10 Best Patio Heaters for 2023

10 Best Patio Heaters for 2023

A patio heater is a device that is used to heat outdoor spaces. It is typically a freestanding unit that runs on natural gas, propane, or electricity and is designed to be used on a patio or other outdoor area. Patio heaters are a great way to extend the use of outdoor spaces, especially during the cooler months of the year.

If you want to enjoy your outdoor space year-round, it’s time to invest in a quality patio heater. Even in cold temperatures, the best patio heaters can help create a comfortable outdoor environment, whether it be for solo dinners or holiday parties.

10 Best Patio Heaters for 2023:Tested and Reviewed

They allow you to enjoy the outdoors even when the temperature drops, and can create a comfortable and cozy atmosphere. There are several types of patio heaters available, including tabletop heaters, wall-mounted heaters, and freestanding heaters. Some patio heaters are designed to be portable, while others are permanently installed. Patio heaters are a popular choice for homeowners, restaurants, and other commercial establishments with outdoor seating areas.

#1.Amazon Basics 46,000 BTU Outdoor Propane Patio Heater

Amazon Basics

The AmazonBasics Patio Heater is a sturdy, easy-to-use outdoor heating device that puts out an impressive 46,000 Btu of heat — enough to extend the outdoor dining season and socializing well into the colder months.
Easy to use
Heat output
Easy to assemble


Heat output: 46,000 Btu
Power source: Propane
Safety features: Auto shut-off, wheels for easy mobility, push-to-start button
Best for: Mild fall and winter days, with small groups of 2 to 4 people


Pros: Durable construction, easy to operate, wheeled design, puts out a lot of heat

Cons: Shorter people might have to stretch to reach the control knob

I panic-purchased the AmazonBasics Patio Heater when the weather started to turn colder and the pandemic didn’t appear to be ending anytime soon. I’ve been using the AmazonBasics Patio Heater for months now, and it’s made it comfortable enough to sit outside even during the chilly Canadian fall and early winter. It provides a consistent amount of heat that spreads over a large enough area to keep a small group of people comfortable when the weather is chilly.

The mushroom-top unit has a single control knob with an ignition setting and two adjustable heat options, low and high. The heat controls are placed at the top of the unit, which requires short people like me to stand on their toes to reach but keeps the controls out of kids’ hands. It operates on a propane tank, the same kind you may use to operate your BBQ. The stainless steel design is weather-resistant, so there’s not really any need to store it away for the winter.Even a powerful patio heater like the AmazonBasics unit won’t turn your deck into a summertime oasis when the weather is freezing. Still, it can offer a hint of warmth, making it easier to spend more time outside with loved ones during the pandemic.

#2.Fire Sense 61436 Pro Series Patio Heater

Fire Sense

Fire Sense 61436 Pro Series Patio Heater
This patio heater by Fire Sense provides commercial-level power with 46,000 BTUs and runs on a 20-pound propane tank, which can last for up to 10 hours of use.
Easy to use
Heat output
Easy to assemble


Maximum BTUs:46,000
Heating Area:18-ft diameter
Dimensions:90 x 32 x 32 in.



  • Easy electronic ignition
  • Heavy duty wheels


  • A bit pricey for power

Heavy duty wheels make it easy to position anywhere outside, and the Piezo ignition switch will have it up and running in an instant.

#3.EnerG+ Infrared Electric Outdoor Heater Freestanding


EnerG+ Infrared Electric Outdoor Heater Freestanding
If the thought of running out to buy propane on a frigid winter evening sends a chill down your spine, you might consider an electric patio heater like this model from EnerG+.
Easy to use
Heat output
Easy to assemble


Output: 1,500 watts
Fuel: Electric
Dimensions: 9 x 9 x 48 inches


Who it’s for: People who want an electric patio heater with radiant heating.

Who it isn’t for: People who want a patio heater with an impressive heat field.

“This gave off a decent amount of heat at the high setting at a little over 32 inches,” says our tester. “This would be great for people sitting together outside. The tower is tall so it would heat people from toes to top of head when sitting.”

During the tip test, the unit was stable, and no outer components of the heater became too hot—making this a safer choice to have around small children or pets. This electric patio heater also comes with a remote, which “is a nice feature that makes it easy to turn on and off from a distance,” says our tester. While it’s “expensive, it provides a decent amount of heat. If you were using this a lot it could be worth it.”

#4.Hampton Bay 48000 Btu Stainless Steel Patio Heater

Hampton Bay

Hampton Bay 48000 Btu Stainless Steel Patio Heater
Similar to the Hiland mushroom-style heater, Hampton Bay’s version offers 48,000 BTU of heat output.
Easy to use
Heat output
Easy to assemble


BTU rating: 48,000
Dimensions: 18-inch diameter, 88 inches tall
Use: Standing



  • Lift-up housing allows easy tank access
  • Adjustable flame, easy to control
  • Durable stainless steel construction


  • No wheels, difficult to move
  • No rain cover
  • Bulky size, difficult to store

It’s built almost identically to the Hiland heater, with a couple of exceptions. This heater does not have an adjustable table or wheels. Hampton Bay’s version is less expensive than Hiland’s heater, making it an economical option if you do not mind lacking those accessories.

This heater did not come with a rain cover, and we found the wheelless base made it difficult to move. However, the biggest frustration was removing the protective film off the stainless steel base. Overall, it’s a good heater if you do not plan to move it often.

#5.Mr. Heater F232000 MH9BX

Mr. Heater

Mr. Heater F232000 MH9BX
The Mr. Heater Buddy Patio Heater is a compact, portable heater perfect for personal use and heating up small outdoor spaces.
Easy to use
Heat output
Easy to assemble


Heat output: 9,000 Btu
Power source: Propane
Safety features: Tip-over switch, oxygen depletion sensor
Best for: Chilly summer nights and mild fall days, with 1 to 2 people


Pros: Small footprint, durable construction, portable, simple to use

Cons: Not an ideal solution for providing warmth for a large group of people

This little, lightweight device is an excellent option if you’re short on space or want an outdoor heating option while you’re on the go. It’s only 14 inches wide, making it suitable for tabletop use.

However, on mild winter days, I place it under my patio table as a supplemental heating device to my AmazonBasics unit. It heats the surrounding area fairly quickly and runs for up to three hours — the single control knob allows you to choose between low and high heat. You’ll get the most benefit if you’re sitting in front of the heater.

I recommend this space-saving heater to anyone wanting to spend more time outside, as it will help keep you warm without gobbling up valuable real estate.Like with all patio heaters, we’ve seen stock of this product fluctuate. We don’t recommend buying from third-party sellers. If it’s out of stock or only available from third-party sellers, we recommend waiting until Amazon receives more stock.

#6.Bromic Heating Portable Radiant Infrared Patio Heater

Bromic Heating

Bromic Heating Portable Radiant Infrared Patio Heater
The classic design of most patio heaters spreads heat widely in a radius around the center of the heater, which can be an inefficient method depending on where you place it.
Easy to use
Heat output
Easy to assemble


Maximum BTUs:38,500
Heating Area:180 sq ft
Dimensions:85 x 28 x 19 in.



  • Adjustable power
  • Directs heat for greater efficiency


  • Expensive

This Bromic patio heater is an excellent option if you want heat that you can direct at yourself and your group, instead of wasting energy heating a space beyond your patio furniture. Although its BTU is lower than some other models, its design directs that power more efficiently. And we like that you can adjust the output to combat a light autumnal chill or seriously frosty nights.

#7.Thermo Tiki Outdoor Propane Patio Heater

Thermo Tiki

Thermo Tiki Outdoor Propane Patio Heater
If you want a sleek heater that doesn’t sacrifice performance for aesthetics, opt for the Thermo Tiki Propane Patio Heater.
Easy to use
Heat output
Easy to assemble


Output: 38,000 BTU
Fuel: Propane
Dimensions: 18 x 18 x 90 inches


Who it’s for: People who want a sleek patio heater with an impressive warmth field.

Who it isn’t for: People who want an affordable or compact patio heater.

“It’s a very beautiful heater that sustains a good heat especially if you’re standing within six feet of it,” says our tester. “With the relative ease of assembly and amazing price point, it’s an impressive appliance.”

While its shape is tall and narrow, “the pyramid design is pretty stable,” says our tester. “I did do a few quick bumps and it stayed upright with little to no wobbling.” This pick also features a quick ignition button and wheels for easy transport, though our tester noted that the dial for temperature adjustments could have been more intuitive, adding, “the higher setting is immediately to the left of the lighter so that you have to dial it way down so it’s not fully blasting at first.”

#8.Mr. Heater MH4B

Mr. Heater

Mr. Heater MH4B
At less than 11 inches tall, the Mr. Heater Portable LP Heater is just the right size for heating small spaces, such as under a patio table.
Easy to use
Heat output
Easy to assemble


BTU rating: 3,800
Dimensions: 9 by 9 by 18 inches
Best use: Seated or standing



  • Inexpensive compared to similar options
  • Portable and easy to transport to different locations
  • Fast, easy assembly; great for camping


  • Burns through disposable fuel bottles in only 5.6 hours
  • Not as effective in open or windy conditions
  • Easy to knock over (but includes a safety shutoff)

#9.Dr Infrared Heater DR-238

Dr Infrared Heater

Dr Infrared Heater DR-238
For delicious warmth in an enclosed patio or three-season room, check out the Dr Infrared Heater that runs on electricity and emits up to 1,500 watts of infrared heat.
Easy to use
Heat output
Easy to assemble


BTU rating: 5,115
Dimensions: 35 by 8 by 4 inches
Best Use: Seated or standing



  • Compact, lightweight, with adjustable base height
  • Easy to set up and store
  • Works with any electric outlet, no need to buy gas
  • Convenient operation; includes remote control


  • For sheltered outdoor use only, not in damp weather
  • Requires power outlet and extension cord
  • Needs weights to secure the base (empty sandbags included)

The Dr Infrared Heater features adjustable heat output and plugs into a standard 120-volt household outlet, so there’s no need to fill and haul propane tanks. It includes a remote control, features a programmable timer, and also boasts an automatic overheating shutoff. The heater is designed for exterior use but only in a protected location, as it can’t come into contact with precipitation.

This unit required minimal assembly, and it offered decent heat output. However, we felt that the legs on the tripod stand seemed flimsy, and it took a bit of maneuvering to get the heater to sit level. We liked the heater’s portability, but an extension cord will be required if moved away from an outlet.

#10.Mr. Heater F242655 MH30TS

Mr. Heater

Mr. Heater F242655 MH30TS
Although this patio heater isn’t the most stylish, the Mr. Heater MH30TS is a simple, utilitarian model if you’re more concerned with portability and efficiency than looks when working outdoors.
Easy to use
Heat output
Easy to assemble


Maximum BTUs:30,000
Heating Area:120 sq ft
Dimensions:18 x 12 x 8 in.



  • Portable and affordable
  • Push button ignition


  • Unattractive

The propane cylinder isn’t included, but once you connect one, the MH30T can heat from 8,000 to 30,000 BTUs with an easy push-button start. Unlike larger patio heat lamps, you can bring this one with you almost anywhere.

How We Tested the Best Patio Heaters

The patio heaters were rated by their BTU output, maneuverability, and overall style. We tested each heater’s ability to heat by gauging the farthest distance one needed to stand from each unit in order to stay warm. Overall, we found that the tower style with dome covers distributed heat more efficiently at a distance.

Fortunately, many of the larger heaters were easy to maneuver thanks to wheels on the base. The few that did not would be a better option if the heater is placed and stored in a single location. For patios without overhead coverage, a heater with a cover is strongly recommended.

Pros and Cons of Patio Heaters

Here are some pros and cons of patio heaters:


  • Can extend the use of outdoor spaces by providing warmth
  • Can be portable or permanently installed, depending on the model
  • Can be fueled by propane, natural gas, or electricity


  • Can be expensive to purchase and operate, especially if using propane
  • May not provide sufficient heat for very cold temperatures
  • Can be a fire hazard if not used properly
  • May not be aesthetically pleasing to some people
  • May not be allowed in some areas due to local regulations or homeowner association rules

What to Consider When Choosing the Best Patio Heater

Some patio heaters are large and serve as a focal point on the patio around which merrymakers gather, while others are strictly functional—they heat the area but don’t add much in the way of ambience. Choosing the outdoor heating option that best suits a specific patio is mostly a matter of individual taste, but a few factors are worth considering.


Just because it’s a patio doesn’t mean this outdoor space shouldn’t receive the same decor attention as any indoor room. A variety of patio heater styles can add a unique aesthetic to a backyard oasis.

  • Tower-style heater: Most tower-style patio heaters are 6 to 8 feet tall, with the heat source located at the top, middle, or bottom of the tower. Available in electric or propane versions, these patio heaters can warm a 5- to 10-foot radius, making them an excellent option for yards and larger patios.
  • Space heater: More about function than aesthetic, an exterior space heater is relatively small and designed to heat a limited space. For outdoor dining, a space heater tucked beneath the patio table may be sufficient to keep diners cozy as they enjoy a meal. Space heaters may be powered by propane or plugged into an outdoor electrical outlet.
  • Tabletop heater: Smaller than freestanding heaters, tabletop units are often secured to a patio table (usually through the hole where a sun umbrella would fit). Either electric or propane, they offer the advantage of portability but tend to be less powerful, making them well suited to smaller gatherings.
  • Mounted heater: Available in wall- or ceiling-mounted options, these patio heaters are typically infrared (they radiate heat) and are electrically powered. They are excellent if you have limited floor space but wish to heat a large area.
  • Firepit/fireplace: Perhaps the ultimate in outdoor ambience, firepits and outdoor fireplaces offer the type of flickering ambience associated with a campfire, so it’s little wonder that they’re high on many outdoor entertaining wish lists. They may be powered by propane, natural gas, or wood and are ideal for being surrounded by patio chairs for a late-night s’mores session.

Area Size

The maximum area a patio heater will comfortably heat depends on several variables. Many large patio heaters are radiant, meaning they reflect heat waves rather than distribute heat via a fan. Radiant heat is more effective because it warms objects in front of it rather than just warming the air. On a breezy day, a fan-based heater (convection) won’t keep anyone warm if the wind blows away the heated air.

Depending on the power of the heating element, a patio heater can radiate heat 4 to 12 feet or even farther. Many feature the ability to adjust the heat output—turning down the heater if only a bit of warmth is necessary or running it on the highest setting to heat a wider area.

Heat Output

A natural gas or propane patio heater’s heat output is measured in British thermal units (BTUs), while an electric heater’s output is measured in watts.

  • BTU estimation: The general formula for estimating suitable BTUs for a patio heater is to multiply the patio’s square feet by 20. For example, a patio that measures 20 by 20 feet equals 400 square feet of space. Multiplying 400 by 20 is 8,000, so a gas patio heater with an 8,000-BTU output would effectively heat the area. Gas patio heaters range from about 5,000 to 40,000 BTUs, depending on style and size.
  • Watt estimation: Electric patio heaters offer a maximum of 1,500 watts—comparable to 5,100 BTUs—so they don’t generate quite as much heat as gas heaters, making them well suited to smaller patios. Alternatively, consider using two or more electric patio heaters on a single patio if you desire additional heat output.


While the main function of a patio heater is to maintain a comfortable outdoor temperature, many go the extra mile to help create a cozy or romantic feeling. Some tabletop styles incorporate glass rocks that reflect various light colors, while others produce flickering flames that add a dreamy feel.

Except for the smallest space heaters, most propane patio heaters feature a cabinet that conceals the propane tank to create a cleaner look. For the best aesthetics, select a material that blends with the style of the home and patio. A sleek stainless steel patio heater will enhance the look of a contemporary home with modern décor, while a cast-iron firepit would better suit a rustic cabin getaway.


Anything that produces enough heat to warm a patio comes with some safety challenges. Manufacturers reduce the risk of burns by encasing patio heaters in materials that remain cool to the touch or placing the heating element above a level where humans can reach it (in the case of tower-style heaters). Still, consider the following tips to more safely use a patio heater.

  • Move it away: Keep the patio heater away from walls, patio furniture, and flammable objects. The general rule is to position a patio heater with 3 feet of space on all sides.
  • Keep it level: Some patio heaters provide a safety shutoff if the heater tips, but not all include that feature. Position the heater on a level spot to keep it from tipping over.
  • Buy a fire extinguisher: Patio heaters don’t present a significant fire risk, but a wood-burning heater can eject burning ash, or a space heater could tip over. By having an extinguisher handy, you’ll be prepared in case of fire.
  • Stay with it: Don’t leave a patio heater on without an adult present.
  • Keep it covered: Some patio heaters include a cover. If not, invest in one, and cover the patio heater when not in use. A cover will keep bugs, dirt, and debris from blowing into the heating element, which can clog it or create a fire risk.


The ability to move a patio heater from one side of the patio to the other or relocate it near a pool will be simpler if the unit includes wheels.

The largest propane patio heaters can weigh 60 pounds or more—and that’s not including the weight of a 20-pound propane tank—so carrying one can quickly become cumbersome. Electric patio heaters are typically smaller and more lightweight, weighing up to an average of 20 to 30 pounds, but wheels will still come in handy.The smallest portable heater may weigh only a few pounds and easily be packed in the trunk of a car or moved to any yard location.


When it comes to electric patio heaters, the real cost often comes in paying the utility bill because electricity is usually (not always) more expensive than either natural gas or propane. That said, electric heaters are a less expensive option.Propane patio heaters run the gamut in price from inexpensive space heaters to tall tower-style heaters, but operating them is generally more cost-effective than electric models.

Natural gas patio heaters are often at the top of the price line because they are frequently designed for installation in permanent outdoor kitchens and living areas. They’re among the least expensive to operate, but you may require a licensed plumber for installation.Wood-burning firepits and fireplaces also span a large range in cost, from inexpensive firepits to high-end fireplaces permanently built into outdoor entertaining areas.

Patio Heater Types and Pros and Cons

There are several types of patio heaters, each with its own set of pros and cons:

  • Propane patio heaters: These heaters burn propane gas to produce heat. Pros include that they can provide a lot of heat in a short amount of time, and they are portable. Cons include that they can be expensive to operate and may not be allowed in some areas due to local regulations.
  • Natural gas patio heaters: These heaters burn natural gas to produce heat. Pros include that they are more efficient and cost-effective to operate than propane heaters, and they do not produce harmful emissions. Cons include that they must be permanently installed and cannot be easily moved, and they may not be allowed in some areas due to local regulations.
  • Electric patio heaters: These heaters use electricity to produce heat. Pros include that they are energy-efficient, easy to use, and do not produce harmful emissions. Cons include that they may not produce as much heat as gas-powered heaters, and they may not be suitable for use in very cold temperatures.
  • Infrared patio heaters: These heaters use infrared technology to produce heat. Pros include that they are energy-efficient, easy to use, and do not produce harmful emissions. Cons include that they may not produce as much heat as gas-powered heaters, and they may not be suitable for use in very cold temperatures.
  • Fire pit patio heaters: These heaters use wood or gas to produce heat in a fire pit. Pros include that they can provide a cozy atmosphere and can be used for cooking. Cons include that they may not be allowed in some areas due to local regulations, and they can be a fire hazard if not used properly.

Patio Heater FAQs

How much do patio heaters cost to operate?

The cost of operating a patio heater will depend on the type of heater and the fuel it uses. Propane heaters tend to be more expensive to operate than natural gas or electric heaters. On average, propane heaters cost about $0.50 to $1.00 per hour to operate, while natural gas heaters cost about $0.30 to $0.50 per hour, and electric heaters cost about $0.10 to $0.25 per hour.

How long do patio heaters last?

The lifespan of a patio heater will depend on the quality of the heater and how well it is maintained. In general, patio heaters can last for several years if they are well-maintained and used properly.

Can patio heaters be used indoors?

Some patio heaters are designed for indoor use, but it is important to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for safe use. In general, it is not recommended to use patio heaters indoors due to the risk of fire and carbon monoxide poisoning.[1]Why You Shouldn’t Use Outdoor Heaters Indoor

Are patio heaters safe to use?

Patio heaters can be safe to use if they are used according to the manufacturer’s instructions and local regulations. It is important to keep flammable materials away from the heater, and to make sure the heater is properly maintained and in good working condition. It is also important to follow proper safety procedures when using gas-powered heaters, such as checking for leaks and properly lighting the heater.

Can patio heaters be left outside in the rain?

Some patio heaters are designed to be used outdoors and are weather-resistant, while others are not. It is important to check the manufacturer’s guidelines to determine if a patio heater can be left outside in the rain. If the heater is not designed for outdoor use, it is best to bring it inside to protect it from the elements.

Are outdoor patio heaters worth it?

If you currently use or would like to use your outdoor spaces during the colder months, a patio heater is a great investment. In our testing, they could raise the temperature by about 16 degrees Fahrenheit, making a cool day feel toasty and a cold day more bearable.

Are patio heaters safe?

If used correctly, patio heaters are safe. However, Griffith said it’s important to follow manufacturer recommendations. He also recommends keeping your patio heater away from anything combustible and making sure you allow for at least 4 or 5 feet of clearance in all directions, including vertically.[2]Are propane patio heaters safe?

Is a gas or electric patio heater cheaper to run?

Generally, natural gas, or propane, is cheaper than electricity, though the price of utilities can vary depending on your location. If cost is your primary concern when selecting a patio heater, opt for an option fueled by propane fuel or pellets. The frequency of use will determine how often you purchase and replace your fuel, but it’s a safe bet that it will cost less overall than an electric patio heater.

What’s the difference between infrared and electric patio heaters?

Electric patio heaters heat the air, which means they heat the area with convection, making for an overall warmer environment. Infrared heaters instead use radiation, which warms objects rather than just the surrounding air. Infrared heaters are more effective at delivering heat in outdoor areas, so that may be the better option if effectiveness is your top concern.

Is a higher BTU better for patio heaters?

A higher BTU means more heat output, so a larger number is a safe bet to ensure your patio is sufficiently heated. That said, if you have a small space, you may not need as large of an output. A rule of thumb is that the square footage is multiplied by 20 to find the amount of BTU suitable for your outdoor space.[3]Patio Heater Buying Guide

How far should the patio heater be from the house?

Place a gas patio heater and a freestanding electric patio heater a minimum of 3 feet from walls and other items, such as furniture. However, some electric heaters are designed to be safe even if mounted on a wall or ceiling, so it depends on the type.

Can you have a patio heater under a covered patio?

Most electric patio heaters are designed for use in sheltered patio conditions, like under a covered or enclosed patio. A small gas patio heater, such as a tabletop model, can usually operate safely under a covered patio, but a traditional tower-style model may stand too high (within 5 feet of the ceiling) for safe use.[4]Can I Use an Outdoor Heater Under a Covered Porch or Patio?

Can you put a patio heater under a gazebo?

It is safe to put a patio heater under a gazebo as long as it isn’t within 3 feet of the gazebo’s sidewalls or ceiling rafters.[5]Can I mount an outdoor heater inside my gazebo?

About De Hua

De Hua is a former New Yorker who now lives at the beach. She received a double B.A. in International Relations and Marketing from The College of William & Mary and an M.A. in Interactive Journalism from American University. De Hua has been published in The Washington Post, New York Daily News, Cosmopolitan, Women's Health, The Bump, and Yahoo, among others.How We Tested and Reviewed

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *