The Best Patio Heater To Stay Warm Outside This Winter

By Kate Hendricks | Outdoor Living

Jan 09
Patio Heater

Just because the days and nights are colder, it doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy your patio and backyard. All you need is a little heat to take the edge off, and sometimes a sweater just won’t quite cut it. Thankfully there are plenty of patio heaters to choose from, depending on your needs.

In this buying guide we will review the best patio heaters currently on the market.

OUR #1 PICK ON AMAZON

Types of Patio Heaters

The type of patio heater you buy will very much depend on the size of the area you are trying to heat, how exposed it is, as well as how cold it is. If you are trying to heat a large area you might want to use more than one patio heater, dotting them around for even heat distribution.

Electric

There are plenty of electric patio heaters to choose from and they can be an economical way of getting heat outside. Some models may need to be professionally installed so be sure to check this out first before buying.

Gas and Propane

Patio heaters that run on gas or propane are likely to be more powerful in terms of a heat output, and therefore more suitable for keeping warm outside in the winter. There are some things to consider though with a gas or propane patio heater;

  1. Be careful where you place the heater if it is in an enclosed area, you don’t want to create a fire hazard.
  2. You need to buy gas for it and make sure that you always have some in case you run out midway through an evening!

Gas vs Electric Patio Heater

Is a gas patio heater better than an electric? A gas heater running on propane will be more expensive to run versus an electric heater, however, they do heat up a much larger area of space. An electric heater is more environmentally friendly as it doesn’t produce any emissions when heating. A heater run from natural gas will be cheaper than propane, but will more than likely have a permanent position, rather than being able to move it around.

Different Sizes of Patio Heaters

You can choose between full size standing heaters, table top or ceiling/wall heaters. Ceiling and wall heaters are often fixed but can be placed so that they direct heat at a table or area where you are likely to spend the most time. They are usually run on electric rather than gas. A full size standing heater or a table top heater will more likely be portable so more suitable for moving around the backyard during parties and gatherings, or loaning out to people.

Patio Heater Reviews

Amazon Basics Havana Bronze Commercial Patio Heater

Main Features
  • Heat output of 46,000 BTU’s
  • Piezo ignition
  • Dimensions 18 (L) by 89 (H) inches
  • Weight: 40 pounds
  • Built in wheels for easy transportation
  • Safety auto shut-off tilt valve
  • Powder coated finish
  • 1 year warranty (additional protection plans available for a fee)
This patio heater from Amazon’s Basic range is an ideal budget buy without compromising on quality and effectiveness. It looks good and comes in a choice of 4 different finishes (Havana Bronze, Slate Grey, Stainless Steel and Charcoal Grey)
The base can be filled with water or sand to provide additional weight to keep it sturdy – although, like with all patio heaters, care must still be taken in strong winds.
What You Will Also Need
– LP gas cylinder (20lb) – Essential
– Cover for protection from outdoor elements – Optional but recommended
The gas operated patio heater is easy to ignite by simply pushing a button. The heat is controlled by a knob to effortlessly switch from low heat to high heat and to switch the whole thing off.
A fantastic (and we think essential) safety feature is included, a shut off tilt valve which essentially turns the heater off should it get knocked over.
The heat that this heater provides  (46,000 BTU’s) is powerful, heating up to a 18 foot diameter, ideal for gatherings outside during the cooler months and evenings.
The patio itself weighs in at 40 pounds and is easy enough to manoeuvre into position owing to the built in wheels at the base. This allows the user to change the location of the heat during the evening should they want to.
What We Like: Provides ample heat to keep you warm at a reasonable price.
What We Don’t Like: The instructions for putting it together aren’t as clear as they could be but most users report a construction time of approximately 90 minutes.

AZ Patio Heaters Patio Heater, Quartz Glass Tube

Main Features

  • Heat output of 40,000 BTU’s
  • Built in wheels for easy transportation
  • Dimensions 91″ (Height)
  • Weight – 65.2lbs
  • Anti-tilt safety
  • 1 year warranty (extended warranty available for a fee)

If style is priority, then the AZ Quart Glass Tube should be a consideration for your outdoor heating needs. The heater itself will be a feature of your patio, as well as providing you and any guests warmth.

The heater comes in a choice of 7 finishes (black, bronze, matte black, hammered bronze, steel, silver and rich mocha-bronze).

It comes with the same anti-tilt safety shut off feature as the Amazon Basics heater above, but does have a slightly less powerful heat output at 40,000 BTU’s compared to 45,000 BTU’s.

What You Will Also Need
– LP gas cylinder (20lb) – Essential
– Cover for protection from outdoor elements – Optional but recommended
What We Like: Stylish looks.  
What We Don’t Like: Not as powerful as the Amazon Basics model.

AZ Patio Heater Portable Gunmetal Table Top Heater

Main Features

  • Heat output of 11,000 BTU’s
  • Dimensions – 24 (L) x 24 (W) x 34 (H) inches
  • Weight – 18lbs
  • Comes with cover and screen guard

This table top outdoor heater, also from AZ, is a great alternative to the taller, more powerful models discussed above.

If you are looking for something to heat up a smaller area, the AZ portable heater is a much more suitable option. The cost of running will be significantly less, with it running on a 1lb gas tank and providing a lower heat output of 11,000 BTU’s.

Although the heat output is a lot less than the others, it still provides heat for up to a 5 foot diameter, making it the perfect source of warmth for a more intimate gathering.

The heater looks stylish in gunmetal finish and comes with a cover and screen guard included in the price.

What You Will Also Need

– 1lb propane tank

What We Like: Easy set up, economical to run, ample heat for a few people outside

What We Don’t Like: We couldn’t find anything not to like!

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Patio Heater Vs Fire Pit/Chiminea

If you’ve been searching for ways to heat your outdoor area you will likely have come across a fire pit/bowl or chiminea as a possibility. There are pros and cons to each, and your decision will very much depend on your own preferences.

  • They require a supply of dry fuel such as wood to ‘feed’ it
  • They emit smoke
  • They are prettier and seem more cosy than a patio heater
  • You will need to take some extra precautions if you have young children or pets running around

Other Considerations

Can You Use A Patio Heater Inside?

You definitely can’t use a patio heater run on gas inside an enclosed area. Some electric heaters can be used inside, or in a sun room/conservatory, but this will depend on the individual model and should be confirmed with the manufacturer.

Where Should It Be Placed?

On a hard level surface away from anything flammable. Don’t place it on grass or bumpy ground.

Is It Expensive To Run A Patio Heater?

The cost of running a heater outside will be determined by the type, electric, propane or natural gas. Propane fuelled heaters will be the most expensive as they require you to refill them with a gas canister, whereas a heater than runs on natural gas is connected to the mains gas. Electric heaters are economical to run and costs will depend on the power of your heater.

Are Patio Heaters Safe?

If care is taken to prevent accidents, yes patio heaters are perfectly safe. Any reputable brand of patio heater should have a number of safety features built in. They should always include a manual shut off valve that automatically switches off supply.

Always make sure the heater is placed a sufficient distance away from anything flammable, as well as in a location that people (or pets) won’t run into, or trip over it.

Never let a child operate the heater, make sure an adult safely switches it on or off, particularly if it is gas.