, these are the absolute top of the line.
12. Outland Living Series 401 – Best Propane Gas Fire Pit Table
|How long will a gas bottle last?||7 – 15 hours|
|Warranty||Limited 1 Year Warranty|
I’m from the south, and around here we call these fire pit tables s’mores tables. Because they are obviously the perfect size and height to make s’mores! It’s so relaxing to sit around this table and watch the little flames dance. It really offers all the benefits of a traditional campfire without any of the work.
I love that the propane tank is completely sealed, and the wicker is made of super weather resistant material. For this fire pit table, I highly recommend also purchasing the accessory package. The accessory package comes with a glass windscreen that not only adds a beautiful design but will make sure that the flames don’t blow into your drinks or snacks.
It also includes a weather cover and an additional lid that can be used to cover the fire rocks when not in use so that you have an average coffee style table. These fire pit tables run on a 20 lb. propane tank, operate at 35000 BTU (which is a lot of heat) and come with easy, push-button ignition. In addition, the 8 mm black tempered glass tabletop and 15.5 lb arctic ice decorative glass rock set keep this heater looking amazing while offering safety for those near it.
This is one of my favorite winter products and is a real favorite in my home. It’s more than a heater and is a year-round backyard setting so families, guest or neighbors can get together.
13. AmazonBasics AB-34-ST-FP – Best Wood Burning Outdoor Fire Pit
|How long will a gas bottle last?||N/A – Wood Burning|
|Warranty||Limited 1 Year Warranty|
I love this firepit by Amazon Basics for our backyard. It’s a simple design, but the natural stone makes it look much more high-end than typical fire bowls even though the price is comparable. The stabilizing feet on this firepit give it a sturdy hold, so unlike a lot of outdoor heaters, you can use this one on the grass, even if the area is not completely level.
The firepit is heavier than I would have expected at just over sixty pounds, but it’s relatively easy for two people to carry from one location to the next. Our Home Owner’s Association requires that all firepits are at least 25-feet from the house, and after using it we can see that because it’s a real fire there will be embers and floaters. For this reason, I would make sure you never use this firepit on a wooden deck and always keep a hose or bucket of water nearby.
It does come with the wide handle fire screen to help cover any potential flying embers. The steel, natural stone, and copper mean this fire pit will last a long time while maintaining it’s stylish design. Overall, this is an excellent value for money wood burning firepit.
14. Hiland HLI-1P – Best Outdoor Heater Fan
|How long will a gas bottle last?||N/A (runs on electricity)|
|Heating Area||15 sq. ft.|
Anyone with a midrange budget should check out the Hiland HLI-1P Electric heater. The fan-style heating element is excellent for use with patio umbrellas and parasols, warming up to 15 square feet. The 1500 wattage equates to about 5110 BTUs, which is plenty for small patio areas and small get-togethers.
This Hiland heater is powered by electricity and features 3 separate burners configured in the shape of a traditional ceiling fan. It can be mounted from the ceiling or from a patio umbrella, so there’s no waste in floor space. It’s IP rated as waterproof and has all the features you could ever need from a heater fan, including variable temperature control, safety anti-tilt switch, and easy mounting.
In the words of AZ Patio Heaters LLC, “patio heaters allow you to extend the life of your outdoor space to 9 or even 12 months, depending on location. Enjoying the chilly fall or winter evenings, with the use of a patio heater, will remind you of why you love your backyard.”
This fan heater can help you do just that, and the easy mounting means that you don’t have to spend hours setting it up in preparation for the cold weather.
The coverage area for this heater is too small for some, so if 15 square feet from the heat source just doesn’t cut it, you’ll want to go with the higher-wattage Bromic Smart Heat unit instead. If the heating area fits the bill for you, you’ll love the affordable price tag as well as the 1-year warranty that comes with all AZ Patio heating products.
15. Texsport – Best Portable Multipurpose Patio Heater
|How long will a gas bottle last?||4-6 hours|
|Heating Area||Small – Personal Use|
|Warranty||1 Year Limited Warranty|
This small propane heater can best be described as a portable, personal heater. Designed for hunting and camping, I was amazed to read the reviews of all the different uses this “little guy” has been applied to: fishing boats, ice fishing shelters, hunting blinds, golf carts, large tents, tailgating and more!
It doesn’t put off a ton of heat, but in a small ventilated shelter will help warm one to two people in a small area like described above. The only thing to be considered is that it does run on propane, so it will need to sit on a solid surface where it can be tended to. You might also want to consider bringing fuel refills as a 1 lb. tanks only last 4-6 hours.
This is one of the cheapest patio heating options on the market so if you need a multi-purpose heater then this is for you.
What Fuels Outdoor Patio Heaters?
Propane is the most common form of fuel for outdoor heaters, and most gas-grill owners are familiar with how it is stored in a liquid form inside a tank. According to the official Propane Website, propane gas is clean, American, abundant and affordable, which makes it a good fuel option for outdoor patio heaters.
Many free standing and table top patio heaters will use a propane tank of up to 20 lbs. This includes heaters with quartz glass tubing, a special kind of fused glass that is much less temperature resistant than normal glass. Depending on what temperature setting you’re using your patio heater at, a 20 lb propane tank can be expected to last anywhere from 7 to 15 hours (depending on your model). Table top patio heaters have much smaller propane tanks (usually around 1 lb) and will need to be changed out often.
Electric patio heaters are not as common as propane heaters and are often limited to the smaller varieties (wall or ceiling mounted, hanging or umbrella heaters). That being said, electric patio heaters are considered to be safer than propane versions, and many models are also labeled for indoor use as well. When considering an electric patio heater, you will have to make sure that there is an outdoor outlet available for your use and that the model is designed to cover your intended space. Unlike propane patio heaters, electric heaters do not offer “instant heat” and take a little while to warm up.
Natural gas patio heaters are less common than propane and electric gas heaters but can be a great option if your home has a hook-up to a natural gas pipeline for your furnace and/or appliances. Unlike propane gas that is stored in a tank as liquid, natural gas always remains in a gaseous form and travels to your home through a pipeline that is maintained by the city or jurisdiction that you live in.
This allows users to have a steady stream of gas without ever having to replace the source. (For this reason, many homes in the US have a gas-powered fireplace that can be turned on with a simple flick of the switch.) If you’re considering a natural gas-powered patio heater, keep in mind that you will need to have it setup by a professional so that it meets area safety codes.
For the true outdoorsman that doesn’t mind spending the extra time getting a good fire going, a wood burner patio heater is a great option. Most wood burner models look much like an outdoor fireplace or wood burning stove with a small chimney, and there are usually two different ways that they make heat. The first way is an old, boy-scout style fire with logs. The second way is a natural fuel source called wood pellets, which are small pieces of wood that can be added during your time of use. Some wood burner options also have a gas option to help at the beginning when getting your fire started.
Sizes, BTU’s & Outdoor Heating Areas Explained
When purchasing an outdoor patio heater, it’s important to understand the relationship between the size of the heater, the BTUs it puts out, and the heating area you’re intending to heat. First, let’s look at each of these elements individually.
- Size of Patio Heater: It might be easy to assume that the larger the patio heater, the more heat it will put off, but that is not always the case. As we reviewed above, there are some smaller, wall mounted heaters that can put off just as much heat as an 8-foot freestanding heater.
- BTUs: As discussed earlier, BTUs are British Thermal Units, or how much heat a patio heater can put out. In this case it is right to assume that the lower the BTUs, the smaller the space the patio heater will warm up.
- Heating Area: It’s important to measure and consider the area that you’re looking to heat, and how you intend on doing it. For example, a large free-standing heater will supply heat in a 20-foot diameter (or, let’s do some math here, a 10-foot radius in each direction). This might be ideal for the center of a larger area where all directions need to be heated. If you put a free-standing heater in the corner of a deck, on the other hand, you might end up heating an area where there aren’t even people. In this case it might be more useful to look for a heater that targets the direction you’re looking to heat.
Understanding the importance of each of these factors will help you choose the right outdoor patio heater for your home or business. This table can help you decide how many BTUs are ideal for your outdoor space, and most models can tell you exactly how much area they are recommended for:
|BTUs||Total Area in Square Feet|
|5,000||25 square feet|
|10,000||50 square feet|
|15,000||75 square feet|
|20,000||100 square feet|
|25,000||125 square feet|
|30,000||150 square feet|
|40,000||175 square feet|
|50,000||200 square feet|
Patio & Deck Heating Safety Guide
Unfortunately, there is no one-size fits all when it comes to outdoor patio heater safety. Although patio heaters are growing immensely in popularity, their use is still mostly unregulated in the United States. We’ve developed a checklist of safety precautions that should be made as you purchase and install your outdoor patio heater.
- Check with local ordinances and your HOA (home owners association) for any requirements or restrictions regarding outdoor patio heaters.
- Assure that the patio heater is the appropriate size for the space you will be heating.
- Check for safety features: automatic turn-off and tilt switch.
- Read the owner’s manual to make sure that you are met all clearance requirements from doors, walls, fences, ceilings or awnings.
- Make sure that the surface you’re applying a patio heater to is flat, sturdy and level.
- If installing a permanent electric or natural gas heater, hire a professional to do the job.
- Never plug electric heaters into an extension cord and ensure exterior sockets have covers to prevent rain from entering the socket.
- Make sure the unit is completely turned off when not in use.
- Don’t store dry or flammable materials anywhere near the unit.
- Always consult the owner’s manual for storage requirements.
People Also Ask (FAQs)
Can you use a patio heater under a covered patio or roof?
Yes, many models are suitable for using under a covered patio, and some are even okay to use indoors. You will always want to check your user’s manual for clearance requirements regarding ceilings and other structures.
Are patio heaters safe on wooden decks?
Most patio heaters can be safely used on wooden decks. Please check the user manual for clearance distances.
Are patio heaters safe to use on grass?
It is not recommended that you use a patio heater on any surface other than a hard, level surface. If the heater is not completely level it will set off the tilt switch and the product will not function properly.
Are patio heaters safe indoors?
Very few patio heaters are also approved to be used indoors. For the indoors, it is best to stick to indoor space heaters.
How do you light a propane patio heater manually?
Consult your user’s manual on how to reset the pilot light, and then you will be able to light your heater again.
Can I use a propane patio heater in my garage?
No, propane heaters are best for where they are open to the outside air. For heating your garage, you can look for a small space heater that will plug into a standard outlet.
Should I get a heater cover as well?
If you plan on leaving your patio heater outdoors, a cover is ideal for protecting the longevity of the product. Most heaters have covers specific to their brand’s shape and size. For a more standard option, check Amazon for an item like this.
Where is a good place to buy cheap patio heaters?
Amazon is a great place to find patio heaters for a good price. Many people recommend going to your local home improvement store to look at the different options in person, and then purchasing on Amazon if the price is right.
Purchasing an outdoor patio heater can be an overwhelming experience if you’re not aware of the different varieties available and each of their intended uses. With a little research, we hope we have helped you along your way so you can enjoy a few of our favorite products on the market.
For any regular size outdoor space, we recommend the Golden Flame model. With its easy maneuverability and fast setup, it’s the perfect option for heating a space with a 20-foot diameter if you need heat today for an event or gathering. All the choices on our list are well established as quality heating products so be sure read our comparisons and find the best solution for your home or commercial space.
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