There’s no need to end the party early just because of night falls and the temperature drops. Instead, you simply need a great patio heater. These kinds of heaters are popular choices for bars, restaurants, workplaces, and homes as they allow outdoor spaces to remain heated even if the weather’s undesirable.
There are plenty of different patio heaters for you to choose from including floor standing, tabletop, and wall-mounted heaters.
With such a wide variety of patio heaters to choose from, it’s not surprising that looking for the best patio heaters seems like a daunting task. Check out these patio heater reviews to find some of the best outdoor heater models on the market today. If you’re still struggling to make up your mind about which heater you need, you could also refer to our buying guide, where you’ll find all kinds of useful information to help you make the best decision.
Why Buy an Outdoor Patio Heater?
A patio heater is a great idea for anyone who wants to heat an outdoor area. Whether you own a business such as a bar or a restaurant with outdoor socializing space, or if you want to entertain guests on cooler summer evenings at home, you could certainly benefit from a patio heater.
These heaters offer a wide choice of power options. Therefore, if you don’t have an electrical outlet in your patio area, you will still be able to use a patio heater. Because they are free from electricity requirements, they are also portable. As a result, you can move them out of the way to make more room on your patio when you’re not using the heater. Also, you could simply move the heater out of the way when you are cleaning.
As well as offering different fuel options and portability, patio heaters are available in all kinds of different shapes sizes and power outputs. You could mount the heater to a wall for maximum safety, sit a heater on the top of a table for convenience and comfort or you could choose a freestanding heater when you want to add plenty of heat to an open patio space. Whatever your needs are, you are sure to find the right patio heater for your requirements.
Where Can Patio Heaters Be Used?
Can I use the patio heater on my enclosed patio?
You will be able to use a patio heater in an enclosed patio area, however, you should choose the right one for an enclosed space. It is very dangerous to use a natural gas or propane patio heater in an enclosed space, so you should avoid these fuel types for your heater. You can purchase electric patio heaters, which would be more suitable for indoor use. Ultimately, however, you should always check before you buy your patio heater to ensure that it will be safe to use indoors. Not many patio heaters are intended for indoor use, but the ones that are will usually have a much lower BTU or power value than the ones that are to be used in open spaces only.
Can I use the patio heater on grass, or does it have to be on concrete?
It would not be a good idea to use a patio heater on grass, as the ground is not level. Patio heaters need to be on a flat and solid surface so that they are as safe as possible. If you install your patio heater on grass, it will be more likely to be tipped over. If it’s on grass, the heater may even sense that it is not fully upright and this could activate the anti-tip over safety switch. You should always install your patio heater on a solid and flat surface to ensure that it will perform properly.
Best Outdoor Patio Heaters Comparison Chart
AZ Patio Heaters Patio Heater
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Hiland HLDS01-SSHGT Patio Heater with Wheels and Table
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PAMAPIC Commercial Patio Heater
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FDW Outdoor Patio Heater
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PAMAPIC Patio Heater
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XtremepowerUS 96053 Propane Gas Outdoor Patio Heater
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Thermo Tiki Outdoor Patio Heater
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Best Outdoor Patio Heaters – (Newest Models)
1. AZ Patio Heaters Patio Heater
This patio heater is the perfect addition to your patio if you want to keep warm when the weather is chilly. Not only that it is practical, but it will soon become a part of your outdoor environment, making your days/nights out more enjoyable. This is a CSA approved heater, providing ease of mobility and movement thanks to the wheels. Hence, even though it weighs 65.2 pounds, you won’t find it that difficult to move it around in your patio depending on where you want to keep it.
Moving on to the type of gas compatible with this heater, you should use propane. The heat output is of 40,000 BTUs, which makes it a capable unit. In other words, this means it can work for approximately 10 hours in a row if you’re using a propane tank of 20 lb.
In addition to that, even if the heater doesn’t hide the combustion flame, the tower is made from heat-resistant material, featuring an additional foundation of bronze. Thanks to the glass case, you get to enjoy a romantic, beautiful night lighting whenever you use the heater. There is a safety feature that provides peace of mind – namely the auto shut off tilt valve.
2. Hiland HLDS01-SSHGT Patio Heater with Wheels and Table
Besides the significant heat output, you also get a few more perks with the Hiland patio heater. Roll it around on its solid wheels, so everyone at the outside porch party gets warm. Better yet, keep it only where you are because the others will gather around soon.
Use it as a conversation topic by showing off the bronze powder and stainless-steel elegant finish it has while placing your cup of rum tea on the built-in table it offers. Of course, if you are very tall, you can also adjust the table height.
When fully assembled, approximately 87″ tall and uses a five gal tank. You shouldn’t have to stabilize it additionally because its weight is good enough to withstand strong wind, even without a tank in it.
Make sure to use it in a well-ventilated space, like an outdoor area, because propane creates carbon monoxide when burned.
- Big heat output
- Adjustable table
- Risky logistics
3. PAMAPIC Commercial Patio Heater
The next patio heater we will review here comes in an impressive and practical design. The tank chamber can be easily accessed thanks to the little door. It is located in the widened bottom part of the unit. You will need to purchase the tank yourself as it is not included in the product. The tank you will need weighs a maximum weight of 20lb. The unit is highly efficient for the area it is constructed to heat. It covers up to 18 feet in diameter, and its power limit is 46,000 BTU. It will work hard to keep the warmth running and stable.
A great addition to the unit is the water vapor that will ensure that the air on your patio is not too dry. You don’t need to worry about the materials of this product. The burners are made from stainless steel to provide the heater with durability. You must know that the product is slightly tippy, and the top part specifically could be wobbly. However, you can rest assured that you and your patio will be protected – the heater is programmed to shut off automatically if it tips over. The product includes a patio cover as well for heater storage.
4. FDW Outdoor Patio Heater
Indeed, the most impressive feature of this heater is that it provides a heat output of 45,000 BTUs, which in other words means that it can make your patio hot in the blink of an eye. The manufacturers advise you to adjust the heater to work at its high level initially, but when the desired area is warm, turn the heat down. Keep in mind that one propane tank will be enough for several weeks. Thanks to its power of heating, you can use this device when it gets cold at night or also during the day in fall and winter.
Don’t worry that if it is windy, the heater may fall. First of all, its tank weighs 20 lbs, which is enough to keep it stable. Also, you can secure the base of the heater to your patio deck by using screws. Another useful feature of this product is that its special auto shut-off valve will get activated whenever it runs out of gas and will turn the device off.
Please, make sure that you put your heater in an open area. Due to its height and the amount of heat that it sends out, it is dangerous to use it in covered areas. Yet another thing you would probably want to know is if the base of the device gets hot. Well, it doesn’t, so you can place it on artificial turf, for example.
5. PAMAPIC Patio Heater
This product is among the best-sellers of its kind because of four of its characteristics – the material it is made of, its ignition system, its design, and safety features. Like most of the other similar devices, this one also has stainless steel burners. What makes it unique, though, is that it is also equipped with a double-mantling heating grid, making it more durable. In addition to this, its flame tube is made of sturdy glass to rest assured that you will be safe staying near the device. We can undoubtedly say that PAMAPIC has thought about everything, even the smallest details – they have created a double insulated cover for this heater, which is waterproof and can resist all types of weather conditions.
As far as its ignition system is concerned, it has a regulator and a thermocouple to control the power of heat. You will see for yourself that the system is easy to use. Thanks to it, you can have steady warmth of 42,000 BTUs. There are several settings and a control valve so that you can adjust the heat.
Talking about this heater’s design, we should mention that it has wheels so you can move it around the area. It is advisable to move it only after it has cooled off. What is more, you can easily reach the tank chamber through its door. Last but not least, this device features triple safety protection. Thanks to its safety valve, the heater turns off automatically if it is tilted to any of the sides.
6. XtremepowerUS 96053 Propane Gas Outdoor Patio Heater
Using a standard 20lb propane tank, like the one you would use for your grill, you can warm up everyone on your 12×12 sizes patio with this outdoor patio heater. It is 84 inches tall; its base unit is 28 inches, and it has an impressive heat output of 48,000 BTUs.
Ask a skinny cousin to roll it around on its wheels and share the warmth all over the outdoors of your property. Don’t worry. It won’t be a challenge because it is relatively light weighted. The material is stainless steel, and it has a lovely bronze finish, so it should match perfectly almost anywhere. Ignition is very simply solutioned with a piezo system.
When it is delivered, before you start assembling it, make sure to check all the modules because its form and size are susceptible to damage during logistics.
- Big heat output
- Wide heat range
- Risky logistics
- Ignition challenges
7. Thermo Tiki Outdoor Patio Heater
If you live in an area with extreme weather conditions, this is the right heater for you. Thanks to the materials it is made of – high-quality steel and aluminum, it is rust and corrosion-resistant. Unlike other similar heaters, this one is not that powerful – usually, it provides around 38,000 BTUs. However, if you adjust it to work at its maximum capacity, it can reach 45,000 BTUs.
Like other products of its kind, this device also has wheels so that you can quickly move it around, and it is also equipped with a door through which you can reach the tank whenever you need to change it. To ignite the heater, you need to press a button. For further controlling it, there is a knob with which you can adjust the temperature and the height of the flame.
All the accessories necessary for using the heater come with it – propane gas regulator, a flexible hose that is pre-attached, and a ceramic glass heating element. The only thing you need to purchase separately is the propane tank itself. Assembling the unit takes only around 30 minutes if you follow the given instructions.
You shouldn’t worry about your safety while using this product as it meets all ANSI, CSA, and CE standards. In case the heater gets tilted, it shuts off automatically thanks to its safety valve. In addition to this, it has a protective mesh that is situated around the ceramic-glass column. Moreover, this device features a pilot light when you turn it on or off.
8. Star Patio Parasol Electric Patio Heater
The next patio heater on our list will surprise you as to how easy it will be for you to use it. First, you will find the installation of the unit safe and clear. The unit is versatile and can be mounted on a traditional umbrella or parasol without the use of any hardware. You only need to make sure that the heating tubes are facing downwards and the arms are fully extended. When the heater is not being used, you only need to fold them.
Remember that this heater is designed as a supplementary device, and it can cover only up to 12 square feet. However, you have the option to choose from 3 different power settings that span from 500 to 1500-watt energy. You can rest assured that the heater is safe to use on the patio. Not only that it is water and dust-proof, but it will also switch off automatically in the case of a tip over. A good trait of the heater is that it will not harm the environment. No odors or chemicals are emitted while it is running. In the case that you are not satisfied with the product in some way, you can contact the manufacturer in regards to the 1-year warranty.
9. Golden Flame Patio Heater
Unlike similar patio heaters, this Golden Flame 46,000 BTU *XL-Series* Matte-Mocha Patio Heater has a pilotless burning system. Whilst many other similarly designed heaters have a pilot flame that burns constantly to make operating the heater as fast as possible, this one does not waste fuel. The other great benefit of having a pilotless burning system is that you don’t need to worry about the flame being blown out by the wind. If you need to rely on a pilot light, you can often find that you’re left without a heater when the flame is blown out.
If the weather is particularly windy, you don’t need to worry about the safety of this heater. The base is designed so that is can be filled with sand so that you can add 30lb weight. This ensures that it will not tip over easily. Even with the extra measures to make sure that this heater won’t tip over, it has an inbuilt tilt switch. If the heater senses that it has been knocked over, it will turn itself off automatically.
The 46,000 BTU output of this heater ensures that you can enjoy one of the warmest heaters around. The reflector hood takes this heat output and ensures that it is dispersed as widely as possible out into your patio.
Buying Guide: How to Buy a Patio Heater
Types of Patio Heaters
Freestanding Patio Heaters
A free-standing patio heater is perfect if you want to have heating but not necessarily any tables. They are popular choices in bars and restaurant patio areas. As they are freestanding, they can be set up absolutely anywhere on a patio and they do not need electricity, usually, they use fuel. They have a base, a pole, a heat generator, and a reflector to distribute the heat. The fuel can often be stored in the base.
Wall Mounted Patio Heaters
If you want an outdoor heater that is out of the way and safe, you could choose a wall-mounted heater. These are usually electric and use infrared heating methods to keep people warm that are standing nearby. They are mounted high up on the wall and are on brackets so that you can adjust the angle of the heat.
Table Top Patio Heaters
As their name suggests, these heaters are ones that simply stand on your tabletop. If you have a patio table that you and your guests are going to be sitting around, this is a great idea, as you’ll get 360-degree heat from the heater so that everyone is warmed. They tend to have a lower power output than freestanding patio heaters however as they are designed to be closer to the area that they need to warm up.
You should decide which patio heater types will work best for you.
Patio Heater Sizes
You can find a great variety of patio heaters out there that come in a range of designs, shapes, and sizes. The size of the patio heater often affects the price, though. Therefore if you have a larger budget, you’ll be more likely to afford a larger patio heater.
The most common size of a patio heater is the freestanding heater. These tend to offer around 40,000 BTU of heat output. This is necessary for freestanding heaters, as more heat is needed to effectively heat up a larger area around it.
Tabletop heaters do not need to be quite so powerful. You will find that most tabletop models offer a heat output of around 12,000 BTU. This is because they only need to heat a nearby area so 12,000 BTU is usually sufficient for this.
Wall heaters are the least powerful types of patio heaters and they are also usually the smallest kind too. They have an output of around 3000 BTU, but for outdoor areas in bars and restaurants, there are some more industrial wall heaters that are capable of outputting far more heat than this.
Difference Between Large Single Dome and Triple Dome Patio Heaters
You may have seen freestanding patio heaters that have just one dome at the top, whilst other models have 3 domes stacked on top of one another.
The single dome heaters are generally far cheaper than the triple dome heater, but they are not as powerful.
Triple dome heaters are designed to reflect the heat from the heater in 3 different directions rather than just one. Single dome heaters, on the other hand, can only reflect the heat downwards to an immediate area below the heater. This means that the triple dome heaters have a far larger range in comparison to the single dome heaters and those who want to heat a larger area of their garden prefer them.
You will need to have a larger budget for triple dome heaters if this is what you feel that your patio needs.
What Size of an Outdoor Heater Do I Need?
When you are purchasing a patio heater, you will need to ensure that you choose the best outdoor heater for your needs. You should measure the patio space and read the product description carefully. That way that you can be certain that the heater that you choose will be right for your needs.
If you are going to be using the patio heater in an area where you already have a large patio table. These are medium-sized heaters that sit on your tabletop. They usually have a medium heat output rating of around 12,000 BTU and will heat a small radius to warm up the area directly around it. The heat is usually given off in a circular direction. Thus, it won’t matter where you position yourself, just so long as you are close enough to the heater.
If you don’t have any tables or if you would like the freedom of being able to stand and socialize on the patio with a heater nearby, you should consider a freestanding patio heater. These are available in a variety of styles and sizes, so you should think about the area that you need to heat. Some bars and restaurants have several of these freestanding heaters so that a larger patio area may be heated. If you only have a small patio area, you may be ok with a single dome heater. If you have a larger patio, you should look out for heaters with higher heat output settings and triple domes. This will ensure that a larger area can be heated on your patio.
For direct heating, you could purchase a wall-mounted heater. These are space-saving options that allow you to safely mount the heater to the wall and direct the heat downwards. You would need to stand in the direct path of the heat stream in order to enjoy the maximum benefits from this kind of heater.
How Many BTUs or Watts Do I Need?
When you purchase a heater for your patio, you will need to ensure that it will be sufficient for its purpose. If you buy a heater that is inadequate, it will simply be a waste of money, as it will never heat up the area enough.
In order to work out how many BTU you need, you will first need to measure the area of the space that you wish to heat. You will need to know how many square feet of patio you will need to heat. One should overestimate this as the BTU given by a manufacturer is usually only under ideal conditions.
You can work out the square feet of your patio by multiplying the number of feet long by the number of feet wide.
Next, you will need to know how much of a temperature difference you want from the heater. Calculate the difference between the current temperatures in Fahrenheit with the desired temperature in Fahrenheit.
Multiplying these two numbers together will give you the result for the number of BTUs that you will need:
The area in Square Feet x (current temp in F – desired temp) = minimum BTU
The number of watts that you will need to heat up your patio area is a little easier. Simply take the radius in feet of the heat that you wish the heater to produce and multiply this number by 100. As long as you have this high wattage or more, you will have enough power to heat the area that you need to. Again, you should probably choose a heater that offers more watts than is needed to ensure that you will definitely have enough heat.
How Do Patio Heaters Work?
A patio heater is designed to heat up a large area quickly and in order to do this, they need to either burn a fuel such as gas or propane or they heat an element up by converting electricity into heat. The heat that is generated is then emitted out into the surrounding area. Patio heaters use radiant heat rather than fan-assisted heat, which is what you’d usually find with indoor heaters.
A standard patio heater will heat up the air in all directions. When you purchase the patio heater, it will usually tell you how far the radius of the heat will be, as well as the heat output in either BTU or watts.
It is necessary to position the heater in an area where it will provide the most usefulness. There is no point in positioning a freestanding heater near a wall for example if you have room in the center of your patio.
Most patio heaters are designed to work outdoors, but if you want to heat an enclosed patio space or a patio that has a roof or awning, you should look out for heaters that are suitable for indoor or outdoor use. Many walls mounted patio heaters are powered using electricity and these are top-rated space heaters if you want to keep the air free from harmful gasses.
What Fuel Should I Use?
Patio heaters usually use propane, natural gas, or electric to generate heat. There are different benefits to using each of these fuel types.
Propane Patio Heaters
This fuel is easy to use and is ultra-mobile. You can purchase tanks of propane in various sizes to suit low usage or high usage and the tanks can be moved around relatively easily. Heaters that are fuelled with propane can be set up anywhere and they require no special installation. Another great benefit of these heaters is that the propane tank can often be concealed in the base of the patio heater. One of the main setbacks about this type of fuel is that it is the most expensive fuel. Lighting a propane patio heater is also a piece of cake.
Natural Gas Patio Heaters
These heaters are usually the cheapest to run. Although you can have a constant supply of natural gas, you will need to have the heater plumbed into your existing gas supply and this limits the portability of these heaters.
Electric Patio Heaters
If you want to have really clean air on your patio, you should choose an electric patio heater. These heaters are efficient and reasonably priced to run, but you will probably need them to be installed by a professional and you won’t be able to move them around easily as they are reliant on having an electric supply.
Patio Heaters Safety and Tips
- You should always install the patio heater on a flat and level surface with plenty of clearance around it.
- Make sure that you store any spare fuel for the heater safely. Patio heater fuel can become flammable under certain conditions, so you should keep it away from your home in a cool and dark area. You can sometimes keep fuel tanks at the base of freestanding heaters and this will provide weight to the base for added safety.
- You should remember to turn the heater off when you are not using it so that you don’t waste energy and so that there is no risk of fire. Even though the heater is outside, there can still be a fire risk with these kinds of heaters.
- You should choose a heater with a safety tilt switch. This is especially important if you have a floor or table standing patio heater.
- Never use a patio that is designed for outdoor use indoors. This can be very dangerous. If you want a patio heater that is suitable for an indoor area, you should purchase one that is sold for this specific purpose.
- If you want a heater that will be completely safe, you should choose an electric wall mounted heater. These heaters can’t be tipped over and they don’t contain any fuels that produce harmful gasses when they burn.
- Always supervise children around patio heaters. These heaters are very powerful and they can become very hot. Many patio heaters can become hot to the touch, whilst others can become very dangerous if they are tipped over. You should also ensure that pets are kept away from the patio heater especially when it is in use.
- You should never place anything on the heater. Do not be tempted to dry clothes, for example, using the heat from the patio heater. Clothing can catch fire easily, especially with the heat of a patio heater.
- Do some troubleshooting on your patio heater every now and then.
How Much Does It Cost to Operate a Patio Heater?
The initial cost that you’ll have to consider is the cost of actually buying the heater in the first place. These patio heaters are not as stylish as fire pits for wood decks. You’ll find heaters that are available to suit most budgets, but not all of these will be suitable for your needs. You should try to have as realistic a budget as possible, and remember that you really do get what you pay for! You can check for an outdoor fire pit for a more stylish look as an alternative.
The next thing that you will need to pay for is the fuel for your heater. Natural gas heaters use your home’s gas supply, so you don’t need to worry about purchasing any fuel especially and you will only need to pay for what you will use. The same can be said for electric heaters. Propane patio heaters, on the other hand, need you to purchase tanks of propane and depending on how often you use the heater. You can be sure that propane patio heaters are safe as long as you take all the needed precautions.
It is estimated that a 40,000 BTU heater will use around $0.50 an hour in natural gas. In comparison, a 40,000 BTU Propane patio heaters will cost around $1.70 per hour to run. A 4,000-watt electric heater, which is equivalent to the output of a 40,000 BTU heater will cost $1.40 to run. As you can see, it is cheaper to use a natural gas patio heater.
What Is The Required Clearance Around My Patio Heater?
Patio heaters output a large amount of heat. If you obstruct the heater, or if you stand too close to it, this could be dangerous and could potentially start a fire, or result in toxic gasses in the air to be harmful to people who are too close.
You should ensure that you read your instruction manual carefully before you choose a place for your heater to go so that you do not end up obstructing it. You will need to remember to leave clearance at the top of the heater as well as around the sides. If you are using an awning above your heater, you will need to ensure that there is enough space above it for safety.
You will need to ensure that you give a heater of 35,000 to 50,000 BTUs around 30 inches of clearance around the top of the heater as well as the reflector and emitter. You should also keep things away from the heater if they are flammable. Smaller patio heaters require around 24 inches of clearance.
There should be plenty of heat that is emitted from the heater to allow you to stand a little distance away from the actual heater itself so that you can be as safe as possible whilst the heater is in operation.
1. Can I use a propane patio heater in my garage?
Do not use a propane patio heater in a closed space such as a garage! Basically, these heaters have been created to be used outdoors, and should only be used as such. These appliances give away carbon monoxide gas which could be very harmful and lead to poisoning, even death in the worst-case scenario. When there’s not enough ventilation, you will end up in a tough spot, so do not put them in use inside a garage. Only use them outdoors. Instead, consider getting a top-quality garage heater.
2. Do propane heaters give off carbon monoxide?
Propane heaters can indeed give off carbon monoxide gas if the combustion is not completed. Usually, these heaters use a flame in order to help the heating process. Whether or not carbon monoxide is being released can easily be seen through the color of the flame. Gas flames should usually be blue. When they have different color like red or yellow, then it means the combustion is incomplete. Therefore, the appliance is giving off carbon monoxide. It can be really dangerous to inhale this gas as it could lead to intoxication and go as far as to kill someone.
3. What’s better – propane or kerosene heater?
Both kerosene and propane heaters will do a good job when it comes to providing heat. Kerosene has a strong burn, meaning that the amount of heat it will produce for your house will be enough to not allow you to freeze during a harsh winter. However, kerosene has to be purchased from either camping stores or home improvement stores. They are also found at gas stations, though. This is not always a good and accessible option for everyone, depending on where they live. The reason is kerosene pumps may not be available in their area.
Therefore, propane heaters are better as propane tanks can be bought much easier, thus giving you an immediate advantage. Not to mention that propane burns much cleaner, making it a better option overall. The price advantage is to be considered too since propane is much cheaper while being more effective.
4. Do propane heaters smell?
Propane can really give off an unpleasant smell in some situations, a smell that will be hard to handle. Usually, it could mean there’s a propane leak somewhere. In that case, you need to get the appliance checked to ensure safety. In other cases, you can feel a gassy smell, which again can be from a gas leak. It is better to avoid lights, sparks, or anything of the sort in this situation. Get away from the house and contact the authorities. It could be very dangerous to stay near the gas source.
When you need to add some heat to your patio, you’ll find no end of options. As you can tell from these patio heater reviews, there are some great looking freestanding, tabletop and wall-mounted heaters to choose from in a variety of styles to suit your tastes.
Many people find that safety is a big factor when they are thinking of the kind of heater that would be right for their patio. In our helpful buying guide, we hope that you have found some great tips for choosing the safest and best patio heaters for your home or business.
Whether you want to heat a large area, or if you simply want to add heat to a smaller space and save some money, you are sure to find the right heater for you. The best part is that no matter what you choose, most heaters look stunning and will not only add warmth and functionality to your patio, but you can also enjoy a more stylish looking patio too.