The Best Patio Heater

Thermo Tiki Deluxe Propane Outdoor Patio Heater

Our Top Pick for 2016: Thermo Tiki Deluxe Propane Outdoor Patio Heater
Read our full review.

See it on Amazon for $254.99*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.
Too expensive? See our budget pick.

Here it is, that time of year everyone wants to be outside, yet it is still a little crisp in the evenings. After a long winter, we just can’t wait for longer, warmer days, and many of us tend to ignore Mother Nature and stay out a little later than comfort allows in those early spring days. You could put on another layer or wrap up in a blanket, but why not extend your evening enjoyment with the use of a patio heater? Patio heaters are readily available, take up little space on your patio or deck, and offer a wide path of constant, even heat to warm you and your family or friends. They can vary in fuel sources from electric to propane or natural gas, and they can be full size (standing on the floor) or tabletop. How do you know which one to choose? We’ve done the research for you, scouring through the available options, and come up with these top picks.

Table of contents

46,000 BTU
Crafted From Premium Materials
Commercial Grade Stainless Steel
Piezo Ignition
Provides More Heat Than Overhead Units
Piezo Ignition
Stainless Steel Burners
Built-in Safety Valve
Safety Auto Shut-off Tilt Valve
Double Mantle Heating Grid
Includes Wheels For Portability
Wheel Assembly Included
Safety Auto Shut Off
Uses Standard Propane Tank
Measures Approximately 18×89 Inches

*Price at time of publishing and may not reflect current pricing.

#1 Gold pick (Winner): Thermo Tiki Deluxe Propane Outdoor Patio Heater

Thermo Tiki Deluxe Propane Outdoor Patio Heater Gold Pick

View it on Amazon for $254.99*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.

2016-gold-winnerThe Thermo Tiki Deluxe Propane Outdoor Patio Heater is truly a work of modern art. Its modern, architecture – meets – art design defies the traditional lamp post with a hat design, and becomes a focal point on your deck or patio. It will look great in a more modern setting, such as a smooth concrete patio or dark wood deck. Two color options are available; choose from a silver tone or black powder coated finish on the base of the heater. The unique way heat is produced from this heater is what sets the Tiki apart and earns our top ranking of Gold Pick. Instead of heat being released from the top of the heater and deflected down with a curved shield, as with the delivery method of standard patio heaters, the Tiki Deluxe blasts heat from a beautiful flame that runs the entire length of the column, resulting in more heat where you need it most – at body level. We think that’s incredible! Simply adjust the height of the flame for more or less heat.

The Tiki Deluxe stands at 7.5-feet, over 4 feet of which is the column that emits heat, and is crafted from high-grade steel and aluminum. It features a rust and corrosion-resistant finish that won’t fade, even in extreme climates, though an optional cover is available if you wish to protect your investment while not in use, or during summer storage. The wheels on the base make it easy to move the heater around wherever you need comfort, allowing it to become an artful focal point of your party or family gathering.

Perhaps the most unique and attractive part of the Tiki is its beautiful flame tube, a 4 foot tall ceramic-glass column that becomes a work of art as the flame seems to flicker and dance inside the 4-inch diameter tube. You will surely be amazed with how unique and interesting this heater is, and of course, still gets the job done. No need for anyone to huddle around the heater – the ceramic column shields the flame tube with transparent mesh for safety, and spreads warmth to about a 15 foot radius (depending on conditions – as with any patio heater, you won’t feel much heat if it is less than 40 degrees outside), heating with a true output of up to 38,000 BTUs. Of course, if you are using the heater out in the open, you are not going to get as far of a spread of heat as you will on a covered porch, and having the heater near a wall will help keep more warmth in the space you are trying to heat.

The triangular base of the heater is designed to resist tipping and stylishly conceals the simple push button ignition (thanks to the integrated pilot light system), temperature control knob and a full size 20lb propane tank (you will have to provide the tank). The door is held with a strong magnet and tethered to the unit with a steel chain, making it easy to open and make adjustments. Just in case it does get tilted or tipped (say someone bumps into it, or a child knocks into it with a wayward ball or something), the Tiki has a built-in safety valve that will shut off the fuel supply automatically, a feature we appreciate immensely.

The heater is shipped disassembled in a large box, with all of its pieces(especially the glass tube) adequately protected. You’ll need some simple tools and a little time to put it together, and you may want to assemble it in the outdoor location where it will be used, as it is very tall and could be awkward getting through a standard door. It does, however, have a pre-attached flexible hose, so you won’t have to be concerned the safety of connecting a gas line to the appliance. It may look a little overwhelming when you unpack all of the pieces, but it is relatively easy to assemble. Be sure you have enough clearance if using this heater on a covered patio – the unit itself stands 7.5 feet tall, and you need a couple of feet of clearance from the unit to any ceiling or roof for safety.

What we like best about the Thermo Tiki Deluxe Propane Outdoor Patio Heater is, well, everything. It is elegant to look at (you’ve never seen a patio heater this stylish!), it produces a high heat output, it has amazing safety features, and it will run at a low-medium setting for about 10 hours on a full tank. At full flame, you can expect 5-6 hours of use. We find you get best results from any patio heater on a crisp, but not cold, evening. We especially love the design of the heat coming from the ceramic tube instead of just from the top.

Thermo Tiki is based in South Florida in the US, and their heaters are manufactured in China. Though it has a list price of over $1,000, we found it available for under $300 at most retailers. The Thermo Tiki Deluxe is sure to be a showpiece on your patio.

#2 Silver pick (Runner-up): Fire Sense Hammer Tone Patio Heater

Fire Sense Hammer Tone Patio Heater

View it on Amazon for $123.18*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.

2016-silver-winnerOur silver pick is one of the most powerful patio heaters on the market. The Fire Sense Hammer Tone Patio Heater puts out 46,000 BTUs, lending heat to an area up to 20 feet around the heater in optimal conditions (no wind, a wall or overhang to help hold in heat, ambient temperature above 40 degrees), though users report the most comfort in a radius of about 10 feet. This is your standard, commercial style propane patio heater, with a round base to hold the propane tank, a tall tube, and a hat or canopy deflector to direct the hot air downward. The controls are on the outside of the unit. A wheel assembly is included as an optional feature, and will be useful if you think you may move it around from place to place. You can forgo the wheels if you know you will only use the heater in the same place all of the time. Fire Sense claims to have constructed the wheel assembly to endure the rugged terrain of a stone patio in an outdoor living space, so you don’t need to worry if you are using the heater on a less-than-smooth surface.

This commercial quality patio heater has a beautiful dark bronze finish, setting it apart from the chrome and aluminum competition. It will look gorgeous in your outdoor living space and complement rich traditional décor, especially on a patio made of stone and warm elements. Standing at just under 7.5 feet tall, you won’t have to worry about your tallest guest being safe and warm. Be sure you have enough headroom in the space you will use the heater, if the space is covered by a roof or overhang. This heavy duty heater has a Piezo ignition system which, much like your barbecue grill, creates an electrical spark that ignites the gas source, producing a flame. The Fire Sense is easy to start and produces even heat quickly, burning steadily at half-flame for about 10 hours on a full tank of propane, and about 9 hours at 75 percent flame. If you run this heater on full heat, you can probably expect about 6-7 hours of use.

Not included, but available for purchase, is a storage cover for the off-season. This is good to have to protect the elements from damage when not in use, and be sure to disconnect the propane tank before storing. Users report the need for sand to fill the bottom of the heater for stability, so be sure to read the instructions thoroughly before beginning assembly. Anti-tip safety features meet national requirements and will shut off the fuel supply if the unit is tipped or tilted.

The unit is designed in the USA by Fire Sense, a company with a long standing history of safety, quality, and excellent customer service, and manufactured in China. List price is $229, though it can often be found under $200. The Fire Sense Hammer Tone Patio Heater is sure to be a great addition to your outdoor living space in those cooler months.

#3 Bronze pick (3rd place): AmazonBasics Havana Patio Heater

AmazonBasics Havana Patio Heater

View it on Amazon for $123.18*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.

2016-bronze-awardThe Amazon Basics Havana Patio Heater is not shy about its standard industrial style appearance, and we love that there is such an affordable, simple model available to homeowners. In fact, you may want two heaters at this price point if you have a large patio or deck, or frequently have large gatherings. Clearly, this rugged outdoor patio heater is just here to do a good job of keeping you warm without any unnecessary fancy finishes or bells and whistles. This particular Amazon Basics model does feature a nice bronze powder coat finish, so it is not completely lacking in style, and its simple, sleek design will work well with just about any décor. Standing at a generous 89 inches tall, just under 7.5 feet, the Havana works under a patio roof or overhang that is at least 9 feet tall for clearance and safety, though (like any propane heater) it shouldn’t be used in a completely enclosed space. It has a generously sized reflector to guide the heat downward while keeping any propane fumes above your guests.

The Havana fires up quickly to provide soothing heat to your patio with just a push of the easy to light electronic ignition, and features an adjustable heat control knob and off switch at the top of the unit, where the heat is distributed. Because of the weight of the top of the unit, Amazon Basics has incorporated a stabilization reservoir to fill with sand or water to stabilize the unit by adding more weight to the bottom for safety. Don’t worry; the Havana still has the standard anti-tip mechanism that shuts off the fuel supply to the heater if it is tilted or tipped, meeting safety standards for portable heaters. The design of the empty reservoir saves on shipping weight versus just making the base heavier to begin with, so we’re okay with that, because it lowers the shipping cost for the consumer and makes the unit easier to assemble and move around when necessary. Users recommend using sand versus water because water can damage metal over time and, as one reviewer pointed out, water freezes. A separate wheel assembly is included and optional, though we recommend using the wheels to easily move your patio heater from one space to another in case of an undesirable wind direction during your party. Assembly should take about an hour with standard tools.

With an output of 46,000 BTUs, the Havana certainly stands up to the pricier competition as far as heating ability is concerned. You can expect to get a full 10 hours of use at low heat with a standard, 20 pound propane tank, and 5-6 hours on high heat. The warmth radius is best at about 7-9 feet in ambient temperatures above 40 degrees, and up to 20 feet in temps of 50-60 degrees. Made in China and shipped from the manufacturer, the Amazon Basics Havana Patio Heater will run you about $150 and will be a sturdy companion to your spring and fall evening gatherings.

#4 Budget pick (Best cheap): AZ Patio Heaters Portable Table Top Patio Heater

AZ Patio Heaters Portable Table Top Patio Heater

View it on Amazon for $89.00*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.

2016-cheap-budget-pickAZ Patio Heaters brings us out budget pick with their Portable Table Top Patio Heater. This heater is best for a simple outdoor dinner party, where all of your family or guests will be seated around it, or on a low table in your outdoor living room. Choose from one of four available finishes to compliment your décor; black and stainless steel, hammered bronze and stainless, hammered bronze, or stainless steel.

About the size of a large lamp, though at 38 inches it is not tiny by any means, the AZ Table Top Heater puts out about 11,000 BTUs with an adjustable temperature control knob, providing warm, soothing heat to small areas – about the breadth of your outdoor dining table. In larger outdoor living rooms, you may consider purchasing several of these handsome table top heaters to spread the heat around the area during your gathering. They can sit at a dining table, on end tables, or along a stone wall. The heater features the same anti-tip mechanisms as its larger friends, and includes a heavy, weighted base plate to keep it sitting firmly upright on your table.

The AZ Patio Heater holds a 1-pound Propane or Butane tank and will heat your dinner party for about an hour or so at the highest heat setting, or a couple of hours on low. You can purchase a longer flexible hose to attach a full size propane tank, which will then run for about 20 hours, and the tank would need to sit under the table. We really find this table top heater best for small patios that are covered and/or partially enclosed. With an output of 11,000 BTUs, this heater isn’t designed to heat a large area on a cold night, so enjoy it for the purpose it was designed for – keeping you and your family comfortable around a table on a crisp (45-60 degrees) evening, and you’re sure to have years of satisfaction from this little table top heater.

The AZ Patio Heaters Portable Table Top Patio Heater is designed in the USA by AZ Patio Heaters, who has been providing excellent home heating products and quality customer service since 2002. The heaters are manufactured in China and can be purchase for around $89.00, making the Table Top Heater an inexpensive solution to your need to extend those evening gatherings past sunset.

Pre-purchase considerations

Heat Output

Not all patio heaters are created equal, and more heat is not always better. Consider the output compared to the area you need to heat. A tiny heater won’t do in a large outdoor living space, while an industrial heater is definitely overkill for grandma’s tiny patio.


Any patio heater you choose should meet national safety standards with anti-tip mechanisms and safety shut-offs. Look for additional features, such as a heavy base, for stability.


There are enough patio heater options on the market today to be able to choose one that works with your décor. You won’t want a very modern style heater in a shabby chic setting, nor will you want a bronze finish in a very modern setting. Choose a style that complements your outdoor living space.


We list price last because there isn’t too much difference between patio heaters, but you should consider the cost because you shouldn’t spend more than you need to on outdoor comfort. If you only need the heater for eating dinner, an inexpensive table top heater will do. If you’ve just redone your patio or deck with strong modern lines and sleek, edgy furnishings, go ahead and spend the money on the heater that enhances your makeover. Consider your budget and pick the heater that fits best.

Conclusion (Wrapping it up)

We just love patio heaters because they allow us to gather just a little longer, play one more round of cards, enjoy another glass of wine on the patio with the neighbors. With all of our picks under $400.00, heating your patio or deck is not an expensive endeavor, and the right patio heater will give you years of enjoyment. Whichever one you choose, we hope you have a wonderful extended season of outdoor enjoyment with your friends and family!

Discussion and comments

We want to know what you think. Do you own any of the products we discussed? Which did you buy and how did it work out for you?

Do you know of an even better product?

Comment below and help your fellow consumers make the right choice. Over to you!


  1. Tom Kraeutler, Patio Heaters: Fuel Types and Safety Tips, The Money Pit, Nov 2, 2009
  2. Piezo Ignition, Wikipedia, Sept 11, 2015
  3. Safety Specifications, ThermoTiki, 2016
  4. Cthulhu, Tall, Mean and Hot, Hot, Hot, Amazon Reviews, October 6, 2014

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