How to Buy a Patio Heater for Your Space

A bar in the center with five stools, two large round chairs on each side and two freestanding heaters next to the chairs.

Want to enjoy the outdoors all night and throughout the seasons? Investing in the right patio heater is essential when it comes to making the most of your outdoor space. From cozy courtyards to larger commercial spaces, patio heaters have the power to transform an outdoor area into a year-round oasis. Here’s how to choose the best patio heater for your home:

A wall mounted heater.

CHOOSE THE RIGHT PATIO HEATER STYLE

A freestanding heater.

FREESTANDING HEATERS

Freestanding patio heaters are the most common outdoor heater and can reach heights of over six feet. (Don’t worry; many standing heaters have wheels, so they're easier to move.) Freestanding heaters are typically fueled by gas or propane and can broadcast heat in a wide diameter. Consider a freestanding heater if you’re looking to warm a large, unenclosed space.

A wall mounted heater on an outdoor kitchen.

WALL/CEILING-MOUNTED PATIO HEATERS

Mounted patio heaters are a great solution for spaces with limited ground space. These heaters are typically built into the ceiling or wall, although some smaller sizes may be mounted to outdoor umbrellas for additional warmth. For a seamless look, recess-mounted styles disappear into the ceiling or wall. If you know a mounted patio heater is right for you, try to pre-wire for them during the construction process to save time and lower costs.

A ceiling  mounted heater.

CHOOSE THE RIGHT PATIO HEATER FUEL TYPE

Propane Icon

PROPANE HEATERS

Propane heaters are the most common fuel type. These heaters are usually portable and are ideal for large, uncovered areas that need broad coverage. Because they are portable and don’t need an electrical connection, propane heaters are more expensive to maintain than other fuel types.

Electric Icon

ELECTRIC HEATERS

Electric patio heaters produce no emissions and are ideal for partially enclosed areas (like sunrooms or screened porches) where electrical wiring is easily accessible. Because they’re designed to direct heat in one direction, they’re commonly placed around the perimeter of an area. Depending on the style of the electric patio heater you choose, you may need to contract for professional installation.

Natural Gas Icon

NATURAL GAS HEATERS

Propane heaters are the most common fuel type. These heaters are usually portable and are ideal for large, uncovered areas that need broad coverage. Because they are portable and don’t need an electrical connection, propane heaters are more expensive to maintain than other fuel types.

A wall mounted heater next to a rooftop seating area.

Ready to use your outdoor space year-round?

When buying the perfect patio heater, consider the size and layout of your space, as well as the overall design aesthetic you’re going for. The right outdoor heater will fit all of these elements while making your outdoor space cozy year-round.