How to Choose the Best Patio Heater for Your Space
The evening temperatures are starting to drop enough that there can be a chill in the air, which can be a bit uncomfortable, especially if you’re still wearing the shorts and summer top you wore during the day. If you want to prolong your time outside, a patio heater might be just the thing. For our purposes, we are going to discuss portable patio heaters that you can position where you need them.
If you’ve ever eaten outside at a restaurant in the fall or winter, chances are good that an outdoor patio heater helped keep you comfortable. Bringing the same feature to your own patio allows you and your family and guests to enjoy outdoor gatherings without shivering.
How to choose the best option for you requires learning about the types of heaters, the fuel used to power them, and the best brands in the industry.
Let’s get started.
Types of Portable Patio Heaters
While there is such a thing as a fixed patio heater that you hook into your natural gas line or electric wiring, we’re going to focus on portable patio heaters because of their affordability and convenience. There are two main styles – free-standing and tabletop. Then within those styles, you can choose from electric or propane-powered.
Electric Patio Heater
An electric patio heater is eco-friendly and can be used in covered and enclosed spaces, such as an outdoor dining room under a pavilion. Most require a special 240-volt outlet like the outlet behind your stove or clothes dryer.
While they’re technically portable, since they plugin, you have to keep it within the cord distance from the outlet. And depending on your electric costs, an electric heater can be quite expensive if you use it a lot.
Propane Patio Heater
We think a propane patio heater is the best solution for most families. They’re easy to set up and operate, much like operating your gas grill. They are also highly portable, with attached wheels that allow you to move them from place to place.
If you opt for propane, you will want to have at least one replacement tank so if the propane runs out, you can quickly attach another tank. The main thing to know about a propane patio heater is you can only use them in open spaces – not under a pergola or pavilion.
Before purchasing a patio heater of any type, you’ll want to figure out how much heat you actually need. Most brand websites will have a BTU calculator to help you. You’ll measure length, width, height, and desired temperature rise. Most patio heaters can heat up to 100 square feet, with some of the smaller ones heating a smaller space.
Top Patio Heater Brands
Check reviews, and you’ll see several brand names come up repeatedly. These companies have designed portable patio heaters that get the job done, most at affordable pricing. Keep in mind that stock may be running low because everyone else has the same idea right now.
Patio heater brands to consider include:
- Hampton Bay
- Hiland/AZ Patio Heaters
- Fire Sense
There are other store brands and generic heaters that cost less. Remember to read the reviews and go for the one with the most 4–5-star reviews that fit your budget.
Pro Tip: Even if you don’t plan on purchasing an outdoor heater on Amazon, read the reviews of the ones you are considering before buying.
Once you make a purchase, enjoy! Fall is a great time to enjoy the outdoors.
Dream It. Build It. Live It.
If you’re interested in adding a more permanent patio heating solution such as a fire pit or outdoor fireplace, we can help. We also schedule other outdoor living projects well into the fall and even winter, depending on the weather here in the Capital Region.
To set up a consultation, fill out the contact form or call us at 301.720.1000.