Best Outdoor Heater Review

3 Top Picks

4 Reviewers

7 Hours of Research

17 Considered Products

Picking up a quality outdoor heater can be just the thing for making the most of your exterior spaces throughout all four seasons. But what should you be looking for in the best outdoor patio heater to suit your needs? Is it better to go with a traditional propane patio heater, or is a modern electric patio heater a safer and more efficient choice?

When shopping for an outdoor space heater, it’s important to first consider your requirements, your personal preferences and your budget. There’s an outdoor heat lamp or deck heater available to suit just about any exterior space, so it’s simply a case of narrowing down the options to something you’re happy with.

Top 3 Outdoor Heaters

4.7/5

  • Energy-efficient and cost-effective
  • Impressive overall heat output
  • Compatible with most parasols

4.6/5

  • Massive 50,000 BTUs heat output
  • Durable construction and waterproof
  • Extensively safety tested

4.8/5

  • Lightweight and portable
  • Impressive 9000 BTUs output
  • Multiple safety features

Type of Outdoor Heater

Right off the bat, it’s worth pointing out that no specific outdoor patio heater type is ‘better’ outright than any other. What represents the best outdoor patio heater for one buyer might be completely inappropriate for someone else.

Choosing an appropriate outdoor heater type is all about practicality and personal preference. There are thousands of different makes, models and specifications available, though the vast majority fall within one of the following categories:

Freestanding

As the name suggests, a freestanding patio heater is a type of heater that stands independently on a suitably stable floor. They can be purchased in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, with varying outputs and additional features. The fuel tank is typically stored in the bottom section of the heater.

Tabletop

Tabletop heaters are significantly smaller and easy to transport, either connecting to a separate gas tank via a tube or with an internal storage chamber.  Tabletop heaters can also be electronic, in which case they are powered by a standard mains connection. A great choice for small spaces and balconies.

Wall Mounted

Some heaters are designed to be mounted to solid surfaces, which include walls and ceilings. These are useful when a heater is needed for permanent use and will not need to be moved or adjusted in the near future. They’re also great for smaller spaces, given that they take up next to no space once they are mounted.

Fire Pit

A fire pit can be anything from a decorative feature that puts out next to no heat whatsoever to an incredibly powerful and effective outdoor heater. More space is usually needed to accommodate a fire pit, though they can make a spectacular visual addition to an outdoor space. 

Size

The range of options available in terms of heater sizes is literally endless. But what’s important to remember is that the size of a heater doesn’t necessarily provide an accurate indication as to its power or output. Some extremely large heaters can be surprisingly modest in terms of performance, while some of the smaller heaters on the market can put out an incredible amount of heat. 

This is why it is important to read the full specifications of the heater you’re interested in, before making your final decision.

Heater Power Source

Likewise, no one power source is ‘better’ than any other outright. An electric heater is just as capable of putting out the same amount of heat as a comparable gas heater – it all comes down to the exact make and model you choose.

That said, propane gas heaters require no setup or installation and are extremely portable. Natural gas heaters are permanent fixtures, though are usually suitable for much larger outdoor spaces. Electric heaters are lightweight and easy to use, though must be positioned within easy reach of a power socket.

All important factors to take into account, before placing your order.

Heater Output

Determining the amount of power you need to heat your outdoor space means measuring the area in square feet and choosing a heater that puts out the relevant BTUs – aka British Thermal Units. A heater with adjustable output is (of course) preferable in all instances, though it’s worth ensuring that the maximum BTU output is suitable for the size of the space you intend to heat – as indicated below:

Area in Square Feet

Recommended BTU Output

100 to 150

5000

150 to 250

6000

250 to 300

7000

300 to 350

8000

350 to 400

9000

Safety

Of course, safety should always be a priority when shopping for a heater of any kind. This means taking into account additional safety features built into the device, such as overheating protection, automatic shutoff, short-circuit prevention and so on. The vast majority of heaters on the market these days are considered safe to use, though some bring more advanced health and safety features to the table than others.

Best Outdoor Heater Review

Overview

The Fire Sense Hammer Tone Bronze Patio Heater has all the power and prestige of a top-shelf heater, yet somehow sells at a rock-bottom price.  Boasting heavy-duty construction, a reliable piezo ignition system and a high-grade powder coated steel finish, the Fire Sense Hammer Tone Bronze Patio Heater has epic evenings outdoors written all over it.

Features and Benefits

  • Easy to start and simple to control, the Fire Sense Hammer Tone Bronze Patio Heater has a maximum heat output of 46,000 BTUs. More than enough to heat even the largest outdoor spaces.
  • The heater is powered by a standard 20lbs tank, which will deliver approximately 10 hours of powerful heating. 
  • Durability is maximized with its heavy-duty commercial grade steel exterior, though the unit as a whole is surprisingly easy to move around on its in-built wheels. 

Verdict

Again, the appeal of the Fire Sense Hammer Tone Bronze Patio Heater lies in the fact that it pairs the appearance of a prestige heater with the price of an entry-level device. Its heat output is also outstanding, as is its general construction which is guaranteed to go the distance.

4.7/5

Things We Liked

  • Beautifully put together and presented
  • Very easy to light and control
  • Huge 46,000 BTU maximum heat output
  • Easy to move and maneuver
  • Looks and feels like a prestige heater

Things We Didn't Like

  • Gets through gas quicker than some heaters

Overview

The U-MAX 44in Outdoor Propane Gas Fire Pit Table was designed to make it safe and affordable to bring any exterior space to life with a beautiful visual touch. Safe, durable, and capable of putting out a whopping 50,000 BTUs of heat, the U-MAX 44in Outdoor Propane Gas Fire Pit Table can also be converted into an outdoor dining table or a casual bar for added versatility.

Features and Benefits

  • Multipurpose convenience taken to the next level, in the form of a powerful fire pit that also serves as a coffee table, a dining table and so much more.
  • Maximum heat output of 50,000 BTU makes it suitable for even the largest outdoor spaces – total comfort and enjoyment throughout all four seasons.
  • The U-MAX 44in Outdoor Propane Gas Fire Pit Table is extensively safety tested and fully waterproof, powered by an internal gas canister and ignited at the push of a button.
  • Whether lit or being used as an occasional table for any outdoor space, the U-MAX 44in Outdoor Propane Gas Fire Pit Table is one of the most beautifully designed patio heaters currently available.

Verdict

This immaculately designed fire pit table can single-handedly transform both the visual appeal and the practicality of almost any exterior space. It may be one of the pricier heaters on the market, but what you get in terms of performance, quality and value for money really is off the scale.

4.6/5

Things We Liked

  • Massive 50,000 BTUs heat output
  • Also serves as a dining table
  • Durable construction and waterproof
  • Easy to use and control
  • Extensively safety tested
  • Stunning overall design

Things We Didn't Like

  • Some assembly required

Overview

Next in line comes the Mr. Heater F232000 MH9BX, which sits in an entirely different product category. This thing is designed primarily with camping and outdoor pursuits in mind, though is also fantastic for heating smaller outdoor spaces. With an impressive heat output of up to 9000 BTUs, it’s a small and super-portable unit that nonetheless packs a punch.

Features and Benefits

  • Don’t let its small size fool you – the Mr. Heater F232000 MH9BX is perfectly capable of heating enclosed spaces as large as 200 square feet.  All from a tiny portable heater that connects directly to a standard 1 lb. cylinder.
  • The auto shut-off valve automatically cuts off the gas supply if the unit is tipped over, if the pilot light goes out or if low oxygen levels are detected.
  • Along with camping, hunting and fishing, it’s also the perfect heater for workshops, garages, construction sites, patios, picnics and parties of all shapes and sizes.

Verdict

The Mr. Heater F232000 MH9BX does a great job of proving that great things really do come in small packages. Robust, durable and capable of putting out way more heat than you’d expect, the Mr. Heater F232000 MH9BX is also extremely easy to use and brings a whole bunch of neat safety features into the mix.

4.8/5

Things We Liked

  • Lightweight and portable
  • Robust and durable construction
  • Impressive 9000 BTUs output
  • Multiple safety features
  • Outstanding value for money

Things We Didn't Like

  • Customer support somewhat limited

Overview

A gorgeous-looking device on sale for a surprisingly low price, the Hiland HLDSO1-WGTHG Pyramid Patio Propane Heater is as much about presentation as it is performance. Not that you’d expect anything less, from a brand with almost two decades of experience and an established reputation.

Features and Benefits

  • The Hiland HLDSO1-WGTHG Pyramid Patio Propane Heater stands an imposing 89 inches tall, making for a spectacular visual display in any outdoor space. 
  • Maximum heat output of 40,000 BTUs is more than enough to heat any generously sized outdoor area, which can be precisely adjusted to suit requirements throughout the year.
  • All heaters from Hiland are extensively safety tested and verified for total peace of mind, accompanied by a one-year warranty as standard.
  • Two sturdy wheels make the Hiland HLDSO1-WGTHG Pyramid Patio Propane Heater easy to shift between locations for added convenience.

Verdict

In a nutshell, the Hiland HLDSO1-WGTHG Pyramid Patio Propane Heater is an absolutely beautiful piece of engineering that’s as much about gorgeous looks as it is efficient heating. All available at a surprisingly low price, given its quality, performance, and visual appeal.

4.3/5

Things We Liked

  • A simply stunning pyramid heater
  • Powerful 40,000 BTUs output
  • Multiple inbuilt safety features
  • Easy to move and maneuver
  • Exceptional value for money

Things We Didn't Like

  • Some assembly required

Overview

If looking to spruce up your exteriors with a spectacular visual embellishment that also keeps the place nice and toasty, this is it. One look at the Outland Living 401 Series 44-Inch Outdoor Propane Gas Fire Table and you know you want it. Once you’ve felt its generous and beautifully balanced 35,000 BTU output, you’ll wonder how you ever got by without it.

Features and Benefits

  • This is a beautiful-looking firepit that combines durability and hardwearing properties with an elegant and sophisticated aesthetic. The ultimate in form and function, combined in one spectacularly presented package.
  • The kit comes complete with a full set of decorative glass rocks, which add further visual appeal by beautifully complementing the black tempered glass top.
  • Easy to use and simple to adjust, the chrome-plated valve knob provides total control over temperature output, making it an outstanding choice for all seasons.

Verdict

It may be one of the more expensive patio heaters out there, but nonetheless towers over the competition in terms of presentation and prestige. If elegance, exclusivity and sophistication are your priorities, look no further than the spectacular Outland Living 401 Series 44-Inch Outdoor Propane Gas Fire Table.

4.6/5

Things We Liked

  • Exquisitely designed
  • Outstanding 35,000 BTU output
  • Easy to use and control
  • Multiple built-in safety features

Things We Didn't Like

  • Quite expensive

Overview

Right at the opposite end of the spectrum (in terms of size and portability), the Texsport Sportsmate Portable Propane Heater packs a serious punch for its small stature. Boasting up to 3000 BTUs of heat output and a durable stainless-steel burner, the Texsport Sportsmate Portable Propane Heater represents the ultimate in all-round versatility.

Features and Benefits

  • Though primarily designed with portability and outdoor activities in mind, the Texsport Sportsmate Portable Propane Heater is great for heating small to medium sized patios.
  • The gas supplies automatically shut off if the flame goes out, which is an important safety feature many smaller heaters lack.
  • Lightweight and easy to transport, the Texsport Sportsmate Portable Propane Heater is also compact enough to store away neatly when not in use.
  • 3000BTUs maximum heat output is way more than you’d expect from most heaters of this size at such a low price.

Verdict

Portability is the name of the game with the Texsport Sportsmate Portable Propane Heater, but it is also ideal for smaller patios and outdoor entertainment spaces. All with the added bonus of being able to take it just about anywhere you care to go, if heading out into the great outdoors.

4.3/5

Things We Liked

  • Fantastically compact and convenient
  • Surprisingly powerful heat output
  • Reassuring safety features
  • Easy to use and adjust
  • Very good overall value for money

Things We Didn't Like

  • Unsuitable for larger spaces

Overview

Designed to provide powerful yet even heating that replicates natural sunlight, the TRUSTECH Outdoor Patio Heater gets to work just 3 seconds after being switched on. According to the manufacturer, it’s also anything from 40% to 60% more efficient than comparable electric heaters. If all this wasn’t enough, it’s also one of the more elegant electric heaters money can buy right now and is currently up for grabs at an impossibly low price.

Features and Benefits

  • Choose from a variety of power settings in accordance with the requirements of the space, enjoying warm heat output just 3 seconds after flipping the switch.
  • Elegantly presented and manufactured from premium quality materials, the TRUSTECH Outdoor Patio Heater is suitable for all types of private patios and commercial environments alike.
  • The kit comes complete with a convenient remote control, while the built-in timer function ensures the heater shuts off automatically at a predetermined time.
  • Safety features include a short circuit protection and automatic overheat shut-off, deactivating the heater automatically if it gets too hot.

Verdict

The TRUSTECH Outdoor Patio Heater is the classic mounted electric heater reinvented for the 21st century household. Powerful, easy to use and gorgeous to look at, it makes a great addition to any outdoor recreation space. The remote control is also a nice touch, as is the automatic shut-off timer.

3.8/5

Things We Liked

  • Powerful yet gentle heat output
  • Multiple built-in safety features
  • Remote control for added convenience
  • Automatic shutoff timer
  • Understated and minimalist design
  • A surprisingly low price

Things We Didn't Like

  • Can only be mounted to concrete or metal

Overview

Last in our listings comes the Fire Sense Umbrella Halogen Patio Heater, which is compatible with the vast majority of garden parasols and umbrellas. Designed to minimize energy consumption and provide more cost-effective heating than a comparable gas heater, the Fire Sense Umbrella Halogen Patio Heater is also easy to install and provides instant heat at the touch of a button.

Features and Benefits

  • The Fire Sense Umbrella Halogen Patio Heater can be installed in seconds on almost any parasol or umbrella, with no specialist tools or additional fittings required.
  • Heat output is consistently powerful, yet evenly dispersed and comfortable. The three heating heads ensure heat is transferred efficiently throughout the room.
  • The exterior of the Fire Sense Umbrella Halogen Patio Heater also remains relatively cool to the touch, while the auto-shutoff circuitry eliminates the risk of overheating.
  • Simply plug in the Fire Sense Umbrella Halogen Patio Heater and it’s ready to go – no additional set-up or installation requirements necessary.

Verdict

Simple yet effective, the Fire Sense Umbrella Halogen Patio Heater takes classic electric patio heater design to the next level. Easy to use, safe to operate and a cinch to install, the Fire Sense Umbrella Halogen Patio Heater makes a great addition to any parasol or umbrellas used for entertaining when it’s cooler outdoors.

3.7/5

Things We Liked

  • Energy-efficient and cost-effective
  • Safe and simple to use
  • Easy to install in seconds
  • Easy to install in seconds
  • Compatible with most parasols
  • Outstanding value for money

Things We Didn't Like

  • Cord could be a little longer

Overview

It may be listed as a ‘basic’ heater, but this affordable outdoor heater is designed with commercial-grade performance in mind. Boasting a premium powder-coated finish and a maximum heat output of 46,000 BTUs, the AmazonBasics Commercial Propane 46,000BTU Outdoor Patio Heater is suitable for relatively large outdoor spaces. It also features a piezo ignition system and an auto shut-off safety valve for total peace of mind.

Features and Benefits

  • The reservoir system at the base of the heater can be filled with water or sand, creating an exceptionally sturdy and stable base for maximum safety. Some assembly is required, but the AmazonBasics Commercial Propane 46,000BTU Outdoor Patio Heater isn’t particularly difficult to put together.
  • A maximum heat output of 46,000 BTUs is more than enough for larger outdoor spaces, making the AmazonBasics Commercial Propane 46,000BTU Outdoor Patio Heater great for private use and for all types of commercial environments.
  • The heater is powered by a standard 20-pound LP gas cylinder (sold separately) and ignites at the push of a button. The whole thing can also be maneuvered around easily on its built-in wheels. 

Verdict

On the whole, the AmazonBasics Commercial Propane 46,000BTU Outdoor Patio Heater is one of the most impressive and reliable heaters you can pick up for this kind of money right now. One that ships with a one-year guarantee for total peace of mind.

4.2/5

Things We Liked

  • Powerful 46,000 BTUs output
  • Safe and easy to use
  • Very sturdy and stable
  • Outstanding value for money

Things We Didn't Like

  • None

Overview

All the elegance and sophistication of a traditional freestanding heater, coupled with the safety and efficiency of an electronic heater. Suitable for all types of spaces up to a maximum of 12 square feet, the Star Patio Outdoor Freestanding Electric Patio Heater is activated by a simple pull-string and is capable of putting out an impressive 5100 BTUs.

Features and Benefits

  • Safe and environmentally friendly, the Star Patio Outdoor Freestanding Electric Patio Heater uses infrared technology to deliver powerful yet perfectly dispersed heating with no fumes or emissions to worry about.
  • Stable and durable with an anti-skid base, the Star Patio Outdoor Freestanding Electric Patio Heater also remains cool to the touch when in use and is easy to move around.
  • Every unit is officially IP44 certified for full weather and dust resistance, having been put through an extensive range of quality and safety checks.
  • The halogen tube has been rated for an approximate lifespan of 8000 hours, adding up to outstanding value for money.

Verdict

It’s hard to pick fault with the Star Patio Outdoor Freestanding Electric Patio Heater at this kind of price, given how consistently it gets the job done. It may not be quite as powerful as some comparable electric or gas heaters, but at this kind of price you could comfortably buy a handful of them to heat a larger space and still have plenty in your pocket.

3.3/5

Things We Liked

  • Elegant and sophisticated design
  • Very easy to use
  • Decent 5100 BTUs heat output
  • Extensively safety tested
  • Suitable for all weather use
  • No assembly required

Things We Didn't Like

  • Power cord a little short

In Summary

Once again, the key to picking up the best outdoor patio heater lies in first assessing your requirements. Consider the size of the outdoor space, the kinds of scenarios you intend to use it in and just how cold it is likely to get outdoors.

In addition, safety features and power consumption should also be taken into account, as should manufacturer’s warranties and quality of customer care. Just as long as the heater you’re looking at has been tried, tested and approved by plenty of real-life buyers, you’re probably looking at a heater you can count on.

Tiffany Wong
 

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