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12 patio heaters to make your outdoor hangouts more comfortable

As the days cool, you may find yourself spending more time indoors and less time enjoying your yard, but with the right patio heater, this needn't be the case. Keeping you toasty warm, a heater lets you make the most of your outdoor space for longer, whether for relaxing, dining or entertaining. 

First, you may want to consider what type of heater is right for you and then what power source it uses. Armed with this information, it's easier to find your ideal patio heater. 

In this article: Hiland Quartz Glass Tube HeaterhOmeLabs Propane Patio Heater and Dr Infrared DR-238 Heater.

Types of patio heaters

You can find four main types of patio heater: freestanding, tabletop, hanging and wall-mounted. 

  • Freestanding: These large, powerful heaters can have a heating element at the top of the unit or a tube design for a more diffused distribution of heat. They are great for heating large spaces but can be pricey. 
  • Tabletop: Compact and affordable, tabletop heaters are perfect if you only need to heat a small area. They're designed to sit on a table to warm those sitting around it. 
  • Hanging: Hanging heaters are great for covered patio areas and gazebos. They're electric, so there's no risk of carbon monoxide poisoning if used in enclosed spaces. 
  • Wall-mounted: Since they don't take up any ground space, wall-mounted heaters are great for small patios. However, you'll need a masonry drill to install it. 

Electric vs. propane patio heaters

Most patio heaters either run on AC power or bottles of propane gas. 

  • Electric: Electric heaters are low-maintenance because there's no need to buy propane bottles and switch them out. They're also safe to use in enclosed areas.  However, you'll either need to have them hardwired or have an appropriate outdoor plug socket. 
  • Propane: These heaters run on bottles of propane gas. They don't need to be plugged or hardwired into your electric, so you can use them anywhere. They radiate heat in all directions, unlike electric heaters. However, some people find it too much hassle to change out the tanks. 

What to look for in a patio heater

These are some of the features you might want to consider when picking an outdoor heater. 

  • British thermal units: If you buy a propane heater, its heater power is listed in Btu. You don't need to know the intricacies of this unit of measurement, just that 10,000 to 12,000 Btu is good for a tabletop model or 40,000 to 48,000 Btu for a full-size version. 
  • Portability: Some heaters can't be moved once they're wired into place, while others are easy to pick up and move. Large freestanding propane heaters should have wheels so they're easier to move.
  • Shelf: A built-in drinks shelf comes in handy when you're having an outdoor gathering and standing around a heater.
  • Easy ignition: Choose a heater with a straightforward ignition system to avoid struggling every time you want to turn it on. 

Best propane patio heaters

Hiland Quartz Glass Tube Heater

Measuring 91 inches tall with a tube design, this heater radiates warmth effectively. It offers 40,000 Btu, which is toasty without feeling overly hot.

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hOmeLabs Propane Patio Heater

With its attractive bronze finish, this sturdy patio heater looks stylish in any outdoor space. It radiates heat 360 degrees with a 41,000 Btu heat output to keep you comfortable in all weather.

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Cuisinart CO-500 Portable Tabletop Patio Heater

If you're looking for a tabletop heater, this 11,000 Btu model is an excellent choice to keep everyone in the vicinity warm. It has a safety tilt switch to prevent accidents if it gets knocked over and takes conveniently compact 1-pound propane bottles.

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Sunjoy Avanti Outdoor Portable Propane Heater

With an impressive 47,000 Btu output, this heater is perfect for medium to large patios. It looks great, and you can choose from four finishes: black, bronze, gray or silver.

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Thermo Tiki Outdoor Propane Patio Heater

This stylish patio heater has a glass tube, so you can watch the flames inside dance as they warm you. It has a peak Btu of 42,000 to 45,000, though its average output is a still-excellent 38,000 Btu.

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Bali Outdoors Portable Patio Heater

Suitable for small patios, this 10,000 Btu model will keep everyone at the table perfectly warm. It's durable and stable with a simple turn-and-push ignition system.

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Hiland HLDS01-CGT Tall Patio Heater

Thanks to its 48,000 Btu output, this is one of the warmest and most effective patio heaters available. It has an attractive powder-coated finish in hammered bronze, wheels for easy mobility and a built-in table for drinks.

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Best electric patio heaters

Dr Infrared DR-238 Heater

This compact electric heater is available in 1,500-watt and 3,000-watt versions. You can either mount it on the wall or set it on a freestanding tripod mount, but this is sold separately.

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Paraheeter Hanging Patio Heater

You can choose between three adjustable heating modes — 600, 900 and 1,500 watts — so it's great for everything from slightly chilly to freezing days. It's easy to operate with a simple rope pull.

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SereneLife Infrared Outdoor Electric Space Heater 

Quickly heating small areas, this 1,500-watt electric heater comes with a remote control for easy operation. It's wall-mounted, which is handy if your patio area is right next to your home.

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Key Tek Wall-Mounted Patio Heater

You can adjust the angle of this heater when you mount it to direct the heat just where you need it. The three heating modes range up to 1,500 watts, and you can switch between them using the remote control.

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Buyplus Portable Patio Heater

Compact and easily portable, this is a great patio heater for occasional use if you want an electric model but don't want to mount or hang it. It's small enough for tabletop use, and it's easy to adjust the angle.

Sold by Amazon


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Lauren Corona writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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