Sharing a drink or a meal on the patio with family and friends is one of life’s great pleasures, but unfortunately, the warm summer weather can be fleeting, and the window for al fresco dining can be all too short.
To extend the amount of time you can spend outside into the fall and winter, you need a heater to keep you warm – and if that sounds like something you might be interested in, here are our top picks for best patio heater to help you choose the right one.
AmazonBasics Commercial Outdoor Patio Heater, Havana Bronze
The Best Patio Heater on the Market 2020
1. AmazonBasics Commercial Outdoor Patio Heater (Our Top Pick)
For anyone looking for a basic, simple but effective patio heater, this AmazonBasics model could be an obvious place to start your search.
With a total output of 46,000 BTUs, it is powerful enough to heat an area of around 18ft in diameter. It runs on standard 20lb gas bottles, and a full one will give you around 12 hours of heat on the medium setting.
We like the sturdy construction – with a rugged base and a durable powder-coated finish, it is built to last and should see you through a good number of seasons before you need to replace it.
There’s no need to worry about safety since it has an auto-shutoff feature that switches it off if it gets knocked over. Another useful feature is the wheels on the base that make it mobile and easy to move.
However, the base can be filled with either sand or water, giving it a low center of gravity to make sure it stays put.
Having said that, it is slightly prone to toppling over in very strong wind – but you shouldn’t be using it when the wind is that strong anyway, and you are best placing it somewhere safe and out of the way if a storm starts blowing up.
The only other complaint we have is about the instructions since they are poorly written and not logical to follow. However, it’s a simple unit to use, so this isn’t a deal-breaker.
All in all, this is a recommended product for anybody who needs a simple solution for outdoor heating. If that sounds like you, you would do well to take this heater into your consideration.
(Our Top Pick)
2. Hiland Pyramid Patio Propane Outdoor Patio Heater
The Hiland Pyramid Patio Heater is around 90” tall and puts out 40,000 BTUs of heating power. It runs on standard 20lb propane canisters and has a reasonably low gas consumption rate, meaning you won’t have to change the bottle as often with this model.
The biggest positive with this unit is possibly the way it looks. It will add a stylish visual element to your patio or swimming pool area at night, especially if you install several of them together.
Other than the look, we like the way it is easy to move – it features a convenient set of wheels that make it mobile when it comes to changing its position. It also has a good safety shutoff mechanism that turns it off if it tips over.
Our main issue with this unit is related to its heating capacity. In terms or raw heating, this type of pyramidal heater can’t compete with other styles – it is best used in situations where you are looking for a combination of heat and pleasing aesthetics.
However, if you need a heater for colder conditions where the most important factor is just keeping warm, there are more efficient options that can do a better job.
Another more minor problem is the instruction manual, which could be clearer. This is not such a big deal, though, since it is easy and intuitive to set up and start using.
In sum, a good option if you are looking for a combination of style and warmth – but if you need a powerful heater to raise the temperatures in the depths of winter, this might not be the right one for you.
3. PAMAPIC Commercial Gas Outdoor Patio Heater
If you need a reasonably-priced patio heater with a strong BTU rating, this model from Pamapic should be of interest.
At just under 90” in height, it is tall enough to provide heat for a large area – it is rated as being able to heat a circle of up to 20ft in diameter.
One useful feature is the door that opens to allow easy access to the gas bottle – however, be careful when choosing because not all color options include the door (which is actually a little strange!). We also like the included zip-up protective cover that comes with it.
The piezo igniter ensures it is always easy to fire up, and another positive addition is the fact that it releases water vapor as it burns to prevent the air from becoming too dry. It also boasts three heat settings.
This heater is easy to set up, and the manual is fairly well written. However, one downside is the fact that it doesn’t have a weighted bottom. Instead, it has screws to attach it to the floor, but where this is not possible, you may have issues with it tipping over.
Also, some people might find the quality is slightly inferior when compared to more expensive models, but we think it represents a great combination of price and quality – we think it’s great value for what it is.
This is a heater that will appeal to anyone who needs a functional patio heater for those cool fall evening and those cold winter nights. If that sounds like you, this is a unit that should make your shortlist of possibilities.
4. hOmeLabs Gas Patio Heater
The hOmeLabs gas patio heater is a commercial-grade heater with a small footprint but big heating capacity. It measures 87” in height and puts out an impressive 41,000 BTUs of power, plenty for heating your outdoor areas for evenings on the patio during the colder months.
Made of high-grade steel, it is built to last. It works with either propane or butane gas, and the 32” reflector plate ensures the heat generated warms the largest possible area.
One touch we particularly appreciate is the built-in drinks table on the stem. It is height-adjustable and gives you somewhere to place your wine or cocktail glasses as you stand outside talking to your guests and enjoying the heat.
There’s also an access door, making it easy to change the gas bottle and giving you somewhere convenient to store the bottle when in use.
One slight negative is that you need to be prepared for a slow assembly process – this model takes a bit longer than some others to put together.
Another small issue that some people might encounter is that it can be a little fiddly to light at the beginning. However, there is a knack to it, and once you get used to its idiosyncrasies, you shouldn’t have too much trouble firing it up.
There’s a lot to like about this heater. It’s simple, functional, does a good job of putting out a lot of heat – and it sells for a very reasonable price. If those sound like the kind of qualities you value, this is another heater that should be on your radar.
5. FDW Patio Tall Hammered Finish Garden Outdoor Patio Heater
For anyone in the market for a gas patio heater at the more budget-friendly end of the price range, this model from FDW could be a no-brainer. It is among the least expensive options in its class – but it still performs as well as some other units that cost quite a bit more.
At 47,000 BTU, it is also one of the most powerful options available – this is a heater that will provide plenty of warmth for a large area of patio.
In terms of safety, there’s no cutting corners, either. It incorporates an auto-shutoff feature that switches it off if it tips over, keeping you, your family and your guests safe from harm.
The stainless-steel construction ensures that it is resistant to rust, too, meaning you should be able to enjoy this heater for many seasons to come.
However, at this price point, it is also important to understand this heater’s limitations. It doesn’t have anywhere at the base to fill with sand or water, relying on the weight of the gas bottle alone to keep it in place – this could become a problem in windier conditions.
Also, the quality is not quite the same as with some of the more expensive models available – but this is something most people will accept when buying a budget option like this, and the quality is still very reasonable for something at this price point.
In short, a great option for anyone looking for a solid and reliable patio heater with a low price tag. Another recommended option.
6. Legacy Heating Commercial Outdoor Patio Heater
If you want to go even further down the price range, this could be another option worth looking at. It is a very basic outdoor patio heater, but it still puts out an impressive 47,000 BTUs of heat.
Mobility is not an issue since it has a convenient set of wheels on the bottom for moving it around. It boasts a piezo easy-start system, meaning you won’t have any trouble firing it up, and it also has the necessary auto-off safety feature that stops it burning if it gets tipped over.
In terms of fuel, it uses propane gas from standard 20lb bottles. The bottle is stored under the housing at the bottom, keeping it safely out of the way while in use.
The biggest problem with this heater comes when it’s time to change the gas bottle. There’s no door, and you need to hold the cover up while you remove the bottle and attach the new one. For one person, this is awkward, and it’s much easier to do if a second person can help.
Also, there is a similar issue if you just want to turn the gas off as you need to gain access to the bottle under the housing to do this.
The only other slight problem is using it when there’s a breeze – on a still day, it’s fine, but if there’s a bit of a wind, it can easily blow the heater out.
This is another top pick for someone who doesn’t want to spend a lot of money. Of course, you get what you pay for, but if you want the most inexpensive heater available and don’t mind too much about the quality, this one is a possibility to consider.
7. Fire Sense Matte Black Patio Heater
While some people are happy to spend the least amount of money for the most budget-friendly options, if you want something a little higher up the price range – and with a corresponding increase in quality – this mid-range heater could be just what you need.
At 46,000 BTUs, it puts out a very respectable amount of heat. It also features a “pilotless” ignition system that eliminates wasted fuel burnt just keeping the pilot alight. Instead, it uses a “rapid spark” electronic system that makes it extremely easy to light each time.
Another innovation is the patented reflector hood that serves to dissipate the heat over a wider area, ensuring you and everyone else will stay warm and toasty, even in cold weather.
Having said that, you may find that the effective range is slightly smaller than advertised – while the company claims it can heat up to 9ft in all directions, in cold weather, you may find that you need to be within about 6ft to feel the full warming effects.
Also, we are a little disappointed with the quality of the instructions – apparently, it seems that paying extra money for a higher quality product doesn’t extend to the standard of the user manual.
However, despite these minor complaints, this is still an outstanding heater that we like a lot. It’s slightly more expensive than some, but it represents great value for money. A solid pick for anyone who wants something more advanced than the cheapest models available.
8. Belleze Deluxe Propane Outdoor Patio Heater
If you are looking for a patio heater that will also greatly enhance the overall visual effect of your outdoor space, this pyramid-style unit from Belleze should be of interest.
Running on regular propane gas, it puts out a decent 42,000 BTUs of heat. The pagoda top also ensures that the heat produced is then directed to the area surrounding it, helping keep anybody in the vicinity warm.
However, it is in terms of looks where this heater really stands out. The beautiful shape makes it seem almost like an art piece in your yard, and the “dancing flames” effect will create a sophisticated, romantic atmosphere on your patio or around your pool.
Unfortunately, as with other heaters of this design, it doesn’t put out as much heat as other styles, making this more suitable for cool evenings rather than cold nights.
Also, the instructions leave something to be desired – but fortunately, it isn’t complicated to assemble, and most people will be able to work it out.
Recommended for situations when the visual effect is just as important as the heat the unit generates – but for colder circumstances, something that provides more power might be preferable.
9. TRUSTECH Outdoor Patio Heater
In some situations, using a propane heater is not possible or desirable for heating a patio – and in that case, you might prefer to investigate other options.
For example, if you have an enclosed or covered patio, burning gas might not be the smartest idea, so an electric heater might be a safer option.
With this infrared heater, you will feel the warmth in only three seconds. It will also save you money on energy, too – up to 50% compared to other electrical heaters.
You won’t need to worry about noise, either, since it runs silently. It is controlled by remote, and it can even detect the temperature and shut itself off automatically if it gets too hot.
The major downside is that it won’t be able to compete with a powerful propane heater in large areas in very cold conditions. However, in enclosed or semi-enclosed spaces, one of these would be ideal.
The only other limitation is that it needs to be located near a power outlet – with propane, this is not an issue.
A highly recommended alternative for enclosed patios or other similar situations when gas is not an option – and it retails at a very reasonable price point, too. A big thumbs up from us.
10. Dr. Infrared Outdoor Patio Heater
This is another infrared heater like the one we just look at, and, although it sells for a slightly lower price, it does a very similar job to the previous model.
If you have an enclosed patio or other area where propane gas is not suitable, this would make a great alternative. It can be used indoors and out and provides consistent heat whenever you need it – there’s no waiting time when you switch it on.
You won’t need to worry about its lifespan because it’s a tough and durable unit. It comes with brackets for mounting and is controlled by remote, making it simple and convenient to use.
One slight issue is that the fan is a little noisy when you run it on full power, but most people will quickly get used to this. Also, compared to other options, it isn’t so easy on the eye – it looks like the design hasn’t been updated for decades.
However, if you’re looking for a practical solution for heating a small area and aren’t too bothered by a little noise or its dated appearance, this is another option that could be worth investigating further.
If you are looking for a heater for your patio, you will want to know about the most important factors to consider when choosing. Let’s think about some of these now.
Gas or electric?
The first decision you need to make is choosing between a gas-powered heater or an electric one. Gas versions provide more heat and are more suitable for unenclosed patios and swimming pool areas. They can also be used anywhere since you don’t need to plug them in.
However, in enclosed spaces, gas heaters can be a fire hazard – and they can also be dangerous if there’s no ventilation. For this reason, in enclosed or semi-enclosed spaces, electric patio heaters can be a better option.
If you go with gas, the power output is indicated by the BTU rating. Anything above 40,000 BTUs will put out a decent amount of heat – but some of the more powerful units offer closer to 50,000 BTUs, plenty for heating larger areas in colder conditions.
Hours per gas bottle
You should also pay attention to how many hours you can expect from one bottle of gas since some heaters use up more gas than others. If you can get between eight and nine hours of heat on the medium setting from one bottle, this is a good amount.
BTUs don’t tell you the whole story since the shape and design of a heater can affect its effectiveness. Pay attention to the area it can heat – a circle of 18ft around the heater would be respectable.
Also, pay attention to the intensity of the heat and how it performs in colder temperatures.
Some heaters can provide gentle warmth that’s ideal for cool evenings, but if you want something that will keep you toasty during cold winter’s nights, you’ll need something more substantial.
Don’t forget about safety features. If a heater gets knocked over, it can create a fire hazard – but most modern heaters will switch themselves off if this happens to keep you safe. Make sure that any heater you buy has this capability.
How is the heater kept in place? There are generally two ways this is done – either the base can be filled with sand or water to give it a low center of gravity or it can be fastened to the ground with screws.
Without either of these, the heater will be prone to toppling over, even in light wind, so you should make sure you know how it is kept upright.
Plenty of worthy options to pick from
As you can see, there are plenty of great options to choose from. If you have decided you want a patio heater for your home but can’t make up your mind which to go for, any of the picks from our review would be a great place to start your search.