Patio Heating Guide for Beginners

Patio Heating Guide for Beginners

We create outdoor spaces in our homes so we can spend more time in nature. During the winter season, though, just the thought of being outside can send chills down your spine.

Staying warm while outdoors can be a challenge during the colder months of the year, but this doesn’t mean you can’t use your patio anymore. There’s a dizzying array of options for outdoor heating, ranging from glazing gas burners to quiet electric heaters, to keep the cold out.

 4 Types of Patio Heater

If you’ve been shopping around for outdoor heaters in preparation for the cooler months of the year, you may have – at some point – felt overwhelmed by the sheer number of options. To narrow down your choices,  you need to know what type of heater works best for your outdoor living space. 

Patio heaters can be classified into four main types, which are as follows:

Tabletop Patio Heaters

Tabletop heaters are small, portable heaters usually placed on top of outdoor tables. They take up very little space and are easy to move around.

Due to their compact size, tabletop heaters are the suitable choice for balconies and outdoor living areas with limited space. They’re also lightweight and convenient to carry, so you can pack one (or a couple) with you on your winter getaways.

 Mounted Patio Heaters

Mounted Patio heaters are designed for permanent installation on walls and ceilings. They are another ideal option for small outdoor living spaces like sunrooms, decks, and balconies. Since they take up literally zero floor space, you’ll have more room for furniture and guests.

Installing mounted heaters requires special tools and equipment. You may need to ask for professional help to properly and safely put them in place.

 Hanging Patio Heaters

Another space-saving outdoor heating option, hanging patio heaters are installed on ceilings.

 If you’re looking for a versatile heating appliance for your patio, go for hanging heaters. Most models are electric-powered, making them ideal for both enclosed and al-fresco outdoor living spaces.

 Free-Standing Patio Heaters

 Free-standing patio heaters are the most adaptable heating option around. These self-supporting heaters come in different shapes and sizes, from full-sized permanent units to portable ones that you can move as needed.

 Manufactured in a wide range of stylish designs, free-standing heaters can work in a variety of settings. Whatever theme or aesthetic you’re going for, you’re sure to find a standing patio heater that will suit your taste.

Choosing the Right Heater for Your Patio

So, how do you pick the best patio heater for your home? Honestly, there’s no single answer to this question because the answer ultimately relies on your needs and preferences.

To make the process easier for you, we’ve made a list of important features and factors to consider when choosing an outdoor patio heater:

Fuel Type

Outdoor heaters use one of three fuel sources – electricity, propane gas, and natural gas. Each of these fuel types has pros, cons, and installation requirements, that you need to consider when deciding on a heater for your outdoor space.

Electric patio heaters are the most eco-friendly and energy-efficient. They don’t produce harmful emissions and are simple to install.

Propane patio heaters use either bulk or portable propane tanks. Many tabletop and free-standing units use portable propane tanks, light enough to be moved around your outdoor area. If you have a bulk tank in your home, you may go for a permanent fixture heater and then hire a licensed plumber to connect it to the fuel source.

Natural gas heaters would be the best if you’re already using natural gas to fuel some appliances in your home. It’s the most cost-effective choice for permanent and high-use outdoor heating installations. Again, you should hire a licensed plumber when working with natural gas appliances.

 Heat Output

Like interior heaters, outdoor heaters are also designed to heat different-sized spaces. There are outdoor heaters that can heat a full garden or lounge area, but that depends on the unit’s heating capacity and, of course, the size of your patio.

You’ll need to carefully examine the size, layout, and orientation of the outdoor living space to choose the most suitable heating appliance. Heaters that are too big can make your patio unpleasantly hot, but heaters that don’t produce enough heat won’t be of much use either.


The placement and location of your heater are critical factors when it comes to ensuring safety.

By design, patio heaters can be used on decks and patios with hardwood flooring, but you must never leave them unattended while in use. Moreover, gas-fueled heaters should only be used in open areas, as they produce carbon monoxide that is harmful to humans.

Another important safety-related factor to consider is stability. Make sure that your heater is sturdy enough and won’t topple over easily when in use. Whether it’s electric or gas, your heater should also have a built-in tilt-protection feature, so it immediately shuts off if accidentally tipped over.


Patio heaters should serve their functional purpose above all else, but there’s no denying that looks also matter. Stylish heaters can enhance the look of your deck or patio, even when not in use.

Fireplaces and gas heaters emit a warm glow, making them a great choice for creating a cozy and romantic atmosphere. If you prefer a more contemporary or modern vibe for your patio, a sleek electric heater might satisfy your aesthetic preferences.

Transform your outdoor living spaces and turn it into a comfortable haven you can enjoy all year round with just a single touch -- a patio heater. 




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