Best Patio Heater in 2021: Buying Guide

If you’re not quite ready to say goodbye to sitting outside, even once the nights begin to cool down, it’s time for a patio heater. Stay cozy and warm and keep the party going for longer with a patio heater that’ll keep you and your guests comfortable when the weather starts to change.

There are so many types of patio heater, it can be difficult to find the right match for you, but with our handy buying guide, we’re sure you’ll find the perfect addition to your outdoor seating area.

Best Patio Heater
Best Patio Heater

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Last update on 2021-11-27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Types of Patio Heater

There are a couple different types of patio heater to choose from so you can find the perfect fit.

Tabletop Patio Heater

The smallest of the bunch, the tabletop patio heater fits perfectly on either an end table or a large table that you’re gathered around. Usually used on camping trips, a tabletop patio heater will most likely be small and compact enough to be picked up and transported easily from one spot to another.

Whilst they don’t generate as much heat as some of the other types that we’ll go on to mention in a moment, these small but mighty heaters will certainly keep you and a few other guests warm as long as you’re close by.

Tabletop Patio Heater
A Tabletop Patio Heater too close to the people and food!

One tip though – don’t place the tabletop patio heater on a table where there’s a lot of cool food or beverages, otherwise you might find yourself drinking a warm beer or soda before you know it.

Wall-Mounted Patio Heater

The second choice of heater you could opt for is the wall-mounted patio heater. These are perfect for beaming heat to a specific area of your patio, say a dinner table or a bench. They work via infrared heating, and always have an electric connection so they can be plugged in.

Wall-Mounted Patio Heater

Where the wall-mounted patio heater lets us down is its lack of portability. Once you’ve screwed this one to the wall, it’s difficult to move, and you’ll only find the heat in one specific area. That’s not necessarily a bad thing of course, but if you’re looking for a portable model, this wouldn’t be the choice for you.

Freestanding Patio Heater

Our final type of patio heater is freestanding, and these are the ones you’ve most likely seen at a bar or restaurant. Incredibly portable (if not a little heavier than the tabletop heaters!), these heaters stand at around 4ft high, and can be wheeled around your patio to beam the heat in any area you want.

The freestanding patio heater works with propane or natural gas, and in fact, the gas tank at the base of the heater helps to keep it steady and standing tall during use, making them safe enough for home use and a highly popular choice for those with larger outdoor areas.

Related Post: Best Freestanding Patio Heaters

Freestanding Patio Heater
Freestanding Patio Heater

Did you know: Whilst both natural gas and propane gas burn cleanly without a smell you’ll know if your patio heater’s gas system is leaking because you’ll be able to smell a faint odor

What Size Patio Heater Should I Buy

Now we’ve discovered the 3 types of patio heater, you may be wondering which is the best fit for you and your space. It’s really important that you take the size of your garden or patio area into consideration for safety: patio heaters are incredibly powerful and could end up doing some damage if they’re stored or turned on in the wrong spot.

This means you should take a few things into consideration:

Best Patio Heater Reviews
Patio Heater

Firstly, most patio heaters (apart from wall-mounted heaters) should be stood away from walls. By turning them on next to a wall, you’ll lose a lot of heat and energy, and that’s not all – you’d be creating a fire hazard. This is because heat is expelled 360° around the top of the heater, so make sure you give it enough room to breathe.

Caution: never use your patio heater indoors – many produce carbon monoxide as a by-product, and this smell-less gas can be lethal.

This means that if you have a small, walled patio, you should consider a wall-mounted patio heater or perhaps a smaller, portable style that won’t find it too difficult to heat up smaller spaces. You’ll spend less on energy costs, and have the flexibility that you wouldn’t get with a larger model.

Definitely leave freestanding patio heaters to those larger outdoor spaces that have more than enough space and breathability. Due to their height, bulkiness, and even weight, they definitely work better in larger spaces; they can be moved to any spot they’re needed, and you won’t be bumping into it constantly as you would in a smaller space.

How Does a Patio Heater Work?

Patio heaters are built to ensure warmth is created in a small amount of time, which is why you’ll find most are run on gas.

The gas is stored in the base of the heater, which as we’ve already seen, helps to keep the heater steady. At the top of the heater, there’s a burner. This is lit via a striker switch and a pilot light, which will light the gas, and eventually produce a powerful heat source.

The Best Patio Heater Options
Patio Heater

One awesome piece of safety that you should know of is that many freestanding or gas powered patio heaters come equipped with a safety tilt switch too. This is an incredibly handy automatic switch that will flip should your patio heater get knocked over OR tipped beyond a natural limit. This provides an extra bit of security and peace of mind for everyone involved.

The only part of your patio heater that will become hot is the top, which is usually out of reach for most people (and especially children). The base of the heater will never get hot, so you don’t need to worry about being burned when you’ve got your heater switched on

When it comes to electric patio heaters, they’re turned on via a power source, which sends energy to the infrared coils inside the heater. Whilst they take a little longer to heat up, electric patio heaters (which are usually wall-mounted) are almost just as powerful as gas powered heaters.

For your safety: if you invest in a propane fueled patio heater, you should always ensure that spare propane tanks are kept at least 20 feet away from it when it’s in use

Patio Heater Durability

Whilst patio heaters are sturdy, they do need to be taken care of to ensure they last and perform well.

Best patio heater
Best Patio Heater

Firstly, you’ll find that most patio heaters come with a durable cover for when they’re not in use. These are great for keeping them clean, and to minimize wear and tear that can come with certain weathers over the months. To help keep them even safer, make sure you store your patio heater indoors when possible.

Whenever you pull the patio heater out, always give is a once over to ensure it’s intact and not leaking before you turn it on. This can prevent any further damage should it have been damaged in storage.

Patio Heater FAQ

How long will my patio heater run for?

or electric patio heaters, you’ll find that they’ll last for as long as they’re plugged in, which means they can outlast even the best gas heater. Gas heaters will have enough fuel to keep them burning for up to 10 hours in total, which of course means that they’ll last a couple days per tank, depending on how much you use them in one go.

Which type of patio heater is the best to buy?

This depends entirely on your own preferences. However, if you look at a few statistics, it’s clear that an electric heater is the most cost effective choice. Not only that, but they use up less energy, they’re less noisy, and they’re even the more environmentally friendly type of heater to choose.

Having said that, they’re the less powerful choice – which means if keeping the chill away is your main priority, you should invest in a gas powered patio heater.

Is my patio heater safe to use on grass?

You should always ensure your patio heater is on a stable and level surface, so unfortunately, you should never leave them out on grass. They could tip over and break, or become damaged, and even worse, they could cause a fire.

Can I use my patio heater on a windy day?

Yes, it’s perfectly safe to use your patio heater on a windy day – as long as they’re kept on a stable surface where they’re unlikely to tip over. For a freestanding, gas powered patio heater, you’ll find that the gas tank is stored in the base of the heater, which makes them super stable – they’re not likely to be blown over in the wind.

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Patio Heaters

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Last update on 2021-11-27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


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


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About the author

Hi I’m Alexander, founder of HouseholdMe.com 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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