The 9 Best Propane Patio Heaters of 2023


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Jan 29, 2024

The 9 Best Propane Patio Heaters of 2023

Enjoy your outdoor space year-round with these reliable picks. Jump to a Section

Enjoy your outdoor space year-round with these reliable picks.

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Better Homes & Gardens / Cassie Aulie

Unless you live in a region that sees fair weather all year long, there comes a time when you’ll have to close up your patio for the winter. But if you make room for a propane patio heater in your outdoor space, you’ll keep the garden party going even when the temperature plummets.

"Propane patio heaters provide effective radiant heat to keep you and your guests comfortable outdoors in the colder months," says Jim Schimmenti, owner of The Grounds Guys of Garden City, a Neighborly company. "They will enhance your ability to entertain outside and expand your entertaining space from indoors to outdoors."

To find the best propane heaters, we put a variety of propane heaters to the test right at home. For three weeks, testers used their given heater in their backyards, keeping in mind ease of setup and use, safety features, number of BTUs, and overall performance. Testers were located on the northeast, midwest, south, and west coast. In addition to Schimmenti, we also consulted Dor Wand, a home care specialist at Hippo, for insight.


It heats up quickly and features wheels that make it easy to move it.

You’ll likely need some of your own tools to complete the setup.

Overall, the best propane heater is Arlmont & Co's Triplett Propane Patio Heater. The model has a sleek design that will add a bit of style to your patio. It comes in several different colors (brown, black, silver, and stainless steel) so you can choose the one that best complements your outdoor furniture and decor.

Overall, we found this patio heater simple to use—just push the ignition button to start it warming up. This patio heater warms up quickly—you’ll see the flames inside as proof—and its tower design allows you to feel the heat from all sides. You’ll want to sit at least a couple of feet back from this heater so you won't get too overheated.

There are wheels on the back of the heater that make it easy to move this heater into position wherever you want it on your patio. Just make sure you strap the propane tank in securely so that it stays put while doing so.

The instructions were easy enough to follow, but we did experience some hiccups during assembly. The screw holes that connected the poles were a bit off-center, so a drill was needed to expand them for the screws to fit. Though it does come with a two-sided (Phillips and flathead) screwdriver, we found it was easier to use our own tools. Keep a step stool handy for when it's time to install the top elements—this heater is rather tall.

We found the CSA-rated heater to be very stable—it didn't budge when bumped during testing—and it didn't seem fazed by the wind, either. Still, we’re glad to see there's a safety shut-off feature that activates should this heater ever get tipped over.

We also found the metal gate surrounding the flames in the middle doesn't get hot to the touch, so you can operate it without fear of burning yourself. Overall, we found the Arlmont to be well made—we feel good that this will be around season after season. We liked that it also came with a custom-fitting cover to protect it from the elements.

Price at time of publish: $349

Product Details: Dimensions: 23 x 23 x 89 inches | Heating Area: 20 feet | BTUs: 42,000 | Weight: 57.2 pounds

Better Homes & Gardens / Jennifer May


It features an automatic safety tip-over valve that ensures it’ll turn off if the unit gets knocked over.

Set up is a bit complicated.

If you’ve written off propane patio heaters as being out of reach for your budget, you’ll be happily surprised by the Sunjoy Avanti. This model is a stylish-looking heater with 47,000 BTUs that can keep your patio warm on a chilly evening.

The heater starts warming up first on a low setting, but when we kicked up the heat, we found it quite effective in heating an 8-foot area. Wheels make it easy to move from spot to spot without much trouble, though don't do this unless it's off and cooled.

The instructions were clear enough, but we found that even if you’re an experienced DIYer, this might take some time to put together. Keep a Phillips screwdriver at the ready because the included tool wasn't as effective. Also, be sure to mount the heat reflector last—not first as the instructions recommend—because we found it bend rather easily during assembly.

Despite a clunky setup, we found the heater to be effective and well-priced, so it's a good value for the money. It's also attractive as it is useful, so you’ll like adding it to your patio setup. We had peace of mind using it, thanks to the auto-off safety feature in case it gets tipped over. Just keep in mind that the reflector shield gets very hot, so don't use it on a covered patio or near patio umbrellas.

Price at time of publish: $94

Product Details: Dimensions: 32.7 x 32.7 x 90.6 inches | Heating Area: Not listed |BTUs: 47,000 | Weight: 30.9 pounds


The heater delivers fire pit-level warmth.

Assembly is time-consuming and may require two people.

If you plan to use your outdoor space often, this Cuisinart pick is the best propane patio heater to invest in. It took a few minutes, but this patio heater warmed up very nicely. In fact, it might be too warm for a small patio. We thought the heat output was similar to that of a fire pit, so if you’ve got a larger outdoor space and are looking for a similar type of experience, you’ll love it.

The heater is much easier to move around in comparison to a fire pit thanks to wheels that roll into whatever spot you want it to. You might still need a second set of hands to move it, but the wheels make a huge difference.

This Cuisinart patio heater is sturdy enough to survive any bumps, but make sure the table or surface is steady and stable before using it. It comes with simple assembly directions and clearly labeled parts, though this is a much better job for two people. It takes a lot longer than the box says, too. Instead of being ready right out of the box, per the product listing page, it took over three hours to assemble when we tested it. Some elements needed to be put together with tools that were not included, so keep your toolbox on hand, too.

Price at time of publish: $400

Product Details: Dimensions: 58 x 33 x 88 inches | Heating Area: 175 sq. ft. | BTUs: 38,200 | Weight: 100 pounds


It has an auto shut-off feature for added safety.

It's not the most sturdy option, even when the base was stabilized.

As the name suggests, this Amazon Basics propane patio heater is indeed a basic model, but it does exactly what it promises to do. We were impressed by the heat output and liked how easily it could be incorporated into an outdoor patio design.

As for safety, you can rest assured that this ETL-certified heater has an auto-shutoff feature for if it gets bumped into. It's a necessary feature, too, because we found during testing that just a gentle nudge makes it wobble, even when we followed the instructions carefully to stabilize the base.

Unfortunately, there was a piece that arrived damaged and it couldn't fit in properly without the use of a hammer to bang it in. The result was a crooked-looking unit, but it still worked. (You might also want to grab your own wrench, as the one that came with it wasn't as effective.) The testers soldiered through and found that it worked as soon as it turned on.

Despite that bumpy setup during testing, we were very impressed with how well this heater worked. If you're new to propane patio heaters, you might have a little bit of a learning curve with this, but there are on/off instructions that are printed directly on the heater to make things easier.

Price at time of publish: $145

Product Details: Dimensions: 32.12 x 32.12 x 91.3 inches | Heating Area: 9 feet | BTUs: 46,000 | Weight: 38 pounds

Home De Pot

The hammered bronze base lends a cool aesthetic to your outdoor space.

We found that the heating range was not as far as the brand had noted.

This AZ Patio Heater pick is one of the best propane patio heaters to consider thanks to its easy assembly, effectiveness, and stylish look. It only took us an hour to set this heater, however it was very fairly easy to do thanks to clear, precise instructions and accurate labeling.

Once assembled, it heated up rather quickly. Despite it saying that it has a 10 to 12-foot diameter heat range, we found it to be more like seven feet because of the windy weather at the time of testing.

It's very user-friendly, and it's easy to adjust the heat settings. Though the heater is tall, the flames are kept safely contained for safety. The table seemed stable even when knocked into during testing. The wheels are a good feature, as this 55-pound table heater would be a hassle to lug otherwise.

The AZ Patio Heater offers great value for its heating capability, plus it creates a nice aesthetic thanks to its bronze finish. If you're trying to set up a little outdoor oasis that you can enjoy year-round, this would be a nice fit, especially if you plan on hosting gatherings although it's certainly something to enjoy on your own, too.

Price at time of publish: $186

Product Details: Dimensions: 87 x 17 x 17 inches | Heating Area: 10-12 feet | BTUs: 48,000 | Weight: 55 pounds


It's got two auto-shutoff safety features.

It doesn't come with a protective cover.

For a model that’ll offer peace of mind, the best propane heater is this Arlmont & Co design. We liked how quickly this heater warmed up as it fired up at the touch of a button and in just ten minutes, there was an enjoyable bubble of heat surrounding it.

The umbrella-like reflectors were effective in containing the heat for even better warmth, which was felt evenly on all sides, though this might differ on a windy day. During testing, we tried it out on a chilly evening when the temperature dipped into the 20s; between this and the barbecue grill, the patio was still quite toasty.

We were impressed by two safety features on this heater: an automatic shutoff and a tip-over shutoff. We found the heater to be quite sturdy so tipping over is unlikely, but we were nonetheless reassured by having the safety features in place.

Despite there being a little bit of confusion with one part of the directions, the assembly is rather smooth. We found it helpful to have a second pair of hands help out with reattaching the reflector panels to the heating element. It took less than a minute to connect to the propane tank. The wheels make it super easy to move around. It's a great value for the price, though you’ll want to make sure to buy a cover to protect your investment.

Price at time of publish: $150

Product Details: Dimensions: 30 x 30 x 88 inches | Heating Area: 10 feet | BTUs: 47,000 | Weight: 31 pounds

Better Homes & Gardens / Melissa Inman


It's easy to move around your outdoor space.

There's no auto shut-off feature.

The Frontgate Commercial Patio Heater is the best propane patio heater to consider if you want to move the heater around your space or store it between uses. Overall, we found that this Frontgate heater only took a couple of minutes to warm up before it started producing a nice amount of heat; a two-foot radius seems to be a good spot for feeling the most warmth.

The instructions do say that when the temperature drops below 40°F, the heater won't be able to run as efficiently, so keep that in mind when planning your outdoor gatherings. We tried this out when it did indeed reach below 40°, however, and found that standing underneath it was quite cozy.

The wheels make it simple enough for just one person to move this heater around, which is why it made our list. When it's in place, though, we liked the safety feature that allows you to pile in sand at the bottom for extra stability. Still, it's more bottom- than top-heavy, so you might be able to skip this step. Though it is ETL certified, we noticed there wasn't an auto-shutoff feature, but there is a chain to secure the propane tank when you need to roll this from place to place.

Overall, we liked its simple design that can go with any patio design; however, you will have to purchase a protective cover separately. There are various adjustable heat levels, but on a frigid night during the testing period, we kept it cranked up.

Using this heater is very intuitive, so if you're new to using a patio heater, you should get it up and running very quickly because everything is labeled right on the heater.

Price at time of publish: $499

Product Details: Dimensions: 33 x 18 x 89 inches | Heating Area: Not listed | BTUs: 46,000 | Weight: 42 pounds


It's got a chic design and is offered in three different finishes.

It's very tall, so you’ll need the proper space for it.

For a pyramid style, the best propane patio heater is this pick from Thermo Tiki. We liked the slender silhouette of this tower and were impressed to see how sturdy and stable it was despite the design—it stayed upright even after several bumps. There is no safety sensor to alert you if the propane hose is leaking, but there is a strap that fastens securely around the propane tank for safety.

We found that when the heat setting was on high, it created about a 6-foot radius of warmth though the brand noted it should create a 15-foot diameter of warmth. Outside of that area, you might still feel a chill. That's because the heating element is higher because of the pyramid shape—you'll feel more of the heat on the top half of your body, especially your face, if you're sitting down. The dial goes from high to low, so keep that in mind when firing this up and adjusting the temperature.

Make some time to put this tall propane patio heater together. Not only does it come completely disassembled (except for the heater element), but the instructions are pictorial with very few written explanations.

Price at time of publish: $281

Product Details: Dimensions: 18 x 18 x 90 inches | Heating Area: 15 feet | BTUs: 38,000 (tested up to 45,000) | Weight: 56 pounds


It's user-friendly and has easily adjustable heat settings.

It's a bit top-heavy, so you’ll need to ensure you have a steady surface to put it on.

During testing, we found the Bali easy to use and its heat settings were simple to adjust. This portable heater was simple to assemble, thanks to easy-to-follow instructions. This compact heater is meant to be placed on a table, so it won't warm up an entire patio—in fact, you'll need to position yourself within a couple of feet to experience the warmth.

Don't worry about putting this on a table; there is an auto-shutoff feature if it gets knocked over. It is a bit top-heavy so take this risk seriously and place yours on a stable tabletop and keep the area around it clear in case it does topple over in a strong wind.

You won't get a ton of heat emanating from this unit, but we found it to be fine to take the chill out of a crisp fall or early spring night. If you're looking for something that warms the entire patio, though, you'll need to get a bigger unit.

Price at time of publish: $119

Product Details: Dimensions: 34.1 x 20 x 20 inches |Heating Area: Not listed | BTUs: Adjustable to 10,000 | Weight: 14 pounds

The Arlmont & Co. Triplett Propane Patio Heater was our pick for best overall because of its effective performance even on chilly days. Its sturdy construction and sleek design make it a safe and stylish addition to any outdoor patio.

To find the best propane heaters, we put a variety of propane heaters to the test right at home. For three weeks, we used the heaters in their own backyards and evaluated each based on a pre-determined methodology. Testing was conducted on the northeast, midwest, south, and west coast.

We assembled each one out of the box, noting how long it took. Once in place, we tested each for safety and stability by giving each one a bump to see if it budged or remained in place. Then, we fired up each one to see how quickly it warmed up and how much of the outdoor area it heated.

We selected the best propane patio heaters of the group based on ease of setup and use, heating performance, safety, and overall value.

Better Homes & Gardens / Jennifer May

Propane patio heaters aren't nearly as compact as the space heaters you might use inside your home or office. Some are more stylish than others, so you won't mind making room for them on your patio. But some of these are quite tall, so you want to ensure you have enough clearance for your space heater, especially if you’re using it under a covered patio or near other large patio furniture and decor, like umbrellas. (Be sure to read all manufacturer's guidelines on safety clearances.)

If you’ve got a large patio, you should be fine with just about any propane patio heater on our list, but if you’ve got a more compact space, you’ll want to pay attention to the dimensions of these so that they don't overwhelm your patio.

Whether you choose a tabletop patio heater or a tall one like you see at outdoor restaurants and cafés, you’ll want to choose one that's appropriate for the size of your patio. The warmth of some propane patio heaters is measured in square feet while some are in diameter or radius. Either way, consider the size of your patio in terms of the heat output of the propane heater so you’re not left out in the cold (literally).

BTU stands for British Thermal Unit. It is a unit of measurement defining the level of heat needed to increase the temperature of one pound of water by a single degree Fahrenheit.

Typically, the more BTUs a heating unit has, the more powerful it is. The average patio heater clocks in at around 40,000 BTUs, but you’ll want to calculate your patio's area and square footage, says Schimmenti, to ensure that you’ve got an adequate unit.

If it were indoors, you’d multiply the square footage of the space by 20 to get the right amount of BTUs. Keep in mind, though, that the outdoors are different—you’re dealing with much lower temperatures as well as wind that will diminish the warmth coming out of the heater—so the BTUs even for a small patio heater will be much higher.

Propane patio heaters can be rather hefty. The Bali Outdoors Portable Patio Heater is the smallest on our list at 10 pounds, and it's meant to fit on a table. The heaviest on our list is the Cuisinart COH-400 Perfect Position Overhead Propane Patio Heater, which weighs in at 100 pounds. If you do go for a taller, heavier patio heater, look for one that has wheels so you can easily and safely move it around your patio.

We tested the East Oak Outdoor Patio Heater, which was easy to assemble and heated up fairly quickly. However, we ultimately felt it was too tall to distribute the heat as effectively as we would have liked.

The AZ Patio Heaters Quartz Glass Tube Hammered Bronze Propane Patio Heater had a nice aesthetic and is fairly simple to use. It took us about three hours to assemble, however, and it's also more expensive than other options.

Setting up the Living Accents Freestanding Propane Patio Heater was fairly straightforward thanks to clear instructions. We felt that the design made it lose too much heat out of the sides, however.

Better Homes & Gardens / Cassie Aulie

When choosing the best propane patio heater, you’ll want to consider that you’ll have to purchase propane to operate it, which adds an additional cost.

"Propane space heaters are extremely efficient," says Schimmenti. "A 20-pound propane tank can last up to 10 hours."

That's two pounds of propane per hour of use, so consider that calculation when determining your propane patio heater usage.

When setting up your propane heater, the location you put it in is a key consideration.

"Propane heaters can be used under a covered patio if the mechanism is rated for indoor use," says Wand.

It's also important that there's enough clearance between the heating element and the cover. Be sure to read and follow all manufacturer's guidelines to ensure safety for your home.

Wand says that you don't have to disclose a propane patio heater as a heat source; on a homeowner's insurance policy, it would be covered as personal property (Coverage C). Still, "The customer would be encouraged to take appropriate precautions when using one of these heaters," says Wand.

Regardless of where you are able to safely use your propane patio heater, Wand strongly recommends not leaving it unattended while on. For the utmost safety, have it inspected annually.

"The same recommendation [for covered patios] applies for garages and indoor workshops," says Wand. "It's critical to use a propane heater designed specifically for indoor use."

Barbara Bellesi Zito is a freelance writer from Staten Island, New York, covering all things home and lifestyle for Better Homes & Gardens. To compile this list of the best propane patio heaters, Barbara analyzed lab insights from our testing site in Des Moines, Iowa. She also consulted Jim Schimmenti, Owner of The Grounds Guys of Garden City, a Neighborly company, and Dor Wand, home care specialist at Hippo.

Next to all of the products on this list, you may have noticed our BHG Recommends seal of approval. Products that earn the seal have been put through rigorous testing to make sure they're worth a spot in your home. We buy most of the products we test ourselves, but occasionally we are provided samples by companies if buying isn't an option. In these cases, we use the same testing criteria we use to test the purchased products.

Price at time of publish: $349 Product Details: Dimensions: Heating Area: BTUs: Weight: Price at time of publish: $94 Product Details: Dimensions: Heating Area: BTUs: | Weight: Price at time of publish: $400 Product Details: Dimensions: Heating Area: BTUs: | Weight: Price at time of publish: $145 Product Details: Dimensions: Heating Area: BTUs: Weight: Price at time of publish: $186 Product Details: Dimensions: Heating Area: BTUs: Weight: Price at time of publish: $150 Product Details: Dimensions: Heating Area: BTUs: Weight: Price at time of publish: $499 Product Details: Dimensions: Heating Area: BTUs: Weight: Price at time of publish: $281 Product Details: Dimensions: Heating Area: BTUs: Weight: Price at time of publish: $119 Product Details: Dimensions: Heating Area: BTUs: Weight: