Patio heaters are a great way to enjoy an evening on the patio or in the backyard, no matter what the weather report has in store. You'll find that the best patio heaters are easy to power up, while providing enough heat to keep you toasty, so you can pour yourself another glass of wine without having to go inside once the temperature drops.
Some patio heaters run on electricity while others utilize propane or natural gas. However, since natural gas requires a gas line and professional installation, I've focused on electric and propane models, which tend to also be more portable. Propane patio heaters can be placed anywhere since you just need a propane tank to run them (no outlet), and they produce more intense heat than electric models, so they're likely to do a better job of keeping you warm. However, propane heaters are safest if you have an open outdoor area, but are not recommended for enclosed patios because of the risk of carbon monoxide inhalation. Electric patio heaters, on the other hand, are safe to use in enclosed spaces and can be placed wherever there’s an outlet. And while you'll save money (and time) by not having to stock up on propane, they tend to generate less heat than propane versions.
Remember that patio heaters can potentially tip over in heavy winds, so never place them near glass or anything flammable and choose a heater with a safety tilt valve feature, so that it instantly turns off if knocked over.
Both electric and propane heaters are available in a variety of styles. To help you pick the perfect option for your backyard, here’s my roundup of the best patio heaters on Amazon.
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