Best Freestanding Patio Heaters in 2021

As we near the end of the year, it can be real challenge enjoying your evenings and nights on your patio without freezing to near death. However, there’s a simple fix to this issue: getting a freestanding patio heater. In this guide, we’ll show you what the best freestanding patio heaters are and how to find the perfect model for your downtime outdoors.

Freestanding outdoor heater
Best Freestanding Patio Heater

Freestanding Patio Heater | Recommended | Click to see Price

Last update on 2021-12-04 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Freestanding Patio Heater | Recommended

Last update on 2021-12-04 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

This website is supported by readers. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.

Patio Heater Buying Guide

In this section, you’ll learn everything about freestanding patio heaters—what they are, how they work, how to find the best model, and so on. Feel free to refer to this guide when shopping for a freestanding patio heater on your own or determining which of our top picks is the best option for you and your family.

What is a Patio Heater?

A patio heater is a type of outdoor heater. This heating device placed outdoors, typically on patios or around swimming pools, to keep objects and people warm. It uses radiant heat to heat up surrounding objects, so it doesn’t get carried away by the wind. If you’re looking for the most efficient outdoor heating tool, a patio heater is the best thing for you.

Freestanding patio heater
Freestanding patio heater

What About Traditional Fire Pits/Outdoor Fireplaces?

Traditional fire pits or outdoor fireplaces are incredibly fancy and, therefore, cost a pretty penny to install. Also, you’ll need to produce a bigger flame to cover a wider area with radiant heat, which can be a fire hazard in and of itself.

Below, you’ll find three convincing reasons why you should skip traditional fire pits and instead, opt for a modern patio heater.

Improved Heat Direction.
An outdoor patio heater can distribute radian heat evenly in all directions, whereas the heat from a fire pit can be carried away by the wind and focused on a particular part of its surroundings.

Virtually Mess-Free.
If you’ve ever set up an outdoor fire pit before, you already know how messy it can get. At the end of the day, by dousing the flames with a bucket of water, you’re spreading charred logs and ashes around your yard in air. Patio heaters experience no such issues.

Freestanding patio heaters
Freestanding patio heaters

Related Post: Best Patio Heaters

No Air Quality Problems.
Patio heaters don’t produce ash or nose-wrinkling odors when ignited. Your guests will thank you for not getting microscopic ash particles in their lungs that could worsen their allergies.

Types of Patio Heaters

Patio heaters typically fall into four categories: freestanding, mounted, tabletop, and inground/fire pit. You can find a description of each type below.

Freestanding Patio Heater

Freestanding patio heaters are the most versatile and thus the most popular type of patio heater for homeowners. They do not require specialized mounting equipment or tools to set up; instead, a freestanding patio heater can be plopped onto a flat, even surface and left to run for hours on end.

FRY: If you’re considering picking up a freestanding patio heater, you’ll have to consider propane as your fuel source. Not many top-quality freestanding patio heaters use electricity or natural gas.

Mounted Patio Heater

Mounted patio heaters are those that are mounted onto a wall or ceiling. They come with brackets and other mounting gear and cannot be removed unless the brackets are taken down. Because they hand on walls or ceilings, you won’t need to worry about dedicating floor space for your patio heater.

Like freestanding models, mounted patio heaters come in an assortment of sizes and styles, each offering different levels of heat and appeal.

Related Post: Best Wall-Mounted Patio Heaters

Tabletop Patio Heater

It’s pretty clear that tabletop patio heaters are placed on top of outdoor tables or benches. They typically look like miniature versions of freestanding patio heaters, but their smaller sizes cover a smaller area with radiant heat. This type of patio hear is great for large parties where multiple tables or benches are provided. They usually stand less than 36 inches high.

Related Post: Best Tabletop Patio Heaters

Inground/Fire Pit

Inground or fire pit patio heaters are arguably the most appealing type of patio heater available. They’re also quite costly to purchase and install, but they’re definite conversation starters when you invite friends and family to your backyard.

Patio Heater Fuel Sources

Patio heaters rely on three different fuel sources: propane, natural gas, and electricity.

best Freestanding patio heaters
best Freestanding patio heaters


Propane is one of the most widely available sources of fuel in numerous countries. Propane heats up incredibly fast, allowing propane patio heaters to keep your guests nice and toasty in just a matter of minutes after ignition. Propane is typically sold in 20-pound tanks that provide enough fuel to keep a patio heater running for around 10 hours.

Natural Gas

Natural gas lines are found in many homes across the country, but you’ll need a professional to rewire the line to your patio heater, just to be safe. The upfront cost of a natural gas patio heater isn’t all that expensive, but installation can cost quite a lot.

After the installation is complete, you can enjoy nice outdoor heating while spending less on fuel. However, please pay special attention to the heater’s placement; once the natural gas line has been rerouted, it can’t be undone without spending more on reinstallation.

Did You Know. Propane is pricier than natural gas but contains twice as much energy. Basically, you need to use twice as much natural gas by volume to achieve identical heating performance from a propane outdoor heater.

There’s no way to determine how much you can save when using one fuel source over the other since their prices vary from state to state. You’ll have to whip out your old calculate and do some simple multiplication on your own.


An electric patio heater is the easier to set up, just as portable as propane models, and don’t require professional services to install. You won’t have to worry about refilling a 20-pound propane tank at your local gas station or department store since electricity is readily available from any standard wall outlet. However, it takes longer for electricity to produce heat as opposed to the other fuel sources.

Patio Heater BTU Guide

Before you go deciding which patio heater style ,shape, color, etc., is right for you, the first thing you need to determine is the size—more precisely, how many BTUs the patio heater can produce.
Higher isn’t always better in terms of heating efficiency. You’ll need to find an appropriately sized patio heater based on the physical dimensions of your patio. provides a helpful BTU calculator to determine how the ideal BTU output rating for heating and cooling purposes. Simply input the dimensions of your patio and press Calculate.

Freestanding Patio Heater Features

If you’re looking at freestanding patio heaters for your next party, then you’ll want to keep your eyes peeled for the following features.


Wheels will help transport the patio heater to wherever your guests need it without having to unscrew or unbolt any brackets or mounting systems.

Base Diameter

A wider base will protect the device from tipping over from slight nudges. They take up a bit of floor space, but it’s worth it to prevent your patio heater from becoming a fire hazard.

outdoor propane heater
outdoor propane heater

Tilt Safety Switch

If the freestanding patio heater does manage to tilt over, a tilt safety switch will automatically block propane from reaching the heating element, protecting your property and guests from burns.

Caution: Tilt safety switches are not 100% foolproof. Make sure someone is around the patio heater at all times when ignited to turn it off if the device topples over.

Wind Protection

Even though radiant heat isn’t affected as much by wind, high-speed gusts of over 10 mph can douse the heater. Some units come with wind protection systems that keep the flame ignited.

Tank Storage Size

Most freestanding models are built with enough storage space to house 20-pound tanks of propane. Some are smaller, so make sure to find a model that fits whatever size you is available to you.

propane Freestanding patio heater
propane Freestanding patio heater


Do patio heaters really work?

Using radiant heat to keep your guests nice and toasty in a 10 to 20-pound radius sounds like black magic, but it’s true. Patio heaters can provide enough ambient heat to keep your guests comfortably warm during autumn, provided you get the right size.

Do patio heaters keep bugs away?

Sadly, the opposite is true. Heat invites bugs and other pests to your party, and you’ll most likely need to keep your trusty fly swatter within arm’s reach. A handy bug repellent might be able to solve this problem efficiently without covering your guests in noxious, bug-killing fumes.

Can I leave my patio heater outdoors?

Yes, you can, as long as it doesn’t rain. Or snow. Or get too humid. If the device doesn’t have an anti-corrosive finish, odds are it’ll rust over the winter, and you’ll need to pick up a new model when springs comes around. Keep the patio heater indoors when not in use if possible.

How long to patio heaters run?

It depends on the fuel source. Natural gas and electric heaters can run indefinitely, but propane heaters require some fuel in the tank to operate. On average, a 20-pound tank of propane can last up to 10 hours, but it depends on its heat output and how often you crank it to its max heat setting.

best Freestanding outdoor heater
best Freestanding outdoor heater

Freestanding Patio Heater | Recommended | Click to see Price

Last update on 2021-12-04 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Freestanding Patio Heater | Recommended

Last update on 2021-12-04 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

This website is supported by readers. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.

If you have any questions or comments, please add them below in the comment section. Similarly, please let us know if you spot any mistakes or omissions. Thanks!

About the author

Hi I’m Alexander, founder of and I’d like to say thank you for dropping by. Like most of you, the first thing I look at before buying something online is reviews or buying guides. By reading what other people say will help me gauge whether or not a product is good or not.  I am trying to help people find answers, solve problems, and get inspired.

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