If you enjoy spending time on your outdoor space or you love entertaining your guests on your patio, you don’t have to let the cold weather ruin the mood during late fall or winter.
You can stay outside and prolong a lovely evening with a good patio heater. Investing in the best patio heater is a great way to keep your guests and family comfortable and warm while you keep the good times going without getting chilly.
Lucky for you, there are numerous patio heaters to choose from, depending on your choice of style, size of your deck, pool or patio; there is best patio heater just right for you.
Best Patio Heaters of 2018
|36,000 BTUs||Stainless Steel with a Gun Metal Finish|
Tempered glass tube
All-around view of dazzling light
|41,000 BTUs||"Rapid-Multi-Spark" Electronic Ignition|
Extra Thick Single Quartz Glass Tube
|AZ Patio||40,000 BTUs||Reliable worry free ignition system|
Safety auto-Tilt shut off
|Fire Sense||46,000 BTUs||Pilotless single-stage ignition|
Double-mantle heating grid
|AmazonBasics||46,000 BTUs||Commercial grade stainless steel|
Standup patio heater cover protects against rain
I understand that with many choices, comes conflicting information of which patio heater is best. To help you sift the wheat from the chaff, I present honest, unbiased and detailed product reviews on the top picks in the market.
I don’t stop there though; I will highlight what features make them stand out, and also share some useful tips you should keep in mind when you are choosing a patio heater.
But first, let me introduce you to 5 of the best patio heaters you can invest in.
Lava Heat – Best Outdoor Heater for Patio
This is a professional quality patio heater crafted from the finest stainless steel with a gunmetal finish.
Standing at only 6 feet tall, it sure fires a great punch when it comes to power.
The Lava Heat Italia patio heater boasts a great amount of heat with 58,000 BTU’s which can supply ample heat for an outdoor space of up to 20 feet.
When it comes to safety, Lava Heat Italia does not take any risk chances. This unit has a protective steel grill and a 4-foot Borosilicate glass tube that comes in only one piece.
The steel grill can withstand very high temperatures and still help the patio heater stay cool at all times hence, safe to the touch. The 4-foot Borosilicate helps create a safe distance between you and the flame, and if the unit is knocked or tilted, the automatic shut off feature helps the unit switch off immediately.
And it gets even better.
The propane gas tank compartment can accommodate a standard 20lb tank that will offer an omnidirectional 360-degree heat distribution in a 5 – 6-foot radius for up to 10 hours of unaltered warmth.
The Lava Heat Italia is my top pick because it offers superb heating on any outdoor space better than any other patio heater. We also choose the model because it offers good value for money, it is safe and easy to assemble plus it comes with a sleek look packed with features guaranteed to stand the test of time.
Golden Flame – Best Commercial Patio Heater
It is stylish, innovative and boasts an impressive performance that takes outdoor heating up a notch.
Seeing that you can adjust the height of the flames to suit the environment you are in, you will find this quite advantageous.
Also, this patio heater has wheels so you can move it around your patio, as your entertaining needs change for optimal comfort.
This Pyramid Style Quartz Tube Patio Heater creates a lovely sight with the dancing flames illuminating a soft golden glow on the patio to help create a lovely ambiance for a relaxing mood or a romantic date night on your patio.
When it comes to power, this propane-powered patio heater features a great heating output of 46,000 BTU’s with additional features of Double Mantel Heating Grids and SS burners making it the ideal patio heater for a medium-sized or small patio.
It is also worth mentioning, how unbelievably easy it is to start this propane-powered patio heater given it is a propane powered heater with just a push of a button.
We love that the True Commercial offers ample heating ability for a reasonable price. This heater promises unmatched performance and lives up to this promise; this high-quality heater will without a doubt, meet your demands.
AZ – Best Natural Gas Patio Heater
The manufactures of the AZ Patio Heater had quality in mind when designing this patio heater.
One highlight of this heater is that it’s ETL and CSA approved, this means this unit meets all the required safety features required.
With this heater, mobility is another great feature you will enjoy. The wheels equipped with this heater will give you easy portability whenever you need to move this quality patio heater.
The durable stainless steel construction on this patio heater boosts the strength and durability of this unit against all weather. More so, the stainless steel construction helps the elegant, sleek body on the AZ Patio Heater remain in good condition through time.
The dancing flames (red glow) on the top quartz screen are a great sight to any outdoor setting, not to mention they help you enjoy an evening with your family and friends better as you gaze into their glowing beauty.
If you want to turn on the patio heater to provide warmth, all you need to do is push the advanced “Rapid-Spark” Electronic Ignition System, and the unit starts its job.
A plus is that the glass won’t crack even water or snow hits the surface.
The AZ Patio heater is a viable alternative for anyone looking for a good patio heater to provide warmth for small areas on a budget.
Fire Sense – Best Patio Heater for Heat
Fires Sense is a renowned household name in the heating appliance industry.
Over time, Fire Sense has taken it upon itself to produce innovative quality designs that not only bring style, value, and luxury to any home but also the comfort you need to enjoy your patio in any weather.
The manufacturers have made the Fire Sense Commercial Patio Heater the best there is in their collection. The appeal of this heater comes from the fact it seems quite simple at first glance though packed with several neat features you will find useful.
This attractive heavy-duty model eliminates the need for a pilot as it features a one-step Piezo push-button electric ignition that makes the startup process very easy. This process simply utilizes a hammer to strike a quartz crystal in the unit which sparks and ignites propane to light.
Another nice feature you will love is the unit’s portability thanks to the wheel assembly kit fashioned on this heater. This makes moving the heater to the desired location convenient and effortless.
Moreover, you don’t have to freight about damaging the wheels through constant movement because their design is made to withstand rough patio flooring.
For those looking for the perfect patio heater to take their outdoor parties to a new level, you will love what this Fire Sense Commercial Patio Heater has to offer.
What makes this patio heater one of my favorites in this best patio heater review is the good amount of heat it radiates, the ease of assembly and the high quality of construction you get with this heater.
AmazonBasics – Best Gas Patio Heater
This product has proved time and time again to be far better than my expectations.
The AmazonBasics commercial heater provides great warmth, it’s incredibly powerful plus it has a sleek, elegant look.
One of the most impressive hallmarks of this patio heater is the efficient and powerful one-step piezo ignition and safety feature which means you can easily turn on the unit without any trouble. The unit also features a heat control knob that allows you to take full control of the 46,000 BTU’s rating and enjoy low or high heat settings.
You will also love the standup patio heater cover that comes with this unit. This cover protects the patio heater from harsh weather elements and prolongs this unit’s lifespan.
This model has a strong base that stabilizes the patio heater when in use when there is a need to boost the unit’s stability and can be added to the unit’s base to hold it firm.
Furthermore, this patio heater features various safety mechanisms like incorporating a tilt auto shut-off in case the unit gets knocked off or becomes dangerously hot.
Finally, this stainless steel patio heater is fitted with two handy rolling wheels to make transportation from one side of your patio to another simple and easy.
All in all, this heater packs quite a punch in design and performance for the price you are paying for. In regards to features, performance, and price, the AmazonBasics stainless steel patio heater is without a doubt the best value patio heater for its price.
Best Patio Heater – Buyer’s Guide
What is a Patio Heater?
Simply put, a patio heater is a heating device for generating thermal radiation in a preferred location.
Patio heaters are a great option for adding warmth to your patio for those chilly evenings when you are entertaining your guests and family or during winter nights.
Most people love the convenience of a patio heater; they can provide similar heat to that of a fire pit without the smoke or ashes. However, choosing a patio heater to suit your home needs is not an easy task given the number of factors you need to look into.
Don’t fret though, let me give you a piece of mind by explaining them to you. Here are some important factors you need to consider to help you narrow down on the right patio heater for your outdoors.
Location of Use
Before you invest money in a particular patio heater, it is important to consider the location you intend to install it. Most patio heaters work best in mild weather.
More so, if you live in an area that experiences strong winds, consider choosing a heavy patio heater to avoid tilting when strong winds blow. Rain is another weather element that that could majorly influence the heater.
Rain can cause a patio heater to rust over time which spoils it. As such, for areas where it rains frequently, you should consider going for a patio heater that is corrosion resistant to boost its longevity.
Size of Your Patio
Finding the answer to the above question will help you make the right choice for the mounting style and design of patio heater you need to choose.
To make sure you choose the right type of heater for your desired mounting style and the size of your patio, here are the four main types of patio heaters and all you need to know about them.
Freestanding Patio Heaters
Freestanding patio heaters are the most prominent heaters you will find outdoors.
In fact, you might have been the recipient of their incredible warmth on the patios of restaurants, bars or even at your local cafe.
Freestanding heaters stand out from the crowd thanks to their length. These heaters stand at about 7 to 8 feet tall.
This is taller than many people plus they provide ample warmth to anyone sitting in their vicinity. Depending on their brand type, these heaters may or may not have a flame you can see – and have a robust base.
You have different options as far as the fuel type is concerned, some brands are electric, some use propane while some use natural gas.
In regards to their price, these patio heaters are fairly inexpensive with their price range being from $150 to $1500. The difference in price depends on factors like the brand, power, patio heater size, fuel type, and other features all playing a role in the cost.
Most freestanding patio heaters are easy to use and are designed with the ability to adjust different levels of heat. This means that as the temperatures get colder, you can adjust the levels of heat to the amount of warmth you need on your patio.
Keep in mind that with this design, you will require more floor space than the other designs I’ll delve into below.
Wall-Mounted Patio Heaters
If you want to save up on space, while adding warmth to your patio at the same time, you will appreciate this versatile style you get with mounted heaters. Mountable patio heaters do the job right without getting in your way so you can make use of your patio space.
These heaters can easily be hung on ceilings or walls with no hassle.
The important thing you need to keep in mind in regards to wall-mounted patio heaters is they don’t come cheap. You can find mounted heaters with a price tag of up to $2000.
Though; you can still find some mountable models that go for less than $200.
Most high-end wall-mounted patio heaters offer a powerful kick when it comes to the amount of heat they provide. Mounted heaters are most often than not electric and require tasking installation, which might require you to hire an electrician to do the installation for you especially in the case of a high-end mountable patio heater.
Sometimes, powerful mountable patio heaters may require an outlet that draws out more power than a standard electric socket. Depending on how handy you are, you can do the installation job yourself.
However, we recommend hiring an electrician to do a safe installation for you so you don’t raise the risk of causing a fire.
Having tested all the five styles of patio heaters, I must say, wall-mounted are the easiest to use.
Tabletop Patio Heaters
In regards to the smallest size of patio heaters, tabletop patio heaters take up a high tier. Because of their small size, these heaters barely take up any space.
Don’t let their small size scare you off though; you will love their convenience and portability. This makes it easy to fit them on a table just like their name suggests.
Thanks to their lightweight nature and portability, you can invest in tabletop patio heaters to add a touch of flair to your home. Most of them come in attractive designs resembling a lamp.
Hence, use one or two of these tabletop heaters to place on single tables around your pool deck or patio to create a lovely ambiance.
If you are working on a tight budget, tabletop patio heaters are inexpensive and will do the trick. Most fall between $100 – $200.
Hanging Patio Heaters
These patio heaters not only create a beautiful ambiance but you will also find they prove quite helpful in providing warmth to small enclosed areas say a gazebo or a porch.
Hanging patio heaters are usually electric powered, which means they offer an environment-friendly option. Hence, you never have to worry about fumes with this style of patio heaters.
In case you have limited space for your patio, hanging patio heaters will prove to be an invaluable choice during those chilly evenings you want to enjoy your favorite spot in your home. Keep in mind that you may need to hire a professional to install the hanging patio heater in case you are not very handy at DIY projects.
Patio Fuel Types
Perhaps the most important decision you have to make when choosing a patio heater for your outdoors is the type of fuel the patio heater you purchase runs on. There are three main fuel types of patio heaters available in the market.
Here is what you need to know about each fuel type; each comes with its benefits and drawbacks.
Patio heaters that run on propane gas are fairly portable, hence easy to move whenever necessary. To provide fuel, all you will need to do is attach a gas tank to the patio heater; hence, eliminating the need for external installation.
To make the deal even better, propane tanks are affordable, and their installation is quite easy, you don’t have to hire professional help to replace your tank when need be.
The flipside of using patio heaters fuelled with a propane tank is you have to replace the gas tank once the gas runs out. This can be quite disadvantageous in case the gas runs out during an event which can be a bit of a pain trying to get delivery in the late hours of the night.
You might find that the initial installation cost of a natural gas patio is expensive, but the running cost is quite cheap. During installation, all you are required to do, is set up the natural gas lines, attach the patio heater to the gas line, and just like that, your patio heater is up and running.
Once it’s set up, all you need to do is turn on the patio heater when you need it and turn it off when you don’t. There are two drawbacks to using natural gas.
It is also worth mentioning that patio heaters that run on natural gas require installation by a professional since a lot of care is needed to eliminate the risks of fire accidents attributed to poor installation.
On the bright side, most natural gas patio heater models come equipped with a gas line to ensure constant and dependable heat of up to 20 feet in size whenever necessary.
With electric fuel, you get incredible convenience of adding warmth to your patio with little hassle. For starters, patio heaters that run on electric fuel do not emit fumes thus, making them environment-friendly.
One more thing you need to know is electric patio heaters are less susceptible to wind in compared to the other fuel types.
In all truth, electric Patio Heaters are the easiest to install and use but they have one downside. Electric heaters need to be plugged in.
Unfortunately, some outdoor patios do not have inbuilt electric sockets which make electric patio heaters unfeasible for such homes. In case your home does not have plugs on the patio, long cords are still an option though I must say if you are conscious about ambiance, long cords can be unsightly.
As you can see, each of the fuel types offers several benefits and drawbacks as well. Most patio heaters are designed to use any of the three fuels, but in some cases, there may be an exception in high-end models designed with an optional fuel usage feature.
This means that some patio heater models can use more than one type of fuel for user convenience and optimal running.
Understanding Heat Output Ratings
As you shop around for a patio heater, you’ll notice different patio heaters offer different heat ratings measured in British Thermal Units or BTUs as displayed. Regardless of the patio heater, you choose to settle for, a good thumb rule you need to keep in mind when comparing models is:
To determine the BTU rating required for your patio, multiply the amount of heat desired for your patio by the area to be covered in cubic feet.
If you are looking to buy an electric heater, look out for the rating in Watts and not in BTU’s. A unit that puts out 1,500 watts is equivalent to one that yields 5,100 BTUs.
Each covers an area of approximately 150 square feet or a 10 x 15’ space.
Some brands state how much space their patio heaters will heat in their packaging. For most brands, a patio heater rated 40,000 BTUs will radiate heat that covers a radius of approximately 8 to 10 feet on your patio, again note the heat in the inner circle of 3 to 4 feet being the warmest than the outer space.
You also need to keep in mind how far you intend to have the heat radiated. This will depend on a few factors such as how much rain is outside, how cold the region is or even how much snow is falling outside.
If you live in a cooler region or have a large patio, knowing wattage and BTUs will help you determine how much heat your patio requires. Though BTU and Watt units can be helpful, be sure to check out customer reviews on what customers are saying about the patio heater you are looking at.
This will give you a clear picture of how much heat to expect from your patio heater in different seasons.
All patio heaters come with risks, seeing that they use a high amount of heat and vulnerable fuel to provide warmth to an outdoor space. It, therefore, goes without saying that you should always make a point of buying a patio heater that comes with basic safety features.
Some of the safety considerations you need to look out for include:
- Automatic shut off: this is a switch installed inside the unit that automatically turns the heater off in case of any fire hazard inside the unit or if the heater gets too hot.
- Cool-Touch Glass: this is a smart feature that makes any patio heater safe to use around pets and children.
- Tilt-Over Protection: This neat feature ensures the heater you use turns off immediately in case the unit tilts when knocked over.
- Sturdy Base: If you opt for Freestanding patio heaters ensure the base is sturdy to withstand strong winds.
- Safety Approvals: Before you settle on a specific patio heater you will want to ensure the heater has approval by the CSA and the UL on all the basic safety requirements. This approval guarantees that the unit has been tested for the above safety traits and more to assure all the basic requirements are in accordance with the set standards.
Cleaning and Maintenance
There is a high chance that outdoor patio heaters will accumulate dirt and dust over time. To prolong your heater’s life and keep it looking its best always, ensure you clean the surfaces often.
Be sure to look at your instructions manual to learn any specific cleaning requirements needed for your unit or some of the cleaners you should avoid that may damage the unit.
You will love that there is little to no maintenance needed for a standard patio heater. The only maintenance needed is to wipe the unit and replace propane gas tanks in case the gas runs out.
Additional Features To Look Out For
- Heating Levels
Several heaters come with the handy option of regulating heat to different levels according to the weather. You will find this feature in some wall-mountable, tabletop, and freestanding models.
- Ease of Assembly and Use
Some patio heaters are remarkably easy to use from the minute you get them all through their lifetime. Some patio heaters may be difficult to assemble at first but easy to use with time while for some, the opposite is true.
Having tested a freestanding patio heater, I found that the installation process was more cumbersome compared to that of tabletop heaters, but the use overtime was quite efficient.
A patio heater that comes with a cover will help protect the unit from any environmental elements that may damage the unit and prolong its life.
In regards to wheels, you might want to consider choosing a freestanding model that comes with wheels to enhance the mobility of your patio heater when entertaining your guests.
Reputable brands offer a warranty on their products. The easiest way to check whether the company producing the patio heater has confidence in the unit is by the time of warranty offered and what it offers.
In case of any issues, you can return the patio heater for replacement within the warranty period.
Tips For Choosing the Best Patio Heater
- If you want to use a patio heater as the only source of heating a large table on your outdoors, consider buying two tabletop heaters to place at the edges of the table to provide ample heat for all your guests.
- If you have a larger outdoor space, consider investing in propane patio heaters. Why? Propane heaters warm the air around them faster and not just the objects in their vicinity.
- When looking to buy a propane-powered patio heater, look for one with the Piezo-electric ignition. You will love this neat feature because it gives you an easy time lighting your heater with just a flick of a switch. Plus, you don’t need batteries.
- If you go for a propane powered patio heater, keep in mind there is a high risk it could topple over in areas with strong winds. As such, opt for one with a sturdy base.
- Weather elements like rain, hail or snow make patio heaters susceptible to rust. To prevent this from occurring, ensure you buy a patio heater designed with rust-resistant material like hammered bronze or stainless steel.
- If you opt to buy a wall-mounted patio, ensure the package comes with all the essential tools and hardware for installing it. Be sure to ask the store you purchase if they have technicians who can do the installation for you, some shops offer after sale services and installation for free or offer a discounted installation cost.
What more is there to say? Sure, you can’t control the weather, but you can control your comfort and enjoy a relaxing evening with your family and friends on your outdoor porch.
Whether it’s summer, winter, autumn or fall, with the best patio heater, nothing’s going to interfere with your comfort. I trust you have all the knowledge you need with this reviews and guide piece.