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Fire Sense vs AZ Patio Heaters: which popular patio heater brand is best?

Range of patio heaters from Fire Sense and AZ Patio Heaters
(Image credit: Amazon)

Fire Sense and AZ Patio Heaters are two of the most popular patio heater brands in the US – so how do you choose between them? Picking the best patio heater can be challenging: there are multiple factors to consider, including which type is right for your space, fuel, how much heat coverage you want, and of course what you can afford. 

But once you know all that, which patio heater brand is best: AZ Patio Heaters or Fire Sense? After all, both make very similar models of outdoor space heater. In this guide, we put AZ Patio Heaters and Fire Sense head to head – comparing models in their freestanding, electric and table top ranges – to help you decide which patio heater brand to choose in each scenario.

Fire Sense vs AZ Patio Heaters: Freestanding

Freestanding patio heaters sit at the heart of the range for both Fire Sense and AZ Patio Heaters. While the extensive choice within this single category may seem daunting, in most cases the variation in price relates to the finish you choose, and the overall performance specs are the same.

We currently think the Fire Sense Commercial Patio Heater is the best patio heater you can buy (as you'll see in our best patio heater guide). When purchasing directly from Fire Sense, the cheapest finish in this range is the Aged Chestnut finish at $209.99. The Stainless Steel model costs $379.99, while the more heavy-duty, top-of-the-range Stainless Steel Pro costs $479.99.

However, an excellent freestanding alternative from AZ Patio Heaters is the Hiland HLDS01 Patio Heater range. From AZ Patio Heaters directly, the basic model costs $199, rising to $259 for a Stainless Steel model, and $329 for a unit with a square resin wicker table integrated in the base.

Fire Sense vs AZ Patio Heaters: Freestanding patio heaters

The Fire Sense Commercial Patio Heater (left) and Hiland HLDS01 Patio Heater (center) come in a range of finishes. AZ Patio Heaters also sells pyramid-shaped 'glass tube' heaters (right) (Image credit: Amazon / AZ Patio Heaters)

All the models in both the Fire Sense Commercial Patio Heater and Hiland HLDS01 Patio Heater range are powered by a 20-pound propane tank concealed in the base (not included). They're also all fitted with anti-tilt safety devices as standard, and include wheels to ease mobility.

The Fire Sense range is slightly taller at 89 inches, compared to 87 inches for the AZ Patio Heaters models. There's also a difference in power output: the HLDS01 range is slightly more powerful at 48,000 BTU, compared to the 46,000 BTU offered by the Fire Sense models.

Fire Sense pulls ahead of its rival, however, when it comes to market-leading innovations that make day-to-day operation of these freestanding patio heaters smoother. These include a 'Pilotless' Burner System that won't blow out in windy conditions, and a 'Rapid-Spark' electronic ignition system to make lighting the burner easier.

While the Fire Sense Commercial Patio Heater range is more expensive when bought directly from the brand's own website, bear in mind that cheaper deals on both ranges are widely available from other online retailers.

If you're looking to buy a freestanding patio heater, Fire Sense's more advanced features and wider range of available finishes – plus the inclusion of the higher-end, more robust Stainless Steel Pro model for those on larger budgets – give it the edge here.

WINNER: Fire Sense
Read the review: Fire Sense Commercial Patio Heater

Fire Sense vs AZ Patio Heaters: Electric

Fire Sense and AZ Patio Heaters both produce a range of infrared and halogen electric patio heaters, including wall-mounted, freestanding and hanging units. The two brands also market an almost identical electric heater that fits neatly inside your parasol or umbrella.

The Fire Sense Umbrella Halogen Patio Heater and the Hiland Electric Parasol Patio Heater from AZ each provide a total 1500W power output, spread across three halogen burners. These can be turned on in different combinations to provide three different temperature settings.

The main difference is price: bought direct from AZ Patio Heaters, the Hiland HIL-1P costs $149, whereas the Fire Sense Umbrella Halogen Patio Heater is $30 more expensive. However, discounts through online retailers can bring the two prices in line, making it more of a personal preference between the two brands. Both patio heaters are usually available for under $100 on Amazon, for instance.

Purely in terms of RRP, the Hiland HIL-1P from AZ Patio Heaters wins this category as the better-value option. But check out the deals available as you may actually be able to get the other unit cheaper.

WINNER: AZ Patio Heaters
Read the review: Hiland Electric Parasol Patio Heater

Fire Sense vs AZ Patio Heaters: Table top

Both Fire Sense and AZ Patio Heaters offer smaller table top versions of their freestanding counterparts, although the total range is significantly smaller. In fact, there is just one model of the Fire Sense Table Top Patio Heater available to buy from Fire Sense directly: the Stainless Steel finish, costing $149.99. 

The equivalent Stainless Steel model from AZ Patio Heaters costs $139 directly from the brand, but there are also several more finishes available – including the basic Hammered Bronze and Hammered Silver models for $119. 

Unlike Fire Sense, AZ Patio Heaters also sells pyramid-shaped quartz glass tube heaters – and these are available in table top size as well as freestanding units. The size of the range is a big plus for AZ Patio Heaters in this category, as is the cheaper cost per unit for equivalent models. Although, again, plenty of better deals are  available from online retailers such as Amazon.

The Fire Sense Table Top Patio Heater

The Fire Sense Table Top Patio Heater, shown in situ on a small patio table to give a sense of scale (Image credit: Walmart)

When comparing the two Stainless Steel models, AZ Patio Heaters also quotes a higher heat output: 11,000 BTU, compared with 10,000 BTU from Fire Sense. However, extra features such as an oxygen depletion sensor and one-step electric ignition give Fire Sense the edge in terms of product quality.

In our best patio heaters guide, our pick for best portable heater is the Fire Sense Table Top Patio Heater. It's a little more expensive, but also several pounds lighter, which is a big plus when it comes to portability. However, the more extensive range of finishes on offer from AZ Patio Heaters – and that little extra injection of power – makes it too close to call overall.

Read the review:
Fire Sense Table Top Patio Heater

Fire Sense vs AZ Patio Heaters: Which brand should you choose?

The ranges from both Fire Sense and AZ Patio Heaters sit in the low to mid-range price bracket in terms of RRP, from just under $120 to just over $500 – although both patio heater brands are regularly discounted through online retailers.

Considering some high-end patio heaters can cost over $1,000, this makes either brand an affordable mass-market option for most people.

AZ Patio Heaters offers the cheapest heater in the table top category at $119, and the brand is generally a little cheaper in like-for-like comparisons of similar models. However, it also offers the most expensive unit in the freestanding category: $499 for its 91-inch Tall Stainless Steel Commercial Patio Heater, for which there isn't a direct Fire Sense equivalent.

From an aesthetic perspective, both ranges include various different finishes, with Stainless Steel the highest-end option in both cases. However Fire Sense is the only brand that offers a 'Stainless Steel Pro' version of the staple freestanding unit, offering a more robust and heavy-duty build quality for $479.99.

Fire Sense Stainless Steel Pro Commercial Patio Heater

In its Stainless Steel Pro Series, Fire Sense offers the most robust, commercial-quality unit of either of the brands (Image credit: Amazon)

There are also more unusual finishes in the Fire Sense range – such as Aqua Blue, Mocha and Wicker. If you prefer a pyramid-shaped patio heater, however, AZ Patio Heaters is your only option as Fire Sense don't produce these in either the freestanding or table top categories.

Generally speaking, both patio heater brands are popular and well-trusted in the US and you won't go far wrong with either. AZ Patio Heaters tend to quote a slightly higher heat output, and are available cheaper – which will be enough to convince many. However, with more innovative, user-friendly features and a more stylish range of finishes, in our view Fire Sense is worth paying a little extra if you can afford it.


Alternatives to Fire Sense and AZ Patio Heaters

Not convinced that either Fire Sense or AZ Patio Heaters is the right brand for you? You’ll find plenty more options in our best patio heater guide, where we've selected a range of models that excel in different situations, for all budgets. However, if you're in a hurry, here are our three great alternative brands.

Nick Carson

Nick is a content strategist and copywriter. A former editor of graphic design title Computer Arts, he now works with design agencies as a consultant, writing copy for brands such as Virgin, Carlsberg and University College London. He also knows a thing or two about home appliances, and can often be found reviewing home and garden items for Top Ten Reviews.