Outdoor heaters are a great way to get more usage out of your patio during the Winter months. They’re also a great addition to installing a fire pit. Outdoor heaters are generally smaller and will burn cleaner.
What To Look For
There are a few primary types of outdoor heaters available. When shopping, you can compare them by fuel type, size and stature. Outdoor heaters run on 3 fuel types, propane, natural gas or electric. They can range in size from tall heat trees that can cover a large surface area to small tabletop units that can be used individually to provide customized heat.
Of the 3 main fuel types, propane heaters are some of the most portable and easiest to use. Propane heaters can be placed nearly anywhere and require no installation. The drawback, however, is that fuel costs can be very high. Natural gas heaters on the other hand are cheaper to run and have a constant stream of fuel but must be professionally installed. Lastly, electric heaters hold the middle ground between propane and natural gas. They produce zero emissions, are right in the middle on cost, and will require professional installation on a unit-to-unit basis.
Size & Heat
Outdoor heaters come in a variety of sizes and available heat outputs. Full-size heaters are the ones you often see at outdoor restaurants or events. They can stand up to 8 feet tall and produce 40,000BTU of heat. Individual heaters can go as low as 3,000 BTU and only a foot in size. The amount of heat you need will greatly depend on the design of your patio, and the overall layout of your heating system. For example, one full-size unit in the center of your patio may be enough to cover the whole area. Conversely, several evenly distributed smaller units may provide more encompassing heat for your entire outdoor area.
Outdoor heaters come in a variety of shapes and designs. Once you’ve determined your heating needs, and how many units you want to purchase, you can narrow down your decision further by appearance. Some heaters have a much more industrial, purposeful look while others are more design-centric and will complement the décor of nearly any patio.
We’ve gathered up a few of the best heaters on the market to get you started on the right track to finding the best heater for your outdoor area.
The Best Deal
Bestreviews.com named the Firesense Hammer Tone Commercial the best overall deal for an outdoor heater in 2016. According to their review, this heater has a huge heat output and heavy-duty construction. These two features separate it from the competitors and make it perfect for a large patio, and lots of use. $194.99 on Amazon.
Best Natural Gas Heater
They Dayva International patio heater produces 40,000 BTU of consistent heat. It comes with wheels and a base cabinet for mobility and concealing the fuel source. The heater has a tilt-safety feature meaning it will automatically turn off if tipped over, and can heat an area up to 20 feet in diameter. $1,199.00 on Houzz.
Best Electric Heater
The Solaira Cosy Outdoor is an industrial grade heater that’s perfect for spaces under awnings and umbrellas. It’s waterproof, and can be mounted in a few different positions to create maximum heat with the lowest profile possible. The Solaira Cosy can comfortably heat a small area and has no odor or warm up time. $321.99 on Amazon.
Best Minimalist Heater
The Soleus Air Hp1 is a halogen outdoor heater and is one of the most minimalist heaters on the market. With such a low footprint, it’s easy to place the Soleus almost anywhere on nearly any patio. It’s lightweight and runs off of a 120-volt power supply. $190.00 on Sale Stores.
On the whole, outdoor heaters are an affordable and space-conscious alternative to fire pits. No matter which heater you choose, you’ll be better able to enjoy your patio all year long.