Outdoor Heater Buyer’s Guide

Enjoy your outdoor living space in comfort from late fall into early spring with a patio heater. At AuthenTEAK, we offer a variety of heaters in a range of styles and capacities. Whether you’re a homeowner looking to heat a small outdoor patio or a contractor looking to warm an outdoor commercial space, making the appropriate choice for your needs will make all the difference. Below is a guide to picking the right outdoor heater for your needs.


We carry a range of patio heaters from industry-leading brands including Infratech, Bromic, Heatscope and Patio Comfort, all known for their quality and durability. This guide will help you determine which one of these heaters is right for your space.


Outdoor patio heaters operate differently from indoor heaters which use a fan to heat and circulate the air in a room. An outdoor heater operates by using a fuel source - either electric, natural gas or propane - to create heat which is directed towards a heating element within the unit. When the heating element warms up it emits heat in rays which are absorbed by surrounding surfaces. This is called radiant heat or infrared heating. In this way, outdoor heaters are efficient at heating people and objects but do not dry out the air in a room or create static electricity.


There are three main fuel sources for outdoor patio heaters, Electricity, Natural Gas and Propane. Each will produce even heat to warm your surroundings. The fuel type you pick will depend largely on your environment and proximity to utility hook-ups. Here are overviews of each type:

Electric Heaters

Outdoor heaters powered by electricity are efficient and produce no emissions. The cost to operate these heaters is in between the cost of natural gas – the least expensive option – and liquid propane (aka LP gas).

Best use: Electric heaters are ideal for partially enclosed areas where electrical wiring is easily accessible, like a sunroom or screened-in porch. Electric heaters are usually designed to direct heat in one direction only and are commonly placed around the perimeter or an area so that their heat is directed inward.

Benefits: While not portable like a propane heater, an electric heater can offer consistent heat, easy operation. A variety of models exist which are designed to seamlessly blend into your space.

Energy efficiency: Heat output differs from model to model. Some infrared heaters can use as little as 300 watts of electricity. They generate immediate heat when turned on, which means no pre-heating time.

Natural Gas Heaters

Natural gas heaters are fueled by a physical natural gas-line connection and provide widespread warmth. Their high-intensity heat can broadcast in a 10 to 15-foot diameter.

Best use: Gas heaters are ideal for everything from large home patio areas to restaurant and resort environments. They also come in smaller ceiling-mounted and wall-mounted units that can accurately direct heat in smaller spaces.

Benefits: Though not portable due to their permanent hard gas-line connection and need for professional installation, they offer consistent, dependable heat in large outdoor areas without needing tank refueling.

Energy efficiency: The price of natural gas is relatively low compared to liquid propane, and most gas heaters have “smart” ignitions and timers that help reduce fuel waste.

Propane Heater

Propane heaters are fueled by an attached, hidden liquid propane tank and don’t require an electrical connection, which makes them the most portable type of outdoor heater available.

Best use: Often large, free-standing and powered by a tank in their base, they can broadcast a heat diameter as wide as their natural gas counterparts. They’re ideal for huge, uncovered areas needing broad coverage, such as creating a warming station at an outdoor party or at the entrance to a restaurant or a hotel.

Benefits: Propane patio heaters are the most portable of heater types by far. Most have wheels in their base to make relocating them a breeze. They’re a top pick in the hospitality industry, where portable heat may be needed in multiple outdoor venues.

Energy efficiency: As a fuel, propane is the most expensive of the three heater types, and though owning one means keeping spare tanks on hand, it also means enjoying the flexibility of easily relocating it to heat any space within minutes.


We provide a variety of outdoor heater styles with varying heating capabilities for residential and commercial customers alike. Your perfect option might depend on the number of people you typically host, and the dimensions of your entertainment space. To help make the right choice, we recommend reviewing the three basic models: Stand-Alone, Tabletop or Mounted.

Stand-Alone: The most common type of patio heater, these free-standing units typically max out at 8 feet high and can generate up to 40,000 BTUs, or units of thermal energy, per hour — and this can reach hundreds of thousands of BTUs for huge commercial units. These are gas or propane-fueled and are ideal for large unenclosed spaces where you are providing warmth for a number of people at once as they broadcast heat in a wide diameter.

Tabletop: Resembling miniature versions of stand-alone, these heaters can generate about 12,000 BTUs per hour — or about 25% of the heat of big gas or propane stand-alone — and can be powered by either electricity or propane, providing nice versatility. They’re best for smaller spaces.

Mounted: When ground space is limited, these ceiling- and wall-mount heaters are a terrific option. They occupy a small footprint and generate heat toward a specific area, with various models providing anywhere from 3,300 to 12,000 BTUs. Available in both electric and natural gas, these heaters come in several different sizes to match the size of your space and your heating needs. For a custom look, pick a heater that will disappear into the ceiling, like these recess-mounted options from Infratech. Smaller styles like this one can also be mounted to outdoor umbrellas to keep guests extra toasty.


Every outdoor heater AuthenTEAK offers, regardless of fuel type or structural style, has integrated safety features, such as heat shields, smart ignitions, safety switches or timer turn-offs. When making your selection, identify each one’s safety features and installation recommendations so that you can achieve the right measure-of-clearance around your heaters. These are identified in the owner’s manuals and vary by heater type and size.


AuthenTEAK offers a broad range of premium-quality, innovative and efficient patio heaters for every space and budget. When you select a heater from us, you’ll know it has been designed to last outdoors and comes with manufacturer’s warranties and the ongoing support and expertise of the AuthenTEAK team. Get ready to enjoy your outdoor space more often and longer — from late fall through early winter — with the help of one of these heaters.

Have more questions? Chat or call our showroom professionals for assistance with selecting the right outdoor patio heater for your space. We’re here to help.