Best patio heater 2022: 6 chic ways to stay warm in your yard – even after sunset

The best patio heater will allow you and your guests to stay cozy outside, whatever the season

Planika patio heater
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(Image credit: Planika)

If you've ever wanted to socialize outside in the colder months, it's time to invest in the best patio heater. Having one of these outdoor warmers will keep yourself, family, and friends at a comfortable temperature, not to mention the most recent models combine style and functionality.

As well as providing warmth, some of the best patio heaters double up as a light source, allowing you to enjoy a bright glow in the backyard, well after the sun has set. However, buying a patio heater can be a bit of an overwhelming experience, especially given the plethora of options out there.

From electric to natural gas, propane, and wood, we'll take you through the advantages and limitations of each power source and provide a selection of choices to suit every outdoor scheme. What's more, we'll decipher any jargon, so by the time you've finished reading, you'll know the difference between BTUs and wattage (and why it's important).

And for the ultimate in backyard heating, why not combine your new patio heater with one of the best fire pits too? 

The best patio heaters 2022

Why you can trust Gardeningetc Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

Q-Stoves Q-Flame Wood Pellet Patio Heater

(Image credit: Amazon)

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

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Most eco-friendly patio heater
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Extremely high heat output
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Wood pellets are affordable and a 20-lb bag lasts 3-4 hours 

Reasons to avoid

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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

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Applies infrared heat 
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Can be used when the wind is up to 7.5 mph 
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Modern style will fit with a posh patio design

Reasons to avoid

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A more expensive option
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BTU heat output is below average
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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 to take the chill off. 

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

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Quite tall
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Good BTU output
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Stylish design comes in different colors and incorporates the flame 

Reasons to avoid

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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 toasty. 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

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Use it on the patio or in the garage
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Can be mounted on the wall or on a 7-foot tripod
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Remote control can turn the heater on/off and set timer or heat

Reasons to avoid

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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. 

And, if you're worried about the cost to run this electric patio heater — fear not. This 1500W appliance costs just 22 cents per hour.

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

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Affordable 
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Includes a waterproof cover
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Heats an 18-foot radial area 

Reasons to avoid

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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-shaped metal reflector shield 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 dustproof, 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

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Easy assembly
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Castors make it very portable
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Striking design

Reasons to avoid

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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, this smokeless column 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. The durable case conceals a bulky bottle of Propane, and brakes on the structure it to stand in one place, securely.

How to buy the best patio heater

When shopping around for the perfect patio heater for your home, make sure you look at these four 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. Also, be sure to store your fuel appropriately. Propane, for example, should be stored in a cool environment, away from direct sunlight. Wood pellets can be stored indoors, so long it's dry and moisture-free, as humidity will affect the burn quality of the organic material.
  • 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. 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. 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 setup 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. Do carry out an assessment on your surroundings if you do hang your heat source from a height. 
  • Extra perks A patio heater that is portable – whether that means it has wheels or can be easily dismantled – 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. 

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.

Alex Temblador
Freelance writer

Alex Temblador is a Dallas-based award-winning author and freelance writer that has covered home, design, architecture, and art in publications like Real Homes, Gardeningetc, Home & Gardens, Dwell, Architectural Digest, Artsy, Neighborhoods.com, Culture Trip. 

With contributions from