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Patio heaters are a great way to enjoy an evening on the patio or in the backyard, no matter what the weather report has in store. You’ll find that the best patio heaters are easy to power up, while providing enough heat to keep you toasty, so you can pour yourself another glass of wine without having to go inside once the temperature drops.
Some patio heaters run on electricity while others utilize propane or natural gas. However, since natural gas requires a gas line and professional installation, I’ve focused on electric and propane models, which tend to also be more portable. Propane patio heaters can be placed anywhere since you just need a propane tank to run them (no outlet), and they produce more intense heat than electric models, so they’re likely to do a better job of keeping you warm. However, propane heaters are safest if you have an open outdoor area, but are not recommended for enclosed patios because of the risk of carbon monoxide inhalation. Electric patio heaters, on the other hand, are safe to use in enclosed spaces and can be placed wherever there’s an outlet. And while you’ll save money (and time) by not having to stock up on propane, they tend to generate less heat than propane versions. Lastly, for a heating solution that doubles as a warm fire, consider a fire pit that’ll warm your space and is great for cold weather activities (s’mores, I’m looking at you).
Remember that patio heaters can potentially tip over in heavy winds, so never place them near glass or anything flammable and choose a heater with a safety tilt valve feature, so that it instantly turns off if knocked over.
Both electric and propane heaters are available in a variety of styles. To help you pick the perfect option for your backyard, here’s my roundup of the best patio heaters on Amazon.
This standing heater runs on a liquid propane tank (sold separately) and features a simple ignition button that lets you quickly turn the heater on and off or adjust heat output. This heater is 32 inches across and 86 inches high (about 7.2 feet) with wheels on the bottom for easy placement and portability. This heater offers overturn protection if it happens to get knocked over, and while the square footage of heat coverage isn’t listed, it does produce 46,000 BTUs of heat, which is likely enough to keep you warm without getting uncomfortably hot.
Rave review: “Used on our outdoor patio for warmth — does real well!"
If you want a space-saving option, this electric patio heater is worth considering. It can be mounted to the ceiling of patio overhangs, but it’s safe to use in enclosed patios and indoor spaces, too. Reviewers report this heater is super easy to install, and can even be moved. A handy LCD screen let’s you know what temperature it is set to, and you can control the temperature with a remote from wherever you are. You can also set the timer from one to 24 hours so you can control the time it runs for (be sure to turn it off when you’re not using it, for safety).
Rave review: “This heater has been great for our back porch patio. It was easy to install. It’s a good size and durable. It can withstand harsh weather. We have used it several late nights this summer when it gets a little chillier. It’s nice to be able sit and enjoy outside but not have to be cold. It gives a good amount of heat. Can’t wait to use it even more in the fall months."
This small but mighty portable outdoor heater connects to a liquid propane tank (sold separately) to generate enough heat to cover up to 450 square feet. A piezo ignition turns the heater on, and you can easily adjust the heat settings from low to high via the control knob. It also has an integrated fan that can be operated with D batteries for more powerful heat distribution. The heater automatically shuts off when tipped, too. Measuring 18.5 by 18 by 11.4 inches, this heater is ideal for open patios and camping.
Rave review: “Amazing heater. You can’t beat it for the money, and it’s super portable even when camping or night at the beach. Glad I found this thing. Can connect small and large propane tanks and makes things super toasty.”
This fire pit is a great solution for warming your patio that’s a little different from your classic patio heater. The rust-resistant design makes it great for inclement weather, and the generous size is perfect for heating a large space. Even better, this fire pit comes with a safety screen you can assemble to protect little ones or animals, and it’s super easy to assemble. This fire pit comes with a one-year warranty should you run into any issues.
Rave review: “Easy to assemble and sturdy for this price point. I have burned almost every weekend for over a year and it has held up. Some days I keep a fire going for 8 plus hours. It lost it’s new look after the first few rains (even with a cover), but that doesn’t bother me. The cutouts on the side look really cool at night. Only thing that will need replacing soon is the screen cover. It still works, but there are some small holes that are starting to appear. I would buy it again."
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