Having the best patio heaters is a great way to make the most of a garden, patio, or balcony. For those who love to entertain in late summer evenings, as well as crisp autumn and winter months, investing in a patio heater is essential, as they can help to take the chill off when dining al fresco, as well as create a cozy ambiance when chatting with family and friends at night.
Several different types of patio heaters are available to suit the size of the outdoor space you have. For example, a freestanding patio heater can heat around 324 square feet, while smaller options will heat 6 square feet. While choosing a model with a larger range may be tempting, it’s important to think about how you use the space.
Socializing outdoors has become more popular in recent years, and there are more style and design options for patio heaters than ever before. From contemporary pyramid designs that give a restaurant-style look to classic designs that will sit subtly on a patio, you can choose a style that fits your home as well as various fuel types for your convenience.
Four types of patio heaters are available, including freestanding, tabletop, ceiling-mounted, and wall-mounted. When choosing the best patio heater in 2022, it’s vital to ensure that it has the best coverage possible and is within your budget. When researching your next purchase, we advise looking at the BTU (British Thermal Units) that each model gives out. More powerful models tend to be more expensive to fuel and run, but may be worth the money if you have a big space or live in a colder climate.
In this guide, we’ve selected some of the best patio heater brands on the market to help you decide, including Thermotiki, Hampton Bay, Fire Sense, and more. And if you’re considering upgrading your outdoor space, even more, consider one of the best fire pits (opens in new tab), the best gas grills (opens in new tab), and even the best hot tubs (opens in new tab) to make entertaining a dream.
The best patio heaters
Our pick for best patio heater overall is the Fire Sense Commercial Patio Heater. A sturdy freestanding outdoor heater powered by a standard 20-pound propane tank, its 46,000 BTU of heat will heat up to 225 square feet of patio, according to Fire Sense.
Constructed from commercial-grade steel, the Fire Sense Commercial Patio Heater is available in an extensive range of different finishes to complement your patio décor, including Aqua Blue, Matte Black and Hammered Mocha/Bronze.
Its Piezo electric ignition system makes lighting the patio heater as simple as pushing a button, but a particular selling point is the 'Pilotless' Burner System, which is more reliable in windy conditions and also reduces fuel wastage.
As well as the amazing quality and features, the Fire Sense Commercial Patio Heater comes with a lifetime defective parts replacement warranty so that you can truly have peace of mind with your purchase. If you do run into any problems, then you can simply contact support and receive a replacement part.
- Read our Fire Sense Commercial Patio Heater review (opens in new tab)
There are few heaters that'll look quite as good on your patio as Avenlur's Pyramid - though, let's be technical, it's more of a truncated pyramid shape, or perhaps a frustum if you're a real maths fan. It shoots fire up a glass tube, giving you a unique glow that many other propane heaters can't match, and it's far more attractive than its mushroom-topped competitors.
It's not the easiest thing to assemble, with instructions that lack a few critical details, but once you've worked out the kinks we can't imagine you'll be unhappy with its ease of use, the wheels which make it portable, or the heat it manages to produce. Keep a second propane bottle on hand, though, because big flames mean it guzzles the gas.
Avenlur is a proud American company, based in New Jersey and all of their orders are shipped quickly from their domestic warehouses. If you're concerned about this heater getting damaged by the weather when it's not being used then don't worry - Avenlur gives you a free protective cover with every order. This will shield it from the elements, helping it to stay shiny and functional for as long as possible.
- Read our Avenlur 42000 BTU Pyramid Patio Heater (opens in new tab) review.
Those who want a patio heater to allow them to maintain a comfortable temperature in their backyard while they relax or eat will be impressed by the Westinghouse Infrared 5100 Electric Standing Patio Heater. It’s perfect for individuals or small families; those who don’t particularly need a powerhouse of heat for their cozier space.
The Westinghouse Infrared 5100 Electric patio heater is an excellent choice when it comes to energy efficiency and is packed with ultra-useful features for good measure. That includes safety features to keep from any accidents or mishaps and technology to prevent it from taking a tumble in adverse weather conditions. This won’t be the heater for large families or hosting gatherings due to its low power, but it’ll suit smaller families perfectly and cost them less to run too.
If you're worried about your patio heater costing too much to run, then you can take comfort in the fact that the Westinghouse Infrared 5100 Standing Patio Heater costs mere cents per hour to run - great for enjoying a cozy night on the patio without spending too much money on fuel or electricity. The bulbs also last for around 5000 hours, so you won't need to think about replacing them for at least a few years. This heater is also IP24-certified weatherproof - making it safe to use outdoors even in wet or rainy environments.
- Read our Westinghouse Infrared 5100 Electric Patio Heater review (opens in new tab).
If you're set on buying a freestanding propane patio heater but have a relatively tight budget, you can't go far wrong with the AmazonBasics Commercial Outdoor Patio Heater. We think it's the one of the best value patio heaters around.
Closely matching the size, style and power of similar outdoor heaters, such as the Fire Sense Commercial Patio Heater above, this affordable option has the most detailed customer feedback of any patio heater on this list, with well over 1,000 reviews on Amazon.
While the volume of feedback inevitably means more negative points are highlighted, users are generally pleasantly surprised by its performance, especially considering the price and 'Basics' brand positioning.
This patio heater is also lightweight, weighing only 38 pounds, and uses a convection heating method - perfect for distributing heat evenly instead of the immediate vicinity. This, combined with its one-touch ignition, means you can quickly and easily get an area heated up and ready to enjoy.
- Read our AmazonBasics Commercial Outdoor Patio Heater review (opens in new tab)
Our pick for best high-end patio heater isn't the most expensive option on this list, but we recommend the Bromic Smart-Heat Electric Patio Heater for its winning balance of power, eco-friendliness, and quality of design and build.
Available in four different models, from 2000W to an impressive 6000W, the wall-mounted Bromic Smart-Heat Electric Patio Heater uses state-of-the-art infrared radiant elements to provide efficient directional heating for your patio.
Bear in mind that this outdoor heater generates less heat than propane. It needs access to an electrical socket, too. But it's efficient at heating spaces, and we love its sleek, modern design.
As well as the excellent Smart-Heat range, Bromic has also introduced an ultra-thin, premium Platinum range to take an already high-end patio heater to the next level. Both ranges include gas-powered units too.
This patio heater is also a great option if you are looking specifically for a wall-mounted patio heater. It can be attached to your wall neatly, and won't take up anywhere near as much space as a free-standing patio heater. It mainly uses an infrared heating method, but it's powerful enough to begin heating an area by convection evenly and effectively.
- Read our Bromic Smart-Heat Electric Patio Heater review (opens in new tab)
Hampton Bay's patio heater has an adjustable heat output which can pump out a massive 48,000 BTU, making it one of the hottest patio heaters you'll find. While it's a reasonably priced option, the Hampton Bay 48000 BTU Stainless Steel Patio Heater probably won't blow anyone away in terms of looks (unless you're rocking a whole lot of stainless steel hardware on your patio, in which case it'll fit right in).
Great for stand-up parties, good for covering a large area, and easy enough to move even though it doesn't have wheels, Hampton Bay’s patio heater basically fits the mold of an outdoor space heater without doing anything overly clever. This isn’t a bad thing, but it isn’t exactly pushing the boundaries of innovation either.
The Hampton Bay 48000 BTU Stainless Steel Patio Heater is pretty safe too, with an auto shut-off valve if it should get tipped. There’s also a bottom-heavy stackable design which houses your own 20lb propane bottle. All in, if you want a safe pair of hands when heating your patio, especially during gatherings where people are mostly stood up, this is the best patio heater for you.
The stainless steel design makes this patio heater very durable in wet conditions, as it will not rust or tarnish in the rain or snow. It also won't oxidize as a result of its strong heat output, a problem that some patio heaters can have when used for prolonged periods over multiple days.
- Read our Hampton Bay 48000 BTU Stainless Steel Patio Heater review. (opens in new tab)
If you've got an outdoor seating area with a parasol, finding a heater that is compatible is key to enjoying your yard in the winter months. The Hiland electric gazebo patio heater has an orb-like shape that is great for hanging in the middle of a table, ensuring people sitting around receive equal warmth. It offers three settings and a remote control, so you can easily turn it on or off from the comfort of your seat.
Reviews say the heat output isn't as great as other models, but it's important to bear in mind that this should be used in a smaller, specific area rather than for a large entertainment space. If this is what you're looking for, then this is an affordable option that also offers a sleek, modern style.
The fact that this patio heater uses electricity rather than propane or oil makes it much cheaper to use, so you can leave it on for much longer without the worry of running out of oil or gas. You'll also have added peace of mind that you won't need to splash out on expensive fuels to keep it running.
Need a smaller outdoor heater that can sit neatly on your patio table, rather than taking up valuable floor space – or that can accompany you on camping trips or picnics? The Fire Sense Table Top Patio Heater ticks both boxes. It's one of the most portable patio heaters you can buy.
A scaled-down version of its freestanding cousin, the Fire Sense Table Top Patio Heater runs off a one-pound propane tank – although it is possible to hook it up to a larger tank if you prefer. It uses a lot of fuel, and isn't the most eco-friendly option, but at 10,000 BTU this patio heater also puts out a lot of heat relative to its size.
It heats using convection, and its 360° heating area means it is perfect for when you want to have multiple people sitting around it - it will warm the area evenly ensuring everyone is nice and cozy even on the coldest of nights. Even though it's small, reviews say it can be quite heavy making it harder to move around.
- Read our Fire Sense Table Top Patio Heater review (opens in new tab)
While heat output is clearly important, patio heaters can play an aesthetic as well as functional role in your outdoor space. This is where the Thermo Tiki Deluxe Patio Heater excels. Although this pyramid patio heater struggles to generate the same level of warmth as the other freestanding patio heaters on this list, the stylish, eye-catching 'dancing flame' feature is sure to attract attention and generates an atmospheric flickering light.
Like other pyramid-shaped patio heaters, the Thermo Tiki Deluxe Patio Heater puts style over substance to some extent. There are certainly more efficient ways of heating your patio. But if creating ambience is high up your list, this is one of the best patio heaters out there.
In addition to its aesthetic design and flame, the Thermo Tiki Deluxe Patio Heater is also incredibly easy to start. It has a simple push-button ignition so you can effortlessly start warming an area and wowing guests as soon as you are ready. The ease of use and the stylish look of this model are major selling points, and they will almost certainly impress people attending your patio parties and cookouts.
- Read our Thermo Tiki Deluxe Patio Heater review (opens in new tab)
The Dr Infrared Heater DR-338 Carbon Infrared Heater with Remote is a useful, compact infrared heater. It's best suited to heating a small covered area rather than an entire patio, though its included tripod (which includes a tilt-sensing auto shut-off, complementing the same protection in the main unit) makes it suitable to move around wherever you need it.
It also comes bundled with brackets which allow you to mount it on a wall or ceiling, making it perfect for indoor use in a garage or workshop. There's no fuel to burn, and a remote control to help adjust the heat from afar - though you do need to get quite close to really feel the warmth this kicks out.
Portability is the main feature of this patio heater, as it can easily be moved to different parts of your yard. Whether you are hosting a party in your backyard or relaxing by yourself on your front porch, it will have you covered for any eventuality.
- Read our Dr Infrared Heater DR-338 review (opens in new tab).
What to consider when buying a patio heater
There are many types of patio heater to choose from. The main four varieties are:
- powerful freestanding units
- portable table top units
- ceiling-mounted, or hanging units
- wall-mounted units
Freestanding patio heaters tend to generate the most heat, often in the region of 40–50,000 BTU. Each BTU (British Thermal Unit) is the energy required to raise the temperature of one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit. They are a popular choice for heating whole patio areas, for larger groups.
We have included four freestanding patio heaters in our list, with prices ranging from under $150 to over $700. We have selected one model each from four different patio heater brands, but bear in mind that manufacturers offer similar heaters in several different styles. Our Fire Sense vs AZ Patio Heaters (opens in new tab) guide compares similar products from two particularly popular patio heater brands.
We have also reviewed two different 'table-top' patio heaters – a portable propane powered unit with an output of 10,000 BTU that sits on top of your table, and an innovative electric powered unit that is a table in itself. Both sit within a mid-range budget of $150-300 in terms of RRP, but are regularly discounted.
Ceiling-mounted patio heaters come in various configurations, and we've included two very different approaches catering to different extremes of budget. One is an electric unit for under $100 that fits inside your parasol; the second, top-of-the-range option is powered by natural gas, and is over $1,200 for the basic model.
Wall-mounted patio heaters provide directional heat for a small area, and tend to be significantly less powerful. They are usually electric, with 1500W (5,115 BTU) being a common output. Top-of-the-range units can be up to four times more powerful.
There are two wall-mounted patio heaters featured in our list below: a 1500W unit from Sundate for under $100, and a 4000W unit from Bromic for $700. Bear in mind that although one wall-mounted heater may be sufficient for a small enclosed area, if you have a large patio you may need multiple units so a more powerful heater may be a better investment.
Other things to consider when buying a patio heater include.
The size of your space
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Before beginning your search, we recommend carefully measuring your outdoor space. This will allow you to find a model that accurately heats the entire area and keeps you comfortable year-round.
The weather in your area
Another thing to consider before shopping is what the weather in your area is like throughout the seasons. If you tend to experience very cool falls and winters, you may want to consider a more robust patio heater. However, if your seasons tend to be milder, you can afford to invest in a less powerful one.
Typically, there are four different types of patio heaters to choose from: powerful freestanding, portable tabletop, hanging or ceiling mounted, and wall-mounted. Before purchase, you will need to consider which one is best for your outdoor lounge area and lifestyle.
Freestanding models tend to generate the most heat, with most producing around 40,000-50,000 BTU. These are popular for those with a large lounge area who typically host many guests outdoors. Freestanding patio heaters are not the best for smaller outdoor living spaces or areas where it does not get so cold.
Tabletop models are portable and run on propane gas. These typically produce around 10,000 BTU of heat in a small area. This works for those with a decent-sized table and medium outdoor area.
Ceiling-mounted models can often be attached to a gazebo or hung from a parasol and typically run on natural gases. On the other hand, wall-mounted ones focus on providing a small amount of heat to a small area in a particular direction. You can get more powerful patio heaters of each type but it will cost you.
Fuel type and running costs
Modern patio heaters run on either electric, propane, or natural gas fuel. Most freestanding models tend to run on propane for example; you can often use a 20-pound tank to keep it running.
For models that run on natural gas, this makes them simple to set up as they can just connect to your home’s gas pipeline. However, this relies on your home having a natural gas pipeline and restricts where you can place it in your garden.
Electric models are cheaper to buy and easier to operate than those above. They are also typically more eco-friendly than other fuel types but put out more heat. Electric running models are also limited in where you can place them as they need to be near an outlet.
Contact the brand and do your research online to find out how much your desired model costs to run throughout the year; consider whether this is affordable for you long-term.
Once you know what type of patio heater will be best for your outdoor space, you can find a heater that matches your decor. Modern models come in a wide variety of sizes, colors, finishes, and designs - shop around and find the best one for your home.
Once you know what you want, it is important to set a budget and stick to it. Freestanding patio heaters tend to cost anywhere from $150 to $700 or more, whereas tabletop ones tend to cost between $150 and $300. Likewise, ceiling-mounted models can cost anywhere from $50 to $1200 while wall-mounted patio heaters can cost between $100 and $700.
Set a budget in advance and look for a model within that range. If you like one that is a little above your price range, wait for a sale or look for a discount to get a better deal.
How to choose the best patio heater fuel?
Most freestanding patio heaters tend to be propane-powered, and they’ll need a 20-pound tank of fuel. You can usually pick these up at local stores and supermarkets, but great deals are available online too. Simply connect the tank, open the valve, and ignite your heater to get instant warmth. Some brands promise up to 10 hours of heat on a single tank, but this can vary. It’s worth looking at online reviews to get an idea of how long your tank will last before you purchase.
Natural gas heaters that connect directly to your mains gas line are more convenient and cheaper to run in the long term - as long as your property has a gas line. However, this does mean that you’ll be restricted on where you can place your heater, and they can be more expensive and time-consuming to install.
Electric heaters are a more eco-friendly option, and they’re usually cheaper to buy and easier to operate, too. Simply plug them in and you have heat. However, their output is significantly lower than gas-powered models, and you’ll need to ensure they’re within easy reach of a power outlet, which isn’t ideal if you want to entertain at the furthest end of your yard.
Which are the best patio pyramid heaters?
Pyramid heaters are an excellent choice for anyone who wants to up the style stakes in their garden, with their sleek designs sure to attract compliments from all of your guests. From our top picks, the Avenlur Pyramid patio heater is the best of its kind, with a stunning visible flame that really adds to the aesthetic of its whole look. It’s also a great choice if you don’t want to wait for an age for your space to get warm, with a quick ignition that makes it super easy to integrate into your backyard.
Another one of our favorite heaters with a pyramid design is the Thermo Tiki Deluxe Patio heater, which also features an eye-catching flame. A bonus of this pyramid heater is that it generates light as well as heat, meaning it’s sure to become a centerpiece of your backyard instantly.
Which patio heater is the best value for money?
Our guide to the best patio heaters features plenty of options that give bang for your buck, so you can create cozy vibes without spending a lot of cash.
One of the most affordable heaters has got to be the AmazonBasics Commercial Outdoor patio heater. With a whopping 46,000 BTUs of heat, and a range of up to 324 square feet, this burner will keep even the largest groups warm all night.
If you’re after something more discreet and stylish, the Hiland Parasol Electric patio heater fits right inside your parasol, creating a warm space for dinner guests who like to eat al fresco. It doubles up as a light source with its cozy orange glow, and it’s also suitable for indoor use, so you can make the most of it all year round.
Safety tips for using patio heaters
Using any heating device, especially one with an open flame, can be dangerous. “You want to make sure you can regulate the heat. That's an important part too. You don't want to overheat the room. Every day is a fire prevention day,” said Chief Michael Whitzel, with the Franklintown and Community Fire Company in York County, Pennsylvania to WHTM news.
“Make sure it has an automatic shut off on it, so if it does get tipped over, it shuts off for you,” Whitzel said. “Make sure you're plugging them into an outlet and not an extension cord if it's electric.”
Space heaters should be turned off and unplugged when you leave the room. For patio heaters, turning off the propane tank valve and making sure it is secured from tipping is a key safety point. Additionally, making sure you keep combustibles three feet or more away from the heater reduces the chances of fires significantly.
Firefighter Robert Pomeroy, also with the Franklintown and Community Fire Company recommends following the heater's manufacturer guidelines, as well as keeping an eye on small children to keep them from burning themselves or knocking over the heater.
How far should a patio heater be from your house?
Most patio heaters are only safe for use in outdoor spaces, which can be defined as open spaces with proper ventilation. (That’s excluding infrared heaters, which don’t emit gas). Otherwise, you’re at risk of getting a nasty carbon monoxide buildup.
Work out a good location for your heater by surveying the area and checking that it’s far enough away from any buildings or structures, at least three feet. Be careful to clear the area below your heater too, and never place anything over it or on the top of it either.