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Two lit patio heaters

Guide to Choosing Patio Heaters

With so many options available, choosing patio heaters can be a difficult task. These outdoor heaters are a worthy investment that allow you to enjoy your patio or outdoor kitchen into the colder months. In this guide, you'll learn how to choose the right heater for your outdoor entertaining space. You will also discover how to calculate how many BTUs are needed to heat a given space and the different fuel types available.
Outdoor Heater Buying Guide Video
Outdoor Heater Buying Guide
Outdoor Heater Buying Guide Video Outdoor Heater Buying Guide Video
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Outdoor Heater Buying Guide
1 year ago

Choosing Patio Heaters: Factors to Consider

Heating Range

To begin, the first consideration one should make when choosing patio heaters is the amount of space to heat. To calculate the required BTUs for your yard, multiply the patio (or other space) square footage by 20. So, if your patio is 400 square feet, you'll need a patio heater with an 8,000 BTU output. Abt offers models whose BTU exceeds 40,000, meaning that choosing patio heaters from our selection is easy no matter how much square footage you're working with.

Fuel Source

Patio heaters are available in three different fuel sources: electric, liquid propane and natural gas. Each energy source has their own pros and cons.
  • Electric patio heaters must be plugged into an outlet to work. While some are compatible with a 120v outlet, others require a 240v outlet. Electric outdoor heaters are ideal for those looking for an earth-conscious option as they don't produce emissions. Some models may require professional installation.
  • Liquid propane models don't require professional installation as they simply require a tank of propane gas to operate. Not requiring professional installation means that these heaters can be purchased and set up the same day with ease. It is best to keep an extra propane tank on hand so you don't run out of fuel in the middle of an event.
  • Natural gas heaters require a gas line hookup. If you have a natural gas grill already, you are familiar with this connection. Requiring a gas connection is both the biggest pro and con of these models as the gas line may not be in the most convenient location, but connecting to your home's gas line also provides an unlimited fuel supply.

Safety Features

As with any item that produces heat, safety risks are vital when choosing patio heaters. A model with a tilt switch will automatically shut the unit off if it tips past a certain degree, keeping you and your guests safe should the heater fall over. Many models have a safety feature that shuts off the gas valve on the heater should the flame go out. If you don't have one in your home already, a fire extinguisher is also important to have on hand should the heater malfunction.

Design & Aesthetics

You also want your yard or patio to look great, especially when you're hosting an outdoor function. There are plenty of design elements to consider when choosing which patio heater to bring home. As for shapes, umbrella and pyramid models are most common with standing heaters. Mounted heaters are smaller and simpler in design, meaning they can easily blend into the exterior of your home. Heaters can also come in different colors: black and stainless steel finishes are the most popular, but certain brands also offer a variety of colorful options.
Patio heater on a patio

Abt's Top Picks for Patio Heaters

Not all patio heaters are made equally. Certain models are better suited for different purposes or different lifestyles. We've compiled our top choices for several different applications so you can easily find the best fit for your home.
This Hanover outdoor heater strikes a balance between form and function, offering comfortable heat in a stylish package. The pyramid design is a popular choice and the black finish is easy to match with a variety of furniture styles. With a 16-foot heating radius and 42,000 BTU of heating power, it can substantially heat smaller yards; if your yard is larger, a pair of these Hanover patio heaters should do the trick. The ignite button gets things cozy with a single push.

Hanover Stainless Steel 7' 48,000 BTU Steel Umbrella Patio Heater - 9710003U

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Color: Stainless Steel
Hanover Stainless Steel 7' 48,000 BTU Steel Umbrella Patio Heater - 9710003U
Providing ample heat in your outdoor entertaining space doesn't have to cost a fortune. The Hanover 7' umbrella heater features a surprisingly durable stainless steel construction that can stand up to weather conditions. It can heat a 16-foot radius, ideal for smaller yards. Of course, if your space is larger, its competitive price point means you can purchase a few without going over your budget.

Lynx doesn't just make great grills. The brand offers all kinds of outdoor entertaining essentials including outdoor heaters. This patio heater uses liquid propane and can be mounted to the outside of your home. As this is a more permanent option, this heater is best for those planning on staying in their home for several years. The permanent installation is a bonus because you don't have to maneuver the heater around your yard or worry about it clashing with your patio furniture.

If you're looking to heat a particularly large backyard, this Bromic option is a great choice. It can heat up to 65 square feet, meaning your guests will stay cozy in every corner of your yard. Of course, its biggest advantage is its wheels that allow you to move the unit around your yard, whether you want it closer to a particular area or are wheeling it out of the way on hot summer nights.

If you're looking for the most streamlined option, a mounted heater is a great choice. As mentioned, these are a more permanent heating source and are thus better suited for long-term residences. This Bromic liquid propane patio heater features a patented direct ignition system for powerful heating that can stand up to the windiest days. Its automatic re-ignition means you don't have to worry about monitoring the unit throughout the evening.

The right patio heater will comfortably heat your yard and look great while doing so. Investing in a patio heater will give you the ability to enjoy dinner or host parties outdoors well into the winter months. At this point, you should feel empowered to navigate Abt's selection of products. However, if you're still in need of assistance in choosing patio heaters, please call our experts at 800-860-3577 for more specialized recommendations. For additional information, visit our blog to learn more about patio heaters for outdoor entertaining.