Patio Heaters

Patio heaters are fast becoming a staple for today’s outdoor living area. Why step back inside when its cool? Keen homeowners are extending the time they can enjoy their patio area with patio heating. However with the many types of heater that is available, it is easy to be confused about where to start.

There are several choices:

Free Standing Patio Heaters

These heaters are similar to what you would often see in a bar or restaurant patio and are by far the most popular type of patio heater, and the most common type of are propane fueled. They are typically made of 4 basic parts: base, pole, heat source and reflector. Free standing heaters are an easy way to enable the party to continue outdoors and can heat around a 9 feet radius. They are portable and easily re-positioned.

AZ patio heaters


Heat sources for free standing patio heaters are rated by BTUs (British Thermal Unit). The higher the BTU the more heat output the heater will be able to offer. Gas powered heaters offer the highest BTU range with some of them rated at 45,000 BTUs or higher. Typically, they conceal a propane tank at the bottom of the heater which can be re-filled easily.



patio heater

Tabletop Patio Heaters

Tabletop heaters are a great centerpiece to your patio table offering warmth while you and your guests sit and chat. Resembling mini versions of the free standing patio heater and some are even made to look like outdoor table lamps.

These have the same basic parts as their larger free standing patio heater counterparts; however they have a lower BTU range and therefore are not able to heat as large of an area. These heaters are typically fueled by propane – propane cylinders used in camping equipment is best suited to the job.

Wall-Mounted Patio Heaters

Wall-mounted heaters are ideal for smaller spaces as they are off the floor or table.

They are usually electric and use infrared heat to warm up your patio. They come with wall mount brackets and they often are able to tilt up or down so that you can point the heater in the direction needed.


Fuel Types:

Propane is the most commonly used fuel source for patio heaters.

Propane comes in portable tanks and because of their portability, many propane heaters come with or have a wheel kit. There is usually a space for the propane tank to be stored in the base.

Most require a standard 20 pound propane tank, but smaller propane heaters, such as the propane tabletop heaters will take a smaller propane tank.

Propane patio heaters are started using an ignition switch which you simply press or turn and a spark is created to ignite the gas and switch on the heater. These heaters have a higher BTU range than most of their electric counterparts and therefore can heat a larger area.



Ideal if you do not want to be replacing propane tanks, or the expense of hooking up natural gas.  Electric heaters are a great alternative as long as your heater is close to a power source. Because they are usually weather resistant, they should be in a sheltered position. Typically there are electrical versions of all the different styles of patio heaters: Floor, tabletop, hanging or wall mounted.

patio heater

Electric heaters are by far the simplest type of patio heater, but they do not typically offer the same heating capacity as their gas powered counterparts so they are better for small areas.


Natural Gas

Only for those with an outdoor natural gas outlet outside. Like propane outdoor heaters, they offer a higher BTU range and therefore can heat a larger space. You do not need to worry about running out of fuel, like with propane heaters.

Outdoor heaters are a staple of Outdoor Living nowadays due to convenience of extending the time you are comfortable in your outdoor area. There are plenty of models on the market to suit any area.

Download the FREE Buyer’s Guide to Patio Heaters here