The most enjoyable summer BBQs or winter get-togethers are the ones when afternoons roll into evenings, usually thanks to great conversation, delicious food and all-around good times. When putting plans in place for these eventualities, it’s always worth considering the potential for cold weather. After all, you don’t want to have to end your evening prematurely because the temperature drops a few degrees. That’s why we recommend investing in one of the best patio heaters to make the most of your evenings and outdoor space.
Using outdoor heaters, including gas patio heaters, electric patio heaters and gas fire pits are a great way to extend the use of your outdoor space. Demand for these products will only increase as summer turns to fall and fall to winter, and savvy shoppers are buying the best outdoor patio heaters now before the weather turns.
When shopping for the best patio heater, one of the most popular choices is the classic style, which is often found in restaurants and powered by gas or electricity. The classic patio design features a tall body with an umbrella-like hood that covers the heating cylinder. More modern styles may be shaped like an obelisk rather than an umbrella. To offer you a little variety, we’ve included alternative options that can keep you warm on cold days or late evenings.
Four Popular Patio Heaters
Outdoor patio heaters include a wide range of product types. Our favorite patio heater styles include:
- Propane Patio Heaters: Many commercial patio heaters found at your local restaurants rely on propane or natural gas fuel. Likewise, many residential outdoor heaters also rely on propane, most often in 20-pound refillable tanks. The classic patio heater is typically shaped like a pyramid, umbrella or column. It’s worth remembering that this additional fuel will need to be purchased separately.
- Electric Heaters: Electric patio heaters are the second most common type of patio heaters. Keep in mind that larger commercial electric heaters may require a professional electrician to install them. This category also includes infrared heaters, which direct a targeted beam of heat instead of relying on radiant heating, which warms the surrounding air through convection. These heaters are easy to use and are also highly efficient.
- Gas Fire Pits: Many modern fire pits rely on propane instead of wood, and they can provide reliable heat and enhance your outdoor decor. These gas patio heaters are perfect for casual get-togethers.
- Natural Fire Pits: While not outdoor patio heaters in a traditional sense, it’s worth remembering that anything which makes fire will keep you warm. Traditional, wood-fueled fire pits are a reliable and alternative way to stay warm.
How To Use A Propane Patio Heater
Propane patio heaters are commonly found in residential settings because they are cost-effective and easy to refill. When the propane tank is not installed, patio heaters are relatively lightweight and easy to move, another pro for this style.
Most propane patio heaters have a door that allows users to secure their propane tank inside the base of the heater, which adds to its safe operation and is more aesthetically pleasing. Patio heaters that are powered by propane takes will have a hookup designed for connecting to propane tanks of a specific size, with the weight restrictions of the tank clearly indicated on the patio heater. Patio heaters are almost never sold with a propane tank included, so be sure to factor that into your budget when shopping for the best outdoor patio heaters.
Once the propane tank is connected to the heater, users can turn the heat function on and off with an igniter.
Safety is paramount when dealing with any flammable, which is why it’s always advised to keep the valve shut on your propane tank when not in use. If you keep a spare propane tank on hand, ensure it’s stored away from anything flammable. As for whether propane is safe for use, it’s a non-toxic substance, so it won’t harm your plants or grass. Hooray!
Electric Vs. Gas
Deciding between electric patio heaters and gas patio heaters? There are several factors to consider. The initial cost, the price to run the heaters, and whether you have access to gas in your outdoor space are issues that should be considered.
Natural gas is one of the most affordable ways to heat your outdoor space, but they have a higher initial cost because they require a professional to connect your patio heater to the natural gas line in your home. When using natural gas, it’s paramount that the outdoor heaters are secured to ensure they don’t accidentally tip over.
Electric patio heaters typically have the lowest sale price, which makes them attractive to customers. Using electricity to power patio heaters can add up, especially if you use the unit frequently, and it may not have the same lifespan as propane or gas units.
From portable heaters and fire pit tables to sky-high splurges to really impress your guests, keep scrolling to find the best patio heaters for online purchase right now — until they’re gone, that is.
1. Frontgate Sundry Patio Heater
Frontgate is our go-to destination for luxury outdoor furniture, whether we’re shopping for patio sets, pool floats or the best patio heaters. Like our other top picks for the best patio heaters, it’s powered by a standard propane tank. This heater also offers an impressive 50,000 BTUs of heat, which can warm a 6.5-foot outdoor area. Constructed from glass, stainless steel and aluminum, this heater has a unique column shape.
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2. Amazon Basics Outdoor Patio Heater
This affordable outdoor heater from Amazon is back in stock and provides warmth up to a 9-foot radius, which makes it ideal for porches, patios and backyards. It’s made with sturdy, durable aluminum and has a powder-coated finish formulated to withstand the elements. It has an easy push-button start and works via a 20 lb propane gas tank. It has a safety auto shut-off valve as well as a water box so you can add weight to the base. There are also wheels included which makes it super portable, and it weighs a max of 38 pounds so it’s easy to lift and move to where you need it.
3. Hiland Pyramid Patio Propane Heater
This tall pyramid heater from Hiland has an artistic and effective design you’re used to seeing on outdoor patios at restaurants. This heater is made from a durable stainless steel and stands 91-inches tall, with wheels for easy portability. It has an igniter that makes it easy to start up as well as an auto shut-off valve. It takes the standard 20-pound propane tank that’ll last for 8-10 hours on high. It also has a quartz glass tube that holds a pillar of mesmerizing flame, which provides heat in every direction as well as an attractive design element.
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4. Dr. Infrared 1500W Heater
Continue those summer activities outside with Dr. Infrared’s wall-mounted heater, which is ideal for outdoor and 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. 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. This infrared heater has three heat settings and is a great alternative to propane heaters.
5. Frontgate Commercial Patio Heater
BEST COMMERCIAL OUTDOOR HEATER
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.
6. 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 three options: low, high and fan only. It 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.
7. Pampapic Patio Heater
At 88 inches tall, the Pampapic Patio Heater is one of the largest patio heaters on our list. Because of its impressive size, you may find it more convenient to store it outside, which is why the heater comes with a handy waterproof cover. You’ll also find integrated wheels which allow you to move the heater with relative ease, allowing you to place the device exactly where you need the heat most. In addition, the heater features a user-friendly door in the base for easy placement and removal of the gas cylinder during replacement or before moving it for greater convenience.
8. Mr. Heater MH9BX Buddy
BEST PORTABLE OUTDOOR HEATER
This little buddy is powered by propane and has the power to heat spaces up to 225 square feet. It can run for around three hours at max BTU. There’s a carry handle up top for ready-to-go portability and handling. If god forbid the heater ever tips over, it shuts off automatically, which will save customers from a catastrophe. While Mr. Heater portable heaters are designed for camping, they’ll work just as well as your new backyard party pal.
9. TRUSTECH Patio Heater
Patio heaters are rarely as well-designed as the TRUSTECH Patio Heater. This heater’s minimalistic, full-height design makes it a welcome addition to any modern home. The central heating zone, which is positioned to suit people both standing and sitting, heats up within three seconds after being powered on. It also offers three power levels to choose from, letting you pick the right one for your heating needs at the time. So if you’re looking for a patio heater that balances function and style beautifully, this is the right choice for you.
10. Mr. Heater Little Buddy Heater
BEST FOR EMERGENCIES
Having these Mr. Heater Little Buddy Heaters on hand in an emergency could be a lifesaver. Their compact size means they take up a minimal amount of storage space yet are still strong enough to create a comfortable level of warmth when the device gets going. Each pack comes with two free-standing heaters, both of which are powered by small propane canisters. You’ll also find each heater sports an adjustable head, which can tilt up to 45 degrees, for greater choice when deciding what area you’d like to heat. These heaters are also a great option for camping and fishing trips when a full-size patio heater just isn’t feasible.
11. Hampton Bay Whitfield Galvanized Steel Wood Burning Fire Pit
BEST FIRE PIT
While this might not be the outdoor patio heater you were anticipating seeing, fire pits are the OG outdoor patio heater for socially distance group scenarios. (Click here to find more great fire pits for sale.) 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 and a seamless blend to fit any outdoor space. It even comes with a cooking grate, so while you’re warming up, you have the option to chef it up without leaving your seat.
12. Hampton BayCrossridge Antique Bronze Finish Gas Fire Pit
BEST 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.
13. Briza Infrared Patio Heater
BEST HEATER WITH STAND
The Briza Infrared Patio Heater is more adjustable than your average device thanks to the included tripod stand. However, if you’re more interested in a permanent heating fixture, that’s possible, too, as this device can be mounted on a wall or ceiling using the included fixtures. The main body of this heater contains a larger-than-usual filament, enabling increased area coverage. In addition, the heater is designed for use in all weather and throughout all four seasons, so this patio heater will keep you cozy come rain or shine.
14. Solo Stove Bonfire Fire Pit
BEST SMOKELESS FIRE PIT
We can all agree on one problem with fire pits: 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. Check out the Solo Stove smokeless fire pit if you still love the flame but hate choking on thick, black clouds. It pushes the envelope of what’s possible in terms of airflow and combustion and has a minimalist, stainless steel design that’ll complement your patio’s decor. It has a double-wall design with bottom holes that vent oxygen towards the flames and push the warmth upward and out. The efficient burn is what lowers the smoke level, and this Bonfire comes completely constructed and ready to use.
Read More: The Best Backyard Fire Pits for Every Home
15. Hampton Bay Steel Propane Fire Pit
BEST PIT FOR SMALL SPACES
If you already have a great outdoor patio furniture set, this propane fire pit can serve as a fantastic centerpiece for your outdoor entertainment space. Hampton Bay makes some of our favorite outdoor heaters and gas fire pits, and this elegantly designed table is a great option. This 50,000 BTU propane fire pit will heat a 215 sq. ft. area. The fire pit features a sophisticated table-like design and has durable steel housing and automatic shutoff.
16. Bromic Smart-Heat Tungsten Commercial Patio Heater
BEST PERMANENT FIXTURE
This premium-quality patio heater is well suited to both luxury homes and popular commercial environments where it will be used on a regular basis. Plus, the heater’s minimalist black design and low-intensity glow give your space visual appeal as well as creating a more comfortable temperature at the same time. Keep in mind that this 4,000W heater will require assistance from a professional electrician to install, and it’s designed for use primarily as a commercial patio heater.
17. Alpine Tabletop Heater
BEST FOR SMALL AREAS
If you’ve got a small space to heat, leave it to the Alpine Tabletop Heater. The compact and portable tabletop heater pushes out 10,000 BTU’s to heat a three-foot area with style. The stainless-steel burner features a powder-coated steel base for added durability and aesthetics. It also has a weighted base and automatic shut-off for safety.
18. Evenglo Portable Patio Heater
Make your outdoor space your favorite spot with the splurge-worthy Evenglo Portable Patio Heater. Durably made to withstand extreme temperatures, wind, and seawater, the Evenglo pushes out radiant heat and can cover up to 153 square feet with its 46,000 BTU’s. The steel frame is finished with an architectural grade powder coated finish and sits on top of a rubber weighted base with ball bearing wheels.
19. Sengoku HeatMate HME-GD15 Electric Graphite Outdoor Deck Patio Tripod or Wall Mount Heater
Heat from the top down with the space-saving Sengoku HeatMate HME-GD15 Electric Graphite Outdoor Deck Patio Tripod or Wall Mount Heater. Whether used with a tripod or wall mounting the heater, the Sengoku will almost instantly begin providing heat when turned on. The electric patio heater uses radiant graphite heating technology to provide users with two heat levels. We also like that it’s easy to install and energy efficient.
Sengoku HeatMate HME-GD15 Electric Graphite Outdoor Deck Patio Tripod or Wall Mount Heater
20. Stainless Steel Table Top Patio Heather by Fire Sense
For a heat source that can easily be moved, it doesn’t get much more convenient than the Stainless Steel Table Top Patio Heather by Fire Sense. The lightweight unit is ultra-portable and can provide up to three hours of heat with a 1-pound propane cylinder that can push out 10,000 BTU’s. Three heat settings allow users to find their ideal temperature and safety features like an auto shut-off and safety grill guard are included.
21. Perfect Position Outdoor Patio Heater by Cuisinart
EASIEST TO ADJUST
Stop moving your seat and start enjoying heat wherever you’re sitting with the Perfect Position Outdoor Patio Heater by Cuisinart. A swivel arm makes it simple to move the heat source to the optimal spot, creating a comfortable, heated space anywhere on your deck or patio. The fuel-efficient heater pushes out 38,200 BTU’s for a longer heating time. The Cuisinart has several smart features, including a pre-weighted base and a built-in drink table.
22. Aqua Blue Powder Coated Patio Heater by Fire Sense
If you’re looking for a patio heater that will stand out, it doesn’t get much brighter than the Aqua Blue Powder Coated Patio Heater by Fire Sense. Add a pop of color to your outdoor space and some warmth with a propane-powered patio heater that produces 46,000 BTU’s and wheels for ease of use. The colorful patio heater, which is great for stationing near a pool, features stainless steel burners, a heating grid and tip-over protection.
23. Hammered Bronze Gas Patio Heater by Fire Sense
FOUR-WAY HEAT SOURCE
Want to make sure all your guests are toasty while outdoors? The Hammered Bronze Gas Patio Heater by Fire Sense provides heat in every direction, helping to eliminate cold spots. Throwing out 46,000 BTU’s and creating a relaxing ambiance thanks to its high flame, the Gas Patio Heater is designed with several safety features, including anti-tip protection and an auto-shutoff valve. The patio heater creates a warm environment for up to 12 hours using a 20-pound propane tank.
24. Buyplus Portable Patio Heater
BEST UNDER $100
For a cost-effective heat source, it’s tough to beat the ultra-affordable Buyplus Portable Patio Heater. Designed for use in a garage, greenhouse, or outdoor space, the Buyplus is lightweight and has three modes and 1500W and 757W heat settings. Safe for indoor use as well, the compact and quiet heater can begin producing warm air in as little as three seconds.
25. Pellet Patio Heater by Even Embers
BEST RENEWABLE HEAT SOURCE
A hardwood pellet patio heater is a great option if you want to save money instead of burning it. The Pellet Patio Heater by Even Embers can reportedly save customers up to 75% of the cost of propane heaters. Ideal for outdoor spaces without access to gas or electricity, the Pellet Patio Heater pushes out 70,000 BTUs and can provide heat for up to six hours with 25 pounds of pellets. A glass door helps create a relaxing atmosphere and a heat adjustment knob allows users to find the optimal output level.