Even the smallest patio heaters provide an impressive amount of heat, and there's really only a couple safety precautions to be aware of in order to use one safely. Never leave the area while it's running—even if that's just to heat up your cup of hot chocolate inside. Also don't set it up too close to any combustible materials, like potted plants or patio furniture. (Take the time to read the manual for other precautions specific to the patio heater you buy.)
The most common types of patio heaters you'll find available to buy are powered by propane or electricity. Electric patio heaters simply need to be plugged into an outlet, while propane patio heaters use propane tanks you can buy from any home improvement store. You'll just need to replace the propane once it runs out, unlike the electric options, which don't require much beyond an outlet and an extension cord. In general, a 20-pound propane tank can last between 10 to 20 hours, depending on how powerful your heater is.
Speaking of power, patio heaters have different energy levels, which are measured in BTU's (British Thermal Units). The smaller your space, the less BTUs you'll need. According to Hayneedle, at least 5,000 BTUs are recommended for a space between 100 to 150 sq. ft., while larger areas that are between 2,000 to 2,500 sq. ft. require at least 34,000 BTUs. Here are the best options for your patio.
The best patio heaters for fall and winter
This 48,000 BTU standing heater can easily warm up your entire patio. It also has a speedy three-second light-up. You can bolt it to ground easily, too.
The nice thing about this patio heater is that is has wheels, making it easy to roll it around wherever you need it. It's also 48,000 BTU and uses a 20-pound propane tank.
Shop now: Hiland Propane Patio Heater with Wheels, $220
This patio heater can be mounted right to a wall, leaving more space on your patio. It also has a remote control that allows you to turn it on and off with ease. It's better for smaller spaces, as it produces 5,100 BTUs.
Shop now: Star Patio Electric Patio Heater with Remote, $160
This pendant heater hooks right onto your ceiling of a covered patio, providing you with heat from above. It also has two power settings, depending on your heating needs, and can go up to 5,100 BTUs.
Shop now: Outdoor Patio Hanging Electric Heater, $199
5. Bali Outdoors Portable Patio Heater, $299
Not only is this table-top patio heater pretty, but it's also great at heating you up for its small size. With a 10,000 BTU output, it's not quite as powerful as the bigger options, but it should do the trick at a table for two.
Shop now: Bali Outdoors Portable Patio Heater, $299
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