What is the best type of patio heater? Our team have tested and reviewed the best patio heaters available below
Product reviews of the best patio heaters
We tested a massive 21 patio heaters to bring you these reviews, with all our testing team and a variety of their family and friends trialling them at garden parties, BBQs, weddings and anniversaries.
We’ve ranked the products based on their style, the type of fuel used, the level of safety they provide and their overall efficiency in heating an outdoor area, and have produced in depth reviews on our top 6.
We found the AmazonBasics Havana Bronze Commercial to be the best patio heater available in the market right now, although we’d also recommend the Sundate Electric Patio Heater as a very close second.
Check out our more detailed reviews of our top 6 below.
AZ Patio Heaters HLDS01 Review – 96%
Though there are many AZ Patio Heater models currently available on the market, the HLDS01 freestanding series is what we like the best.
Available in six colours, including black, stainless steel, silver and bronze, this heater has a 40,000 BTU output, which is sufficient to heat areas of up to seven feet.
This heater also has an adjustable built-in table, which is beneficial if you want to stand closer to it.
However, this heater doesn’t fair well in humid environments and may develop rust if kept outside for long periods.
Also, according to some of our testers, the assembly of this heater is anything but easy, though they did suggest the instruction manual was easy to follow and helpful.
Mr. Heater MH15T Single Tank Review – 90%
Mr. Heater is great for campers and picnicers alike because of its portability and light weight.
Despite the fact that it weighs just over 3lbs, which gives it its high mobility, Mr. Heater is still a powerful heater and can generate a good amount of heat.
It’s really easy to use as well, as all you need to do is connect it to a 20lb propane tank, and BINGO! You’re in business and able to enjoy hours of comfort and warmth.
Safety-wise, you get a safety-shut off valve with this model which will shut down the heater the moment its temperature crosses a pre-determined setting.
Versonel Electric Infrared Heater Review – 90%
The best thing about the Versonel Heater is the fact that, despite producing enough heat to cover a 10-foot radius, it doesn’t occupy much space.
Furthermore, its 6-foot electric power cord means it can be moved a fair distance away from the power source, giving you more versatility with its placement.
Also, thanks to its silver coating, this heater doesn’t have the same rust problem that many outdoor heaters do.
Finally, in contrast to natural gas or propane heaters which have a characteristic odor associated with them, this heater produces reflective heat without any odor or fumes.
Sunglo A242 Portable Natural Gas Patio Heater – 90%
Available in both Liquid Propane and Natural Gas models, the Sunglo A242, by providing a heat output of 50,000BTU, is one of the largest models that we’ve tested.
If you want this heater to have a slim profile, turn to natural gas. However, if portability is what you want, the propane model would be better suited.
The Sunglo is made of stainless steel, so it can remain outside all year round with no risk of rusting and no loss of performance.
Another notable feature of this model is its battery operated spark ignition. Just like other models discussed in this review, you won’t have to struggle with matches with this model either.
Instead, it’s got a Piezo Ignition system which will light up the heater with a single press of a button.
Sundate Electric Patio Heater Review – 88%
Being the second most expensive heater in our list, the Sundate has a plethora of features to justify its price tag.
Apart from having an anti-tilt switch, which will shut down the heater every time it tilts below a certain angle, it has an IP65 rating which makes it weather and dust proof.
What’s more, of all the heaters that we have reviewed, this is the only one that comes with a remote control.
Still, for anyone who wants to have manual control, this heater also comes with a pull switch. The Sundate is an impressive 79’’ height and has 2 LED lights to make sure that everyone can see it, day or night.
AmazonBasics Havana Bronze Commercial Patio Heater – 88%
Whether you’re chilling out on your patio or throwing a BBQ for your friends and family, the massive heat 46,000 BTU heat output of this model makes it the ideal choice for a medium-sized outdoor area.
Thanks to its wheels, which come in the package, you can also move it around easily.
Protecting the heater adverse weather conditions is its sturdy steel construction and the powder-coated bronze finish of this model.
And while the base is steady on its own, it has a reservoir which you could fill with sand to use this heater in even windier conditions.
Still, if the wind gets ferocious and the sand proves inadequate, this heater has anti-tilt protection which will shut it down if it gets accidentally tipped over.
Lastly, this heater’s Piezo ignition system makes it a cinch to start and, provided you are using a 20lb gas tank alongside it, it would provide warmth for 10 hours in one go.
Frequently asked questions
What is a Patio Heater?
A patio heater is a heating appliance which uses either gas or electricity to heat an outdoor area.
Patio heaters usually have a huge post with a burner on top, and the heat is usually radiated from a metal screen in all directions.
Some patio heaters also have a reflecting-screen on top of their burner. Made of silvery metal, this reflector screen is excellent at reflecting heat
What are the Pros and Cons of Patio Warmers?
Depending on the fuel you are going to use, patio warmers have their pros and cons.
For instance, if you are going to use a propane patio warmer, its installation cost would be minimal but its operating cost might fluctuate.
Similarly, if you are using an electric patio warmer or a natural gas patio warmer, its running cost would be negligible but its installation cost – since you’d have to hire a professional, would be considerable.
Investigate running and installation costs before you make a purchase!
What fuel could you use?
Different patio heaters run on different fuel types, with each type having its own benefits and shortcomings.
Propane: Propane patio heaters are easy to use and very mobile, and it’s possible to set them up most places outside.
What’s more, they don’t require any professional installation or plumbing, and for safety purposes, their fuel is out of sight.
That said, while their installation costs are minimal, the running costs of propane heaters fluctuate based on the prices of propane in the general market.
Natural Gas: If you want a patio heater which has the lowest running cost, consider natural gas.
Another benefit of natural gas heaters is that, in contrast to propane which requires constant refilling, natural gas would continuously be supplied from the grid so you don’t have to worry about keeping a natural gas cylinder at home.
That said, natural gas is highly combustible, which means you might have to have professional help to install this type of heater.
Electric: For those worried about the environment, electric gas heaters are your best option as they don’t pollute the environment by producing emissions.
Still, since each of them have their own voltage and wiring requirements, you must seek professional help for their installation.
Also, depending on how often you use them, you have to consider the running costs and how much an electric-run heater will impact on your electricity bill.
How much do Patio Heaters Cost?
Once you’ve purchased one, a patio heater has two types of cost: installation and running. Generally, installation costs are a one-off fee that you can get a quote for up front, so we’ll stick to running costs.
Natural gas heaters are the least expensive as they require no upfront fuel; assuming that you’ve decided to buy a 40,000BTU Patio heater, its average cost per hour would be about £0.35.
Electric gas heaters have no heat loss, are directional and require no upfront fuel.
Once you make the calculation for a 4,000 Watt, 40,000BTU electric patio heater, its average consumption of electricity would cost you £1 per hour.
Propane patio heaters are the most expensive of the lot. Not only do they require upfront fuel – you’d have to have propane stored in a cylinder – but they also require professional plumbing/installation.
Once again, calculating for a 40,000BTU propane heater which has a 5gal. cylinder – and setting the price of propane at £12, a propane porch warmer would cost you a about £1.20 per hour.
What are the Best Type of Patio Heaters?
Patio heaters, like any other product, do not come in a one-size-fits-all category.
It means that the patio heater that is best for your friend might not be the same for you or vice versa, therefore, you need to look at various types and decide which one suits you the best.
Standing Heaters: If you’re looking for the biggest and the most powerful patio heater, freestanding should be your choice. Standing between 7 and 8 feet tall, they are available in two styles: Pyramid and Tapered.
Triangular in shape, pyramid heaters have a cylindrical tube and use an actual flame to generate heat. As for the tapered heaters, their heavy base is covered with a long heating element on top, and they also have a small umbrella cover made of metal.
While most people turn to standing heaters for power, they do have their downsides. For instance, they are the heaviest of the lot, which means they are extremely difficult to move. Similarly, their assembly ca sometimes be tricky.
Mounted Heaters: Attached to either a ceiling or a wall, they are the least portable but are known for their warmth.
What’s more, since they will remain on one side of the patio, you won’t have to make space for them.
Similarly, they are a cinch to power as all you’d need to do to get them up and running is to inculcate their wiring into your home’s. Some of them also come with remote controls.
On the downside, mounted heaters are one of the most difficult to install. Installing them requires expertise in measuring wiring, drilling and other electrical work, which means that you might want to hire a professional for help.
Tabletop Heaters: If all you want to heat is a small space, tabletop heaters are your best bet. Being miniature versions of the abovementioned freestanding patio heaters, their light weight makes them extremely portable.
Their base is covered with an insulated surface which prevents it from getting heated. Finally, if you are going on a picnic or camping, you could take this type of heater along.
Hanging Heaters: If you have a covered patio, gazebo or any other covered space, you could use these heaters as they need to be suspended from the ceiling. Thanks to their position atop the room, they distribute heat evenly and won’t take any space in your room.
Fire Pit Heaters: Mesmerized by the old-fashioned fire pits? Then you’d love the fire pit heaters which produce heat without requiring you gather and burn wood.
The absence of wood means that they won’t produce smoke either. On the flipside, their design makes them more expensive and they’d require more maintenance than other heaters mentioned in this review.
Can I Use My Gas Patio Heater Indoors?
NO! Regardless of the bran, you are buying, almost all gas patio heaters are designed to be used outdoors only as they produce gases which are dangerous if accumulated in confined spaces.
How to choose the Best Patio Heater?
First of all, regardless of whether it is natural gas or propane, a patio heater must have a Piezo Ignition system as, with this system, you can ignite the fuel only with a push of a button.
Next up, for safety purposes, we recommend going for an automatic shut-off feature.
This feature will automatically shut down the heater when either the patio burner light goes out, or when oxygen levels are low.
Furthermore, since you’d be operating them outdoors, patio heaters can be tipped over.
In such a scenario, a patio which has a shut-off tilt valve is essential, as it would automatically turn the heater off after it is tilted more than a specific degree.
Safety also dictates that the balcony heater must have a cool-touch fire glass.
And finally, if you want to use them as a garden heater, make sure your patio heater has a heavy base so that it could withstand heavy winds.
What’s the best electric patio heater?
Of the innumerable electric models that we reviewed for this article, we found the Versonel Electric Infrared Heater to be the best electric patio heater for a number of reasons.
Firstly, since it has a rated lifespan of 10,000 hours, this heater is an amazing investment.
Also, it has a six-foot power cord which, when combined with its considerable heating radius of 10 feet, allows it to heat a considerable space easily.
And finally, since it generates reflective heat, this heater would warm up your space without producing any odor which is characteristic of most electric heaters.
What’s the best infrared patio heater?
If you can afford to pay a bit over the odds, the Sundate Infrared Patio heater is ideal.
For, it’s one of the very few heaters which enjoy an IP65 rating – which makes it both weather and dust proof.
Similarly with regards to safety, apart from having an anti-tilt switch, it also comes with a remote control so that you don’t have to come in direct contact with the heater.
And if you’re worried about its heat output, the Sundate, by oozing north of 46,000BTU per hour, would produce enough heat to keep you warm.
What is the best gas/Propane Patio Heater?
The Sunglo A242 is undoubtedly the best gas/propane patio heater currently available in the market.
It has a considerable heat output of 50,000BTU, is made of stainless steel and its portable base allows you to carry it anywhere with ease.
It also saves you from the nuisance of burning matches by providing a battery operated, spark ignition system.
That means that all you’d have to do to get this monster up and running is to press a single button.
What is the Best Patio Heater for Windy Conditions?
The below mentioned Havana Bronze from AmazonBasics has enough mettle to withstand the wind.
It does that thanks to its base reservoir system which gives you the option to add as much sand as required to increase the stability of this heater.
What’s more, if you’re still worried about its stability – or if the wind is too strong someday – this heater has a backup plan in its anti-tilt switch, which means that it would shut down the moment it gets tipped over, hence saving you from any potential safety hazard.