When the temperatures drop and the sun sets, the backyard can become less appealing. However, with electric patio heaters, the fun doesn’t have to end. These heaters are easy to use and require only an outlet to warm up your outdoor space quickly. With a range of products available, including hanging lanterns and under-table lamps, you can choose the perfect heater for your needs. Our research focused on factors such as heat output, maneuverability, and user-friendliness to bring you the top seven electric patio heaters. Remember to keep your own patio space and preferences in mind as you make your selection, as you don’t want to end up with a tabletop lantern if your goal is to play card games with friends! Stay cozy outside with these great electric patio heaters.
Trustech Patio Heater
The Trustech patio heater has been rated as the best overall due to its versatility, being suitable for both indoor and outdoor use. It can effectively heat larger areas, keeping you and your guests warm on chilly nights. Its energy-efficient methods ensure precision heat distribution, without wasting air. The gold-coated carbon fiber tubes make it suitable for use in enclosed patios. With three heating settings, it can quickly heat up a room. Safety features include a 24-hour shut-off timer for automatic power-down and an automatic overheat shut-off. The Trustech Patio Heater measures 7.34”D x 13.38”W x 35.92”H and weighs 11.02 pounds, with a heat output of 1500 Watts. Its remote control and easy assembly make it a convenient choice. A possible downside is that it may not have the same durability as other higher-priced heaters, as it appears to be made of lower-quality materials.
AZ Patio Heaters HLDS01-GTxx
Our preferred propane heater design is the glass-tube (or pyramid-style) heater, which includes the AZ Patio Heaters HLDS01-GTxx. It produces 40,000 BTUs of heat, less than our top pick’s 48,000 BTUs, but uses a vertical glass tube to contain the heat source, providing an even warmth when sitting or standing. Additionally, it is aesthetically pleasing to watch the flame flicker within the tube. The HLDS01-GTxx has similar features to the mushroom-topped HLDS01-WCGT, including wide distribution and reliable customer service from AZ Patio Heaters. The East Oak EO-PH22006 is an alternative model with comparable reliable customer service, albeit at a higher cost.
In evaluating electric patio heaters, we found that while not as powerful as propane heaters, their infrared elements provide a pleasant warming experience. Most electric patio heaters produce 1,500 watts (equivalent to 5,100 BTUs), and while similar despite branding, some models stand out. The East Oak SPH22002 distributes heat horizontally and can be mounted on a pole or wall. It also functions as an outdoor lamp and includes a remote control. The EnerG+ HEA-21821SH-T is pole-mounted with a canopy that deflects heat downward, requiring closer proximity for warmth. The telescoping base allows for flexibility. The Westinghouse WES31-15110 is ground-mounted and emits heat in a vertical column, making it particularly effective for sitting.
Heater Little Buddy Propane Heater
Intended for camping, hunting, and fishing trips as well as RV use, this product delivers an output of 3,800 BTUs and is fueled by a one-pound propane cylinder. For individuals or couples seeking warmth during winter outdoor activities, the miniature version of this product, known as the Little Buddy, is recommended. Standing at only one foot tall, it features an adjustable heating element to direct warmth to specific areas and can run for just over five hours with a one-pound propane tank. During an eight-month van-life expedition, the Little Buddy proved to be reliable for frosty nights in the desert, while also being easy to use and store. Suitable for gatherings of up to three people, it includes a low-oxygen sensor and accident tip-over switch, much like its larger counterpart.
Dr Infrared Heater DR-238 Carbon Infrared Heater
If you’re looking for a cozy heating option in your enclosed patio or three-season room, consider the Dr Infrared Heater. This electric heater emits up to 1,500 watts of infrared heat and can be mounted on a wall or ceiling, thanks to its lightweight design at just 8 pounds and compact size of 35 inches long and 8 inches tall. The heater is programmable and comes with a remote control, and its automatic overheating shutoff ensures safety during use.
While the Dr Infrared Heater is designed for outdoor use, it must be in a sheltered location to prevent contact with precipitation. It requires a standard 120-volt household outlet for power, and an extension cord may be necessary for portability. Assembly is minimal, but the tripod stand legs feel flimsy, and sandbags are needed to secure the base.
– BTU Rating: 5,115
– Dimensions: 35 x 8 x 4 inches
– Best Use: Seated or standing
– Lightweight and compact design with adjustable base height
– Easy to set up and store
– No need to purchase gas and plugs into any electric outlet
– Convenient remote control operation
– Not suitable for use in damp weather
– Requires a power outlet and extension cord for portability
– Base needs sandbags to secure it.
Fire Sense 61445 Natural Gas Patio Heater
– Simple and easy to start and adjust
– Efficient and powerful heating
– Stylish and modern design
– Top-heavy, but comes with a tip-over protection feature
– Requires the addition of a natural gas source, which can be challenging and expensive
If you’re looking for a patio heater that offers continuous heat, the Fire Sense 61445 is a great option. It operates on natural gas and can be started with a single button. The heat output can be adjusted using a knob, and it’s capable of creating significant warmth for outdoor gatherings. Additionally, the sleek design is relatively minimalist and doesn’t add a lot of bulk.
However, the gas-line hookup can pose challenges. It adds 15 inches to the heater’s height, making it a taller piece of equipment. Installing the gas source can be costly, and it may require professional assistance. Moreover, adding natural gas to your utility bill is an extra expense to consider.
At the time of this article’s publishing, the Fire Sense 61445 costs $264. Its dimensions are 12 x 33 x 91 inches, and it’s constructed from stainless steel. The heater generates 45,000 BTUs and can heat an area of roughly 120 square feet.
How to Shop for Patio Heaters Like a Pro
Considerations for Choosing the Right Patio Heater
When selecting a patio heater, it’s important to assess the size of the outdoor area you want to heat. For smaller spaces, a compact patio heater is an ideal choice, while larger areas require standard patio heaters, multiple units, or mounted options. To determine the appropriate output for your space, multiply the square footage by 20 to determine the necessary BTUs.
Electric patio heaters emit less warmth than propane heaters, but are more environmentally friendly, require less maintenance and emit no harmful fumes. Propane heaters emit more heat, but require replacement of pellets or fuel, and are less sustainable. Proper storage for propane cylinders is essential for safety.
Consumer safety should be the top priority when selecting a patio heater. Choose certified and tested products from reputable brands and retailers. Ground fault circuit interrupters should be installed when electrical cords may come into contact with water, and heaters should never be left unattended, especially around pets.
- Is a propane heater or an electric heater cheaper to run?
- “In my experience, electric (infrared and halogen) heaters cost less to run,” says De’Von Dixon, a contractor in Atlanta. “But it is completely dependent on utility costs in your area and the voltage required for the individual unit. Purchase prices of electric heaters are usually lower than propane, but it varies unit by unit.”
- Which is more efficient, propane or electric?
- According to Dixon, you can find efficient versions of both propane and electric heaters: “Propane heaters tend to have larger heat outputs, but both propane and electric can suffice in heating your patio.”
- Can you use a patio heater in a garage or under a covered patio?
- It’s important to consider safety, including fire risk and adequate ventilation, when choosing where to set up your heater, according to Dixon. “Electric heaters can be used in a garage or under a covered patio. Propane heaters should only be used in places with adequate ventilation to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning. All heaters should be placed away from flammable materials,” he says.
- What safety features should readers look for when purchasing a heater?
- Modern patio heaters have a range of features to keep you safe and warm. “Good safety features to check for when purchasing a patio heater are an anti-tilt base, auto safety shut-offs, no naked flames, and a CSA safety rating,” says Dixon.