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Last updated: July 10, 2022
One of the best things about summer is getting to expand your living space onto your outdoor patio or deck. But such enjoyment is always cut short as cooler weather moves in during the fall.
One very effective way to extend your patio season is by investing in a quality outdoor heater. And when it comes to high heat output and cost-effective operation, a gas heater is the best choice.
To help you find the best gas patio heater, we’ve tried and tested some of the best models on the market. Below, you’ll find five top-rated, quality gas heaters that will keep your outdoor space warm.
Top 5 Gas Outdoor Heaters:
|1||Sunjoy Avanti Outdoor Propane Heater||Price|
|2||Amazon Basics Propane Patio Heater||Price|
|3||Fire Sense Natural Gas Patio Heater||Price|
|4||Hiland Quartz Glass Tube Heater||Price|
|5||Fire Sense Outdoor Tabletop Propane Heater||Price|
Top 5 Gas Outdoor Heaters
Let’s go through these five gas heaters in a bit more detail and see how they stack up against each other.
1. Sunjoy Avanti Outdoor Propane Heater
When it comes to heating a large patio or deck, the Sunjoy Avanti Outdoor Propane Heater will do an excellent job for you.
At 87 inches, this unit is best used on uncovered patios. Though, many users have had success cutting the pole to reduce the height for use on covered decks as well.
This upright, 47,000 BTU heater is capable of effectively heating a 10-foot diameter around the base. That means you can easily heat both your outdoor sitting area and outdoor dining table with one great product.
The Sunjoy works with a 20lb propane tank that is hidden within the base. It has a push-button ignitor that starts right up without any hassle. At 30 pounds (50 pounds with a full tank) you won’t want to be moving this unit around too often. But, thanks to the attached wheels, it is easy enough to position exactly where you need it. It won’t tip as easily as other portable uprights, but it does still come with all the standard safety features just in case.
Considering the price, this unit puts out an impressive amount of heat. The build is a little lower quality than others but if you’re after function over looks, this heater won’t disappoint.
2. Amazon Basics Propane Patio Heater
If you’re after a sturdy upright that looks as good as it functions, the Amazon Basics Propane Patio Heater is the way to go.
This 46,000 BTU upright throws enough heat to warm a 9-foot diameter around the base. The 91-inch tall setup and broad reflector help distribute that heat without overheating those closest to the unit.
Like our top choice, this one comes with wheels built into the base so you can position it exactly where you want it. At 38 pounds without the propane tank, it is a bit heavier than the first option. It also comes with a water box to add extra weight, making it a good choice for less sheltered locations on the back deck.
The push-button start takes some practice to get used to, but with a little patience, you’ll find it’s very reliable. This Amazon Basics heater works with a standard 20-pound propane tank. It comes in 6 different colors including teal-blue, black, bronze, and stainless steel.
Considering the price, heat output, and sturdy build with a quality look, this heater is absolutely worth considering.
3. Fire Sense Natural Gas Patio Heater
Propane heaters are nice if you don’t have access to a gas line. But if you do, investing in a natural gas heater will save you time and money. In that category, we love the Fire Sense Natural Gas Patio Heater.
This 45,000 BTU natural gas heater is made to be hardlined into an existing gas feed. The small base is meant to be bolted into your deck or patio. Alternatively, many customers have had success attaching it to a heavy, wheeled platform for a more portable option.
At just 19 pounds though, anchoring it is important. Luckily, with a heating diameter of around 8 feet, you’ll have plenty of options for placement.
The piezo push-button ignition system works well and the heat output is nothing short of perfect with one notable exception. If the heat is left on high for a significant period, the paint around the burner of some products might begin to melt.
Aside from this rare complaint, this heater is a worthy buy. Like most natural gas-style heaters, it is a little pricier than our previous two options. But considering the ease of use and impressive heat output, it is well worth the investment.
4. Hiland Quartz Glass Tube Heater
If you plan to use your patio heater to warm your outdoor space while entertaining guests, then you may want to consider the Hiland Quartz Glass Tube Heater.
This gorgeous 40,000 BTU pyramid heater will no doubt steal the show at any get-together. The stainless steel exterior features a number of beautiful details. And the wide, purpose-built base is perfect for hiding the 20-pound propane tank this heater runs off of.
Of course, this heater looks its best when in use. The tall, quartz glass tube at the center of the pyramid puts off a ton of brilliant, mood-setting orange light.
While this heater works wonderfully to mood light any outdoor space, it struggles somewhat to put out sufficient heat. Unless you’re next to the heater where the air is being warmed, you’re going to be a little chilly. This isn’t a problem with this model, but rather the expected difference between a high-functioning infrared heater like those above and a flame tube heater like this one.
But if looks are more important than heat, then this Hiland heater is the way to go. An impressive price point, built-in wheels to help with portability, and a reliable ignitor aren’t bad selling points either.
5. Fire Sense Outdoor Tabletop Propane Heater
For those that plan to keep their outdoor gatherings a little more intimate, the Fire Sense Outdoor Tabletop Propane Heater is for you.
This 10,000 BTU, 100 square foot heater is perfect for warming the outdoor dining table, picnic table, or the area around your favorite loungers. At just 35 inches high, this little heater is meant to be placed on a table. It only weighs 14 pounds which makes moving it with you a breeze.
The base is made to hold a 1-pound LP tank. But most users agree that if you want high heat for more than about 20 minutes at a time, it’s worth buying the adaptor kit and using this heater with a 20-pound propane tank instead.
With either tank, you’ll have to be patient to get this little guy lit. We found that holding the ignitor down for about 30 seconds was key to getting it running consistently. Once you know this trick, however, the Fire Sensor Tabletop Heater is as reliable as anything.
This heater is available in bronze or stainless steel finishes. And it comes with a number of safety sensors necessary for a heater that may be used in smaller spaces.
Finding the right patio heater is about more than just choosing the best-reviewed product. If you want something that’ll fit your needs specifically, there are a few things you should consider first.
Here are some of the most important aspects to consider before you buy your new outdoor heater:
- Gas vs electric
- Natural gas vs propane
Let’s go through these aspects in more detail.
1. Gas vs Electric
This list is all about the best gas patio heaters. But those aren’t your only options.
Electric heaters meant to be used on the deck or patio are also available. These units are typically made to be mounted on the ceiling of your covered patio or the wall. Electric heaters are nice because they tend to be cheaper to purchase and can be used in enclosed spaces. But they are more expensive to operate and are not typically portable.
Gas heaters, on the other hand, are cheap to operate and are often made to be moved around. On the downside, they run using combustion, which means they shouldn’t be operated in enclosed patios. Some may not even be safe to use under covered patios.
2. Natural Gas vs Propane
In the category of gas heaters, you have two different options:
- Propane gas
- Natural gas
Propane heaters are nice because they are often very portable. Their gas source, a propane tank, is often housed within the base. On the downside, when the tank runs dry, they stop working. While propane is inexpensive, it does mean a trip to the store to exchange any spent tanks.
Natural gas heaters have to be hardlined into your home’s gas feed, which means installation can be more difficult. And, because they run off a gas line, they are not overly portable. On the plus side, they are very inexpensive to run and won’t run out of fuel.
British thermal units, or BTUs, are a measurement of a heater’s heating potential. The higher the BTU rating, the hotter your heater is likely to get and the more space that heat will cover. Noncommercial outdoor heaters typically run from 10,000 BTU up to about 50,000 BTU.
Small units, like the 10,000 BTU Fire Sense Outdoor Tabletop Propane Heater, have to be placed near your sitting area to be effective.
Larger units, like the powerful 47,000 Sunjoy Avanti Outdoor Propane Heater, can heat up to 350 sq feet of space. This means they can be placed out of the way and still provide plenty of warmth.
The build quality and type of your heater will also play into how effective it is at turning those BTUs into heat output.
Most of the heaters we featured above are made of durable metals and feature infrared heating systems. These heaters heat objects rather than the air. Since air exchange is high in outdoor spaces, this is an important feature.
The height of the unit and how broad the reflector is and what it’s made out of will also affect heat distribution.
Tube heaters, like the Hiland Quartz Glass Tube Heater, lose more heat to the air, which means you need to be closer to the unit to feel the warmth despite a higher BTU rating. But these units do put off a lot of light and are gorgeous to look at.
Most propane outdoor heaters are made to be portable. But just how portable depends on the individual model.
Upright heaters typically feature wheels on one side of the base so the unit can be pushed into position. But these units often weigh upwards of 50 pounds when full, so you won’t want to move them around often.
Decorative tube heaters tend to be even heavier. While they also often feature wheels, these are the kinds of heaters you’ll want to find a place for and leave them there until the end of the season.
Tabletop units and short, directed heaters are the most portable. These typically weigh less than 20 pounds, use smaller propane tanks, and are easy to carry from place to place.
An outdoor heater is a perfect way to extend your summer season deep into autumn. And a gas heater allows you to do it without spending a lot of extra money.
For large patios and decks, we recommend the Sunjoy Avanti Outdoor Propane Heater. This powerful upright heater is affordable, easy to start, and puts out an impressive amount of heat.
If you’re after a natural gas option, the Fire Sense Natural Gas Patio Heater is the one you want. Like our top choice, this one puts out plenty of heat and features a reliable push-button starter.
Whatever your outdoor heating needs, you’re sure to find the perfect gas heater to fit your space on our list above.