Buyers Guide & Information

Best Outdoor Electric Heaters

Patios, large decks, and backyards are ideal places for gatherings and cookouts during the summer. That is unless you have the best outdoor electric heaters.

Patios, large decks, and backyards are ideal places for gatherings and cookouts during the summer. However, they see less use in the fall and winter because it is just too cold to be out there. That is unless you have the best outdoor electric heaters.

This article will examine the electric outdoor heaters, cover decision-making factors, and help you find the best heater for your patio. You can spend more time outdoors without growing too cold, and the best heater for your patio is listed in this article; keep reading.

Benefits of Electric Outdoor Heaters

There are many brands, styles, and types of patio heaters. What makes electric outdoor heaters worth it? The added benefits of using electric heaters are numerous and worth understanding.

  • Low maintenance.
    Most electric heaters don’t need to be cared for as much as their gas powered counterparts. There are fewer valves and hoses, which lower the inspections and maintenance regimens.
  • Use in covered areas.
    Unlike gas heaters, electric heaters won’t displace oxygen, so you can use them in covered areas like gazebos and under awnings.
  • Less fire risk.
    Because you don’t have flames used for heat, there is less fire risk from the heater.
  • Easy to use and operate.
    After assembly (if required), the heater needs only to be plugged in and turned on.
  • No odors.
    Off-gassing, burning smells and toxins are not produced by electric heaters, unlike LP gas models.
  • Economical.
    As long as electricity is supplied to the heater, it will operate. You won’t have to stop to change fuel tanks or run out to purchase more propane.
  • Many styles to choose from.
    Because they don’t need to hold a tank or house several feet of hoses, the decorative and stylistic appearances of electric heaters are wide and varied, giving you plenty of options to choose from.

Considerations Before Buying an Outdoor Electric Heater

Area Specs

Coverage area is defined in square feet. You will need to know your patio’s square footage to ensure you purchase a heater capable of heating that size of a space. You also need to account for the shape of your patio or deck and any outlying areas that may need to be heated as well.

Because you are outdoors, there is more heat loss from the heater, which is more contained in covered areas versus open patios. However, knowing the size is a great start to finding the best option.

Heat Output

Heat output for electrical heaters is measured in watts. Your electricity provider charges you by the kilowatt-hour (kWh). To make the conversion, you need to divide the wattage by 1000. For example, if you have a 1500 watt heater, it uses 1.5kWh. Not only will this help you understand the output, but you can figure out how much the heater will cost to run.

Higher outputs require higher voltage, and this is where you will find use for the 240v units as opposed to the standard 120v models. Higher heat output can cover larger areas, which can be a significant deciding factor when dealing with the outdoors.

Safety Features

Safety features are always important, and with electric heaters, even more so.  Before you buy, you want to ensure you check which safety features are offered. Ignition and powering on need to be simple and easy. It also needs to shut off quickly and easily.

The other common and near-essential options are tip-over auto shut-off and internal thermal overheating protection. You will also find some models that offer other features like timers, oxygen sensors and contaminate/obstruction shut-off features.

Thermostat Options

Thermostats for patio heaters don’t always have a digital readout and won’t let you select a specific temperature. This doesn’t mean they aren’t thermostats, though. Many thermostat options are simple, using either a gradual increase dial or a low/medium/high setting style.

Still, there are even options connected to wireless signals and can be controlled by a mobile app or remote thermostats. Simplicity and functionality are the keys to a thermostat, though, especially if you don’t need or want “extra fancy.”

Energy Efficiency

Energy efficiency is based on the heat output compared to the electrical intake. The higher the rating, the better it is at converting electricity into heat, and thus, saving you money. With patio heaters it is a bit different because they heat a much smaller size.

If you used a 1500 watt heater inside your home, it might cover up to 200 to 300 square feet. On a patio, outside, though, it may only cover 10 square feet. This makes energy efficiency much more important for outdoor heaters.

Installation Method

There are two basic types of patio heaters when it comes to installation, those that get semi-permanently installed and those that are considered portable. Portable models are generally smaller in size, have wheels or carrying handles, and can be moved from place to place as needed.

More permanent install types are generally much larger and more decorative. You assemble them in place, and that is where they will be most of the time until you take them down or need to move them. Portability or installation is a preference and doesn’t usually affect the heat output.

Design & Other Features

To entice you to buy their product, brands and manufacturers will add additional features and design qualities to make their heaters more alluring. This can include simple things like style designs and remote control operation, or even other items.

You will find things like mobile app controls, humidifiers and dehumidifiers, programmable thermostats, and even longer or extended warranties. Your job is to identify which features and options you must have and ignore those you won’t ever use. This will help you narrow down your options and save you money.


When it comes to pricing, we all want a deal. But saving money may not be the best option for a patio heater. You want quality, aesthetics, and features, not to mention high heat output and energy efficiency. These things cost money.

With price ranges falling between $30 and $300 (or more), you can easily find highly-affordable patio heaters. However, if they are lower quality, you will spend more repairing or replacing them much more often over a higher-priced but higher quality heater.

9 Best Electric Outdoor Heaters Reviewed

1. Briza Carbon

Best Outdoor Electric Heater
Coverage Area 5-10 Sq. Ft.
Dimensions 35.5 x 4 x 4 inches
Cord Length 6 Ft
Wattage 1500
Installation Style Tripod stand, wall or ceiling mount

If you are looking for the best outdoor electric infrared heater, Briza’s Carbon infrared heater is what you want. This model has multiple safety features and can be mounted or used stand-alone. It also offers near-instant radiant heat for both indoor and outdoor use.

This weatherproof model comes with a stand that telescopes up to 7 feet, allowing you to put the heat right where you want it. Because it is infrared heat, it is ideal for outdoor use. Since the heat is directed at objects, it isn’t affected by wind or drafts.

From the moment it is turned on, the heat can be felt from several feet away, and as the objects on your patio get warmed, they will, in turn, raise the ambient temperature of the air around them. This means that your chair will become warm, and while you sit there, you will be warm, too.

Indoors you can expect this 1500 watt heater to heat a room up to about 300 square feet. However, outdoors there are fewer objects and a lower ambient temperature you can’t control, this makes heat loss more prevalent, and the Briza will be sufficient for about 5 to 10 square feet. Depending on the size of your patio, you may need a few heaters.

This model does come with a 1-year warranty, but that is only offered through Amazon, so if you purchase elsewhere, there most likely won’t be any warranty at all. This is a letdown, but with the heater’s effectiveness and simple, remote operation, it is a purchase worth making regardless.

What We Like
  • Near-instant heat output
  • Remote operation
  • Can be mounted to a wall or use a tripod stand
  • Over 93% heating efficiency
  • Tip-over auto shut-off and cool-touch exterior
What We Don’t Like
  • 1-year warranty (through Amazon only)
  • May require multiple heaters for outdoor use

2. Bromic Smart Heat BH0420033

Best Outdoor Wall Mounted Electric Heater
Coverage Area Up to 160 Sq. Ft.
Dimensions 3.5 x 56 x 8.5 inches
Cord Length 208/230v hardwired only
Wattage 6000, 2000, 3000, 4000
Installation Style Wall mount

For the top of the range infrared heater, the powerful Bromic Smart Heat model is something to seriously consider. This dual-element heater pushes a lot of wattage but can heat a large space, even outdoors.

This heater uses tungsten instead of carbon elements and a sleek black design to reflect more heat outward. With virtually zero heat loss, even outdoors, you can effectively warm up spaces up to 160 square feet.

Not only is this 240v system hardwired for a permanent wall or ceiling install, but you can also angle the heater, leave flat for a recessed install or use the included ceiling pole for a drop-down style mounting. Once wired, you can control the unit in multiple ways.

This hardwired unit will connect directly to a standard on/off light switch, dimmer, or even smart control switches for control through mobile apps or voice controls. The best part, though, is that depending on the size and shape of your patio or deck, you may only need one heater.

Highly efficient heat output and thermal overheating protection make it safe for outdoor use, even under covers, awnings, or roofs. The 1-year warranty is a little low, but Bromic offers an extra year extended warranty by registering the product on their site in a simple sign up process.

What We Like
  • 2-year extended warranty option
  • Comes in multiple wattage sizes from 2000 to 6000 watts
  • Can connect to switches, dimmers, and smart controllers
  • Covers a large outdoor area
  • Multiple mounting options
What We Don’t Like
  • Must be hardwired to a 220/240-volt circuit
  • May require professional installation


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Best Ceiling Mounted Electric Outdoor Heater
Coverage Area Up to 65 Sq. Ft.
Dimensions 17.7 x 17.7 x 11.8 inches
Cord Length 6 Ft
Wattage 1500
Installation Style Ceiling mount

The best waterproof outdoor electric patio heater comes from TRUSTECH. This overhead, ceiling mount heater provides efficient radiant heat designed for outdoor use. Not only is it fast to heat up, but it is also simple to install and use.

The heater hangs from a chain and hook that you screw into the ceiling. The chain is adjustable, so you can lower or raise the heater as needed. Once the hook and chain are secure, you just have to plug the heater in and pull the cord like on a ceiling fan.

The one problem is that the power cord is only about 6 feet. It is difficult to find an outlet on your patio within 6-feet of the center of your ceiling. However, a heavy-duty, grounded extension cord is an option as long as it is rated for outdoor use and at least 12-gauge wiring to withstand 1500 watts of electric draw.

If you don’t have either, your only option is hard wiring to a junction box, which may require a professional electrician to perform the splicing and wiring. Once you have the heater powered and in place, though, you can heat your entire patio in just a few minutes.

Covered areas see temperature increases of about 15 to 20 degrees, and uncovered or open designs average about 10 degrees (Fahrenheit). When turned on, the heating element does get bright, and some owners like this as it can double as an overhead light. Other owners don’t like this, though, as it can interfere with activities.

Still, the extendable warranty (sign up through the company’s website) covers the waterproof unit, and the automatic shut-off timer means you don’t have to worry about leaving the unit on overnight or forgetting to turn it off when you head back inside.

What We Like
  • 2-year warranty
  • Automatic shut-off timer
  • Adjustable mounting chain for ideal height
  • Begins heating the space in less than 3 seconds
  • Waterproof design perfect for outdoor use
What We Don’t Like
  • Power cord may need extension or hardwired installation
  • Heating elements can get bright

4. Dr. Infrared Heater

Best Budget Wall Mounted Electric Heater
Coverage Area Up to 85 Sq. Ft.
Dimensions 35 x 8 x 4 inches
Cord Length 6 Ft
Wattage 900-1500
Installation Style Wall or ceiling mount

If you want to save money and get a heater designed for outdoor use, covered or uncovered, Dr. Heater has the answer for you. Not only is this heater affordable for almost every budget, but it also provides warmth to a large space when installed correctly.

With a wall or ceiling mount option, you can put the heater right where you need it. Because it is is infrared radiant heat with no fan, it is highly efficient. However, even with the 3-setting heating option, it may not produce enough heat on its own for your entire patio.

It is recommended to overlap these heaters, so each heats a space about 30 square feet wide. If you have a large patio, you can easily install 3 or 4 of these heaters around the area to keep it warm.

This model is also weatherproof and IPX4 water resistant, meaning it can withstand splashing and a little rain. However, it is not waterproof and shouldn’t be used while it is raining.

If you want a more portable unit, you can purchase the Dr. Heater tripod and mount the heater to that, freeing you up to move it around as needed, keeping the warmth in the area where you are.

While the 1-year warranty is a bit low, customer service is great and strives to make any issues right with their customers. You will always find a friendly smile when you call and an eagerness to help out.

What We Like
  • Remote operation
  • Angled wall or ceiling mountable
  • Optional tripod stand (sold separately)
  • Weatherproof construction
What We Don’t Like
  • 1-year warranty
  • Outdoor heating capacity may be limited

5. Taotronics TT-HE009

Best Small Indoor/Outdoor Electric Heater
Coverage Area 300 Sq. Ft.
Dimensions 7.72 x 17.8 x 7.72 inches
Cord Length 6 Ft
Wattage 900-1500
Installation Style Portable

When you want portable heat, there is nothing better than the best outdoor electric space heater. This compact model from Taotronics brings you efficient heat, space-saving design, and the capability to go just about anywhere.

Standing at just under 18 inches tall, the heater provides instant warmth and has a few unique features to make it more worth your while. The titling stance provides a taller range of heating while the oscillation spreads the heat out over a wider area.

Now you can get heat where ever you are and not just at your feet. Providing head to toe warmth, this unit can reach 70 degrees in about 2 seconds and will push that extra heat out into your patio or deck space with ease. It also features silent operation, so it won’t disturb your conversations.

With a 1 to 7-hour timer and 12-hour automatic shut-off plus a host of safety features including thermal overload and tip-over shut-off, you have nothing to lose and warm nights on your patio to gain.

What We Like
  • Remote control operation
  • Tilt and oscillation for better coverage
  • Heats up instantly
  • Has a broad square foot coverage, even uncovered
What We Don’t Like
  • 1-year warranty
  • Cannot use power strips or extension cords

6. Infratech WD-Series Dual Element

Energy Efficient Outdoor Heater
Coverage Area Up to 200 Sq. Ft.
Dimensions 9.3 x 39 x 8.1 inches
Cord Length Hardwired 240v only
Wattage 4000, 3000, 6000
Installation Style Wall, ceiling, recessed mounting

Infratech has a design that should suit almost any wall or ceiling mount need that also looks stylish and can be recessed to keep out of the way. The WD-Series heaters are infrared heating units that come in different sizes and capacities.

You can choose your color from the standard 8 colors offered, or customize your own color from a limitless library to match any décor. They also come in stainless steel body or chrome finish.

If you want options, you can choose from the 3000, 6000, or the most popular 4000-watt varieties that come in lengths of 33-inches, 61-inches, and 39-inches, respectively. However, you should note that these are 240v systems and require a dedicated, hardwired installation. Licensed professional electricians may be needed.

Once installed, though, you can quickly heat up to 200 square feet in a matter of minutes, and because they are infrared, you won’t lose heat due to wind, rain, or the elements. The ideal installation is a recessed ceiling mount on a dedicated circuit.

You can use a standard switch or a duplex switch to run the heaters at full or half power. However, they are not mandatory to install with these switches. You also get a 2-year warranty though you may find the bulbs do burn out and can be difficult to replace after the warranty expires.

What We Like
  • 2-year warranty
  • Multiple sizes and capacities available
  • Choose your own customer colored finish
  • Dual heating elements not affected by wind or rain
What We Don’t Like
  • Bulb replacement can be difficult
  • Professional installation recommended

7. Hiland HLI-1P Electric Umbrella Patio Heater

Best Parasol Patio Heater
Coverage Area 15 Sq. Ft.
Dimensions 40 x 40 x 6 inches
Cord Length 8 Ft
Wattage 1500
Installation Style Umbrella pole

If you have a patio table with an umbrella and want to use the table on colder days, what better than to have a heater inside the parasol? The Hiland HLI-1P is an electric heater that fits on the umbrella pole to provide warmth while you sit underneath.

This little heater has three fins that each output 500 watts of energy for a total of 1500 watts. There are plenty of safety features too, such as thermal overload protection and the easy to use on/off toggles for simple controls. If you happen to forget and fold the fins down, the heater will automatically shut off as well.

There are a couple of downsides to be aware of, though. While the center of the heater will fit most standard umbrella poles, it does not fit over crank-style handles, and the umbrella must be put into the open position before you slide the heater on. The power cord is a little thick, too, which makes it near impossible to fit in the umbrella hole on the table with the umbrella.

The unit is weather resistant and water resistant. It will provide direct infrared heat down to the table, quickly covering about 15 square feet of space. All three fins fold down to a compact position that allows you to lower the umbrella enough to tie it closed.

The 1-year warranty is a bit low but seems to be the industry average for these types of heaters, so we won’t complain about it too much. Just make sure you take all measurements and note the type of umbrella pole before you buy.

What We Like
  • Easy to install
  • Fits all standard umbrella poles
  • Quick heat for everything under the umbrella
  • No additional assembly required
What We Don’t Like
  • 1-year warranty
  • Power cord may have to hang from table

8. Fahrenheat FUH

Best Electric Fan Forced Outdoor Heater
Coverage Area 190 Sq. Ft.
Dimensions 12.5 x 12.4 x 14 inches
Cord Length 208/230/240v hardwired install only
Wattage 5000
Installation Style Ceiling

The FUH electric heater from Fahrenheat is one of the best fan-forced electric heaters on the market. It doesn’t get any style or beauty points, but if you need heat on your deck and patio, this ceiling mount heater is the one you want.

With adjustable output, this 5000-watt system will heat the electric coils, and the silent operating fan will pull air in from the rear and warm it over the coils before blowing it out up to 30 feet. With a near 200 square foot outdoor coverage, it is easy to see how effective it can be.

There are safety features such as thermal overheating protection, and it also has a simple mount handle that offers adjustable tilt to three positions. No matter if you put it in the center of the patio or in a corner, you can get heat where you need it most.

The 208/230/240-volt variable system does require a dedicated circuit and hardwired installation. If you do not have a 240v junction box on your patio already, you may need a professional electrician to install this heater for you.

The one downside is that this model is not weatherproof and must be covered. Installing in an open patio can be done, but the heater must be entirely under an eave or awning. Do not use it if it is raining where the unit can get wet.

What We Like
  • Efficient heating even in open spaces
  • Easy install with variable voltage
  • Thermostat included
  • Efficient heat in open spaces
What We Don’t Like
  • 1-year warranty
  • Not weatherproof

9. Hiland ZHQ1537 Electric Heater

Best Tall Patio Heater
Coverage Area 15 Sq. Ft.
Dimensions 25 x 84 x 25 inches
Cord Length 8 Ft
Wattage 1500
Installation Style Wall, ceiling, tripod (horizontal or vertical)

If you are looking for a tall patio heater, you may have just found the best one on the market. Fully waterproof, easy to install, and set up is a breeze. The ZHQ from Hiland is portable, adjustable in height, and ready to heat your space.

With infrared technology and a sealed electric circuit board, you can use this heater in the cold, in the rain, or even in the sun. No matter what the temperature is, these infrared heaters can warm up the items on your patio, including you, in a matter of minutes. Even open terraces report temperature increases of over 10 degrees (Fahrenheit).

The tripod stand extends the heater up to about 7 feet, and with an 8-foot cord, you most likely won’t need an extension cord. You also have the option to semi-permanently mount the heater on a wall or ceiling. It can also be mounted horizontally or vertically, based on your needs.

The stylish design is minimal and will stay out of the way, providing warmth from a short distance and capable of heating your table while you eat or the circle of chairs while you have a few drinks and conversation with friends.

The 1-year Hiland warranty is a bit of a downer, but Hiland does stand behind their products and makes all claims satisfied without a lot of hoops or hassle.

What We Like
  • Simple set up and operation
  • Overheat protection
  • 100% waterproof
  • Excellent customer service
What We Don’t Like
  • 1-year warranty
  • Must be close to space as heat doesn’t extend far

Comparing Electric vs. Other Outdoor Heater Types

Electric outdoor heating isn’t the only option. There are plenty of heater types out there that work outdoors. Most of the other options are gasses of some sort, natural gas, propane, kerosene, etc.

The two most common are propane and natural gas. How do they compare to electric heat? Let’s take a closer look.

Electric Heat Vs. Propane Heat

Electric heat is constant, and as long as you pay your electric bill, you will have heat. Propane, on the other hand, comes in tanks that need to be refilled. Depending on your tank’s size, you can expect a few hours of heat for the disposable cylinders and up to a few days worth of heat from the common 20 – 30 pound tanks.

Still, propane is cheaper and is found almost anywhere you shop, including grocery stores, convenience stores, and even gas stations. The drawback is that the maintenance is higher and when the tank runs out, so does your heat.

With electric heat, you can turn it on, stay warm and turn it off. Regular inspections of the elements and power cords, as well as cleaning, are needed, but not much else. Propane requires inspection and cleaning of the hoses, valves, regulators tanks, and heater. You also need to refill or replace the tanks frequently.

Electric Heat Vs. Natural Gas Heat

Natural gas is similar to propane in that it needs to be supplied. Luckily, homes with natural gas lines already only need to add a valve and hose connection to their system. This is something that can be done by the gas company for a modest fee.

Unlike propane, natural gas is directly supplied to the home, so you won’t have to leave to refill a tank. It is also generally less expensive than electricity, depending on the usage time. But it does require more maintenance and checking like propane.

If you have natural gas at home already, it is a better option than electric heat because it is more efficient and saves you money in the long run. The higher installation costs and running gas lines to the heaters initially will be the biggest drawback.

Safety Guidelines for Using Electric Outdoor Heaters

When using a heater of any type, there are safety considerations. With electric heaters, there are more than most, though they are simple.

Because you are supplying an electric current to a device outdoors, weather and covering will be a significant factor. Most outdoor patio heaters are rated for all weather, meaning that the electrical components are shielded from moisture. However, it doesn’t make them waterproof.

You want to avoid using the heater during rainstorms. If the heater is in a covered patio, you also need to consider the clearance. Most models will specify overhead, side, and bottom clearances in the owner’s manual.

However, because there isn’t an actual flame, the clearances are pretty low. Usually, 6 – 12 inches above the heater needs to be clear, but not much more than this.

You also don’t need licensed professionals to install your heaters. You can even use extension cords to power the heaters, unlike a space heater, which can burn an extension cord. You want to avoid power strips at all costs, but as long as you have a heavy-duty, grounded (3-prong) outdoor-rated extension cord at least 12-gauge in size, you will be fine.

You will want to regularly clean and inspect the unit and power cords. Ensure moisture isn’t accumulating in the heating element or control boards, and check for kinks, frays, or other damage to the power supply lines and cords. Beyond that, your outdoor heater is safe to use any time you need it.

People Also Ask (FAQ)

How many electric outdoor heaters do I need for my patio?

When deciding how many heaters you need, the output rating and square foot measurements will be most important. You also need to factor in conditions and if your patio is covered or uncovered. Uncovered patios will require more heaters to heat the same sized space, and that space won’t be very high. On average, you can expect a single heater to cover between 10 and 30 square feet. Depending on your patio’s size and shape, you may need 2 to 4 (or more) heaters to effectively heat the entire area.

What type of electric heater is most energy efficient?

The most energy efficient heater is an infrared heater. They convert 100% of the energy received to heat. The drawback is that there is a lot of heat loss unless you add a fan to help distribute the heat. Fanned models are better at heating the area but drop in efficiency because of the electricity needed to run the fan, which isn’t converted to heat.

How much do portable electric heaters cost to operate?

The cost will depend on a few factors. Primarily you will need to know the heater’s wattage and the price you pay per kilowatt-hour for electricity. If you run your 1500 watt outdoor patio heater for 4 hours a day, 5 days a week for 3 months, that is a total of 240 hours (4 hours per day x 5 days a week 3 12 weeks). If you pay the national average of 13 cents per kilowatt-hour (1.5kWh x 240 hours @ 0.13/hr), you can expect to pay about $46.80 for the heater during those three months.

Are electric patio heaters safe on wooden decks? What about on grass?

You can safely use your heater on a wooden deck. Most heaters will have a bottom minimum clearance to help prevent damage or fires, and as long as you stick to this minimum clearance, you will be fine. For grass, though, it isn’t advised. Radiant heat from these units can damage grass and synthetic turf despite proper clearances.

Should I get a heater cover for when my heater is not in use?

Yes. Covering your electric patio heater when not in use is highly recommended. A cover like the Fire Sense full length cover will protect from contaminates, weather, and moisture build-up, helping you maintain your heater and give it a much longer life expectancy.

Are electric patio heaters weatherproof?

Almost every outdoor rated patio heater is weatherproof. However, you need to make sure you understand the difference between weatherproof and waterproof. Weatherproof heaters can be used in all weather conditions and even left out without any severe degradation or damage. However, covers are still recommended, and you need to clean and inspect the units before you turn them on each time.

How long do electric patio heaters take to warm up?

Electric heaters offer a near-instant heating cycle. As soon as you turn them on, the elements begin warming up and take less than a minute to get to full power. However, it may take a few minutes to feel the heat from the elements, where unlike gas heaters with a flame, the radiated heat isn’t felt for a few minutes.

Where is a good place to buy quality outdoor electric heaters?

One of the best places to purchase a high-quality, affordable electric patio heater is through Amazon. Not only will you get the benefit of multiple brands and styles, but Amazon can house far more styles and sizes as well as older models at significant savings, compared to the more limited on-hand supply at your local brick and mortar shop.


Heating your outdoor space or patio can be simple. With the best outdoor electric heaters, your choices don’t become that limited. There are several excellent brands, models, and styles to choose from. Hopefully, this article helped you understand what features and options to look for and what questions to ask regarding efficiency and size.

If you are having trouble making a decision, take a second look at our top pick. The Briza Carbon infrared heater is efficient, easy to use, provides great heating output, and is low maintenance. It is a purchase you won’t regret.

Josh M