The Hampton Bay 48000 BTU Stainless Steel Patio Heater really does fit the patio heater mold, with a straightforward and unobtrusive design, simple assembly, good heat distribution, and a stainless steel body that should stand up to the weather. It has earned its place in our guide to the best patio heaters (opens in new tab) thanks to its high heat output.
This high output helps the outdoor heater to spread its warmth wide; perfect for keeping the party going late into the evening when you’re cooking up a storm on your trusty gas grill (opens in new tab). However, and as we’ll explain further into our Hampton Bay 48000 BTU Stainless Steel Patio Heater review, while this outdoor space warmer is capable of covering a wide surface area, it mostly directs heat at head height, which might not suit everyone.
That said, it could be your ideal garden party heater, and here’s why…
Hampton Bay 48000 BTU Stainless Steel Patio Heater review: Overview
If you're looking to heat a pretty-large patio, a canopy-covered space, or any other outdoors area without much fuss (or, crucially, spending too much cash) Hampton Bay's traditionally-styled and affordable patio heater could be the perfect choice. It's not very complex. You might even say it's quite basic: a 20lb propane tank in the base feeds a burner close to the top of the unit.
Material: Stainless Steel
Heat source: Propane
Heat output: 48,000 BTU
Heating range: 200 sq. ft.
Height: 7ft 2in
Fire up the pilot light with the piezo-electric ignition, give the thermocouple five minutes or so to heat up, then turn the adjustable control valve to start warming a wide area via its generous heat reflector.
If all you need is heat, this will absolutely do the job. For an outdoor heater that has a slightly less BTU but covers a larger space, read our Fire Sense Commercial Patio Heater review.
Hampton Bay 48000 BTU Stainless Steel Patio Heater review: Design
We're not going to say this is a bad design, because it's a very efficient and functional one. The Hampton Bay 48000 BTU Stainless Steel Patio Heater is made of (yes, there's a clue in the name) good old stainless steel. That means it should stand up well to the elements over time, though you may want to cover it when not in use if you live in coastal or particularly rainy climes.
Some users have also noted that certain parts are more ferrous than others, so they may not be the highest quality stainless. The housing in the base features an internal cage which can accommodate any standard 20lb propane tank, with a cover which lifts off to secure it - that puts the gas safely out of reach, and means the bottle itself is secure, shielded from heat, and adds weight to the base for extra stability.
Fully assembled the freestanding unit stands at 7 feet 2 inches, making it tall enough that the majority of people won't find the tops of their heads getting cold, and by all accounts, it's a pretty straightforward thing to assemble - but do be mindful that the included tool possibly isn't quite up the job, so bringing your own socket set could be an advantage.
Efficient it may be, but this also isn't an exciting design. If you're looking for something more aesthetic to act as a feature on your patio, read our Thermo Tiki Deluxe Patio Heater review (opens in new tab).
Hampton Bay 48000 BTU Stainless Steel Patio Heater review: Features
The clever gas storage compartment is not the only thing that keeps the Hampton Bay 48000 BTU Stainless Steel Patio Heater grounded - you can stake it, too, making it very unlikely to fall over. If it does, there's a tilt-based auto shut-off function - though prepare to hammer out any dents in the heat reflector.
Unstaked, and with the gas bottle removed, it's more than light enough to move around at just 33lb, meaning that (ceiling height allowing) you should be able to pack it away in a shed or garage, though it should only ever be used in open and ventilated spaces.
By the numbers its heat output looks to be one of the most impressive on the market. An ability to throw out 48,000 BTU (British Thermal Units) means the burner puts out a huge amount of heat if you adjust its thermostatic valve in the right way, and the large reflector can broadcast it a long way too.
Whether you'll feel the full benefits over the full extent of the stated 200 square feet depends on a lot of factors - and be prepared for this to drink through propane if you're trying to push its heat hard to cover a particularly wide area.
Hampton Bay 48000 BTU Stainless Steel Patio Heater review: How could it benefit you?
A good outdoor heater has the potential to transform a patio, making it a suitable spot for evening relaxation without the chill. Hampton Bay’s heater has plenty to offer, but it's particularly good in a few different ways:
- Its large heat reflector covers a wide radius, perfect for a party.
- It can be (with a bit of effort) moved around to suit rearranging your garden furniture for different functions.
- Its safe - automatic shut-off should prevent accidents if it tips, and the controls and heating element are too high for children to reach.
- Adjustable output means you can find the perfect temperature.
Hampton Bay 48000 BTU Stainless Steel Patio Heater review: User reviews
A first point, if you weren't already aware: Hampton Bay is an in-house brand of Home Depot. User reviews warn that if you see this for sale elsewhere - we have seen certain retailers hawking it through Amazon, for example - it will be more expensive and not be eligible for Hampton Bay's customer support or warranty programs.
Home Depot's customer reviews section rates this a 4.5 out of 5 stars, with the vast majority of reviewers opting to give it the full five stars. Most are very happy with the amount of heat it can output, though we do notice that many buyers have picked up two, because as big an area as this covers, the practical truth is that patio heaters are best pushed to the edges rather than being a central feature where people could bump into them.
Picking up a pair, particularly if they happen to be discounted from their already cheap price, gives you the opportunity to centralize the heat a little more. Be warned that these might be better suited to a stand-up party than a sit-down meal, as some reviewers stress that as strong as the heat output is, the reflector doesn't quite push it down past the head level of seated guests.
Many comment on how easy it is to assemble, beyond a small number of reviewers who've been unlucky enough to get a unit with manufacturing defects and misaligned screw holes - this seems like a rarity, and Hampton Bay/Home Depot's customer service is highly praised. For another heater that’s easy to assemble, read our AmazonBasics Commercial Outdoor Patio Heater review (opens in new tab).
Do make sure you remove the white film which protects several elements in shipping, as a few reviewers wondered why their stainless steel patio heater turned out to be white instead. That said, you may also consider painting parts of it with a heat-proof paint, as a few reviewers noted that certain parts may not be quite as stainless as others.
Should you buy the Hampton Bay 48000 BTU Stainless Steel Patio Heater?
This is simple. Hampton Bay’s heater is about as safe as these things come, it outputs a lot of heat with the option to adjust the output, and it's cheap enough. If you want an outdoor heater of this style, and one which puts out heat mostly at head height, the Hampton Bay 48000 BTU Stainless Steel Patio Heater certainly seems like a good buy.
But other designs might be a better choice if you're looking to generate directional heat or bring it down to seated level. Also, others still might look better, or hold up to the elements a little more vigorously. If you're seated you're really going to have to crank this up, burning through a lot of propane in the process. The Hampton Bay 48000 BTU Stainless Steel Patio Heater is functional and straightforward, if not super special.