The Do’s and Do Not’s of Outdoor Patio Heaters

a floor-standing patio heater that is glowing warmly

An outdoor heater is your ticket to a year-round outdoor living space. Outdoor patio heaters make the colder months of the year more comfortable in your outdoor kitchen and patio. There’s a wide selection of outdoor heaters available, so you might wonder which one is right for you. We’re going to dive into the do’s and don’ts of outdoor patio heaters so you can choose the best patio heater for your outdoor area. These important reminders will give you a complete picture of outdoor heaters.

DO Choose the Right Size Heater for Your Outdoor Room

a DCS patio heater that is ceiling mounted

One of the most common questions people ask us at The Outdoor Appliance Store is what size heater they need for their outdoor area. This is a valid question because you want to ensure everyone is comfortable, yet you don’t want it to be too powerful for your space. The best way to know what size heater you should choose is to understand BTUs (British Thermal Units). This is how heat is measured in outdoor patio heaters, and essentially, the higher the BTUs, the more heat the patio heater produces.


So, if you have a smaller outdoor area around 500 square feet or less, you probably need a heater with 10,000 BTUs or less. On the other hand, large outdoor areas over 2,000 square feet may require an outdoor heater with up to 35,000 BTUs. It’s always best to discuss with an outdoor appliance expert before purchasing. An expert will understand your space and help you determine the best size.

DO Consider Fuel Type

a small table heater for patios

The two different fuel types for outdoor patio heaters are electric and gas. The gas heaters are either powered by propane or natural gas. Both outdoor heater fuel types have pros and cons, and the best choice will depend on your unique outdoor area and needs. 

The most important thing about outdoor gas heaters is that you cannot use them in an enclosed space. If you have an enclosed patio area, electric heaters are the safest option. A significant pro to electric patio heaters is they are very convenient and easy to use. 


Propane patio heaters are also convenient and have simple installation since the propane tank is portable and easy to attach. The natural gas patio heaters are excellent choices when you have a fixed gas line available. These heaters do require professional installation, but they are the cheapest fuel type to maintain. Whatever fuel type you choose, you can still have the aesthetics and function you prefer.

DON’T Forget Function & Aesthetics 

a warm golden light emanates from the stainless steel patio heater

When deciding on a patio heater, it’s easy just to select the one that will heat your space and move on. However, don’t forget to consider the design of the patio heater and the overall function of your space! There are several different types of outdoor patio heaters to consider for your outdoor space. How you use your outdoor living area and your aesthetics will help you decide which one to choose.


Tabletop patio heaters are the smallest type available and sit conveniently on a table. These outdoor heaters usually look like floor-standing patio heaters, so they have a nice design appeal. If most of your time outdoors is spent around a table, this style could work well. Floor-standing patio heaters are the ones you’ve probably seen outside at restaurants. The floor-standing and tabletop outdoor heaters are popular options but keep in mind if you live in a windy environment or have kids using the backyard for active play, you may need a heater in a different location.


Wall or ceiling-mounted patio heaters are popular because they save precious floor space and have a lot of heating power. You can find mounted outdoor heaters in either electric or gas. If aesthetics and ambiance are especially important to you, then an outdoor fireplace or fire pit can succeed in heating your outdoor space and providing fun memories.

DON’T Skip the Owner’s Manual

Whether you install your outdoor patio heater yourself or a professional does it, you need to review the owner’s manual carefully. Your outdoor heater’s owner’s manual has critical manufacturer safety precautions that you must understand to use the heater correctly. Using an outside patio heater can be an enjoyable experience for everyone, but make sure it is installed, used, and maintained in the safest way possible. 


It’s also wise to know what safety features your outdoor patio heater comes with. For instance, many tabletop and floor-standing patio heaters are equipped to automatically shut off if it’s tipped over. Features like these make outdoor heaters safer, along with following all of the other safety guidelines.


The Outdoor Appliance Store is a team of experts on outdoor kitchens, appliances, and furniture. We can help you create your outdoor dream space that you will enjoy for many years to come. Contact us today to hear more about our outdoor patio heaters and other outdoor appliances. You can also use our free design service to begin planning your dream outdoor kitchen. Your outdoor kitchen was made for year-round enjoyment, so let’s warm it up for the winter!


Patio Heaters We Recommend

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