In our search for the best patio heater, we tested 10 different models for over 40 hours, and our choice is Bellezza Premium Patio Heater, which proved to be most efficient and had the best performance.
Bellezza Premium Patio Heater is the best option if you want an affordable patio heater with a powerful performance. 48,000 BTU power and 15 foot diameter heat range make it perfect for colder weather, but with a heat control knob, you can easily adjust the temperature and enjoy warm patio on a cool summer night, too. With a safety tilt shut off valve, you won’t have to worry about any mishaps, and beautiful design available in 4 different finishes makes this heater a perfect addition to any patio.
Our step-up pick, the Lava Heat Italia Commercial Grade Lava Lite KD is well worth its price. The 56,000 BTU power leaves little to be desired, and makes it perfect for colder climates, and the beautiful stylish design improves the atmosphere in your garden or patio. It’ impressive BTU power doesn’t mean it’s only for winter months-variable heat control will help you adjust the temperature so you can enjoy it all year long.
Reliable and budget friendly, the Palm Springs Patio Heater with 41,000 BTU power can easily heat up 6 – 7 feet radius. It’s not as strong as our two previous picks, but it’s a good choice for heating your patio in temperatures that are not below 50 degrees.
What are the advantages of using a patio heater?
The reason why patio heaters are gain more and more popularity over the years is that they give you the possibility to use and enjoy your patio or deck even during the winter months. Many people love to spend time outdoors, or to entertain their guests on their patio or docks, and a good patio heater will allow to fully enjoy outdoor activities in cold weather. Not only that a patio heater will keep you and your guests warm, it will also give a certain ambiance and style to your patio. A beautifully designed patio heater placed on the deck could actually increase the value of your home, according to Forbes, due to the fact it makes it possible to enjoy the outdoor areas of the house all year long.
Whether you just like to relax on your dock, organize outdoor diners for your friends or don’t want to give up barbequing during winter, patio heater can help you create perfect conditions for your outdoor activities, even in cold weather, and to get more use out of your outdoor space.
Types of patio heaters
There are three types of patio heaters, and even though there are hundreds of different models, they are all categorized to:
• Tabletop patio heaters. These are the smallest patio heaters on the market, and, as the name suggests, they are designed to be placed on top of the table. Their main advantage is that they are lightweight and small, so they actually look really nice when you place them on the table, but they are not useful if you want to heat up larger space. Tabletop patio heaters are mainly used for small places, like balconies.
• Free-standing patio heaters. This type of patio heater is the most popular one, since it offers both mobility and high performance. More expensive and bigger than tabletop patio heaters, they also offer a lot more, and can heat up larger spaces. Even though they are not for small spaces, due to their size, they are easily movable due to set of wheels on the bottom, and can look quite stunning on your porch or patio.
• Wall-mounted patio heaters. These patio heaters are designed to save as much room as possible, without sacrificing the heating power. However, they are not as heavy-duty as free-standing patio heaters, so they are often choice for partially enclosed outdoor spaces or garages, both because of their safety and insufficient temperature for outdoor heating.
But, even when you choose a type of the patio heater that suits your needs the most, you’ll still have to choose which power source is the most convenient for you. Patio heaters can use the following power sources:
• Propane. This the most common power source for patio heaters, due to the fact it’s really easy to use, since it’s easily available and simple to replace, and because it allows the mobility of the patio heater. However, the price of propane tanks is the possible downside on the long run.
• Natural gas. Although it cheaper to maintain, or more precisely, to refill, it doesn’t necessarily mean that this power supply is cheaper altogether. Patio heaters that use natural gas often need professional installation and maintenance, which makes them more expensive than propane patio heaters.
• Electricity. Electrical patio heaters are essentially chosen in cases where people want to install them in an enclosed space, since there’s no risk of harmful gas emissions. But, not only they are not as mobile, they are also much more expensive, and when you compare the costs of electricity bills and propane gas tanks, you won’t be saving money.
Whatever type of patio heater and its power supply you choose, you’ll have to consider a number of different factors that could further help you make the decision, like the size of the space you want to keep warm, or ease of use.
Are patio heaters safe to use?
Yes, patio heaters are perfectly safe to use as long as you follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
Most of the user’s concerns are based on the possibility of Carbon Monoxide poisoning if they use a propane patio heater, but, according to USC Fire Safety and Emergency Planning safety recommendations, if you are using your propane patio heater in outdoor areas, as the manufacturer requires, chances of any mishap are highly unlikely.
An article published in New York Times also highlights the importance of proper use of patio heaters, and advises users to always choose models with added safety features, that will improve overall safety and eliminate chances for any unpleasant events.
When it comes to electrical patio heaters, main concern is that faulty parts could cause a fire, but it’s really a possibility that comes with every electrical device we install in our homes. Thorough check and buying from reliable sellers will keep your mind at ease and ensure your electrical patio heater is safe to use.
To conclude, you should always use your patio heater as the manufacturer specified, and choose trusted, reliable shops, to minimize the potential risks, and enjoy your patio heater without any stress.
How we tested
Even though testing we conducted took over 40 hours, we tested over a period of couple months, to try and get most accurate results how patio heaters perform during different seasons. We tested 10 different models and came up with a list of characteristics essential for a patio heater that would be best for most people.
First, we considered size and output that would accommodate most people. For example, we wanted to find a patio heater that would have enough BTU power to be used during the winter, since our research indicated that most users complain that patio heaters can only be used for cool summer nights, but anything colder than that, posed a challenge. So, high BTU score was a must if a patio heater was intended for year-round use.
Second, we considered the price. A good patio heater doesn’t have to have a high price tag, but we wanted to make sure we’ll find an affordable one for most people, that has a high performance despite of its price.
Third, we wanted it to have a versatile, modern design. Patio heaters aren’t only a convenient device that will allow you to use your outdoor space throughout all the seasons, they can also beautify your deck or patio and make your activities even more enjoyable.
Another important factor were additional features, such as safety precautions and ease of use functions. A patio heater with safety valve and easy ignition system is much more appealing to use and offers more possibilities than the one without, and we welcomed any feature that provedto be useful and practical.
And in the end, we came to a decision that the title of our top pick should be reserved for a patio heater that is affordable, has high-performance, looks good and offers more than just basic functions to user.
Our pick: Bellezza Premium Patio Heater
Bellezza Premium Patio Heater
This patio heater will allow you to take full advantage of your favorite outdoor space- whether it’s a gazebo, a cozy spot in the garden, patio or wooden deck. When you’re looking for a patio heater that will be equally useful to keep away the chills in the summer evenings and keep you warm in the winter too, the Bellezza Premium Patio Heater is the perfect choice.
With a 48,000 BTU heat output this patio heater is a reliable source of warmth even when the temperatures start to drop, and thanks to heat control knob, you can easily maneuver between temperature settings, and adjust it to radiate just the perfect amount of warmth for your current weather conditions. We absolutely loved how this patio heater is easy to use. Thanks to modern one-step Piezo ignition system, a push of the button is all that it takes to start the heater and enjoy. It has a 15-foot diameter heat range, which is more than enough to cover most patios and decks, and to ensure you can entertain guests and enjoy dinner parties without fearing your heater won’t cover the whole area. We tried it out on the low setting and it was perfect for June nights, just enough to make temperature more pleasant and our outdoor stay more convenient, and on the high settings in the November, and we were really surprised just how well it performed. In both cases, it made the temperature just perfect, even though the weather conditions weren’t similar, so it’s definitely a patio heater that will be well used throughout the whole year. It fits a 20 gallon tank which can last you around 10 hours of continuous use, depending on the temperature setting.
Its height is around 85”, so it looked absolutely stunning on the deck, and it’s simple yet beautiful design goes very well with different garden furniture styles. To ensure Belleza Premium Patio heater will match your deck’s or patio’s style perfectly, you can choose between 4 different finishes- Hammer Bronze, Hammer Black, Mocha and Stainless Steel. Regardless of the finish you choose for yourself, you can rest assured that the quality is top notch. This patio heater is made out of steel, and it’s quite sturdy and well equipped to withstand different weather conditions.
Even though it’s quite tall and heavy, you can easily move it around, since it has wheels on the bottom, so you won’t have to limit its use to only one place. We loved that Bellezza managed to create a sturdy and durable patio heater, which can pull off heavy-duty heating, without compromising the sophisticated design.
You won’t have to worry about safety when it comes to this patio heater, since it has the latest security feature- its anti-tilt automatic shut off function turns off the patio heater immediately, as soon as it tilts to 30 degrees. To ensure there’s a low chance for tilting, Bellezza also has a weight bladder, which you can fill with water or sand for additional stability, but, unless you are using it in really windy conditions, or you’re afraid that your kids or pets will tilt it, there’s no need to use this feature.
Considering that Bellezza Premium Patio Heater offers a lot of useful features and performance that is by far the best in its class, all the while keeping the price affordable.
Flaws but not dealbreakers
As most patio heaters which are not commercial grade ones, you won’t be able to count on full heat output in really cold weather. For example, if you plan on using this patio heater in January, with temperatures below 45 degrees, it won’t cover 15 foot radius, and you won’t feel as comfortable as you would in late autumn. However, it’s not a fault of this particular patio heater per se, it’s just that most of patio heaters for personal use aren’t built with really cold climates in mind. Most users tend to see this as a fault, since they don’t count on reduced coverage in the really cold weather, but as long as you have realistic expectations concerning harsh winters, or plan combining a pair of patio heaters, you won’t be disappointed with Bellezza Premium patio Heater’s performance.
The step-up pick: The Lava Heat Italia Commercial Grade Lava Lite KD
The Lava Heat Italia Commercial Grade Lava Lite KD
This patio heater is truly worth the extra money. Its 56,000 BTU heat output will be able to keep you warm even during low temperatures in the winter, and its 20 feet heat range will cover even bigger patios or other outdoor areas. If you are buying a patio hater that you can comfortably use even when the temperature starts dropping really low, you won’t be able to find a better patio heater in this price range.
It has easy electronic start ignition, which makes it really easy to start this heater, and just after a minute or two, you can already start feeling the difference it makes. You can adjust temperature to your liking with a simple knob, so it won’t be complicated to adjust the desired heat level in no time.
Its design is really first-class, and since its commercial grade, it’s created so its design as well as performance make it suitable for use in restaurants, cafes and similar establishments, so there’s no doubt you’ll be buying a patio heater of great quality. Lava Heat used heavy-duty stainless steel for the main frame, with borosilicate extreme heat resistant glass for the central part, which not only allows 360-degree distribution of heat, it also makes for a stunning visual effect. You’ll be able to set the ambiance and make your outdoor area feel even cozier with a safe view of the flame.
You can use this patio heater with a 20lb or 40 lb gas tank, and enjoy from 10-20 hours of heat, but, what really makes Lava Lite KD stand out is that it comes with a natural gas attachment, so you can use it not only with propane gas, but with natural gas, too.
This is a heavy duty-patio heater which is quite large and heavy, so you won’t have to be afraid of it being unstable and tilting over, but in case it does happen, you’re secured with an auto-shut off function if the patio heater tilts, so there’s no risk of accidents.
It really is a patio heater that’s worth investing into, especially if you want to use your outdoor space during the winter. It will look stylish and perform as well as other, more expensive, commercial grade patio heaters, and allow you to fully use your favorite place in the yard, no matter how cold it gets.
The budget pick: Palm Springs Patio Heater
Palm Springs Patio Heater
If you’re on a tight budget, but still want to make most out of your patio or deck in colder weather, the Palm Springs Patio Heater is a reliable choice for more moderate needs. It has a heat output of 41,000 BTUs and it covers about 6-7 feet, so it’s not quite suitable to use when it gets really cold- unless you don’t mind sitting close to it. However, if you don’t have a large patio or deck you want to keep warm throughout the year, you might find this patio heater is the right option for you. You might not be able to have a big party on Christmas Eve on your deck, but, not all people buy patio heater with intention to use it for big outdoor gatherings or for larger outdoor areas, so you might not think of this as a deal breaker.
It’s really easy to operate, due to Piazzo ignition system, so you don’t have to worry about any complicated settings you’ll need to learn, since a push of the button will start the heater up. When it comes to power source, you’ll be able to use standard 20lb propane gas tank with this patio heater, and since it has a lower heat output, it can last you around 12 hours in moderately cold conditions.
Palm Springs Patio Heater has a design that is quite similar to our top pick, but it’s not as sturdy and durable, although it still looks good and is solidly built. Even though it’s not as heavy as our other picks, it comes with three anchors attached at the bottom that will allow you to fasten this patio heater to the surface below, in case you’re afraid that strong wind will impact its stability. It also has a safety feature which will turn the heater off in case it tilts, so you won’t have to worry that you’re risking your safety wit this budget buy.
Best Patio Heater for Screened Porch
If your favorite outdoor area is your porch, you won’t be able to use classic, propane gas patio heaters to keep it warm in cold weather, but the Versonel VSLWMH100 is perfectly safe to use in enclosed spaces, and it has a great performance, too. It’s an electric patio heater that you can mount on the wall or ceiling, so you won’t have to sacrifice the use of your screened porch during winter. With a 1500W power it has a heat output just a little over 5,000 BTU, but, for screened porches, it’s just enough to keep you warm and comfortable all year round. With a Infrared Quartz Radiant heater it mimics the healthy sun rays, so it easily warms up the space and allows you to make most of your screened porch.
It has a 6 feet cord, and it is easily mounted because of practical brackets that come with it, so the hardest thing you’ll need to do is to pick a perfect spot.
Best Tabletop Patio Heater
Endless Summer New Orleans
If you’re looking for a tabletop patio heater, the Endless Summer New Orleans has a great performance and by far the most beautiful design. It looks like an antique lamp and it will make a great addition to your outdoor dining place.
Heat output of this unique patio heater is 4095 BTUs and it can easily cover large dining tables, so you can enjoy warmth during summer nights. It uses a halogen heating element with a 1200-watt power, so you won’t have to worry about gas emissions at your table, and because it uses electric power source, you can safely use it in the inside too, like on your balcony or enclosed porch. In case you happen to tilt this patio heater, it has an automatic switch off feature that activates when this patio heater tilts, which prevents any potential accidents.
Best Patio Heater for Gazebo
Ener-G+ Indoor/Outdoor Ceiling Electric Patio Heater
Using a patio heater in your gazebo might be tricky if you don’t have enough space, but with the Ener-G+ Indoor/Outdoor Ceiling Electric Patio Heater you won’t have to sacrifice space in order to enjoy your gazebo throughout the year. In addition to its infrared heating element, this ceiling patio heater has a set of bright LED lights for nighttime use. It’s easily mounted on the ceiling with 24” chains that come with it, and when you fasten it, you’ll be able to control it with a remote, which covers both temperature settings and LED light controls. This patio heater runs on three levels of electric power- 700W, 800W and 1,500 watts, and even though the manufacturer didn’t specify the heat output, it definitely isn’t meant to warm up larger spaces, so if you have a small or medium sized gazebo, this will work great for you.
Best Patio Heater for Windy Areas
Bromic Heating Tungsten 500
In case you live in a particularly windy area, Bromic Heating Tungsten 500 is the best patio heater that will keep your patio warm regardless of the wind. In case you don’t have to space to combine to or more propane gas heaters to ensure you’ll get the most heat out of them, the only solution to maintain the warmth in spite of the strong wind is to go for a radiant heater, and the Tungsten 500 is the best one. It has a wind resistance up to 8 mph, so you’ll be able to fully enjoy the 43,000 BTU heat output this patio heater offers, without level of warmth reducing because of the wind. Made out of stainless steel with a black ceramic coating finish, it’s a wall mounted patio heater that will stand out with its modern design. It covers a 15 feet range and a 200 square feet space so you won’t have to stay next to it in order to stay warm, and its three burner heater starts up quickly and evenly spreads out heat. If you lack the space but have a problem with strong winds in the area, Tungsten 500 is the right choice for you.
Best Patio Heater for Tailgating
AZ Patio Heaters HLDS032-CG
If you’re looking for a patio heater that will warm you up while you tailgate, AZ’s portable patio heater is an inexpensive and effective, and will help you enjoy the game even more. It’s 38” tall so you can easily fit it inside your trunk, but don’t let its size fool you- this little patio heater has an 11,000 BTU heat output, which is quite good for a patio heater this small. It has a weight plate for increased stability, but added anti-tilt safety feature ensures you’ll be safe even if you manage to tilt it, so don’t worry about potential mishaps. This patio heater fits a 1lb propane tank, and one tank should keep you covered at least until the game ends, but since they are small, you can easily bring a spare one with you, and enjoy the outdoors as long as you like.
Best patio Heater for Outdoor Parties
Thermo Tiki Patio Heater
Of course, our top pick or step-up pick could easily be your choice if you want a reliable and stylish heat source for your party, but, sometimes, you might want to take it to another level entirely, and Thermo Tiki’s patio heater with dancing flame will be a hit at your party, without a doubt. Beside its sleek and modern design with a unique dancing flame column that really impresses when you see it in action, this patio heater has a 38,000 BPU heat output, but due to its unique design it radiates heat from the entire length, which spreads out heat evenly and stronger than the heat output suggests, in 15 foot range.
This patio heater starts with just a push of the button, and with a temperature control knob you can adjust the heat and actually customize the height of the dancing flame, so it’s really simple and easy to use. If the patio heater is tilted or tipped, safety feature will automatically turn it off, so there’s no possibility of a fire hazard that would ruin your party.
With a 20lb tank that goes into this patio heater, you can have the party going up to 10 hours, with a warmer temperature and stunning visual effects.
Best Fire Pit Patio Heater
Landmann’s Big Sky Fire Pit
If you want to go old school or just want to roast marshmallows on your patio and keep arm at the same time, Landmann’s Big Sky Fire Pit is a perfect choice. Even though it’s still risky to have open fire on your patio, this patio heater comes with protective spark screen that will contain the fire inside the pit. Big Sky Fire Pit doesn’t act only as a source of heat in the outdoors, it also serves as a BBQ if you use charcoal, and it comes it a full-size cooking grate you can use to place the meat on. As most open-fire heaters, this old-school patio heater also packs quite a punch in terms of radiating heat, and you can rely on Big Sky Fire Pit to keep you warm in cold summer night or even in late autumn. Its very interesting design, with animal-shaped cutouts, will certainly be a hit when you hang out with your friends, since it looks beautiful in the night, and it creates a great ambiance, especially if you’re in a good company, and have marshmallows and hot cocoa on the ready. If you are looking for something a bit more traditional than modern patio heaters, but still want to have slightly more safety than you would with a basic fire pit, this is a great choice.
Wrapping it up
If you want to fully use the advantage of your outdoor space, you must use a patio heater to enable the use of that space in the colder months. With a good patio heater, you’ll be able to enjoy your deck, patio, gazebo, garden or pool area for the whole year, and make most out of the time you spend outdoors.
With a great value price and first-class performance, the Bellezza Premium Patio Heater is the best patio heater for most people that can be used from spring to early winter with remarkable efficiency. In case you want a heavy-duty patio heater that will keep you warm even when the temperatures drop below 40 degrees, The Lava Heat Italia Commercial Grade Lava Lite KD is a patio heater that is worth investing into. If you’re on a budget, have a smaller patio to warm up or don’t plan on using the patio heater during the winter, our recommendation is affordable and reliable Palm Springs Patio Heater.
Jen Miller is a former electrical engineer and product specialist with more than 20 years of product design and testing experience. She has designed more than 200 products for Fortune 500 companies, in fields ranging from home appliances to sports gear and outdoor equipment. She founded Jen Reviews to share her knowledge and critical eye for what makes consumers tick, and adopts a strict no-BS approach to help the reader filter through the maze of products and marketing hype out there. She writes regularly and has been featured on Forbes, Fast Company, The Muse, The Huffington Post, Tiny Buddha and MindBodyGreen.