8 Best Tabletop Patio Heaters in 2020 – Reviews & Top Picks
Last Updated on November 15, 2020
If you want to be able to enjoy your patio all year round, then a tabletop patio heater is the best way to stay warm on chilly nights. This is especially true if you spend most of your time sitting around a table on your patio. Tabletop patio heaters put out powerful BTUs of heat and eliminate the need to mess with building a fire.
There are so many different options of tabletop patio heaters, though, that it’s hard to know which is best. Luckily, we’ve done the hard work for you. We’ve created a list of reviews of the eight best tabletop patio heaters. We’ve also included a buyer’s guide so you know which features to look for.
Read on for our recommendations.
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites
|Best Overall||Fire Sense Patio Heater||
|Best Value||Hiland Portable Heater||
|Premium Choice||Star Patio Electric Heater||
|Legacy Patio Heater||
|AZ Patio Heater||
The 8 Best Tabletop Patio Heaters — Reviews 2020
1. Fire Sense Table Top Patio Heater — Best Overall
The Fire Sense Table Top Patio Heater is our best overall choice because it’s easy to use. It has a one-step piezo igniter that isn’t complicated to turn on, and it uses a standard 1-lb. propane cylinder. You can adjust the heat output to 10,000 BTUs, which will easily heat a 100-sq. ft area. It has a durable stainless-steel burner and heating grid to make it long-lasting and attractive. The heater is lightweight and portable and doesn’t take up too much room on your tabletop. It also has an auto shut-off safety feature that turns the heater off in case it falls off the table.
At the maximum BTU output, it consumes propane at a high rate. If you need to conserve fuel, it’s best to keep the heater at a lower BTU output.
2. Hiland Table Top Portable Heater — Best Value
The Hiland Table Top Portable Heater is the best tabletop patio heater for the money because it’s compact but powerful. It has a heat output of 11,000 BTUs, which is enough to heat approximately 400 square feet. This portable patio heater is 38 inches tall, so it fits easily on top of your table. It has an attractive and durable stainless-steel finish. You can use a 1-lb. propane cylinder or a 20-lb. propane tank with an adapter hose. This tabletop heater has many safety features as well. It has a burner screen guard to protect you from the flame. The thermocouple will detect if the pilot light goes out and automatically turn off the flow of gas. There’s also an anti-tilt safety device that will turn the heater off if the unit tips over.
The heater can be tricky to start because you have to light the pilot first.
3. Star Patio Electric Patio Tabletop Heater — Premium Choice
The Star Patio Electric Patio Tabletop Heater has an elegant design with a hammered bronze finish that will look beautiful on your patio. The dome shaped hood will keep four to five people warm. It has 1,500 watts that can heat up to 12 square feet, perfect for a small patio area. The heater has an auto shut-off feature and tip-over protection for safety. This patio heater provides instant, quiet heat with one power setting, so it’s easy to use.
This is one of the most expensive choices on our list, so it might not be a good fit for your budget. The cord is also short, so you have to be sure that you can place it by an outlet. It’s not recommended to use an extension cord, for safety reasons.
4. Legacy Heating Patio Heater
The Legacy Heating Patio Heater features a weighted base for added stability. This heater is 38 inches tall and portable, so it will fit well on your tabletop. It has an attractive, durable, mocha-colored, powder-coated finish. The heat output is 11,000 BTUs, so it’s powerful enough to heat around 400 square feet of space. It also comes with a thermocouple and anti-tilt safety devices that will automatically turn off the heater if it detects either a loss of pilot light or that the unit has been knocked over.
The stainless-steel edges are sharp on the propane tank compartment, so it’s easy to accidentally cut yourself. The heat output is also inaccurate. It doesn’t seem to put out as much heat as advertised.
5. AZ Patio Heaters Tabletop Patio Heater
The AZ Patio Heaters Tabletop Patio Heater is easy to use with a simple on-off switch and has an attractive hammered silver finish. It has a maximum output of 11,000 BTUs, but you can adjust the output. The heater is powerful enough for warming a 400-sq. ft. area. The base is weighted for added stability. It also has a thermocouple and an anti-tilt device to automatically turn off the heater if the pilot light goes out or if the unit falls over.
The heat output isn’t as powerful as advertised. The heater also isn’t that long-lasting and breaks down quickly. Some units are even shipped with missing parts, so be sure to check the box as soon as you receive it.
6. Gardensun Golden Tabletop Round Heater
The Gardensun Golden Tabletop Round Heater is another 38-inch portable option that will fit perfectly on your tabletop. This design has a hammered gold finish that will look elegant on your patio. The heater has 11,000 BTUs with adjustable control, so you can determine how much warmth you’d like. It has a weighted base for added stability, which is especially important if you live in a windy climate. For safety, it has a thermocouple and anti-tilt device that will turn off the unit if it tips over.
This is an expensive choice, however, and there are others on our list with similar features. It’s also fairly short lived and breaks down easily. The heat output is poor and it struggles to warm larger areas.
7. Hiland Portable Propane Top Pyramid Glass
The Hiland Portable Propane Table Top Pyramid Glass is a heater with a unique design. It’s pyramid-shaped to put off more heat around the table. This heater has 9,500 BTUs of heat output, which will heat around 350 sq. ft. of space. It has an electronic ignition that’s easy to use.
There seems to be a problem with this heater lasting longer than a year, however. It can also be difficult to turn on, as the pilot light takes several times to light. The heat output is poor, so this unit is best for warmer climates. Because the screws are slightly misaligned on the heater, it seems like the overall unit is of poor quality compared to others on our list.
8. Napoleon Tabletop Patio Heater
The Napoleon Tabletop Patio Heater is made of sleek stainless steel. It has up to 11,000 BTUs of heat output, so it can heat around 400 sq. ft. of space. It also has an electronic push-button igniter that’s easy to use.
This is one of the pricier options on the list, but it doesn’t have as many features as some of the others. The igniter can be finicky and doesn’t always light. This unit has poor heat output, so it’s best for warmer climates. It’s difficult to assemble this heater, and you’ll find that the screw bolt holes don’t line up properly.
It’s best to do your research before you choose a tabletop patio heater, so you can be sure it’s the right one for your needs. We’ve created a buying guide to help you know what to look for.
There are three main heat types used for tabletop patio heaters, and each has its pros and cons. You’ll have to decide which is the best one for your budget and situation.
Tabletop patio heaters that use propane are easy to set up and use right away. You don’t need to hire a professional to install it. With propane, your heater will warm your patio in minutes. You can use the same type of propane tank you get for your grill, and it’ll last about 10 hours.
Tabletop patio heaters that use electric heat are also easy to install yourself without a professional. You never have to worry about running out of fuel either. Depending on how much you use your heater, however, these can be a drain on your energy bill. Electric heaters are also slower to warm than propane, and you’ll need an electrical outlet nearby.
Tabletop patio heaters that use natural gas require professional installation because you’ll have to tap into the natural gas line to your house. After the initial cost, though, these heaters are inexpensive to run. They also heat up quickly and have a powerful BTU rating.
BTU stands for British Thermal Unit, and it is a standard unit of measurement for heat. When it comes to patio heaters, BTU refers to how much heat the unit can produce — so the higher the number, the higher the heat output. Typically, if you’re looking for a small tabletop patio heater, then you won’t need something with a high BTU output. Read the specifications for each heater you consider, and be sure it covers the square footage area you need.
The cost of a tabletop patio heater is typically influenced by the fuel source. In general, natural gas will be the most expensive upfront, but it will save you the most in the long run. Electric and propane heaters have more ongoing costs depending on how much you use them.
Because a heater is flammable, it poses a safety risk. If you have a patio heater that isn’t weighed down properly, for example, strong winds might cause it to fall over and start a fire. Many heaters come with an auto-shutoff feature that will protect you from this scenario. If you live in a climate with frequent high winds, then it’s important to seek out heaters with this safety feature. Any gas heaters should be placed in an area with plenty of open space to avoid the risk of fire and carbon monoxide poisoning.
Ease of Use
Some heaters are harder to use simply because you have to light them or attach them to gas or propane. Others only require you to plug them in and turn on a switch. Installation and assembly is another thing to consider depending on how much time you want to devote to setting up your tabletop patio heater. If you want one with little to no maintenance, ease of use, and barely any assembly, then an electric heater is probably best for you.
Our best overall choice is the Fire Sense 61322 Table Top Patio Heater because it’s easy to use. It uses a one-step piezo igniter, and you only need a 1-lb. cylinder of propane to fuel it. It’s also lightweight and portable, so it will fit easily on your patio table without taking up too much room.
Our best value choice is the Hiland HLDS032-B Table Top Portable Heater because it’s compact and powerful. It has an output of 11,000 BTUs and is only 38 inches tall. It also has several safety features, including a burner screen guard, thermocouple, and anti-tilt safety valve.
Hopefully, our list of reviews and buyer’s guide for tabletop patio heaters have helped you find the best heater for your patio.