When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you.
A patio is a great place for entertaining and unwinding. But the cold evening air can kill the good atmosphere. A good solution is a patio heater that will allow you to make the most of your time outdoors both in summer and cold winter. They have become quite popular the recent years and now there is a big choice of models available. There are also many variations in style and the power source. You can find heaters that use firewood or artificial logs, as well propane and natural gas powered heaters.
To get the best quality and most efficiency, look for the best patio heater. Below we have provided patio heater reviews of the top picks in 2017. Choosing a patio heater, consider a power sources that would be more suitable for you as well as the design, with the look of which you will be happy all year long. But keep in mind that patio heaters are designed to affect only the area that’s in close proximity. So don’t expect your whole patio to be flooded with heat.
- 1 Top 8 Best Patio Heaters 2020 Reviews
- 1.1 1. Fire Sense Hammer Bronze Commercial Patio Heater
- 1.2 2. Lava Heat Italia AMAZON-138
- 1.3 3. AZ Patio Heaters HLDSO-WGTHG Quartz Glass Tube Patio Heater
- 1.4 4. AmazonBasics Havana Commercial Patio Heater
- 1.5 5. Thermo Tiki Deluxe Propane Outdoor Patio Heater
- 1.6 6. Bellezza© Patio Heater
- 1.7 7. AZ Patio Heaters HLDS01-WCGT
- 1.8 8. FireSense Hanging Halogen Patio Heater
- 2 Patio Heater Buying Guide
- 3 Types of Patio Heaters
- 4 How Do Patio Heaters Work?
- 5 Patio Heater vs. Fire Pit
- 6 Patio Heater Safety
- 7 The Bottom Line
Top 8 Best Patio Heaters 2020 Reviews
1. Fire Sense Hammer Bronze Commercial Patio Heater
The Fire Sense commercial patio heater is a 66 inches tall unit that also comes in an attractive bronze finish. It is made from high grade stainless steel and built with a strong construction. The heating grid has a double mantle and with the stainless steel burners this unit is designed for long lasting durability. This best propane patio heater is commonly used in restaurants and other commercial as well as home settings.
Our Rating: (4.2 / 5)
The unit also uses propane, the tank for which the buyer needs to purchase separately. One propane tank for this heater lasts about 10 hours of heating.
The Fire Sense radiates the heat with a radius of around 18 feet, providing a good coverage of a patio area during chilly evenings. At the top of the unit it features an aluminum reflector for pushing the heat down and preventing it from slipping upward.
The heat output for this patio heater is 46,000 BTUs. For easy lighting up it features a Piezo ignition, which makes it a simple single stage process. Same as the previous model, this heater also comes with the wheels. For safety, the Fire Sense is designed with an auto shut off tilt valve.
- 46,000 BTUs output.
- Propane tank provides 10 hours of heating.
- 18 feet radius of heating.
- Wheels for easy portability.
- Piezo ignition.
- Shut off tilt valve.
2. Lava Heat Italia AMAZON-138
When you’re looking for a high quality, commercial grade patio heater, look no further than the Lava Heat natural gas heater. This model is a low cost solution to keeping your outdoor areas heated when you need to.
This heater is capable of outputting a huge 56,000 BTU of energy. This is very powerful and means that the heater can disperse heat in all directions over a distance of around 5 feet. The long heating range is suitable for open-air patio areas and is great for keeping your guests warm late into the evening.
Our Rating: (3.9 / 5)
The integrated ignition that comes with this heater is an easy start electrical ignition. You will not struggle when you are trying to get this heater running, as you simply need to press the ignition switch.
You won’t need to worry about putting this heater away when the weather starts to worsen, as it is so durable that it can withstand even the toughest of weather conditions. The 4 foot tall glass tube that is contained in this heater will withstand extreme heat as well as extreme cold, including rain, sleet and snow.
In case the heater is knocked over, it features a safety tilt switch. If the heater senses that it has fallen, it will automatically cut out to prevent the risk of fire.
The heater casing is made from heavy duty stainless steel so that you can be sure that it won’t need to be cleaned all the time to keep it looking like new and it will not rust.
3. AZ Patio Heaters HLDSO-WGTHG Quartz Glass Tube Patio Heater
The HLDSO-WGTHG by AZ Patio Heaters is a pyramid shaped unit with a bronze finish. It features a 40,000 BTUs output produced by 2 quartz tubes. The tubes create a 2 feet flame that adds an ambiance with a beautiful light and fills the patio with heat. The heating radius of the unit is around 5 feet.
Our Rating: (4.1 / 5)
The heater is powered by propane, the tank of which is located in the bottom of the tower. This also makes the part of the unit near ground cool to the touch, so you don’t need to worry if you have children around. The propane tank is sold separately. 1 propane tank provides you with up to 8 hours of heat.
The HLDSO-WHTHG also provides easy mobility as it has a wheeled base. So you can easily move it around your patio to the place where you are entertaining.
The total height of this heating tower is 91 inches with the height of the heating tubes being 87 inches.
- 2 quartz heating tubes.
- 40,000 BTU output.
- 8 hours of heating.
- Wheels for easy portability.
- A heating radius of 5 feet.
4. AmazonBasics Havana Commercial Patio Heater
If you are looking for a durable patio heater that is sure to last you for many years, this AmazonBasics patio heater may be just what you need. It features a piezo ignition, which means that it is much more likely to last than most of the other ignition methods out there. This is also an ignition type that is easy to use.
Our Rating: (4.2 / 5)
The heater itself is made from durable aluminum that will not rust easily and it is powder coated to give a modern look that is good for matching with the rest of your garden layout.
This is a highly portable garden heater that is mounted on castors. The entire wheel assembly is included so that you will be able to wheel the heater from one area to another. If you need to clean your patio area for example, this is a great way of getting to the whole of the patio area instead of trying to clean around the heater. You could also wheel it to a garage or similar outbuilding so that it can be stored when you are not using it.
When this heater is in use, you don’t need to worry about the possibility of it tipping over as it has a very sturdy base. Even in windy weather, it won’t blow over, thanks to the reservoir system. The reservoir system that is built into the design of the base allows you to fill it with water or sand so that it can be completely weighted down.
5. Thermo Tiki Deluxe Propane Outdoor Patio Heater
This tall, 7.5-foot tiki propane patio heater is perfect for heating a larger outdoor space. It is efficient and does not only add high functionality to your garden, but it also offers an elegant and impressive looking accessory for your patio too.
Our Rating: (4.1 / 5)
As this heater uses a column style system, it can produce more heat over a larger area than the overhead style of heater. As the heater is designed in a column style, your guests will be able to stand anywhere around the heater and enjoy the heat that emanates from it. This allows more people to gather around it and enjoy its heat in comparison to a heater with a directed flow of heat. When you want a wide warming zone, this patio heater really delivers. It can output 38,000 BTU of heat at once and this will cover an area of around 15 feet in diameter around the heater.
Use any standard propane tank with this heater. It can provide you with around 10 hours of use from a 20lb propane tank, which is good value for money from your fuel.
When it comes to durability, this heater will not disappoint. As it is a professional grade outdoor heater, it has been built with only the best materials. Stainless steel and aluminum will prevent the unit from becoming rusted and the finish will ensure that it will fit in with any other décor in your garden.
To prevent the heater from being tipped over, it is designed to contain a 20lb tank in the base.
6. Bellezza© Patio Heater
The Bellezza patio heater is a good-looking accessory for your garden that is sure to make a big impression on your guests. Made only of the best possible materials, this heater is designed in a pyramid shape and brings a unique look to your garden.
Our Rating: (4.1 / 5)
Unlike overhead units, this heater has a heating column that can provide heat throughout its height. The advantage of this is that you will get more heat from the heater. This is a tall heater so you should bear this in mind when you purchase it. If you want to use it in a gazebo style area, or an area of your garden with an awning, you should make sure that there is enough clearance room. It is 7 feet tall and has a reflector that is 18 square inches. Remember that there is a pagoda style top on this heater that is designed to spread out the heat over a wide area of your patio so you should make sure that there is enough clearance overhead for this.
You can use this heater with ease, thanks to its simple operation and if you want to move it around your yard or patio, you will be able to do so with ease due to the wheels that are integrated to the base of the heater.
This heater is particularly efficient, and it will use a 20lb tank in around 10 hours at a typical running temperature. An electronic striker switch allows you to ignite the gas easily so that you can be using the heater as quickly as you need to.
7. AZ Patio Heaters HLDS01-WCGT
You’ll never need to end your party too early again just because the weather cools down. When you’re enjoying time outdoors with friends, you only need to purchase this AZ Patio heater to ensure that you don’t need to move the party inside or send your guests home.
Our Rating: (3.6 / 5)
This is a particularly tall outdoor heater that can offer a heating range of 5-6 feet all around it. You will have plenty of heat from all around the heater to ensure that everyone at the party can stay warm. As the heater also incorporates a table feature, you will also be able to place plates, drinks, phones, or whatever you like on the table so that you don’t have to carry things about with you all the time or waste space using an additional table. This table feature is fully height adjustable and if you decide that you’d rather not use it, you can easily remove it from the heater stem.
This heater is made from steel to ensure that it is completely durable. You won’t need to worry about it being left out in all weather conditions, as it will be able to withstand even the coldest of temperatures. The steel heater is powder coated to give a great finish that will not flake or peel. This will keep the heater looking newer for longer as well as adding further protection against rust.
This heater is fully approved by the CSA and it also comes with a 1-year warranty to ensure complete peace of mind. It is easy to move around and it comes with a burner cover too.
8. FireSense Hanging Halogen Patio Heater
The last but not least pick on our list is the Fire Sense hanging heater, which is a great option for those looking for the best electric patio heater. However, to use this unit you will need a ceiling, so you can hang it over the area where you would like to use it.
Our Rating: (3.8 / 5)
It is powered by the standard household electric current and comes with an 8-foot electrical cord.
It works really quietly and can provide not just heat but also light. However, this heater is recommended more for mildly cold weathers. In really cold conditions it won’t provide enough heat.
Patio Heater Buying Guide
A great way to extend the season of the use of the outdoor patio, poolside or deck, is with the help of a patio heater. Above you can check the reviews of the best models available this year. However, if you are not sure where to start in choosing the right heater, this buying guide will help with the all the information on the features to look for in order to make sure you get the best quality for money.
Choose the Type of Fuel for the Patio Heater
All patio heaters use either propane or natural gas type of fuel. One more type of patio heaters uses electric power. Each of the tree types has its benefits and downsides. You can read on each one below to understand which one would be the best for you.
- Propane. This type of patio heaters is one of the most commonly chosen due to some of the advantages it offers. One of the benefits you get with a propane fueled patio heater is the ease of use. There’s no complicated installation to be done that would require a professional plumber’s help or any difficult maintenance. The propane tank is usually placed inside the heater unit and stays out of the way and sight.Propane also provides unparalleled mobility of the heater since you can place it anywhere the tank will stand. Propane provides efficient operation of the heater and gives instant heat.There’s also a downside to using propane as fuel for the heater. Propane is more costly compared to other types of fuel and requires regular maintenance and refills of the tank. Also, if you are using the patio heater for commercial application, the unit can run out of fuel and stop providing heat at inopportune moments.
- Natural gas. With a natural gas fueled patio heater there’s even less maintenance as there’re no regular refills of the tank to be done. To get it working you will need to attach to the natural gas line. After you hook it up, you will have constant supply of fuel and continuous heat.Natural gas heaters are also considered to be the more efficient type and the fuel is cheaper compared to propane.The downside of this type of fuel is that more care should be taken for the installation. So you will probably need the help of a plumber to help set up the lines. One more disadvantage is that after connecting the heater to a gas line, you will not be able to move it around.
- Electric patio heaters. If you choose an electrically powered patio heater, the benefits you will get include ease of use and the ability to use them in partially enclosed areas. An electric patio heater can be placed at any place where there’s access to an outlet, so it can be used almost anywhere. They are also extremely low maintenance in comparison to heaters fueled by propane.As for the cost of operation, it’s in between propane and natural gas. Electric patio heaters are very efficient and they can quickly warm up your patio or deck.As with the above ones, there’re also some disadvantages. Though for some people these might not be an issue. There’re not always outlets available around the poolside and it’s not very convenient to run a long electrical cord through the area. Also, some of the people might prefer the other two types because of the flame effect that they give.
The Size of the Area You Need to Heat
Patio heaters are available with different heating capacity and different sizes. Knowing the heating capacity you need is one of the most important factors in choosing your patio heater. The heating power is usually measured in watts or BTUs (British Thermal Units). The higher number of BTUs the heater has, the greater its heating ability. An average freestanding patio heater will have a power output of about 40,000 BTUs. Other types of patio hears, such as table top models, ceiling or wall mount heaters, have a less power output and are designed to heat smaller areas.
Check the Safety Features
A portable outdoor heater should be equipped with some essential safety features to keep you safe from fire. Below are some of the basic safety features a patio should have.
- Automatic shut-off. In order to prevent overheating that could potentially cause a fire hazard, the heater should have an automatic switch that turns the unit off if it gets too hot.
- Tilt-over protection. This safety feature prevents fire by switching off the heating element in the case if the unit gets knocked over.
- Cool to the touch housing. An important features especially if you have pets or kids around. Some of the heaters come with special glass on the furnace that keeps it cool to the touch.
- Approved. Check the description of the heater if it is listed and approved by such safety organizations as UL or CSA. Having a safety approval means that it has been evaluated and it has met all the safety standards.
Most of the patio heaters don’t require much maintenance, which is one of their benefits. To clean the unit you can just wipe the surface with some water and mild soap. Just be careful with using the abrasive cleaner. For some of the heaters it can cause damage. Check the owner’s manual to see what are the cleaning requirements for your specific model.
Other than occasional wiping of the surface, the only other maintenance required is only if you have a propane heater. You will to regularly refill the fuel tank.
Check the assembly type of the patio heater. A lot of the heaters will come fully or at least partially assembled. So almost right out of the box you can set it up and at once put it to use. For other models, you will just need to attach the dome to the lower part. Some heaters come fully unassembled. So unless you want to spend a lot of time assembling the unit, check that it has at least partial assembly.
Ignition type. Most of the modern patio heaters will have ignition with just a push of a button. Most of the models use a piezo electric ignition. It works by producing sparks which interact with the fuel. More high-end heaters offer electronic ignition.
Controls. On some of the models you will find electronic controls for adjusting the heat level. You might even want to get a heater that comes with a remote control. Look for a heater that has simple setting controls.
The flame effect. If you are using a propane or natural gas patio heater, the unit will have some type of flame. On most of the models there will be settings for adjusting the ambiance and the desired heat level.
Types of Patio Heaters
A freestanding patio heater is a convenient choice if you have plenty of room on your patio area and you want to create a central heat source. Freestanding patio heaters sometimes come with a table around the heater and they over 360 degrees of heat so that if you are entertaining guests, more people can enjoy the benefit of the heater without needing to gather too closely together. These heaters usually have a section in the base that you can fill with water or sand in order to create a weight, and this prevents the heater from being knocked over.
If you already have a table in your patio area, then why not add heat when you need to with the use of a tabletop patio heater? These patio heaters are convenient when it comes to positioning, as you can simply place them on a table, and you don’t need to worry about them being knocked over, as they will already have a sturdy stand on the table. You can find propane and electrical tabletop heaters. They are convenient as they often output heat at all angles around the edges of the heater so that everyone sitting around the table can benefit from the warmth.
When you want to save room, or if a freestanding or tabletop heater is not suitable, you should consider getting a mountable heater. These heaters can be mounted to a wall or to a ceiling. They are usually powered by electricity and are more suited to those who are looking for a permanent heating solution for their patio.
Mountable patio heaters are usually on a timer style system with a button that is mounted to the wall, within reach of the user. When you want the heater to be on, you simply need to press the button. The heater will automatically shut off after a few minutes so you’ll need to press the button again. This will save energy.
How Do Patio Heaters Work?
Most of the patio heaters use either propane or natural to warm the air. However, there’re also some electric options available as well. Patio heaters can have the power of up to 4000 watts. Some of the dual element heaters use up to 8000 watts.
Patio heaters feature propane cylinders located at the base of the heater and a gas line that runs into the burner assembly of the unit. A regulator is connected to the cylinders in order to control the flow of gas from the cylinder to the burner. The regulator is also connected to the gas burner via a high pressure hose. The gas line and the burner assembly are both attached to a post which is topped with a dome emitter that is located at the very top of the lamp. The propane travels up from the tank and goes through the hose, the gas line and regulator. Following through the burner to the top of the post, the propane is burned and is emitted through the dome emitter.
Patio Heater vs. Fire Pit
Fire pits can be a little more portable than patio heaters so you will be able to take them with you. You will also be able to use fuel that is easier to transport or to get hold of with some fire pits, for example coal or logs.
When you are looking for a good fire pit, you will need to choose one with a larger bowl size. In general, fire pits with a larger bowl will give out more heat to a wider area. Patio heaters on the other hand are usually narrower and as a result take up less room in your garden. If you want to save space, you may be better with a patio heater.
Patio heaters are often cleaner than fire pits. If you get a fire pit that burns coal or logs, you will need to clean it out frequently, and they also produce smoke and carbon monoxide, which can still be bad for you, even in a well-ventilated area.
You can get patio heaters that can be mounted to a wall or ceiling and that can be ran off electricity or gas. You should think carefully about the kind of fuel that you want to use and where you want to place the heater when you’re trying to decide whether to get a patio heater or a fire pit.
Patio Heater Safety
- Patio heaters should not be used in confined spaces. If you want to use the heater on your patio under a roof, it’s recommended to choose an electric patio heater.
- Make sure that there’s plenty of fresh air available.
- Follow all safety precautions as advised by the manufacturer’s safety instructions.
- Have the heater serviced on a regular basis.
The Bottom Line
There are many different options available, so you can choose according to your preference or needs. More fire safe options are the tower heaters like Fire Sense or AZ heaters. They usually have the base stay cool to the touch and the flame protected in a glass tube. Moreover, most of them have a safety feature included for shut off in cases if the heater gets knocked over.
Fire pits add a really nice touch to patios or decking, and some can also be used for camping. However, they are less child and pet safe, as they have parts that get hot.
The patio heaters we have mentioned in this article were chosen based on their performance, efficiency, design, features and ratings. We hope that with our best patio heater reviews you have been able to find the perfect model that will keep you warm in the outdoors.
Read more related products reviews: