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Best Patio Heaters Updated November 2018
AZ Patio Heaters
Quartz Glass Tube Patio Heater
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Customers love the look of this stainless steel patio heater but wish they could feel the radiant heat just a bit more.
The flickering flames add ambiance to any outdoor area. The solid pyramid construction, weighing 65 pounds, stands up to wind.
You’ll have to cozy up pretty close to this quartz glass tube of warmth. The radiant heat isn’t as strong as some customers hoped for.
Commercial Patio Heater
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Another heavy-duty stainless steel heater that fires right up.
Easy installation thanks to the detailed instructions. All parts are covered under a lifetime replacement warranty.
Some rust and dents have been reported over time from verified customers.
Premium Hammered Bronze Patio Heater
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The heat output is nothing short of impressive.
We love the variable heat setting of this 48k-BTU propane patio heater. The beautiful bronze finish and easy electronic ignition button are also nice to have.
This 8.5-foot-tall, 20-pound outdoor heater is a lean heat machine.
The automatic tilt shut-off is a safety feature that lends peace of mind, especially on a windy day
Some heat is lost because it’s so tall. It’s also very light, so it’s not ideal for extra windy conditions.
AZ Patio Heaters
Tabletop Electric Patio Heater
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A 3-foot electric heat lamp that packs a punch—1,500 watts to be exact.
Our team appreciates how versatile this indoor-outdoor heater is. Adjust the heat with variable temperature control. It’s also waterproof and has an 8-foot power cord.
It’s pretty darn bright, which some folks love and others don’t.
Patio heaters can be enjoyed year-round but are especially delightful in the colder months. With great enthusiasm and a cup of hot apple cider, our House Method team aggregated patio heater reviews and compiled our insights into one, easy-to-read buyer’s guide below. Our list of the best patio heaters above makes shopping a breeze.
Patio Heater Reviews Guide
Patio heaters can extend your porch life from two to three seasons—maybe even four depending on where you live. Bringing heat, warmth, and an inviting glow to any entertainment setting, they keep the party going and allow guests to gather long after sunset.
Add a heater to your patio, deck, or screened-in porch to take the chill off on a crisp autumn’s eve. If you live in a mild climate that doesn’t see much snow, you can use a patio heater to keep the fire going all year. You can also wheel a patio heater out of storage for special events like Memorial Day or a family member’s birthday.
Our buyer’s guide below will help you navigate through the various questions you’ll confront along your purchase journey. We’ll help you decide between gas versus electric, stainless steel versus bronze, and radiant versus convection heat. When you’re ready to buy, simply scroll up to the top of this review and choose between five of the best patio heaters on the market.
Types of patio heaters
Electric patio heaters
Pros—These heaters require a simple setup and are convenient to fire up. You’ll feel the heat in a matter of seconds. You can use them inside or out since they don’t require ventilation.
Cons—You’ll need an available outlet that’s hopefully located near your gathering area.
Gas patio heaters
Pros—Cordlesspropane patio heaters are on wheels and can be easily moved wherever you need more heat.
Cons—Natural gas heaters will have to be professionally installed and be connected to a gas line, which is an expensive upfront cost. Propane heaters will also have to be refilled every so often. Check the product specifications on your patio heater to determine how fuel-efficient the product is.
Standing patio heaters
Pros—These freestanding heaters have a larger coverage area (most have up to a 20-foot diameter) and can instantly warm up a crowd, making them great for backyard parties.
Cons—Some heaters are so tall that you won’t feel the effects unless you’re standing close by or sitting directly beneath one.
Tabletop heat lamps
Pros—Tabletop patio heaters are small and easy to transport. They’re especially useful in screened-in porches or outdoor dining areas.
Cons—The smaller the lamp, the less heat it gives off.
Wall-mounted and hanging heaters are two additional options. These are often electric and require permanent installation by a professional.”
5 Major factors to consider
Radiant vs. convection heat
Similar to how the sun produces heat, radiant heaters produce heat waves that warm people and objects near the unit. Radiant heat is considered the most efficient way to warm an outdoor space since the heat doesn’t get carried away by air and wind. If you have a primary outdoor seating area where folks gather, you’ll enjoy a radiant heater.
Convection heaters are powerful units that heat the air in addition to the people and things around them. If you have a large, open space where people come and go, a convection heater may be a better option.
Electric heaters are measured in watts while gas heaters are measured in British Thermal Units (BTUs). A larger area will require a higher heat output. Four of our featured patio heaters are fueled by propane and range between 40,000 and 48,000 BTUs. Any standing propane patio heater above 40,000 BTUs is efficient. The AZ Patio Heaters’ Tabletop Electric Patio Heater is 1,500 watts, which is 500 watts above average for tabletop heaters.
A patio heater will be exposed to the elements, so you’ll want to look for one constructed of durable material. Stainless steel and hammered bronze are popular choices for patio heaters because they’re rust-resistant. If you live in a climate that experiences a lot of rain and snow, we recommend rolling your portable patio heater into a shed for winter or protecting it with a cover that can be purchased separately.
Shape and size
Pyramid patio heaters are heavy—they usually weigh more than 60 pounds—and come with a wide base, allowing them to withstand wind. A pyramid heater may be a good choice if you have a patio that’s not covered by an awning, deck, or trees.
Tall heat lamps weigh between 20 and 40 pounds and can fit neatly in a corner within a compact space. You can add sand to the base of the lamp to stabilize it. This will cast a dim, welcoming glow.
If you’re looking for a portable patio heater that you can use indoors and out, consider investing in a pair of tabletop heaters. They’re designed to heat and brighten a small area, so they’re better to use in contained seating and dining areas.
Consider the location and style of your outdoor space as well as the type of occasions you host before buying a patio heater. If you want to add ambiance, we recommend a pyramid or hammered bronze patio heater that looks as warm as it feels. Use tabletop heaters to brighten your outdoor dining table and add to the heat that’s already radiating off your warm plates. Keep guests corralled outdoors during summertime parties with tall, convection heaters.
Use radiant heaters in small, contained areas and convection heaters in wide, open spaces.”
Frequently asked questions
How do patio heaters work?
Patio heaters use electricity or gas to produce radiant or convection heat that warms an outdoor area. You can use patio heaters to keep outdoor parties going well after dusk or you can simply use them to warm up during the crisp autumn weather and mild winters.
How do you ignite a patio heater?
Most propane patio heaters have an easy push-to-start ignition system. If yours does not, you can still use the pilot light to fire up your patio heater. Turn the knob to the pilot or low position. Wait for 45 seconds before checking the flame through the match lighting hole. You may have to repeat this a few times to light the pilot burner.
Can you use a patio heater in the garage?
Do not use a gas patio heater in any contained space, like a garage. Gas heaters emit fumes that are flammable and dangerous to your health. Electric patio heaters may be used inside or out, but give them enough space from furniture, drapes, and other barriers. Always refer to your owner’s manual before using a heater indoors.
How long do patio heaters last for?
Regarding runtime, propane patio heaters can last for about 10 hours on a 20-pound propane tank. Natural gas and electric heaters will last as long as they are connected to a gas line or plugged into an outlet.
To extend the longevity of your patio heater, move it into a shed or barn during rain and snow storms. You should never store a propane tank inside your home. You can also protect your heater by regularly cleaning it with stainless steel polish, soap, and water, oiling the wheels and bolts, and sealing out bugs and dust with a heater cover (this can be bought at a local hardware store).