Are Patio Heaters Any Good (Long Term Owners Review)

If you’re considering buying a patio heater, then you might be wondering if it’s worth the money. Sure, they look cozy, and the concept is quite enticing, but are they really as good as all the manufacturers make them sound?

Typically patio heaters are very good at keeping an outdoor area above the ambient temperature. They work best in situations where the outdoor area is shaded from wind so that the area around the patio heater is kept at a consistent temperature.  Keeping running costs in mind, owning a patio heater is a great addition to any home or commercial venture where people sit outside for extended periods of time.

Below you will find all the answers you need about whether or not a patio heater is a good investment.

We will cover the different several types of patio heaters and reveal whether they are good or if you should spend your money elsewhere…

The Different Types of Patio Heaters

Patio heaters should only be used outdoors, including covered areas for some types of heaters.

When looking for a patio heater for your space, you need to consider the site you want to heat and what kind of ventilation it has for airflow. 

There are typically four kinds of patio heaters:

  • Electric
  • Natural Gas
  • Propane
  • Wood Burning 

Along with the different types of forms, patio heaters can come as a self-standing floor model, one that hangs from a wall, ceiling, or beam, or they can even be wall mounted if you don’t plan on moving it around. 

You can also find smaller patio heaters that can sit on a table; however, these generally are limited in how much heat they can produce and are often used as a decorative piece rather than a functional heating source.  

Electric Patio Heaters  

Depending on the type of electric patio heater you purchase, you might be disappointed in how long it takes to generate any heat. Some cheaper models have been known to be slow at producing heat when it’s needed. 

This type of heater is portable along as you have an outlet to plug it in wherever you decide to put it.

They generally come in a range of sizes, so you can get one to accommodate the space you need to heat. Keep in mind that since it operates on electricity, it could end up costing you even more money in the end. 

Tip: Electric patio heaters are the safest to use in covered spaces. 

Natural Gas Patio Heaters  

Natural gas patio heaters are the most expensive type due to their need for being connected to a natural gas line.

You won’t be able to move this type of heater around like you can the others because it is limited to the space of the gas line it is connected to. 

However, natural gas patio heaters are among the most reliable sources of heat and are considered quite durable.

When you choose to buy a natural gas patio heater, it’s an investment that you can plan on having for many years. 

Propane Patio Heater

If you’re looking for a patio heater that can heat up super fast, then the propane option is probably your best bet. However, you will need to monitor your propane tanks, or you just might run out in the middle of a party. 

Also, propane gas usually is more costly than natural, so be mindful of that extra cost when deciding which patio heater is best for you.

You should not use a propane patio heater in any covered space, just like a BBQ grill; they need adequate air, and so do you!  

Tip: If you opt for a propane patio heater, then we suggest having an extra tank on hand at all times. Then you won’t need to worry about running on empty at the most inconvenient times. 

Wood Burning Patio Heaters 

Fire Pit at night showing glowing embers.

This is a tough one because everybody loves the idea of getting cozy and warm next to a roaring fire. People often choose chimineas or fire-pits because they are both cheap and provide a friendly atmosphere. 

However, there are some downsides to choosing a wood-burning patio heater. For one, they always leave a mess! That includes cleaning up the coals and ashes regularly.

You also run the risk of fly-away embers or sparks landing on your clothes or seat cushions. 

As much as we love the idea of wood-burning patio heaters, we must admit that they are probably the least safe option out of all the other choices and require the most work to keep them maintained.

Note: If you choose to use a wood-burning patio heater, then extra precautions should be taken, and you need to inform family members or guests about the dangers of sitting too close to a wood-burning fire.  

Do You Need More Than One Patio Heater? 

Outdoor electric heating infrared lamps under umbrella in street cafe in cold season (winter, autumn or spring)

If you are only trying to produce a little heat in a small patio space, you can probably get away using just one patio heater. 

However, if you have a specific temperature in mind that you would like to maintain or your space is larger than the average patio, you probably will need more than one patio heater. 

You can measure your space that you want to heat with a patio heater and then calculate how many BTUs it would take to get the job done.

Every patio heater will typically list the amount of BTUs it will heat. 

If you know your space, you’ll be able to figure out how many patio heaters you really need to get it heated. 

Are Patio Heaters Any Good? 

To be completely honest, this is a matter of personal preference.

Patio heaters have been around for a very long time, and you will often see them being used on many restaurants’ patios or terraces, at numerous events, and in private homes.

Many high-end brands will come with warranties and can be used repeatedly for many years without any issues. When used in accordance with their instructions, they can be a reliable heat source.  

Will they heat a sufficient space? 

Yes, they can heat an area according to the listed BTUs on the packaging they come in.

This is important to understand because if you buy a small tabletop natural gas patio heater, then chances are you’re looking to create an atmosphere over actually heating an area.

If you want to make sure that the patio heater you purchase will heat your space accordingly, then we suggest doing the calculations needed to get the right size heater for your outdoor space. 

Can they cause damage or injuries? 

Just like any other electrical or gas item, there are always going to be some risks when using a patio heater.

Are the risks more significant than using a BBQ grill or a fan? No, the risks run the same, and it all boils down to safety issues and how it is being used.  

Manufacturer’s almost always include instructions with their patio heaters, including a list of safety precautions.

If you read these thoroughly and follow the guidelines laid out, you should be able to enjoy using your patio heater safely. 

When it comes to wood-burning patio heaters, especially the chimineas or fire-pits, you need to take more precautions because you are dealing with open flames. 

Can a patio heater be used indoors? 

The only patio heater we would consider using indoors would be the electric type. But, you should always check with the manufacturer before using an outdoor heater in an indoor space. 

This also includes screened-in porches; you need to check your patio heater’s instructions before using it in any area other than outside. 

Is renting a patio heater a better option than buying one? 

This will depend on a few different factors; if you are having a big event at your home and want to use some patio heaters for the cooler temps in the evening, you could consider renting a few patio heaters. 

However, if you think you would use your patio heaters on more than one occasion, then renting might not be the best idea for your budget or your wallet. 

Why? Because patio heaters are not that expensive to purchase, and rental companies often charge close to the same amount it would cost to buy one to rent it for just one night.  

If there is any chance you would use your patio heater more than once, it would be in your best interest to just buy them.

If you have limited space to store them or don’t think you would ever use them again, renting would be the right decision. 

Tip: Check with friends or family members before renting a patio heater to see if they have one you could borrow. If not, you could also see if somebody wants to split the cost of buying one and then take turns using it. 


If you’re wondering if patio heaters are good, then we think the above information can help you decide whether they are a good fit for you.

As far as we’re concerned, the atmosphere and the heat they produce make them worth the small amount of money they cost. 

You could always start out with a tabletop patio heater and see if you enjoy the experience.

If so, you can always upgrade to a bigger model or even a different type of patio heater to warm up your entire patio space. 

Alright guys, that’s it for this article, if you are interesting in reading more about patio heaters, we have lots of cool articles related such as:

Are Patio Heaters Loud (Pick the Right Model)

Can Patio Heaters be Used on a Screened-in Porch? (Quick Facts)

7 Propane Patio Heater Accessories That Just MAKE SENSE!

Are Infrared Patio Heaters Any Good (Explained for Beginners)

Can Patio Heaters be Used on a Deck (Read This First!)

Steve Foster

Suburbanite, tech geek, handy man, automation enthusiast who started blogging about the stuff I do around my home and found he had a knack for it.

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