Best Outdoor Patio Heaters In 2020 – Reviews With Buying Guide


When fall starts to bring the chill to the air it is time to get the patio heater out so you can enjoy the crisp air and being outdoors. These devices come in multiple styles and can be fueled by propane, natural gas, or electricity. You can buy some of the units that are wood fueled, but for our reviews, we have concentrated on electric, propane, and natural gas appliances.

In order to determine the best devices, we employed a large number of volunteers who could use a wide range of appliances. We wanted o know which fuel source they thought were best, and what appliances had features that made them stand out from the crowd.

We also have posts about other outdoor heating which you may like also: tent heater reviews and portable car heater reviews.  



1. Garden Treasures Stainless Steel Liquid Propane Patio Heater

You can easily heat a 200 square foot area using this 48,000 BTU heating appliance. It is perfect for large patios, decks, and large areas in your backyard. It uses a 20-pound propane bottle as a fuel source.

The propane cylinder is not included with the appliance and must be purchased separately. When installed in the heating unit the cylinder is completely hidden in the bottom behind an access panel door.

This is a stainless-steel device that can withstand the conditions of being kept outside without any corrosion or rust formation. It remains beautiful with minimal maintenance and care. The material makes the unit very strong and durable so you will get many years of functional use from this device.

The heating appliance weighs 41-pounds and measures 87-inches in height once it is assembled. It arrives needing some assembly but the majority of people find that they can have the unit assembled in about twenty minutes. Some people say it takes longer to remove the protective coating from each section than it does to assemble the device.

Warning: The operation of this device should always be done under adult supervision. It does produce carbon monoxide gas and requires proper ventilation.


2. Hiland HLDSO1-WGTHG Pyramid Patio Propane Heater

This beautiful patio heater is made in a triangle design. It stands 87-inches high and the triangle formation makes it more stable and less likely to be prone to tip over caused by wind or other situations.

The exterior of the appliance is a hammered bronze that is quite attractive. It allows you to add beauty and warmth to your favorite outdoor space.

The unit weighs 65-pounds and is quite tall so the manufacturer installed wheels to help you whenever you need to relocate this item. Never relocate the device while it is powered on.

You will need a propane cylinder to operate this device. It is a 40,000 BTU appliance and will heat an area as large as 200 square feet. With a 20-pound propane pottle you can expect the heater to function between eight to ten hours on the high setting. It will operate even longer if used on the low setting.

Warning: This device requires propane fuel and needs to be operated in an area with adequate ventilation because propane produces carbon monoxide when it is burned. This item is not recommended for use inside a structure or directly beneath a window.


3. Hiland HLDS01-WCGT Propane Patio Heater

This practical patio heater is both efficient and attractive. It is made from hammered bronze so it is an elegant looking piece.

It stands 87-inches high so it looks regal and alluring. It also creates enough heat to warm an area of 200 square feet with the use of one 20-pound propane bottle.

The propane bottle that supplies the fuel for this appliance remains behind a sealed access door so it is not seen, and it is less likely to be tampered with by children or pets. It is a 48,000 BTU device that does need adequate ventilation due to the propane fuel.

The unit is tall and could be hard to move or re-position, but the manufacturer installed wheels to help you whenever you choose to reposition this device. They also included an adjustable table on the device positioned just above the concealed compartment that houses the propane bottle. On the table, you can set your drinks or a plate of food for a temporary amount of time.

Warning: This is a tall device that can tip over if not sitting on a level surface, or if the appliance is subjected to heavy-winds. Always maintain a safe distance from the heater and any flammable objects, and never leave the device in the presence of children who are not being supervised by an adult.


4. TRUSTECH Super Quiet 3s Instant Warm Outdoor Patio Heater

Wonderful heat that produces no carbon monoxide gases so it can be used in confined areas like garages, or on balconies that do not have great air circulation because of the close proximity of other buildings.

This device is whisper quiet when it is operating. It heats up very quickly after you turn the knob to the on position.

It has three heat level settings. Low is a 500-watt setting, the medium is a 1000-watt setting, and high is a 1500-watt setting. The unit can be used as a primary heat source or as an additional heat source.

You can use this device on the balcony, the patio, the deck, the garage, or anywhere you choose. It plugs into an electrical outlet and has an easy to read LCD display to let you know what setting it is operating on. You even get a remote control that allows you to adjust the heat temperature setting, turn the appliance on or off or make any other adjustments without having to leave the comfort of your chair.

The automatic shut off protects you from instances of over-heating or tipping over. You also get a 24-hour timer that allows you to have the unit turn on or off even if you are not present at the time.


5. Fire Sense Full Length Outdoor Patio Heater Vinyl Cover

Outdoor or patio heaters benefit from the protective covering of a vinyl heater cover. The vinyl protector is waterproof so your heating appliance is protected from moisture and rain.

It is lined with felt so it does not melt or stick to the appliance and gives the appliance even greater amounts of protection during the off-season.

This covering is a zippered item that is very easy to install on the heater and just as easy to remove when you want to use your heater. 

Once you have zipped the heater up inside the covering you will know that your patio heater is protected from scuffs and scratches. You will also know that wasps, yellow-jackets, bees, and insects will not build a nest in your heater during the summer months.

A patio heater does not have to have a cover when it is stored. If you do have a cover to put on the unit when it is not in use then your heater retains its good looks, and all of its functionality with no blemishes or weather-related cosmetic damages.


6. BELLEZE Premium Outdoor Patio Heater with Wheel

This amazing heater will create a warm heat area for 15-foot around it. It is a 48,000 BTU device that is one of the most powerful patios or backyard heaters available.

You get the warmth and enjoyment you would get from a fire-pit without the inconvenience of having to build or maintain a fire.

It is also a lot safer to operate around children and pets than a firepit because the heat source that gets hot to the touch is high enough off of the ground that children and pets will never come into contact with it.

You can also place chairs and things closer to this unit because the elevated heating element will not be as likely to cause or create a fire hazard. It has two wheels established on it so it is easy to move and relocate even though it is tall and weighs roughly 41-pounds.

It has a safety shut off valve that automatically shuts off the heater if it were to be tipped over. You do not need an external fire source like a match to ignite the heater. You can light it with the simple push of a button. 


7. Mr. Heater MH30T Double Tank Top Outdoor Propane Heater 

This is a portable propane heater that is not extremely tall so it does not require as much clearance under your cover. It is very sturdy and durable.

The heating unit attaches to the top of your propane bottle and creates efficient radiant heating in a portable and easy to move the device.

Warning: This device produces carbon monoxide when in use and should be used in a well-ventilated area.

These units are very effective at heating. You can place it on a porch, deck, patio, or in your back-yard so you can enjoy the outdoors even when the temperatures dip into or below the thirty-degree mark. All you need is a level area to set the propane cylinder on and you are ready to turn the device on.

It operates with a simple on and off switch so you do not need to have an external fire source to help you ignite this unit. It does get hot to the touch so we recommend that you make sure children and pets are supervised by an adult when they will be around this device.


8. Thermo Tiki Commercial Outdoor Propane Patio Heater 

Style and beauty are a part of this patio heating appliance. It is tall and elegant, and it has a peak output between 42000 and 48000 BTU so it warms a large area in a short amount of time.

This device is designed to be fueled by a 20-pound propane bottle. The propane bottle conveniently hides behind an access door so it is out of sight, and out of reach of children.

With a bottle that size you can expect to operate the heater on high heat for a period of 8 to 10 hours. It will operate longer on a lower heat setting.

This device has the latest safety technology designed into it so it meets the ANSI, CE, and CSA requirements for safety. It has an automatic shut-off if it were to be tipped over or to overheat.

This unit is designed for outdoor use so it is built from materials that do not rust, corrode, or deteriorate when exposed to outside elements like heat, rain, wind, snow, and mist.

Warning: This heating unit should be used only in a well-ventilated area with adequate air circulation.


How to Pick the Best Electric, Natural Gas and Propane Gas Patio Heaters


Before you buy a patio heater you need to consider the different appliance types and the different fuel sources these appliances operate on. You want an appliance that uses a fuel source that is readily available in your area. You also want an appliance that is suitable for the size and type of outdoor space you will be using it in.

Electric Heaters

Electric heaters are the safest of all patio heat sources because they can be positioned closer to flammable objects, they usually remain cool to the touch so they do not pose a contact burn risk, and they do not have fuel that creates carbon monoxide when they are operated.

You must make sure that you have an electrical outlet that is close enough to plug the device into. Most of these appliances are powered by a 110/115 normal household electrical current. Some do require the heavier 220/240 outlets so make sure you know what voltage the heater requires prior to purchase.

These heaters are perfect for small areas that are confined. They do not require ventilation so they can be used in an enclosed area with poor air circulation.

Natural Gas Heaters

Natural gas patio heaters are the cheapest heaters to operate. You also have to remember that these units must be connected to the gas line and they cannot be moved around and relocated as easily as the electric or propane heaters can.

These heaters are better suited to larger patio and outdoor areas that you need to heat. They produce carbon monoxide and harmful gases so the units need to be situated in a well-ventilated area.

The majority of these units are tall and free-standing so you need to place them in a manner that will reduce the possibility of them being bumped into or knocked over. Heavy winds can often blow these units over.

Propane Heaters

You can get propane heaters in standing or tabletop designs. These units are easy to move so they are very portable. Their fuel supply is as portable as they are.

Larger standing models may use a five- or twenty-gallon propane bottle as a fuel source. Many of the smaller tabletop styles may use a small propane canister. The propane to power these units must be purchased separately, and it is important to make sure you have plenty of fuel on hand before you decide to have a gathering and use the heat source.

Propane heaters can be dangerous around flammable objects, small children or pets. You must get a device that has safety features like automatic shut-off if the unit is tipped over. You also want the propane tank to be hidden behind a closeable door so children cannot play with the valve that operates the unit.

An automatic ignition can be found on many of these devices. With the automatic ignition you do not need a match or flame source to ignite the flame when you power on the device.


How Much Does It Cost To Run A Patio Heater


One of the main considerations that people have, when they are choosing a patio heater, is how much it will cost to operate the unit. We all want to have an attractive heat source on our patio or deck, but none of us want to get something that is so expensive to operate that we end up just looking at the item and never actually turning it on.

The following list should help you judge the average cost of these devices. Remember that the costs of operation are influenced by the cost of fuel. The cost of the fuel is influenced by the location you live in and how easy it is to get the fuel in your area.

Propane Fuel Patio Heaters

The average cost for propane fueled patio heater is 1.70 per hour. That is assuming you have a 40,000 BTU device. Smaller devices will cost less to operate. These heaters are usually the most expensive to operate because they are the most portable and the most convenient of all of the heater types.

Natural Gas Patio Heaters

Natural gas patio heaters are usually the cheapest style of the heater to operate. You can normally expect these heating appliances to cost about 48 cents per hour to operate. This is based on a 40,000 BTU heating appliance.

Electric Patio Heaters

The cost of operating an electric patio heater is far less than operating a propane unit and relatively close to the amount it costs to operate a natural gas unit. The biggest problem with the electric devices is they do not typically heat an area as big as the area heated by the gas alternative devices.

If you pay 15 cents per kilowatt for your electricity then a 4,000-watt electric heater will cost about 60 cents per hour to operate.


Safety Tips for Outdoor Patio Heaters


Outdoor heaters allow you to enjoy your outdoor spaces more. There are some things you should know so that you and your family can enjoy your heating unit and always remain safe.

  • Always have your patio heater established in an area that is a safe distance from highly combustible materials. Planters, potted plants and flammable materials like propane gas cylinders should be kept at least three feet away from the heat source.
  • Make certain that the area you establish the heater in is properly ventilated. Proper ventilation and air circulation are needed to keep carbon monoxide and other harmful gases from building up and creating a danger for you and your family.
  • Always close the tank valve on the propane bottle if you operate a propane fueled heater.
  • When you change the propane bottle on a propane fueled device use soapy water to check the connections and fittings to ascertain whether there are any gas leaks.
  • Set the heater upon a surface that is flat and relatively level to prevent tilting. Flame retardant ties can be used to secure a patio heater that is being used on an unlevel surface such as a grassy section of your yard.
  • Do not leave children and pets unattended around a patio heater
  • Make certain that electric heater cords are not frayed, and that the cord is established in a way that it does not create a tripping hazard
  • Do not put anything on top of the heater
  • Operate the heater in areas where the wind will not be really strong. Strong winds cause these units to use more fuel and they can blow the units over.
  • Never move a patio heater while it is lit or turned on
  • When you bring the heater out of storage check it carefully for wasp nests and insect nests.

Enjoy your heater, and by following these simple precautions you can eliminate fire and burn hazards.


Electric patio heater vs gas


When it comes to patio heaters electric fueled and gas fueled devices are the most popular. How do you decide whether to buy an electric powered device or a gas fueled item? The following comparisons should help you with this dilemma. 

Electric Heaters

Pros

  • These are easy to operate because you simply plug the power cord into an electrical outlet and turn the unit on no pilot lights or igniters are needed
  • They can sit closer to furniture and other objects without causing a great fire hazard
  • They are ideal for smaller patios and balconies.
  • They can be used in enclosed areas like screened porches and garages.
  • The exterior of the heater will remain cooler so there is less possibility of contact burns. This makes them safer around children, pets, and the elderly.

Cons

  • You have to have an electrical outlet handy to plug the unit into
  • They heat the area slower than the gas units do
  • They can be expensive to operate
  • They may not be able to be used during periods of rain

Gas Heaters

Pros

  • Gas and propane heaters create more heat and will warm up a larger area
  • Propane gas heaters are portable and can be moved around because they do not require a gas connection or an electrical outlet
  • They are efficient and can operate for a long time on a small amount of fuel

Cons

  • Propane bottles can be heavy, and you will have to take the bottle to get a refill each time you empty it
  • Gas heaters can create contact burns
  • They need to be kept farther away from furnishings than electric heaters
  • They produce carbon monoxide and require a well-ventilated area for operation

Weighing the pros and cons will help you to select a heater style. All of these appliances are available in attractive styles. If you have a smaller patio or small children you might prefer the electric heater.


Frequently Asked Questions On Deck Heaters


1. Can you use a patio heater on a covered porch?

The newer technology that is being used in radiant heat devices allows them to be used under covered porches with very little risk of carbon monoxide poisoning, but you can still be burned by the gas fueled devices so keep your distance and be careful with pets and children.

2. Can you put a patio heater under the gazebo?

You can use a patio heater fueled by natural gas or propane under a gazebo because the open sides of the gazebo will allow any toxic fumes to be eliminated.

3. Do patio heaters work in the winter?

The patio heater is designed to create enough warmth that you can enjoy your outdoor living space all year. In really frigid temperatures you may find that the heater does not produce enough heat for you to stand very far away from it.

4. Can patio heaters be left outside?

A patio heater is specifically designed to be an outdoor appliance. You can leave these items outdoor during all types of weather and climates.

5. Do patio heaters give off carbon monoxide?

A patio heater that is fueled by natural gas or propane does produce carbon monoxide, nitric oxide and nitrogen dioxide while it is being used.


Final Note


If you are considering a propane patio heater, we suggest the Garden Treasures Liquid Propane Patio Heater if you need to heat an area of about 200 square foot.

If you are considering an electric patio heater, we suggest the TRUSTECH Outdoor Patio Heater with 24H Timer Auto Shut Off if you will be using the device in a confined area that does not have great ventilation.

These heat devices can be enhanced with covers to protect them during heavy rains, and to keep them safe from insect nesting in the offseason. No matter which patio heater you choose, you are going to enjoy the benefits of a greater amount of time being spent outdoors with friends and family.

Vernon Scott
 

Vernon is the founder of this cool ( read HOT! ) website. He's superbly experienced on heating technologies as well as having clear ideas about modern heating appliances. Vernon has called him " I am a hot ( this time read COOL! ) guy!"

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