Best Patio Heaters (Review & Buying Guide) in 2021
Consider these patio heaters to keep you warm and comfortable, even in cold weather.
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BY Zach Faulds / LAST UPDATED ON March 29, 2021
It doesn’t matter if you have a fully furnished patio or just a few lawn chairs on a deck, if it’s not nice and sunny, you’re probably not spending much time outdoors. However, it's nice to have the option to spend more time outside without having to sacrifice the comfort afforded by the indoors. A good way to make more use of your outside space is with a patio heater that will keep you comfortable, regardless of the weather.
We’ve created a list of the top patio heaters you can buy. Some are propane or gas powered, while others are electric. Some put the focus on ease and versatility, while others go out of their way to be more aesthetically pleasing to fit in with your decor. No matter what your outdoor space looks like, these heaters will get the job done and should provide you with year-long warmth. So pick the one that will best fit your needs and decor and throw that outdoor get together without worrying about the weather.
87 inches tall, with a 40,000 BTU output two-piece quartz glass tube heating element. Heater has a lot of function while blending in nicely anywhere.
- Propane tank is hidden inside the base
- Pyramid shape prevents it from tipping over
- Feature an auto shut-off tilt safety valve
- Does not come with any type of warranty
- Inspect for any broken or defective parts upon delivery
This 41,000-BTU patio heater is 30 x 30 x 88 inches and operates using a 20-pound LP gas tank that fits inside the base.
- Comes in two different finishes,
- Takes less than an hour to assemble
- Can be secured to a deck using screws
- Has an automatic shut-off valve
- Can be a little challenging to move around
- If the gas tank is not full, it's less stable and may blow over in gusty wind conditions
This 41,000-BTU patio heater is 87-inches tall and operates on propane or butane gas. It's constructed of stainless steel and hammered iron.
- Heater is easy to assemble
- Comes with a round table for beverages
- Base can be filled with sand or water for added stability
- Drinks table isn't the best quality and can be challenging to level
- Instructions are not very good
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Our reviews are driven by a combination of hands-on testing, expert input, “wisdom of the crowd” assessments from actual buyers, and our own expertise. We always aim to offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.
Benefits of Patio Heater
- Warmth. Perhaps the most obvious benefit of patio heaters is that they will keep you warm outdoors throughout the winter season, allowing you to eat dinner, entertain guests, and enjoy your patio year-round.
- Safety. Patio heaters are generally safe to use because they do not produce an open flame and the base remains cool to the touch. Most models feature safety tilt valves that will shut the unit off if the heater is tipped over while in use.
- Cost-effective. Most patio heaters are available to purchase at an affordable price. Whether you choose propane, natural gas, or an electric option, all three types will use very little energy consumption when compared to the amount of heat they will emit.
Types of Patio Heaters
Propane patio heaters use a liquid propane tank as their main fuel source. This type of patio heater requires very little maintenance or time to set up. Once the heater is set up, simply attach a propane tank to the unit, check for any leaks, and turn it on. Many models store the propane tank inside the base of the heater, conveniently hiding it from plain sight and allowing you to move the heater easily.
Natural gas patio heaters are connected to a permanent gas line on your property. The biggest upside of this type of patio heater is that you never have to worry about them running out of gas. Natural gas heaters are more cost-effective than propane heaters over time, but if you do not have a natural gas line then you will need to have one installed to use this type.
Electric patio heaters are the most environmentally-friendly type of patio heater. Electric heaters can be used indoors or outdoors, and are available as freestanding or mountable styles. Some electric patio heaters can be plugged directly into a standard 120-volt wall socket. Other electric patio heaters require higher voltage, and the wiring will need to be professionally installed on your outdoor space.
AZ Patio Heaters
Established in 2002, AZ Patio Heaters specialize in the production of patio heaters, which are distributed throughout the United States to several major retailers. In addition to patio heaters, the company manufactures patio heater covers, patio heater parts, fire pits, patio furniture, and more.
Fire Sense is a trusted brand of Well Traveled Living, which was established in 1998. All Fire Sense products are designed in the United States and manufactured around the globe. They all come with a one-year guarantee and warranty or replacement parts available for same-day shipment. In addition to patio heaters, the company also produces fire pits, grills, outdoor furniture, and more.
Founded in 1957 and based in Cleveland, Ohio, Mr. Heater has been an innovator in infrared combustion technology for more than 60 years. The company specializes in consumer heating products as well as heavy-duty commercial and construction heating products. In addition to patio heaters, Mr. Heater makes burners, fans, camping accessories, and more.
Patio Heater Pricing
- Under $200: Patio heaters in this price range provide excellent value. While these heaters are high quality, if you are looking for an extremely durable option or one to heat a large outdoor space, you may want to consider another option.
- $200-$400: This is the most common price range for patio heaters. These patio heaters can be of the electric, natural gas, or propane variety. Make sure that they will cover your patio space before purchasing.
- $400 and up: This is the premium price point for patio heaters. Heaters in this range are typical of extremely high quality and a fashionable option for your patio or outdoor space.
Freestanding patio heaters can be found in a variety of different heights and heating powers. They are typically a gas-powered option, although some are available in electric as well. They are extremely portable and can be used in a variety of outdoor patios and outdoor spaces. The propane tank can be hidden in the base of freestanding patio heaters.
Mounted patio heaters can usually be mounted to either the wall or hung from the ceiling. This is a great space-saving option and is extremely easy to operate. Mounted patio heaters come in a variety of different shapes, sizes, and heating powers. They can be found in both gas-powered and electric-powered options.
Tabletop patio heaters are typically the smallest of the patio heaters and usually emit lower amounts of heat. These heaters are available as electric-powered and gas-powered options. Depending on the model, they make a great fashionable option, and can easily be placed on your outdoor dining table or outdoor coffee table. They are typically equipped with a safety tilt switch to automatically shut off in case they are tipped over.
- BTUs. British Thermal Units, also referred to as BTUs, measure the amount of heat your product will provide. In general, the higher the number of BTUs, the larger the heat radius your patio heater will cover. Although each model varies in actual heating power, the general formula that can be used is: cubic feet of your area x desired temperature rise = BTUs needed to heat your area.
- Maintenance. Another important consideration is the maintenance required for your patio heater. Most patio heaters can be installed very easily and are built to last. If you purchase a propane patio heater, you will need to occasionally switch out the propane tank, but little other maintenance is required. Several other safety features, such as automatic shut-off valves, make most patio heaters efficient products.
- Warranty. The type of warranty and length of warranty are important considerations when purchasing your patio heater. The most reputable companies typically offer some type of warranty with each purchase. Some will even offer a lifetime guarantee that covers any issues or manufacturing defects for the length of your patio heater.
Best Patio Heaters Reviews & Recommendations 2021
- If you are worried about the safety of your patio heater, make sure it features an anti-tilt design or even a safety switch that will shut off the heater if it is tipped over.
- Look for a CSA safety rating to be included with your patio heater, which means that it has been tested, approved, and is safe to use in North America.
- Make sure to not place your patio heater near any furniture or other flammable material where it could become a fire hazard.
- If you are using a propane or natural gas patio heater, make sure to check the line for leaks before using and turning it on each time.
- If your patio heater runs on a propane tank, it is always a good idea to keep a spare tank on hand in case it runs out while in use. Make sure to store your spare tank in a safe space.
Q: Which patio heater is the best?
Our best overall patio heater is the Hiland Bronze Glass Tube Patio Heater, but there are several other high-quality options available. Make sure to read our reviews to determine if another option is the best fit for your needs.
Q: Do outdoor patio heaters really work?
Yes, patio heaters are very high quality and can work extremely well depending on the model purchased and the shape and size of your patio space. Make sure to determine the square footage of your space, so that you know the amount of BTUs that should be included in your patio heater to properly heat your space.
Q: Can you use a patio heater under a covered patio?
Yes, most modern patio heaters can be used under a covered patio. It is mostly a misconception that patio heaters can only be used in open-air spaces, but make sure to consult with the manufacturer or instruction manual before using under a covered patio.
Q: How long does a patio heater tank last?
Although each model varies, a typical 20-pound propane tank, which holds about 4.7 gallons of fuel, will last about ten hours under normal usage. Make sure to keep a spare propane tank on hand in case your tank runs out.
For a high-quality patio heater, consider the Hiland Bronze Glass Tube Patio Heater, featuring a 40,000 BTU output, or the FDW Outdoor Patio Heater, which is a more affordable option. Drop us a comment and let us know what your favorite patio heater is and what you love about it.