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Best tabletop patio heater

Which tabletop patio heater is best?

A tabletop patio heater is a great backyard feature, especially when it comes to entertaining small groups or hanging out in a small space. Compact and portable, it's great for parties, casual social gatherings or family time out in the backyard on a cool day or night.

Check out the Fire Sense Propane Tabletop Patio Heater for a gas-powered heater with practical settings and reliable safety functions.

What to know before you buy a tabletop patio heater

Heat coverage

A tabletop patio heater can offer 360-degree warmth. It helps you feel warmer faster than larger units, though the radius for heat coverage is smaller. A tabletop patio heater provides about 5-10 feet of warmth in all directions.

Shape and style

Some of these heaters stand vertically like little table lamps, while others stand horizontally and look more like small fireplaces or mini fire pits. The shape and style you go with depends on available surface area, as well as what kind of heat coverage you're interested in. A horizontal heater provides more heat on the sides, while a vertical one offers more rounded heat. 

Heat source

There are four primary heat sources available. They include:

  • Electric: This method is usually quiet and doesn't produce fuel emissions but can use up a fair amount of electricity, utilizing a cord that needs to be plugged into an outlet. It offers a good amount of heat.
  • Gas: A propane gas-powered heater uses less energy and isn't dependent on an electrical outlet, though the gas tank will have to be replaced regularly. It also provides a decent amount of heat.
  • Liquid fuel: This type of fuel is made from renewable materials. The fuel is non-toxic and odor-free but generally doesn’t provide as much warmth as electric or gas-powered heaters. It's primarily used for ambience.
  • Gel fuel: Similar to liquid fuel heaters, gel-fueled heaters are more about the look than they are about serious warmth. Ambience is the primary function.

What to look for in a quality tabletop patio heater

Shut-off tilt valve

A quality gas or electric heater should feature a valve that automatically shuts off the gas or power if the unit tips over, preventing a fire. A good gas heater should also automatically shut off the gas if the flame goes out unexpectedly.

Long electrical cord

Electric tabletop heaters should come with a long cord to make it a breeze to plug the unit in anywhere on the patio. The cord should be highly durable and able to withstand its designated outdoor use.

Heat shield

A heat shield helps to deflect flames or extreme heat so those seated around the heater don't get burned or hurt. In most cases, the guard comes built in around the top where the most heat generates.

How much you can expect to spend on a tabletop patio heater

Tabletop patio heaters cost $100-$200, which is significantly less than their full-size, freestanding counterparts.

Tabletop patio heater FAQ

How much smaller is a tabletop patio heater when compared to a full-size one?

A. A tabletop patio heater is around 20-40 inches tall, while a freestanding full-size patio heater can stand 30-100 inches tall.

How long can a tabletop heater run?

A. A propane gas heater can last from seven to 30 hours. An electric heater can last for as long as it's plugged in, but keep in mind, it will be consuming energy during that time.  

Are electric heaters compatible with extension cords?

A. An electric patio heater generally should not be plugged into an extension cord, as it can become a fire hazard.

What’s the best tabletop patio heater to buy?

Top tabletop patio heater

Fire Sense Propane Tabletop Patio Heater

What you need to know: Available in hammered bronze or stainless steel, this tabletop heater is powered by a 1-pound LPG propane tank, weighs 14 pounds and stands 34 inches tall. 

What you’ll love: It features adjustable heat settings as well as a shut-off tilt valve and oxygen depletion sensor for safety. There's a heat screen guard on top and a weighted base to keep it in place.

What you should consider: The propane canister isn't included and can run out quickly. It can be difficult to light.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon 

Top tabletop patio heater for the money

Bali Outdoors Gas Tabletop Heater

What you need to know: This hammered bronze tabletop heater is powered by a 1-pound propane gas tank, weighs 14 pounds and stands 34 inches tall. 

What you’ll love: It offers 360-degree heat and looks stylish with its hammered bronze design. It's easy to assemble.

What you should consider: Propane isn't included. It's difficult to light and shut off.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Hampton Bay Rectangular Cement Tabletop Gas Fire Pit

What you need to know: This faux wood portable tabletop fire pit is powered by a 1-pound gas tank, measuring 6.69 inches in height and 17.1 inches in width.

What you’ll love: It's very stylish and comes with decorative lava rocks. It's rust-resistant and water-resistant. It's easy to set up and mounts easily to a patio table's umbrella hole. Even though it looks decorative, it provides a fair amount of warmth, even on windy days.

What you should consider: It doesn't come with a heat shield.

Where to buy: Sold by Home Depot


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

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