When you want a breather from the hustle and bustle of city life, lounging in your home’s outdoor space is a great quick fix. But what about the winter days?
Fret not! Entertaining outdoors, even during this time of the year, is still possible with the help of patio heaters.
I’ve tested and researched some of the best patio heaters available on the market and found myself cozying up on my patio for hours!
Check out my review of 7 of the best outdoor patio heaters based on their heating performance, ease of use, effectiveness, and overall value in this article below.
What Are the Top 7 Best Patio Heaters to Get?
One of the main factors I considered when testing these heaters was their heat distribution. These heaters are an investment, so it is crucial to get the one that best provides the level of warmth you prefer.
Here are 7 of the best patio heaters you can get your hands on:
What I like
- Great heat output
- Portable with built-in wheels
- Made of durable, high-quality materials
- It comes in multiple finishes
- It has a tip-over automatic shutoff feature
- One-touch ignition button
What I don’t like
- Price varies depending on the color
- Too tall for others
The Amazon Basics 46,000-BTU outdoor patio heater is my top choice for many reasons! Firstly, it has excellent heating power that can heat up to a 9-foot radius.
I used this for my home patio, but it can be useful in commercial cafes and restaurants with outdoor seating! There are even 6 colors to choose from. You’ll definitely find one that complements your space.
Plus, this patio heater is constructed with durable aluminum, plastic, and steel with a powder-coat finish. I can imagine this should last you many years of cozy outdoor entertaining.
It’s no question why the Amazon Basics 46,000 BTU outdoor propane patio heater is the best-selling heater online. Given its built-in wheels, I was amazed at how easy it was to set up.
The operation was smooth, too, with just a button click. And once the heater is switched on, you can easily control the temperature with a knob.
This heater also includes a notable safety feature. If your heater tips off, it shuts the valve off to prevent fires.
There’s a lot to love about this patio heater. But do remember that it weighs 38 pounds and stands a little over 7 feet tall. Make sure you have the space to enjoy one.
BTU Rating: 46,000 | Burner Type: Propane Gas | Material: Aluminum, Plastic, and Steel |Dimensions: 33 x 18 x 89 inches | Weight: 38.1 Pounds
What I like
- Easy tank access
- Easy to control the adjustable flame
- Durable stainless steel construction
- Great heating performance for its price
What I don’t like
- No wheels
- Lacks safety features and a rain cover
The Hampton Bay 48,000 BTU outdoor propane patio heater is the most economical option. It does not pack a lot of accessories, but it does give off excellent heat output.
At its affordable cost, I appreciate its capacity to give off warmth up to 200 square meters and its control valve that allows you to adjust the temperature to your preference.
However, this heater did not come with a rain cover and wheels, making it difficult to move. But it’s something I did not mind much. I just made sure to put it on a spot I had no plans of moving.
Constructed from durable stainless steel, this heater looks sleek, complementing your outdoor space.
BTU Rating: 48,000 | Burner Type: Propane Gas | Material: Steel |Dimensions: 32.25 x 32.25 x 87.25 inches | Weight: 33 Pounds
What I like
- Easy to mount
- It has 3 power settings
- Remote control included
- Heats quickly
- Infrared is safer around children
What I don’t like
- Not ideal for large spaces
The Dr. Infrared patio heater is the best electric patio heater you can get your hands on for both indoor and outdoor use.
If you like to keep your space conservative, you’ll be happy to know that this budget patio heater can be wall-mounted or attached to the ceiling. It comes with brackets and a remote.
Also, it is important to note that infrared heaters use radiant heat to generate clean-burning warmth.
This model, in particular and through personal experience, is great for families with small children since the infrared heater does not heat up during use.
The Dr. Infrared patio heater operates on 3 power settings (900W, 1200W, and 1500W). Made with high-quality mirror aluminum reflectors and a special carbon lamp, this heater is built to last. Plus, it is weatherproof too.
The DR-238 heater has a coverage area of up to 1,000 square feet. That makes it perfect for homes, the backyard, open-air restaurants, and outdoor decks.
BTU Rating: 5200 per Hour per Foot per Degree Fahrenheit | Burner Type: Electric, Infrared | Material: Anodized Aluminum |Dimensions: 35 x 8 x 4 inches | Weight: 8 Pounds
4. Best Patio Heater With Safety Features: East Oak Patio Heater
What I like
- Easy assembly
- Portable with 2 wheels
- Stable and sturdy design
- Advanced safety protection system
A propane heater can provide more heat than an electric patio heater. That is a fact!
So when you need a powerful propane heater for your outdoor space, the East Oak is one of the best patio heaters you can get your hands on with its 50000 BTU!
Once this gas patio heater needs switching on, a one-touch ignition system and an adjustable knob will do just the trick! From its central heating position, it can distribute heat up to 18 feet.
Design-wise, the East Oak propane heater does not disappoint. It is conveniently designed to carry snacks, drinks, and other small things with its round table component.
It is made of high-quality 304 stainless steel and a double-cover heating mesh, so it stays sturdy and safe.
Plus, after using this product, it has a triple-safety protection system that protects you against accidents and burns. What’s not to love?
BTU Rating: 50,000 | Burner Type: Propane Gas | Material: Aluminum, Stainless Steel, Iron |Dimensions: 33 x 18 x 87 inches | Weight: 35.2 Pounds
What I like
- Easy to control the adjustable flame
- Great mobility on paved surfaces
- It has an adjustable tabletop
- Easy access to gas cylinder
What I don’t like
- No rain cover and not weatherproof
Check out these mushroom-style propane heaters if you’re looking for another best patio heater that pushes a ton of heat.
I had a breeze using this propane heater model in particular. It had excellent portability and mobility with the help of its built-in wheels!
Other notable features of this portable patio heater are its 4000 BTU that can warm up a diameter between 10-12 feet, its commercial-grade build, and its adjustable table.
This is a must-have if you’re constantly entertaining and like reshuffling your outdoor space!
BTU Rating: 40,000 | Burner Type: Propane Gas | Material: Aluminum |Dimensions: 33 x 33 x 90 inches | Weight: 67 Pounds
What I like
- Easy to start and adjust
- Efficient heat output
- Sleek and durable design
The Fire Sense natural gas patio heater is amazing at 45000 BTU. Plus, this patio heater features an electronic ignition system that easily turns it on.
And because this heater does not run on propane, neither is it an electric patio heater; you can get endless heat by attaching your Fire Sense 61445 patio heater straight to a natural gas line.
Once that is set, after a couple of personal experiments, a convenient temperature knob is in place so you can adjust the heat output to your preference. It’s that simple!
BTU Rating: 45,000 | Burner Type: Natural Gas | Material: Stainless Steel, Aluminum |Dimensions: 12 x 33 x 91 inches | Weight: 19 Pounds
What I like
- Easy to assemble and use
- It makes a great outdoor centerpiece
- Safety auto shut-off valve
What I don’t like
- Less heat than others
- No cover
The Hiland Pyramid propane patio heater hooks up to a standard 20-pound propane tank, creating a flame that runs up its quartz glass tube that looks mesmerizing!
This latest design makes it a unique and sleek heater, perfect as a centerpiece for your outdoor area. It is as much a design statement as it is functional!
This Hiland heater can last 8 to 10 hours on a 20-lb propane tank in high mode. That’s a good number, especially when entertaining guests.
This patio heater, however, does not compare to the outdoor heating performance of a mushroom-style heater. That’s because a pyramid heater lacks the dome shape of a mushroom that directs the heat downward. Nevertheless, this Hiland patio heater is still worth the buck.
BTU Rating: 40000 | Burner Type: Propane Gas | Material: Steel, Glass |Dimensions: 7.48 x 7.48 x 35.04 inches | Weight: 65.2 Pounds
Quick Comparison Of Top Patio Heaters
|Top Patio Heaters||Burner Type||BTU Rating||Dimensions||Weight||Material|
|Amazon Basics Outdoor Propane Patio Heater||Propane Gas||46,000||33 x 18 x 89 inches||38.1 lb.||Aluminum, Plastic, and Steel|
|Hampton Bay Stainless Steel Patio Heater||Propane Gas||48,000||32.25 x 32.25 x 87.25 inches||33 lb.||Steel|
|Dr. Infrared Carbon Infrared Outdoor Heater||Electric, Infrared||38,000||35 x 8 x 4 inches||8 lb.||Anodized Aluminum|
|East Oak Patio Heater||Propane Gas||50,000||33 x 18 x 87 inches||35.2 lb.||Aluminum, Stainless Steel, Iron|
|AZ Patio Heaters Hiland Freestanding Patio Heater||Propane||40,000||33 x 33 x 90 inches||67 lb.||Aluminum|
|Fire Sense Natural Gas Patio Heater||Natural Gas||45,000||12 x 33 x 91 inches||19 lb.||Stainless Steel, Aluminum|
|Hiland Pyramid Quartz Glass Tube Propane Patio Heater||Propane||40,000||7.48 x 7.48 x 35.04 inches||65.2 lb.||Steel, Glass|
Why Should You Use a Patio Heater?
If you have no idea what a patio heater is, they are space heaters that use thermal radiation to generate heat. You’ll often find them in the outdoor seating of bars and restaurants.
It would be best if you got yourself a patio heater, so you don’t have to stay stuck indoors all the time. You can still utilize your outdoor space even during the year’s cooler months.
They won’t turn your patio into a summer haven, but they can keep you comfy like a warm blanket and hot chocolate!
What Are the Different Types of Patio Heaters?
You will encounter many different types of heaters depending on their heater type or source. Your choice will highly depend on what fits your space best and your preferred power source.
Here are the different types of portable heaters:
- Freestanding – This is the best patio heater design if you have large outdoor spaces. It is mainly made of a pole, base, heat reflector, and heating source.
- Mounted – This patio heater is meant to be installed permanently in locations like a high wall or ceiling. It is preferred by those who don’t want their heaters to be the center of attention in the space.
- Tabletop – These are very portable heaters. They are smaller than a freestanding or mounted heater. They usually use electricity as a heat source. Check out the Best Tabletop Patio Heater here!
- Infrared – Considered the most energy-efficient of these heat types, an infrared heater is best for family use. They’re quick heating and safe, but not the most portable choice.
Here are the three primary types of heaters according to heat sources:
- Propane Heater – Unlike electric heaters, propane heaters heat the air around you rather than heat you directly. Most patio heaters and free-standing heaters use propane as their heat source. This results in a comfy ambient warmth that lasts longer than infrared heat.
- Natural Gas Heater – Natural gas heaters are the most sustainable choice for your outdoor space. Not only does it burn cleanly, but it is also the cheapest too!
- Electric Heater – Electric heaters are not the most energy-efficient. They can jack up your electricity bill for sure! However, electric heaters tend to be safer and more convenient.
What Are Things to Consider When Buying Patio Heaters?
I got my heater, considering it as patio furniture. It looks good in my outdoor space, where my friends and family gather.
But some prefer a patio heater that’s just strictly functional. And that’s fine!
Choosing your outdoor heating option is a matter of taste, and a few factors worth considering. Here’s what you need to think about before investing in the best outdoor patio heater for your home:
Your patio deserves as much attention to decor as any part of your home. There are many patio heater styles to consider that can turn just any common outdoor space into a backyard oasis!
Check out the following styles:
- Tower-style heater – Most heaters measure up to 6 to 8 feet tall. Its heating element is either at the tower’s top, middle, or bottom. They can use electricity or propane for power and are great at heating larger patios and yards up to a 5-10 ft radius.
- Space heater – An exterior space heater is small and is designed for limited spaces. They are usually tucked beneath a patio table to keep guests cozy and warm when enjoying a meal outdoors.
- Tabletop heater – These tabletop heaters are often attached to the top of a patio table where a sun umbrella usually goes on. They are smaller than freestanding heaters and are great additions to your patio furniture. Tabletop heaters are portable but don’t give as much heat as tower-style heaters.
- Mounted heater – An infrared or electric heater usually comes in this style. They can be wall-mounted or placed on ceilings. Mounted heaters are great if you have limited floor space.
- Firepit or fireplace – For an ambient option, the best portable firepits and outdoor fireplaces give the ultimate campfire vibe. They can be powered by propane, natural gas, or wood. Grab a few patio chairs and some s’mores; it’s the perfect time to gather!
Most patio heaters measure heat output in British thermal units (BTUs), while an electric heater’s output is measured in watts.
- BTU (British Thermal Units) – The higher the number, the higher its potential outdoor temperature. A tabletop heater can pump out approximately 10000 to 12000 BTUs. Larger heaters measure 40000 BTUs or more.
- Watts – Electric patio heaters offer a maximum of 1,500 watts. This is equivalent to 5100 BTUs. They don’t generate as much heat as gas heaters. Some use multiple heaters, but that could cost you your utility bills!
Area Size and Heating Range
A patio heater can radiate heat for a 4 to 12 feet radius or even farther. This area coverage will depend on the power capacity of your heating element.
Some outdoor heaters even have special features that allow you to adjust the heat to a wider area. However, these heaters are usually tall and are not fitting for a small porch. So measure accordingly.
Some heaters go the extra mile to create a romantic feel for your outdoor space. I found some tabletop styles with glass rocks that reflected various colors. I like the ones that flicker flames too!
Most propane patio heaters have cabinets that conceal their gas tank for a cleaner look. Manufacturers use different materials for this, which can affect the overall aesthetic of the device.
A classic stainless steel patio heater is great for a contemporary home, while a cast-iron firepit suits a rustic cabin vibe. If you prefer the latter, you might want to know How Much Firewood Is in a Cord + How to Store It.
Any device producing fire or heat will have a few safety concerns. Good thing manufacturers encase heaters in materials that remain cool to the touch.
Some designs make the heating element difficult to access, especially by children. This is something you must consider when buying a patio heater.
Still, it is best to keep a fire extinguisher if the unit tips off and causes a fire hazard. You can also invest in a cover, so bugs, dirt, and debris don’t get into the heating elements. This can cause damage and other fire risks too.
In my experience, I found patio heaters with wheels more worthwhile. I get to move it from one side of the patio to another.
Large patio heaters can weigh more than 60 pounds, which doesn’t even include its propane tank yet! So if you intend not to permanently place it in one area, consider a model with wheels.
Electric patio heaters are more compact and lightweight. Wheels can still come in handy.
Electric patio heaters are not that expensive to purchase. Its true cost will reflect on the utility bills. But sometimes, it can still cost less than propane or natural gas.
Propane patio heaters have a wide range of costs depending on the style, size, and features included in the model. But generally, they are cost-effective in the long run.
Natural gas patio heaters are the most expensive since they usually require a permanent installation by a licensed plumber. But they are the least expensive to operate in the long run. Plus, they produce the cleanest heat.
FAQs Related To Patio Heaters
Need more information about the best patio heaters in the market? Check out these FAQs and their answers:
Yes, patio heaters can provide a comfortable change in the ambient temperature of about 5°F to 10°F. They can keep you cozy outdoors, even during the cooler winter days.
An Electric patio heater can be used both indoors and outdoors. Depending on the manufacturer, some models can be mounted on walls or ceilings, while some require the device to be at least 3 feet away from the furniture.
Gas-powered patio heaters require proper ventilation to operate safely. They should not be used indoors either. They can be placed under a gazebo or covered area, but keep them at least 3 feet away from walls and ceilings.
Check the specs of your patio heater if whether or not it is waterproof. It will depend on the manufacturer.
But whether your patio heater is weatherproof or not, it is still advisable to have a cover for it when it is not in use. This prevents water, insects, and other debris from getting into the heating elements, which can disrupt its operation or, worse, cause a fire.
Most patio heaters, whether electric or gas-powered, can handle some accidental water splashes. But as much as possible, install your patio heater where rain can be avoided.
Among the 7 patio heaters I’ve tried and tested, these three stood out:
If you’re on a budget, this is the best patio heater! This wall-mounted infrared patio heater perfectly keeps your small patio cozy during cold days.
The Hampton Bay is all about functionality, delivering up to 48000 BTU! And at such an affordable price, it is quite a steal. If you plan to place this heater in a permanent spot, this wheelless heater is a good option.
The Amazon Basics heater was the easiest to use among all the outdoor heaters I’ve tested. It had great heating power too! I also appreciated its auto-shutoff safety features, especially since I often have children around our patio.
Have you considered one from my best outdoor heater list yet? If you haven’t, don’t worry! Take your time carefully considering its style, heat output, safety, and portability.
Even the least expensive patio heaters cost you a hundred bucks or more. So you better not decide on impulse! Find one that best suits your needs and your home.