Patio Heaters Buying Guide

Patio heaters provide valuable heat during cooler months, so that you can enjoy your patio year-round. Learn more about heat type, patio heater styles, sizes, features, and care.


Outdoor heaters add functional and decorative value to your patio, creating a comfortable environment that enables you to enjoy alfresco living longer. Offered in many different styles and types, patio heaters make a great accessory to any patio set. With the diverse selections available, LuxeDecor provides a guide that helps you select the best patio heater to best complement your outdoor setting.

Types of Heat

Electric Heat

  • Electric heaters provide environmentally safe heat that produces zero emissions compared to natural and propane gas.
  • The heat from electric heaters are effective and quick to respond.
  • Electric heaters require no moving parts which make them extremely convenient. The only thing that needs to be replaced is an element, which carries an average 5,000 hours of use.
  • Electric heaters operate at a mid-level cost and may require professional installation.

Natural Gas

  • Natural gas heaters are environmentally sustainable, as well as permanent, which means you won’t ever have to worry about running out of fuel.
  • Natural gas heaters cover an average area of 12-20 feet, depending on the size of the apparatus and conditions such as wind and humidity.
  • Natural gas heaters are not portable.
  • Natural gas heaters will have to be installed by a professional, but have the lowest cost of operation.

Propane Gas

  • Propane gas heaters are the most common type of outdoor heaters on the market.
  • Propane gas heaters are portable, easy to use, and require no professional installation.
  • Propane gas powered heaters require constant refilling of propane tanks which means this option exhibits the highest operation cost.

Infrared Heat

  • Infrared heat works to absorb and lock heat up in objects, which slowly releases heat into the air.
  • Infrared heat is more efficient than traditional heating methods which work to dry the air where heat loss occurs through ventilation.


Patio Heater Styles

Standing Patio Heater

Standing patio heaters come in many different styles and sizes, but are ideal in many outdoor environments for their space-saving upright profiles and sleek silhouettes. Depending on size, standing patio heaters can provide a radius of heat that spans up to 20 feet. Standing heaters are full-sized and often portable, with a compartment for a fuel tank powered by propane gas. On average, standing patio heaters operate at 40,000 BTUs. (BTU stands for British Thermal Unit. One BTU can heat one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit. To learn more about BTUs, see the Patio Heater Size section).

Mounted Patio Heater

A mounted patio heater is constructed for permanent use within a designated area of your outdoor space. Generally mounted to a wall, these convenient heaters save space and are ideal on a deck or sunroom. Depending on the size of the unit, mounted patio heaters can range as small as under 10,000 BTUs of heat to more than 30,000 BTUs.

Hanging Patio Heater

A hanging patio heater can be hung from above any semi-enclosed outdoor space with a ceiling. Ideal for small spaces, a hanging patio heater is an attractive addition to any patio set up, providing discrete heat that doesn’t take up space on walls, floors, or tabletops. Most hanging patio heaters are electric powered and can range in power from under 10,000 BTUs to 30,000 BTUs.

Tabletop Patio Heater

Tabletop heaters are easily portable and transportable, and are especially useful in small, confined spaces such as balconies. These petite sized patio heaters are generally powered by electric or propane gas. Propane gas models will feature a compartment to discretely hold a propane tank, and do not produce more than 30,000 BTUs.

Patio Heater Sizes

A British Thermal Unit (BTU) is a measure of the heat content in fuels. BTU measures the quantity of heat required to raise the temperature (in Fahrenheit) at the temperature that water displays its maximum density (approximately 39 degrees Fahrenheit). The average standing heater will produce 40,000 BTUs which is enough to heat a large crowd. On average, small tabletop heater models create 12,000 BTUs which is enough to heat a medium sizes group standing close within its proximity. The following outlines the recommended BTUs to heat an area of space:

Area In Sq. Feet

Recommended BTUs

100-150 sq. ft.


150-250 sq. ft.


250-300 sq. ft.


300-350 sq. ft.


350-400 sq. ft.


400-450 sq. ft.


450-550 sq. ft.


550-700 sq. ft.


700-1,000 sq. ft.


1,000-1,200 sq. ft.


1,200-1,400 sq. ft.


1,400-1,500 sq. ft.


1,500-2,000 sq. ft.


2,000-2,500 sq. ft.



Patio Heater Features

  • Safety Certified: Meets the Canadian Standards Association International Group’s (CSA) required safety and performance standards. The CSA provides product testing and certification services for electrical and mechanical products.
  • Eco-Friendly: Displays energy-efficient design that saves fuel and is more economical to operate.
  • Tipover Switch: This safety feature automatically turns off the heating unit when it is tiled past a set angle.
  • Safety Shut-Off: This safety feature immediately extinguishes flames and shuts off the fuel supply manually for emergency situations.
  • Pilot Light: A small gas flame that serves as an ignition source.


Patio Heater Safety and Care

  • Avoid placing patio heaters directly or near flammable materials including foliage such as trees and vegetation.
  • Before cleaning your unit, make sure that all power and gas has been completely shut off.
  • During turbulent weather conditions, such as gale force winds and storms, make sure that your patio heater is safely secured and covered. Move to a sheltered spot, and also remove the reflector.
  • If your patio heater is equipped with wheels, make sure to oil the wheels annually and to check for loose bolts or any signs of wear.
  • Always use a protective cover to shield your patio heater even in storage to keep dust and bugs away from the burner.
  • When you are storing your patio heater during winter, remove the reflector by removing the wing nuts which keep the reflector in place. Removing the reflector will allow for easy storage.
  • To prolong a chrome-plated burner avoid leaving out during the winter months.
  • Never store a propane gas cylinder indoors or below ground level.
  • Stainless steel heaters: Use a stainless steel cleaner to remove water and rain marks. For more stubborn stains, use a brush to remove stains. Make sure you are brushing in the same direction. For highly polished stainless steel, never use a scourer.
  • Powder coated heaters: These models benefit from light, regular cleaning using soapy detergent and water.