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Best Patio Heaters in 2020 – Reviewed

When people are designing their outdoor spaces, one of the things that they often overlook is adding a source of heat to the patio. And that’s a shame because it limits the amount of time being spent on the patio to only the times when temperatures are warm enough. Anyone looking to extend the usefulness of their patio is probably going to want to purchase the best patio heater that they can afford.

Patio heaters aren’t just useful for home patios, however. Restaurants and bars can also use these little heaters to allow their customers to enjoy outdoor spaces and do it while ensuring that they remain comfortable. And because these heaters come in a variety of different styles, there’s a heating option for just about anyone.

Quick Summary of Best Patio Heaters

 Best Overall 
Pamapic 46,000 BTU Commercial Umbrella Outdoor Heater  (review)
 Best Electric Heater 
Dr. Infrared 1,500-Watt Indoor/Outdoor Heater  (review)
 Best Pyramid Patio Heater 
Thermo Tiki Outdoor LP Gas Deck Heater  (review)
 Best Hanging Patio Heater 
Trustech Ceiling Mounted Electric Heater  (review)

Reviews

Best Overall: Pamapic 46,000 BTU Commercial Umbrella Outdoor Heater

When it comes to delivering toasty warm heat to an outdoor space, nothing does the job better than a propane outdoor umbrella heater. This patio heater stands 88-inches tall and has a 32-inch diameter reflective cover that can produce a comfortable temperature level in an 18-foot diameter from the heater. It can do this thanks to 46,000 BTU of steady heat that can warm the bones during cold weather conditions. And while this unit heats, it also doesn’t dry out the air but instead releases water vapor as it burns propane. Adding moisture to the air as it burns is especially helpful for ensuring that guests on the patio don’t suffer from dry sinuses due to breathing too dry air.

While some of the heaters that are marketed as outdoor heaters seem like they’d be better used indoors, this model is a patio heater. It’s made using 304 stainless steel and it comes with a patio heater cover that’s designed to protect it against rain, sleet, and snow when it’s not in use. This model is also equipped with wheels so it can easily be moved from one end of the patio to the next as needed for heat. Although this model does cost a little more than some other patio heater models, we do feel that it’s the one that’s best suited for the job of keeping patio guests nice and warm.

PROS:

  • This can heat an 18-foot diameter area.
  • It’s easy to move into place.
  • It’s extremely durable.
CONS:

  • None.

Best Electric Heater: Dr. Infrared 1,500-Watt Indoor/Outdoor Heater

Not everyone is looking to use a standing propane heater for their patio, so we thought that we’d also show our readers this electric model. This model is approximately 35-inches by 8-inches by 4-inches and is designed to be mounted to either a wall or a ceiling, and it comes with hardware that makes that installation a lot easier. It also delivers a clean infrared heat that can be set to one of three different settings: 900-watt, 1200-watt, and 1500-watt. And because it can broadcast heat at a wide-angle, it can heat a larger space than comparable space heaters can.

This heater is weather-resistant up to IPX4—which means that it’s resistant to water splashes from any direction but isn’t protected against higher pressure or sustained jets of water. This simply means that the unit can’t be exposed to direct rain, but can handle some moisture and condensation. That makes it a good choice for mounting to the ceiling of a covered patio area to warm up guests. Consumers can also purchase a tripod for this device (sold separately, of course) and install it on a tripod for even more heating options. All things considered, this is one of the best outdoor electric heaters we’ve seen in quite some time. It’s definitely one that’s capable of keeping people warm while they enjoy their patio space.

PROS:

  • Has 3 distinct heat settings.
  • It’s made specifically for outdoor use.
  • It comes with ceiling and wall mounting hardware.
CONS:

  • The consumer will have to mount it.

Best Pyramid Patio Heater: Thermo Tiki Outdoor LP Gas Deck Heater

This pyramid-shaped heater stands 7’6″ tall and not only delivers an exquisite amount of heat but also provides outdoor areas with a little ambiance as well. It’s capable of providing heat and gentle light thanks to its ceramic glass heating column. This column uses the flame to cast light even as its heat produces a field of warmth over a 15-foot diameter area. This product is true-rated to provide 38,000 BTU of heat, which is more than sufficient for small outdoor spaces such as a patio. It also should be mentioned that this unit also wheels so it’s easy for the consumer to move it into place.

We’d also like to note that this model is also equipped with some safety features that help protect the user from accidents. One of the biggest safety features in this unit is a tip-over shutoff feature that will shut off the heater. There is also a protective mesh surrounding the ceramic-glass heating column as well. And to make it easier to start, this unit also has a pilot light for quick startups. Even though this model is a little more expensive than what we would’ve liked from one of these heaters, we still feel that it’s a good choice for anyone looking to add heat and style to their outdoor spaces.

PROS:

  • It has a 38,000 BTU output.
  • It provides a pleasing ambiance.
  • It’s built with several different safety features.
CONS:

  • It costs more than comparable patio heater models.

Best Hanging Patio Heater: Trustech Ceiling Mounted Electric Heater

This electric heater is designed to be mounted from a ceiling and can be used for either indoor or outdoor use. It measures approximately 17.7-inches by 17.7-inches by 11.8-inches and weighs a little under 4-pounds, so it’s easy for just about anyone to hang. It also comes with an 8.2-inch adjustable chain that gives the consumer some options as far as installation goes. Another thing that we liked about this model was that it’s made out of steel and is water-resistant, so it can be safely used in outdoor spaces so long as it isn’t directly exposed to water. And because this is a hanging heater with a 1,500-watt element, this unit can cast heat over a larger area than some other types of space heaters.

Another thing that we liked about this patio heater was that it didn’t use a flame or burn oxygen in any way, so it’s a lot safer than open-flame heaters. It also operates without producing kicking up dust because it doesn’t contain a fan in it. And because it doesn’t use a flame, the consumer doesn’t have to worry about having to store propane tanks to use it. This 1,500-watt heater has an estimated lifespan of 6,000 hours as well, so consumers can rest assured that it’s going to last them quite a while.

PROS:

  • This model heats up quickly.
  • It provides a decent amount of heat.
  • It has a 6,000-hour lifespan.
CONS:

  • It costs more than other types of electric heaters.
  • It has to be mounted.

A Guide To Patio Heaters

As time goes by, we think that more and more people are going to turn to outdoor patio heaters. These heaters have shown themselves to be extremely valuable during the COVID pandemic—with many restaurants having to find a way to serve their customers and to keep them socially distant as well. However, we must reiterate that these heaters aren’t just suitable for businesses, but can quite easily be used by homeowners as well or anyone else who needs to heat an outdoor area.

Regardless of whether you’re heating your home patio or a restaurant’s patio, it’s important to choose the right heater for the job. These heaters come in a variety of different styles, so consumers need to do their homework before they purchase one. To help our readers find the heaters that are right for them, we’ve decided to write this guide on the subject. We hope that it will help all of our readers choose the best patio heater for their outdoor spaces and their circumstances. 

Step One: Choose A Fuel Source

One of the first things that consumers are going to want to decide on is the fuel source they intend on using for their heater. These heaters can be powered by electricity, by natural gas, or by propane, so deciding on which type of heater they’d prefer to use is a good first step. Below are the three fuel options for heaters.

Electric Patio Heaters

Of all of the heaters on the market, electric heaters are the most energy-efficient. Even though the electric space heaters of the past wasted just as much electricity as they produced heat, modern electric patio heaters maintain over 96% energy-efficiency. These heaters are not only energy-efficient, but they’re also easy to install—with some models merely needing to be plugged in. However, if the heater operates in a range above 1,500-watts, then the consumer is probably going to have to have an electrician install it. 

Natural Gas Patio Heaters

Another type of heater, and one suitable to homes that already have natural gas piped into their home, is natural gas. This is a good choice for heaters that are going to be permanently installed, won’t ever need to be moved, and is close to a natural gas line. These heaters will need to be installed by a professional plumber to ensure safe installation and are suitable for commercial locations where it would be difficult to have to change out propane tanks. 

Propane Gas Patio Heaters

Propane patio heaters are another option that consumers might want to think about. These heaters use 20-pound propane tanks to provide the heat that the unit produces. This is a good option for people who don’t use their patio heaters a whole lot. If the consumer wants to install this unit to their home’s bulk propane tank, they should hire a professional to do the installation. 

Step Two: Patio Heater Mounting Options

The next step to choosing a quality patio heater is deciding how it’s going to be installed. Some models are ceiling mounted, some are wall-mounted, and some are freestanding. In our experience, we’ve found some of the freestanding models to be the best heating option for patios because they provide heat for an area of 15-18 feet diameter for the heater. And because the heat doesn’t have to move too far downwards, more heat reaches the people who need it. 

Another option that’s becoming increasingly popular for restaurants is a tabletop patio heater. As the name suggests, these heaters go right in the middle of a table to provide heat just for that table. These models use 1-pound tanks and are suitable for smaller areas. If there are a lot of tables that need to be heated, however, it’s probably best to go with a standing unit than with these tabletop models. 

Step Three: Think About Heater Price

It’s also a good idea for our readers to think about their budget and how much they want to spend on one of these heaters. There are inexpensive patio heaters as inexpensive as $100 and others that are well over $500. Choose the one with the features you want and the price tag you want to pay. 

Step Four: Consider Additional Features

Now we’ve arrived at the part of the guide where we discuss some of the other features that our readers might want to think about before purchasing their next patio heater. The following list is meant to give our readers some things to think about as they’re buying their next patio heater, so they can make the best choice possible. 

  • Added Mounting Hardware
  • Number Of Heat Settings
  • Number & Variety Of Safety Systems
  • Wheels And/Or Casters

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