Ever been sitting on a patio when a cold breeze starts flowing through? There’s only so much cold that you can deal with by throwing on a hoodie!
That’s where patio heaters become our joy and saviour. And for those of us who don’t have easy access to an electric socket, it’s also where propane heaters really come out on top. There’s nothing like kicking back while it’s cold out, with a real flame to keep the good times rolling on.
When it comes to outdoor heating, there’s plenty of reasons why propane is king:
- There’s no worries about having a plug socket handy. Which means…
- You can place propane heaters absolutely anywhere. Have your heat where the warmth will be most appreciated.
- They’re powered by cheap, easy to get propane tanks. You can even transfer the same one you used from a gas grill! One tank to heat the food, then warm the people.
- Ever experienced a black-out without heat? Problem solved. Propane heaters are fantastic backup heating options.
So, which propane heater is best for your patio?
Well, first up there’s a few different types of heaters to choose from. I’ve covered them in plenty of detail below, but they are:
- Tower Heaters. These are the standard heaters you find for patios and commercial gardens. They’re tall, powerful, and found at great value prices.
- Pyamid Heaters. Sort of like the above, but with much, much more style. Pyramid heaters show off long, vibrant flames that look as cool as they are hot.
- Table-Top Heaters. Miniature versions of the classic tower options, these are great for when it’s going to be just 1 or 2 of you.
- Fire Pit Tables. Lastly, a table which turns into a full-on propane-powered fire pit is in a league of it’s own. Enjoy the best of both worlds between warmth and atmosphere with one of these.
Looking for a Quick Recommendation?
Before we dive into the details, I know a lot of people are just looking for that one top recommendation.
In this case, that’s no problem.
If I could only recommend one patio heater, it would be the Golden Flame XL-Series Tower Heater.
Tower heaters like these are hands-down the best all-rounder option. As heaters go, these are at the top for how much warmth they’ll give you. You’ll have no question about being able to host 8-10 people around this model.
The operation is incredibly easy to use – just like the set-up. Once the pieces click into place, it’s basically hassle-free.
And this model is, in my opinion, the best of the bunch. The main selling point is the overall quality. The powder-coat finish is amazing for maximum durability – it’ll last you for years. Unfortunately, it’s common for others to have cheaper materials that can’t last as long (or get as hot!)
The quality touches are all there. Even down to the mini table that snaps on to the tower shaft. It’s great as an extra drinks holder, adding that extra touch of functionality.
Overall, as far as quick recommendations go, this is one of the easier choices I’ve had to make!
That said, there’s plenty more options. Read on for more details on this one, and the other top choices.
Buying Notes – Propane Patio Heaters
Before we get into the detailed reviews, it’s important to think about what you’re really looking for here.
By first knowing what you’re looking for, it can make it 10x easier to know which heater is the best for you.
- How many people would you look to host (maximum)?
- How cold can you expect your patio to get?
- Will the heater be stored when not in use or covered? If not, durability will matter a ton.
- How much do you value peace of mind? If a lot, pay attention to the warranties for each product.
- Do you have curious kids or pets? If so, make sure safety features are top-notch, and any flames aren’t touchable.
While many heaters are similar to each other, it’s the small variations that can make the difference over the long term. Things like material quality (cheap metal vs powdered finish), build quality, warranties, safety features, and even the brand (for customer support) all matter. Those products which you end up loving are those that tick all the right boxes for you, while coming in at a fair price.
Are Propane Heaters Safe to Use on a Patio?
For one final note before the reviews, I just want to address safety. It’s a common question when it comes to propane heaters, and understandable given that we’re working with flammable gas!
The short answer is that yes, propane heaters are perfectly safe to use. Despite what your 10-year old might say, the tanks don’t explode! There’s ton of safety mechanisms within the tank, and it actually takes a huge amount of effort and tools to cause any type of explosion. The tanks are extremely tough and durable (that’s why we re-use them), and often the only danger is if they themselves are placed within a fire. If any gas is actually leaking, this should have a horrible smell (think rotten eggs) which is added to the odorless propane gas as a safety measure.
That said, there’s a few tips you should follow to make sure you’re using the new heater safely:
Propane Heater Safety Tips:
- Inspect the tank every month or so. Just make sure everything looks right, there’s no dents or damage to the gas valves or rubber tubing.
- If you smell anything off, turn the gas off immediately. Make sure not to have any open flames or embers near the tank.
- Always disconnect tanks and store when not in use. Keep them outdoors or where there’s plenty of ventilation.
- Check for leaks. Use a soaped cloth to lather up the rubber tubing. See any bubbles forming? That’s a leak!
- Move them properly. Keep them upright and secure if moving by vehicle. If the tank’s inside the car, keep your windows open for ventilation in-case of a leak.
The Best Propane Heaters for your Patio
These Golden Flame tower heaters are the clear-choice for a top overall recommendation?
Why? Because they tick every box, without costing the world.
It’s build quality is solid. Finished with a powdered coat means it can stand up to harsh elements for years. Total peace of mind for the long term.
The power is plentiful. With 46,000 BTU it can easily provide heat for a party of over 10 people. And with the freedom of propane, can be placed right in the center of the group.
Mobility wheels, safety switches (tip-over/over-heat), and a weighted bottom all make for super ease of use.
Plus, I just love the little built-in table. It’s great as an extra space for people to put their drinks on.
|Great design, with powdered finish||A bit more expensive than other models (but you get what you pay for)|
|Huge amount of heating power|
|Great price point for a powerful heater|
Overall, this is one of those products which is a natural recommendation. Every time.
It does everything great about a good propane patio heater.
Place it anywhere with ease, and don’t worry about it thanks to the great functionality, and durability.
The quality can be felt from the powdered coat, to the metal dials, to the extra table.
It’s just a great product, and, in my opinion, the best of it’s kind available today.
Love the idea of these patio heaters, but not the extra price tag? Don’t worry. Amazon themselves have your back.
Amazon are branching out into making their own appliances, and these heaters are one such example.
By purchasing straight from the manufacturer – you guessed it – you save a ton!
The heaters are basically the same. Including the heating power, safety switches, and ease of use.
However, this model doesn’t have as good a material and build quality. I wouldn’t expect it to last as long, and the paint around the flame does tend to peel easier.
That said, it’s a fantastic value price tag for a fully functional, capable heater.
|#1 Best Seller on Amazon||Less material quality (paint can burn)|
|Huge Color Range|
|Unbeatable Price (Amazon's own product)|
|As much heat/functionality as top-end models|
This is a fantastic budget option that can stand with the best of as a heater.
It’s size and heat output are just as good as any other patio heater.
What you’re trading is on durability and material quality for a big price saving (particularly because it’s an Amazon product).
It’s still a great all-round product, and I’ve got no hesitation in recommending it for anyone looking for a simple, effective patio heating solution.
Sometimes, you just need to ‘WOW’ people.
You want your parties to be remembered. You want everything to feel just that little bit ‘next level’.
In that case, you want a pyramid heater.
Let’s deal with the logistics first. These heaters are just as strong as the full-sized patio heaters.
Shaped like a pyramid, they radiate heat in all directions. They just look stunning while doing it.
The heater’s are essentially the same – using the same fuel source and providing approximately the same amount of heat. (this produces 41k BTU, the towers produce 46k).
But it’s the looks, the design, and the iconic ‘dancing flame’ that really set these apart.
This particular model is also made by Golden Flame, who seem to be all about quality.
The flame-holding tube is ‘extra thick quartz’ instead of standard glass, with extra-thick support legs for added stability.
|Huge talking point. Almost 8" tall!||High price point|
|Durable / High Quality||More work to assemble|
|Functions just like a tower heater|
These huge 94″ tall come in either hammered bronze or stainless steel. Combined with the dancing flame makes them unmissable, and they never fail to be a massive talking point.
They of course come at a higher price, but sometimes you just can’t beat that entertainment factor.
Someone’s combined the comforting atmosphere of natural fire with the sleek feel of a modern contemporary appliance. The only word I can use is ‘iconic’.
Not every patio regularly hosts parties – sometimes, it’s just the two of us. (Or should I say, two of you!)
In that case, you don’t want to be burning way more fuel than you need to. That’s where these smaller tabletop heaters come in.
If it’s likely to just be 1-3 people relaxing on your patio, a smaller heater like this one from FireSense will do the job just fine.
With a maximum of around 10k BTU, picture it as being 20-25% of the heat you get from the larger models above.
It’s not enough for a whole party, but plenty for just you and a friend.
The only downside is they recommend using 1lb propane tanks like the one pictured below. While these are cheap and easy to get, it’s not quite as convenient as the standard 20lb ones you’d use for a gas grill.
|Excellent for small patios||Uses 1-lb propane tanks|
|Takes up much less space|
|Cheaper than full-sized heaters|
If you’ve got a smaller patio and only need to heat 1 or 2 people, these smaller heaters could be ideal.
Not only will they save you some money, they don’t take as much space. They’re not something you need to build your patio around.
Instead, they’re perfect to have on a table, between two chairs. Ideal to have next to a glass or two of wine, with some great conversation.
My final recommendation is a bit of a wildcard.
These table ‘fire pits’ are much more than just heaters. They’re centrepieces of any patio, doubling as a heat source and a table.
While I’ve not had much hands-on experience, this model really stands out to me.
Why? Simple. It’s got a lid!
During the summer, you don’t need to worry about it storing it away. Or having it take up space. It’s a fully functioning table that you don’t need to worry about during the warmer months.
No more shifting the heater to the garage, or having it sit there covered up for months on end!
In terms of heating, this model produces a whopping 50k BTU – more than the tower heaters!
It’s made from good quality steel for great durability, and works using 20lb propane tanks for ease of use.
Want an even bigger version? Check out this monster of a fire pit from Best Choice Products.
At 57 inches it’s almost double the width of the first model. The heat production is a similar 50k BTU – just over a wider area. However, the price is also roughly double.
It’s a true, astonishing centrepiece that will get people talking like no other. Click the image above to check that one out, or the link below for the standard model.
|Full, atmospheric fire||Heavy/immobile|
|Doubles as a full table|
|Uses 20-lb standard tanks|
Sometimes, the differences between appliance models can be fairly minor.
Sometimes, it’s the idea or look of a heater that just ‘grabs’ you.
If this is the case here, there’s plenty of reason to follow your gut and go for a fire pit like this one.
Although a little harder to set up/move, they’re a fantastic center-piece and barely cost more than a good tower heater.
The double-functionality as a full table is amazing, not to mention the extra atmosphere from the fireplace sized flame.
A propane patio heater is an amazing way to really get the most out of your patio.
By not relying on electricity, they’re incredibly easy to place AND easy to use. Not to mention the amazing look and warmth of real flames.
I hope this run-down of the some of the best options has helped you find what you’re looking for. If it has, it would mean a lot if you could support us by following one of our links, or even just checking some more of our articles!
Thank you for reading, and have a great day.