Are your teeth chattering yet? Ours are. It seems that we’ve gone from summer to fall overnight with zero preparation, which sadly means one thing: no more socially distanced outdoor hangs. Well, let us clarify, no more socially distanced outdoor hangs for those without outdoor heaters. Sucks for you.
If you don’t have an outdoor patio heater yet, good luck finding one. They are out of stock almost everywhere at this point. Now that cities across the country (including NYC) have indefinitely extended their outdoor eating policies, restaurants, bars and beer gardens alike have invested in a variety of outdoor heating solutions to ensure diners have a safe, warm place to continue outdoor eating whilst coronavirus is still running rampant. Therefore, finding an outdoor heater online right now is like striking gold in your basement.
Thankfully, you don’t have to be one of those people going outdoor heater-less as cold weather approaches. How, you ask? Well, we at SPY researched our behinds off to find the best outdoor heaters that are still available for purchase online. Instead of searching all over the internet for patio heaters from sketchy no-name brands, our e-commerce editors turned the internet upside down to find the best patio heaters that are still in stock. Now, your outdoor hangs don’t have to end after all, and you and your best pals can stay warm and cozy while enjoying socially distanced fun. You’re welcome.
When choosing the best patio heaters, we included three types of products:
Propane Heaters & Fire Pits: Many commercial patio heaters you see at restaurants rely on propane or natural gas heaters. Likewise, many residential fire pits and outdoor heaters rely on propane. You’ll need to purchase propane separately.
Fire Pits: Metal fire pits may not be outdoor heaters in the traditional sense, but beggars can’t be choosers! If you’re trying to keep the socially distanced fun going through fall and winter, a good old-fashioned fire pit may be your best bet.
Electric Heaters: Electric heaters are especially hard to find right now. This category also includes infrared heaters, which direct a targeted beam of heat instead of heating the air. These heaters are easy to use and highly efficient.
From portable heaters to firepit tables to sky-high splurges, keep scrolling to find the best outdoor heaters you can still find online for purchase right now — until they’re gone, that is.
1. Hampton Bay 35″ Steel Propane Fire Pit
If you go on sites like Amazon, you can still find some patio heaters made by no-name overseas brands. These kinds of purchases can be risky, which is why we recommend buying outdoor heaters from trusted brands. And if you’re looking for a top-rated heater from a reliable brand, then Hampton Bay outdoor heaters are what you’re looking for. This 50,000 BTU propane fire pit will heat a 215 sq. ft. area. The fire pit features an elegant table-like design and has durable steel housing and automatic shutoff.
2. Hampton Bay Whitfield Galvanized Steel Wood Burning Fire Pit
There’s nothing going full-on bonfire the second fall hits the scene. While it might not be the outdoor heater you were anticipating to see, fire pits are the OG outdoor heater for socially distance group scenarios. (Click here to find more great fire pits for sale.) Gather round with your closest buds, craft brews and ciders in hand and chat the day away as the sun goes down and the moon appears. If you’re looking for aesthetics that aren’t necessarily synonymous with your average fire pit, this wood burning fire pit from Hampton Bay is for you. It has a modern appeal with a seamless blend to fit in any outdoor space. It even comes with a cooking grate, so while you’re warming up, you can even have the option to chef it up without leaving your seat. Of course, you can always stick to s’mores instead. How’s that for an outdoor heater?
3. Dr. Infrared 1500W Heater
Continue those summer activities outside with Dr. Infrared’s wall-mounted heater that’s ideal for outdoor and even indoor purposes. Because it’s a plug-in heater, the heat provided is clean and instant, so you don’t have to sit there and wait for twenty minutes as the gas warms the unit up. Unlike most gas units, this electric unit doesn’t smell at all. It’s made with durable, weatherproof aluminum so you can use it outside in the rain, shine or snow. While it’s an excellent outdoor unit you can mount next to a table for outdoor game nights and drinking seshes, it’s also a great space heater that can attach overhead in your basement or garage when working or cleaning, too. This infrared heater has three heat settings and is a great alternative to propane heaters.
4. Mr. Heater F232000 MH9BX Buddy
BEST PORTABLE OUTDOOR HEATER
Watching the game from your buddy’s TV on his outdoor patio so you can pretend you’re tailgating? Bring the portable. No, not your charger. Well, maybe that too. But, we’re talking about Mr. Heater’s portable outdoor heater. This little buddy is powered by propane and has the power to heat up spaces up to 225 square feet. It has the ability to run for around three hours at max BTU, which is just enough time before you guys switch over to the bonfire anyway. There’s a carry handle up top for ready-to-go portability and handling, and if god forbid the heater ever tips over, it shuts off automatically, which will absolutely save you guys from a catastrophe. While Mr. Heater portable heaters are designed for camping, they’ll work just as well as your new backyard party pal.
5. Frontgate Somerset Patio Heater
You know what they say, the bigger, the better. If you’re a restaurant, bar owner or just a party lover that enjoys having friends over and you’re little behind on your outdoor heater purchase, the Frontgate Somerset patio heater is the perfect addition to have in our outdoor eating area. This unit has an electronic igniter system, so put that lighter away, but as you can imagine it’s a propane heater that requires your classic 20lb tank. If the heater tips over, there’s a tip-over protection system that will ensure nothing bad will happen. Because it’s solely made for outdoor use, do not take this thing inside, even if you think you can fit it. It’ll keep all your patrons (or backyard pals, if you’re intending to use this at home) cozy and warm the whole time they’re there.
Frontgate has some of the best patio heaters for sale in 2020, although their stylish outdoor furniture is on the pricier side. If that’s not a concern, then head to Frontgate to see the best outdoor heaters in stock anywhere. Please note that this product is scheduled to ship on October 19.
6. Hampton Bay Hewitt Tabletop LP Firepit Square
BEST TABLETOP HEATER
Maybe you don’t have so much space to keep an outdoor heater. If that’s the case, we recommend Hampton Bay’s tabletop firepit square to take socially distanced outdoor game nights up a couple of notches, on the thermometer, that is. This luminant pit is a super warming option to keep as your table’s centerpiece throughout the fall and winter. It creates an ambiance and campfire-y feel not many outdoor heaters can provide. Additionally, it’s completely weatherproof, meaning it can withstand the harshest of weather as well as immense heat, which seems like an obvious because, well, it’s a heater.
7. Frontgate Commercial Patio Heater
BEST COMMERCIAL OUTDOOR HEATER
You don’t always have to break the bank when heating up the outdoor space at your bar or restaurant. While, yes, our previous pick from Frontgate is an excellent choice, it’s definitely more on the luxurious side. If you’re a restaurant or bar owner looking to heat a larger outdoor space with more than one unit, these $500 heaters will have you covered on any chilly day or night of the week. Keep any and all patrons keeping your business alive as cozy as they can be with a few of these scattered about your backyard patio or front sidewalk. It comes with a safety auto shut-off valve, wheels for easy portability for when you close up shop at night, a stable base and stainless steel burners.
Editor’s Note: this in-demand outdoor heater is currently back-ordered, although orders placed now should arrive in time for Christmas.
8. Hampton BayCrossridge Antique Bronze Finish Gas Fire Pit
Want the ability to have an effortless, wood-free fire whenever you want in your backyard? This antique-looking gas fire pit is an excellent wood alternative that’s perfect to use in any outdoor setting with friends and family. Save money on wood and electricity, because this pit entirely uses propane. The pit is square in shape and has an adjustable flame feature to keep you as toasty as you’d like. Like some of our other outdoor heaters, this one ignites electrically, which is an easier, safer alternative to lighting up with a lighter.
9. Biolite FirePit
BEST SMOKELESS FIRE PIT
There’s one problem with fire pits that we can all agree on: we hate, and we mean hate the smoke. Normally, that’s why most seek out an outdoor heater alternative that doesn’t use a flame. If you still love the flame but hate choking on thick, black clouds, check out the Biolite FirePit. This pit uses 51 different air jets to pump up flames with oxygen for a piping hot burning fire. This unique air injecting system, in turn, makes the pit essentially completely smokeless. As a bonus, the air injection system doubles as a power pack and can be used to charge your phone when the fires not on. The FirePit is wireless, portable and can hold a flame for 24 whole hours. This is an ideal bring-along for any upcoming camping trip, tailgate or backyard fall BBQ.
10. AmazonBasics Oscillating Ceramic Heater
BEST OSCILLATING HEATER
While this heater isn’t necessarily made for the outdoors, it’s great to use in small backyards, porches, garages and solariums that don’t necessarily trap so much heat. Just be careful, if you’re using this heater outside, make sure you take it in the second it begins to rain. This space heater has 3 options: low, high and fan only and also oscillates to provide heat in numerous directions. It’s quite tiny and easy to transport to and fro wherever you’ve got an outlet nearby, just keep it out of humid areas like bathrooms and laundry rooms.
11. 15,000 BTU Portable Radiant Propane Thermablaster
This little heater carries a big punch, so blast heat directly where you want it with this portable Thermablaster. The heater can use a 10 or 20lb propane tank with ease and requires no electricity at all to ignite. Because it’s great for small spaces, you can keep you and your close pals toasty warm the whole day through and never feel a chill. Use both indoors and out, just be sure if you’re using outside, bring it in after using and don’t allow it to get wet.