With house heating costs on the rise, being able to afford central room heating is not for everyone. A patio heater is a nifty device to keep you, your feet and your closed ones warm enough that you can sit down and have a great time. When not used on patio floors, you can take them into your small bedroom and use it over there as well.
Patio heaters are available in great different models and types. While you can find the propane gas-based patio heaters to be budget-friendly and also portable in nature, free-standing ones are more mobile in nature.
With fuel- With battery-With electricity, there are so many options available that you cannot simply zero down on an option to call it the Best Patio Heater. You have to check for certain features and these form the key factors in deciding if it is a good pick or not. The following are the three important factors to consider.
The first thing that you need to consider is the power source that the heater is using. Propane gas-based models are very popular and also highly economic too but with the advent of technology, people prefer battery-based or electricity-based models more and more.
The range until where the heater can provide heat is also a very important factor to consider. Generally, try picking a model that can provide heat up to about 20 feet of distance. But again, too long would also be not so ideal as longer-range models will cause discomfort in the shorter range.
40,000 BTU’s per hour is a great number and should be a choice for most of your picks but if you live in extremely cold areas, higher capacity are also great picks. Lower if you are living near to the equator or south.
Apart from these factors, there are a bunch of other factors that you need to take into consideration with regards to the safety, model type, warranty and much more. We have covered all of those and a few more in the “Buying Guide” section of the article. Be sure to read that as well.
Now without any further ado, let us jump in and review the best Patio Heaters available to buy online.
Best Patio Heaters In 2020
9 Best Patio Heaters In 2020 Reviews
First on our list is one of the highest selling and a very trusted patio heater directly from the house of Amazon. The AmazonBasics Commercial outdoor patio heater is a propane gas based heater that can be moved about on wheels.
- Optimal 46,000 BTU heat output that is best suited for large patios too
- Comes with a 20 pounds large propane tank and on full scakle, it gives about 9 hours of performance thus is great for over night chill out parties too.
- Can emit heat about in a diameter of up to 18 feet with optimal warmth and not too hot.
- Completely safe piezo ignition function
- Temperature control knob available in it
- Features Automatic disable function in the absence of flame
- Empty lower block of the heater lets you fill it with either water or sand and thus increase standing stability against strong winds
- Has a set of tiny wheels under it that make it easy to move around from place to place
Warranty: Amazon Basics provides a limited 1 year manufacturer’s warranty only within the United States
- Highly rated and reviewed
- Small and mobile
- Comes in 8 different colors to choose from
- None too specific to mention
Next on our list is also a table side portable propane gas fuelled patio heater from Belleze. The Belleze patio heater has a slightly higher BTU output hear capacity than the Amazon Basics model.
- Comfortable and decent enough 48,000 BTU output heat fuelled by Propane Gas.
- Can distribute heat upto a distance of 15 feet in diameter (175 square feet of coverage area in general)
- Can store enough fuel to keep the patio heater running for about 10 whole hours. Great for night long usage.
- Built on highly durable and good quality stainless steel material. The outer surface is powder coated and thus this is both sturdy for outdoor use and safe from rusting or tear too.
- Single button functionality for power on and off.
- Anti tilt shut off function as a built in safety measure. If the patio heater tilts to more than 30° and is about to fall down, the anti tilt kicks in and the heater shuts off to prevent any damage and hazards
- Has two tiny rolling wheels at the bottom for easier portability.
- Has a very tiny table around its central step for placing tiny essentials too and the bottom has an empty box like shape to be filled with sand or water for greater stability.
Warranty: 90 days of seller warranty from the date of purchase
- Tiny yet highly durable built patio heater
- Easy and mobile in usage
- Available in 7 different colours (a few are with the table and a few are without the table)
- Comes with only 90 days of warranty (that too seller’s and not manufacturer’s)
The FDW outdoor patio heater is a very high and tall standing patio heater with a hammered finish and runs on propane fuel. This one is built on good steel quality and comes with accessories as well.
- Comes in with a large 47,000 BTU heat output capacity and has a great warmth feeling if you sit besides it.
- Easy to assemble, the unit comes with a self assembly manual that lets you set up the device in just minutes with all the bolts assembled.
- Can provide great warmth to a radius of about 5 feet that makes it about 10 feet in diameter.
- The device makes use of a 20 lb gas tank which can be placed at the bottom and it also acts as a stability agent as well (preventing the heater from toppling over). The base nailing option lets you place down the heater using a screw or a nail for more stability too.
- At its full, the heater can deliver a total of 8 to 10 hours of heat. Economic usage can increase this window.
- Made out of high quality stainless steel material and rust resistant powder coating too. The reflector is also of great quality and radiates heat in all directions equally.
- It also has a temperature regulatory gas control knob to the side as well.
- The anti tilt function will detect if the device is tilted in any way and is about to fall down. In such a case, the heater shuts down automatically to prevent any hazards.
- Comes with tiny wheels that can be used to move about the heater from one place to another
Warranty: Comes with a 90 days manufacturer’s warranty from the date of purchase
- High quality build and large delivery heater
- Great style statement with simple set up
- Available in 2 colors, mocha and brown
- 90 days of seller warranty
While the Pamapic patio heater might look almost similar to most of the patio heaters in the list, it has a slightly more and better stability thanks to its widened bottom and it also comes with a top cover as a sheath
- 88 inches tall and Efficient in heating, the patio heater comes with a 46,000 BTU thermal output capacity
- Can warm up anything within a large 18 feet diameter distance
- Water vapour addition to the device tries to maintain a certain humidity around the room and thus save you from all the over dry air
- Comes with a 20 pound tank capacity and can work for a full 8 to 10 hours of duration
- Comes with a Patio cover that can easily zip up the heater for storage and zip open for usage.
- Comes with tiny wheels for easier transportation from one place to another thus offering great mobility
- Includes a tilt prevent feature which will detect if the heater is falling down or tilted due to wind and automatically shuts off the device to prevent any hazards.
- Made out of double mantle heating grid and has stainless steel burners for higher durability
- Uses highly reliable pulse ignition and 32 inches large dome for optimal heat distribution
Warranty: No mention of warranty anywhere in the product literature
- Highly rated and reviewed with almost very little negative feedback
- Large and wide bottom gives better stability
- Great waterproof pouch for storage
- Durable build
- Though rated best, does not have any warranty to it
The Hiland patio heater has a different and an unconventional design that most of the patio heaters in the list. With a hip cut and crown, the Hiland HLDS01- GTHG- A has a cone style design with a heavy bottom and a narrow top and ample heat/warmth.
- 89 inches or about 7.4 Feet large propane fuelled outdoor patio heater
- Comes with a decent enough 42,000 BTU of heat output. There is a variable control in it to let you regulate the BTU levels
- Has a very large 18 inches long aluminium reflector shield
- Open door mechanism for refilling the propane gas tank which makes it easy to switch the gas tank when it’s time to refill
- On full tank, expect about 8 to 10 hours of function
- Includes a thermocouple feature that monitors and regulates the temperature that is emitted out of the device
- CSA approved, though the device has a wide base to prevent any tilting, it also includes an anti tilting feature that will automatically shut down the device in case it ends up tilting.
- Has a protective sheath covering that can cover up the entire device and is waterproof in nature to protect the patio heater against any sudden rainfall
Warranty: Though the product literature mentions of a warranty, its not specified in particular and is an issue
- Unique and different yet highly efficient design
- Waterproof sheath provided to protect and cover it
- Great build quality and highly effective
- Could have had higher BTU heat output
- No warranty specified and could improve their customer support
The thermo tiki is an outdoor propane fuel based patio heater with the same design schema as the Hiland outdoor propane heater. This one too has a wide base and a tiki style design with a central grill of heating filament.
- Has a very large height of 7 feet 6 inches long shaft that is crafted out of premium quality and high grade steel and aluminium alloy.
- The filament has a flame that dances about in a pyramid styled column and radiates heat and warmth in omni directions. Simple push to start ignition
- Made out of corrosion resistant powder finish that protects the outer body from any sudden rain or bright sun or other weather extremes.
- Can warm up an area up to a diameter of about 15 feet. The general heating starts at about 38,000 BTU and can be tuned up to a high of 42,000 BTU or 45,000 BTUs of peak output.
- Tilt proof, though the design of the patio heater has a wide bottom that has protection against being tilted, even if the device tends to tilt, the automatic shut off valve activates and shut down the device to prevent any hazards.
- Comes with a set of tiny wheels that can be used to move about the patio heater from one place to another.
- Has a 20 pound capacity of propane gas storage at the bottom to place the cylinder. This will give you a run time of about 8 to 10 hours thus great for entire nights. The device is ANSI, CE and CSA standard specified.
Warranty: 60 days of warranty from the date of purchase.
- Stylish pyramid style design with a central flame system and wide enough warmth spread
- Made out of durable metal material
- Good Controls
- Available in two colours, black and stainless steel finish
- 60 days of warranty
- Needs to improve customer support and service
Next on our list is a very basic and yesteryear model of outdoor gas heater from the Mr Heater Corporation and is the first on our list to run on natural gas and propane too. This deck heater has 360 degree heating prospects and a modest performance but a very mobile and compact design that lets you carry it away for camping, outdoors and much more.
- Comes with a short yet stout design with a very broad base that prevents any tilting over.
- In case of any tip over, a safety valve exists that will automatically shut down the device to prevent hazards.
- Piezo electric ignition to turn on the device with a simple knob rotation. Has a multi output valve for temperature regulation and the device makes use of natural convection of the flame for proper air circulation.
- Has a heat output between the ranges of 30,000 BTU to 45,000 BTU. This heater can also provide an energy conserving blue flame of 10,000 BTU as well for comfortable warm air circulation.
- 360 degrees burner head makes omni directional heat distribution possible.
- Has a factory standard oxygen depletion sensor or ODS which can alert you and shut down the device if the surrounding oxygen is lowered in levels.
- The heater unit can be directly mounted onto a 20 LB propane or natural gas cylinder with a 180 degrees multi directional bracket.
Warranty: No manufacturer’s or sellers’ warranty available for the heater
- Compact and stout design with great reviews and ratings.
- Compact design makes it great for outdoors, campings and much more than simple patio or deck usage
- Good safety features and easy ignition
- Economic and budget friendly pricing
- Though a very highly rated product, there is no warranty provided for the device
Next on our list is Briza’s infrared patio heater. This is a versatile patio heater that you can mount on walls or place on a tripod stand. The tripod stands are adjustable and you can extend them for stability or narrow them to fit into tight spaces.
- Uses carbon infrared technology to generate heat similar to the heat generated by the sun. The heater easily absorbs the infrared rays and raises the ambient temperature.
- The heater is 93% heat efficient and saves a lot of energy.
- Produces instant heat within a few seconds of turning on the heater.
- The infrared energy and medium waves are easily absorbed by the human skin and are skin-friendly
- The heater does not produce any noise and works silently.
- You can set the patio heater to turn off automatically by using the built-in timer. The timer comes with a range of 1 to 9 hours.
- Comes with ip55 rating and can withstand harsh weather conditions that makes it great for outdoor as well as indoor use.
- Built-in sensor automatically turns off the heater when it is tipped over.
- It is easy to maintain the heater due to the absence of motors and other moving parts. You only have to clean the reflectors at periodic intervals.
Warranty: There is no mention of warranty on the product page.
- Versatile patio heater for indoor and outdoor use
- Provides instant heat
- Heat efficient and consumes less energy
Safe to use
- No warranty
- No customer support from the seller
hOmeLabs patio heater is a great heating solution that you can use instead of the fire pit to provide warmth to you and your family members. You enjoy warmth but you do have to deal with hectic work of burning wood logs.
- 87 inches of propane fuelled patio heater with 32 inches reflector that generates a large amount of heat.
- Generates heat output of 41,000 BTU. Variable heat knob to provide ideal warmth on all seasons.
- Heats an area of up to 20 sq.ft.
- Made of high-grade steel with bronze finish to withstand harsh outdoor conditions. Double-layered mesh resists rust and prolongs life.
- Easy to install and assemble. Comes with wheels so that you can easily move it around and use it outdoors as well as indoors.
- Comes with an adjustable table that you can use to place wine glasses.
- Base of 18.1 inches diameter and filled with sand or water to provide extra stability to the unit.
- One-step ignition system makes it easy to start the heater by simply pressing the start button.
- Comes with auto-shut off feature to ensure safety and save fuel.
Warranty: Warranty is not specified on the product page.
- Decent heat capacity
- Easy to install, use, and move
- Durable and resists corrosion
- No mention of warranty
- Instruction manual is not clear
Buying Guide: How To Choose a Good Quality Patio Heater
From gas-fuelled propane models to highly portable battery-powered models, patio heaters have come a long way and choosing one from a great range of available options might be a bit of a challenge. In this buying guide, we are going to simplify and clearly explain to you all the different factors that you need to consider while choosing a patio heater.
Before we start listing out the factors, you need to know the different types of patio heaters available.
Types of patio heaters:
Patio heaters are divided into different types based on their styles and also based on their fuel consumptions too. Let’s start with styles.
1. Different styles
A free-standing patio heater is one of the most versatile and unique kind because they don’t need any special setup nor any accessories. All you need to do is simply set them down and start heating. They are available in various sizes and designs and are highly portable in nature making it easier to move in and out of the porch.
Much smaller in size than a free-standing heater, these are also great if your balcony or your patio is smaller and needs low range heat. They too are easy to carry around and extremely mobile, as the name suggests, they are good enough to be placed on top of a table as well.
More of a permanent placement type patio heaters, these models need to be affixed at particular heights on the walls or by the patio ceilings. They won’t take up a lot of space but give you a lot of heat coverage from up above.
2. Different Fuel Types
Basically, patio heaters are either Gas fuelled or Electric fuelled. The following are the different types of patio heaters based on the type of fuel they use.
Widely available, popular and one of the easiest types of heaters to install, propane patio heaters can heat up quickly and warm up the patio in matter of minutes. These models do not need any professional installation assistance and mostly operate with a same tank as a gas grill. For this, all you would be needing is a simple 20-pound propane gas tank that can last up to about 10 hours. For recharge, you just need to replace the tank as propane is readily available in many stores.
Electric or battery-powered patio heaters are also very easy to set up without any professional assistance and nowadays are gaining popularity. If you are getting a mounted electric heater, then you might need some professional assistance. While battery-powered patio heaters are mobile, they and also electric power outlet dependent heaters, well, need an outlet nearby and this might cause issues with their mobility and widespread usage.
Similar to propane gas patio heaters, these too do not need any major professional installation and can easily run on your house’s natural gas line. But the only downside to these is that though they have good heating, they might be a bit costly to operate.
Factors To Consider While Choosing a Patio Heater
Now that you understood the different types of heaters and their models available in the market, let us now look at some of the important factors you need to consider while buying one.
1. Power Source
The first and foremost thing that you need to consider is what kind of power supply would you be able to manage? As we have seen, patio heaters are available in gas and electric format. Here again, for gas, you have a choice of propane and natural gas.
Propane gas-based patio heaters are highly popular and economic in nature and most of the models that support propane are portable in nature. But you also have the natural gas-based patio heaters which are equally effective if not provide ample heat. Connection wise, they are simple and all you need to do is hook them up to the natural gas connection in your home. They don’t have the hassle of refilling but then there are some higher operational costs in running these.
Coming to the electric variants, you have battery-powered and direct electrically charged heaters. Battery-powered models are not so prevalent and a bit uncommon but whatever is available is highly mobile and portable. Normal electric models need a power outlet to be placed near and a few are also available in direct stationary installation models too (They might need professional assistance in installation)
2. Range of coverage and Heating Capacity
Most of the time, the range of coverage and heating capacity go hand in hand. While the rule of thumb may dictate that you need to choose any patio heater with a minimum or an average of 20 feet coverage, this might not be always the case.
Sometimes you may need a lower range or higher heat or higher range with medium max heat. Heat output is usually measured in BTU or British Thermal Units. Here too, you might find 40,000 BTUs per hour to be a satisfying number but let us see how this can change depending on the square footage of the patio/the area to be covered.
BTUs are vital in measuring the capabilities of Patio Heaters. A Measurement of heat, it refers to the total amount of heat that the device can create. Higher the BTU, greater is the heat output. But how do you know if a number is good enough for your house/patio area?
If your patio is small, taking a patio heater designed for 2,000 or 3,000 square feet is just overkill. The following table will help you pick the right range of BTU for the right square feet of area.
|Area of the
|5000 BTU||100 to 150 sq ft.|
|6000 BTU||150 to 250 sq ft.|
|7000 BTU||250 to 300 sq ft.|
|8000 BTU||300 to 350 sq ft.|
|9000 BTU||350 to 400 sq ft.|
|10000 BTU||400 to 450 sq ft.|
|12000 BTU||450 to 550 sq ft.|
|14000 BTU||550 to 700 sq ft.|
|18000 BTU||700 to 1000 sq ft.|
|21000 BTU||1000 to 1200 sq ft.|
|23000 BTU||1200 to 1400 sq ft.|
|24000 BTU||1400 to 1500 sq ft.|
|30000 BTU||1500 to 2000 sq ft.|
|34000 BTU||2000 to 2500 sq ft.|
3.Placement Of the Patio Heater and Safety
The next important thing to consider is the placement of the said heater. While most of these patio heaters are portable, they give you the flexibility of being able to be placed anywhere.
While most of these are designed for outdoors, ventilation plays a key role. They can be used on wooden decks and electric patio heaters can even work in covered areas such as garages, screened porches etc.,
For electric patio heaters, you need to find a power outlet to station the device. Also, make sure that the room has enough ventilation. Patio heaters tend to generate a lot of carbon monoxide as well. This odourless gas can be harmful if unchecked. Thus ventilation is of the essence.
And this goes without saying that make sure that the heater is placed away from any flammable materials such as fabrics, dry wood, sparkles or lean furniture etc., In case you need to place it around such items, make sure you have cleared out the path to make sure things cannot catch fire easily. Always wise to have the heater on under supervision.
4. Placement of the heater
The next important thing to consider is the placement of the heater. While the patio might have ample areas where you can place the heater, safety is of the key. As we have mentioned above, you can make sure that the heater is placed in areas of proper ventilation and also away from anything that might prove to be flammable.
Another key reason for ventilation is for better heating of the patio as well. Contrary to the popular belief that heaters do best in closed rooms, you tend to get stuffy. Most of the patio heaters be it propane or natural gas, are built for uncovered and open areas. Electric heaters are mostly built for closed spaces.
For fixed place heaters, you might want to check two things, the power outlet/gas inlet and also, ofcourse, the ventilation.
5. Other Features
Apart from these, modern heaters come with a wide range of extra features. You might also want to choose a product that has an eco friendly build material approved and of EPA standards. These tend to be more energy efficient and save a lot of fuel thus proving to be a budget friendly model.
Other features include a tipover switch, which, when tilted about a particular angle, will automatically shut down the patio heater. This will act as a fuel saver as well. A similar switch is also available for safety as well. Called as the safety switch shut off switch, the switch will turn off the patio heater conviniently and contains any fire hazards from happening due to fuel leakage.
Patio Heater Maintenance Guide
Mostly, patio heaters are outdoor devices and thus they are built to handle outdoor conditions very well. But even though they are built for this, the ideal case scenario would be that they may lose their long life due to extreme cold or wet weather.
Make sure you bring in the heater when you are not using it outside or maybe, invest a little more and buy a patio heater that has better protection from any such high rain, sleet, snow or wind as such,
More particularly, if you happen to live in windy areas as such, then you would want to tie up the patio heater to something solid with a strong wire or a rope for stability and so that they don’t topple down and end up burning or be damaged.
If used for long, they might also need some cleaning. If the heater is made out of stainless steel, then you can remove any watermarks on it using any typical stainless steel cleaner. Alternatively, you can also use a brush to remove tough stains. As for powder coated heaters, you can use any non-concentrated soap and water to rub it clean. Make sure that you have unplugged the device and that the soap does not get mixed up with the fuel.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. How much Heat do you Actually Need?
As we have seen that patio heaters or any heater in general measures their power in terms of British Thermal Units or BTUs, they also give you an idea of how much power/heat do you need in your room/patio.
While higher the BTU value, higher is the heat, you don’t necessarily need all that heat. Use the following formula to calculate how much heat your room and you would actually need.
BTU Needed= Desired rise in temperature X cubic feet of area used
2. How much does it cost to operate a patio heater?
The cost of operating a patio heater is mostly dependent on the type of fuel the machine uses. While propane is most commonly used, it can be a tad bit expensive in nature. One of the most cheaply available is the natural gas and electric heaters fall in between both of these.
For natural gas heaters of about 40,000 BTUs, these can heat up an area of about 314 square feet and can cost you about 48 cents for a single hour of usage.
Coming to electric heaters, a 4,000 watt heater can heat the same 314 square foot patio/room at about 60 cents for an hour. (calculated for about 15 cents for a kilowatt hour)
Finally, a propane gas based heater for the same 40,000 BTU heat can cost you as high as $1.70 for a single hour of usage.
Your residence area, the current inflation in the gas and electricity rates may also factor into the efficiency of your patio heater.
3. Are patio heaters worth it?
If you live in areas where general central heating is a costly affair, then a room heater or a patio heater might be your best choice. Make sure that you are picking a heater for its space and convenience and not for aesthetics. Given their meagre energy expenditure, they are for sure worth it for people living in small spaces.
4. How long will a patio heater run?
The duration of running of these machines change from device type to type. For a basic 20 lb propane cylinder, you can expect a run time of as high as 10 hours (if you are strictly using it for outdoors). Indoors, this can be much higher as well.
For cost efficiency, you can go with a natural gas patio heater as they are less costly to operate than propane heaters as you would not be paying for any upfront fuel like the cylinder cannister.
5. Can outdoor heaters be left out in the rain?
Strictly NO. Though these heaters are made and built as outdoor devices, the heater equipment will end upo getting damaged if you leave them to get wet in the rain through direct or indirect contact.
6. How do you store an outdoor heater?
When not in usage, make sure that you are storing the device in an upright position. The area it is stored should be cool and dry and should not attract any contact from wet or direct rain or other weather elements etc.,
7. Can you use a patio heater in an enclosed patio/room?
Gas based heaters cannot be used indoors as they may be dangerous. They need to be used outdoors where there is proper ventilation and air flow.
Electric patio heaters, on the other hand, are built for both indoor and outdoor use as they do not produce any greenhouse carbon emissions. They are also some of the safest types of heaters available and also environmentally friendly as well.
8. What’s the difference between large single dome patio heaters and triple dome patio heaters?
Single dome patio heaters have their heating in a single direction whereas a triple dome patio heater has its heat directed in 3 seperate ways. This increases heat distribution and protects the generated heat to be blown away due to wind or external factors. Most of the time, both of these heaters have a similar 40,000 BTU heat output and both of them have a ceramic cone insulator in them to help them in retaining the heat for a very long time and thus increasing the heating efficiency.
With all that are available, the AmazonBasics’ patio heater wins our list. It has a great 46,000 BTU heating capacity. It has a tiny set of wheels for mobility, 20 pounds of propane gas capacity with 9 hours of run time, 18 feet warmth diameter, piezo ignition, temperature control, auto tilt shut off and most importantly, 1 year manufacturer’s warranty make it the best patio heater to buy online.
While those were our picks, we are interested in hearing out your choices and preferences. Did you like our list? Or do you want us to add or remove anything from it? Or do you have any questions within it? If so, feel free to write to us in the comments section below and we will get back to you as soon as possible.