When you have outdoor space at home, it seems a shame to waste it in the colder months. With an outdoor patio heater, you can warm your patio, deck, or other outdoor seating area, so you can enjoy al fresco meals and drinks well into winter. This is far healthier than spending extended time indoors with people outside your household, where the risk of spreading seasonal colds and other viruses is much greater.
We reviewed dozens of outdoor patio heaters to identify the best of the best. We considered a range of factors, including fuel type, heating capacity, freestanding versus mounted, and average customer reviews.
The Pamapic Propane Pyramid Patio Heater stood out to us as the best overall. Its pyramid design makes it reassuringly stable while the 42,000 BTU rating means it heats an area of roughly 18 feet in diameter.
In This Article
The 5 Top-Rated Outdoor Patio Heaters
|Best Outdoor Patio Heater Overall||Pamapic Propane Pyramid Patio Heater||4.5|
|Best Natural Gas Outdoor Patio Heater||Sunpak Natural Gas Infrared Patio Heater||4.0|
|Best Budget Outdoor Patio Heater||PATIOBOSS Electric Wall-Mounted Outdoor Heater||4.0|
|Best Propane Outdoor Patio Heater||Hiland Propane Patio Heater||4.1|
|Best Electric Outdoor Patio Heater||Wderni Electric Outdoor Patio Heater||4.8|
*Ratings are from Amazon at the time of publication and can change
Best Outdoor Patio Heater Overall: Pamapic Propane Pyramid Patio Heater
There’s plenty to love about the Pamapic Propane Pyramid Patio Heater, which is why this model made it into our top spot. It runs on bottled propane, which is easy to find, providing 42,000 British Thermal Units (BTU) of heat. Of course, this varies depending on weather conditions, but it’s enough heating power to warm an 18-foot diameter circle with the heater at the center. This is enough for medium-sized gatherings, though those at the edge of the heating radius will feel a little chillier than those closest to the heater.
The pyramid design gives this patio heater a stable base so it’s unlikely to tip. If it does, however, it has several safety features that will shut the heater off to prevent accidents. Thanks to the clear glass central tube, you can watch flames dance up and down it, making this heater somewhat of a decorative feature. Retailing at $520, this patio heater is a bit of an investment but it will keep you warm during many winters and cold evenings to come.
Pamapic Propane Pyramid Patio Heater Key Features:
- Four color options to choose from
- Comes with a cover to protect it from the elements
- Side door in the base gives easy access to the propane tank
Best Natural Gas Outdoor Patio Heater: Sunpak Natural Gas Infrared Patio Heater
Natural gas isn’t the easiest fuel to work with, as you’ll a professional to install a natural gas line if there isn’t one in place, but it is a reliable and effective way of heating your patio. The Sunpak Natural Gas Infrared Patio Heater is our favorite natural gas patio heater. It’s ideal for mounting at heights of between 7.5 and 9.5 feet and heats an area of approximately 10 feet by 10 feet. Though installation isn’t easy, once it’s set up, it’s easy to run with a simple on/off switch to supply heat whenever you need it.
This patio heater comes with all the right hardware to mount it to a beam, but it could conceivably be wall mounted too. It’s suitable for use in open-air or a covered patio, but any covered areas must be well-ventilated with open sides. At $1,600, this is an expensive heater, but it’s robust enough to last a decade or more.
Sunpak Natural Gas Infrared Patio Heater Key Features:
- The infrared heating element feels extremely warm
- Slim profile makes it unobtrusive
- No chance of tipping
Best Budget Outdoor Patio Heater: PATIOBOSS Electric Wall-Mounted Outdoor Heater
Most people don’t have huge sums of money to spend on patio heaters they might only use once or twice a month, which is where the PATIOBOSS Electric Wall-Mounted Outdoor Heater comes in. It costs just $135, so you won’t need to put too much of a dent in your bank balance. Thanks to its infrared technology, it heats quickly and efficiently, so you’ll start to feel the benefit in a matter of seconds. It has three heat settings, which is great for days when there’s a slight chill in the air but it isn’t cold enough to turn the heater up to full power.
Although it’s completely waterproof and safe to use outdoors with a weatherproof outlet, it’s also suitable for indoor use as it’s fully electric and doesn’t emit any noxious fumes. Mounting hardware to attach it to a wall or beam is included. Despite the low price, this is an excellent choice for heating a relatively small area.
PATIOBOSS Electric Wall-Mounted Outdoor Heater Key Features:
- Remote control included to switch heater on and off, and change settings
- Timer function automatically switches the heater off after a set time
- CE and ETL safety certified
Best Propane Outdoor Patio Heater: Hiland Propane Patio Heater
If you’re looking for an outdoor patio heater to warm a medium to large area, try Hiland Propane Patio Heater. With a whopping 48,000 BTU of heater power, it can heat areas of up to 20 foot by 20 feet, depending on weather conditions. It requires some assembly on arrival, but it’s relatively straightforward and, once it’s set up, it’s simple to use. The hammered bronze finish looks good and we like the added touch of a table for holding drinks and snacks when you want to get right up close to the heat source.
Although the heating element is quite far from the ground, the reflector around the top of the heater bounces heat back down to where you need it. The wheels on the base make it easy to move, which is great if you have more than one seating area that you alternate between. Priced at just under $280, it’s quite reasonably priced considering how effectively it heats.
Hiland Propane Patio Heater Key Features:
- Anti-tilt device shuts off gas if the heater tips
- CSA and ETL approved
- Uses a 20 lb propane tank in 8 to 10 hours on high
Best Electric Outdoor Patio Heater: Wderni Electric Outdoor Patio Heater
The Wderni Electric Outdoor Patio Heater is an ideal choice for buyers who like the convenience of a freestanding patio heater but prefer electric models to propane. You can pick between two models: an 83-inch model that emits heat evenly around 360 degrees or an 82-inch model that has a directional heating head. Both have a height-adjustable pole so you ca set the height of the heater to best suit you. While you can use these patio heaters outdoors, using an extension cord or a weatherproof outdoor outlet, they’re also safe for use in enclosed spaces, such as garages or conservatories.
This patio heater is extremely simple to set up with minimal assembly required. It should take you no more than five to ten minutes to get it totally up and running. You can choose between three levels of heating: 500W, 1,000W, and 1,500W. Prices are between $200 and $295, depending on your chosen model.
Wderni Electric Outdoor Patio Heater Key Features:
- Anti-tip protection
- Waterproof design
- Suitable for indoor and outdoor use
Who Should Buy an Outdoor Patio Heater
If you love to sit outdoors on your deck or patio, but don’t find enough opportunities to do so because of cold weather, an outdoor patio heater is for you. Rather than abandoning your patio between October and April, patio heaters let you enjoy your outdoor space year-round. Even in warmer climates and in the spring and summer, it can still get chilly after dark and a patio heater will take the edge off.
You might also like to see our list of the best outdoor speakers to make even better use of your outdoor space.
Important Features to Consider
An outdoor patio heater should have a few important features. Here’s what to consider when selecting a heater for your patio:
- Fuel type. You’ll find three main fuel types for outdoor patio heaters: propane, electric, and natural gas. Propane is one of the most common options as there’s no installation involved. Simply hook up a bottle of propane and you’re ready to go. You can run through bottles quickly, however. Natural gas heats effectively and reliably, but you’ll need to hook it up to a natural gas line like you would a gas range. If you don’t already have a suitable natural gas line, you’ll need to have one installed professionally, which is expensive. Electric patio heaters are simple to use and more eco-friendly than propane or natural gas but you’re limited as to where you can position them depending on your outlet situation. If you don’t have an outdoor outlet, you’ll need to run an extension lead from an indoor outlet, but this is only safe in dry weather.
- Freestanding vs. mounted. Some patio heaters are freestanding whereas others need to be mounted to a wall or the beam of a patio covering. Freestanding options are more versatile as you can move them around. Once you’ve fixed a mounted patio heater in place, you won’t want to relocate it unless you’re moving house or making a significant change to your yard layout. If you choose a mounted heater, make sure you have the tools and hardware needed to mount it.
- Power levels. If you choose a propane or natural gas patio heater, their heating power is measured in BTU. The heating power of electric patio heaters is measured in watts. The maximum wattage of an electric patio heater is 1,500W, whereas propane and natural gas models usually emit somewhere between 30,000 and 50,000 BTU.
- Heating area. Some outdoor heaters list their heating area based on their wattage or BTU rating. For instance, a 48,000 BTU model can heat a circle with a diameter of around 20 feet. Bear in mind, however, that is an estimation based on average weather conditions. If it’s extremely cold or windy, it’s likely that it will only heat around half the listed area. Plus, the closer you are to the heater, the warmer you’ll be, so you won’t feel as much warmth at the edge of the heating area as you would right next to the heater.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can patio heaters be left outside?
Patio heaters are designed for outdoor use. So, yes, you can leave them outside. That said, they’re likely to stay in better condition for longer if you put a cover on them, or move them to a shed or garage in extremely poor weather conditions, such as snow or torrential rain.
Can you use a patio heater under a covered patio?
Natural gas and propane heaters are dangerous to use in enclosed spaces, though there’s no such risk with electric patio heaters. You can use a propane or natural gas heater under a covered patio, but only if it has at least two completely open sides and free airflow.
Is it safe to use a patio heater in the garage?
It’s only safe to use an electric patio heater in a garage. These types of heaters don’t give off toxic gases, such as carbon monoxide, nitric oxide, and nitrogen dioxide. You should never propane or natural gas heaters in enclosed spaces.
Are patio heaters effective?
Yes, absolutely. You might not feel like you’re on a Hawaiian beach, but you will feel significantly warmer on a cold day sitting near a patio heater than doing without one. The exact levels of warmth will depend on fuel type and weather conditions.
Other Outdoor Patio Heaters We Reviewed
We looked at 20 other outdoor patio heater. Even though they didn’t make our 5 best outdoor patio heaters list, they’re the best of the rest and each is still a great option. The information you’ll need to compare each one is included with the listing.
Propane Outdoor Patio Heaters
A high-powered propane patio heater available in a range of finishes, either with or without a built-in table.
- 48,000 BTU
- Variable heat settings
- Simple ignition
Cost: $270 to $400
This simple outdoor patio heater is available in both bronze and mocha finishes and takes less than an hour to fully assemble.
- 41,000 BTU
- Range of temperature settings
- Wheels in the base
Cost: $250 to $260
Thanks to its powerful and even heat distribution, this heater is good enough for commercial use, though it’s safe for use in your own yard, too.
- Attractive stainless steel finish
- Electronic ignition system
- 46,000 BTU
A compact and reasonably priced patio heater designed for use on a tabletop. It’s great for warming small groups sitting around a single table.
- Stainless steel or hammered bronze finishes
- 10,000 BTU
- Adjustable heat settings
Cost: $115 to $130
The pyramid design of this outdoor patio heater is both practical and attractive with a gold hammered finish.
- Optional wheel kit included
- Simple electronic ignition
- 42,000 BTU
This sturdy stainless steel heater has a simple ignition system and allows you to easily adjust the heat level.
- 48,000 BTU
- Takes 20 lb propane bottles
- Anti-tilt safety cut-off
You won’t get cold with this pyramid patio heater on your side. It has both high and low heating levels that are easy to adjust.
- Glass flame tube
- 40,000 BTU
- Range of finishes
Cost: $450 to $615
This large patio heater is reasonably priced and well-designed. It has wheels in the base to make it easier to move.
- 40,000 BTU
- Anti-tilt safety device
- Regular is preassembled
It isn’t the most reliable or efficient option on our list, but some buyers are perfectly satisfied with this propane patio heater.
- 48,000 BTU
- Built-in table
- Brown or silver finishes
Natural Gas Outdoor Patio Heaters
We like the hammered bronze finish and the pyramid design of this natural gas outdoor patio heater.
- Attractive central glass tube
- 38,000 BTU
- Hose for linked to gas hookup not included
This contemporary-looking mounted patio heater is powered by natural gas with an infrared output that heats quickly and effectively.
- Pivotable head
- Resists winds up to 12 MPH
- Heats roughly 200 square feet
Another infrared natural gas burner from Bromic. This model is slightly cheaper than the one above but heats a smaller area of 120 square feet.
- Head moves around 25 degrees each way
- 26,000 BTU
- Resists winds up to 8 MPH
This powerful natural gas freestanding patio heater is ideal for heating large areas of up to 3,000 square feet.
- 125,000 BTU
- Durable welded frame
- Manual temperature control
Electric Outdoor Patio Heaters
More powerful than your average electric patio heater but more expensive too. It’s extremely effective at heating, but must be professionally wired into a 240V system.
- Covers an area of 160 square feet
- Compatible with smart controls
A great choice for heating small spaces, this simply mounted patio heater has two power options of 750 and 1,500W.
- 9 heat settings
- Comes with remote control
- Adjustable angle
This compact mounted electric patio heater instantly heats any area and offers three adjustable heat settings.
- Remote control
- Overheat protection
You might have to pay a little more for this freestanding electric patio heater than you would for a mounted model, but you can move it anywhere you need it.
- Maximum of 1,500W
- 3 heating modes
- Easy to assemble
A little different from most electric patio heaters, this hanging model can be hung from the beam of a covered patio or gazebo, or from the ceiling indoors.
- Fully waterproof
- Simple to operate
- Heats instantly
Thanks to the premium German Schott glass used to make this heater, it’s extremely durable. Plus, the electric infrared element heats in seconds.
- Remote control
- 24hr timer
- Also suitable for indoor use
This simple electric wall mounted patio heater might not be innovative, but it gets the job done.
- Comes with remote control
- Uses standard power outlet