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15 of the Best Patio Heaters to Stay Warm Outdoors

Not even Mr. Freeze can stand a chance against these patio heaters.

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Looking for more outdoor product recommendations? Check out our guides to the best outdoor furniture, camping tents, camping blankets and sleeping bags.

While air conditioners are a summer thing, patio heaters are good for practically the whole year. Yes, while patio heaters will probably get the most use in the winter, nighttime in the spring and summer bring lower temperatures and chilly breezes. The market for patio heaters is large and unwieldy, so we reached out to Joseph Boodanian, director of HVAC training at UEI College, a leader in churning out top-flight HVAC techs for over four decades, to help us demystify the world of patio heaters. From the different types of patio heaters to the best ones to buy, here's everything you should know about patio heaters.

    How to Choose a Patio Heater

    Everything matters when considering your outdoor space: Do you have a concrete or wood deck patio? Is there an awning or some kind of top? Is it enclosed or is it open air? What do you do with the space when it’s not cold? You have to determine what fuel works best for you, as well. These are the most popular fuel sources for patio heaters, as well as the pros and cons for each.

    Liquid propane patio heater: This is almost always the cheapest option for patio heaters, and you can find the fuel source practically anywhere. It helps patio heaters to be both powerful and mobile, but lugging around a 20-pound tank can get old really fast, not to mention the hassle of attaching and detaching the tank. Also, make sure you have proper ventilation.

    Natural gas patio heater: Patio heaters fueled by natural gas bring some of the steadiest heat, but it is more expensive than liquid propane. It's important to get a professional to install a natural gas patio heater for safety reasons, and once it's set up, it's pretty much stuck there for life.

    Electric patio heater: An electric patio heater is great for small spaces, and can be found in almost any size. These types of patio heaters are the easiest to use at the cost of taking a while to heat up. Plus, you have to be close to an electrical outlet to operate.

    Wood pellet patio heater: Wood pellets have the lowest environmental impact compared to other fuel sources, and patio heaters powered by wood pellets are super efficient. Heaters using wood pellet fuel are very durable, built to withstand the harshest climates. However, sourcing wood pellets is a pain, and owning and maintaining a wood pellet heater can be a lot of work.

    How We Tested

    We compiled a list of over 50 patio heaters, which the market had considered the best of the best. From the list, we called in a number of patio heaters we deemed worthy of being tested, and for the rest, we sourced product manuals for each unit, running them through rigorous analysis. After much trial and error, those 50-plus patio heaters were narrowed down to the 15 best.

    The Best Patio Heaters of 2022

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    Best Overall Patio Heater
    Frontgate Commercial Patio Heater

    • Safety features include tip-over protection
    • Mobile thanks to wheels
    • Parts can easily be replaced when they break

    • Only good for large outdoor spaces

    Some will certainly notice a few outdoor heaters that regularly top industry guides and Frontgate is one of them. For under $500, it's one of the best value patio heaters to stave off late-night summer chills or biting winter frost. It's easy to set up, and while not the most portable unit, it can be moved with minimal difficulty to provide optimal warming.

    Heat Output: 46,000 BTU

    Fuel Type: Uses standard 20 lb. liquid propane gas tank

    Dimensions: 33"W x 18"D x 89"H, 42 lbs.

    Area Coverage: 2,250 square feet

    Best Splurge Patio Heater
    SunFire 150 Radiant Heater

    • Incredibly warm
    • Shockingly quiet despite the size
    • Made in the US

    • Diesel fuel is bad for the environment
    • Doesn't look attractive
    • Difficult to transport

    For someone who's looking to heat up a massive space, the SunFire 150 Radiant Heater is the way to go, packing 150,000 BTUs. It comes fully assembled, with a heating coverage of up to 3,500 square feet. The product description mentions it "heats just like the sun," and for those extra cold nights, that's a huge plus.

    Heat Output: 150,000 BTU

    Fuel Type: Diesel or No. 2 fuel

    Dimensions: 29″W x 35″L x 41″H, 192 lbs.

    Area Coverage: 3,500 square feet

    Best Budget Patio Heater
    Dr. Heater Infrared DR-238
    Now 24% off

    • Good practically anywhere
    • Easily replaceable parts
    • Also suitable for indoor use

    • Temperature gauge can be inaccurate
    • Noisy
    • Small coverage area

    "Seems like a hell of a lot of heat for a little bit of money," Boodanian says. And he's not wrong. This infrared heater’s impressive heat output, lightweight design and overall versatility make it hard to pass up. If you're unsure which infrared patio heater to get, the price point makes this a great place to start. If not for Frontgate’s icon status, Dr. Heater was gunning for the top spot as best overall patio heater.

    Heat Output: 900, 1200 and 1500W

    Fuel Type: Electric

    Dimensions: 34.6"W x 3.33"D x 6.27"H, 6 lbs.

    Area Coverage: 150 square feet

    Best Natural Gas Patio Heater
    AZ Patio Heaters Tall Quartz Glass Tube Heater

    • Available in different finishes
    • Attractive design
    • Multiple attachments and upgrades are available(for a cost)

    • Assembly required; instructions are unclear
    • Radiant heat will only go so far
    • Once assembled, difficult to relocate

    Since 2002, AZ Patio Heaters has been manufacturing quality machines with sleek designs. The company emphasizes quality control, and in the unlikely event that something should go wrong with your unit, AZ Patio Heater’s stellar customer service record will certainly find a remedy that satisfies you.

    Heat Output: 40,000 BTU

    Fuel Type: Natural gas, but can be converted to standard 20 lb. liquid propane gas tank

    Dimensions: 19"W x 19"D x 89"H, 65 lbs.

    Area Coverage: 2,000 square feet

    Best Propane Patio Heater
    Bromic Heating BH0510001 Tungsten Smart-Heat Portable Heater

    • Combines fashion with function
    • Powerful, direct focus heat

    • Heavy
    • Expensive

    Almost every gas heater can be converted from natural gas to liquid propane, so we wanted to pick something that stood out. The Tungsten Core of the Bromic BH0510001 will put out clean, concentrated heat for years to come. The sleek design doesn’t make it too hard on the eyes, either.

    Heat Output: 39,800 BTU

    Fuel Type: Uses standard 20 lb. liquid propane gas tank

    Dimensions: 19"W x 27"D x 85"H, 125 lbs.

    Area Coverage: 1,800 square feet

    Best Radiant Electric Patio Heater
    Bromic Heating BH0320007 Platinum Smart-Heat Heater

    • Beautifully designed
    • Corrosion-proof outer material
    • Lightweight and small

    • Should be used in tandem with other units
    • Requires a professional to install

    “Minimalist — it’s nice," Boodanian says. "It’s not an eyesore. It won’t look like that big thing that they have at the restaurant." Infrared heaters like this one have changed the game. They are powerful reliable, and you rarely even notice them. Like the rest of Bromic’s products, The Platinum Smart line does its job well. Just don’t ask it to do more than that.

    Heat Output: 2,300W

    Fuel Type: Electric

    Dimensions: 7"W x 2"D x 33"H, 16.5 lbs.

    Area Coverage: 65 square feet

    Best Wood Pellet Patio Heater
    Lil' Timber Patio Heater

    • Emits zero smoke
    • Easy to move around
    • Radiates heat from top to bottom

    • Bad for areas prone to wildfires
    • Fuel itself can be bulky to handle and hard to get your hands on

    In a world full of old-timey stoves that look neat but don’t work, the Lil' Timber takes a different route. It combines a bold design with years-long reliability. Also, we should note that Lil Timber came in as the best mostly because it is most accessible. It's easy to turn on and off, and wood pellets are a low-carbon alternative fuel, especially compared to propane.

    Heat Output: 72,000 BTU

    Fuel Type: Wood pellet

    Dimensions: 20"W x 11"D x 84"H, 72 lbs.

    Area Coverage: 300 square feet

    Best Heater for Small Patios
    314 Display Portable Infrared Electric Patio Heater

    • Backed by an excellent warranty
    • Great customer service
    • Multiple heat settings
    • Whisper-quiet operation

    • Power cord is only five feet long

    The 314 Display Infrared Electric Patio Heater is sleek, safe and plugs into the outlet — it's actually perfect for my California home. Sitting around a table, playing poker with the guys on a brisk February night, the 314 Display warmed us from toes to nose, perfectly.

    Heat Output: 6,483 BTU

    Fuel Type: Electric

    Dimensions: 6.5"W x 16"D x 32.5"H, 17 lbs

    Area Coverage: 330 square feet

    Best Portable Patio Heater
    Mr. Heater Big Buddy

    • Virtually unbreakable
    • Excellent heat output for the price
    • Features tip-over protection

    • Lacks a fan

    Portable, rugged, powerful and compact don’t usually mix well — unless it's Mr. Heater's Big Buddy. The Big Buddy is the most underestimated outdoor heater out there. This machine reminds me of the Milwaukee brand construction radio, and the design screams, “I will not be defeated!” It has three heat settings, and it's easy to start up. Bring it anywhere you need a blast of heat — even indoors.

    Heat Output: 4,000, 9,000, or 18,000 BTU

    Fuel Type: Liquid propane

    Dimensions: 19"W x 12"D x 17"H, 42 lbs.

    Area Coverage: 450 square feet

    Best Tabletop Patio Heater
    Fire Sense Table Top Patio Heater
    Now 38% off

    • Built to last
    • Portable
    • Good in all weather conditions

    • Multiple complaints about the push start igniter

    Fire Sense’s Patio Heaters are a recognizable name brand for professionals and consumers alike regarding outdoor heating. New safety features have kicked up competition in a category of heaters that used to be uselessly dangerous. The stainless steel body is sleek, featuring a one-touch piezo igniter to get the fire going

    Heat Output: 10,000 BTU

    Fuel Type: 1 lb. propane cylinder

    Dimensions: 21"W x 13"D x 35"H, 17 lbs.

    Area Coverage: 500 square feet

    Best Patio Heater With a Table Top
    EnerG+ Outdoor Bistro Style Heater Table

    • Unique design
    • Discreet and effective
    • Safe, low maintenance and tough enough to leave outside

    • Pricier than most infrared electric heaters its size
    • Some assembly required

    Yes, you can eat off it. I'm not typically so obsessed with hiding away my appliances, but this has a fun minimalist vibe that is very agreeable to me. Taking advantage of the one rule of heat (it rises), the Ener-G+ is best on a team of other heating appliances or alone in more mild climates. I appreciate that so many models are taking time to keep our shins warm.

    Heat Output: 5,100 BTU

    Fuel Type: Electric

    Dimensions: 27.8"W x 27.5"D x 29.5"H, 45.8 lbs.

    Area Coverage: 60 square feet

    Best Pyramid Patio Heater
    Lava Heat Italia Capri-A-Line Patio Heater

    • Built to last
    • Exceptional heat distribution

    • Wheels cost extra
    • Natural gas means you should hire a professional

    The Capri-A-Line makes you stop and say, “Look at the fire show on that one!” The spinning flame at the center of this industry-leading model will razzle-dazzle them. Unique among other outdoor heating manufacturers, Lava Heat Italia is one of the only companies with its own retail store. Its stand is made of solid steel, for stability while optional steel casters add mobility if you need it. The unit emits 360 degrees of infrared heat with a massive heat distribution.

    Heat Output: 42,000 BTU

    Fuel Type: Natural gas, but optional liquid propane tank attachments available

    Dimensions: 24.80"W x 24.80"D x 89"H, 70.90 lbs.

    Area Coverage: 36 square feet

    Best Weather-Resistant Patio Heater
    Big Timber Elite

    • Practically indestructible
    • Emits no smoke
    • Stainless steel cage keeps kids and pets safe
    • Adaptive temperature control

    • Incredibly heavy
    • Not good for those who live in areas prone to wild fires

    If patio heaters had a collectors market, Big Timber Stoves would, without a doubt, be top of the list when it comes to manufacturers they STAN. Artisans make every product on their line, and they quite literally never stop working. No surprise seeing as these products come from a company that saw its entire facility burned down less than a year ago, but has yet to be matched by the competition.

    Heat Output: 90,000 BTU

    Fuel Type: Wood pellet

    Dimensions: 20"W x 11"D x 84"H, 120 lbs.

    Area Coverage: 450 square feet

    Best Discreet Patio Heater
    Bromic BH0820001 Eclipse Smart Heat

    • Disguised as a lamp
    • Mobile despite its shape
    • Described as providing heat like wearing an invisible blanket

    • Expensive
    • Requires professional installation

    If you haven't realized it yet, Bromic does not play around. Throughout the company's entire catalog, you will find beautiful, intricate and thoughtfully and artistically designed furniture and appliances. These pieces come with equally notable, high marks in efficiency and functionality.

    Heat Output: 3,300W

    Fuel Type: Electric

    Dimensions: 90"W x 24"D x x98"H, 320 lbs.

    Area Coverage: 144 square feet

    Best Designed Patio Heater
    Galanter and Jones Helios Metreo

    This is, in fact, an outdoor chair. And it does, in fact, keep you warm. This two-seater (also available as a single chair or a lounge chair) radiates heat to keep you warm. The brand compares its Helios line of seating as a "warm river stone in the sun or a hot tub without water." The temperature can be adjust between 80 and 120 degrees Fahrenheit, and there's a discreet brass drain to prevent water from pooling in your seat.

    Heat Output: 1,250W

    Fuel Type: Electric

    Dimensions: 75"W x 33"D x 30"H, 200 lbs.

    Area Coverage: 60 square feet

    The Best Outdoor Furniture Brands for Your Patio, Balcony or Backyard
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    From Ikea to Herman Miller, this is your survey of the best outdoor and patio furniture at every price point.

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