Entertainment Reviews

Best Outdoor Patio Heater Reviews: Complete Buyer’s Guide

Are you looking for the best patio heater for your backyard? If so, read on as we review all the top options available with the Pros & Cons of each.
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When the days start getting shorter, and the weather starts to turn, it’s challenging to enjoy sitting on the patio. The cold air starts nipping at you, and you feel the urge to move around to stay warm. Inviting guests around for an afternoon barbecue means you’ll have to call the good times to an early close because of the cold creeping in.

When the nights start to turn cold, and you want to spend it outdoors with friends and family, a patio heater keeps you warm. A patio heater has a small footprint, dispersing plenty of heat around the patio, keeping everyone warm as toast.

You get gas-powered and electric models and choosing the right model for your home requires a bit of research. Where you live in the United States plays a significant role. Homeowners in the northern states require a much more robust heating system compared to those individuals residing in the south.

In this review, we’ll look through all the leading brands to find the best patio heater for your yard. When it gets cold outside this winter, and you need to stay warm, flip a switch, and don’t worry about Jack Frost nipping at your nose. Here is our guide to the best patio heaters, read through our picks, and then check out the information in our buyer’s guide.

Our Top Picks

In case you don’t have the time to go through all our listings for the best patio heater, here are our top picks. Choose the heater that matches your needs and place your order. You’ll be enjoying your patio heater in a few days.

Best Pick: Golden Flame Patio Heater

This pilot-less burner is an excellent choice for the yard. You don’t ever have to worry about the wind blowing out the pilot, and this gas-burner will keep you warm for hours, even on chilly evenings. It’s a great choice for homeowners, and some small restaurants can also use them for outdoor seating areas in cold weather.

Runner-Up Pick: Commercial Patio Heater

Gas Patio Heater with Wheels And Cover,48,000 BTU of Outdoor Portable LP Propane Commercial Heater ,automatically shuts off gas flow ,with CSA Certified for Garden
  • 1.Powerful Outside Heater with cover:48,000 Btu Burner Heats Up To 200 Sq Ft,This Propane Patio Heater Is Suitable For Both Commercial And Household Use.
  • 2.Safe& Reliable Heater with cover:Valve Automatically Shuts Off When Gas Leaking.Gas Auto Shut-Down When The Heater Tilting Over. 20-Lb Standard Propane Tank House (Tank Not Included) A Pefect Alternative To A Fire Pit,Provide Quiet And Smooth Heat, Without Smoke Or Flame-Up.Variable-Heat Control Knob Allows To Adjust The Flame .
  • 3.Easily Accessible Outdoor Propane Heater:Electronic Ignition To Quick And Easy Starts In 3 Seconds. Assembly This Floor Standing Heater Is Equipped With Heavy-Duty Smooth Wheels Which Allows Easy Movement.We Have Stable Weight Plate, No Need To Nail On The Ground.
  • 4.Easily-assemble Heater:Assembly Required With Wrenth,Magnetic Head Phillips Screwdriver (Not Included),By Following The Instructions In 30 Minute
  • 5.Good Quality Heater with cover:Outdoor Heaters For Patio Uses Heat Treated Stainless Steel For Strength And Durability,And CSA Certified. 1-Year Limited Warranty.

Homeowners and restaurateurs that want optimal performance out of their patio heater will love this model. The Pamapic commercial heater is powerful enough to heat large patios and entertainment areas, providing plenty of heat in a 360-degree zone. It’s a great choice as a commercial heater for factories, workshops, and restaurants.

Budget Pick: AmazonBasics Commercial Outdoor Patio Heater

Amazon Basics Outdoor Patio Heater with Wheels, Propane 46,000 BTU, Commercial & Residential - Black / Stainless
  • Outdoor gas heater with 46,000 BTUs, providing heat up to a 9-foot radius. Ideal for commercial cafes and restaurants or residential patios
  • Made with aluminum, sturdy plastic, and rugged steel with a durable powder-coated finish that stands up to outdoor elements
  • Piezo ignition system for easy push-button start ups; requires 20lb Liquid Propane Gas tank (not included); chain to help secure LPG tank provided.
  • Safety auto shut-off tilt valve; waterbox for adding weight to the base; wheel assembly included for easy mobility
  • Measures approximately 18 by 89 inches (LxH); weighs 38 pounds

Homeowners searching for the best value deal on a patio heater will find this model the best patio heater available. AmazonBasics have a solid reputation and a no-nonsense money-back guarantee. This heater works well and provides years of service life. It’s the best value for your money and all you need to get through the cold weather.

The Top 8 Patio Heater Reviews

Now that you know our top picks let’s unpack them in further detail. We’ll also take a deep dive into other product offerings to give you an idea of the best patio heaters available.

Golden Flame Patio Heater – The Best Overall Patio Heater

This model takes our top spot for the best overall patio heater. When we say overall, we categorize this heater as the best value for money, performance, user-functionality, and efficiency. That’s quite a set of qualifying criteria for the Golden Flame to meet, but we feel it’s the outright winner, and it belongs on your patio.

The Golden Flame has an impressive 41,000-BTU rating making it a great option for medium to large patios. Some smaller restaurants may also find them useful for outdoor heating. This heater comes with a matte-mocha finish which is easy on the eyes, and a stylish design that doesn’t make it look like an eyesore on your patio.

The standout feature of this model is the pilotless burner. One of the big problems with gas-powered freestanding burners is that they go out in gusts of wind.

You have to hit the striker again to light the burner and start heating. During that time, you’re losing plenty of heat around your patio, and your guests are getting cold. The pilotless burner means that your heater never goes out, even in windy conditions.

The pilotless system is efficient. You won’t have to worry about losing fuel to the wind because the pilot flame went out in this model. If you are afraid the heater is top-heavy and want to ensure nobody topples it over, you can add 30-lbs of sand to the hollow base for additional weight.

If the heater does tip over, the auto-cutoff switch activates, preventing any severe accidents. The reflector on this model is wide, creating a broad reach for the heat coming from the burner. Overall, the heater is the best model on the market, with the right balance of price, performance, durability, and user-friendly operation.

Pros:
  • Pilotless burner
  • Weather-resistant
  • Wind Resistant
  • The fillable base for added weight
  • Powerful 41,000-BTU output
Cons:
  • Sucks gas when used at max setting

View Details

Commercial Patio Heater – Runner-Up

This commercial patio heater is our runner-up pick patio heater in this review. It might not be as powerful as some of the other versions, but it has plenty of performance for the home patio, and some light retail and commercial use as well.

With this model, you get a professional base design that holds your gas tank. Access the tank and connection using the door on the side of the body. The practical design makes it attractive, with all the fittings and the 20-lb gas tank out of view.

This model gets you up to 18-feet of coverage, depending on the weather conditions. With 46,000-BTU, it’s a powerful heater, and the specialized deflector ensures you get maximum heat coverage. This system performs like it has 55,000-BTU available.

The stainless steel burners provide long service life, and you also get the anti-tilt shut off safety feature. The manufacturer also includes a cover for your heater with your purchase.

Pros:
  • Easy-access tank chamber
  • Efficient and powerful burner with 46,000-BTU
  • Stainless steel burners
  • Comes with a cover
Cons:
  • Basic Design

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AmazonBasics Commercial Outdoor Patio Heater – The Best Budget Model

Homeowners on a budget that are looking for the best patio heater they can afford can check out the AmazonBasics commercial outdoor patio heater. This model has everything you need in an outdoor heater at an affordable price point. If the price is your biggest purchasing factor, then this model is your top choice.

Even though this model has a rock-bottom price tag, it still offers you excellent value for your money. The heater features durable construction, with a bronzed finish that looks attractive on the patio.

This heater produces 46,000-BTU of heat, sufficient to cover a medium to large patio. You can pair these heaters up and use them to heat your outdoor eating area at your restaurant or bar. This model features an easy-start switch, allowing you to spark the ignition on the first turn.

The AmazonBasics model produces even heat, distributing it across the patio without creating hotspots. We think it deserves your attention, and it’s the best value buy in this review.

Pros:
  • Affordable
  • High-power 46,000-BTU
  • Easy-start
Cons:
  • Challenging assembly

View Details

Fire Sense Deluxe Propane Patio Heater

This Fire Sense model is another top contender. This brand makes some of the best heaters in the industry for interior and exterior applications. This model offers you and your guest plenty of warmth on the coldest evenings on your patio, and it comes with several advanced features.

The Fire Sense features a patented domed heat reflector that pushes the heat out further from the unit than most other models. The sand-filled base ensures none of your guests accidentally tip the heater over while standing up from a chair or accidentally bumping into it while moving around the patio.

The efficient design of the burner and the hood keep more heat around your patio, making it a very efficient machine. You’ll find yourself using less gas than you expect, saving you money on the costs of heating your patio.

We like the stylish hammered-bronze finish on this model, giving an eye-pleasing aesthetic that looks like it belongs on your patio.

When it comes to performance, this model offers you 46,000-BTU of heating capacity. The powerful heating action makes it in-line with the other top-model heaters in this review.

We like the way that the manufacturer integrates wheels into the base of this model, allowing for easy movement around your patio. Wheel it out of the way when it’s not in use, and wheel it out when the weather gets cold.

Pros:
  • Fillable base
  • High-power 46,000-BTU
  • Attractive hammered mocha-color finish
  • Integrated wheels in the base
Cons:
  • Sucks gas at max setting

View Details

Legacy Heating CAPH-7-S Patio Heater

This model is another excellent choice. However, it probably suits larger patios, as the 47,000-BTU rating is more powerful than most of the other models coming before it in this review. This heater can heat up to a 20-foot diameter around the unit, providing your guests with plenty of warmth.

Restaurants and bars will also find this model useful for outdoor areas during the cooler evenings in the fall and winter.

We like the way that the manufacturer includes casters with this model. It’s easy to maneuver this unit anywhere on the patio.

Legacy Heating gives you the option of choosing your new heater in one of three different finishes. You have a powder-coated, hammered black finish, a 304 stainless-steel finish, or an attractive mocha powdered-coated paint finish.

The Legacy also comes compatible with 20-lb propane tanks. However, buyers need to beware, as this model doesn’t include a tank with your purchase. You’ll need to add that to the final costs of your heater budget.

The only issue we have with this outdoor heater is the base. You’ll need to lift the base to cover the tank, making it more cumbersome changing tanks. We would prefer to see a door built-in to the base to allow for easy access to the fuel tank.

Pros:
  • High-power output with 47,000-BTU
  • Caster provides mobility
  • Stainless steel construction
  • Fits 20-lb propane tanks
Cons:
  • No propane tank included
  • Not suitable for covered patios

View Details

Star Patio Parasol Electric Patio Heater

This model is one of our favorite designs, and if we were handing out models for innovation in the heating industry, this company would get top honors.

The Star Patio Parasol Electric Patio Heater is the most user-friendly model on our list. This heater comes with easy installation, with versatile mounting on the parasol or traditional umbrella, and the setup requires the use of no hardware. All you must do is lift the arms and make sure they are in place before turning on the machine.

This model is a great choice for restaurants and outdoor areas that use tables with umbrellas. Keep your guests warm with the Star Patio Parasol heater. Fold the arms down when not in use, and the heater blends into the natural form factor of the umbrella.

This heater is for smaller areas and provides coverage for a 12-foot diameter at best. We like the adjustable power settings on this model. You get the option of running it on one of three settings, 500-watt, 1,000-watt, and 1,500-watt. Each setting turns on one of the three power heating bars.

The only drawback of this heater is that using it with the 500-watt setting tends to distribute the heat unevenly. However, overall, it’s a clever design innovation, and we think homeowners with smaller patios will love this model.

Pros:
  • Easy assembly
  • Electric model
  • Three power settings
  • Automatic switch-off
  • Efficient and effective
  • Water and dustproof
Cons:
  • Not as powerful as a gas-powered models

View Details

Lava Heat Italia Patio Heater

If you’re looking for a stylish and sleek-looking heater to complement your modern patio furniture and theme, then check outthe Lava Heat Italia patio heater. This model offers you the best worlds of design and functionality.

This heater has a 56,000-BTU output, making it the most impressive in this review. This heater will provide warmth for a 20-foot diameter around the heater base. The power is tremendous, and standing too close to this heater on full-blast will make you start to sweat.

This model is an excellent choice as a commercial heater. Use it to heat your restaurant or the outside bar area. There’s plenty of power on offer, and enough heat coming from the machine to ensure you don’t leave your guests feeling cold.

The center of the 4-foot tall heater features a glass tube manufactured from borosilicate. This material is highly weather-resistant and offers excellent insulation. With this model, you get excellent heat coverage, and you can position it anywhere on the patio because it’s a gas-powered model.

You get a 10-foot gas line and all connections with this model, allowing you to place it anywhere on the patio, and still get the heat you need for your guests. The unit comes fully assembled and ready to plug-and-play right out of the box, and with a simple setup, you’ll be ready to go in minutes.

The attractive hammered-black paint finish on this model is attractive, and easy on the eyes. This heater is the ideal complement to a modern patio in a contemporary home.

Pros:
  • Attractive hammered black coating
  • High-power 56,000-BTU output
  • 4-foot tall stand
  • Comes fully assembled
Cons:
  • Uses the most gas out of any model in this review

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AZ Hiland HLDS032-B Tabletop Portable Heater

If you’re looking for a compact and portable heater to take with you on the road, then the AZ Hiland is a great choice. This model is ideal as a tabletop unit, or a camping heater for your next glamping trip.

This heater stands 38-inches tall weighing 17-lbs. The compact design of the heater allows you to rest in the center of most tables. This propane-powered model has an 11-000-BTU rating, making it ideal for three to four people to huddle around on your patio. One tank of gas will give you around 3-hours of runtime.

You also get the option of choosing one of five attractive colors, allowing you to match it to the decor on your patio. The AZ Hiland is a great mini-heater model, and it’s very budget-friendly.

Pros:
  • Compact and portable
  • Affordable price point
  • Good for camping trips
  • Five color options
Cons:
  • Not suitable for large patios

View Details

Other Best-Selling Options

SaleBestseller No. 1
Amazon Basics Outdoor Patio Heater with Wheels, Propane 46,000 BTU, Commercial & Residential - Charcoal Gray
  • Outdoor gas heater with 46,000 BTUs, providing heat up to a 9-foot radius. Ideal for commercial cafes and restaurants or residential patios
  • Made with aluminum, sturdy plastic, and rugged steel with a durable powder-coated finish that stands up to outdoor elements
  • Piezo ignition system for easy push-button start ups; requires 20lb Liquid Propane Gas tank (not included); chain to help secure LPG tank provided.
  • Safety auto shut-off tilt valve; waterbox for adding weight to the base; wheel assembly included for easy mobility
  • Measures approximately 18 by 89 inches (LxH); weighs 38 pounds
Bestseller No. 2
Outdoor Patio Heater Propane Heater - Pyramid Glass Tube Patio heater Hammered Portable Finish Stainless Steel Outdoor Heater with Wheels and Cover for Garden Wedding and Party.
  • 【Warm all nights】The patio heater offers a large heat output, which heats a wide area with a range of up to 4 feet in diameter. A nice alternative to a fire pit, the gas patio heater delivers quiet, soothing, consistent heat--with no smoke or open flames to worry about.
  • 【Easy to Move】A wheel assembly with two smooth-rolling wheels comes included, making it easy to transport the outdoor heater from poolside to patio or from one side of the deck to the other. No matter what the location or event, friends and family will appreciate the chance to gather and mingle outdoors while wrapped in the wonderful warmth.
  • 【User-Friendly】The stainless steel heater is equipped with a simple-to-use pulse ignition, only one-step, warm coming. Also, it allows for low and high heat settings as well as for turning the heater completely off at the end of the night.
  • 【Safety Protection】Our stainless steel heater have CSA certification and also equip the overturned safety protection, if the heater accidentally dropping or tipping, which will shut off automatically. What’s more, the patio heaters propane stainless steel adopts anti-dumping, anti-flame, and oxygen-deficient safety protection.
  • 【Freebie】The heater is equipped with a rainproof hood for free, which can prevent dust or rain and increase the life of the heater.
Bestseller No. 3
LEGACY HEATING Patio Heater, 48,000 BTU Outdoor Heaters for Patio Propane, Patio Heaters Propane Stainless Steel for Deck, Backyard, Porch
  • 🔥【Heating Up Quickly & Excellent Warm Range】This patio heater overall has a piezo electric ignition to ensure quick, seamless starts, and the adjustable heat control settings let you customize the temperature as needed. (Up to 48,000 BTUs of warmth.) It can heat outdoor spaces up to 200 square feet which is great to expand your outdoor gathering area during chill day, also beautiful matching piece to your porch, patio, back deck, backyard and pool.
  • 🔥【Safe to use】If outdoor heater is tipped more than 30 degrees it will turn itself off. This outdoor heater also has CSA & ETL certification. For people using safely, our heaters have to accept air tightness testing before delivery to user which help to prevent gas leak.
  • 🔥【Save Your Money】It's easy to use and doesn't burn too much propane, thanks to the unique flame emitter design, the propane patio heater burning propane more sufficiently. With a 20-lb gas cylinder will keep you warm about 10 hours.
  • 🔥【Sturdy Material & Easy Assembly】The outdoor patio heater material was made of stainless steel which not result in the paint catching fire and getting rusty. We hope our customer can benefit from the patio heater for many years. The patio heater comes with a detailed owner's manual, following the owner's manual step by step, you can assemble it within 20 minutes. And It is easy to peel off the protective covering from the pieces of the reflector before assembling.
  • 🔥【One Year Warranty】As an expert of manufacturer in outdoor heater for 30 years, we’re committed to providing the best quality possible. If you have problem with product quality, we promise to provide you 1 year warranty with parts repair or replacement services.
SaleBestseller No. 4
Patio Heater Assembly
  • Assembly of 1 customer-supplied heater
  • Verification of safe, free-standing unit location
  • Product should be in the room where it is to be assembled before provider arrives. Moving product after assembly is not included
  • Technician cannot provide or connect device to external fuel source
  • Cleanup work area. Take packaging to customer's bins unless customer declines
Bestseller No. 5
48000 BTU Pyramid Patio Heater, Propane Heater Standing with Wheels and Cover, Quartz Glass Tube Tower Windproof, Large, Adjustable Thermostat, Suitable for Garden Wedding, Party (Pyramid)
  • 【Outdoor Heating】The Pyramid Propane Patio Heater provides you with a steady and comfortable warmth of 48,000 BTU, it only takes a few minutes to warm up quickly, which is a great heating solution for your party in late autumn or winter. Includes Bonus Protective Cover when not in use.
  • 【Warm Range】The latest in design and heat, the Quartz Glass Tube Flame Heater brings style to outdoor heating. Its unique, visually mesmerizing flame provides heat in every direction.Great for Patio, Restaurants, Outdoor gatherings
  • 【Convenient&Safety】Adjustable valve, flexible temperature adjustment as required, With Piezo ignition system, press the button to ignite, no need battery, Safety auto shut-off tilt valve, tip over protection system.
  • 【Safety Protectio】Before leaving the factory, the patio heater has checked the integrity of the parts in the package, the accuracy of all the holes, and the assembly can be completed within 50 minutes by referring to the instructions.
  • 【Gas Tank】Uses standard 20 lb Propane tank that lasts between 8-10 hrs. on High mode. Butane Heat output: 48,000BTU

Patio Heater Buyer’s Guide

After going through our top picks for the best patio heater, you probably have an idea of which heater is the right model for you. In this section, our buyer’s guide brings you everything you need to know about outdoor patio heaters and how to select the model that’s right for your home.

What are the Characteristics of a Good Patio Heater?

So, what constitutes the best patio heater? What features are you looking for when choosing your model? It’s a common mistake for people to select the highest-power model that can find or afford, and finish with the task.

However, there is way much more to your patio heater than its output. Let’s unpack the features and characteristics of the best patio heater.

What are the Types of Patio Heater Available?

Patio heaters come in three different options for your yard or commercial business.

Freestanding Patio Heater

Most freestanding models include the fuel tank in the base to provide stability. The heater sits on top of an extension pole, typically up to 4-feet in height. These heaters are excellent choices for bars, restaurants, and even your home patio.

The freestanding nature of the heater means you can set it up anywhere on the patio. Freestanding models are portable, and propane or natural gas models have the fuel source in the base of the unit. At the top of the heater unit, you’ll find a heat deflector that pushes the heat from the burner out towards you.

Wall-Mounted Patio Heater

If you want an electric model, then investigate a wall-mounted unit. These heaters use infrared heating methods to keep your patio toasty and warm. They aren’t as portable as freestanding heaters, but they don’t take up any floor space on your patio.

If you know you stand around a specific area of your patio, then you don’t need to worry about portability. Fixing a heater to the wall and directing its energy toward your tables or standing areas is all you need to stay warm.

Tabletop Patio Heater

These heaters are compact and portable, making them the ideal units for camping trips. However, they are great for the patio as well. Stand them on the table and let them keep everyone warm.

However, you’re going to have to ensure you don’t have anything on the table, or it will absorb the heat. That’s fine if you’re drinking hot chocolate, but not ideal if you’re enjoying a beer.

These heaters have far less power than freestanding or wall-mounted models. However, they still manage to put out a decent amount of heat, letting you keep your upper body and hands warm.

What Are BTUs, and Why Do They Matter?

When purchasing your patio heater, you need to ensure that it produces enough heat for the application. Trying to heat a large area with an underpowered heater won’t work, and you’ll end up wasting money on energy. It’s the same with a large heater – it’s overkill for the area, and you’ll end up overheating your guests.

Unfortunately, heaters don’t come in convenient S, M, and L sizes. To figure out what size heater you need for your patio, you need to look at the models BTU rating. BTU stands for British Thermal Units, and it’s a measure of the heat required to raise the temperature of 1-lb of water by one degree Fahrenheit.

To match the BTU of the heater to the application, you need to start with measuring your patio. Add a few extra square feet onto your measurements to compensate for changes in wind speeds and weather conditions.

The next task is to understand the temperature change you need to achieve with the heater. Start this calculation by measuring the difference in current temperatures, measured in Fahrenheit, and then your desired patio temperature.

Multiplying these numbers together gives you a result showing you how many BTUs it will take to heat your patio efficiently and effectively.

  • The area in Sq-ft x (current temp in F – desired temp in F) = minimum BTU rating

The heater you’re interested in purchasing will also come with a wattage rating. The wattage method also offers you another means of working out the capacity of the heater you need to warm up your patio.

Take the radius of the patio and multiply that number by 100. That number gives you the wattage you need in your heater.

If you stick to a heater with this minimum wattage, then you should have a robust enough heater for your patio. Always remember to go a little bigger on the BTU or wattage, rather than go under the minimum rating.

What Size Patio Heater Do I Need?

When purchasing your patio heater, there are various models available in a range of sizes, designs, and shapes. The size of your patio heater will also end up affecting its price tag as well. Most freestanding patio heaters will offer users outputs of around 40,000-BTU.

Freestanding heaters will have the highest BTU ratings since they must heat a larger volume of air around your patio due to the height of the stand. It’s for this reason that tabletop heaters come with much lower BTU ratings. Most tabletop heaters feature ratings of between 10,000 to 12,000-BTU.

The issue we have with tabletop heaters is that the heat doesn’t get to your legs. If you put them on the ground, then they don’t have enough power to reach your upper body.

Wall-mounted heaters are your final option. Most of these models are electric units, and they mount into your wall as a permanent fixture. These models don’t have high BTU ratings, and they aren’t nearly as effective as freestanding heaters. Still, they do make a difference, and having a few of these heaters arranged around your patio can create a warming effect that’s pleasing to you and your guests.

Remember to use the measurements we talked about earlier when assessing your patio for a heater. Choosing the wrong size of heater for your patio can create more hassle than it’s worth. The floorspace on your patio is also a critical component to factor into your purchase decision.

Small patios do better with smaller heaters. Tabletop or wall-mounted heaters are the best solutions in this case. These heaters provide the warmth you need, but they’re better for five or six people sitting around the table. Any more than that and you’re going to need a freestanding model.

Wall-mounted heaters allow you to enjoy the entire floorspace of your patio without bumping into your heater. However, these models do tend to dissipate heat easily, and you’ll lose a lot of warmth if you’re in an outdoor location.

Wall-mounted heaters are also a good solution for heating entertainment areas inside the home. The electric operation of these heaters means there’s no dangerous carbon monoxide in the air from burning gas.

How Does a Patio Heater Work?

Patio heaters have the design and construction to heat outdoor areas quickly and keep them warm. Therefore, to ensure the fastest and most effective heating possible, most outdoor heaters run on gas-powered systems.

Whether it’s natgas or propane, the fuel you burn in your heater provides the heat on your patio.

With a gas-powered system, you store the fuel in the base of the heater. Therefore, it’s common for most gas-powered heaters to be freestanding units, and you can move around your patio. The base attaches to a pole that’s around 2 to 4-feet in height, depending on the model and its intended purpose.

On top of the pole, you’ll find the burner. The burner uses a pilot light to light gas released from the storage tank, turning it into energy that heats your patio.

Most freestanding models come with a striker switch. You turn on the gas, click the striker switch, and the heater springs to life. Some models come with output settings, allowing you to choose the heat intensity to match your environment.

Freestanding models are more expensive, but they are convenient and portable.

With electric models, the heater uses large elements that produce heat when an electric current runs through the coils. They aren’t as efficient as propane or gas heaters, but they do give off a reasonable amount of heat. Wall-mounted heaters do better for indoor applications than outdoor use.

Unlike interior heaters used around rooms inside your home, outdoor models don’t feature fans to circulate air. Instead, outdoor models rely on radiant heat to warm the patio area. Most freestanding units will heat the air in a 360-degree range around the heater.

When purchasing your patio heater, look at specifications. The manufacturer will usually specify how far the heat from the unit will extend around it. However, you can also rely on our BTU and wattage measurement methods we described in detail earlier.

After unboxing and assembling your new patio heater, you’re ready to give it a try. Some models might come with fuel tanks, such as propane bottles. Other models may require you to buy this separately. After gassing up your bottle with propane or natural gas, fit it to the machine and make sure the regulator isn’t leaking.

What Kind of Fuel Systems are there for Patio Heaters?

Unless you’re using an electric model, most freestanding patio heaters require you to use propane of natural gas as a power source. Which fuel source suits your patio heater? Let’s review the benefits and advantages of using each fuel source.

Propane Patio Heater

Propane is one of the best choices as a fuel source for your new patio heater. Propane is readily available in every state across the US, and its an affordable fuel source for your patio heater.

Purchase your propane tanks in different sizes to suit your usage. Some heaters come with tanks included. However, if you bought a model that requires you to buy the tank separately, make sure you get a tank that fits in the storage base.

It’s easy to set up your propane heater anywhere, and the tanks are reasonably lightweight to move around, but heavy enough to provide the base of the heater with some weight. Propane heaters also light first-time and feature a striker switch that offers easy ignition of the fuel.

While propane is an affordable form of fuel, it’s not as cheap as natural gas.

Natural Gas Patio Heater

Natgas heaters are the cheapest outdoor patio heaters to run. If you have an existing gas supply in your home, then you can wire your heater into the mainline, and enjoy tankless operation.

Tankless operation is convenient, and you don’t ever have to worry about running out of fuel. However, tankless systems are also less portable, and you won’t be able to move them around.

Electric Patio Heater

If you have a semi-enclosed patio, then you’re going to have to go with an electric model. Propane or natgas-powered heaters will create too many fumes that could damage your health and that of your guests. For super-clean air on your patio, and electric model makes the best sense.

Electric heaters are the most affordable option to run, and they are remarkably energy efficient, especially if you purchase a new model. However, you’ll need to wire this heater into the mains, and that will require the assistance of a professional handyman.

What Clearance Do I Need Around My Patio Heater?

Patio heaters are powerful appliances. You need to respect the amount of heat they can produce, and make sure that you set them up correctly on your patio.

Leaving a freestanding patio heater next to a wall is not only a waste of energy, but it presents a fire hazard as well. If you fail to heed the warning about setting up your gas-powered patio heater indoors, you could end up with a life-threatening case of CO3 poisoning on your hands.

Therefore, you must adhere to the manufacturer’s recommendation on use. Part of the suggestions will include the distancing of the heater from objects. If you have a 40,000-BTU heater, which is common, then you need to keep it at least 30-inches away from the nearest object, such as a wall.

With smaller tabletop heaters, you can reduce the distance to a minimum of 20-inches away from the heater. Always ensure that you keep your heater far away from any flammable items. Avoid placing your heater next to things like thatch-roof gazebos.

The efficient action of the heat deflector on the unit should push the heat down and towards you. Therefore, you might find that the sweet spot for heating is a few feet from the unit, instead of standing close. Experiment with your setup, and make the changes you need to heat your patio effectively.

Patio Heater FAQs

In this section, we’ll answer some frequently asked questions we found while conducting our research on the best patio heater.

Can I use a propane heater in an enclosed area like my garage?

Never, under any circumstances, use a propane heater in an enclosed environment. As the gas burns, it leaves behind deadly carbon monoxide.

CO3 has no smell or taste, and you won’t know you’re breathing it into your lungs, saturating your bloodstream. There’s a good chance you could pass out and never wake up. Rather invest in an electric heater if you need to heat rooms inside your home.

Can I use my patio heater in windy weather?

Yes, you can. If you live in a region of the US that’s windy, consider investing in a pilotless version. Pilotless patio heaters ensure that your heater never goes out. As a result, you don’t need to hit the starter switch because a gust blew out the pilot. However, very windy weather might reduce the efficacy of the heater, limiting the heating area.

What’s the better fuel choice, natural gas, propane, or kerosene?

All these fuels have their benefits. If you’re looking for the most readily available fuels, propane and natural gas are your best options. Check around your ton to locate a propane or Nat gas dealer in your area before you buy your heater.

Kerosene heaters are efficient and powerful, but it’s challenging to find kerosene in many hardware stores, and it’s not as commercially available as propane and Nat gas.

Will my patio heater produce a smell?

Natural gas and propane burn clean, but they do give off a slight odor if your tank or system is leaking. If you notice any gas smells occurring around your patio, shut off the heater and return it to the manufacturer. Most manufacturers offer warranties on heaters, so send it in for repair or replacement.

The Verdict for the Best Patio Heater

By now, you should have a good idea of the best patio heater to suit your yard or business. In case you’re still having some trouble settling on a final choice, why not use our top picks? Our options are all top picks, from reliable manufacturers.

Our top pick, the Golden Flame, is a great choice. It has enough power to cover most patios, and you won’t have to worry about the pilot light blowing out in windy weather.

The Pamapic commercial patio heater is an excellent choice for commercial businesses. This rugged and robust system heats in a 360-degree zone, and it’s the best choice for heating factories, workshops, and restaurants.

If you’re on a budget, then the AmazonBasics model is a great deal, with an affordable price tag and outstanding performance. It’s all you need to keep your patio warm and make your friends feel at home.

Decide on the model that’s right for you. Maybe you prefer an electric model? There’s a heater in this review to suit any climate conditions and living space.

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Robin owns his own Landscape Gardening company based in the UK and has over 10 years professional experience working outdoors, creating beautiful landscapes for his clients in the UK. He is also a keen garden-grower and maintains his own fruit and vegetable gardens. He also has a level 3 Certificate in Practical Horticulture from The Royal Horticultural Society and is currently working on his first book about gardening. Contact him at Robin@gardenbeast.com

1 Comment

  1. It’s great that you mention that I should go with an electric patio heater if I have a semi-enclosed patio because propane or natural gas-powered ones will produce fumes that would be damaging to my health. My husband and I recently had a deck constructed in our home, so we’re looking for an outdoor heater for it. With what you’ve said, I think we’re going to go with electric patio heaters since it’s affordable and the best fit for our patio. Thanks!

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