10 Best Patio Heaters (Review) In 2021
Adrienne started her professional life as a gardener at her local parks department and went on to train at the Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh where she was the first female student on the prestigious and world-renowned horticultural course run by the Botanic garden. An experienced and award-winning garden writer and past editor of some of Britain’s favourite gardening magazines, Adrienne has for over 30 years, inspired gardeners with a breadth of gardening know-how plus creative and decorative ideas. One of her main aims is to make gardening accessible, even to the smallest green fingers, with her clear advice and straightforward step-by-step instructions. Adrienne loves to travel and has visited, given talks and met ordinary home gardeners in far flung places like China, South Africa, Philippines and Caribbean as well as the UK.
- 1. PAMAPIC 46000 BTU Propane Patio Heater
- 2. TRUSTECH Remote Control Electric Patio Heater
- 3. Star Patio Outdoor Freestanding Electric Patio Heater
- 4. Garden Treasures 48000 BTU Stainless Steel Liquid Propane Patio Heater
- 5. Dr. Infrared 1500W Wall Mounted Patio Heater
- 6. Golden Flame Bronze Commercial Grade Propane Patio Heater
- 7. Hiland Portable TA Propane Patio Heater
- 8. TRUSTECH Electric Outdoor Halogen Patio Heater
- 9. Golden Flame Square XL-Series Patio Heater with Wheels
- 10. Hampton Bay 48000 BTU Stainless Steel Patio Heater
The Best Patio Heater
There was once a time when lower winter temperatures meant that we had to stop making use of our outdoor spaces and wait for the return of summer inside your home near the electric fireplace. But that's not the case anymore! There are now a wide variety of patio heaters on the market, designed to allow you to make the most of your backyard. You have many options, including easily portable tabletop models, wall mounted patio heaters that can be used both outside and inside your home, and powerful propane heaters that are ideal for warming large areas. Here we have 10 reviews of our favorite models, to help you make the best choice for your needs. We share our top picks in terms of price, value, and quality and help you decide whether or not propane heaters or those powered by electricity are best for your home. We also share our opinion on which fuel type is best for patio heaters, plus answer common questions, including whether or not propane heaters can be converted to run on natural gas. Hopefully, these reviews of the best outdoor heating systems will help you extend the amount of time you are able to spend on your patio and continue enjoying backyard barbecues well after summer has ended!
Heat range up to 18 feet
Simple pulse ignition
Built-in tank chamber with easy-access door
‘Pilotless’ burner system
Comes with waterproof cover
The PAMAPIC 46000 BTU Propane Patio Heater is the best patio heater in our review, this one will keep you warm and toasty and has some great features! It is easy to turn on and control the heat using the simple pulse ignition – all you have to do is press a button. You can easily turn the heat up and down using the adjustable valve, and a safety auto shut-off tilt valve is included. The 32 inches reflective cover on this gas-powered heater will keep you warm up to a range of 18 feet, emitting 46,000 BTUs (British thermal units) of heat. It has wheels to make it easy to move around your yard and the heater comes with an outdoor patio cover that you can easily zip and unzip. The best feature of this heater is the door to the built-in tank chamber because it means you can easily change the propane cylinder without having to lift up the entire base.
You don’t need to raise the base to put in the propane cylinder
Easy to assemble
Lightweight enough to move around with ease
Propane cylinder compartment is very spacious
High-quality look and feel
Top-heavy – can be unsteady in windy conditions
No gas level indicator
The reflective canopy is a bit thin
Space heater for indoor or outdoor heating
Fuel source: electricity
Aluminum alloy body
The TRUSTECH Remote Control Electric Patio Heater comes at a great price and can be wall or ceiling mounted in the garage, home gym, or office. It heats up extremely quickly, so you can go from feeling cold to cozy in just 3 seconds! It can be set to adjust the heat automatically, turning off if the surrounding space becomes too warm and turning on again when temperatures drop. It is also easy to control the level yourself using the remote control and checking the temperature on the clear LCD display.
Easy to set up and relocate
Heats in just 3 seconds
Simple to use
You can adjust the temperature from the comfort of your seat
Can be installed on the wall or ceiling, which saves space
Only suitable for relatively small areas when used outdoors
Remote control feels flimsy
Can feel very bright if used indoors
Electric, with a heating area of up to 12 ft
LED flame light
Cool touch design
This electric freestanding heater has an attractive LED flame that looks wonderful at night and makes you feel extra warm and cozy. The Star Patio Outdoor Freestanding Electric Patio Heater is very simple to use and provides 5100 BTUs of heat instantly and quietly. It has some good safety features, including auto shut-off if it tips over and cool-touch materials to protect your fingers from accidental burns. Designed to be as user-friendly as possible, it has 2 switches – a touch switch on the top and a rocker-style switch on the bottom. Its base is designed to be anti-skid so it will stay where you put it, producing a high quality infrared radiant heat that’s unaffected by wind. This is a ‘clean’ patio heater, in the sense that it doesn’t burn fossil fuels or produce any CO2 gases.
Safe to use – no gas cylinders to worry about
Environmentally friendly – produces no fumes or smells
Infrared rays warm instantly
Economical and energy-efficient, with low running costs
Heat output is unaffected by wind
Can be mounted horizontally or vertically
Not ideal for larger areas
Power lead is a bit short
Hard to feel the heat on a windy day
Capable of heating 200 square feet
48,000 BTU burner
Stainless steel construction
20-lb standard propane tank house
Wheels for mobility
This beautiful stainless steel outdoor propane heater would go along perfectly with your outdoor string lights. It has a 48,000 BTU burner capable of heating up to 200 square feet – more than enough to keep you and your family warm and comfortable. The propane tank housing has a tabletop – a great little feature that you don’t find on all patio heaters and which gives you somewhere to place your drinks when sitting outside. The Garden Treasures 48000-BTU Stainless Steel Liquid Propane Patio Heater also has a door, so changing the propane cylinder is easy and doesn’t involve lifting up the whole base. This is a strong heater, made with heat-treated stainless steel for durability, and it has wheels that make it portable and easy to move from one area to another.
Very easy to assemble
Tank housing has a door so you can change propane tanks easily
Table top on tank housing – ideal for drinks
Easy to move from one area of the yard to another
No internal stabilizing
Does not come with a protective cover
Indoor/outdoor infrared patio heater
Made with and weatherproof anodized aluminum
3 heat output settings
1500W (needs a dedicated circuit)
Fuel source: electric
One of the best patio heaters on the market in terms of price is the Dr. Infrared 1500W Wall Mounted Patio Heater, which is a great outdoor heater but is safe to use as a garage heater too. The infrared radiant heat is instant, so you don’t need to sit around shivering whilst it warms up and it comes with the bracket you need to either mount it on the wall or ceiling. This is an environmentally friendly patio heater, which produces no odors and does not burn fossil fuels. It has 3 heating output settings of 900W, 1200W, and 1500W, which will meet your needs and keep you warm whatever the weather. It has a remote control, which has two great benefits. Not only will you be able to control the heat output from the comfort of your chair, but it also means that – if needed – you can mount the heater at a level beyond that which you can reach comfortably.
Provides instant infrared heat
Can be controlled remotely
Comes with bracket for mounting on wall or ceiling
Clean and energy-efficient
Can be installed high on the wall if needed
Need to aim the remote control very precisely
Instructions are minimal
You need to sit quite close to feel the heat outdoors
46,000 BTU burner
Easy-start ignition system
Rich-mocha powder coat finish
Extra-large square reflector shield
With its hammered bronze powder coat finish, this propane gas patio heater looks good and is very durable too. The Golden Flame Bronze Commercial Grade Propane Patio Heater has heavy-duty built-in wheels to allow you to move it easily around your deck or patio and is easy to light, using a simple ignition system that requires no batteries. It features a powerful burner engine that emits 46,000 BTUs and a large reflector shield, meaning it is the same grade as a commercial patio heater and will keep you warm and comfortable. To eliminate any risk of fire, a built-in tilt switch will automatically shut this patio heater off should it tip over. A real bonus with this heater is that it comes partially assembled, which means that you time you spend building it is reduced by half and you can begin heating your outdoor space that much more quickly.
Comes partly assembled, halving build time
Very easy to light
Easy to move around the deck or patio
Stylish design with an attractive finish
Doesn’t come with a cover
Could benefit from more weight in the base
Propane tabletop heater
Heat output: 11,000 BTUs
Hammered bronze powder-coated finish
Burner screen guard
A tabletop patio heater is a perfect alternative to a full-size outdoor heater if you have limited storage space, or if the price of a standard heater is a little beyond your budget. A tabletop heater is also a great option if you are looking for something portable as its small size makes it easy to move around. The Hiland Portable TA Patio Heater is powered by propane (not included) and stands at 38 inches tall. It is designed to be super safe to use, with a heavyweight plate at the base to keep it stable and avoid tipping. But if it does tip, the anti-tilt device will cause it to shut off immediately, eliminating any risk of fire. In addition, it features a heat screen around the burner to protect your fingers. This model has a pilot light and knobs to allow you to adjust the temperature level.
The access door makes it easy to install the propane cylinder
Good safety features, including fire-safe anti-tilt device and heat screen to protect your fingers
Easy to assemble
Can run off a 20 lb tank with an adapter hose (not included)
Easy to light
Fairly low BTUs so will only heat a small space
Adapter hose not included
Hole for adapter hose is not pre-drilled
Electric outdoor patio heater
3 halogen tubes
Tip-over and overheat shut off features
3 power levels – 500/1000/1500W
These corded electric outdoor heaters are clean and environmentally friendly, giving off no CO2, fumes, or odors. They use 3 halogen tubes to give three different levels of warmth and are easily adjustable. The height can be adjusted too, as can the angle of the burner, a feature not found with all patio heaters but one that’s very useful. Something else that’s very useful is that TRUSTECH Electric Outdoor Halogen Patio Heater can be used indoors too, making it the perfect space heater for a garage, workshop etc. Taking just 3 seconds to heat up, these models have lots of features for your safety. There is no flame at all, and if the heater tips over accidentally it will instantly shut off. It also has an overheat feature, where the heater will turn itself off if its internal components reach a temperature that could potentially cause a fire.
Warm up in just 3 seconds
Can safely be used indoors and outdoors
Angle can be adjusted
Very quiet operation
Only powerful enough to heat a relatively small space
Power cord is very short
Electronic pilotless ignition system
Flame adjusts to 2 different heights
Smart auto-tilt shut off system
One of the best patio heaters in our premium category is this commercial patio heater from Golden Flame, featuring a Quartz Glass Tube. The Golden Flame Square XL-Series Patio Heaters’ dancing column of flames helps create an intimate and romantic atmosphere and both the height of the flames and the amount of heat they put out can be adjusted to suit your needs. These patio heaters are commercial quality, which means they don’t just look great, but they are built to be tough and durable, made with high-quality materials that last, no matter the weather! Lighting these patio heaters is easy thanks to the electronic ignition system and we love the fact that it’s also easy to change the propane tank. This is because the heater has an easy-access door and you don’t need to lift the entire base to access the tank. As you would expect from a high-quality outdoor patio heater, safety is a priority and you are protected from any fire risk by a smart auto-tilt shut-off system should the heater tip over.
Access door makes it easy to change the tank
Very easy to light
Comes partly assembled so it’s quick to build
Easily portable thanks to built-in wheels
The extra width of the base makes these patio heaters best in terms of stability
No cover included
No table top for drinks on tank housing
48 000 BTU burner
Easy access door
Brushed stainless steel construction
Heat range of 200 square feet
The Hampton Bay Stainless Steel Patio Heater has an impressive 48 000 BTU heat output, these models from Hampton Bay are the best patio heaters for larger spaces, with a heating area of 200 square feet. The beautiful silver finish makes this a very attractive feature on your deck or patio and the fact that the entire construction is made of stainless steel means it will stay looking good for years to come. The anti-tilt switch means that you are protected if the heater accidentally tips over, as it will automatically cut out. Lighting these patio heaters is easy and the heat can be adjusted using a very simple knob. We love the easy access door on this model which makes it simple to change the propane cylinder without lifting the base. These patio heaters use a standard 20 lb propane cylinder (not included).
High-quality materials mean the heater is durable
Capable of heating a large area
Easy to change the propane cylinder thanks to the access door
Sturdy wheels make the heater easily portable
Has a classy look
Heater comes with a cover
Takes quite a while to assemble
May require a stepladder for assembly
Controls may be too high to reach for those with a shorter stature
Features To Consider With Patio Heaters
When looking at different patios heaters it's important to think about how adjustable they are, and there are a few different things to check. First - and most importantly - can you adjust the heat? If so, is it easy to do so? Most patio heaters feature some type of knob control for this purpose and it's a good idea to check just where that knob is located. If you are of smaller stature, make sure it's not too high to reach comfortably. Also, do you want the option to adjust the heat remotely? Whilst propane patio heaters will need to be adjusted manually, some electric heaters come with remote control, which is a nice feature - particularly if you plan to use the heater inside your home. Next, you want to check if the height of the patio heater is adjustable - not all heaters offer this option but it may be important if you need to locate it under a low roof. Finally, you might want to check if the angle of the heat is adjustable too. If this is important to you, make sure you check the specifications carefully.
Electric vs Gas
This is probably the biggest decision you will need to make when choosing the best outdoor patio heater for your home. If you only have a small outdoor space - or are looking for a space heater for inside the home - then look at infrared electric heaters, which are cheaper to run and much more environmentally friendly. For a larger area, the best choice would be a gas-powered model. Do bear in mind, though, that the running costs are significantly higher.
When looking at patio heaters you need to check both the range of the heater and the output. The area of coverage is usually stated in square feet, making it easy to determine if the heater you want is the best choice for your outdoor area. The heat output is expressed in BTUs, which stands for British Thermal Units. The higher the BTU rating of a patio heater, the wider the radius that it is capable of warming.
The first thing you need to consider is the size of the area you want to keep warm. As explained above, this is where the heat output comes in, as it helps you determine if the heater you like is large enough for your patio or outside space. Next, you need to think about the amount of physical space you will need for the heater. If it is to sit beneath an overhang, you will need to make sure that there is plenty of clearance at the top. If you have limited outdoor space, then you might want to look at tabletop heaters. As their name suggests, these are small patio heaters that are designed to sit on top of the table, providing a cozy focal point to gather around outdoors. A table top heater is also a good choice if you plan to store the heater inside but have a limited amount of storage space in your home.
Because of their top-heavy design, some freestanding patio heaters are at risk of tipping over in windy weather. The best option is to look for models with a heavy, weighted base, or a base that is extra wide for stability. With all patio heaters (except the wall-mounted variety), check the specifications to make sure that an anti-tilt mechanism is listed. This will ensure that the heater will shut off automatically if it does tip over.
Power Lead Length
With electric heaters - especially those that are wall-mounted - the length of the power lead is very important. You need to make sure that it will allow you to install the heater exactly where you want it, whilst still being able to comfortably reach the power source and without creating a trip hazard.
Patio Heater FAQ
Q: What's better - gas or electric patio heaters?
There are pros and cons to both gas and electric heaters. Electric patio heaters tend to be cheaper and are far more eco-friendly, producing 90% less CO2 emissions than outdoor heaters powered by gas. An electric heater will also operate very quietly and use a lot less energy than a gas heater. The type of heat produced is different too - electric patio heaters produce infrared radiant heat, whereas gas heaters warm the air around them (which is known as convective heat). The running costs of gas patio heaters are high and they can take a while to heat up. On the plus side, they are much better than infrared heaters at heating larger spaces. With an infrared patio heater, you will need to sit quite close in order to feel the benefit!
Q: How do you set up a gas patio heater?
Gas patio heaters are generally simple to set up and most are suitable for DIY assembly. The exception would be cheaper patio heaters that need the regulator and gas hose to be professionally connected before they can be used. If buying a gas-powered model, this is an important point to check. DIY assembly models will come with all you need to get them up and running, along with a detailed set of instructions. This means that you should have your outdoor patio heater up and running in around an hour, without having to pay for professional help. However, you still have a bit of work to do with gas-powered patio heaters to keep them going! You need to buy and store the propane cylinders to fuel the heater and will need to change them as needed, once the heater is cool. Look for patio heaters with easy access doors - they make this job a lot easier!
Q: How do you convert a propane gas heater to a natural gas heater?
Converting propane patio heaters so that they can run on natural gas instead is not a simple task - and in most cases, it's not even possible. What's more, the price of a completely new patio heater would likely be less than the cost of a conversion, making the effort somewhat pointless! Converting patio heaters in this way would involve replacing regulators, burners, and orifices - and possibly the venting too. But many models these days are designed to only be used with one type of fuel and not to be converted for use with another type. If you are thinking about converting an outdoor propane heater, then bear in mind that - for safety reasons - it's a job best left to a licensed technician.