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These days, there are more outdoor patio heater options than ever. The best patio heater for your needs will depend on the specifics of your property and outdoor living space. Things such as portability, durability, and overall cost should come into play before making your final decision.
After analyzing product features, customer ratings, reviews, and brand research, we’ve selected the five best patio heaters on the market. If you want to enjoy your outdoor area in the fall and winter seasons, read on for everything you need to know to find the best residential or commercial patio heater for your space.
Top 5 Patio Heaters
- Thermo Tiki Outdoor Propane Patio Heater: Best Design
- Amazon Basics 46,000 BTU Outdoor Propane Patio Heater: Most Powerful
- Mr. Heater Portable LP Heater: Best Portable
- FDW Outdoor Patio Heater: Best Safety Features
- Dr. Infrared Heater Carbon Infrared Outdoor Heater: Best Mounted Heater
This high BTU propane patio heater features a stylish stainless-steel design that resembles an upgraded, modern version of a tiki torch. The ceramic chamber of this patio heater helps it effectively throw warmth throughout even large patio spaces, making it an ideal choice for homeowners who don’t love the look of traditional patio heaters.$322.11 On Wayfair
- Size: 90 x 18 x 90 inches; 20 pounds
- Heat output: 45,000 British thermal units (BTUs)
- Heat range: 15 feet
What We Like: This unit also has an auto shut-off feature that prevents the unit from functioning when it detects that the propane tank is tilted or tipped, making it a strong choice for anyone with children or pets.
What Customers Are Saying
“I like the Thermo Tiki patio heater so much that I now have two heaters to keep me and my guests comfortable on cool evenings while enjoying the outdoor fresh air and a glass of wine. We all love the ambiance that the flame provides.”—Bob via Amazon
“I have purchased 4 of these Tiki Outdoor Propane Heaters for patio dining during phase 1 of restaurant reopening on the outside. They are beautiful to look at when lit and do provide great heat. I started with just 2 and then added 2 more. I will purchase more in the future.”—Karen via Amazon
If you own a larger outdoor patio or a commercial space, the Amazon Basics 46,000 BTU Outdoor Propane Patio Heater could be the right choice for your needs This heater offers a whopping 46,000 BTUs of heat and a 9-foot heating radius.$127 On Amazon
- Size: 32.12 x 32.12 x 91.3 inches; 37.9 pounds
- Heat output: 46,000 BTUs
- Heat range: 9 feet
What We Like: The high heat output of this heater can make it an ideal outdoor propane heater for high-traffic areas. Plus, it’s safe for use near patio furniture.
The base of the Amazon Basics heater is constructed from a blend of durable steel, aluminum, and plastic and comes in various color options. The propane fire of this model is also contained within a cage, providing a safer design while extending the range of the heat lamp.
What Customers Are Saying
“I have assembled many items over the years and some had confusing and frustrating instructions. The assembly of this tall propane heater was very easy. The instructions were straightforward, and all the fasteners were nicely labeled and coordinated with the instructions. They even included a wrench!”—Raymond via Amazon
“Works as described, easy to use and put together, building the top metal part was the hardest; another set of hands helped. Otherwise, we use it when it gets cold outside and is easily adjustable. It provides plenty of heat up, to about 10-15 ft. in each direction. Couldn’t ask for anything better.”—Erika via Amazon
- Size: 10.38 x 9.75 x 12 inches; 2 pounds
- Heat output: 3,800 BTUs
- Heat range: 100 square feet
What We Like: This heater also functions as a tabletop patio heater for sporting events, with an automatic low-oxygen shut-off that keeps the model safe for use around large crowds.
What Customers Are Saying
“Puts out the equivalent of an 880W electric heater. It’s plenty for small, semi-enclosed spaces. I highly recommend pairing it with a CO/LPG monitor for safety.”—Amazon user “OldSalt” via Amazon
“Used it in hunting blind in 20 degree temperature, worked great to knock the deep chill off while sitting. Puts out the perfect amount of heat. Extremely easy to light, very quiet.”—Kenny via Amazon
Best Safety Features
This heavy-duty patio heater has various safety features that complement its functionality as a high-heat unit. If the unit senses that it’s on an angle or beginning to tip over, the automatic shut-off valve will kick in and turn the unit off.$97.99 On Amazon
- Size: 30 x 30 x 88 inches; 29 pounds
- Heat output: 41,000 BTUs
- Heat range: 5 feet
What We Like: The hammered bronze finish on the base of the unit also complements most outdoor design schemes, making it an effective and stylish choice for commercial spaces and large residential patios. The wheels on the base of this FDW model make it completely safe to move frequently, even when the propane tank is full.
What Customers Are Saying
“What a deal! I see these all the time for twice as much at the big box store. Easy enough to assemble, if you can read and know what a screwdriver is. Could have a better bottle-holding solution but not a deal breaker. Lights every time quickly and burns hot.”—Sean via Amazon
“Received several compliments on it! Great with my patio set!”—Irene via Amazon
Best Mounted Heater
This high-tech mounted patio heater from Dr. Infrared is rated for indoor and outdoor use—something that propane-powered models can’t say. Create odorless heat with three power settings, and control the heat from a distance with the model’s convenient remote control.$128.29 On Wayfair
- Size: 35 x 8 x 4 inches; 8 pounds
- Heat output: 5,200 BTUs
- Heat range: N/A
What We Like: This Carbon Infrared Outdoor Heater can be an appealing option if you’re searching for a flexible model with multiple installation choices, as it includes both wall and ceiling mounts.
What Customers Are Saying
“We love this heater. It was easy to install and works great. We live in a mountain valley in northern Idaho, and summer time evening can be cool (40s-50s) so this unit allows us to extend our outside time without bundling up in heavy outerwear. It is perfect for heating over a table for 4-6 people.”—Greg via Amazon
“We bought this for our garage. We hung it from the ceiling, and it does a great job warming our garage man cave. It is a two-car garage attached to our house for reference. We live in the Pacific North West so winters are pretty mild. Would definitely suggest this to others.”—Jenny via Amazon
What to Look For in a Patio Heater
The best patio heater for your needs might vary depending on your home’s construction and outdoor space. The following are a few characteristics to consider when selecting a wall-mounted or freestanding patio heater.
When selecting a patio heater, remember that the unit you choose will spend most of its time outside in the elements. Select a patio heater made from high-quality, weather-resistant materials such as stainless steel to prevent rusting and ensure your heater will be safe for years to come.
Base the size of your patio heater on the size of the area that you need to heat. Most standing patio heaters will heat about 9 feet in diameter, making them suitable for most residential patios. However, if you’re looking to heat a large outdoor or commercial patio, you may need to invest in multiple heaters or choose a larger heater with a higher BTU output.
When purchasing a patio heater, you have three main choices for fuel sources: propane, natural gas, and electricity. Natural gas patio heaters almost always require a connection to a gas line, which makes them a more cumbersome option in terms of installation. Propane tanks provide a large amount of heat and can be refilled with up to a 20-pound propane tank. Electric and infrared patio heater options are more expensive up-front but cost less over time thanks to decreased fuel charges.
When choosing a patio heater, first calculate the total number of square feet that you want to heat. The best space heater for your needs may vary depending on the size of the space you need to warm. If you need to heat a larger space, a propane or gas patio heater can provide you with a higher BTU output. If you have only a small space to heat, an electric patio heater or tabletop option might be more efficient.
Patio Heater FAQ
Are propane or electric patio heaters better?
Electric patio heaters cost less in the long term than propane or other natural gas patio heater options, and they are better for the environment. However, natural gas heaters cost less upfront and may be more suitable for larger outdoor areas. The better option will depend on your preferences and space.
Are patio heaters safe on decks?
Yes, you can use patio heaters rated for outdoor use on wooden decks without creating a fire hazard. Just be sure to use normal fire sense when it comes to safety: Do not allow children to play near or with the heating unit, make sure that no cords are frayed or damaged, and watch the unit at all times during use. Choose a patio heater with an automatic shut-off valve to ensure safety if someone knocks into the heater and tips the fuel tank.
How many BTUs do I need for a patio heater?
The ideal number of BTUs for your patio heater will vary depending on the size of your patio. If you’re attempting to heat a space between 1,000 and 1,200 square feet, use a unit with an output of 21,000 BTUs. For a space between 1,500 and 2,000 square feet, use a unit with an output of 30,000 BTUs.
How We Chose the Top Patio Heaters
To help you select the top accessories for your home, we’ve vetted hundreds of products.
Before recommending any products, we’ve analyzed and reviewed them based on the following factors:
- Customer reviews: We read at least 100 customer reviews for every product in our lineup, considering pain points and advantages cited by customers.
- Ratings: Each product we recommend has a high amount of verified customer ratings on sites such as Amazon and Google.
- Brand research: We conduct research into each brand to assess its reputation in the industry.
- Features: We compare products based on their key features, customization options, and other factors related to performance.
Our data points and review content are regularly updated to account for shifts in customer consensus, product availability, and overall quality.