Imagine it’s an unusually cool August evening. You invite some of your closest friends over to hang out on your patio and talk about life. If you don’t have the best patio heater you can buy, this time to have fun may quickly turn into a nightmare.

To fully enjoy your patio during the year, you may need some extra warmth. But what is a patio heater? And why do you need one?

What Is a Patio Heater?

A patio heater is a heater that stays on your patio and warms up the area around it. These heaters are a little different from things like space heaters.

These products need to be made specifically to endure the elements and keep their users toasty at the same time.

Achieving this is easier said than done, but some companies have cracked the code and made some fantastic models.

How a patio heater works depends on the type you get. While some are tabletop models and others are bigger, they both produce enough heat to warm you up.

RECOMMENDED READ: Best Solar Pool Heaters to Extend Swimming Season 

patio heater

How Does a Patio Heater Work?

A lot of confusion springs up between what a space heater does and what a patio heater does. After all, they’re both heaters. Aren’t they the same?

The answer is a resounding no, and there’s one primary reason for this.

When you turn on a space heater, the air gets blown directly between you and the heater. The heat dissipates pretty quickly, and it doesn’t travel far.

When you turn on a patio heater, the heat is designed to travel through the cold air and warm you up from a distance. It radiates outward.

Typically, these models use either propane, gas, or electricity.

It’s also worth noting that the heat these types of heaters give off is measured in BTU’s (British Thermal Units). The larger the BTU, the bigger of an area it affects.

RECOMMENDED READ: The 9 Best LED Pool Lights to Set the Mood

Critical Safety

Take caution with a few notes of safety when using these heaters.

First, walk around it. Never run. You don’t want it to fall and hurt someone.

Also, don’t put things that can quickly burn right next to the heater. They could catch on fire.

Lastly, don’t place them next to the water. Electrical appliances and water don’t mix well.

Where Can You Buy the Best Patio Heater?

If you want the best patio heater, an online store like Amazon is a great choice to go and buy one. Physical locations like The Home Depot and Wal-Mart also carry them.

people entertaining at a patio party late in the day

How We Chose the Best Models

All of the heaters on this list have appeared on multiple “Best of” lists from other reviewers. If a product appears on many of these types of lists, it shows that a product consistently impressed people across the board.

These heaters all deserve mentioning when talking about the best one available.

The 5 Best Patio Heater Options

Below are five models that are the best you can buy. While all of them perform the same functions, the way they perform them, and the features that come with them differ.

If you’re tired of your old model breaking down or are looking to buy for the first time, these five heaters are your best bet.

1. Sunjoy Lawrence

Sunjoy Lawrence Floor-Standing Patio Heater with Wheels
Check Price

The Sunjoy model as one of the best patio heater models hits a couple of different areas. First, it has to give off a decent amount of heat for its range. At 47,000 BTU, this heater extends its reach far into your yard.

Along with the BTU’s, it also needs to be easily movable. Moving your heater may be a pain if it doesn’t have something like wheels. Luckily, Sunjoy Lawrence placed wheels on the bottom of their product so you can move it around without thinking twice.

A valve knob and ignition button means that the heater turns on fairly easily. Making this process simple is something almost all these companies strive for.


  • Heats a large area
  • Simple to operate


  • Assembly required
  • Gobbles up fuel extremely fast

2. Legacy Heating CAPH-7-S

LEGACY HEATING 88inch standing heaters outdoor with wheels , stainless steel burne, Gas Propane Patio Heater for outdoor garden use, Hammered Black, 47000BTU, Powder Coated Finish
Check Price

Standing straight up, this patio heater differs from some of the other models available. Some are small and fit on a table while others are tall. This one stands up, and it produces a lot of heat to keep your hands and feet warm all evening long.

Giving off an average of 47,000 BTU, you’ll be able to heat quite a bit of your yard.

If you need to get more wood for the fire pit or simply want to walk around the yard, you can easily do this and stay warm at the same time.

The CAPH-7-S comes with wheels on the bottom. These wheels allow you to move it around wherever you like.

In preparation for getting it up and running, this model comes with a 20-pound propane tank. That gives you an idea of how much fuel you’ll be needing.

A black powder coating greets the eyes, and it looks fantastic displayed proudly on your patio. With its sleek look, your friends will be impressed by both its beauty and its amazing functionality.


  • Large BTU count
  • Mobile


  • May be hard to place on your patio if you have a low roof
  • Needs a lot of fuel

3. AmazonBasics Heater

Amazon Basics 46,000 BTU Outdoor Propane Patio Heater with Wheels, Commercial & Residential - Havana Bronze
Check Price

The coveted prize in every line of work is to be known as the best. Many companies who make these heaters also vie for this honor.

As online shopping grows and the internet becomes a resource for just about anything, Amazon came out with a patio heater of their own.

Dubbed the “AmazonBasics Patio Heater,” it stands at about eight feet tall and towers over the competition in more ways than one.

Its 46,000 BTU dispels a massive amount of warmth, and this model contains a base reservoir system. That means the base of the heater can be filled with whatever you want. Typically, people fill it with either water or sand to make sure it doesn’t tip over.

If, in the rare instance that the unit does tip over, it’s equipped with an auto shut off tilt valve. If it tips over, it stops getting fed fuel immediately.

A Havana Bronze color makes for a gorgeous visual, and you won’t regret having this beauty sitting on your patio all winter long. Amazon makes a case for itself for the best available with this model.


  • Produces lots of heat
  • Safe if it falls over


  • One hour assembly time
  • Protective plastic coating over the reflector is sometimes tricky to remove

4. Star Patio Electric Heater

Star Patio Electric Patio Heater, Indoor/Outdoor Heater, Space Heater, Infrared Heater, Wall Mounted, suitable as Gazebo Heater, Balcony Heater, Garage Heater, 1580
Check Price

Simplicity makes any experience with a heater less taxing. If you’re still trying to figure out what the buttons do an hour after you’ve assembled it, that’s usually not a good sign.

Star Patio decided to make this portion easier to understand. With simple power settings, you’ll be heating up people in no time at all.

It also has a basic ON/OFF switch that anybody can recognize and learn how to use. Keeping things this simple not only makes life easier, but it also makes the unit safer to use.

Confusion with these sorts of products only leads to accidents, so the simplicity really helps you out in this case.

This unit also produces no toxins or odd emissions. With this product, the air around you will remain both warm and clean.

Certified to withstand harsh weather conditions, your heater will stand up against both summer and winter storms.

Now, it needs noting that this heater is small. While the average unit emits around 10,000 BTU, this only emits around half that. At 5,100 BTU it only heats up a small area.

But, with its output being a little lower than usual, its lifespan is longer. Look to use this for around 8,000 hours.


  • Long lifespan
  • Safe


  • Only warms a small area
  • Not very mobile

5. Fire Sense

Fire Sense Stainless Steel Pro Series Patio Heater with Wheels | Uses 20 Pound Propane Tank | 46,000 BTU Output | Weighted Base | Portable Outdoor Heat Lamp
Check Price

The best patio heater needs to be reliable. You don’t want to buy an outdoor heater and not be confident that it won’t light the first time you turn it on.

Fire Sense decided to integrate a piezo ignition system into their model. This specific system uses quartz. When struck, this material lights easily and basically guarantees that the heater will last for a long time.

One of the more powerful options available, it puts out around 46,000 BTU. You’ll be able to spread out and chat with family and friends while the heat spreads out and warms a large area.

Like some of the other units that are considered the best, Fire Sense added wheels onto the bottom of their model.

The consumption rate is approximately 10 hours, so your heater will last for a long party if needed.


  • Generates a lot of heat
  • Mobile


  • Some parts may rust after a while
  • May be hard to replace some parts

set the mood with a decorated outdoor patio space

Buy a Patio Heater Today

Now is the time to buy a patio heater. Even at the close of summer, you can enjoy the outdoors for months to come ahead.

Whether you choose a Fire Sense or Infratech product, you’ll make the right decision.

When it comes down to it, the best option is a judgment you ultimately have to make.

But when you choose the right one for you, you’ll be able to sit outdoors and enjoy relaxing by the pool or garden at any time of year.

Have you ever used a patio heater before? What was your experience like? Let us know in the comments below.

Last update on 2021-09-22 at 22:32 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API