Best Outdoor Heater Buying Guide You Should Know

When the winter has come, it is hard to enjoy a good time outdoors due to the cold weather. However, there is a solution for you. The best outdoor heater is a perfect choice to warm up your outdoor area.

Patio heaters operate by burning propane, butane, or LPG (Liquid Petroleum Gas). Some of the recent models use electricity instead. There are a variety of different styles, power sources, and sizes available on the market.

A patio heater will allow you to enjoy your outdoor space, even in the winter. Beside produce heat, patio heaters can be an eye-catching centerpiece that brings ambiance to your place.

Benefits of patio heaters

A patio heater will provide you a warm, comfortable outdoor space to have parties or dinner during the cold winter. They can also be decorations for your garden.

Patios are a fantastic place for cooking, partying, and relaxing during the summer. However, when the winter comes, we all hesitate to go outside. With an outdoor patio heater, you can now enjoy your outdoor season much longer. They will provide you warm radiant heat that feels just like the sun.

Benefits of patio heaters

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Moreover, patio heater also has variations in styles, fuel, and placement options. There are three types of fuel: natural gas, propane, and electric. A patio heater can be portable or permanent depends on the kind of fuel they used. Heaters that use natural gas for fuel are usually more durable than others.

Also, patio heaters are also safe to use. You don’t have to worry much about children or pets get too close to the heater. Most of the patio heaters have a tilt safety valve that will automatically turn the heater off if it is tipped over.

Patio heaters do not produce an open flame. Therefore, it is not so dangerous to have pets or children near them. They also have a cool to touch surface, which will prevent young children or pets from burning. However, the emitter screen and the dome at the top of the heater are boiling,  remember to keep your child away from them.

Patio heater is not so dangerous to have pets or children near them

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Things to consider buying the outdoor heater

Type of fuel

There are three types of fuel when talking about patio heaters: Natural gas, propane, and electric. Depend on each type of fuel; there are different factors to consider.

Natural gas

Natural gas

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The first type of fuel is natural gas. Natural gas heaters are well known for its endless source of fuel. Depending on the amount of wind and humidity, a natural gas heater can warm up and cover a 10-20 foot circle of heat. However, if the wind is too strong, the circle of heat will be reduced.

The natural gas heater also has the lowest operating cost, compared to two other types of fuel.  They also have high energy efficiency, which is amazing if you want to reduce costs. Natural gas heaters also lessen the impact on the environment.

The byproducts of combustion are mostly water vapor and a small amount of carbon dioxide. The emission of natural gas heaters is low and not harmful to human health.


The second type of fuel is propane. This is the most common type of patio heater. They are available in four models: free standing, table top, wall-mounted, and ceiling-mounted.


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Propane patio heaters are also offering you the most mobile approach to outdoor heating. They are usually portable and can be placed anywhere with clearances of other units. Propane is also easy to use and provide instant heat. They only required a gas tank that you can install yourself with no problems.

However, additional costs are required for maintenance and replacing the tanks. They also not meant to use indoor or enclosed areas.


The third type of fuel is electric. Electric patio heaters can be placed virtually anywhere. They provide instant heat with tiny warm up time. They also operate at the high-efficiency level, which makes them economical, efficient as well as effective when it comes to outdoor heating.


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Electric patio heaters can also be used indoor or enclosed areas without creating any dangerous accidents. They require low maintenance since all you have to plug them in.

The only problem that you might encounter is the electricity itself. Since you have to plug them in, it is hard to get electrical access, and most users do not like to use long electrical cords. Unlike propane and natural gas heaters, electric patio heaters do not have the flame effect that most customers prefer. Therefore, they are not suitable to use as a centerpiece.

Size of the area

To measure the heating power, most patio heaters use watts or BTUs (British Thermal Units). The heating area is represented by some feet around the unit. For example, an electric patio heater that provides 2000 watts of power can heat up an area of a 20-foot circle the heater.

Free standing patio heaters usually have higher power output than other styles. Therefore, they can heat up a larger area than table top heaters, wall, and ceiling mounted heaters.

Size of the area

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To determine the suitable heating power to heat your place, you can use a simple formula:

Square Footage X (Current Temperature – Desired Temperature) = BTU’s required

By knowing exactly the heating capacity that you need, you will be able to find the most suitable heater for your outdoor area. With the right capacity, no energy is wasted. Therefore, you can reduce your annual heating costs.

The size of the reflector or dispenser is also important. The reflector is a large circular item that usually appears on the top of the heater. Their function is to direct the heat to surround areas. To disperse heat to a wide area, a large reflector is needed. A square shaped reflector usually looks more sophisticated. However, they do not serve the right purpose and can detract from heating capabilities.

The weight of a patio heater is also a critical factor to consider. A heavy-weight patio heater has higher quality than the lightweight one. A thin heater will also likely to be tipped over during high wind gusts.

Safety features

Just like any other heater, you need to consider the safety features. A heater with safety feature can minimize risk and keep you safe. When buying a patio heater, try to look for these functions:

–    Automatic shut off: This feature will prevent the heater from overheating. If the heater gets too hot, the switch inside will automatically turn it off.

–    Tilt-over protection: During high wind gusts, patio heaters are likely to be knocked down. This may lead to fire if no safety feature is included. Patio heaters with tilt-over protection element are safer to use. The switch inside will automatically turn the heater off if it is knocked down or tipped over.

–    Cool-to-touch glass: If you have young children or pets, this feature is a must-have for you. We all know that kids are curious and playful. They might touch the heater and get burned. This feature provides you a fresh surface that makes the heater safe for kids and pets around.

–    Safety Approval: Always looks for heaters that already have been approved for safety. A heater will only be approved if it met all of the safety requirements.

Additional features

There are other features that you may want to consider:

–    Assembly-type: If you do not even know how to use a screwdriver, find a heater that is fully-assembled. Partially-assembled heaters are suitable for people with some experience. If you at least can use a hammer or screwdriver, you can just follow the manufacturer’s instruction for step by step details.  An unassembled patio heater will consume a lot of time. Therefore, make sure to look for this feature.


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–    Electronic Controls: A heater with electronic control is much easier to adjust the temperature. Consider heaters with one-touch ignition and simple setting controls.

–    Adjustable flame: You can adjust the flame to match your desired ambiance and heat.

–    The length of Warranty: A heater with an extended warranty is built with high-quality materials and can last for a long time despite severe environmental conditions.

–    Eco-friendly: This feature will help you to reduce costs. With this feature, heaters will work efficiently and cost less to operate.

–    Pilot light: This feature provides a small gas flame that can be an ignition source for a gas burner.

Pilot light

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Top 3 best outdoor heater reviews

1.Fire Sense Hammer Tone Bronze Commercial Patio Heater

This heater has the heating power of 46000 BTUs, which is powerful. The features included Piezo ignition, tilt-over protection valve, and wheel assembly. This heater is also made from stainless steel with the double mantle heating grid, which promises a long durability.

Initially, the assembly is pretty easy. The directions are clear enough for you to figure out what to do. It will take about 20 minutes to 1 hour, depends on how experienced you are. The design is beautiful. This heater can be a beautiful addition to your patio.

Moreover, the heater is easy to use with simple direction. It is also easy to light up and provide instant heat. The heat is powerful enough to warm up a wide area.

The safety feature is also included. Therefore, you do not have to worry much about the risks. The Piezo ignition makes it simpler to light up. The wheels also help to move the heater easier.

The problem with this heater is that the propane used up pretty quickly. The stainless steel also becomes rusted after a while. If you are living in a windy area, this heater may not be suitable for you. Try to look for another one that is heavier.

Overall, this heater is a great option to extend your outdoor living in the cold season.

2.AmazonBasics Havana Bronze Commercial Patio Heater

This heater comes with a fantastic powder-coated bronze finish. This powder coating will prevent the heater from rusting. This coat also gives the heater an attractive look that goes well with your patio.

This heavy-duty heater provides a powerful heat output of 46000 BTUs. It can heat up a wide area up to 18 feet, which is amazing in cold weather. This heater also operates quietly and offer consistent heat without any open flames or smoke.

The heater requires a 20-pound liquid petroleum gas cylinder to operate, which is not included. The Piezo ignition system simplifies the lighting process. All you have to do is to push the button.

The base of this heater is sturdy. However, it may tip over in heavy winds. That is why tilt-over protection valve is featured.

The heater also included a wheel assembly that makes it easy to transport. With these wheels included, you can move the heater anywhere you want without difficulty.

In reality, the bronze steel will get rusted after a while. Also, this heater is also not suitable for windy areas. It might be knocked down and becomes a safety hazard.

As a whole, this is an excellent heater with some flaws. It still works great despite some problems. If you are not a picky person, this heater might be a perfect choice.

3.XtremepowerUS 48,000 BTU Premium Floor Standing Propane Outdoor Patio Heater

If you have a restaurant patio where guest can relax and enjoy outdoor events, you might want to have this heater for optimal heating. This heater is covered with stainless steel that promises a long durability.

It also has an incredible power output of 47000 BTUs on average and 48000 BTUs max. The heat range is up to 200 square feet, which is amazing for the best outdoor heater. This heater will offer warmth to everybody in a large coverage.

The burners and heating grid are also made from stainless steel to ensure that this heater will last for a long time. The Piezo ignition system makes it easy to light up the heater every time you use it.

Also, this heater also has CE/CSA/ETL approval, which means that it has all safety requirements. For safety features, this heater also has tilt over the valve, which will automatically turn the heater off if it is tipped over or knocked down.

The wheel assembly is also included. They are built in. Therefore, it is easy to move and transport the heater anywhere you want. However, you have to get the LP gas tank yourself since it is not included.

Overall, this heater is easy to use, last for a long time and has all safety features needed. This is a fantastic heater that allows you and your family to enjoy outdoor activities during the cold seasons.

Patio heaters FAQs

How much gas patio heaters use and what about the cost?

Usually, a propane tank will last for 16 hours. Depends on how often you use them, they can last for 2 to 4 weeks. They might cost you from $16 to $32 per month, which is not high.

Where to get the gas for the patio heaters?

You can replace propane tanks at almost anywhere possible. Go to hardware stores likes Lowes, Menards to find suitable replacement tanks.

Can I leave the heaters outside all year around?

Most heaters promise you a long durability despite all kinds of weather. However, there are limitations. It is best to store the heaters when not use. You should get a patio cover to prevent the heater from rust.

Can I leave the heaters outside all year around

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What if it knocked down?

Try to look for the best outdoor heater that have tilt-over protection valve, which will automatically turn the heater off if it tipped over or knocked down. This way, you will not have to worry much about this situation.

Can I use them indoors?

Unfortunately, patio heaters are not meant to use indoor or enclosed areas. You can use them under awning or overhangs, however, be extremely careful in this case to prevent any risks.

How far does it have to be from the wall?

Manufacturers usually provide you information about this in their instructions. Therefore, remember to read them carefully. Moreover, do not forget to place your patio heaters on an even surface and avoid areas that have high wind gusts.

Your heater needs at least 30 inches of clearance around it if it has a heating capacity from 30000 to 50000 BTUs. If the capacity is only between 10000 and 30000, the heater needs only 24 inches of clearance.

Are patio heaters safe?

Yes, they are safe, as long as you keep your eye on every child and pets around. Parents should always supervise their kids when having outdoor activities near patio heaters.

In conclusion, there are many different styles and types of patio heaters out there. Therefore, it is hard to choose one that matches your need and works perfectly. Most of the users usually end up getting a product that is disappointing and not meets their needs.

Hopefully, with all information provided above, you can choose wisely and have the best outdoor heater that gives you warmth during this cold weather. Get a patio heater and enjoy relaxing moments in your outdoor space.

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