Best patio heater 2021: enjoy your yard all year long

Buy the best patio heater to make the most of your porch or patio in every season with our top electric and gas patio heater picks

Included in this guide:

Planika patio heater
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(Image credit: Planika)

Buying the best patio heater will ensure that you get as much use as possible out of your porch or patio. Perfect from transitioning to colder months, or the colder hours of the day, a patio heater can add light, heat, and of course, some style to your yard. 

Buying the best patio heater can be a challenge because there is a wide range to choose from. Some would rather opt for the best fire pits to keep things rustic, whereas others want a hands-free gas patio heater that will not need to be connected to any power source to work all through the night. 

In our best patio heater guide we have included models that can be used all year long, and while many are propane patio heaters, there are also some electric and even wood-fired options to keep guests warm while you entertain long into the evening. 

Which patio heater power source is best?

Patio heaters are typically powered by 20- or 30-lb gas propane tanks or electricity, but some are powered by wood pellets. If you choose a patio heater that’s powered by gas, you’re going to have to factor in additional costs. You’ll spend about $30-$40 on a 20-lb propane tank and $70-$80 on a 30-lb tank.

Of course, using an electric patio heater will also add a bit to your electricity bill. And a wood pellet heater? It uses a 20-lb bag of wood pellets which costs about $18 per bag.

Along with the different types of patio heater, each model also offers a different level of power – something you’ll want to consider before making a purchase. Power for patio heaters is measured in BTU (British Thermal Units), and as you’d expect, the higher the BTU, the more power your patio heater will offer you.

Typically, the best propane patio heaters are the most powerful you can buy, with a BTU of 40,000 or above. Electric patio heaters, however, have a BTU that can range anywhere from 5,000 to 14,000 but you won’t have to keep buying propane to keep them running.

The best patio heaters 2021

Q-Flame 79 in. Wood Pellet Outdoor Heater

(Image credit: Q-Stoves)

1. Q-Flame Wood Pellet Outdoor Heater

Best patio heater: an eco-friendly patio heater that's cheap to run

Specifications
Fuel: Wood pellet
Dimensions: H79 in x W22.44 in x L12 in
BTUs: 106,000
Heat radius: 10ft
Reasons to buy
+Most eco-friendly patio heater+Extremely high heat output+Wood pellets are affordable and a 20-lb bag lasts 3-4 hours 
Reasons to avoid
-Heat radius is only 10 feet

Stay warm and protect the environment with Q-Stove’s Q-Flame Wood Pellet Outdoor Heater. This carbon-neutral patio heater has a double hopper that holds 20 lbs of wood pellets that can burn for three to four hours. 

Even though the Q-Flame uses wood pellets, it doesn’t create any smoke which is nice for those who are sensitive to it. Instead, this Q-Stove creates 106,000 BTUs of energy that can heat an area within 10 feet of the patio heater. 

If you take a camping trip, don’t leave this patio heater at home. It’s easy to carry and has adjustable feet so you can use it on a variety of surfaces. 

Bromic Radiant Infrared Patio Heater

(Image credit: Bromic)

2. Bromic Radiant Infrared Patio Heater

Best modern patio heater: a sleek look for pristine patios

Specifications
Fuel: Gas
Dimensions: H85.2 in x W27.6 in x L19.2 in
BTUs: 38,500
Heat radius: 15 ft
Reasons to buy
+Applies infrared heat +Can be used when the wind is up to 7.5 mph +Modern style will fit with a posh patio design
Reasons to avoid
-A more expensive option-BTU heat output is below average-Only heats the area directly in front of it rather than radially

Have you curated a sleek and stylish outdoor patio? Good news – your patio heater can match with the purchase of the Bromic Heating Portable Radiant Infrared Patio Heater. 

It may only have a 38,500 BTU output, but that’s pretty decent when you consider it uses infrared heat. So rather than warm the air, it heats items (including people) that are within a 15-foot path in front of the heater. Those items then warm the area, making for a cozy patio. 

You’ll need a 20 or 30-lb gas propane tank to heat this Bromic (a 20-lb tank offers up to nine hours of heat). The electric push ignition makes lighting this heater easy. With two rolling wheels, set it in the best spot on your patio. 

Be sure to use this heater when the wind is less than 7.5 mph. If the Bromic falls over or the flame goes out, it’s designed with safety features to stop the gas flow.

best patio heater Hiland HLDS01 Patio Heater

(Image credit: Hiland HLDS01 Patio Heater)

3. Hiland HLDS01 Patio Heater

Best patio heater for entertaining: this patio heater doubles as a table

Specifications
Fuel: Propane
Dimensions: H87 in x W32 in x D32 in
BTUs: 40,000
Heat radius: 10 ft
Reasons to buy
+Quite tall+Good BTU output+Stylish design comes in different colors and incorporates the flame 
Reasons to avoid
-Gas is not the most efficient

We’re a fan of Hiland Pyramid Patio Propane Heater for many reasons. The folks at AZ Patio Heaters designed this table-style patio heater to fit in with most patio styles. Purchase it in hammered bronze, stainless steel, or matte black to fit your outdoor aesthetic.  

A 20-lb propane tank can be hidden behind an access door. Once you’ve ignited the flame, you’ll be able to see it in the open grating of this 87-inch-tall patio heater, which adds to the visual appeal. 

The Hiland Pyramid offers a 40,000 BTU output that will keep people within a 10-foot radius warm. When the heater is set on ‘high mode,’ a full 20-lb propane tank will last 8-10 hours. 

best patio heater Briza Infrared Patio Heater

(Image credit: Briza)

4. Briza Infrared Patio Heater

Best infrared patio heater: with a remote control and adjustable height, this is a smart choice

Specifications
Fuel: Electric
Dimensions: H4 in x W35.5 in x L4 in
Wattage: 1500
Heat radius : 10 ft
Reasons to buy
+Use it on the patio or in the garage+Can be mounted on the wall or on a 7-foot tripod+Remote control can turn the heater on/off and set timer or heat
Reasons to avoid
-Requires an outdoor outlet 

With a technology designed to mimic heat produced by the sun, you’re sure to stay toasty with the Briza Infrared Patio Heater. This patio heater uses infrared rays which means that items (whether it’s a table or you!) in the surrounding area of the heater will absorb the heat and raise the temperature of the space. And since the heater is designed to withstand rain, snow, sand, or dust, you can keep warm on your patio year-round. 

The Briza Infrared Patio Heater is electric so you will need an outlet to use it. Move it around the patio on the seven-foot tripod or mount it on walls or the ceiling to keep it well out of the way. And instead of getting out of your chair when you want to power it up or off, change the heat setting, or set the timer on 1 to 9 hours, just use the remote control which has all those capabilities. 

Pamapic Patio Heater best patio heater

(Image credit: Pamapic Patio Heater)

5. Pamapic Patio Heater

Best durable patio heater: easy-to-use gas design that comes with a cover

Specifications
Fuel: Gas
Dimensions: 88 in H x 32 in W x 18 in L
BTUs: 46,000
Heat radius: 18 ft
Reasons to buy
+Affordable +Includes a waterproof cover+Heats an 18-foot radial area 
Reasons to avoid
-Not the most stylish of patio heaters

When you think of patio heaters, you tend to visualize of those that are mushroom-shaped – like the Pamapic Patio Heater. It stands at 88 inches tall and has a bronze-colored base that looks great in any patio setting. 

A built-in chamber hides a 20-lb propane tank that powers the flame, which is started with an easy-to-press pulse ignition. Once lit, 46,000 BTUs of heat spreads out from the mushroom top offering warmth within a circle of 18 feet from the heater. 

Move the patio heater around with the built-in wheels. If it falls over from wind or an accidental bump, you can rest assured that the built-in tip over protection system will start up and kick off the gas, so a fire doesn’t ensue. 

This heater comes with a cover that’s waterproof and dust-proof, so you don’t have to bring the heater inside when the weather is poor. 

Planika patio heater

(Image credit: Planika)

6. Planika Faro 59" Outdoor Propane Patio Heater

Best flame patio heater: a showstopper that's guaranteed to impress guests

Specifications
Fuel: Propane
Dimensions: 14.2 x 14.2 x 59 inches
BTUs: 27,000
Reasons to buy
+Easy assembly+Castors make it very portable+Striking design
Reasons to avoid
-Could be tricky to store

The Planika Faro 59" Outdoor Propane Patio Heater has a gas flame that's visible through the glass display panels surrounding its 360-design. 

We enjoy the stylish exterior, but inside is a powerful gas burner that is capable of producing 27,000 BTUs. If you plan on having standing events, the Planika Faro 59" Outdoor Propane Patio Heater will be the best height to illuminate guests' faces, but if you're seated, these will also prove to be a spectacle directly in your line of sight.

How to buy the best patio heater

When shopping around for the perfect patio heater for your home, make sure you look at these five important things.

Heat Output 

The heat output of a gas or wood pellet-powered patio heater is measured by BTUs or British Thermal Units. You don’t really need to understand how the units work, just that the more BTUs a patio heater can produce, the warmer you’ll be. A typical patio heater puts out on average of 45,000 BTUs. 

As for electric patio heaters, they’re measured by wattage. Most outdoor electric patio heaters will need a higher wattage to heat the cool air. Infrared patio heaters are a bit different in that it heats the objects in the surrounding area and not the air, so it doesn’t require as much energy to do so. 

Don’t forget to look at the radius of the heat output. Some patio heaters can heat up to 18 feet in diameter! 

Safety Features

Safety is especially important when it comes to patio heaters because you don’t want to use a product that could start a fire. Make sure that no matter the patio heater you buy, it has a feature that will shut off the gas valve or the electricity if the heater tips over or has a timer that will cut the electric heater off after a certain amount of time. 

Style

If you’ve put in the effort to design a backyard patio to be trendy, stylish, or reflect your personality, make sure you purchase a patio heater that blends in with your vision. Just like the best fire pits, patio heaters come in all different shapes – like pyramid or mushroom towers – and in different shades of bronze, silver, or matte black to complement your outdoor decor. 

And if your backyard is still a work in progress, then make sure to visit our guide to the best outdoor furniture to get some ideas on how to create a stylish outdoor seating area from which to enjoy the evening heat.

Electric patio heaters are great if you have the capability to mount them out of the way, so they don’t pull focus from the patio set-up or get knocked over. Some patio heaters have been integrated into fans or hanging lamps, offering additional ways to add warmth to your outdoor hangs. 

Extra perks

A patio heater that is portable – whether that means it has wheels or can be easily broken down – might be something you want to consider for your outdoor heating ideas, especially if you want to sit in different areas on your patio or take the heater on a camping trip. 

Some electric patio heaters have remote controls and timers which are convenient. If you plan to leave your patio heater outdoors, make sure you buy one that is water resistant and comes with a waterproof cover. This will ensure you can use your patio heater for years to come. 

Want to take your patio space up another level? Check out our guide to the best pizza ovens