Your patio or backyard is just an extension of your home. It shouldn’t be a space just for the summers. What if you could enjoy it just like you do during summers? Well, you can do that with the help of an outdoor heater. The best outdoor heater will make your patio, garage, or yard feel as warm as indoors.
People often complain that they just feel stuck and bored indoors in winters. You kick away a little bit of that boredom by spending time on your patio or backyard. You can have some friends over. The heat from the outdoor heater will keep you and your guests warm.
Many bars and restaurants use these too during fall. This way, people can hang outside the bar or have dinner under the sky even if the temperatures are below 50 degrees. The good thing is that you have plenty of choices in terms of type, style, and size. You can simply pick the best outdoor heaters that are within your budget and meets your requirements.
Top 16 Best Outdoor Heater Reviews in 2021
To make it easier for you to choose only the best outdoor heaters, we have listed some of the best options in this article. Keep reading!
1. ProTemp Variable Propane Forced Air Heater
The Pro-Temp Forced Air Heater is the best outdoor heater that uses propane, with the heat of up to 60,000 BTU. It also comes in variants of 40,000 BTU and 150,000 BTU. The three different heat settings provide different levels of warmth, depending on the weather.
This is a propane-based heater attached to a propane tank. A 20-pound propane tank will give you 11-hours of heating. In addition, the product also features a ten feet hose and regulator. The angle of the heater is adjustable so you can direct it towards yourself.
The top has a handle that makes it easy to carry outside. You can use it in any open setting, like your garage or backyard. The airflow rate of this heater is 300 CFM. This, combined with the 60,000 BTU, can warm an area of up to 1500 sq. ft. You can expect it to raise the temperature in just 10 minutes. There is not any kind of assembly required except for connecting the propane tank.
2. sundate Electric Outdoor Heater
The Sundate Electric Outdoor Heater is an advanced and stylish outdoor patio heater. It’s a waterproof electric heater that uses a carbon fiber tube for heating. With three power settings, it can provide instant heat around your patio.
What makes this one of my favorites is the LED display. It almost makes it look like a very stylish lamp. This is a stand-up heater with an extendable aluminum pole. You can also mount it on a wall.
It can provide 1500 W of heat, which is ample for an outdoor heater this size. The controls are located on the side of the heater. However, there is a remote control as well that makes it incredibly user-friendly. You can change settings from anywhere on your patio or yard.
The heating capacity of this outdoor heaters is good, but it does not heat a big space. If you want to heat, say your entire yard, you will have to use several of these. This is why it’s more appropriate for a patio. If you want a smart and modern heater for your patio, Sundate is the best outdoor heater for you.
3. HeatUp Portable Fan Heater
If you just want a simple outdoor heater, the HeatUp Portable Fan Heater is for you. It’s designed for small and personal space. For instance, when you’re sitting reading a book on the patio or terrace in the winters.
In addition, the HeatUp Portable Fan Heater is also simple to use, as you just have two heat settings to deal with. Since it’s essentially a fan, it does distribute the heat evenly. The easy to use fan heater also comes with a thermostat.
The fan heater doubles as a regular fan with the fan-only mode. You can also use it as a table fan in the summers. You don’t have to spend time with this one, as there is not much assembly for this fan. It’s also super easy to carry around thanks to the handle on the top. Simply put, if a multipurpose product is what you want, this is the best outdoor heater for you.
4. XtremepowerUS Electric Patio Heater
If you’re looking for the best outdoor heater with infrared technology, the electric patio heater from XtremepowerUS is a perfect option. The patio heater has a very modern and sleek design, which looks decorative to some extent. It’s a standing heater with a lamp-like head.
You do not have to worry about the heater tipping over as it features a tip-over protection switch. The power of this heater is 1500 W. The heating output is 5100 BTU. Although not too high, this is good enough for use on a small patio.
It’s a little heavy, though, weighing 29.7 pounds. But that makes it more stable, especially when its windy outside. This is an ETL certified product, so you can expect only great performance and durability. Made entirely of stainless steel, this one would last quite long. It requires 120 V to operate, so you will need to have an outlet near it.
5. Thermo Tiki Outdoor Propane Heater
Looking for the best outdoor heater that is big enough for large space? Here is your answer. This propane outdoor heater is a whopping seven-foot and six inches in height. As made from good quality aluminum and stainless steel, the build is sturdy and long-lasting.
The heater is quite a looker, with the pyramid-style columns and dancing flame. It’s not just a pretty-looking heater, it gets the job done too as the heat output can be as high as 38,000 BTU. This one can provide warmth in an area of 15-foot diameter. You can place it in the yard, garage, or patio.
Safety is an important aspect in the design of the Thermo Tikki, which makes it all the more desirable. It features an automatic shut-off valve that engages if the heater tilts or trips. In addition to this, there is a protective mesh layer over the ceramic heating column.
Compliant with standards such as ANSI, CSA, and CE, you can be sure that you’re investing in something substantial. It weighs 58 pounds but is still easy to transport because of the wheels at the bottom.
6. Golden Flame Patio Heater (XL-Series)
This is the latest of the XL-Series Patio heaters from Golden Flame. The product comes with a pilotless burning system, making it safer and easier to ignite. The Rapid-Spark electronic ignition is the highlight of this outdoor heater, making it the best outdoor heater out there.
Fueled by propane, the heater can provide up to 46,000 BTU of heat. This means that you can warm a considerable size of your outdoor space with just one of these. In terms of design, it has a mocha finish with a simple construction. The freestanding heater features mobility wheels that make dragging it out to the porch or yard quite easy.
The main heating component is made of SS burners and Mantel heating grids. The XL-Series heaters come with a sand reservoir at the bottom. Filling it up with sand allows for more stability. So the heater would not tip over by wind so easily. The capacity of this sand reservoir is 25 pounds.
7. Fire Sense Hammer Tone Bronze Patio Heater
This Fire Sense Outdoor Heater is similar in design to the one by Golden Flame. However, with this one, you can choose from a variety of colors. You have conventional colors like bronze and stainless steel, as well as some fun ones like aqua.
The stainless steel body of this heater is powder-coated to provide necessary protection against moisture and dust. It features a piezo ignition system and a tip-over safety system. The knob is located near the top, which allows for easy heat level adjustment.
You can connect it with a 20-pound propane tank and get an impressive 48,000 BTU heat output. Its average consumption rate is 10-hours, which is not bad at all. The heater weighs 43 pounds, which should ideally provide enough stability. There are wheels at the bottom, so you do not have to lift 43 pounds. This is a tall freestanding heater, coming at seven feet after assembly.
8. TRUSTECH Outdoor Heater Best for Winter
This is a wall-mount electric outdoor heater from Trustech. It provides heating of up 1500 W, which is common for most electric heaters. That said, it does warm its vicinity pretty quickly. The company claims it can give warmth in just three seconds.
This one is also energy-efficient, so you will not be running huge electricity bills in the winter too. It does so with the help of its thermostat and auto shut-off. Once the temperature goes too high, it shuts off for a while until it drops again. Then it starts again on its own, eliminating the need for you to control the temperature.
This wall-mount heater is good for both outdoors and indoor heating. It’s very easy to operate thanks to the remote control. You can turn it on/off, set up a timer, and adjust the temperature. Made with quality aluminum alloy, this electric heater is a sturdy one. It’s fairly big, measuring 23 inches in length, 6.5 inches in height, and 6 inches in width. Perhaps, its size allows it to provide ample heating.
9. hOmeLabs Gas Patio Heater
hOmeLabs Gas Patio Heater can be used with propane or butane gas. It’s a freestanding heater with a round table. You can place some drinks on it while you hang around the heater, getting in some warmth.
The heating output of this gas patio heater is 41,000 BTU. It’s circular, tall design provides heat consistently around the heater. The body is made of high-grade steel, while the design is simple yet pleasing.
The base of the heater is basically a reservoir that you can fill with sand. It’s 18.1 inches in diameter, so it can take quite a lot of sand. This means that it is stable enough. Also, wheels are attached to make it more portable.
The one-step ignition system makes your life easy. The heater starts up in just about 90 seconds. The 87 inches high patio heater requires a 20-pound propane or butane tank that you have to get separately. With an auto shut-off feature, the heater is also safe to use.
10. AmazonBasics Commercial Outdoor Patio Heater
The AmazonBasics Commercial Outdoor Patio is by far the most reasonably priced outdoor heater. It’s available in nine different colors. You can choose the one that goes best with your current patio or yard decor.
This one features a piezo ignition system with a heat output of 46,000 BTU. It should provide warmth to a medium to large backyard, patio, or terrace. The auto shut-off tilt valve makes it a lot safer. With a height of 89 inches, it’s quite tall. The base features wheels just like any other heavy-duty freestanding outdoor heater.
Similarly, it also features a base reservoir to fill with sand or water. This allows it to be stable even in a place like Chicago. The all-steel construction delivers good value for money. The body is powder-coated, so it would not rust from moisture. With a very basic design, it does manage to look beautiful.
11. Golden Flame Resort Model Heater
You can choose from multiple finishes, including hammered silver, matter mocha bronze, and the matte black. The powder coat finish will last a long time, even on frequent use. It looks decorative, too, but performs well. You can adjust the heating to your desired level.
It features the Rapid Multi-spark ignition system found on other Golden Flame outdoor heaters as well. This allows it to start in just a matter of seconds. Similarly, it’s quite easy to change the tanks. It’s quite heavy, weighing 65 pounds. Nevertheless, it features an auto-tilt shut-off system to prevent any fires in case of accidental falls. It uses a 20-pound propane tank, as is typical with most outdoor heaters.
12. Legacy Heating CAPH-7-S Patio Heater
This is yet another simple, functional, and also reasonably priced outdoor heater. Legacy Heating’s model can give a whopping 47,000 BTU heat at its highest setting. Using just a 20-pound propane tank, you can provide heat to a large outdoor space.
You can choose a hammered black powder-coated finish or the basic stainless steel finish. It’s 88 inches tall. The controls feature front high output and low output. The base features a wheel assembly that makes it portable. The hole in the tank housing base makes turning gas on/off very easy.
Legacy Heating has been in the business of outdoor furniture for over two decades. They produce products that are functional, efficient, and do not cost a fortune. This freestanding heater is the best outdoor heater in terms of value for money. It’s very lightweight compared to other such models. The weight is just under 32 pounds. However, it comes with hardware, including anchoring arm and sandbox, to provide more stability.
13. Hiland HLDSO1-WGTHG Pyramid Patio Heater
This is perhaps the tallest pyramid patio heater in this list of the best outdoor heater, with a height of 90 inches. However, that should not have any effect on its heating, as the heater can provide heat of 40,000 BTU.
Quick to start using an electronic igniter, the base of the heater houses the propane tank. You can use the standard 20-pound tank with this product. You can also use butane instead of propane as fuel. The time one tank delivers varies by the heat setting.
This is a CSA approved heater with high-quality construction. What makes this particular model the best outdoor heater and a reliable purchase is that the company has a repair center in the US. They also supply replacement parts in case you need one.
These are made in China, but the company provides direct customer support in the US. Weighing 65.2 pounds, this has wheels at the bottom to help transport it. The tip-over protection system is also in place to ensure safety.
14. PAMAPIC Commercial Gas Outdoor Heater
The next on our list of the best outdoor heater is the PAMAPIC Patio Heater that comes with a waterproof cover. You can use it to keep the heater protected from dust and moisture when not in use. This is a custom made cover designed specifically for this heater.
The base has a built-in gas tank chamber with a door. You should be able to replace tanks effortlessly. As for heat output, it’s 46,000 BTU. It can warm an area of 18 feet in diameter. The heater part includes stainless steel burners and double mantle grid.
It has all the necessary features such as wheels and a tip-over protection system. The heat also acts as a humidifier, keeping the air around the heater moist. In terms of color, you have three options: bronze, white, and hammered silver. The height of this heater is 88 inches.
15. Star Patio Parasol Electric Patio Heater
This is similar to a hanging patio heater, except it attaches to a pole. It’s designed to be used under patio umbrellas and parasols. The attaching mechanism is quite simple. You can attach it to any pole that has a diameter between 0.9 inches to 2.3 inches.
The patio heater has advanced safety features, including cool touch, anti-tip protection, and auto shut-off. When the heating element is facing upward, it will stop by itself. This is an IP34 and cETLus certified product.
This is an electric heater with three adjustable power settings. The patio heater provides the power of 500W, 1000W, and 1500W, enough to warm an area of up to 12 feet. So people sitting right under the umbrellas should feel quite warm.
The installation is pretty simple, making it the best outdoor heater out there. You do not even need any kind of tool to do that. There are no flames, fumes, odors, or noises. The LED light in the heating elements looks quite nice as well.
16. Lava Heat Italia Patio Heater
The Lava Heat Italia Patio Heater is a high-end and one of the best outdoor heaters that uses natural gas. There are propane and liquid propane configuration models in the same heater. Since it uses natural gas, it will have a very low running cost.
The heating is quite powerful as the output is 56,000 BTU. The glass tube is a borosilicate glass tube, capable of withstanding very high temperatures. It looks simple but aesthetically pleasing. Everything is high-quality and durable.
A 10-foot gas line comes with the heater. You can easily fix it to a gas outlet in your home. That does restrict its movement, though. However, when you do need to move it, you can easily do so thanks to the attachable wheels. This comes assembled in a huge 8-foot box. It’s ready to use just as you receive it. Operating is quite simple as well.
You just have an igniter and a knob to adjust the heat. It can warm about 36 feet area, which is quite a lot. Other features include tilt auto shut-off and touch to start. Your color choices are hammered black, bronze, and stainless steel. It weighs almost 80 pounds because of the materials used in its construction.
Outdoor heaters are not that complicated, so it should be easy to choose one. However, you do want to make sure that they fit the bill. Heating outdoors can be challenging, so you need something efficient and durable.
If you know the ins and outs of the best outdoor heaters, it just boils down to the type and price range. Even if you’re on a tight budget, you will find plenty of outside heaters that are cheap.
Outdoor Heaters Fuel Type
One distinguishing factor when it comes to the best outdoor heater is their fuel type. How do they produce heating? There are three types of fuels for outdoor heaters: propane, electric, and natural gas.
Propane gas heaters are perfect for use outdoors because of their ability to heat instantly. They are very simple in terms of design and also easy to use. You just need to hook the heater with a propane tank.
These heaters, available in different varieties in terms of design, usually require very little assembly, which you can do yourself. Typically, a 20 to 40 pounds propane tank is enough for outdoor heating.
The only drawback is that they have higher maintenance than other fuel types. You will have to replace the tanks often unless you have a direct propane line.
Electric outdoor heaters use heating bulbs to provide warmth. They usually require a 120 V outlet. This means you can plug these in most residential outlets. You can use these heaters in partially covered spaces as well.
These are the most popular for heating patios. This is also because it’s easier to find a plus on or near a patio. You can run the cords long, but that can be a bit of a hassle. Aside from this, these are very low maintenance. They also lack the flame effect.
Unlike propane heaters, you do not need a tank for natural gas heaters. You can just connect them with a gas line that provides continuous flow. These are cost-effective and efficient at heating, as compared to propane and electric outdoor heaters.
As the heater is connected to a fixed gas line, these do not offer portability like the other two. Also, you may need to hire an expert to provide gas connection outdoors.
Once you start searching for the best outdoor heater, you’d be surprised to see how many different designs and styles these come in. Here are the different designs:
For outdoors, these are the most commonly used heaters. You probably have seen them on restaurant patios and bars. They consist of a base, a stand, and the heater at the top. Typically six to seven feet in height, some models may have an adjustable height.
Depending on their weight, these can be quite portable. Even the heavier ones have wheels so you can move them around. They may or may not have flames. The base has to be sturdy or feature an anti-tip switch to ensure the heater does not fall.
Smaller outdoor heaters are designed to be placed on tables. These tabletop heaters are just like those table cooling fans, but are highly portable and lightweight. These are more suitable for heating personal space or a dining area with three to four people. If you are hosting more people, you might need something bigger or some extra tabletop heaters.
Wall-Mounted outdoor heaters are perfect for patios. This is a good idea when you have children or pets. For entertaining a small number of people or just reading a book by yourself on the patio, this can make a great heater.
Hanging outdoor heaters are also an option, especially if you are low on floor space. They can provide heat to an area of about 10 feet. You can hang them on the table when eating outside. These are best for porches and gazebos, spaces that are partially closed.
Other Things to Consider
Here are a few more things to consider to distinguish between the best outdoor heater from an ordinary one.
While you may be tempted to buy a heater simply because it looks stylish or elegant, the main purpose is heating. You want to ensure that it delivers on the heating performance. How do you establish that? You can measure how much heat it produces and the area it can warm.
If you compare different models, most modern and the best outdoor heaters display heat in BTU. Small heaters produce 3000 to 10,000 BTUs. This amount of heat is enough to warm a small space with three to four people. For medium to big sized patios or other outdoor space, you need a more powerful heater.
Anything above 30,000 should be sufficient to heat up this size. For very large gatherings with lots of people spread across, you need at least a heater with 50,000 output. Electric heaters use Watts to display heat production. A 1200 Watt outdoor heater can heat up a space of about 12-feet.
Safety should never be ignored, especially when it comes to heaters, broilers, and any heat or fire objects. It should have the safety feature that shuts off the gas supply if the heater is tilted or knocked over. There are flames in propane and natural gas heaters. They can cause a fire if they tip over. This is not an issue with electric heaters, which is why some people prefer those.
Similarly, automatic shut-off valves can prevent overheating. If the heater gets too hot, it can cause a fire, or the heater itself can get damaged. Additionally, when using a covered space like a patio, make sure there is ample clearance.
You can find such information in the user manual for your particular model. Aside from having these features, the best outdoor heater might have certifications too. You can also look for certifications like CSA and ETL, which are the most common.
You should keep in mind the size of your patio, yard, or wherever it is that you plan on keeping the outdoor heater. The heater should ideally have enough heating power to warm that size. If you live in a very big house or you plan on using it in a commercial setting, you might need multiple heaters.
Freestanding heaters that run on propane usually have a high range of flow of heat. Electric outdoor heaters, on the other hand, can warm close by areas at best. You can always adjust the temperature. However, the highest setting should be able to warm the outdoor area.
There are other factors at play too. Since this is outdoors we are talking about, heating it is not without its challenges. Wind may affect the heat output too. Patio heaters generally produce better heating when they are under covered space.
Portability is vital for the best outdoor heater. As you will be using it outdoors, you will have to move it around a lot. When the winter is over, you will have to move it indoors or into the garage.
You can imagine how important it is for the heater to be portable. Most freestanding heaters have wheels to carry them. These can weigh upwards of 40 pounds. Electric outdoor heaters are also portable and lightweight.
Are Outdoor Heaters Expensive to Run?
When winters arrive, you know you will be looking at high heating costs. This probably makes you wonder if it’s costly to run a heater outdoors? If we compare propane heaters with electric ones, the latter are more economical. Propane heaters require relatively more maintenance as the tanks need to be replaced.
Similar to electric heaters, natural gas heaters are also less costly. Nevertheless, if you use these too often, you will wind up running high bills. You will not be using an outdoor heater as frequently as you would use indoor heating. This essentially reduces the cost, regardless of the type of heater you are using.
Can I Use a Patio Heater on a Covered Porch?
Yes, you can easily use a patio heater on a covered porch. If you are using an electric patio heater, you will need to place it near an electrical outlet. If it’s a gas heater, you can place it pretty much anywhere.
You have to be careful about one thing: ceiling clearance. Standing patio heaters can be as tall as seven feet. You do not want the flames too close to the ceiling. The heat can damage the ceiling, and also it’s a fire hazard.
Are Outdoor Heaters Waterproof?
This entirely depends on the model of the heater. Some high-end models are weather-proof to some extent. Most propane-based heaters are not designed for wet conditions. So you cannot place them outdoors when it’s raining. You will probably not be hanging out in your backyard when it’s chilling and pouring down.
But if you really must, you can find some outdoor heaters that are waterproof. They will cost more in comparison with regular outdoor heaters that are not water-resistant. If you do not want to remove the heater from the patio or terrace, make sure it is covered. Even when it’s not raining, it can get dusty. You do not want your heater to stop working.
Are Gas or Electric Outdoor Heaters Better?
This is not just a question about the best outdoor heater, it’s a question about all kinds of heaters. Both have their pros and cons. It should boil down to what you prefer and what your outdoor conditions are. Some argue that gas heaters are more powerful.
This is true to some extent as electric outdoor heaters are not powerful enough to throw heat far. At best, you can feel warm within five to six feet. Both types require very little maintenance, electric heaters even less so. Both are fairly easy to install without a professional installation is necessary. You can do it on your own by simply following instructions.
With an electric heater, you are stuck with spaces that have outlets. You cannot have it in the middle of the ground without there being extension cords. Gas heaters that use tanks can be placed virtually anywhere. You can weigh the pros of one against the other in your unique situation. Whichever shows more benefits is the best outdoor heater for you.
Today, outdoor heaters are not merely heaters. They have become part of outdoor furniture and decor. We have classic looking as well as sleek and modern outdoor heaters. You can elevate the look of your patio by having a tall, glowing heater installed.
The best outdoor heater is a good investment, especially if winters last longer where you live. It can help you materialize the outdoor areas of your home. You can throw parties or just relax by yourself. You would not be disappointed by the warmth the best outdoor heater will create with a classic winter backdrop.