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Published Dec. 24, 2020

Enjoying your outdoor space — whether on your porch, in your yard, or any other outdoor area at home — is one of the best ways to have fun and relax. From working in the driveway or the yard to spending time with friends and family, your home’s outdoor space can be both versatile and enjoyable. But your options are pretty limited once temperatures start to drop. As soon as chilly evenings and cold daytime temperatures arrive, it’s hard to enjoy any kind of activity outdoors. However, if you have an outdoor heater, you can keep warm and stay outside for longer whether you’re gathering, working, or relaxing. If you need a heat source for your deck, patio, or other outdoor areas, check out our picks for the best outdoor heaters right here.

The Hampton Bay Stainless Steel Patio Heater is a durable, effective choice for any outdoor space. This heater is capable and can deliver the heat — and it’s big enough to cover plenty of space no matter where it’s placed. Measuring 32.25 x 32.25 x 87.25 inches, this outdoor heater weighs 33 pounds and is made of stainless steel. It’s perfectly prepared for the great outdoors, with a high level of quality and tough materials that can withstand various elements. Built to last you for years, you’ll enjoy consistent warmth with 40,000 BTUs of heat per hour. All you need to get this heater up and running is a standard 20-pound propane tank; once in place, you’ll be able to adjust the heat output with an included control valve. Even better, this heater looks sleek no matter what.

Key Features
  • 40,000 BTUs of heat per hour
  • Measures 32.25 x 32.25 x 87.25 inches
  • Stainless steel construction
  • Requires a 20-pound propane tank
Specification
  • Brand Hampton Bay
  • Model NCZH-G-SS
  • Weight 33 pounds
PROS

Delivers consistent warmth even with the wind

Sturdy to prevent tip-overs

Suitable for fall and winter weathe

CONS

Doesn’t have wheels

Not entirely stainless steel

Controls are placed quite high up

Outdoor heaters can be expensive, but this Outdoor Patio Wall Mount Carbon Infrared Heater is an exception. This affordably priced heater can keep you warm without blowing your entire budget, giving you great value for your money. Unlike traditional outdoor heaters, this more compact model is designed to be mounted onto a wall so it can radiate heat outwards. It’s constructed with weatherproof materials, which means you don’t have to worry about moisture, condensation, and elements like rain. The heater measures 35 x 8 x 4 inches, and it uses clean, odorless infrared heat to warm you up. It doesn’t require any propane — all you need is a standard 120-volt wall outlet. Equipped with a remote control, you can even manage the heat from a distance. Unfortunately, this heater isn’t very powerful, so it may not offer enough warmth unless you’re right under it.

Key Features
  • Measures 35 x 8 x 4 inches
  • Includes wall mount
  • Comes with a remote control
  • IPX4 weatherproof rating
Specification
  • Brand Dr. Heater USA
  • Model DR-238
  • Weight 8 pounds
PROS

Can be mounted on a wall or a tripod

Features three heating modes ranging from 900 watts to 1500 watts

Starts heating instantly

CONS

The output is limited and can be weak

Tends to heat solely what’s right in front of it

If you’re searching for an outdoor heater that’ll look fantastic anywhere you place it, you’ll love the Hiland 91-Inch Tall Quartz Glass Tube Heater. This heating tower is constructed out of stainless steel and a quartz glass tube with wheels at the bottom, so it’ll roll anywhere you want to move it. It stands 91-inches tall and weighs 65 pounds. You’ll have no trouble getting this premium heater to work, thanks to its reliable, worry-free ignition system and safety features like an auto-tilt shut-off system. You will need a 20-pound propane tank to operate the heater, and once it’s running it’ll deliver up to 40,000 BTUs with variable control options. Though this premium outdoor heater looks great, you won’t want to rely on it when it’s quite cold out. It tends to look better than it heats, making it more of a display piece than an effective heater.

Key Features
  • 91 inches tall
  • Stainless steel and quartz
  • Runs on a standard 20-pound propane tank
  • Includes automatic safety features
Specification
  • Brand AZ Patio Heaters
  • Model HLDS01-GTSS
  • Weight 65 pounds
PROS

Features a unique, beautifully sleek design

Can see the flames as the heater operates

Safety shutoff keeps you and outdoor areas safe

CONS

Can be more of a display piece than an effective heater

Heat may be unreliable

The Gorilla Gadgets Patio Heater makes warming up outdoors very easy — you can place this heater in any outdoor space, and it’ll get to work delivering 48,000 BTUs of heat. It can effectively warm up areas measuring 176 square feet or 17 feet in diameter. That power, which is provided by a propane tank (you’ll have to buy that separately), can be controlled by the included variable heat control knob so you can find the perfect heat level setting. Designed for patios, gardens, and other outdoor gathering spaces, this heater does its job quietly and without any smell or flames of fire. With two wheels, you can easily push and pull this heater wherever it’s needed. However, if your outdoor space is larger, you’ll likely need two of these heaters or more to get true warmth and comfort.

Key Features
  • 88.1 inches tall
  • Includes built-in wheels
  • Suitable for up to 176 square feet of space
  • Requires assembly
Specification
  • Brand Gorilla Gadgets
  • Model N/A
  • Weight N/A
PROS

Features tip-over protection and automatic shut-off

Starts heating with the push of a button

Easy to move around your space

CONS

May need multiple heaters to cover larger areas

If there’s a word to describe the Eprosmin 48,000 BTU Propane Patio Heater, it’s convenience. This outdoor heater is convenient to use and convenient to set up — assembly is straightforward and simple, and it turns on with nothing more than the push of a button. Well, you’ll need to provide a propane tank, but this heater otherwise offers everything you could need. It can deliver up to 48,000 BTUs of heat and keep you warm in areas measuring between 113 and 180 square feet in size. Once you push-start the ignition, this outdoor heater will deliver quiet, sustained heat, and you can control the temperature with the included variable heat control knob. Built out of durable powder-coated steel, this heater is meant to last come rain or shine. There’s even a waterproof cover included for the heater so you can protect it when it isn’t in use.

Key Features
  • Heats spaces between 113 and 180 square feet
  • Built-in safety valve and tip-over shutoff feature
  • Sits on two wheels
  • Stands 88 inches tall
Specification
  • Brand Eprosmin
  • Model N/A
  • Weight 42 pounds
PROS

Powder-coated steel is rust-proof, corrosion-proof, and fade resistant

Easy to move around

CONS

The ignition system should still be covered and protected in inclement weather

If you’re looking for the kind of power and heating results you get when you dine out at restaurants or enjoy other commercial outdoor spaces, you’ll want to consider the Belleze Premium Outdoor Patio. This is one of those heaters — it’s designed to meet commercial levels of quality and heating, delivering up to 48,000 BTUs to heat anyone within a 15-foot diameter. It features heavy-duty construction, including a hammered bronze exterior and a set of wheels that’ll roll anywhere. This outdoor heater uses a Piezo ignition system and requires a propane tank to get up and running. A variable heat control knob lets you adjust the temperature. There is one drawback to this tough heater, though. Because it’s commercial-level quality, it’s mass-produced and can suffer from incorrectly fitted parts and pieces, making setup challenging.

Key Features
  • Heats spaces up to 175 square feet
  • 48,000 BTUs maximum
  • Includes multiple temperature settings
  • Heats in a 15-foot diameter around the heater
Specification
  • Brand Belleze
  • Model 014-HG-PH00-BRO
  • Weight 41 pounds
PROS

Delivers consistent heat without any noises or smells

Rolls smoothly and easily when moved

Includes safety shut-off features in the event of tip-overs

CONS

Heater components may not fit together perfectly

Scratches very easily

Heat output may be weak

The Soarrucy Outdoor Patio Heater is a classic heater option that looks nice in any outdoor setting. Whether you’re using it for a party, a relaxing evening outdoors, or for any other purpose, this heater with a bronze finish will blend right in. It operates on a standard propane tank and can deliver up to 48,000 BTUs of heat. Able to deliver heat in a radius of up to 15 feet around the heater itself, you should feel cozy within its range. The heater is designed to survive all kinds of outdoor elements, and it even includes a heater cover so you can easily protect it from the outdoor elements. There’s one important drawback to this outdoor heater, though — when you step away from the heater, you’ll experience a noticeable temperature difference, and you may not feel any heat at the edges of the projected 15-foot range.

Key Features
  • Stands 88.6 inches tall
  • 5,000 to 13,000 watts
  • Up to 48,000 BTUs
  • Can use propane or butane
Specification
  • Brand Soarrucy
  • Model N/A
  • Weight 41.4 pounds
PROS

Works with multiple fuel options

Heats quietly and without any smells or fumes

Starts with a one-step Piezo ignition system

CONS

Heat drop off is noticeable as you get a few feet away

Shipping can be slow

Looking for a fast outdoor heater? You’ll love how speedy the Hmercy Outdoor Heater is — it can start warming you up in just three seconds. This impressively fast heater starts warming in no time, and it’s surprisingly durable too. It’s a telescopic heater that’s slimmer and smaller than most traditional outdoor heaters, and it offers an adjustable height as well as a 45-degree adjustment so you can direct the heat flow up or down. Three heating modes offer between 500 and 1,500 watts, with three halogen tubes working hard to warm you and your outdoor space. This heater uses infrared heat, which is clean, fume-free, and gets delivered to surrounding people fast. Even better, you don’t need any propane, just a 110-volt electrical connection. The only real drawback is the heater itself is smaller in size, so its range can be limited.

Key Features
  • Between 500 and 1,500 watts
  • Uses three halogen heating tubes
  • Heat direction can be adjusted up, down, and in height
  • Energy-efficient
Specification
  • Brand Hmercy
  • Model N/A
  • Weight N/A
PROS

Rated IPX4 waterproof

Heats up in as little as three seconds

Multiple heat settings offer customization

CONS

Takes time to assemble

One of the biggest concerns that comes with an outdoor heater is its sturdiness — and the Raoccuy Outdoor Heater can give you great peace of mind. This tall heating device may be big, but it’s also quite stable and very durable. It delivers up to 48,000 BTUs and can warm you from 3 to 8 feet away from the heater itself. And it’s designed to stay upright. Sturdy base support distributes the heater’s weight evenly, even once a propane tank is connected. An automatic shut-off tilt valve and tip-over protection system keep you safe even if this outdoor heater falls. It’s backed by a worry-free one-year warranty too for extra reliability. The limited range of this outdoor heater makes it suitable for only slightly cold temperatures; you’ll need something stronger and more powerful for winter weather.

Key Features
  • Delivers 48,000 BTUs
  • 86.6 inches tall
  • Includes two wheels
  • Backed by a one-year warranty
Specification
  • Brand Raoccuy
  • Model N/A
  • Weight 39.7 pounds
PROS

Comes with a waterproof cover to keep heater protected

Extra stable base

Plenty of safety features

CONS

Some heaters arrive with parts missing

Setup instructions are unclear

May arrive with dents or damage

The Briza Infrared Patio Heater is a smaller and more compact outdoor heater — but don’t let its size fool you. This heater works just as well as larger models, and it can help you heat your outdoor space in a more energy-efficient and affordable way. It doesn’t require propane or any fuel; all you need is an electrical outlet to get warmed up. With its infrared heat, this outdoor heater raises the ambient temperature on your patio, deck, porch, or other space. It can heat up (and heat you up) in just a few seconds. It features extra-low glare and offers a heating range of up to 7 feet. The heater stands on a tripod for easy portability and placement anywhere it’s needed. While the range is a bit limited, this infrared outdoor heater can help you warm up in a more targeted, efficient way.

Key Features
  • Heats people up to 7 feet away
  • Starts warming in seconds
  • Includes automatic shutoff sensor
  • Comes with a remote control
Specification
  • Brand Briza
  • Model N.A
  • Weight 13 pounds
PROS

Works quickly and warms up people instead of surrounding air

Doesn’t require any special fuel or fuel tank

The heater is weather-proof and protected against moisture

CONS

Heat is somewhat lacking

Not powerful enough to heat an entire area

Best for mild cold temperatures

Best Outdoor Heaters Buying Guide & FAQ

If you don’t want to have to head indoors at the first sight of a chill in the air, you need an outdoor heater. These fuel- or electricity-powered heaters can warm up your outdoor spaces, whether you’re gathering on your deck or enjoying an evening under the stars in your yard. They can eliminate the chill in the air and project warmth even in larger spaces.  And there are a lot of different outdoor heaters to choose from. From size and weight to the heating style to portability or permanence, you have a lot of options available. Wondering where to start? Follow our buying guide to find the best outdoor heater for your space and needs. 

The Advantages of Owning an Outdoor Heater

Outdoor Heaters in a restorant
Outdoor heaters are versatile and effective
An outdoor heater is designed to offer you one big benefit: warmth. When the temperature drops and you don’t want to stop utilizing your outdoor spaces, a heater can keep you outside for longer. No matter what it is you want to do outside, you can continue doing it well into the cool nights of fall, the cold of winter, the brisk temperatures of early spring. A heater is your tool to extend the outdoor season. Additionally, outdoor heaters provide great comfort. When you’re feeling stiff, cold, and just uncomfortable outdoors, one of these heaters can make you more comfortable and cozy. It can offer you a different outdoor environment to enjoy. And there are more benefits to having an outdoor heater on hand.
  • Heater options and styles are almost endless, with propane-powered options, electric heaters, wall-mount products, and other kinds of heaters in various styles.
  • Many outdoor heaters are designed to be moved wherever you need them, with wheels or travel-friendly features.
  • Outdoor heaters are built with safety features to prevent accidents, and they’re also safe to get close to.
  • Heaters are pretty affordable to operate, with low energy costs and only a standard of propane needed to get working.

Popular Types of Outdoor Heaters

Which outdoor heater is the best fit for your outdoor space? Well, you’ll want to consider the different types available to decide. Each heater works differently, using a different heating source and a different kind of power to work efficiently. Make sure you consider the following types before making a decision.

Propane

Propane outdoor heaters are one of the most popular kinds you’ll find. Most outdoor heaters use propane, requiring you to hook up a standard 20-pound tank to deliver heat. But this makes these heaters very easy to set up and operate. There’s no professional installation or special expertise required — you just need to attach the propane tank and ignite the heater. Propane heaters work quickly and are typically portable, equipped with wheels so you can move them wherever you’d like. They’re also very easy to maintain since you’ll only need to swap out the old propane tank for a new one when you run out of fuel.

Natural Gas

Natural gas outdoor heaters are another option. Like propane, you’ll need fuel hooked up to the heater to turn it on — and with a natural gas heater, you’ll typically need to have the heater professionally installed. These heaters are usually hooked up to an existing gas line at your home. This can make them a bit more expensive, as you have to pay for the heater as well as any installation costs. But once your natural gas outdoor heater is working, it’s very cheap to operate. These heaters tend to be among the most affordable to use, and they don’t require any complex or expensive maintenance. 

Electric

Electric outdoor heaters are one of the most convenient options. You don’t need access to any kind of fuel; you just need a normal electrical outlet to get the heater up and running. There’s no installation needed, and you never have to add more fuel. These outdoor heaters are easy to operate, but they do have to be placed within the range of an electrical outlet, which can limit their placement. Most electric outdoor heaters are very simple and straightforward. They can be used in covered or enclosed spaces, which makes them a great fit for covered patios or use in outdoor tents. However, they may be a bit slow to heat up and start making a noticeable difference.

What to Consider When Buying Outdoor Heaters

two outdoor heaters used in a bar
Outdoor heaters provide great comfort
When you’re choosing an outdoor heater, you want to make sure you’re buying one that’ll work. There’s nothing worse than a weak heater that won’t warm up. However, you can avoid choosing a weak heater if you consider power and heat output when you’re comparing different outdoor heaters. First, think about how you’ll use your heater. Will you need it to warm a large area or a small area? Will it be used often or infrequently? Where will you place it? Then, look at the power of each heater. The number of BTUs it can generate tells you how warm it’ll get — a higher number of BTUs means more heat. From there, it’s also a good idea to look at any included or built-in safety features. Heaters with functions like automatic shut-off and tip-over protection can offer better peace of mind, just in case.

Best Outdoor Heaters FAQ:

Once you’ve started comparing different heaters, you’ll realize there are a lot of great options available. Have questions about the different outdoor heaters you’re trying to decide between? We’re here to help. Check out answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about outdoor heaters below.

Q: Do outdoor heaters actually work?

Yes, outdoor heaters can work to radiate heat outwards, which warms up anyone who’s within range of the heater. Some, like infrared heaters, will even warm up people and objects rather than the surrounding air.

Q: What is the most efficient patio heater?

Electric outdoor heaters like the Hmercy Outdoor Heater tend to be the most energy-efficient option.

Q: Do patio heaters work in the winter?

Outdoor patio heaters can work decently well in the winter, but you’ll still want to wear warm clothing. You should also choose a heater with enough range and power (BTUs) to beat the cold winter air.

Our Top Pick

The Hampton Bay Stainless Steel Patio Heater is the best all-around option if you need an outdoor heater. Durable and effective, with a heating potential of up to 40,000 BTUs per hour, this heater runs on a standard propane tank — which means it’s easy to operate and refill as needed. Built with materials like stainless steel, this heater is sturdy enough to survive summers and winters outdoors in all kinds of weather.

Final Thoughts

The Hampton Bay Stainless Steel Patio Heater is our choice for the best outdoor heater thanks to its size, capability, and strength. If you’d like to spend less and still get a great, effective heater, the Dr. Infrared Heater Carbon Infrared Outdoor Heater is also a solid choice.

Sources:

  1. Outdoor Heating – Wikipedia

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