Planning a New Year’s celebration in the outdoors? Hosting a swanky soiree in the cold air can either be a cozy affair or a frigid experience. The right outdoor patio heater, however, can instantly add ambience and warmth to your patio space, deck, shed or barn.
Propane heaters are a great solution for heating outdoor spaces, but you have to know what you want first. While they’re easy to use and eco friendly, gas patio heaters, of course, come in all makes and sizes. There’s also a significant price difference between commercial grade and consumer grade patio heaters..
If you’re looking for a quality patio heater, we’ve got ten of the absolute best options, chosen by the home and outdoor experts at Fire Food Chef. In these detailed outdoor patio heater reviews, we look at the specifications and features of each of our top picks.
Golden Flame Patio Heater (XL-Series)
Why is it better?
Last Updated: March 20, 2020
By William Clay: This article has been updated to reflect the most accurate information regarding outdoor patio heaters available for those who are interested in keeping their patio warm during chilly/cold nights. The best 10 available have changed, and information has been added to assist individuals in finding the best outdoor patio heater currently available on the market.
Matte-Mocha, 46,000 BTU with Wheels (Propane Gas)
What We Like...
What We Like...
87” inch Tall Premium Standing Outdoor Heater with Drink Shelf Tabletop - Auto Shut Off Portable Power Heater with Simple Ignition System, Wheels and Base Reservoir
What We Like...
88 Inches Tall Standing Patio Heater with Cover, Hammered Bronze
Review Rating: 4.7 / 5 Stars
If you’re looking for a powerful, commercial grade patio heater for your bistro patio, poolside, or spacious backyard garden, the tall standing PamaPic Commercial Gas Outdoor Heater is priced just right. Stable, durable, and stylish, the PamaPic combines ease of use and amazing performance into one great unit.
Standing at 88 inches in height, this outdoor gas heater is actually an inch taller than the Golden Flame XL Series, rated the best outdoor patio heater. The 32” inch diameter reflector at the top allows for a more even distribution of heat and is particularly useful in a ‘standing room only’ outdoor space. With a range of 20 sq. ft, you can heat an 18’ x 18’ sq ft area to a comfortable ambient temperature, even in windy conditions.
Thanks to the advanced, pilotless, Piezo ignition system, you don’t have to worry about the pilot going out. The ignition is extremely reliable and works instantly even after months of inactivity in storage. With a standard 20 pound propane cylinder, you can enjoy 8 - 10 hours of heat on the low - medium setting. Positioning the PamaPic Gas Outdoor Heater is made easy thanks to the wheels that attach to the base.
Like all PamaPic patio heaters, the 46000 BTU Commercial Gas Outdoor Heater is made of high-quality stainless steel, coated with powder on the outside. A weather proof cover made of high strength nylon fabric with PVC water-resistant backing is also included for further protection.
Overall, the PamaPic offers commercial grade value at a price that won’t break your bank account. It’s quite tall so you’ll need a space with ample clearance, and if used in a standing room area it will provide sufficient warmth and ambience for you and your guests.
Propane Standing LP Gas Steel w/Accessories, Bronze
Review Rating: 4.6 / 5 Stars
CSA certified for safety, the FDW Patio Garden Outdoor Heater is another extremely tall gas heater designed for outdoor use only. The hammered bronze finish is elegant and rustic at the same time, making it ideal for garden parties, large patio decks, or a restaurant patio.
Capable of 41,000 BTU’s, the FDW outdoor patio heater has a large reflector at the top of its 88.6 inch pole. The circular reflector serves to direct heat downward and around, ensuring the maximum surface area is covered for keeping you and your guests warm.
As it’s built for outdoors, the FDW Patio Garden Outdoor Heater is made entirely of stainless steel, treated for rust protection and weatherproof. The storage base holds a 20 lb propane gas cylinder, with the necessary connector.
While the assembly is fairly straightforward and easy to do, the ignition system is not the most user-friendly option out there. You have to turn the gas on half way, until you hear it start to flow or hiss as it moves through the tube. Then, press the gas knob in and push the pilot button simultaneously to ignite. It’s not much different from starting a gas grill but not as convenient as some of the other top picks in this patio heater review.
Once it gets going, however, you won’t be disappointed in the heat output. It’s not as powerful as the top pick, but generates heat very quickly. You need to be within 5 ft, however, to really feel the warmth, especially if conditions are windy.
Ultimately, the compares favorably in many ways with the best outdoor patio heaters, but isn’t as powerful. As such, it’s priced lower to reflect the difference in BTU output. So if you need to heat an outdoor space that is 5ft x 5 ft, theFDW Patio Garden Outdoor Heater is a great solution.
4,000-9,000-BTU Indoor-Safe Portable Propane Radiant Heater, Red-Black
Review Rating: 4.6 / 5 Stars
Previously, the selections in this review have been focused on freestanding outdoor gas patio heaters. If you want a portable gas heater that’s more compact, more portable, and still powerful, you should take a look at this next pick, the Mr. Heater MH9BX Buddy Portable Radiant Heater.
Made by Enerco, this red-black propane radiant space heater puts out between 4,000-9,000-BTU, which is adequate for heating a 200 sq. ft space such as the inside of a large camping tent, a poorly insulated room in your cottage, or below decks on your yacht.
At half the cost of a standing gas heater, the Mr. Heater is really made for portability, convenience and heat. The piezo ignition system takes all the hassle out of getting it started, which is great when your fingers are cold and you need instant heat! On a standard 1 pound propane gas canister, you can run it for as long as 4 hours or more without needing to refuel.
You may find the Tip Over sensor is very sensitive and can be easily triggered by the slightest movement of the unit. A swivel regulator gives you the ability to adapt usage from a disposable cylinder to a remote gas supply with the purchase of a hose and filter.
Since it can be used indoors, the Mr Heater MH9BX also includes an Oxygen Depletion Sensor (ODS) to warn you of carbon monoxide. So whether you need to heat a tent, camper, job site, porches, patio, deck, your garage, or a storage building, this portable radiant gas heater is a great bargain.
with Wheel LP Propane Heat CSA Certified, Hammered Bronze
Review Rating: 4.2 / Stars
Heavy duty construction, modern design, and a powerful BTU output are the hallmarks of the BELLEZE 48,000BTU Premium Outdoor Patio Heater. This is the kind of patio heater that adds warmth and ambience to just about any outdoor space. Whether it’s a park, a garden, a poolside, patio, or spacious backyard, the Belleze Premium is a worthwhile investment as an outdoor heating source.
The Belleze Premium features a stainless steel construction with a rustic, hammered bronze finish that hides scuffs well. Some basic assembly is required (there are about 10 parts in total) but the user manual gives fairly straightforward directions. At 86 inches in height, it’s quite tall so be sure that you have enough clearance overhead from rooftops, eaves, tree branches, or other possible obstructions.
Depending your level of expertise, you may find the assembly directions are helpful but attaching the reflector is a bit time consuming. There’s a plastic film layer you have to peel off, and the screws and nuts used to attach it can easily cross thread. Once assembled, this tall outdoor patio heater is easy to light, and seems to put out an impressive amount of heat. You’ll also notice that it’s very quiet, and the entire burner seems to light evenly with a nice flame.
Perhaps the only real drawback is the ignition system, which takes a little getting used to. It’s not a piezo system, so you have to get a sufficient flow of gas first, then press the igniter as you’re turning the control knob - much like a gas bbq grill.
Unlike some other gas heaters, however, the pilot light is consistent and reliable. So you won’t have to fight with it for five minutes every time you want to start it.
All in all, this is a great alternative to a commercial grade patio heater. You get most of the same great features minus the high-grade construction materials. The Belleze Premium will get the job done for a bit less money than the top pick.
Large, Hammered Silver
Review Rating: 4.2 / 5 Stars
For the most part the Hiland HLDS01-WCBT works as advertised. The hammered silver finish over the powder coated stainless steel construction is attractive and durable enough to withstand outdoor weather.
Rain, snow, sleet, or hail, the Hiland Propane Patio Heater will keep its appearance well. It’s also very sturdy, with a weight bladder attached to the base for added stability in high winds. The concealed storage compartment accommodates a 20 pound propane gas tank, which connects to the powerful stainless steel burner.
With 48,000BTU’s of heat at your disposal, the Hiland HLDS01-WCBT compares favorably with the best outdoor patio heater in this review, the Golden Flame XL Series. On the high setting, you can feel the warmth from 10 - 12 feet away, made possible by the wide umbrella reflector at the very top, which directs heat down and distributes it evenly for optimal outdoor comfort.
Even in subzero temperatures, you’ll be comfortably warm standing under or near this sturdy, outdoor patio heater. You can rest a drink on the adjustable table for added convenience, or roll it into place by tilting it onto the wheels on the base. If it does fall over, the Hiland’s auto shut off protection feature kicks in to turn the heater off and prevent further harm.
If there is any serious flaw to the Hiland Propane Patio Heater, it’s the ignition system. It can be a hassle trying to get the pilot light going. At least, it rarely lights on the first try because the tiny hole can easily become obstructed in the outdoors by dirt, dust, and other minuscule debris. There may also be a fault with the design of the thermocouple.
Apart from the difficulty of igniting it, the Hiland HLDS01-WCBT is still one of the best outdoor patio heaters on the market. It’s also priced lower than the top pick in our review, so if the Golden Flame is just out of your price range, the Hiland is a worthy alternative.
Pyramid Style w/Dancing Flame (Floor Standing) - Stainless Steel
Review Rating: 4.1 / 5 Stars
For those of you searching for an alternative to the umbrella design, the pyramid style Thermo Tiki Deluxe Propane Outdoor Patio Heater could be just what you’re looking for. Modern-looking and stylish, this 38,000BTU outdoor heater makes a great outdoor heating source for your pool deck, outdoor patio, or cozy garden.
Standing at 90” inches in height, this is the tallest freestanding outdoor patio in this review. You’ll need to make sure you have sufficient clearing in your backyard, garden, or patio beforehand. Moving it around is easy thanks to the wheels on the base, and it has a concealed storage reservoir in the base for a standard 20 lb propane gas cylinder.
With its weather-resistant components which include a rust, fade and corrosion-resistant finish, the Thermo Tiki Deluxe is certain to last you several years. It’s built for extreme outdoor conditions, but you should definitely try to cover it when not in use.
Much of the construction is a blend of stainless steel and aluminum, which aren’t quite as sturdy as any of the top three picks in this review, for example. Considering that the Thermo Tiki Deluxe is more expensive than the Golden Flame XL or the AmazonBasic, you’d be justified in expecting higher quality steel parts and construction.
That being said, the Thermo Tiki’s open flame design is unique compared to other types of outdoor heaters. It’s actually mesmerizing to watch the flame dancing in its ceramic-glass heating column. At peak temperature, it produces 38,000 BTU’s, which does an adequate job if you’re standing within 15 inches of the unit.
Overall, if you’re looking for an attractive, stylish outdoor heating source for a small, outdoor space, the Thermo Tiki is a good choice, but not the best choice. It’s more expensive than any of our top picks, with less BTUs and a much more limited field of heat. The open flame in the ceramic-glass tubing is its most attractive feature.
Visual Flame Heater 40,000BTU (Stainless Steel)
Review Rating: 3.9 / 5 Stars
Comparable in price to the Thermo Tiki Deluxe, the LEGACY HEATING Quartz Glass Tube Patio Heater is a 40,000 BTU outdoor patio heater. Designed for use with any standard 20lb propane tank, this stylish heater is accented by the central quartz glass tube with its visual flame. Placed on your backyard patio or pool deck, it’s sure to get guests talking and mouths awe-ing.
Made with durable, commercial-quality components and a corrosion-resistant finish, the Legacy Heating Quartz Glass Tube Patio Heater stands 88 inches tall, with wheels on the base for portability. An easy access door in the base of the unit neatly conceals the propane tank, and makes refueling a painless experience.
At 40,000 BTU’s, it’s slightly more powerful than the 38,000BTU Thermo Tiki Deluxe. On the other hand, It can’t compare to the heat output of the 48,000BTU Golden Flame XL series for example. Due to the height and position of the burner, you need to be standing in close proximity to the Legacy if you really want to feel the heat.
Although its pyramid design is stable, and the construction quality is durable, this patio heater is best suited for small outdoor spaces where there is standing room only. You may need to purchase more than one to sufficiently heat a 5ft x 5ft outdoor space with poor insulation, for instance.
One of the most important factors in sizing the right patio heater is btu output. BTU is a universal unit for measuring the heat output of heating appliances such as space heaters, furnaces, BBQ grills, gas stoves, and patio heaters . The higher the BTU, the more heat the unit produces.
You can find furnaces and even grills with BTU output as high as 100,000, but how many BTU’s do you actually need to keep sufficiently warm?
Square footage is the next most important factor in sizing your patio heater. A heater with 100,000 BTU’s, for example, would be more than you need to heat a 1000 sq ft outdoor space. On the other hand, 27,000 BTU’s would not sufficiently heat a 1000 sq ft space that was poorly insulated, but it would work in an enclosed space with adequate insulation.
BTU CALCULATOR BY SQUARE FOOTAGE CHART (Approx) 
Sq Footage (Approx)
200 or less
400 or less
600 or less
800 or less
1. Outdoor Fire Pit
If wood burning is banned in your area but you still want the feel of a fireplace, an outdoor fire pit is a viable alternative. Gas and propane fire pits are, in fact, increasingly becoming more popular because of their reduced carbon footprint .
Portable and low cost, a fire pit is designed to sit low on the ground. It can be custom built or bought in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. Shop around and you’ll find one that suits both your budget and decor.
2. Portable Patio Heater Or Lamp
For an elegant outdoor event such as a wedding reception, anniversary, or formal gathering, a portable patio heater or patio lamp is a great option. Designed and shaped like a lamp, their elongated shape is topped by a metal reflector shade that directs heat downward. Their slender shape makes them easy to place in corners or as the centerpiece to a stylish outdoor setting.
There are a wide selection ofI portable patio heaters on the market. The vast majority require liquid propane fuel, but capacity and BTU output will vary. No electricity is required to operate one, and their metal construction makes them highly durable. You will need to restock the propane tank when it runs out, however, which adds to the cost of operation.
Perhaps the biggest challenge is storage. Due to their height, patio lamps and patio heaters need to be disassembled for easy storage. Fortunately, most brands of the best patio heater are quite easy to put together, with DIY components and instructions included.
A chimenea is an outdoor, freestanding fireplace. Similar in concept and design to a potbelly furnace, the furnace pit is bulbous shaped, with a front-loading aperture for loading logs. They come in other shapes as well, but all include a tall, vertical smoke stack or vent.
These lightweight, portable furnaces can be set up in just about any outdoor space. You can find charming, terra cotta chimeneas with designs, or chimeneas with metal parts that require assembly. Cast iron and aluminum options are also available.
Due to its potbelly design, a chimenea can even be used to provide warmth outdoors under rainy conditions. Heat is controlled in the same way as a wood burning stove or fireplace, by adding logs.
4. Heated Flooring
Exterior flooring can be heated with the help of a professional service. Like interior heated floors, a heating system is installed under the flooring of your patio or deck. Heated floors use radiant heat powered by electricity to warm the floor surface .
With radiant heated floors safely installed, you can easily melt away snow and ice from your deck or patio. You’ll find that the most typical operating temperature range for radiant floor heating systems is between 85-140 °F (30-60C). They’re not designed to retain heat as well as a furnace however, so they can be a significant source of energy use in your home.
At an average of $5 - $8 per square footage, it can be costly to install as well as to operate and maintain.
This post was last updated on April 3rd, 2020 at 03:08 pm
William Clay is a BBQ enthusiast dedicated to sharing his grilling (and overall cooking) expertise with FireFoodChef's readers.