Best Patio Heater Reviews (Top 6 Products in 2017)

Patio heaters are a great way of making sure you can use your patio for an extended period of time when the temperatures drop, and before they get high enough to spend time outside.

But did you know there are more heating systems, each with advantages and disadvantages of its own?

Read the following article to find out which is the best patio heater in 2017.

Our comprehensive buying guide will explain how patio heaters work, how to choose one, and how to use one safely.

Take a look at our patio heater reviews and see which are the best selling models in 2017, as well as the pros and cons of each model.

Use our BTU calculating formula to determine the right size of a patio heater, and make sure you keep it in mind when shopping for a model.

A good patio heater can double the period you can spend on your patio.

patio heater reviews
  • AmazonBasics 61826
  • Fuel: propane
  • BTUs: 46,000
  • Ignition: Piezo
  • Tank size: 20 lbs (not included)
  • Safety features: auto shut off tilt valve
  • Dimensions: 89 x 33 x 18
top patio heaters
  • Golden Flame
  • Fuel: propane
  • BTUs: 46,000
  • Ignition: electronic "Pilotless" system
  • Tank size: 20 lbs (not included)
  • Safety features: auto shut off tilt valve
  • Dimensions: 20 x 20 x 87
best patio heater
  • Fire Sense 60485
  • Fuel: propane
  • BTUs: 46,000
  • Ignition: Piezo
  • Tank size: 20 lbs (not included)
  • Safety features: auto shut off tilt valve
  • Dimensions: 89 x 33 x 18
best rated patio heaters
  • AZ Patio Heaters HLDSO1-WGTHG
  • Fuel: propane
  • BTUs: 40,000
  • Ignition: Piezo
  • Tank size: 20 lbs (not included)
  • Safety features: Thermocouple and Anti-tilt Safety
  • Dimensions: 38.5 x 21 x 21
portable outdoor propane heater
  • Fire Sense 60485
  • Fuel: propane
  • BTUs: 48,000
  • Ignition: Piezo
  • Tank size: 20 lbs (not included)
  • Safety features: auto shut off tilt valve
  • Dimensions: 32 x 32 x 86.8
best propane patio heater
  • Fire Sense 60485
  • Fuel: propane
  • BTUs: 41,000
  • Ignition: Piezo
  • Tank size: 20 lbs (not included)
  • Safety features: thermocouple and anti-tilt switch safety device
  • Dimensions: 32 x 87 x 32

Top 6 Patio Heaters in 2017

Fire Sense 60485 Commercial Patio Heater

best patio heaterThis portable outdoor heater is capable of producing up to 46,000 BTUs of heat to keep you and your family comfortable during the cold season. You should be able to feel the warm air in a 9-foot radius.

The propane powered heater has an electric ignition system which will start it just by pressing a button. The burners and the heating grid are made out of durable stainless steel.

It’s easy to move this unit around with the help of the small wheels it has on the back. The wheels will allow you to push the heater around the patio even when the propane tank is full.

This unit uses propane as fuel and needs a standard 20 Lbs tank to run. The propane tank is not included.

Pros

  • Great Value Product – This unit is very good for its price. The heat radiates over a large surface and it will make the temperatures comfortable enough to use on the colder nights of the year.
  • Easy Assembly – It’s easy to assemble and use this unit. All the parts fit well with each other, and the whole process is intuitive.

Cons

  • Poor Instructions – Even though the assembly process is easy and straightforward so most people could do it without the instructions, the owner’s manual is bad. The instructions are poorly written and the images are small. Youtube videos should clarify any questions you might have regarding this model if you can’t understand the manual.
  • Rusts – The enamel finished surfaces can rust, so make sure you spray a coat of clear protection over them to prolong their lifespan.

CHECK THE LATEST PRICE ON AMAZON

AmazonBasics 61826 Commercial Patio Heater

patio heater reviewsThis portable outdoor propane heater has a maximum heat output of 46,000 BTUs, enough to radiate warm air over a radius of up to 9 feet.

The heater has a sturdy base, and for increased security and stability, it also has a base reservoir system. You can fill this reservoir with sand or water increasing the base weight and making the heater more stable. You should not use this heater in heavy winds, as it could tip over, even if you fill the reservoir base.

This unit requires a standard 20 Lbs gas tank to operate, which is not included. The tank goes into the base of the heater.

The amount of heat it produces is variable, and you can choose between setting it to Low or High, depending on the temperature outside. The heater also benefits from a tilt shut-off valve which will cut off the gas supply as soon as the unit tilts to one side.

Pros

  • Powerful – This unit produces a lot of heat, and it will warm you up even in the colder parts of the winter.
  • 1 Year Warranty – This model comes with AmazonBasics 1 year warranty, so if you have any problems with it in this period Amazon will take the unit back bearing the shipping fee themselves.

Cons

  • Ignition Instructions Are Bad – Instead of turning the knob between the Low and High positions, you need to turn it between Off and High. This will allow you to press the dial in. You need to press the ignition button, hold the knob there for 20-30 seconds after the flame starts, and only them turn the knob at the desired value, Low or High.

CHECK THE LATEST PRICE ON AMAZON

Golden Flame Square Flame Commercial Patio Heater

top patio heatersThis is one of the best rated outdoor heaters available on the market today. This model is capable of producing up to 46,000 BTUs of heat, a great output that should keep your family and friends comfortable when using the patio during the winter.

The heater uses a versatile flame for heating. You can always adjust the height of the flame, as well as the heat output and operating time, adjusting them for the temperatures outside.

This model has a stable square base which is less affected by the wind. The base provides a convenient access to the propane tank, making tank changes and start-ups easy.

The heater needs a standard 20 Lbs Propane tank to work, and the tank is not included. A tank of propane can last up to 12 hours of continuous use, depending on the heat settings.

Pros

  • Fire Column Heater – This type of heaters look great and they will enhance every space you use them in.
  • Stable – This unit has a wide square base, and once you fill the reservoir tank with water or sand, it will become more stable than other models on the market.

Cons

  • Frustrating Assembly – If you want to assemble the unit quickly, you will need a ratchet set and vice grips. If you try using the included wrench, you will discover that it’s a too big for some of the bolts, making the assembly process frustrating.
  • Wasted Heat – Some of the heat escapes through the upper part of the heater, which makes it less efficient.

CHECK THE LATEST PRICE ON AMAZON

AZ Patio Heaters HLDSO1-WGTHG 

best rated patio heatersThis pyramid outdoor patio heater can produce up to 40,000 BTUs of heat and should spread that warmth over a radius of up to 6 feet.

The heater has a wide square base which provides easy access to the propane tank and also has a reservoir you can fill to improve the unit’s stability, preventing it from tipping over under the wind’s effects.

This type of heater looks great and will enhance every space you use it in. You can use these heaters even in the summer period when you and your family wants to relax. Just looking at the flames will make your evenings cozier.

Pros

  • Looks Great – This unit looks really good, and it will impress all your friends and family.
  • Great Customer Service – This model’s manufacturer provides an 800 number for live customer service 7 days/week.

Cons

  • Bad Instructions Manual – This unit comes with instructions so badly written, you won’t be able to understand most of them, let alone follow.
  • Need To Take Tank Out – You will have to take the propane tank out every time you want to move the unit around because the wheels won’t support the tank’s weight when it is fully loaded.
  • Rusts – The materials used for building this model will rust very quickly, and the coating provided by the manufacturer won’t stop the process. If you want to use the heater for an extended period of time, it might be better to apply a coating finish yourself.

CHECK THE LATEST PRICE ON AMAZON

Belleze Premium Patio Heater

portable outdoor propane heaterThis patio heater has a maximum heat output of 48,000 BTUs, enough to warm up a considerable area. It is one of the top patio heaters in our list. You should be able to feel the warmth from up to 15 feet, depending on the unit’s settings.

The heater can be easily moved around your patio with the help of the wheels on its back. The whole construction is made out of steel, so it will handle both salt air and harsh sun with ease.

The base of the heater provides the necessary tank for the 20 lbs propane tank it uses as fuel, and the bottom of the base can be filled with water or sand to increase its stability. The propane tank is not included.

Pros

  • Great Heating Capacity – This unit produces 48,000 BTUs of heat, making it the best propane patio heater in our list. You will be able to feel the warmth it produces over a 15 feet radius.
  • Good Instructions Manual – This model has a good instructions manual, so you won’t have any problems assembling it. All you have to do is follow the instructions and you should finish in an hours or so, even without previous experience.

Cons

  • Plastic Protection Hard To Remove – The plastic coating on the heat covers can be hard to remove before you start the installation. It might be easier to remove them if you heat them up a little with a hair dryer.
  • Packaging Can Be Faulty – A lot of customers have complained about the fact that their models came with dents and scratches on the surface. This is a packaging problem which should be addressed by the manufacturer.

CHECK THE LATEST PRICE ON AMAZON

AZ Patio Heaters HLDS01-WCGT Tall Patio Heater with Table

best propane patio heaterThis gas outdoor heater is capable of producing up to 41,000 BTUs of heat, which should be enough to feel over a radius of up to 8 feet, depending on the temperature outside.

The whole construction is made out of steel and has a powder coating, making the heater very durable so you can use it for a long time. The heater can also be used as a table. You can adjust the table’s height, or you can remove it completely if you want.

The heater has wheels for increased mobility, as well as a thermocouple and an anti-tilt safety feature. A burner cover and a regulator are included, but the propane tank is not.

Pros

  • Can Use Butane or Propane – This unit can use both butane and propane for power, so you can use it either way you want. A regulator is included, so changing the power source is easy.
  • Good Quality – This unit’s powder coating gives it a rich appearance, making it a great addition to every space.

Cons

  • Table Is Not Really Functional – The manufacturer had a great idea when he added the small table to the heater. This increases the utility of the unit. However, if the table would have been an inch larger in circumference it would have made it more usable. With the current size, you can only place some glasses on it.
  • Bad Packaging – People complained in many patio heater reviews that their units had dents and scratches on their surfaces. Fortunately, the customer’s service will change your product with another if this is the case.

CHECK THE LATEST PRICE ON AMAZON

Types of Patio Heaters

Depending on their fuel, there are three types of patio heaters. Some of them are more common, like the propane patio heaters, and other are more rare, like the natural gas heaters. Here is a list of the pros and cons of each system.

Propane Patio Heaters

Propane is the most common fuel source for outside heaters. Here are some of the Pros of using a propane heater:

  • Versatile – Propane comes in tanks, and that means that you can place the heater almost anywhere because the tank is easy to move around. Also, the propane tanks can have different capacities, meaning you can connect the heater to a larger or a smaller tank, depending on how long you plan to use it.
  • Portable – Due to the fact that a propane tank is easy to move, most propane patio heaters have wheels to increase their portability. This will allow you to move the whole heater around your patio without any problems.
  • Efficient Design – Most manufacturers design their propane heaters to hold a standard 20 lbs. propane tank, so the tank won’t be visible. This is an efficient and elegant design, and no power cord or connecting hose will be visible at all times.
  • Safety Features – Modern propane models have several safety features, like a tilt-over shut-off switch, or a multi-spark ignition system. These features make this kind of heaters safe and easy to use.
  • High Heating Capacity – Propane patio heaters produce a lot of heat, enough to warm up large areas.

Here are some of the Cons of using propane heaters.

  • Open Flame – Propane patio heaters use an open flame, so they represent a fire hazard. You have to make sure you place them away from flammable materials at all times.
  • Expensive Power Source – Propane is not cheap, and some models can use up a 20 lbs tank in under 10 hours, so it can be expensive to use.

Electric Patio Heaters

Some people prefer using electric heaters for their patios. Here are some of the Pros of using them:

  • No Assembly, Easy Installation – Electric patio heaters come fully assembled, and they’re not difficult to install. All you need to do is to place or mount them and plug them into a power outlet.
  • Reliable Fuel Source – You don’t have to worry about your fuel source running out like you would with a propane tank.

Here are some of the Cons of using electric patio heaters/;

  • Lower Heating Capacity – Electric units are usually designed as a small patio heater, so you can place them near an outlet with ease. This means they will have a lower heating capacity than models using natural gas or propane.
  • Need A Sheltered Location – You can’t leave an electric appliance out in the rain and expect it to work after it gets wet, so you need to place the heater in a sheltered location.

Natural Gas Patio Heaters

Natural gas patio heaters are gaining in popularity. Here are some of the Pros of using them:

  • Reliable Fuel Source – A natural gas outdoor heater is connected to a natural gas outlet, so there’s no chance of running out of fuel.
  • High Heating Capacity – Like the propane powered patio heaters, these units are capable of producing a lot of heat, so they will be able to warm up a large area. Because they have a permanent fuel source, you cam always run them on their highest setting, without having to worry about fuel.

Here are some of the Cons of using a natural gas patio heater:

  • Uncommon Fuel Source – Most houses don’t have a natural gas outlet, so they can’t be used everywhere.
  • Immobile – Once you connect the heater to the natural gas outlet, you can only move it around as long as the hose allows you to, which is usually not longer than a foot or two.

How Do Patio Heaters Work?

Gas burning patio heaters work differently than electrical heaters, but the heating principle remains the same. Both systems use radiative heat to keep you warm and cozy. Here is how they do it.

Gas Burning Patio Heaters – These units use natural gas, propane, or butane as fuel. They have a burner placed on top of a post of variable length, usually higher than an average person to avoid any injury. The burner uses the fuel to maintain a flame burning. The flames are directed at a perforated metal screen.

The heat produced is then radiated from the screen to a circular pattern around the heater. A reflector is placed on the top of the burner and reflects all the heat that would otherwise rise into the air above.

The reflector is usually silvered, making it a poor absorber of heat, but great at reflecting the infrared radiation back. This reduces the heat losses and increases the heater’s efficiency.

Electric Patio Heaters – These units use electricity for fuel, and they radiate heat onto nearby surfaces. There are two ways of doing that.

One way is having an electric heating element that heats the air straight in front of it, so you’ll be warm as long as you stay in the heater’s working range. The amounts of heat created are large, but some of it is lost in the surrounding air.

The other way of achieving this is by using an infrared light bulb to convert the electricity into infrared light and radiation. The infrared radiation won’t heat the air in front of it, but it will warm up all the objects in its range. As soon as an object is warmed enough, it will radiate heat, increasing the temperature of the air surrounding it.

Choosing the Best Patio Heater – Buying Guide

Choosing a patio heater can be difficult in a market where new models are released each year, and all of them are advertised as the best outdoor heaters. Read the following buying guide to be sure you make an informed decision when you decide to buy a model.

  • Which Patio Heater Type to Choose

    Choosing a certain type of patio heater depends on how large your patio is, how cold it gets in your area, and more. Here are some things you should consider before you decide.

    Patio Surface – The first thing you have to think about is how large you patio actually is, and what surface do you intend to keep warm doing the cold season. If your patio is large and you want to keep all of it warm when the temperatures drop, you might have to buy more than one heater.

    Electric heaters are easier to install, but they won’t produce the amount of heat a gas unit can. However, as long as you have a power outlet, you can move an electric patio heater around and be comfortable at all times.

    Propane patio heaters are highly portable, and you can also move them around the patio when needed. They also produce a high amount of heat, so you’ll be able to feel their warmth from farther.

    Natural gas heaters have a high heating capacity, but you can’t move them. Once they’re connected to the natural gas outlet, they will stay there, so you will need to make sure the space heater has a heating capacity large enough to cover the whole surface.

  • How Cold It Gets In Your Area

    This is very important because if your area gets very cold, very fast, you only have two viable options for a patio heater

    Gas Fueled Heater With A High Heating Capacity – A high heating capacity should be enough to spread the warm air. However, you need to take into account that lower temperatures will make the radius of warm air smaller, so you have to pick an appropriate size for your unit.

    Electric Patio Heater Using Infrared Technology – These units will keep you warm as long as you’re in their range, no matter how cold it gets around you. However, you need to keep in mind that the air surrounding you won’t get warmer, so as soon as you leave their working range, you will feel the full impact of the low temperatures.

  • Patio Heater Efficiency

    One of the most important things to consider when purchasing an outdoor heater is whether it’s efficient or not. Owning and using a patio heater has to be cost effective, so here are some things you should consider.

    Why Are You Buying A Patio Heater – It’s very important to think about the main reason you’re buying a heater in the first place. Do you want to use it for party situations, so you’ll only use it several times a year? Do you want to use it for commercial purposes and need to use it every day?

    These are just two of the many uses of a patio heater, but there are two different solutions for them. In the first case, if you want to use the heater only several times a year, a propane powered unit will be efficient. This kind of heater is portable, you can place it next to a table or a bar, so it will cover the most circulated areas of the patio.

    If you need to use the patio heater every day, buying a propane fueled unit won’t be cost effective. Propane is more expensive to use than natural gas or electricity, and most models use a standard 20 lbs propane tank, so you’ll need to change the tank often.

  • Do You Plan On Using It In An Open Space Or an Enclosed Area?

    If you plan to use the patio heater is an open space, gas-fueled units will be efficient because they will already have the necessary ventilation to run properly.

    On the other hand, using gas-fueled patio heaters in an enclosed space is less efficient because you’ll need to make a ventilation system. This ventilation system will make some of the warm air to leak out of the space, lowering the unit’s efficiency. Using an electric patio heater will be better in this case because it doesn’t need ventilation and will minimize the losses.

  • Patio Heater Size

    Sizing your patio heater correctly is very important. You don’t want to buy a unit too small, which will not cover the entire area of your patio or a unit so large it will consume too much fuel warming up the place.

    Choose The Right BTU Amount – You will see that most patio heater manufacturers will state in the product’s specifications how many BTUs it’s able to produce. But how do you know how many BTUs your patio needs? Follow the quick calculation guide below to find out.

    BTU Calculation Formula – It is generally believed that using the following formula will determine the exact amount of BTUs you need.

    (Square feet x degrees to heat x 2)/Heater BTU x 60 = Minutes the heater needs to heat the area

    The Easier Way – Didn’t understand too much from the equation above? No problem. Here is a simpler method of calculating how many BTUs you need. For every degree F you and to increase in a square foot, you need 2 BTUs. So if you want to increase the temperature by 10 degrees F in a square foot, you’ll need 20 BTUs.

    Elements Alter The Calculation – Keep in mind that you will need to increase the total amount of BTU your patio needs if it’s drafty, or if it’s exposed to other elements.

  • Operating Costs

    It’s clear that different fuels have different costs, but which one is cheaper to operate? Here is an example of estimating the operating costs of electric and propane fueled patio heaters.

    If you consider that refilling a 20-pound propane tank costs about 15$, and a heater will use that gas to run for ten hours, then it will cost you 1.5$/hour to operate.

    On the other hand, if a kWh costs 15 cents, a 4,500 Watts electric heater will run at .69$/h, or $6.9 in ten hours, which is less than half of the propane heater’s operating cost.

    Now, an average propane unit will produce about 40,000 BTUs in an hour, while a 4,500 Watts electric heater will only produce 15,350 BTUs.

    So you’ll actually pay less than a half to operate the electric patio heater, but it will also produce less than a half of the heating power.

    You need to take this into consideration and decide which kind of heater will fit your needs better.

Patio Heaters Safety Tips

  1. Always install the patio heater on a flat surface.
  2. Make sure the heater has at least three feet of open space around it, and keep it away from flammable materials.
  3. Store the heater’s spare fuel safely. Make sure it stays in a dry and cool area, away from sunlight or other fire sources.
  4. Remember to turn off the patio heater when nobody’s around it.
  5. Check the owner’s manual to see it your heater can be used inside, or in enclosed spaces. If this isn’t specified in the manual, you can check online or phone the manufacturer. Never use a heater designed for outside use in enclosed spaces unless the manufacturer states so.
  6. Keep the children away from the heaters, especially from the ones using an open flame. For safety, never leave a patio heater near unsupervised children. Patio heaters can get hot to the touch, leading to serious injury.
  7. Keep your pets away from the patio heaters. They can tip over and fall, becoming a fire hazard.
  8. Keep the patio heater clear. Under no circumstances use it as a clothes dryer. The amount of heat produced is too high, leading to fires.
  9. If you want a patio heater to use in enclosed spaces, go for an electric model. Gas fueled models produce by-products such as carbon monoxide, which can be toxic when it accumulates in a space.
  10. Always turn off the patio heater in windy weather. Even if they have their base reservoir full of sand or water, they can still tip over and fall.
  11. Use a cover to protect the heater from the elements. Always make sure the heater is cold before you cover it.
  12. Never modify a patio heater by yourself. Always go to a professional if you want to make any kind of modifications. This can lead to serious injury.
  13. Always make sure the propane or butane tanks are protected from damage. They can explode, leading to serious injury.

Conclusion

Now that you read our patio heater reviews, you know that there is more than one way to make your patio comfortable. We hope that you found the right fit for you among the models we presented.

As you could see from our patio heater buying guide, no one can say precisely which is the best patio heater available on the market, but only what’s better suited for a particular situation.

Whether you want to heat up a small area in open air, or a large one in a partially enclosed space, we are sure that the right model is out there, just waiting for you to find it.

Use our BTU calculation formula to determine the right size for a patio heater, and make sure you add the necessary values if your patio is exposed to drafts or other elements.

This will help you find the perfect model quickly, without other problems.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *