We all know lots of people who love spending their leisure time in their patio and read their favorite books there, spend time with their guests or throw BBQ parties there. A lovingly furnished patio often becomes a favorite spot for both children and grown-ups lounging. The summer is about to be over, a warm blanket is not going to be helpful in a while, so you are probably looking for patio heater.
We have selected 9 best outdoor patio heaters, ranging from compact designs for 1-2 persons to more powerful ones for a large company or bars and restaurants. Which one will you pick: a portable or full size one, table, floor, or hanging, electric or propane powered heater, or maybe even, patio fire pit?
What You Will Learn from This Guide:
- Best Patio Heaters: Types and Functioning
- 3 Best Floor Standing Heaters
- Picking a Portable Patio Heater
To pick a proper patio heater you have to first figure out how heaters work in general. Space heaters, including pation heaters specifically are classified in two types based on the heating method:
- convection (they use air surrounding the device for heating) - propane patio heaters;
- radiant heating (infra-red radiation directly heats objects and people within the device’s action radius) - electric patio heaters.
Gas (propane) heaters lead the outdoor heaters market while the electric patio heaters follow them.
All of the propane heaters are rated with an AFUE. This efficiency rating indicates the percentage of the useful heat generated from 100% of fuel consumed. The greater the heat output (Btu / hr) is, the greater is the efficiency.
Propane heaters are handier for long-term heating, while the electric models are more effective when used only for several hours, as the University of Alaska Fairbank scientists claim. In any case, it’s up to you to choose, we’ll only describe you the best models we’ve studied and will help you pick a powerful heater for a large patio as well as a portable patio heater for 1-2 persons.
To heat a large patio, you need to choose a powerful floor model with high thermal power output, preferably from 40,000 Btu/hr and up. This ensures that the rate of the heat generated will be sufficient to keep warm even a big company chilling on a large patio. Only propane devices marked "commercial" will cope with the task as they can also be used in outdoor cafes and restaurants.
Still, bear in mind that there is a relationship between the heat output (Btu/hr) and the operating time of the heater on a standard 20lb gas tank. The more the heater’s Btu/hr is, the greater the heating area is and the sooner you’ll be running out of gas.
The Best Commercial Outdoor Heater – AmazonBasics Havana Bronze Commercial Patio Heater
It is this very model of all patio heaters that has become #1 Best Seller in the Outdoor Heaters category on Amazon.com. This heater was designed to warm up all the guests when you host a huge patio party. This powerful propane patio heater at the starting price of ~$113 will manage this, as we’re speaking of the 46 000 BTU heat output!
Such parameters provide for about 9 hours of performance of a 20 lb propane tank. The heater is promised to emit heat within the diameter of 18 ft. It does indeed seem great; it is not in vain that the customers have awarded it with a 4.2 stars out of 5 rating.
The auto-disable, as well as safe piezo-ignition, convenient temperature control knob, absence of open flame and gentle heat will all be appreciated. The lower block of the heater can be filled with water or sand for greater stability of the structure. You’d better do as the heater can tip over if the wind is strong enough… which, incidentally, happens as in some cases the wind throws off the heater even in the swimming pool.
For transportation convenience the device is equipped with tiny wheels at bottom so that you could easily reach your destination. The heater is powered by a standard 20-pound propane tank.
What about using it in the patio? Havana Bronze Commercial Patio Heater is extremely popular with those who spend plenty of time there: “We bought this for our patio area. It's perfect! It gives just enough heat, was easy to assemble and arrived in two days. It makes watching TV outdoors on a cold rainy day fun! We couldn't be more pleased.” This outdoor heater comes in 3 different colors so it won’t be too difficult to match it with your patio furniture design.
Bear in mind that this heater is to be only used outdoors as it requires lots of oxygen for removing combustion leftovers.
Excerpts from buyers’ reviews
«I work from my home office that's my garage and been freezing..space heaters didn't not work so I stepped my game up! My space is 24x22 and now it's almost to HOT! It's WELL worth the $».
«This thing is really tall. I cut 12" off the upper steel support post, re-drilled holes, and it now puts out at least 10x more heat on me where before it was almost useless in sub-zero temperatures. Installation is easy and common sense, there are only like 10 parts, I have no idea why people are complaining about this».
«I decided to lower the top tubing by 4 inches. Holy Mother - what a difference, easily twice as warm. Keeping the unit at the open front created a kind-of heat wall that really slowed the cold from getting in. Sitting in chairs the whole space started warming up. (10x12). I own the tools to cut the steel tubing and redrill the mount holes. The conclusion is get the shorter version unless it's used for a "standing" only area. I'm 6' 2" and this one 4" shorter is perfect now».
Price: from ~$113 Check the current price
The two floor models follow this best seller:
- An exclusive designer item for those keen on style and comfort
- A commercial outdoor heater with a larger tank
AZ Patio Heaters Patio Heater, Quartz Glass Tube in Hammered Bronze
AZ Patio Heater
This is a device for those who want to own an exclusive designer item able not only to heat up but also to become a decoration in your patio. Such heaters are, as a rule, higher priced but they are worth the price tag. The manufacturer didn’t opt for hiding the propane combustion flame inside device and instead confined the flame in a heat-resistant glass tower with a bronze foundation. It looks so impressive that you’d hurry to install it in your patio, and wait for the night to throw a party!
Excerpts from buyers’ reviews
«After 3 minutes or so when the top receiving burner and top plate heat up very hot. Estimate 5-6 foot diameter from unit of heating, more than adequate. You can't expect the same heat out of this that you get from the other heaters that have the large satellite dish thing at the top. Flames go 1/2 way up glass tube on low, all the way to the top on high setting. Aesthetically pleasing».
«It took me about 30 minutes to put the unit together. Once the unit is ignited, the heat distribution is minimal, but after 10 minutes you can feel the heat 8 to 10 feet away. This unit looks better and heats much better then the traditional patio heater».
The heat output of 40 000 BTU's will be enough for about 10 hours of heating from the standard 20lb propane tank. And the glass case will not only provide for heat, but also for great night lighting. This shall be an excellent choice for esthetes for ~$165. Check the current price
The Best Outdoor Heater for Long Parties – Fire Sense Hammer Tone Bronze Commercial Patio Heater
This device’s starting price is ~$111. Its design is nearly identical to that of the Amazon Basics’ best seller and has the same heat output equal to 46 000 Btu/hr. The only difference is that this very line of heaters provides you with an XL item equipped with additional base weight making the model more stable, better wind-resistant yet more costly.
Price: from ~$111 up to $199 Check the current price
Picking a Portable Patio Heater for a Couple of Persons: 6 Table Top, Hanging & Wall-Mounted Heaters
What should you do if you barely go outside (and when you do, you don’t stay there long)? Suppose, you love reading or working at your laptop or chatting with your significant other outside at night, but the cold would surely ruin your plans. In such cases portable propane or an outlet-powered heater will solve the problem. Such devices will easily warm up a couple.
There are the following portable patio heaters:
- Table top
Table top patio heaters
We have found 2 models which deserve your attention in this category. The first one resembles a regular electric light, and has an elegant design. The second is fuelled by gas and is constructed of metal. Despite their differences, one thing they both have in common is their purpose to warm you. Which one will you choose?
Endless Summer New Orleans Indoor/Outdoor Electric Tabletop Heater
At a first glance this seems to be a mere pretty lamp for ~$149.13. In reality this is a portable electric heaterwhich starts to warm you as soon as you have it plugged in. 1200 watts of power provide heat up to 115 sq. ft. of outdoor space - you can use it both at home and on the street.
This thing has become a treasure for the fans of chilling in patio; some even call it “a lifesaver for my patio”. This outdoor heater seems to be liked by everyone, reading or small gatherings fans, and lovers of stylish and functional devices, smokers who fume outside… It is often presented as a gift as few people stay indifferent to this sleek device. Relative fragility is considered to be the only drawback of the gadget, so think carefully where you are going to place the heater as the wind might flip it over and break it.
Price: ~149.13 Check the current price
AZ Patio Heaters HLDS032-B Portable Table Top Stainless Steel Patio Heater
This stainless steel patio heater resembles large commercial patio heaters: it’s just smaller in size. It is indeed very similar to them, as this tiny device for a starting price of ~$47 is also fuelled by gas (propane or butane), but its tank capacity reaches only 1lb. The heat output of 11,000 Btu/h will only provide the amount of gas sufficient for staying in the patio for up to 2 hours given that either of the two fuels is used.
The heater is supplied with a weight plate for added stability, burner screen guard, thermocouple and anti-tilt safety devices, so don’t worry about your safety, everything has been thought through for you.
Price: from ~$47 Check the current price
Hanging and Wall-Mounted Infra-Red Patio Heaters
Do you have a picnic table with a parasol in your patio or do you own a street café? In either case, it makes sense to maximize the use of space and to install the electric heaters under the sun umbrella or mount them on the wall. They are safe as the heat is provided by infra-red lamps, so you only feel the gentle breeze of the heat. This trick will also remind you how cool it is to spend time outdoors not only in summer. Pay attention to the following 3 models:
AZ Patio Heaters Electric Patio Heater, Parasol
In addition this heater is waterproof and is equipped with a safety anti-tilt switch. There is heat, light and comfort, all creating the perfect atmosphere for spiritual conversations.
Price: ~$80.50 Check the current price
Ener-G+ Indoor/Outdoor Ceiling Electric Patio Heater, Black
It is a waterproof heating lamp of 1500 watts with a significant advantage over its predecessor on our list. It has wireless remote control equipped with 3 buttons: 2 help you set the heating temperature while the third one turns the light on and off. All you have to do is hang this heater where you spend most of the time. The lamp life is promised to last as long as 5 000 hours, so it will take long before you are challenged with replacing it. As the price starts at ~$158.99, you’ll see that this is a profitable investment in heating any patio or gazebo.
Price: ~$158.99 Check the current price
Fire Sense Indoor/Outdoor Wall-Mounted Infrared Heater, Stainless Steel
It is a wall-mounted patio heater. It’s wind resistant and you don’t need a parasol to hang it. You can mount it on the wall (or even a beam), turn it on and enjoy the warmth. This outdoors heater covers the area within 9 ft which makes it a decent option for smaller patios.
Price: ~$112 Check the current price
Bonus: A Patio Fire Pit for Real Flame Fans
Last but not least, we’ve got an interesting heater which will be appreciated by both natural heat fans and connoisseurs. It is simply impossible to ignore it!
A Stylish Outdoor Heater – Sunnydaze Sienna Flaming Ball Fire Pit, 30 Inch Diameter Sphere
If you want to enjoy natural warmth or you love warming your hands near a fire, this heater is for you. It doesn’t require an outlet or a propane tank, you’ll only need to throw some firewood in it and get cozy nearby. Of course, it won’t heat up much space, but you’ll surely appreciate the pleasant time spent at night in your patio while watching the flames flutter in this fire pit.
This isn’t simply beautiful, but also safe as the heater is made of steel and is fully enclosed which allows you to use it without fear. There are 24-inch and 30-inch models available, and they even have the moon and stars on their dome. Perhaps, this is just what your patio is missing.
Price: from ~$179.00 Check the current price
Best Patio Heaters Comparison Chart
Type of patio heater
AmazonBasics Havana Commercial Patio Heater
Commercial propane heater
up to 18 -feet diameter circle
Fire Sense Commercial Patio Heater
Commercial propane heater
up to 18-feet diameter circle
AZ Patio Heater, Quartz Glass
up to 10-12-feet diameter circle
Endless Electric Tabletop Heater
Electric tabletop heater
up to 115 sq. ft
AZ Table Top Patio Heater
Propane tabletop heater
up to an 4-5-feet diameter circle
AZ Electric Patio Heater
Suspended electric heater
up to 15 sq. ft
Ener-G+ Ceiling Electric Patio Heater
Suspended electric heater
up to 15 sq. ft
Fire Sense Indoor/Outdoor Wall-Mounted Infrared Heater
Wall-mounted electric heater
up to 9 foot
Sunnydaze Ball Fire Pit
up to 8-feet diameter circle (the heat is emitted at 360 degrees)