If you want to entertain more in your backyard or use it all year round without it becoming chilly, a patio heater is an excellent investment. These days, it’s safer and healthier to socialize outdoors, so our guide to the best patio heaters has a range of models that will keep you, your family, and your guests comfortable through the seasons.
We’ve put together a collection of top-rated patio heaters, from reliable brands such as ThermoTiki, Hampton Bay, Fire Sense, and more. If you want to host a cookout that goes on til the early hours or just want to enjoy your backyard as a roomy extension of your family home, these patio heaters will keep you cozy and warm.
Patio heaters can range widely in terms of coverage, from large freestanding burners that can comfortably heat several people over 324 square feet to small wall-mounted models that heat a cozy 6 square foot balcony. Whatever your needs, you’ll find the right patio heater for you here.
The popularity of patio heaters has soared over the last couple of years, so variations in style and design are more varied than ever before. Our best patio heaters guide features classic patio heaters that are portable and propane-powered, wall-mounted electric models, and contemporary designs that will give your patio or deck the wow factor.
It’s worth bearing in mind the BTU (British Thermal Units) when buying a new patio heater. This gives you an idea of how much heat your patio heater puts out. The higher the number, the more heat you get. But don’t forget, the costs of running your patio heater go up at the same time!
If you’re still not sure a patio heater is right for your backyard, our guide to the best fire pits may have the perfect fit. And if you’re looking to make the most of your outside space, the best gas grills and the best hot tubs have everything you need to really upgrade your outdoor space.
1. Fire Sense Commercial Patio Heater: Best patio heater overall
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.
2. Avenlur 42000 BTU Pyramid: Best patio heater with optional LED lights
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.
- Read our Avenlur 42000 BTU Pyramid Patio Heater review.
3. Westinghouse Infrared 5100 Electric Standing Patio Heater: Best patio heater for small backyards
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.
4. AmazonBasics Commercial Outdoor Patio Heater: Best patio heater for value
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.
5. Bromic Smart-Heat Electric Patio Heater: Best patio heater for wall-mounting
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.
6. Hampton Bay 48000 BTU Stainless Steel: Best patio heater for garden parties
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.
7. Hiland Parasol Electric Patio Heater: Best patio heater for your parasol
If you have outdoor seating with a parasol, and would like to extend its use into the cooler months, the Hiland Parasol Electric is an excellent patio heater to consider. Produced by well-known brand AZ Patio Heaters, it's very discreet, fixing neatly onto your parasol pole, and offers variable temperature control.
Bear in mind that the Hiland Parasol Electric Patio Heater is designed to add some extra warmth in a very specific area beneath the parasol canopy, rather than to heat a larger space. However, if that's exactly what you need, it's a very effective and affordable outdoor patio heater.
8. Fire Sense Table Top Patio Heater: Best tabletop patio heater
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.
9. Thermo Tiki Deluxe Patio Heater: Best patio heater for stylish spaces
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.
10. Dr Infrared Heater DR-338: The best patio heater for portable use
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.
- Read our Dr Infrared Heater DR-338 review.
How to choose the best patio heater: Which type?
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 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.
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.