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How Good Are Patio Heaters?

Cooler evenings become the norm as the summer season turns to fall. But it seems that no one is ready for the long summer nights to end. Many homeowners still want to enjoy a cold one with family or friends.

Patio heaters are suitable for these homeowners as they can help create a comfortable outdoor environment, allowing them to make extended use of their revamped backyard patios, porches, decks, and outdoor living spaces.

Patio heaters are perfect for enjoying that morning cuppa outdoors and enjoying nature on crisp mornings, family meals on the patio or deck, for creating a comfortable entertainment area for gatherings, and parties, or even if you are a smoker who has to smoke outside in the cold.

What Are Patio Heaters?

Patio heaters are outdoor heating appliances that use a specific heat transfer method, known as radiant heat, to provide warmth to the surrounding objects. The radiant heat is efficient, clean, and draft-free.

It produces energy waves that become heat when they come in contact with a solid object. Since radiant heat is transferred directly to an object or person, the warmth created does not get carried away by the wind, hence making patio heaters the most efficient way to heat an outdoor space.

Patio heaters generally come equipped with a reflector panel that is a dome-shaped or curved piece of metal located on top or behind the heating unit. It reflects heat to the areas around it.

Benefits of Patio Heaters

There are a number of obvious benefits of patio heaters. These include (but not limited to) the following:

  • Your outdoor space will be warm and enjoyable.
  • You will get to create more wonderful moments with friends and family.
  • You will get to experience the changing of all the seasons.
  • You will be able to use your outdoor space more often.
  • No installation costs of propane heaters.
  • They are portable.

Do Patio Heaters Work in the Winter?

Yes. Patio heaters that generate sufficient radiant heat are capable of providing warmth and comfort throughout the winter season even when there is a light drizzle or there is cold wind constantly blowing.

However, keep in mind that patio heaters won’t protect you from the rain or snow. To remedy this, you will need to have a patio umbrella or a covered patio so that you are protected from the weather while the heaters keep you warm.

Are Gas or Electric Patio Heaters Better?

Patio heaters are available in different fuel types. Two of the primary and most popular options include gas and electric patio heaters. You can fuel gas patio heaters with natural gas or propane, while electric heaters only require an electrical connection to operate.

Gas Patio Heaters in Winter

Gas patio heaters emit some radiant heat. However, most of that heat is wasted in the convection process when the air tends to warm up as it rises. Warm air is not very effective because it usually dissipates before it gets to you.

Gas-powered heaters available on the market nowadays are more portable and typically very easy to set up. You can put them in any suitable location. Just make sure they are not close to any combustible material.

Electric Patio Heaters in Winter

Electric patio heaters are relatively more popular thanks to the improvements in heating technology. Modern electric-powered heaters emit a lot of heat without any unpleasant glare.

They are suitable for outdoor use and are relatively more efficient as opposed to most gas patio heaters. The reason behind it is that electric patio heaters transmit heat more effectively at shorter wavelengths.

Electric patio heaters that rely on infrared heat consume less energy while heating the air, giving them greater effectiveness and range outdoors.

What Styles Are Available?

Patio heaters are available in four primary styles. Each style has its own set of features. Read on to learn about them.

Also, check the following articles:


Free-Standing Patio Heaters

  • Generally available as gas heaters
  • Tilt-switch equipped
  • Hide LP tank
  • Portable


Fire Sense Hammer Tone Bronze Patio Heater

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Wall/Ceiling Mounted Patio Heaters


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  • Available as electric or gas heaters
  • Mount on ceiling or wall
  • Easier to operate
  • Require less space


COSTWAY Wall-Mounted Patio Heater, 1500W Adjustable Infrared Heater with 24H Timer, 3 Modes, Quiet 3s Instant Heat, Quiet, Remote Control, Easy Install Stand, for Outdoor, Home, Backyard

Click image to view on Amazon



Flush-Mount/Recessed Patio Heaters

  • Available as electric heaters
  • Hardwired
  • Sit flush with the ceiling
  • Can be grouped into heating zones


Infratech WD-Series Dual Element Stainless Steel 61.25" 6000 Watt Electric Outdoor Heaters

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Ground/Post Mount Patio Heaters

  • Available as natural gas heaters
  • Mount in ground
  • Never run out of fuel
  • Permanent

Things to Consider When Choosing a Patio Heater

There are a number of things you should consider when choosing a patio heater. These include the following:

  • First, think about the size of the area that needs to be heated. You will need a heater with a powerful output if you have a large space.
  • Also, consider the safety of your patio heater. Make sure that it meets the minimum safety requirements. The heater you pick should have been tested by a reputable organization. For added safety, it is also recommended that you choose a heater that automatically turns off when it falls.
  • The weather in your area is another important consideration. If you often experience high winds in your yard, then choose a patio heater with a heavy base. Otherwise, it could tip over and break.
  • Last but not least, consider the portability factor. If you plan on moving the heater around, then make sure to get a portable model.


How Many BTUs Do I Need to Heat My Patio?

BTUs (British Thermal Units) are used to measure the power of a patio heater. They tell you how much heat it will provide. The higher the BTUs, the better the heat output.

In order to determine the BTUs required to heat your patio, you can use this formula: Cubic feet of area x desired temperature = BTUs required.

Conclusion – Are Patio Heaters Worth it?

A quality patio heater is a great way to add more living space to your home. With the right patio heating choice, you can add days or even weeks to your outdoor living enjoyment.

Patio heaters also add aesthetic value. Having a stylish heater is like having a piece of art.

Finally, a reliable patio heater makes your home perfect for entertaining guests. What’s better than having your loved ones sitting around a heater outdoors?

All in all, a patio heater is a worthwhile investment if you want to make extended use of your patio and make it a great space for everyone to gather.

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