The 2 Best Outdoor Patio Heaters of 2023

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Winter is coming, which means our lives are moving more and more indoors. But sometimes, that’s not an option. If you want to keep enjoying your outdoor space as the weather gets colder, we recommend investing in a propane-powered patio heater like the AZ Patio Heaters HLDS01-SSxxx. With 48,000 BTUs of heating power, it delivers the best bang for your buck, and it has enough safety features to make sure that nothing goes bang! except the igniter.

Our pick

One of the most powerful propane patio heaters we tested is also among the easiest to find, with good safety features and customer support that set it apart from similar competitors.

The propane-powered AZ Patio Heaters HLDS01-SSxxx puts out more than nine times as much heat as an electric patio heater. But if you’re looking for sheer heating prowess, this mushroom-style heater is the way to go. The company also distributes widely across the country, and it provides excellent customer service. Whether you’re concerned about assembly or you need to replace the inevitable broken part some years down the line, AZ Patio Heaters has you covered. Other mushroom-style heaters will likely serve you just as well; many of them are even manufactured in the same factory. But this AZ Patio Heaters model set itself apart with a few thoughtful design upgrades, like a more clearly marked ignition mechanism. If the HLDS01-SSxxx is unavailable, the East Oak EO-PHxxx is a nearly-identical mushroom-style heater with similarly thoughtful details and reliable customer service.

Also great

This pyramid-style propane heater doesn’t generate quite the same level of heat as our pick, but the mesmerizing glass-tube flame spreads the warmth more evenly.

Glass-tube (or pyramid-style) heaters are another popular propane design, and the AZ Patio Heaters HLDS01-GTxx is our favorite. It doesn’t put out quite the same level of heat as our top pick. But this model contains the heat in a vertical glass tube, instead of pumping it out the top of the heater and deflecting it downward (where the people are). That centrally positioned heat source provides a pleasant, even warmth whether you’re sitting or standing. Plus, you get to watch the flame dance in the glass tube, which is just plain cool. If this particular model isn’t available, the East Oak EO-PH22006 is nearly identical with similarly reliable customer service, although it does tend to cost more.

Also great

A pole-mounted electric heater that provides a horizontal blast of infrared warmth.

A canopy-style heater that creates a nice umbrella of downward warmth.

A vertically-oriented electric heater that’s great for sitting down.

Electric patio heaters, aren’t nearly as powerful as propane heaters, typically cranking out around 5,100 BTUs of heat (about one-eighth as much heat as our propane picks). But their infrared elements make you feel like they’re warming you more directly. The East Oak SPH22002 radiates in a wide horizontal heat band, and it can be mounted on a pole or a wall, depending on your patio setup. It also works as an outdoor lamp and comes with a remote control, so you don’t have to get too close to the source. The EnerG+ HEA-21821SH-T is another pole-mounted option, with a canopy top that deflects the heat downward (not unlike a mushroom-style propane heater). This might require you to huddle in closer to the pole, but the telescoping base gives you some flexibility. We were also fond of the Westinghouse WES31-15110, which isn’t mounted but instead sits on the ground, emitting heat in a vertical column that’s particularly effective if you’re sitting down.

Most of those models come from the same factory, regardless of their branding. Supply chain issues and high demand are common with these kinds of heaters, so if these specific ones are unavailable, a similar-looking model with a different name will likely serve you just as well.

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