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  • Writer's pictureMegan MacGregor

I Tested And Ranked The Best Outdoor Patio Heaters In 2024

I’m from Florida, so trust me when I say that I can’t stand the cold. I tested the best outdoor patio heaters to keep you warm when the temperatures drop during your next outdoor hang out.

best outdoor patio heaters

FYI, prices and ratings are accurate as of time of writing.


1. Amazon Basics - 46,000 BTU Propane Patio Heater with Wheels

Top-rated: 11,573 ratings


best outdoor patio heaters

Credit: Amazon.com


Highlight: One-touch ignition button for quick start ups.

Helpful review: "I purchased this particular patio heater after having considered a number of other ones on Amazon and other web sites. One of the reasons for purchasing this one was the availability of the Sable Brown color. Another factor was that we live in a very windy area, and I was concerned about the heater blowing over. Some units do not have the ability to weigh the base with water or sand, but this one does.
Assembly was very easy, but time consuming. Because of my concern for the unit tipping over in the wind, especially if the propane tank is nearing empty, I decided to fill the base with sand. Water would have been SO much easier, believe me, but sand is about 60% heavier by volume than water, so for me it was worth the effort.
About the only negative comment I have concerning this unit is that the fill hole in the base could be larger to make sand filling easier. Just filling the base took me about an hour. I would have to use a small cup to scoop up sand from a bag and then try to get it in the small hole. As the base filled up, I kept reaching in with a few fingers and pushing the sand away from the hole to compact it against the sides of the base. I was able to fill the base with about 80% of a 0.5 cu ft bag, so about 40 pounds of sand.
The instructions were excellent - great pictures and easy to follow. I did not use their provided 'wrench', but my own socket set. The quality of materials is excellent - all painted items appear to be powder-coated. The unit has two wheels to allow the unit to be easily positioned.
The first time you use this, the unit will smoke a bit for about 10 minutes or so, most likely burning off chemicals used during manufacturing. It lights very easily, within a few seconds. Of course, they recommend that you use the shutoff valve on your tank every time you finish using the heater. If you are the type of person who always follows every safety recommendation because some lawyer made them put it in the manual, you may get annoyed by having to lift up the tank cover every time you want to shut off the gas.
Some other units have an access hole in the tank cover, but this one does not. The tank cover must be lifted up on the pole to get to the valve or to change the tank. There is a plastic ring around the hole in the tank cover to prevent it from scratching the pole when you raise or lower it. As for me, I will not be shutting off the valve every time I use it. If you have tested your tank installation and verified there are no leaks at the tank, it is really unnecessary, and actually you are more likely to cause a leak if you are continually messing with the tank every time you use the heater.
The unit puts out a lot of heat. You will not be sitting out in shorts and a T-shirt when it's 32 degrees out, but on cool nights in the 50s, you can definitely be outside without a jacket on. So I highly recommend this unit based on my limited experience with it, and will post an update if I encounter any issues that would affect my rating." — Kory Honeyager

Get it from Amazon now: $149.99 & FREE Returns

 

2. Cuisinart - 11,000 BTU Outdoor Tabletop Propane Heater

Top-rated: 1,007 ratings


best outdoor patio heaters

Credit: Amazon.com


Highlight: Safety Tilt Switch will automatically shut down the heater in case it's knocked over.

Helpful review: "SO easy to assemble! I had it done in 20 minutes! I don't know what other people bought that said it took hours, or that the blue protective film was hard to remove! Maybe they lit the heater and THEN realized they should've removed it first!! It peeled off in t seconds! This table top Cuisinart Heater MORE than heats my 6'x13.5' front porch, set on med heat level on a 45° night. It's as if it added another room to the house now that fall nights are so cozy there! Can't wait for colder times to come! HIGHLY RECOMMEND!
We now use this under a deck and it can get quite warm. Rather than using the small cartridges, we purchased a large canister so they travel together. I also purchased the cover. Starting it can be tricky at first. Read the instructions literally. My partner has no issue but I am still learning the technique. Basically, hold into position until it lights then back off. I am still a bit confused if you hold it pushed in or …. play around with it.
MY FRIEND’S REVIEW:
We bought this for our outside sitting area to keep us warm on cold nights! This thing is heavy, the box was bulky and difficult to move around. Assembly however, was very easy. This is rather large, after everything “snaps'' together; but it is well worth it! This thing puts out some serious heat that can be felt by many in a fairly decent radius. With one tank, it’s enough propane to keep the party going for several weekends. This is a very smart buy, when looking to take back the evening in my backyard. Doesn’t look too bad either. The sturdy built design isn’t going to let it tip over (not too heavy at all). And the wheels make it easy to move around for short distances. So this is great EXCEPT the igniter only worked for the first couple times we turned it on! We now need to hold an actual lighter to it to work which is not very safe!! We have had a few of these heaters and it’s the same problem with all of them! We decided to keep this one for when we go camping and we bought another outside heater that works way better!! It’s definitely durable, just has the lighting problem!
A FEW WORDS FROM A NEIGHBOR:
My twin nephews (10 yrs old) helped me assemble this. I had two goals in mind. First, to see how adept they are at problem solving, Second, to see just how easy it was to assemble. Both were achieved. It was easy to assemble. They could tell by the shape of the parts where and how everything went together. Heat output is fine. Just enough for taking off the chill of those cooler evenings. In comparison to others like it on the market, I like the appearance of this one the best. I also bought the OEM vinyl cover for it. Very nice addition. The coldest we used it was 44 degrees with no wind, and it was comfortable, even though we both get cold pretty easily. We bought this because we didn't want to be lugging around one of those big tanks, and it's easy to just pick up and bring inside easily. LP tanks should always be stored outside, so we bought one of those small plastic outdoor storage boxes and can easily keep 6 canisters in it. I would recommend both to anyone. The heater and cover that is." — Laura Moore

Get it from Amazon now: $149.99 & FREE Returns

 

3. EAST OAK - 48,000 BTU Stainless Steel Burner with Wheels

Top-rated: 434 ratings


best outdoor patio heaters

Credit: Amazon.com


Highlight: As some parts are assembled in advance, installation can be completed in 30 minutes.

Helpful review: "I recently had a pool installed in my backyard. Living in Las Vegas, a patio heater is not needed during the summer. However, it does get cold during the late fall and winter. I ordered the East Oak Patio Heater because I was looking for a way to improve the comfort of my backyard during the colder months. Overall, this is a really nice, high quality patio heater that gives off a good amount of heat. I've rated East Oak Patio Heater 5 stars based on the following:
PROS:
1) The instructions were easy to follow, and all the hardware was provided for a successful installation. The hardware was good quality. Each piece of hardware included one "spare" over and above what was required for installation. This is really nice in the event you lose a bolt or strip the threading. The hardware kit also came with a basic wrench. Installation was pretty easy. From start to finish it took about 45 minutes. I highly recommend you scrap the wrench that was provided and use a socket or ratcheting wrench for installation. It will make your life a lot easier and speed up the installation process.
2) There is a "certificate of authenticity" card provided with the heater that offers a 3 year warranty provided that you register the heater within 90 days.
3) The wheels on the heater make it really easy to move the heater from one place to another. The heater was a lot lighter than I expected, so mobility was definitely a plus.
4) Operating the patio heater was extremely easy. I connected the propane tank, turned the knob to the "on'' position, pressed the ignitor and it started right up. No issues at all, and the flame stays lit the entire time, even with it being pretty windy outside when I tested the heater.
5) At the time I tested the heater it was about 95 degrees outside. This heater gives off a ton of heat. The description states that it generates an 18 foot diameter of heat from its central heating position. I will need to re-evaluate the diameter during the winter when it is cold outside, and then I will update the review.
6) The heater is good quality and looks great! I really like the stainless steel round table giving it more function than just a patio heater.
CONS:
1) The propane tank is secured by a typical nylon strap that wraps around the leg support brackets (picture included). I moved the heater around my backyard and the propane tank stayed in place, so for that reason I didn't lower the star rating. However, it isn't the best design. It would be a much better design if there was a metal base to securely hold the propane tank in place, similar to what you see with a BBQ grill. The propane tank literally just sits on the base plate of the heater without anything securing it in place other than the strap. I can see the strap becoming worn out over time and/or the joining plastic clip breaking with ongoing use. For the price, it really should have a better design.
2) It is nice that the patio heater has an "anti-tilt" protection feature. There are 3 anchoring arms that are bolted into the patio heater. For the price, it would have been nice if the bolts and anchors were included to mount the patio heater to the ground. Not a huge deal, but you will need to make a trip to your local hardware store to buy the bolts to properly secure this heater to the ground so it doesn't tip over." — Brian Reed

Get it from Amazon now: $149.99 & FREE Returns

 

4. Mr. Heater - 18,000 BTU Big Buddy Portable Propane Heater

Top-rated: 4,313 ratings


best outdoor patio heaters

Credit: Amazon.com


Highlight: Heats up to 450 sq. ft.

Helpful review: "This heater does work very well and might have gotten 5 stars from me except for one thing. I have another of these Big Buddys and they have always (for many years until now) had a low power but very functional squirrel cage type blower built inside the top of the unit. It does increase the efficiency quite a bit by directing wasted heat out the front. This blower runs on batteries or on an a/c adapter. The a/c adapters are still shown as a recommended additional item to go with the new heaters.
The new heater I ordered indeed has a battery compartment door. It was frustrating to try to remove the battery door normally with the spring clip release as it simply would not release. Finally I used small screw driver to pry it and discovered it was actually glued on, and then it popped off. Inside was a battery compartment with battery placement instructions but with no terminals and the a/c adapter plug hole is simply filled with silicone.
Upon inspecting the inside through the top vents I could see a blower housing with no blower. I called Mr. Heater and was told a BS story of how "tariffs" "forced" them to not include a blower but then not tell anyone it no longer was included. I told the agent they should have just charged $10 or whatever more instead of secretly degrading a previously great product and blaming "tariffs" and pretending there was no change. I returned the unit and located last year's model at a local hardware store which has a blower and it certainly does work better with the blower as I had both types functioning to test.
These are fairly wind stable also as the glowing panels will relight the pilot in a pretty stiff breeze, but if the direct wind is real strong the pilot can be extinguished, but the unit will safely just shut off. Note that these are surprisingly far more wind stable than the bare Mr Heater tank top heaters which a medium strong wind can cause a scary "flame out" overheating malfunction where the whole thing roars and turns red hot, not safe at all.
There are lots of the old model red Big Buddys out there still with blowers. The gray Big Buddys all have blowers too. It works OK with no blower, but they are better with blower. Stop recommending the a/c adapter to go with the new no-blower ones.
MY FRIEND’S REVIEW:
I ordered this unit for the garage that can also be used indoors as a backup in the event of a power failure. In doing my research, I was surprised to find so many negative reviews for this unit not having a fan. To help the folks trying to decide what to get, there are 2 types of heaters. Radiant heaters, and forced-air heaters. This is clearly a radiant heater, as noted in the description. It radiates heat like a campfire. The forced-air heaters blow heat like an oversized hair dryer. For those who want to use a 20 lb propane tank for their unit, save yourself the headache and get the Big Buddy model and use the attachment for fitting into the dedicated 3/8" quick disconnect to run a LOW PRESSURE hose from tank to unit. DO NOT USE the hose adapter designed for the Buddy Portable (smaller model) with the HIGH PRESSURE hose and in-line hose filter on the Big Buddy. This unit gets -1 star because the user manual does not make that clear, and many people have been mislead online." — Rick Tillerson

Get it from Amazon now: $118.88 & FREE Returns

 

5. Pamapic - 48,000 BTU Pyramid Quartz-Glass Heater

Top-rated: 2,037 ratings


best outdoor patio heaters

Credit: Amazon.com


Highlight: Unique, high-end pyramid design.

Helpful review: "Recently my husband and I went to a winter/Christmas event that was mainly outdoors, but they had the barn set up with tables and activities for kids. So this barn had very tall ceilings and they even had stalls and doors open. I was bracing myself as we went in thinking it was going to be no warmer than outside. Well, I was wrong. When we got into the 'open' barn, we saw they had numerous large heaters like this one set up throughout. I couldn't believe how comfortable the temperature was.
As we were leaving, I told my husband I was buying one of those heaters. I have no idea what brand they had, but I chose this one because the color goes with our deck furniture and paint. We have ours on our deck and I prefer this heater over our small fire pit now. Aesthetically, it's pleasing and the warmth the heater gives off is quite good. I even turn ours on when we have the hot tub going. A hot tub is awesome in the cold weather but getting out can be a total shock to the system. I have this near where our hot tub is located and it makes the transition bearable.
In the huge barn we visited they had multiple, but I have found that for our home, one is all we need. I also prefer this outdoor heater over the open flame of the fire pit now because I feel like this is safer for animals and children to be around.
I set about assembling the heater which was pretty straight-forward although you do have to read the manual (and this from someone who rarely does). It took about an hour by myself (some reviews have said you need 2 people but I had no problems doing it alone) and then I got a new propane tank and fired it up.
PROS:
- Produces lovely glowing light.
- Controllable heat level.
- Warms up to 8-10 feet radius.
- Quiet.
- Made from high-quality parts.
CONS:
- Tall and takes up at least a 6 square foot area to run (you don't want to be that close to it).
- Wheel design could be better (difficult to move with wheels as there is only a small angle where the wheels touch the ground).
- Can be intimidating to start the first time as you need to push the burner button in to ignite the pilot.
- There are a lot of parts and two types of them that look very similar.
- Some of the screw positions are difficult to get your screw-driver behind.
So far, I'm happy with this heater and very appreciative of the super responsive customer service. I actually bumped up my rating to 5 stars because I was so impressed with the service." — Katie Raskin

Get it from Amazon now: $189.99 & FREE Returns

 

6. Dr Infrared - Carbon Infrared Outdoor Heater

Top-rated: 4,710 ratings


best outdoor patio heaters

Credit: Amazon.com


Highlight: Comes with a remote control and 3 power settings (900W, 1200W, and 1500W).

Helpful review: "I bought this for my open, backyard, covered patio. The ceiling is ~10 ft. tall. I can sit directly under the heater and feel a nice blanket of warmth at any setting L1-L3. I will say that when it gets windy out, the effectiveness lessens but that's to be expected. If you have higher ceilings than this in an outdoor patio and/or a lot of wind passing through, you will probably be disappointed by the heat transfer.
The GOOD:
- Mounting brackets while cheap are effective, easy to install and allow slight swiveling of the direction.
- Does not put out tons of light, it's very secluded looking per se. Many other models shine bright like the sun, this one does not.
- Has 3 heat settings.
- Has a remote control.
The BAD:
- The remote control is a bit unresponsive at times and very cheaply made.
- When the remote doesn't work, there is a button on the unit but it doesn't seem to turn it off?
- The cord isn't long so be prepared to connect an industrial extension cord + run the cord either through the ceiling of your patio or across and down the wall to an outlet without it hanging dangerously.
- Wind basically kills its effectiveness.
The UNKNOWN:
Life of the unit: I've been using this regularly for almost a month now but making sure I use it in say 15-30 min intervals and turn it off. Hopefully it has a long life when used this way.
Withstanding weather: The heating elements are not fully enclosed within the unit. It's an "open" heating element behind a cage situation. I live in Seattle. So I worry that natural moisture over time may break it, time will tell.
My electric bill: It will be another month of use or so before I see how much power it actually draws/how much it costs in electricity to use the unit within the manner I have.
Hopefully this review helps. I will say lastly that if it does work in your particular area, it's way better than having to fill propane tanks every month to keep a lantern type heater alive.
A FEW WORDS FROM A FRIEND:
In case it is not clear from the picture on what I did, I mounted the heater to a 2x4 and put it in a bucket and filled the bucket with rocks to weigh it down. I am sure that the manufacturer would not approve of this mounting method, but for a variety of reasons this was a better setup for me than mounting it to the wall.
I live in a condo building so mounting anything to the outside of the building was a no go. Just as importantly, you need to be pretty close to the device to feel the heat. Maybe if I had a covered or semi enclosed area it would be able to trap some of the heat, but I am using this on an open patio. There is no way if I mounted it the 8 feet off the ground like they tell you to, that I would be able to feel much of anything.
I wanted the ability to move/reposition it. I can move the bucket easy enough and as long as I can get power to it, I have warmth. This means if I have some people over, we can position it and or move it throughout the night to make sure everyone stays warm. It also means that I can have it next to me while I am sitting down on my patio furniture or I can reposition it for when I am grilling or working on something else outside.
In conclusion, this thing does not put out a ton of heat, but it is a noticeable heat if you are close enough (a few feet). Considering as of right now all of the gas/propane heaters are out of stock due to COVID, this is the next best option. Mounting it in a bucket made it much more effective and flexible.
IMPORTANT NOTE:
The manufacturer wants you to mount it high for a reason - it gets hot. I do not have any children that are going to be near it and will be responsible about making sure that things do not get too close to it. Although the front grates (and glass under it) get very hot, so far the sides and back of the unit have never gotten hot enough that I couldn't touch them. All this being said, please use your own judgment about whether this setup makes sense for your situation." — Eric Cooper

Get it from Amazon now: $126.99 & FREE Returns

 

7. Buyplus - Portable Electric Garage Heater

Top-rated: 1,062 ratings


best outdoor patio heaters

Credit: Amazon.com


Highlight: Heats up quickly (in 3 seconds).

Helpful review: "I was a little concerned about this heater after reading some of the reviews, but decided I'd give it a try. Glad I did as it has proven to be an outstanding little heater for my 6x4x8 greenhouse.
Normally, we only have a few days in the winter where temps drop into the 20s (F) for a week or so. This year we dropped down to 9.5F, a record low. I was concerned for my greenhouse plants. But this heater, which was only set on 750w kept the greenhouse at 30.5F was well above what I needed for my overwintering semi-perennials (which can tolerate down to 25F for a short period). I increased the setting to 1500w and the heater then kept the greenhouse at a steady 65F - outstanding performance for the price; especially considering the environment and the record low outside temperatures.
It might have exceeded 65F, but I was using my z-wave home automation system with a temperature sensor to turn the heater on and off remotely to keep the temperatures between 40F and 65F. If you need a small 750/1500w electric heater for your shop, garage, or greenhouse I highly recommend this one.
MY NEIGHBOR’S REVIEW:
We initially got this heater back in March -April. It worked great, was really doing the job and beyond. About 6 weeks into using it daily it stopped working. I submitted my review still loving it but a bit sour as I was hoping it would have more life in it. We were pleasantly surprised as a result of the review we received a replacement one free of charge. Thank you so very much. We love it and what I truly appreciated is that our feedback went to the manufacturer and we received a replacement heater. It is ideal for small spaces and works really well. I use it in my office and it really heats up the place as well as any brand-name heater. I recommend this product w/o hesitation.
A FEW WORDS FROM A FRIEND:
We bought 2 canopies that have sides for our deck and over our hot tub. They are side by side 8x8 so it makes a room about 16x8. This heater is small and light to bring in and out easily. But the canopies are not 100% sealed off. There are gaps so the cold gets in. So this heater is good, but not quite powerful enough to heat this area. I would need 2. But if it was a real room or small garage that would hold the heat, it would be great!" — Alicia Simionoiu

Get it from Amazon now: $59.99 & FREE Returns

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