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Published Apr. 29, 2020

Sometimes, there’s nothing better than a relaxing night on the patio, especially when the weather’s nice and the cold ones are flowing. Unfortunately, the former isn’t always the case, especially at night. In this case, patio chilling is more of a chore than it is a safe haven for some R & R. But such an inconvenience can be easily mitigated due largely in part to the existence of patio heaters. All it really takes is one solid heating unit to make your patio accessible year-round and into the cold, dark night — and we wouldn’t want it any other way. The good news is that there are plenty of patio heaters available; you just need to do a little research. Well, we managed to do it for you. Take a look at some of the best patio heaters in the buying guide below.

The Fire Sense Stainless Steel Patio Heater is a fantastic option for any and all patios. With a powerful 46,000 BTU output, this heater can cover a sizeable amount of space, making it perfect for a chilly night under the stars. It requires a 20-pound LPG BBQ tank (not included) for heating, and it can last up to 10 hours, give or take. So yes, one downside would be that it does use a lot of fuel, but once you put it to good use, you’ll see that it’s well worth the propane. The heater also contains an electric piezo ignition system and contains some other super convenient features like a tip-over protection system, wheels for easy portability, and a stainless steel finish for both style and durability.

Key Features
  • 46K BTU output
  • Lasts 10 hours
  • Stainless Steel finish
Specification
  • Brand Fire Sense
  • Weight 45 pounds
PROS

Wheels for portability

Tip-over protection

Heats a large area

CONS

High fuel consumption

May need shortening for patio

Like any aspect of your home, there’s probably a good chance you want to make it look as nice as possible. In this case, we’d suggest the Hiland HLDSO1-WGTHG Pyramid Patio Propane Heater w/Wheels, an aesthetically pleasing and efficient model. This 90″ tall radiant style heater will look great on your patio, as it features an elegant two-piece quartz glass tube design with an easy-access door at the bottom to store (and essentially mask) your propane tank from plain sight. Again, the propane tank is not included with the purchase, but it’s super simple to install and provides you with up to 40,000 BTUs of heat output. Plus, the Hiland contains a reliable electronic igniter, a safety auto shut off tilt valve, and for those who often find themselves in customer service purgatory, a one-year warranty along with seven-days-a-week customer support.

Key Features
  • 40K BTU output
  • Electronic igniter
  • Auto shutoff
Specification
  • Brand Hiland
  • Model HLDSO1-WGTHG
  • Weight 65.2 pounds
PROS

Hides propane tank from sight

Comes with one-year warranty

Stylish design

CONS

Propane tank not included

Not a wide range of heat

For the perfect combination of form, function, and cost, look no further than the Lasko Designer Oscillating Heater. For less than half of the price of your standard patio heater, this ceramic space heater is a great option for both indoors and outside. Providing you with up to 1500 watts of heat, this device includes full thermostat control with three different heat settings, two quiet settings, full oscillation, a built-in timer, and a super convenient wireless remote control. Keep in mind, however, this is more of a space heater than it is an actual butane-powered outdoor heater. This obviously means you’re going to need a fire-safe outdoor outlet and possibly an extension cord to use. But if your outdoor setup allows it, this is certainly a great budget option.

Key Features
  • Indoor and outdoor compatible
  • 1500 watts of heat
  • Oscillation for more coverage
Specification
  • Brand Lasko
  • Model 6405
  • Weight 6.5 pounds
PROS

Variety of settings

Affordable

Includes remote control

CONS

Heats small space

Need fire-safe outdoor outlet

Uses a lot of power

Looking for a patio heater you can also use, well, outside of your patio? We’d go with the Mr. Heater Corporation 29,000-45,000 BTU 540 Degree Tank Top. Featuring a convenient-for-al 360-degree burner head and a 30,000 – 45,000 BTU tank top heater, this patio heater is a great option for the patio as well as industrial worksites, tailgates, or any other outdoor use. Admittedly, it’s not the best looking heater around, but its fuel-efficient capabilities, push-button te valve, and general mobility allow you to use it in a multitude of different ways. Plus, it mounts to your standard 20-pound propane cylinder on a 180-degree multi-directional bracket, allowing everyone around you to get in on the heat action. They’ll certainly thank you for it. Or at least they should.

Key Features
  • 29K-45K BTU output
  • Mounts to propane cylinders
  • Versatile usage
Specification
  • Brand Mr. Heater
  • Model F242540
  • Weight 5.5 pounds
PROS

360-degree heat output

Extremely mobile

Heats large area

CONS

Doesn’t come with propane tank

Burns a lot of propane

While not necessarily a heater made specifically for patios, the 1500W Ceramic Space Heater with Adjustable Thermostat from multifun is a great tabletop option you can also bring outside to the patio. Made fromV0 flame-resistant materials and encased in a fire-retardant metal shell, this tabletop heater is both durable and safe. Of course, it’s not as strong as your standard butane-operated patio heater, but if you have the outlet on your patio, it makes a great option on any patio table or even underneath your chair to heat up your feet. The multifun heater also features a sizeable air outlet for fast rapid heating, an angled leg design to distribute heat around the area, and adjustable dial control to give you the perfect temperature, all the time. While it’s great for the patio, it’s primarily made for indoor use, so you can essentially take it with you anywhere you need a little extra warmth. 

Key Features
  • 1500 watts
  • Ceramic construction
  • Adjustable thermostat
Specification
  • Brand multifun
  • Model B07KJC8TV6
  • Weight 2.79 pounds
PROS

Lightweight

Easily portable

Affordable

CONS

Heats a very small area

Not ideal for outdoor use

Some assembly required

Best Patio Heaters Buying Guide & FAQs

Overall, patio heaters are not cheap purchases. It’s essential to get the right product for your specific needs. You want something that is reliable, long-lasting, and will be able to adequately heat the space that you have in mind. You also need to consider what other purchases need to be made alongside the heater. Do you need extension cords? A fire-safe outlet? A propane tank?

There are multiple questions to consider when making this purchase, as well as looking forward to potential challenges that could arise. We compiled common concerns you might have when looking for your new patio heater.

A man guiding a wood router down a blanket of wood.

Benefits of Patio Heaters

You spend a lot of time beautifying your patio during the warm months. Why let all that work go to waste during the cold months? You don’t want to miss out on enjoying your patio, especially if you live in an area that is cold the majority of the year.

These heaters are specifically designed to keep the area warm so you can continue to have fun outside, work in your garage, or sit on your front porch. Designed with different areas in mind, you can find a product that will allow you to continue doing what you love to do even when it’s cold outside.

The Most Common Types of Patio Heaters

Most patio heaters are tall, thin, and use propane to heat the area. They are suitable for outdoor use only and often require you to purchase your own propane tank. Designed with aesthetics in mind, it is not hard to find an attractive patio heater that blends in with the rest of your patio decor.

A man guiding a wood router down a blanket of wood.

Other types are smaller and ceramic, built for both indoor and outdoor use. These are plugged into outlets and run off a battery to heat the area. They tend to be shorter and squattier, and are also much lighter than traditional patio heaters.

What to Consider When Buying Patio Heaters

The main consideration is space. How big of an area do you need to heat? Do you have a large patio and often have outdoor gatherings? Or do you like to sit outside and read and just need something for personal heat? Choose a product that will easily heat the area you have in mind.

Another major consideration is additional equipment you might need to use. Do you already have a propane tank? Will it fit inside your patio heater? Or do you prefer the type of heater that sits on top of your propane tank? If you don’t go with propane, you will need to ensure you have an outlet that can handle the power of a patio heater. At 1500W, these use up a great deal of power that may end up damaging your circuitry.

Care and Maintenance of Patio Heaters

Since you are making such a large purchase, it’s important to ensure it will last you a long time. There are some tips to keep in mind when prolonging the life and use of your patio heater.

  • Ensure you will have a reliable fuel source for the patio heater, whether that is consistently replacing your propane, or having a fire-safe outlet.
  • Look for a no-tip patio heater, or place it in a safe area. Strong winds or accidents could knock it over and permanently damage your purchase.
  • Double-check that the product you are buying is fashioned to prevent rust or other damaging weather effects to get the most life out of your heater.

Best Patio Heaters FAQs

When looking for the ideal patio heater for your needs, you may have specific questions based upon cost, materials required, usage, and other technical specifications. Here we’ve compiled a few common questions that those looking to purchase patio heaters often need answered.  Keep these in mind when selecting which product is right for you.

Q: How much does it cost to operate a patio heater?

It depends on the usage of the heater and the local cost of propane. If you have a heater that goes into an outlet, it will increase your electric bill, depending on use.

Q: Where can patio heaters be used?

They are designed for the patio. However, depending on size, they can be used in the garage, on the front porch, or indoors if you have a small, versatile unit.

Q: What’s better, a propane or kerosene heater?

Propane is overall safer, more common, and easier to refuel.

Our Top Pick

Our top pick is the Fire Sense Hammer Tone Bronze Patio Heater. It’s rust-resistant, has a safety fixture to stop it from toppling over, and has wheels for easy portability. For the price, it is sturdy and can heat a large area. Its highly powerful heat output is fueled by a propane tank that you’ll need to provide, but overall, it is not as expensive as other products.

Final Thoughts

The Fire Sense Hammer Tone Bronze Patio Heater is an excellent all-around heater. For the extra price, go with the Hiland Pyramid Patio Heater if you want style and aesthetic. But if you have a smaller space and are looking for something more affordable, the Lasko Ceramic Space Heater is your best bet.

Sources:

  1. Patio Heater – Wikipedia
  2. Propane vs. Electric Patio Heaters – Do It Your Self
 

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