Best Outdoor Patio Heaters 2020 – Reviews & Guide
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You’ve enjoyed your outdoor living space throughout the warmer months. But now that the temperature has dropped, you may be disappointed that you can no longer take advantage of your patio or deck. If you’d rather avoid the smoke and open flames of a fire pit, there’s an easy and eye-catching solution to help you reclaim your outdoor space once the weather turns cold. An outdoor patio heater can extend your enjoyment longer into the chilly evenings and for far more months of year.
When deciding which outdoor patio heater to purchase, you’ll find hundreds of models with different features, sizes, and prices. We’ve saved you time by narrowing the search to the top 10 best outdoor patio heaters available for this year. Our reviews, along with quick-reference pros and cons lists and a buyer’s guide, will help you find the best patio heater for your outdoor space.
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites
|Fire Sense 60485|
|Hiland HLDSO1-WGTHG||1 Year||4.2/5|
The 10 Best Outdoor Patio Heaters
1. AmazonBasics 61826 Outdoor Patio Heater – Best Overall
For its ability to heat a wide area of up to 18 feet in diameter, the AmazonBasics commercial outdoor patio heater takes our top spot for best overall performance. With a heat output of 46,000 BTUs, you’ll be able to keep warm when the temperatures are low.
This outdoor heater comes with convenient features, such as a large heat-control knob, a safety auto shut-off tilt valve, and two wheels at the base for easy transport. This heater includes a Piezo ignition system that lights the heater with the push of a button. We did find that over time, the ignition system may not work, but you can easily manually light the heater.
Finally, the bronze powder-coated finish on this outdoor heater gives it an attractive appearance while weatherproofing it from rust. However, we discovered that the ring around bottom of burner and the ring under the knob are made from untreated chrome and will rust.
2. Hiland Electric Umbrella Patio Heater – Best Value
If you’re looking for the best outdoor heater for the money, consider the Hiland HLI-1P Electric Umbrella patio heater. As the name states, this electric heater cleverly adjusts to firmly affix to the pole of a patio umbrella. It has three burners with variable heat control, which allows you to choose to turn on one burner or all three.
Designed for indoor or outdoor use, this heater is constructed with stainless steel and is IP certified waterproof. Plus, it has the added safety feature of an anti-tilt switch.
We found that this heater does produce instant heat, as it claims. However, since the heating unit sits directly overhead, the lower half of your body may not feel as warm Also, it produces quite a bit of light and pulls a considerable amount of electricity, as its heating elements total 1,500 watts.
3. Fire Sense 60485 Patio Heater – Premium Choice
We choose the Fire Sense Hammer Tone patio heater as our premium choice for its 46,000 BTUs of heat output and fuel efficiency. We found that this patio heater can easily warm your deck or patio on a full standard 20lb LPG BBQ tank for longer than 10 hours.
This patio heater comes with many thoughtful features. It starts reliably and easily with a push of a button, thanks to the Piezo ignition system. In addition, this heater has a tip-over protection system for safety. Finally, heavy-duty wheels make transport effortless.
The Fire Sense has a stylish look with a powder-coated hammered bronze finish. However, we did discover that some untreated parts will rust, and unfortunately, their customer service may leave you endlessly on hold.
4. Hiland Pyramid Patio Heater
If you live where the temperatures tend to be moderate and you’re looking for a stylish, beautiful addition to your outside space, consider the Hiland Pyramid Patio Propane Heater. This two-piece quartz glass tube heater stands 90 inches tall with an appealing hammered bronze-finish construction. This CSA-approved heater comes with useful features, including an easy access door to replace your propane tank when it’s empty, a durable wheeled base, and a safety auto shut-off tilt valve.
Although Hiland claims that this patio heater produces 40,000 BTUs, we found that it doesn’t give off enough heat to satisfactorily warm a large outdoor space and the electronic ignitor may not work reliably. In addition, we learned that some patio heaters shipped with damaged parts, the instruction manual may be difficult to follow, and the warranty may not be honored.
5. Belleze Outdoor Patio Heater
A commercial-type patio heater, the Belleze Outdoor is as functional as it is stylish. This CSA-certified patio heater has built-in wheels for easy mobility and releases 48,000 BTUs of heat, warming a diameter of up to 15 feet. While there are many satisfied owners, we did learn that depending on the weather conditions, this heater may not project warmth a full 15 feet.
Other features on this patio heater include a variable heat control knob for low or high settings and a push-button Piezo ignition system. However, we discovered that the start-up may not be reliable. In addition, the included auto shut-off safety mechanism feature can be oversensitive and trigger often. The construction of the pole is not built sturdy enough to provide stability, causing this model to tip easily, even in light wind.
Read all about: Different types of space heaters
6. PAMAPIC Patio Heater
An 88-inch high umbrella design, the PAMAPIC patio heater is stylish and powerful. This patio heater is constructed from high-quality, powder-coated stainless steel. Its double-mantle heating grid and stainless-steel burners emit 46,000 BTUs of warmth. We found this unit does deliver on its claim to heat a diameter of up to 18 feet.
Built for your convenience, this patio heater comes with a built-in tank chamber door to easily replace the propane tank, a reliable Piezo igniter and a properly functioning tip over protection system. For easily maneuverability, this larger patio heater employs sturdy wheels at its base. Included at purchase is a zippered waterproof outdoor cover.
Although well-built, we did find that this patio heater is not heavily weighted at the base, though it does have clips to fasten it with screws into a more permanent location. Unfortunately, we also learned that many units arrive damaged. However, this company provides good customer service.
7. Legacy Heating Patio Heater
You can add an antique look to your outdoor space with the Legacy Heating patio heater. This model has a hammered black powder coating topped with a stainless-steel burner and aluminum reflector. With easy assembly and a heat output of 47,000 BTUs, you won’t have to wait long to feel the warmth. Plus, an accessible front control allows you to adjust the heat intensity from low to high.
This patio heater uses a 20-pound propane tank. Unlike other models we reviewed, there is no door access for convenient tank replacement. However, the Legacy does have wheels for easy transport.
We placed this patio heater lower on our list for its lack of quality control and that some items arrived dented. Also, overall sturdiness was an issue from leaning to being top heavy and wobbly.
8. Dyna-Glo Patio Heater
You’ll be able to heat up to a 24-foot diameter of your outdoor space with the Dyna-Glo. This patio heater has a wide-angled aluminum reflector that provides a heat output of 48,000 BTUs. The variable heat setting will allow you to adjust the warmth while the hammered bronze finish adds an element of style.
This patio heater features tank storage located neatly at the base. Plus, a sand hole is provided to create a weighted base and ensure better stability. This unit also includes an anti-tilt safety device.
Unfortunately, the Dyna-Glo loses points for lack of durability and a faulty ignition system. We discovered that the one-step push-button ignition either eventually stops working or is difficult to operate from the first try. Plus, the construction, including screws and wheel assembly, did not hold up after only a few uses.
9. Golden Flame Patio Heater
Updated for this year, the Golden Flame patio heater has a stylish matte mocha finish and weather-proof stainless-steel materials. This patio heater employs a powerful burner engine and a new patented reflector hood for a heat output of 46,000 BTUs. The improved “pilotless” burner system ensures that the pilot flame won’t be extinguished by the wind.
The Golden Flame comes with wheels, a sand reservoir at the base, a tilt shut-off safety feature, and a “Rapid-Spark” electronic ignition system.
We did find that this patio heater may be higher priced than similar products. For the expense, you may be disappointed with the heating area, which may not be as wide as other models we reviewed. Plus, this patio heater lacks fuel efficiency. You could go through a full tank of propane in the hour you run it on the highest setting. You may also notice that on some models, the pole tends to tilt.
10. TRUSTECH PW15R Electric Patio Heater
Our last pick for patio heaters takes an inside electric-infrared heater and moves it outside by giving you the option to affix it to an exterior wall or a telescoping pole. Though not the most attractive choice to add to your outdoor décor, you will feel the heat nearly instantly, especially if you’re directly beneath it.
The Trustech Electric Patio Heater comes with a remote that can set a 24-hour timer and adjust three levels of infrared heat, from 500 watt to 1,500 watt. Plus, it’s energy efficient ,saving an estimated 40-60% on electricity compared to similar electric heaters.
Although this heater is not intended to be left outside, the aluminum design enables this electric heater to withstand some water and be dust-proof. This unit will be top heavy if mounted on a pole.
After reading through our reviews and considering the pros and cons of each patio heater, you may be closer to making a purchase. In this buyer’s guide, we’ll go over essential information to help you feel more confident with your choice. You’ll learn the many differences between propane and electric models, as well as critical tips to keep in mind before you invest in a patio heater for your outdoor living space.
Propane vs. Electric
When deciding between heating your outdoor space with a propane-fueled product versus an electric model, we recommend considering where and how you plan to use a patio heater. For a large, open decks and patios, propane patio heaters work best. However, if you want to warm a specific area for outdoor dining, such as under an umbrella or an awning, an electric patio heater may be all you need.
The majority of the patio heaters we reviewed run off of propane and for good reason. Propane-fueled models have more advantages for outdoor use. Unlike electric patio heaters, which involve a cable and the need to be fixed to a wall or a pole overhead, propane heaters have a self-contained tank, allowing them to be portable and relocatable. Just make sure to purchase a product that comes with durable wheels.
Of course, if the drawback of electric is plugging in a cord, the inconvenience of propane is that you’ll need to swap out the empty tank. Several of the patio heaters we reviewed provide a door at the unit’s base. Such easy access can save you time and aggravation, especially when it’s cold outside. Also, you’ll want a fuel-efficient patio heater. One 20-pound propane tank should last you weeks or possibly months, depending on the frequency of use and how high you adjust the heat setting. However, it’s always wise to keep a spare full tank on hand.
Beside mobility, the main difference between propane and electric has to do with the type of heat emitted. Electric patio heaters produce radiant heat, which warms objects or people only within close proximity. The air is not warmed, making them better suited for small, enclosed spaces. Propane-fueled patio heaters rely on convection heat, which effectively heats the air and in turn, warms people and objects within a larger area.
The heating distance and temperature intensity of either an electric or propane patio heater can be measured in either watts or BTUs (British Thermal Units). In both cases, the higher the amount, the higher the heat output. Of course, the weather will play the most significant factor in how well your patio heater performs. Wind chill can put a dent in either patio heater’s effectiveness.
Finally, we can’t finish comparing electric versus propane patio heaters without discussing aesthetics. Your personal preference and sense of style should factor into your choice. Generally, propane-fueled patio heaters have a more attractive look than the more functional design of an electric patio heater. Propane patio heaters tend to fall into two design categories: cylindrical, with a narrow pole leading to an umbrella-shaped hood, or pyramid shape, with an enhanced view of the flame in a crystal glass tube. With either cylindrical or pyramid, make sure you’re buying a patio heater with solid construction and a rust-proof finish.
Tips for Choosing the Best Patio Heater
After deciding whether an electric or a propane-fueled patio heater works best for your outdoor space, be sure to consider other factors before you make a purchase. Keeping these tips in mind can save money and improve your overall satisfaction.
Patio heaters are mostly kept outside in the elements, which eventually takes a toll. As mentioned, rust can turn your eye-catching patio heater into an eye sore. Look for products made of durable, weather-resistant materials such as hammered bronze and stainless steel. Also, the paint should be powder coated to keep your patio heater looking attractive for longer. You can go a step further and look for a patio heater that includes a cover or purchase one to better protect it.
Also, be sure to look for a safety shutoff. Windy weather may not only erase some of the heat emitted by your patio heater, but it may also cause it to topple and fall. Cylindrical-shaped patio heaters are particularly prone to tip in windy weather or by someone accidentally knocking into them. Double check the product you plan to buy to make sure it comes with both a tilt sensor and an automatic shutoff.
One last feature you need to consider if you’re purchasing a propane patio heater is the ignition system. You don’t want to be shivering in the cold as you struggle to light your heater. Choosing a product with a Piezo-electric ignition system should make firing up your heater easy and quick.
Finally, when budgeting to properly heat your outdoor space, you may want to deliberate whether one patio heater will be sufficient. Depending on the area you need to heat and how low the temperature may drop, you may find more success with multiple patio heaters.
The AmazonBasics 61826 Commercial Outdoor Patio Heater is our best overall pick for its ability to heat a wide area of up to 18 feet in diameter. This patio heater has an attractive bronze powder-coated finish and comes with a large heat-control knob, a safety auto shut-off tilt valve, and two wheels at the base for easy transport. However, the Piezo ignition system may not work as well as intended and some untreated parts may rust.
The Hiland HLI-1P Electric Umbrella Patio Heater is our choice for the best value. This electric patio heater has a clever design, with the ability to attach to your existing umbrella. Plus, it comes with variable heat control, stainless steel construction, anti-tilt safety switch and is IP-certified waterproof. The Hiland does have its limitations, as it can only heat a small area, produces a great deal of light, and pulls a considerable amount of electricity.
Finally, our premium choice goes to the Fire Sense 60485 Hammer Tone Patio Heater. This unit is extremely fuel efficient with an abundant heat output of 46,000 BTUs. It comes with a Piezo ignition system for easy start-up, tip-over protection system for your safety, heavy-duty wheels for effortless transport, and a stylish powder-coated hammered bronze finish. Its only downside is that it contains untreated parts that may rust. Also, Fire Sense offers poor customer service.
We hope our reviews, along with the pros and cons lists and buyer’s guide, have helped you determine which patio heater to purchase for your outdoor living space. Hopefully, you’ll be able to enjoy more of the year outdoors entertaining and relaxing in warm comfort.
Featured image credit: Hiland HLI-1P Electric ParasolUmbrella Patio Heater, Amazon