Outdoor activities, particularly when you’re sitting around a table, can often be shorted due to drops in temperature. That is why you need the best outdoor electric heater so the party can continue until the early hours.
However, there are many different types of patio heaters, including floor standing, tabletop, and wall mounted. They also use different power sources like propane or natural gas. As such, it can be challenging to decide which outdoor heater is the best for you and your particular needs. To make your decision much easier, here are some outdoor heaters reviews for you to choose from. We also included a buying guide so you can make an informed decision when shopping for the best electric patio heaters.
10 Best Outdoor Electric Heaters Reviews
1. AmazonBasics Commercial Patio Heater
The AmazonBasics Commercial Patio Heater is reasonably priced, at just under $135. Customers can further cut the price if they are members of Amazon Prime since it’s an Amazon product.
Well, who knew Amazon made patio heaters? This one certainly gives a lot of value for your money, too. It has a 46,000 BTU output. The BTU of a patio heater determines its heat radius. 30,000 BTUs heats a radius of 5 to 8 feet, 40,000 BTUs heats a radius of 10 feet, so 46,000 will produce a heat radius of between 12 and 15 feet. This means that if you’re standing twice this distance away from it, no matter what direction, you will feel its heat.
So, the AmazonBasics heater has a pretty impressive heat radius for its price. This would allow you to keep a large number of people warm on a cool evening. The startup system is easy to operate: all you do is push a button, and then control the heat using the variable heat control knob. If it’s being used for an activity where everyone is in close vicinity to it, you’ll probably find it getting too warm at some point, so this is certainly useful.
Unfortunately, you have to go out and buy a gas cylinder before you can use this heater. You will probably find this a common occurrence if you’re looking for an outdoor heater online.
- Can spread heat to a larger radius of about 15 feet
- Durable, powder coated silver finish
- Gas cylinder for operation not included
- No remote control
2. Fire Sense Powder Coated Patio Heater
The FireSense Powder Coated Patio Heater comes in a wide range of colors, including aqua blue, stainless steel, and copper finish. The aqua blue version is actually stunning, which is great if you want to purchase something that doesn’t ruin the aesthetic appeal of your backyard. Alternatively, you might find the stainless steel more to your taste as the finish is probably more durable and less likely to rust over time.
Where the Amazon product uses gas, this one runs on propane. Propane lasts longer than natural gas, so while it usually costs more, it is also more efficient. There are pros and cons to natural gas and propane, and your preference depends largely on what you deem most important. Natural gas is generally deemed safe as it dissipates more quickly into the atmosphere, for example.
This patio heater has a tip over protection system as it is bottom heavy, allowing you to use it safely without worrying about it tipping over. In general, patio heaters should be secured when not in use to avoid any potential damage to the unit. Still, this one could safely sit outside without being secured, unless the weather is particularly windy or a storm is approaching.
The assembly is supposed to be easy, but if you’re not confident about your skills in this area, you will have to pay an extra $88.34 to have a professional assemble it for you
- Lots of different colors and varieties to choose from
- 46,000 BTU heating power
- Costs extra to have an expert assemble it for you.
3. AZ Quartz Glass Tube Patio Heater
The AZ Quartz Glass Tube Patio Heater has some interesting features, including a compartment that allows you to hide away the propane tank behind a door. It is also CSA approved, which means that it has passed rigorous testing and meets the safety and efficiency guidelines laid out by the Canadian Standards Association.
It’s an impressive 89 inches tall, allowing the heat to emit to a greater height. Its BTU output is 40,000, so it produces a heat radius of 10 feet. This is the same as a 20 feet diameter circle. Thus, it can generate enough heat to keep a 20 feet diameter circle warm, allowing you to organize large parties or barbecues even during the colder weather.
It also includes a durable wheeled base, so you don’t have to worry about portability after the initial assembly. This means you don’t have to design your outdoor space around the positioning of your outdoor heater; instead, you can move it, so it complements the overall design.
The actual appearance of this heater isn’t as appealing as others. It looks quite stark and industrial, and the color scheme isn’t particularly attractive. However, if you aren’t particularly concerned about this design element, you’ll gladly take advantage of the one year warranty this company provides and enjoy your outdoor parties using a good quality heater.
- Unique hidden door for propane tank
- CSA approved
- A bit of an eyesore
- No remote control
5. BestMassage Patio Heater
The Best Massage patio heater is a high-quality product that includes a stainless steel heating element and an official stamp of approval from the Canadian Standards Association (CSA). The bronze hammered finish is both stylish and practical, as it will resist rusting and general damage from the elements.
There are many ways you can choose to use this elegant heater. It is powerful enough for both residential and commercial use. You might own a cafe or restaurant with outdoor seating and want to provide customers with extra warmth on chilly nights. It’s also great for outdoor heated smoking areas in any public places that are non-smoking.
With an impressive BTU of 41,000, it can heat large areas. It uses propane gas. One tank of propane will last an average user a couple of weeks, so your running costs will be manageable. This heater is only suitable for outdoor use, but sometimes it’s better when a product does one thing well as opposed to lots of things in a mediocre fashion.
- Bronze hammered finish
- Easy to assemble
- Outdoor use only
6. Dyna-Glo DGPH201BR Patio Heater
Boasting the largest BTU output on the list so far, the Dyna-Glo DGPH201BR Hammered Bronze Patio Heater is a powerful device. Its design is quite simple and basic, but arguably lacks the refined appearance of some of the other models.
It is powered by a 20lb propane tank, which unsurprisingly you have to buy separately from the unit. While it doesn’t look as aesthetically appealing as some other models, it includes several practical features in its design. These are an aluminum reflector panel which helps to boost the heat output and impressively high heat output of 24 feet diameter. This means that anyone sitting around the heater can feel warm from up to 24 feet away, as the heat is emitted in a circle.
It also includes a one-step electronic ignition system so that you can switch it on easily. All you do is press the igniter and then turn the knob around until you find the perfect temperature for your outdoor needs. On warmer evenings you can choose the lowest setting in order to save on energy and running costs, while it also has enough power to keep you toasty warm in much colder weather.
Finally, this outdoor heater is also CSA approved, giving the consumer more peace of mind regarding safety, efficiency, and reliability.
- Anti-tilt safety device
- Powerful heat covering up 24 feet diameter
- Less stylish than other models
7. Endless Summer, GLT1332SP, LP Gas Outdoor Fireplace
The Endless Summer GLT1332SP Gas Outdoor Fireplace is a very interesting example of an outdoor heater. Its design is truly unique, and it looks much different than other standing outdoor heaters. It’s reminiscent of an ancient torch inside an Egyptian temple. It has a kind of other-worldly feel to it.
With regards to aesthetic appeal, this is probably the most thoughtful design on the list. If you had this sitting in your garden, it’s not immediately apparent that it’s an actual heater. Instead, it looks like a decorative piece. This is a distinct advantage if you’re looking for a model that blends in with the natural environment.
The unit is made of stainless steel, so it’s durable and resists rust and weather damage. Its control panel is hidden, so you can’t see all of the ugly components like switches and the tank. It includes the black fire glass that forms part of the heating components, and it has a slate finish with faux stone construction.
Its BTU output is only 10,000, so it has a much smaller heat radius than the other models on this list. However, it might still be perfect for you, depending on what your needs are. If you have a 4 or 6 person table in your backyard, for example, and you need to keep this small area warm, it still has enough power to do so. It is not suitable for large parties where the guests are scattered into a larger area, however.
- Unique design
- Hidden control panel
- Lower BTU than other models
8. AZ Patio Heaters Electric Patio Heater
Another outdoor heater on this list is the AZ Parasol Electric Patio Heater. Like the Endless Summer model, it’s also designed uniquely. You connect this to the umbrella or parasol on your patio table, and it heats the surrounding area.
This is one of the most economical options available for an outdoor heater. It is also electric, so you don’t have to worry about what resources you use while operating it. However, because it is electric, it has a power cord. This can potentially be a hassle with regards to where your closest outlet is. It is also a bit inconvenient to stretch a cord underneath your patio table.
If this doesn’t put you off, this model could be the perfect choice for you if you’re looking for a model that isn’t a huge eyesore. This is connected to the umbrella and lies underneath it, so this can also be perceived as a very convenient option for evening dinner parties during cold weather.
It also includes a one year warranty, providing you with peace of mind regarding your purchase. This unit is ideal for small parties surrounded an actual table, but isn’t recommended for larger events.
- Out of sight
- Easy to assemble and use
- Designed to work with patio umbrellas and parasols only
- No remote control
9. DONYER POWER 1500W Electrical Patio Heater
For just below $90, the Donyer Power electrical patio heater is affordable and perfect for enclosed outdoor spaces with some form of ceiling. This model is designed to be mounted on a ceiling, so it’s not suitable for open-air areas. An umbrella or parasol is not strong enough to support the weight, so that’s not an option.
However, this patio heater is unique in that it is designed to be used both indoors and outdoors. The warm yellow light adds a relaxed and comfortable atmosphere to any dinner party or informal gathering. It is easy to install and uninstall, allowing you to move the heater to wherever suits.
The halogen heating pipes are an excellent addition to the design of this heater as halogen pipes are great heat conductors. This means they will heat up really quickly. Halogen is also a very durable material and kind to the environment, ensuring peace of mind and social contribution in one fell swoop.
If you’re creative and confident in your DIY skills, you might be able to customize the ceiling mount and hang it from a curved tree or a sturdy stone fence. For anyone decent with a toolkit, there are many possibilities, and you don’t have to be turned off if you don’t have an outdoor space with a ceiling.
- Halogen heating pipes
- 360 degrees all round heating
- Must be mounted on a ceiling
10. Star Patio Electric Patio Heater
The last ceiling patio heater on this list is the Star Patio Electric Patio Heater. With 5100 BTUs of high-quality heat, this freestanding patio heater gives you a lot of value for your money. The best part is that it comes with two halogen tubes that provide environmentally efficient heating with a lifespan of 8000 hours.
When it comes to assembling this heater, you’ll face no problems at all because all the necessary fittings are included. It has a lovely all-steel housing material that works with every interior decor. Additionally, the 19.7″/50cm adjustable chain makes it easy to carry and change height or location.
There are two power settings on this heater: 600 and 1500 watts, and provides quiet warmth for any space up to 12 square feet. One of the great things about this unit is that it is safe and environmentally friendly – doesn’t produce odors, chemicals or fumes. It’s also IP24 and cETLus certified, which means it safe for outdoor use. If you doubt all these, then the manufacturer offers a 1-year warranty.
You can use this heater for a variety of purposes. Apart from your patio, you could even bring it to your workshop, garage, balconies, gazebos, outdoor living spaces, or any other outdoor area.
- Weather resistant
- Durable halogen tube
- 360 degrees heating
- Should be plug into a grounded 100-120V, 60Hz power outlet
BEST ELECTRIC PATIO HEATERS BUYING GUIDE
There are multiple factors to consider when buying an outdoor patio heater. In this guide, we’ll not only discuss each consideration in detail but also provide useful tips to help you find the best possible heater for your needs. Let’s begin with patio heater types;
What are the Different Types of Patio Heaters Available?
Outdoor patio heaters can be categorized based on several factors, including; style options, power source, and residential vs. commercial. Since this is a residential buyer guide, we’ll focus on style options and power source categories.
Patio Heater Types by Style/Design Options
With regards to design or style, there are four primary types of outdoor patio heaters to choose from;
1. Floor Standing Patio Heaters
Tall and thin, floor standing patios are one of the most common outdoor heaters around. They give off a decent amount of heat and are popular in places such as restaurants and coffee shops that have patios. The prices of these heaters vary based on the type of fuel they use as well as the size and power of the unit.
2. Hanging and Wall-mountable Heaters
Another popular style, hanging/wall-mountable patio heaters are a favorite among those who want to save floor space. The heaters provide enough heat to warm up the entire place while staying out of the way. Mounting, however, has to be done professionally. Otherwise, there’s a risk of the heater falling over and possibly even starting a fire in the home. The heaters vary considerably in size and prices.
3. Tabletop Patio Heaters
As the name suggests, tabletop patio heaters are small enough to sit on the table. Their small size often means that they cannot heat a large area. As such, they’re best suited to situations where most of the patio time is spent sitting around the table. The great thing about these heaters though is that they’re very affordable. Also, you don’t have to worry about installation or placement as the units are specially designed to rest on the table safely.
4. Fire Pits and Chimneys
Fire pits and chimneys are by far the largest outdoor patio heating options. They are also the most expensive option in the market, especially the bigger fancier models. However, if you’re looking for a statement patio heating source that adds atmosphere to your exterior, you couldn’t do any better. They are also the best option when looking to heat a large area. Be prepared to spend a bit of time maintaining the unit though.
Patio Heater Types by Fuel/Power Source
Outdoor patio heaters use one of four main types of fuel sources – natural gas, propane, electricity, and wood. Here’s is what you need to know about them;
1. Propane Patio Heaters
Propane heaters are easy to add to the outdoors. Most of them don’t require professional installation. Armed with a manual, you can put together the parts, attach the gas tank, and turn on the system.
One downside, though, is that they are rather costly. The initial investment is often low, which is a great appeal, but, long term, the costs quickly add up, making the option rather expensive.
- Heat up fast
- Easy to install
- Propane is more costly than natural gas
- Gas tanks need frequent replacement
- The heaters can’t be used in a closed space
2. Natural Gas Patio Heaters
Natural gas heaters are some of the most popular for several reasons. First, gas heaters are the cheapest option on this list. Once installed, the operating costs are incredibly low. Maintaining gas heaters is also super easy. The problem, however, is installation. Since gas heaters need to be connected to your gas line, professional installation is required. Installation can drive up initial costs.
- Cheap in the long-term
- Easy to maintain
- High initial costs
- Less mobile compared to other options
- Can’t be used in closed spaces
3. Electric Patio Heaters
Arguably the most convenient option, electric patio heaters are easy to install & use and don’t cost much to maintain. Except for hanging and mountable types, you can easily install the heaters on your own because, in most cases, all you need is to plug in the appliance.
The two main challenges, however, are the need to have the heater close enough to an outlet and the higher cost of electric power compared to the other power sources on this list.
- Highly convenient
- Safe to use even in enclosed spaces
- Easy to maintain
- Expensive to maintain
- The heater must be close to a power outlet
- Heating up takes longer
4. Wood Patio Heaters
Finally, you can also opt for wood-powered outdoor patio heaters. Mostly used in outdoor fire pits, wood provides a fantastic atmosphere and produces a smell most people like. Maintaining wood heaters is also simple – all you have to do is add more firewood and clean out the ashes afterwards.
Two common challenges with this option, however, are starting the fire and controlling the heat.
- Provides a great atmosphere
- Very affordable
- Easy to maintain
- Trickier to ignite
- Controlling heating levels is a challenge
- If you live in the city, finding wood might be a challenge too
Other Patio Space Heater Types
Other styles you may come across include; flash mount, tower, ceiling, and spot heaters. Flush heaters are mainly for interior and exterior décor and don’t emit too much heat. Tower heaters are pretty much floor standing heaters mounted to tall towers. Ceiling heaters are mountable heaters designed to be mounted on the ceiling. Lastly, spot heaters are those designed to direct heat in a particular direction.
Factors to Consider When Purchasing the Best Patio Heaters
To determine the best outdoor heater for your needs, you must understand not only the options at your disposal but also the heater qualities that matter the most to you. The following are some of the factors to keep in mind;
The Patio Itself
This is, perhaps, the most crucial consideration. What kind of patio are you looking to warm? How big is it? What’s its shape? How many people will be spending time there on average? Clearly understanding these factors will help you choose the right patio heater to suit your needs.
If your patio is small and will mostly be hosting you and a lovely pet, then you certainly don’t need a big heater. The same applies if you’ll be hosting many friends but within a small space. A tabletop heater would be more than fine for both of these situations. However, if the area is large, floor standing and tower heaters would be ideal.
If it’s a closed space, then you can also rule out all options except for electric-powered heaters. And, if you’re looking to use the unit as a focal point rather than a statement, then a fire pit makes more sense.
Patio heater power is measured in BTU (British Thermal Units). The higher the value, the more powerful the unit is. More power translates to more heat generated. More power also means that the unit can heat a larger area.
This is another factor you want to take very seriously. Often, the manufacturer will indicate the power of the unit on the package. Take time to understand this value before making a purchase. If two heaters are the same, pick the one with a higher BTU value.
Even more importantly, never take the manufacturer’s word for gospel. Manufacturers have to sell their products so they will say anything to lure shoppers. Instead, spare time to visit consumer forums and review websites to read what past customers have to say about the unit and the manufacturer.
Outdoor patio heater prices vary widely depending on several factors, including; brand, style, fuel-source, power, and aesthetics. Nevertheless, there are a few trends within the market that can help you find value.
- Tabletop heaters: If shopping for a tabletop patio heater, prices tend to start at around the $50 mark. Unless you’re buying a luxury brand, don’t pay more than $200.
- Floor standing heaters: Prices here mostly start at around $200, with most heaters in this market priced at between $400-700. But, you can also find options priced at less than $100 while those using natural gas sometimes cost as much as $1,500.
- Fire pits and chimneys: As with floor standing options, small, portable heaters in this market are priced at around $200. But modern firepits with exotic design and made from better materials are some of the most expensive patio heaters out there, often costing up to $2,000+.
The most important thing is to have a budget and shop within your budget. You can always upgrade later on.
Safety cannot be overlooked when shopping for a patio heater. Whether you’re buying an electrical or natural-gas space heater, it’s vital to pick the heater with the lowest safety risk. The following are a few tips to help you with this.
- First, any gas or wood heaters must be used exclusively in open spaces – no excuses. If you place any of these heaters in a closed area, you not only risk carbon monoxide build-up but also create a fire hazard.
- Secondly, all heaters must be kept away from anything flammable at all times. It doesn’t matter if it’s an electric-powered heater. Always keep it away from flammable items.
- Third, a sturdy base is critical for freestanding options and tabletop heaters. You don’t want a situation where a strong wind topples the heater over, starting a fire. Also, if strong winds are prevalent where you live, find a secure anchor for the heater.
Finally, for open fire pits, extreme caution is advised. Start by putting measures in place to contain the fire, so it doesn’t spread. And, when you’re done, make sure to put the fire out completely. Your user manual should provide further advice on how to use the unit safely.
If chosen correctly, an outdoor patio heater can add so much style to your decor. If this is one of your motivations, you’ll also need to spend some time assessing your options to identify the type of heater that would have the most impact on your atmosphere.
Floor standing models, for example, are extremely functional. But, some are designed to add a beautiful touch to the area as well. There are bronze and gold coated floor-standing heaters out there, for instance, that can add both class and style to your patio. Then, there are also those that come with an open flame, adding a great ambience to space.
Fire pits are also excellent at boosting aesthetics. Many styles are available that will instantly uplift the place. From basic metal fire bowls to elaborate multi-level and multifunctional units that double up as beverage coolers, the choice is yours.
Top Safety Features of an Outdoor Patio Heater
Every patio heater today comes with endless bells and whistles which can sometimes take your eyes off the essential necessities. The following are eight main features to look for in your new outdoor heater;
- Piezo ignition: Piezo ignition is a technology that allows you to light up natural gas and propane heaters in the push of a button.
- Automatic shut-off: Automated shut-off safety feature turns the unit off in certain circumstances such as when a low oxygen level is detected.
- Cool-touch fire glass: Cool touch fire glass is a type of glass that covers the burner and can be touched without getting burned.
- Tilt-over protection: In a patio heater with tilt-over protection, the unit automatically turns off if it gets tipped over.
- Wheels: If shopping for a large, heavy patio heater such as a 40-inch fire pit, wheels for moving the unit around are vital.
- Reservoir base: If you’re not keen on a massive base for your floor standing or tabletop heater, a reservoir base that can be filled with water or sand is another good option.
- Safety shut-off switch: In case of an emergency, a safety shut-off switch automatically turns off the unit to prevent a fire hazard.
- Eco-friendly design: Look out for designs that save fuel/energy. You’ll potentially save hundreds of dollars in patio heating costs each year.
Outdoor Patio Heater FAQs
Now that we’ve covered the main patio heater categories, factors to consider when choosing a heater for your patio, and key heater features to look for, let’s now answer some common patio heater questions;
How do patio heaters work?
Patio heaters operate based on the principle of heat transfer through radiation. Every material, when heated to a specific temperature emits heat in the form of electromagnetic radiation. Whatever the source of energy (natural gas, propane, electricity, or wood), this is exactly how patio heaters work. They emit radiant heat that travels through the air to keep you toasty and warm.
Are patio heaters worth it?
Yes, mostly. The majority of people who buy patio heaters love to sit on the patio, especially in the evening, perhaps reading a book or enjoying a cup of tea/coffee. Since most evenings are rather cold, heating becomes necessary. And that’s where patio heaters come in. Besides, patio heaters also add to the aesthetics of your patio and can instantly boost the appeal of your home. For products that cost as little as $100, surely, they are value for money.
How much does it cost to operate a patio heater?
Assuming that you’ve already purchased the heater, there are three other costs you need to keep in mind; installation, operation, and maintenance. Focusing on operation, fuel cost is the most crucial factor. In general, propane–powered types ($1.70/hour) are the most costly to operate while natural gas-powered types (48 cents per hour) are the least expensive to operate. The above figures are for an average, 40,000BTU patio heater. Electric and wood-powered options lie somewhere in between.
What size of patio heater do you need?
This will depend on multiple factors, some of which require the knowledge of a professional. That said, though, you can still do a few calculations to determine an estimated value. The simplest way to go about this is to use the: “Cubic feet of area X Desired temperature rise = BTUs needed” formula. The desired temperature rise is the difference between the current average temperature of your patio and the temperature you feel would be most comfortable for you. However, you still need to factor in things like weather, so seeking professional opinion might be your best option.
What is the difference between a single dome and triple dome patio heaters?
The main difference between single and triple dome heaters is the number of areas the generated heat can be directed to. In single-dome patio heaters, heat is directed in a single direction whereas, in a triple dome heater, heat is directed in three different directions. The result is more even heat distribution in the case of triple dome heaters compared to single dome heaters. Other than that, there’s not much difference. Both heaters have a power rating of 40,000 BTUs and feature a ceramic cone insulator for longer heat retention and greater efficiency.
What is the required clearance around a patio heater?
There is no single answer to this question; the best option is to consult your user manual. Most manuals will give you all the information you need and even advice on an ideal location for your patio heater. Nevertheless, there are a few general rules that apply. For instance, portable patio heaters rated between 35,000 and 50,000 BTUs need at least 30 inches of clearance. Smaller heaters in the range of 10,000 to 35,000 BTUs, meanwhile, need at least 24 inches of clearance. The clearance figure is a radius, meaning the distance must be upheld on all sides of the heater.
Can I use a patio heater on my enclosed patio?
The short answer here is yes. Just remember that NOT ALL patio heaters can be used in enclosed spaces. Electric patio heaters, for example, work exceptionally both indoors and outdoors. Tabletop heaters, in particular, are excellent indoors. Ceiling heaters and wall-mountable types are other good options when shopping for indoor heaters. The other three types (natural gas, propane, and wood-powered), however, are an enormous safety risk in enclosed spaces and therefore must be exclusively used outdoors.
Can I use a patio heater on grass?
No. Patio heaters must never be placed directly on a grass surface. The reason is simple – patio heaters can be tipped over, and when this happens, there’s a fire risk. Grass surfaces are rarely even, making the risk of the heater tipping over even greater. If you must place your heater on your grass compound, be it a freestanding heater or a fire pit, use patio slabs to support the unit. Patio slabs provide a flat, stable surface upon which the heater can be placed. Moreover, in the case of fire pits, the slabs can help absorb heat, thus protect your grass from scorching.
There are many different options with regards to your choices of outdoor electric heaters. Do you want a high BTU model or something smaller that runs efficiently? Do you want a solid, sturdy model, or something more subtle or aesthetically pleasing? These are all factors to consider when looking for the best outdoor electric heaters, and hopefully, these electric outdoor heater reviews will help you find the perfect unit for you and your household.