10 Best Patio Heaters for 2023

10 Best Patio Heaters for 2023

Sitting outside on a crisp day can still feel chilly, even if you’re bundled up in warm clothing such as a puffer vest and winter boots. That’s when a good outdoor heater comes in. It can help keep exposed skin warm, and the radiating warmth feels extra cozy in addition to a good blanket or eliminates the need for a blanket. They may also be a safer option than alternatives like fire pits if you have children and pets. There are many choices for outdoor heaters and finding a good one can feel overwhelming, from choosing the size to gas vs. electric and more.

Every year the Yeaig tests hundreds of items for your home, including backyard staples like home projectors, outdoor grills, wireless speakers and inflatable pools. Our engineering experts find the best products in every category, including outdoor heaters. To find the best outdoor patio heaters, our pros spent 12 weeks assembling and testing outdoor heaters. Our picks below are a mix of top-tested patio heaters, recommendations based on our knowledge of brands from past testing and those highly rated and reviewed.

10 Best Patio Heaters for 2023:Tested and Reviewed

We evaluated them based on heating performance, safety features, value, setup, and ease of use. We also timed how long it took to put together, measured how far the heat was felt, and recorded the effects on our body temperature. After our lab tests, we continued testing 10 models in our homes across the country for two months to evaluate their long-term durability and performance.

#1.Amazon Basics 46,000 BTU Outdoor Propane Patio Heater

Amazon Basics

The AmazonBasics Patio Heater is a sturdy, easy-to-use outdoor heating device that puts out an impressive 46,000 Btu of heat — enough to extend the outdoor dining season and socializing well into the colder months.
Easy to use
Heat output
Easy to assemble

Feature

Heat output: 46,000 Btu
Power source: Propane
Safety features: Auto shut-off, wheels for easy mobility, push-to-start button
Best for: Mild fall and winter days, with small groups of 2 to 4 people

4.8

Pros: People who want an affordable patio heater with a far heat reach.

Cons: People who want a patio heater with an included cover.

For those who want to bask outdoors year-round, this powerful patio heater from Amazon can transform your outdoor space into a cozy paradise. “It’s definitely a basic-but-not-cheap model,” says our tester. “I honestly felt like I was living the dream as soon as it was on—reading outside on a brisk day without thinking twice.”

With an output of 46,000 BTU and a heat field of nine feet, this pick is well-suited to warm a large outdoor patio or deck. “Sitting in the cold outside and being perfectly comfortable thanks to this machine can be worth its weight in gold,” says our tester. It also features an automatic tilt shut-off valve, ETL certification, and an easy ignition button.

Though this patio heater performed well through the three-week testing period, the initial setup process was challenging and took over two hours. “The instructions were okay but there were a few typos, and the pictures were grainy and hard to follow,” says our tester. “They didn’t totally seem to match the parts, either. That said, as soon as we finished setting it up, it started working immediately.”

#2.Fire Sense 61436 Pro Series Patio Heater

Fire Sense

Fire Sense 61436 Pro Series Patio Heater
This patio heater by Fire Sense provides commercial-level power with 46,000 BTUs and runs on a 20-pound propane tank, which can last for up to 10 hours of use.
Easy to use
Heat output
Easy to assemble

Feature

Maximum BTUs:46,000
Heating Area:18-ft diameter
Dimensions:90 x 32 x 32 in.

4.8

Pros

  • Easy electronic ignition
  • Heavy duty wheels

Cons

  • A bit pricey for power

FIRE SENSE PRO SERIES PATIO HEATER: Among the most powerful patio heaters on the market, with an output of an impressive 50,000 BTU’s. This outdoor patio heater is made using heavy duty powder coated steel.

Constructed of powder-coated steel, this heavy-duty unit features an electronic ignition system and wheels for easy mobility. This patio heater features wheels for easy portability.

TIP-OVER PROTECTION SYSTEM: If the patio heater is lifted or tilted, the safety valve will automatically shut off the heater. This superior patio heater is perfect for the serious outdoor entertainer.

FEATURES: 50,000 BTU adjustable-flame burner | #304 heavy-duty stainless steel construction | 5-piece heavy-gauge reflector | 3″ diameter post | Easy-exchange components | Electronic ignition system | Tip over protection system | Lifetime defective parts replacement warranty | Convenient wheel assembly | Weighted base. IDEAL FOR OUTDOOR SPACES: This Patio heater is the perfect addition to any outdoor environment. Not only can you have a serious outdoor entertainer in your own backyard, but also enjoy time outside during the winter | ASSEMBLED DIMENSIONS: 18″Base, 33″ 5pc Hood, 89″H. Weight: 55 lbs

#3.EnerG+ Infrared Electric Outdoor Heater Freestanding

EnerG+

EnerG+ Infrared Electric Outdoor Heater Freestanding
If the thought of running out to buy propane on a frigid winter evening sends a chill down your spine, you might consider an electric patio heater like this model from EnerG+.
Easy to use
Heat output
Easy to assemble

Feature

Output: 1,500 watts
Fuel: Electric
Dimensions: 9 x 9 x 48 inches

4.7

Who it’s for: People who want an electric patio heater with radiant heating.

Who it isn’t for: People who want a patio heater with an impressive heat field.

Price at time of publish: $300

Product Details:

  • Output: 1,500 watts
  • Fuel: Electric
  • Dimensions: 9 x 9 x 48 inches

“This gave off a decent amount of heat at the high setting at a little over 32 inches,” says our tester. “This would be great for people sitting together outside. The tower is tall so it would heat people from toes to top of head when sitting.”

During the tip test, the unit was stable, and no outer components of the heater became too hot—making this a safer choice to have around small children or pets. This electric patio heater also comes with a remote, which “is a nice feature that makes it easy to turn on and off from a distance,” says our tester. While it’s “expensive, it provides a decent amount of heat. If you were using this a lot it could be worth it.”

#4.Hampton Bay 48000 Btu Stainless Steel Patio Heater

Hampton Bay

Hampton Bay 48000 Btu Stainless Steel Patio Heater
Similar to the Hiland mushroom-style heater, Hampton Bay’s version offers 48,000 BTU of heat output.
Easy to use
Heat output
Easy to assemble

Feature

BTU rating: 48,000
Dimensions: 18-inch diameter, 88 inches tall
Use: Standing

4.7

Pros

  • Lift-up housing allows easy tank access
  • Adjustable flame, easy to control
  • Durable stainless steel construction

Cons

  • No wheels, difficult to move
  • No rain cover
  • Bulky size, difficult to store

It’s built almost identically to the Hiland heater, with a couple of exceptions. This heater does not have an adjustable table or wheels. Hampton Bay’s version is less expensive than Hiland’s heater, making it an economical option if you do not mind lacking those accessories.

This heater did not come with a rain cover, and we found the wheelless base made it difficult to move. However, the biggest frustration was removing the protective film off the stainless steel base. Overall, it’s a good heater if you do not plan to move it often.

#5.Mr. Heater F232000 MH9BX

Mr. Heater

Mr. Heater F232000 MH9BX
The Mr. Heater Buddy Patio Heater is a compact, portable heater perfect for personal use and heating up small outdoor spaces.
Easy to use
Heat output
Easy to assemble

Feature

Heat output: 9,000 Btu
Power source: Propane
Safety features: Tip-over switch, oxygen depletion sensor
Best for: Chilly summer nights and mild fall days, with 1 to 2 people

4.7

Pros: Small footprint, durable construction, portable, simple to use

Cons: Not an ideal solution for providing warmth for a large group of people

This little, lightweight device is an excellent option if you’re short on space or want an outdoor heating option while you’re on the go. It’s only 14 inches wide, making it suitable for tabletop use.

However, on mild winter days, I place it under my patio table as a supplemental heating device to my AmazonBasics unit. It heats the surrounding area fairly quickly and runs for up to three hours — the single control knob allows you to choose between low and high heat. You’ll get the most benefit if you’re sitting in front of the heater.

I recommend this space-saving heater to anyone wanting to spend more time outside, as it will help keep you warm without gobbling up valuable real estate.Like with all patio heaters, we’ve seen stock of this product fluctuate. We don’t recommend buying from third-party sellers. If it’s out of stock or only available from third-party sellers, we recommend waiting until Amazon receives more stock.

#6.Bromic Heating Portable Radiant Infrared Patio Heater

Bromic Heating

Bromic Heating Portable Radiant Infrared Patio Heater
The classic design of most patio heaters spreads heat widely in a radius around the center of the heater, which can be an inefficient method depending on where you place it.
Easy to use
Heat output
Easy to assemble

Feature

Maximum BTUs:38,500
Heating Area:180 sq ft
Dimensions:85 x 28 x 19 in.

4.7

Pros

  • Adjustable power
  • Directs heat for greater efficiency

Cons

  • Expensive

This Bromic patio heater is an excellent option if you want heat that you can direct at yourself and your group, instead of wasting energy heating a space beyond your patio furniture. Although its BTU is lower than some other models, its design directs that power more efficiently. And we like that you can adjust the output to combat a light autumnal chill or seriously frosty nights.

#7.Thermo Tiki Outdoor Propane Patio Heater

Thermo Tiki

Thermo Tiki Outdoor Propane Patio Heater
If you want a sleek heater that doesn’t sacrifice performance for aesthetics, opt for the Thermo Tiki Propane Patio Heater.
Easy to use
Heat output
Easy to assemble

Feature

Output: 38,000 BTU
Fuel: Propane
Dimensions: 18 x 18 x 90 inches

4.5

Who it’s for: People who want a sleek patio heater with an impressive warmth field.

Who it isn’t for: People who want an affordable or compact patio heater.

“It’s a very beautiful heater that sustains a good heat especially if you’re standing within six feet of it,” says our tester. “With the relative ease of assembly and amazing price point, it’s an impressive appliance.”

While its shape is tall and narrow, “the pyramid design is pretty stable,” says our tester. “I did do a few quick bumps and it stayed upright with little to no wobbling.” This pick also features a quick ignition button and wheels for easy transport, though our tester noted that the dial for temperature adjustments could have been more intuitive, adding, “the higher setting is immediately to the left of the lighter so that you have to dial it way down so it’s not fully blasting at first.”

#8.Mr. Heater MH4B

Mr. Heater

Mr. Heater MH4B
At less than 11 inches tall, the Mr. Heater Portable LP Heater is just the right size for heating small spaces, such as under a patio table.
Easy to use
Heat output
Easy to assemble

Feature

BTU rating: 3,800
Dimensions: 9 by 9 by 18 inches
Best use: Seated or standing

4.5

Pros

  • Inexpensive compared to similar options
  • Portable and easy to transport to different locations
  • Fast, easy assembly; great for camping

Cons

  • Burns through disposable fuel bottles in only 5.6 hours
  • Not as effective in open or windy conditions
  • Easy to knock over (but includes a safety shutoff)

#9.Dr Infrared Heater DR-238

Dr Infrared Heater

Dr Infrared Heater DR-238
For delicious warmth in an enclosed patio or three-season room, check out the Dr Infrared Heater that runs on electricity and emits up to 1,500 watts of infrared heat.
Easy to use
Heat output
Easy to assemble

Feature

BTU rating: 5,115
Dimensions: 35 by 8 by 4 inches
Best Use: Seated or standing

4.3

Pros

  • Compact, lightweight, with adjustable base height
  • Easy to set up and store
  • Works with any electric outlet, no need to buy gas
  • Convenient operation; includes remote control

Cons

  • For sheltered outdoor use only, not in damp weather
  • Requires power outlet and extension cord
  • Needs weights to secure the base (empty sandbags included)

The Dr Infrared Heater features adjustable heat output and plugs into a standard 120-volt household outlet, so there’s no need to fill and haul propane tanks. It includes a remote control, features a programmable timer, and also boasts an automatic overheating shutoff. The heater is designed for exterior use but only in a protected location, as it can’t come into contact with precipitation.

This unit required minimal assembly, and it offered decent heat output. However, we felt that the legs on the tripod stand seemed flimsy, and it took a bit of maneuvering to get the heater to sit level. We liked the heater’s portability, but an extension cord will be required if moved away from an outlet.

#10.Mr. Heater F242655 MH30TS

Mr. Heater

Mr. Heater F242655 MH30TS
Although this patio heater isn’t the most stylish, the Mr. Heater MH30TS is a simple, utilitarian model if you’re more concerned with portability and efficiency than looks when working outdoors.
Easy to use
Heat output
Easy to assemble

Feature

Maximum BTUs:30,000
Heating Area:120 sq ft
Dimensions:18 x 12 x 8 in.

4.3

Pros

  • Portable and affordable
  • Push button ignition

Cons

  • Unattractive

The propane cylinder isn’t included, but once you connect one, the MH30T can heat from 8,000 to 30,000 BTUs with an easy push-button start. Unlike larger patio heat lamps, you can bring this one with you almost anywhere.

How we choose the best outdoor heaters

When we test outdoor heaters, our engineers assess the ease of use by reviewing the clarity of the instruction manual, as well as setting up the outdoor heater or factoring in what it would take to set it up. We also test any claims the brand makes and additional features.

We also include picks we haven’t formally tested, but when we do, we base those recommendations on our deep knowledge of the outdoor heater market and only feature brands that have consistently performed well in our tests over the years. We’ll also scour the internet to ensure our recommendations have high ratings and reviews.

How to Shop for Patio Heaters Like a Pro

Size

Before shopping for a patio heater, consider what type of space you plan to heat—whether it be a large outdoor dining area or a small backyard porch. For small spaces, opt for a compact patio heater that won’t consume all the square footage. While these models might have a lower heat output, smaller areas require fewer BTUs for effective heating. If you want to heat a large outdoor area, opt for a standard patio heater, multiple heaters, or mounted options that can radiate warmth from above. You can take the square footage of your outdoor area and use it to find how much output you need.

Output

After appraising the size of your outdoor space, you can calculate how much output you need for ample heating. Most patio heaters list their heating output in BTUs—a higher BTU means more warmth. Take the square footage of your space and multiply it by 20 to find the appropriate amount of BTUs for your outdoor area. 550 square feet will only need about 11,000 BTUs for adequate heating, while 2,000 square feet require over 40,000 BTUs. Keep this figure in mind as you compare patio heaters and opt for one that hits at or above your desired output level.

Type

Electric

Electric patio heaters are more environmentally friendly and require less maintenance than their propane counterparts, so you won’t run out of the fuel source and be left out in the cold. They’re also a safer alternative and emit no gasses, so you can warm up your outdoor space sans worry. The main downside to electric heaters is that they tend to emit less warmth, as they warm the air around the heater with electricity rather than with more direct, radiant heat.

Propane

When it comes to heating power, propane heaters are the clear winner. They emit radiant heat, which warms nearby objects in a similar fashion to the sun. Unlike electric heaters, you will need to replace either the pellets or propane gas, which can be inconvenient if you suddenly run out of fuel. They are also less environmentally-friendly, so if you’re in search of a more sustainable option, we recommend opting for an electric patio heater instead.

“Where propane heaters are used, special attention must be paid to ensure that the cylinders are stored properly when not in use,” says Yeaig. NFPA 1 requires the following:

Cylinders must not be stored inside a building.

Cylinders in storage must be placed in a location with minimal potential for physical damage, tampering, or exposure to excessive temperature increases.

Cylinders must not be stored on the roof.

Safety

“While up to the consumer to choose which kind of heater is best for them, the National Safety Council urges safety to always be at the forefront of decision-making,” says Yeaig. “This fact sheet provided by the National Fire Protection Association includes information to help ensure that propane heaters and electric heaters for outdoor heating are used safely and in accordance with NFPA 1, Fire Code (2018 edition).”

“Shoppers should only purchase those which have been certified and tested by a Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory (NRTL),” according to Yeaig. “NRTLs test and certify electrical equipment and other products to ensure that they meet current safety standards and are safe with proper use. Also, only purchase from a well-known and reputable brand and retailer.”

And if you do use an electric heater, “do not plug a heater into an extension cord or power strip as they could overheat and cause a fire. Any devices that generate heat should be plugged directly into an outlet,” says Yeaig. “Ground fault circuit interrupters should be installed where electricity and water may come in contact, such as outdoors, to prevent shock and electrocution.

Usage:

Some patio heaters can safely be used on a covered porch and some cannot. It’s always best to check the manufacturer’s recommendations on whether you can use the patio heater under a covered porch and how much clearance you need to use it safely.

BTUs/power:

You’ll often see BTU when shopping for patio heaters and it stands for British Thermal Unit, which is essentially how powerful the heating unit is, so the higher the BTU the more heat you’ll likely get. Look at the manufacturer’s BTU recommendations for your size space. Also, keep in mind it may be worth it to invest in multiple smaller patio heaters for targeted areas of heat instead of one big heater.

Heat Range:

This is the measure of how large of an area will be warmed by a heater. It is usually expressed in square feet, though with round heaters, you might also see it as a radius or diameter.

Pros and Cons of Patio Heaters

Here are some pros and cons of patio heaters:

Pros:

  • Can extend the use of outdoor spaces by providing warmth
  • Can be portable or permanently installed, depending on the model
  • Can be fueled by propane, natural gas, or electricity

Cons:

  • Can be expensive to purchase and operate, especially if using propane
  • May not provide sufficient heat for very cold temperatures
  • Can be a fire hazard if not used properly
  • May not be aesthetically pleasing to some people
  • May not be allowed in some areas due to local regulations or homeowner association rules

What type of outdoor heater is best?

The type of patio heater you need depends on your patio space and personal preference. Standing propane patio heaters are good for outdoor settings and can be moved to the desired location without having to worry about being limited by an electric cord. If you are using a heater in a partially enclosed space, electric heaters tend to be safer. Tabletop units are a good choice if you are heating a small area, like an outdoor dining table, and want to be able to tuck it away when finished. Some also prefer the look of propane heaters, while others prefer the electric heater designs.

Patio Heater FAQs

How much do patio heaters cost to operate?

The cost of operating a patio heater will depend on the type of heater and the fuel it uses. Propane heaters tend to be more expensive to operate than natural gas or electric heaters. On average, propane heaters cost about $0.50 to $1.00 per hour to operate, while natural gas heaters cost about $0.30 to $0.50 per hour, and electric heaters cost about $0.10 to $0.25 per hour.

How long do patio heaters last?

The lifespan of a patio heater will depend on the quality of the heater and how well it is maintained. In general, patio heaters can last for several years if they are well-maintained and used properly.

Can patio heaters be used indoors?

Some patio heaters are designed for indoor use, but it is important to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for safe use. In general, it is not recommended to use patio heaters indoors due to the risk of fire and carbon monoxide poisoning.[1]Why You Shouldn’t Use Outdoor Heaters Indoor

Are patio heaters safe to use?

Patio heaters can be safe to use if they are used according to the manufacturer’s instructions and local regulations. It is important to keep flammable materials away from the heater, and to make sure the heater is properly maintained and in good working condition. It is also important to follow proper safety procedures when using gas-powered heaters, such as checking for leaks and properly lighting the heater.

Can patio heaters be left outside in the rain?

Some patio heaters are designed to be used outdoors and are weather-resistant, while others are not. It is important to check the manufacturer’s guidelines to determine if a patio heater can be left outside in the rain. If the heater is not designed for outdoor use, it is best to bring it inside to protect it from the elements.

Are outdoor patio heaters worth it?

If you currently use or would like to use your outdoor spaces during the colder months, a patio heater is a great investment. In our testing, they could raise the temperature by about 16 degrees Fahrenheit, making a cool day feel toasty and a cold day more bearable.

Are patio heaters safe?

If used correctly, patio heaters are safe. However, Griffith said it’s important to follow manufacturer recommendations. He also recommends keeping your patio heater away from anything combustible and making sure you allow for at least 4 or 5 feet of clearance in all directions, including vertically.[2]Are propane patio heaters safe?

Is a gas or electric patio heater cheaper to run?

Generally, natural gas, or propane, is cheaper than electricity, though the price of utilities can vary depending on your location. If cost is your primary concern when selecting a patio heater, opt for an option fueled by propane fuel or pellets. The frequency of use will determine how often you purchase and replace your fuel, but it’s a safe bet that it will cost less overall than an electric patio heater.

What’s the difference between infrared and electric patio heaters?

Electric patio heaters heat the air, which means they heat the area with convection, making for an overall warmer environment. Infrared heaters instead use radiation, which warms objects rather than just the surrounding air. Infrared heaters are more effective at delivering heat in outdoor areas, so that may be the better option if effectiveness is your top concern.

Is a higher BTU better for patio heaters?

A higher BTU means more heat output, so a larger number is a safe bet to ensure your patio is sufficiently heated. That said, if you have a small space, you may not need as large of an output. A rule of thumb is that the square footage is multiplied by 20 to find the amount of BTU suitable for your outdoor space.[3]Patio Heater Buying Guide

How far should the patio heater be from the house?

Place a gas patio heater and a freestanding electric patio heater a minimum of 3 feet from walls and other items, such as furniture. However, some electric heaters are designed to be safe even if mounted on a wall or ceiling, so it depends on the type.

Can you have a patio heater under a covered patio?

Most electric patio heaters are designed for use in sheltered patio conditions, like under a covered or enclosed patio. A small gas patio heater, such as a tabletop model, can usually operate safely under a covered patio, but a traditional tower-style model may stand too high (within 5 feet of the ceiling) for safe use.[4]Can I Use an Outdoor Heater Under a Covered Porch or Patio?

Can you put a patio heater under a gazebo?

It is safe to put a patio heater under a gazebo as long as it isn’t within 3 feet of the gazebo’s sidewalls or ceiling rafters.[5]Can I mount an outdoor heater inside my gazebo?

About Dehua

An old Internet practitioner who likes all kinds of new things.Our team buys products with good sales and reviews online (Amazon, Walmart and other third-party professional sales platforms) and recommends them to everyone through actual comparison and evaluation.
Portions of this article were generated using automated technology and were thoroughly edited and fact-checked by editors on our editorial staff.

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