Your patio can be one of the best areas around your home, at least when it is comfortable outside. When the temperature starts to dip, though, you might find yourself abandoning this great outdoor living space. The best way to make sure that you can continue to use your patio is to make sure that you have the right tools – and one of the best is a solid patio heater. Patio heaters can be fantastic tools for keeping your patio warm and toasty even when the sun goes down, which will allow you to really maximize your time outside. If you’re looking for a good heater, though, it’s a great idea to start by getting to know what to look for – and which heaters on the market really stand out.
With a number of patio heaters currently available on the market, it can be difficult to tell the difference between any two models. Luckily, there are a few features for which you can look if you want to make sure you get something that suits your needs. With the right features, you’ll get more use out of your heater and walk away from your purchase knowing you’ve got something perfect for your home.
The big feature that divides patio heaters is the amount of heat that they put out. This is measured in British Thermal Units (BTUs) and can cover a huge range. The general rule of thumb is that higher BTUs will help you to heat up more space and to heat up those spaces faster. Larger heaters typically put out more BTUs, though there are some very small, very efficient heaters that do a great job of keeping up with the big units.
Style is another major factor for heaters. Patio heaters can be free-standing units, wall-mounted, hanging from the ceiling, or even placed on a table. Each type of heater has its own pros and cons, some of which can impact the amount of heat put out by the unit. If you’ve got a smaller porch, for example, you might be better served by a small table-top or hanging unit than a large free-standing heater. If you have a huge area to heat, though, finding something larger that can put out more heat will probably be a better idea.
Finally, heaters use several types of fuel to put out heat. Electric heaters tend to put out the least heat but tend to be the most economical, especially from an installation standpoint. Natural gas heaters require professional installation to a gas line in order to work, but they never have to be refueled once installed. Propane tends to be the easiest to install, but you’ll have to consistently fill up your propane tank if you want to get the most out of your heater. All three styles have their benefits and drawbacks, each of which might be more important to some users than to others.
1. Golden Flame XL Series
What makes a great heater? It should be easy to use, of course, and it has to put off heat. It should also make your life easier, not requiring you to lug it around just to get your ideal spot warm. If you’re looking for the best patio heater on the market, this is where you should start. The Golden Flame XL is fantastic not only because of the heat that it will put out, but because it’s an incredibly reliable unit that will never make you work more than necessary. Simply put, it’s a heater by which all others are judged.
It’s hard to know where to start with this unit. Yes, it’s very easy to put together. Yes, it’s efficient and puts out enough heat to keep your patio warm. It’s even very easy to move thanks to the attached wheels. Perhaps the best thing you can say about this unit, though, is that you’ll forget that you have it most of the time. It’s quiet and works behind the scenes, letting you enjoy your evening on the patio without requiring your constant attention. It’s really one of the best units you’ll find on the market today.
The only downsides have less to do with the heater than the shipping process. There’s a terrible tendency for this heater to show up in a ratty box, especially if you don’t order from Amazon. Once it arrives, don’t be afraid to throw out the included tools – whatever you have at home is probably better. Once you get the unit assembled, though, you’ll forget all about these problems.
2. Amazon Basics Commercial
Amazon Basics is one of those product lines that you turn to when you need something that just works. You know you won’t be getting anything fancy, of course, but you’ll get a product with a good warranty and that has excellent customer service. Fortunately, this heater from Amazon does work very well, allowing users a good area of heat without requiring them to get a degree in electrical engineering to get the unit working. It’s a solid bit of engineering that will make cold nights a little warmer and that should help you to get more life out of your patio.
This gas-powered unit puts out a great deal of heat for its size. At 46,000 BTUs, you’re not going to have to worry about keeping a space warm. It’s very easy to start and usually starts on the first try, so you’ll never have to sit out in the cold waiting for a bit of extra heat. The design is portable enough to move around as necessary, but it’s still stable enough that you won’t have to worry about the heater while you are outside. In short, it’s a serviceable heater that will get the job done.
The negatives are fairly minimal here. It doesn’t come with a gas cylinder, so the price of operation is a little higher than you might initially suspect. The unit’s also low on impressive features, which isn’t bad but it does mean that you’ll find other similarly-priced units that do more. If you just need heat, though, you can do much worse than this one.
3. Fire Sense 46,000 BTU
Fire Sense is a company that tends to make very reliable heaters. This 46,000 BTU unit is certainly one that puts out a great deal of heat reliably, making it one of the best traditional heaters you can buy from the company. Though it may look simple from the outside, this is actually one of the best-engineered heaters that you will find on the market today.
One of the most impressive features of the heater is the easy-ignite button. Gas heaters tend to be a little hard to ignite, much like gas grills. Fortunately, the easy-ignition system means that you’ll go from no-heat to high-heat fairly quickly. Most users also say that this heater puts out a very adequate amount of heat for a unit its size, helping to keep large patios and pergolas comfortable even when the temperature drops.
No heater is perfect, though, and there are some flaws here. The worst is that there are consistent manufacturing errors with the unit. Customer service is great about replacing the heater, but that doesn’t help when you want heat quickly. Once you get a working unit, though, you won’t regret the wait.
4. AZ Patio Heaters Stainless Steel
AZ Patio Heaters is a big name in the Patio Heater world. It’s made it to that point by providing products that are reliable, useful, and that look great. One very good example of why the company is so popular is the AZ Patio Heaters Stainless Steel unit.
While aesthetics aren’t everything, this really is a great-looking heater. Very similar to premium heaters at a more realistic price point, this is a heater you’ll want to buy to show off. Fortunately, it’s also a heater that puts out a good deal of heat in a very consistent manner. You won’t have to worry about how well this one operates – turn it on and it largely takes care of itself.
The biggest issue with this heater is the lack of weather resistance. You’ll want to pull the heater inside when it rains or snows, or else you’ll risk it rusting out. If you can provide proper care for the heater, though, you’ll get a product that will really make your evenings more pleasant.
5. AZ Patio Heaters Tall
Another unit from AZ Patio Heaters, this tall heater takes the company’s fine engineering and super-sizes everything. If you’re looking for a heater that’s going to really heat up a large space, going large is always a good idea. What makes this unit stand out isn’t just its size, though – it’s also the utility.
Putting out 48,000 BTUs of heat, you’ll be hard-pressed to find another heater that does quite as much work to keep your outdoor spaces comfortable. This unit is tall, solid, and continuously puts out heat – all factors that will have you doing less work and spending more time enjoying your heater. It’s also portable thanks to the included wheels, so you can move this unit around your patio as necessary.
Unfortunately, the customer service department has had some problems with this model. While defective units are generally replaced, buyers have had to go through multiple channels to get the job done. Most units do work without fail, though, and most owners really enjoy the experience they get from their heaters.
6. Fire Sense Telescoping Infrared
Infrared heaters are amazing. They’re cool pieces of technology that seem to operate almost magically, ignoring wind and outside conditions in order to bring heat to users. While they vary in price and quality, there’s still something to be said for having a heater that’s on the cutting edge. Fortunately, this telescoping infrared heater from Fire Sense really is a great heater, allowing you to stay warm at a fraction of the price it takes to keep a propane heater operational.
The best part about this heater is how quickly it works. Running off of a standard home outlet, you’ll get the full heat from the unit in just a few seconds. It doesn’t matter what the weather is like outside – you’ll get a nine-foot stream of heat going right towards you with no interruptions. The electric heater doesn’t require refueling or any expensive installation, with the ability to pick it up and take it somewhere else made easier through its telescoping design. If you’re looking at sheer ease of use, you’ll be hard-pressed to find anything better than this heater.
The only problem with the heater is one that’s found in many infrared units. The heater heats up what it points at, not the area around it. That makes the heater great for keeping those by a table warm, but not so great for everyone else on the porch. If you’re looking for directed heat, though, this is the way to go.
7. AZ Patio Heaters Portable
A good patio heater really doesn’t have to be fancy to work well. In fact, the fewer the features the better – most people just want something that’s going to keep them comfortable outside. While the AZ Patio Heater Portable Heater might not be the fanciest or the most feature-rich heater on the market, it does its job very well. Portable and easy to put together, it’s a good heater for those who want nothing more than to stay warm while they enjoy a bit of extra time outside.
There really is an awful lot to like in this heater. Most people who use this heater talk about how easy it is to assemble, and that’s definitely not a lie. It doesn’t take more than a few minutes to set up the heater, especially if you’ve attached a propoane tank to a heater or grill in the past. Beyond that, you’ll get a decent amount of consistent heat out of this unit – perhaps the best thing you can say about any heater. It’s solid and dependable, so you’ll never have to worry about whether it works.
Compared to many propane heaters, though, the heat output of this patio heater isn’t phenomenal. It isn’t bad by any stretch of the imagination, but you’re certainly not going to get more performance out of this unit than any other heater on the list. If you’re looking for something that works well and that will stand up to repeated use, though, you’ll love this heater.
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