The 8 Best Patio Heaters of 2023, Tested and Reviewed


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Jan 24, 2024

The 8 Best Patio Heaters of 2023, Tested and Reviewed

Our top pick is the Arlmont & Co. Triplett Propane Patio Heater Jump to a

Our top pick is the Arlmont & Co. Triplett Propane Patio Heater

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People / Cassie Aulie

As the days get longer, we find ourselves itching to spend more and more time outdoors. There's just one problem: Despite seeing the sunset at 7:30 p.m., it's still a bit chilly out in the evenings. To counter this transitional season woe, we look to propane patio heaters to provide a little extra warmth while we enjoy a little extra sunlight.

"Propane patio heaters are great investments for homes because they are portable, have fast heat-up times, are relatively inexpensive to operate, and provide a safe and efficient way to heat outdoor spaces," says Chris Harvey, a heating specialist at Stelrad. In addition to these perks, Harvey notes that propane patio heaters are also an excellent way to add a touch of ambiance to an outdoor area, whether it be a backyard setting or a patio. "Propane patio heaters are also energy efficient since they use propane gas, which is a clean-burning fuel that emits fewer emissions," notes Nikki Thomas, a lawn care and backyard specialist at Backyardville.

While these benefits certainly peak our interest, choosing the right propane patio heater seems a bit daunting, particularly for those who aren't as well-versed in outdoor appliances. With this in mind, we did some research and tested dozens of popular patio heater models for several weeks, in an effort to find the best ones.

Keep reading to discover the best patio heaters, tested by PEOPLE.


Easy propane tank setup

Very sturdy materials, so you don't need to worry about it topping over from wind

Heats up quickly and easy to see the flames, making it obvious if it's still on or not

Outside tube doesn't get hot and won't burn you

Very tall and might require the use of a ladder to set up

One of the more expensive options we tested

The Arlmont & Co. Triplett Propane Patio Heater is our top pick for the best propane patio heater, overall, because it checks so many boxes. This tower heater has a BTU of 42,000 and is nearly 60 pounds, making it extremely durable, even if you accidentally bump into it or when it's incredibly windy out. When testing this heater out, we were most impressed by how quickly it heats up and how well you can see the flames, so you have a clear indication of whether it's on or not. On top of that, the propane tank setup was really easy to figure out and use (although you may need a step ladder to set-up because of its height).

In addition to its heating abilities, the patio heater is also constructed from high-quality materials that can withstand elements and last a long time. We also loved that the outside tube doesn't get hot, so you don't have to worry about burning yourself if you accidentally bump or lean into it. It also has wheels, so it's really easy to move around as needed.

Price at time of publish: $319.99 (orig. $359.99)

Dimensions: 89 x 23 x 23 inches | Weight: 57.2 lbs. | BTU: 42,000

People / Jennifer May


Effectively heats an 8-foot area

Wheels make it easy to transport or move around your space

Simple on and off function

Comes with flanges for grassy areas

Assembly is a bit complicated, but easy to use once it's set up

Top heat reflector bends easily if you aren't careful

Tower propane heaters typically cost well over $100 but, you don't have to spend a lot to find a good budget-friendly option. After testing several models, we were most impressed with the Sunjoy Avanti Outdoor Portable Propane Heater for a budget-friendly option. The $77 propane patio heater boasts a tower model that can effectively heat an 8-foot area well. While the assembly was a bit complicated, once it was all put together, we found it super easy to use. It's easy to turn on and off, has wheels that make moving it around a breeze, and it comes with flanges so you can easily move and secure it in a grassy area. Overall, it provides outstanding heat and is an excellent option for those who may be buying a propane heater for the first time.

Price at time of publish: $148.80

Dimensions: 32.7 x 32.7 x 90.6 inches | Weight: 30.9 lbs. | BTU: 47,000

People / Cassie Aulie


Easy to turn on and off and adjust heat

Helpful instructions that call for a test run using dishwashing detergent

Heats a 9-foot radius really well

Included tools don't fit the screws, so you might need to use your own tools for assembly

If you’re looking for a propane patio heater that has an excellent heat range, we recommend the Amazon Basics Outdoor Patio Heater. After testing this heater out for several weeks, we were most impressed by how easy it is to turn it on and off and adjust the heat using the temperature knob. Even on a chilly day, this heater kept us nice and warm, thanks to its 9-foot heat radius and built-in wheels that make it easy to move around as needed. In addition to its function and heat range, we were also impressed by its safety measures, especially the instructions’ suggested test run, which required the use of dishwashing detergent to safely ensure all of the gas connections were secure before actually using it. Assembly is also pretty standard for a tower patio heater; however, the included tools didn't fit the screws well so we had to use our own screwdriver to put the pieces together (which isn't the end of the world, but still worth noting).

Price at time of publish: $166.75

Dimensions: 32.12 x 32.12 x 91.3 inches | Weight: 38 lbs. | BTU: 46,000

People / Rachel Christensen

People / Rachel Christensen

Home De Pot

Wheels make it easy to transport over concrete and grass as well as stairs

Temperature knob is super smooth and easy to use

Table is durable enough to hold drinks

Heating radius is closer to 7 feet, not a 10 to 12 feet like the brand suggests

Having a propane patio heater with a table is an excellent way to save space and stay warm while having a place for your cup of coffee. Our top pick for the best patio heater with a connected table is the AZ Patio Heaters Hammered Bronze Propane Patio Heater; in addition to having a sturdy table (which is the perfect size to place drinks), it is also an outstanding heater in and of itself. After testing this out on concrete, grass, and a wooden deck (and even lugging it up a small set of stairs), we found that it was really easy to transport, thanks to its durable set of wheels. The temperature knob is also super smooth and easy to use and, for a patio heater, it was really easy to set up (which was honestly not expected).

Heat-wise, we found that this patio heater did an amazing job at warming us and our surrounding space up, though the heating radius is closer to 7 feet, not the 10 to 12 feet radius that the brand suggests. Overall, we believe this is also a great bang for your buck, considering the design features, heating capabilities, and the under-$200 price tag.

Price at time of publish: $181.94

Dimensions: 87 x 17 x 17 inches | Weight: 55 lbs. | BTU: 48,000

People / Dera Burreson

People / Dera Burreson


Straightforward set-up with easy-to-follow instructions

Comes with a wrench for assembly (though, you’ll need your own Phillips screwdriver)

Heater is super light and very easy to move around, thanks to the wheels

Since it's so lightweight, the materials don't feel as durable as some of the others on our list

Propane patio heaters can be a pain to set up, especially if you don't have a lot of experience with outdoor appliances. If the setup is your biggest concern, the East Oak Outdoor Patio Heater is our top recommendation. We found that the setup was incredibly straightforward and the instructions are easy to follow, making the whole process a lot easier than we expected. While you do need to provide your own screwdriver, the patio heater also comes with a wrench for assembly, which we appreciated.

In addition to assembly, we liked this heater as an excellent lightweight option, which makes it easier to move around (especially with the built-in wheels). With that said, the lightweight design makes the heater feel a little less durable compared to other options on our list, so if durability is a concern, we recommend choosing the AZ Patio Heaters Hammered Bronze Propane Patio Heater, which has a lot more weight to it.

Price at time of publish: $159.99 (orig. $179.99)

Dimensions: 33 x 18 x 89 inches | Weight: 39.6 lbs. | BTU: 50,000


Setup is super easy and straightforward, despite a lot of individual pieces

Visible flame adds a touch of ambiance

Very stable and won't easily get knocked over

Doesn't generate as much heat as a tower option

If you want a patio heater like the ones at high-end restaurants, the Living Accents Freestanding Propane Patio Heater is certainly worth the splurge. Though this heater style doesn't heat as well as tower options, it still provides a lot of heat and is a fantastic choice for a gazebo area or next to your outdoor dining set (not to mention the visible flame adds a nice touch of ambiance). Despite all of the individual pieces and parts, we found that the heater was super easy to assemble. It's also durable and stable enough that it won't get knocked over. Considering the heating capabilities, we found that this would be the best option for summer nights when you want just a little extra warmth.

Price at time of publish: $388.57

Dimensions: 24.5 x 20.5 x 87 inches | Weight: 63.7 lbs. | BTU: 40,000

People / Michael Weisbaum

People / Michael Weisbaum


Heater features a tower top, which adds more heat than other pyramid styles

6-foot heating radius, which is excellent for this style and size

Super sturdy anti-tip base and safety shut-off valve

Temperature dial isn't very intuitive

Instructions are illustration-heavy and weren't as easy to follow as others we tested

Pyramid heaters add a stunning ambiance to any backyard space and give off that luxe restaurant feel. If you want to add this more elevated patio heater to your backyard, we recommend the Thermo Tiki Outdoor Propane Patio Heater. This heater has a 6-foot heating radius (which is great for this type of patio heater) and features a top that is similar to a tower heater, which supports its heating efforts. It's also super sturdy so you don't have to worry about it tipping over, thanks to the anti-tip base. With that said, the setup can be a bit tricky — especially for those who aren't visual learners — since the instructions aren't very clear and illustration-heavy. And, although it is easy to use, the temperature dial isn't very intuitive and features the high setting immediately to the left, so you have to dial it down a lot if you don't want the heat on full blast at first. All that to say, we found that this is the best option for this style and it's as functional as it is beautiful.

Price at time of publish: $247.49 (orig. $281)

Dimensions: 18 x 18 x 90 inches | Weight: 61.8 lbs. | BTU: 42,000 - 45,000

People / Cecilia Delapaz


Miniature tower heater that works just as well as its taller counterparts

Easy to put together with clear instructions and all of the parts packaged together

Auto shut-off feature in case the heater tips over

Doesn't have a large heating radius, so it's best for elevating the temperature on already warm summer nights

Lightweight and a little top-heavy so it is more susceptible to tipping over

The Bali Outdoors Portable Patio Heater is like a classic tower heater but miniature. Perfect for tabletops or small spaces, the outdoor heater is easy to assemble, thanks to clear instructions and parts that are all neatly packaged together for a smooth process. Since it is so small and lightweight, it's a little top-heavy and can tip over if you aren't careful; however, it has an auto shut-off feature so safety won't be a concern. Since it is portable (and small) the heating radius is only 2 feet, so it might not be ideal for providing warmth to a group of people, and instead works better as an individual heater in a small space.

Price at time of publish: $99

Dimensions: 34 x 20 inches | Weight: 14 lbs. | BTU: 10,000

When shopping for propane patio heaters, safety is one of the most important things to consider. "Propane patio heaters should be equipped with safety features such as an auto shut-off in case the heater gets too hot [or gets knocked over]," says Harvey. "This will help ensure that the heater is used safely and won't cause any accidents."

Several models we tested were designed with safety features but the Arlmont & Co. Triplett 42,000 BTU Propane Patio Heater is especially noteworthy due to its tip-over protection system where a safety valve automatically shut offs the heater if it is tipped over or even slightly tilted.

According to Harvey, the size and design can also play a significant role in the overall function of your propane patio heater. He explains that it's especially important to get a heater that is the right size for your space and the right design for your needs (even if aesthetics are also wrapped up in there). "For larger areas, a standing heater is usually the best option," he explains, noting that tabletop designs like the Bali Outdoors Portable Patio Heater are best for smaller areas.

In addition to looking at the size of the heater (and your space) Shawn Hill, an expert pit master and owner of The Grilling Dad, says to also consider the BTU, a.k.a. the overall energy it takes to raise the temperature. "You need to be mindful of the space you’re using the heater for — a smaller heater will average around 5,000 BTU and a larger one will average 40,000 to 52,000," he explains.

When testing out a patio heater, Harvey says to consider the durability. This means paying close attention to the materials, construction, and overall weight of the product, but also performing a test to ensure the heater will remain upright. While testing these propane heaters, we gave each heater a gentle push as if we accidentally bumped into them to ensure they met our durability standards.

People / Jodi Espinosa

In an effort to find the best propane patio heaters, we spent a minimum of three weeks testing dozens of options across various styles, including tower and pyramid heaters. Throughout the testing process, we made note of everything from the setup and assembly — and even timed ourselves to figure out how long it actually takes to put together each heater — to the key specs like dimensions and BTUs. We also tested sturdiness and durability by giving the heaters a gentle push to see how it would hold up if someone accidentally bumped into the heaters.

Once assembled and tested for durability, we turned the heater on to evaluate the overall heat performance, paying close attention to the ignition and how reliable it is. We also considered how long it took to feel the warmth from the heaters and whether or not there was even heat distribution.

After testing the propane heaters several times throughout a three-week period, we compiled all of our testing data and rated each testing category on a 1 to 5 scale. The heaters with the highest average ratings earned a spot on this PEOPLE Tested list.

The best type of propane patio heater depends fully on several factors, including the size of the area you wish to warm up. "For larger areas, a standing heater is usually the best option," says Harvey. "These heaters provide consistent and reliable heat, and they are typically more powerful than tabletop models," he adds. Our top pick for the best patio heater overall is the Arlmont & Co. Triplett Propane Patio Heater, which heats up quickly and is very durable. For smaller areas, Harvey recommends a tabletop heater — like the Bali Outdoors Portable Patio Heater — which "are easy to move around and are great for providing targeted heat."

"A 20-lb. propane take typically lasts between 10 and 20 hours, depending on the type and size of the heater," says Harvey. He notes that some smaller models — such as a tabletop option like the Bali Outdoors Portable Patio Heater — might last a little longer (up to 30 hours) on a single propane tank. "It is also important to note that the length of time a tank will last also depends on the temperature setting," Harvey adds, explaining that using the heater on a higher temperature will use up the propane quicker.

For the most part, you can find a high-quality propane patio heater between $100 and $300. Considering how efficient they are at heating up an outdoor space, they are absolutely worth it — especially if you spend a lot of time in your backyard or patio. "Whether you’re looking to keep guests warm at a gathering or just to extend the life of your outdoor space, propane patio heaters are a great investment that will last you for years to come," Harvey explains.

We created the PEOPLE Tested seal of approval to help you find the very best products for your life. We use our unique methodology to test products in three labs across the country and with our network of home testers to determine their effectiveness, durability, ease of use, and so much more. Based on the results, we rate and recommend products so you can find the right one for your needs.

But we don't stop there: We also regularly re-review the categories in which we’ve awarded the PEOPLE Tested seal of approval — because the best product of today might not be the best of tomorrow. And by the way, companies can never buy our recommendation: Their products must earn it, fair and square.

In short, PEOPLE Tested provides recommendations you can trust — every day, every purchase.

Price at time of publish: $319.99 (orig. $359.99) Dimensions: Weight: BTU: Price at time of publish: $148.80 Dimensions: Weight: BTU: Price at time of publish: $166.75 Dimensions: Weight: BTU: Price at time of publish: $181.94 Dimensions: Weight: BTU: Price at time of publish: $159.99 (orig. $179.99) Dimensions: Weight: BTU: Price at time of publish: $388.57 Dimensions: Weight: BTU: Price at time of publish: $247.49 (orig. $281) Dimensions: Weight: BTU: Price at time of publish: $99 Dimensions: Weight: BTU: