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Enjoy your patio year-round with a patio heater.

What should you look for in a patio heater?

Spending time on a patio is one of the reasons Canadians look forward to summer. But with a patio heater, you can extend the season. If your patio or deck is warm, there’s no reason why you can’t be enjoying the outdoors year-round.

What should you be looking for in a patio heater or deck heater? Ultimately, you are looking for a product that provides enough warmth to keep the chill off. This isn't a furnace, Other factors to consider include power source, convenience, the amount of space to cover, any local rules and regulations (especially with gas patio heaters), and safety.

What different types of outdoor patio heaters are there?

There are two primary types of outdoor patio heaters: propane patio heaters and electric patio heaters. The distinction between the two is their power source.

When it comes to heat output (measured in BTUs), propane patio heaters come out on top. Connect them to a standard 20lb propane tank and they can effectively warm a large area, with a heating radius typically in the 2m to 4m range. Propane patio heaters are usually upright, with the base concealing the propane tank. Some are also disguised to look like a portable fire pit or fireplace. These are self-contained so they can be used on a patio or deck, but have a more limited warming area. They feature open flames for ambiance but don’t warm as wide an area.

Electric patio heaters (also known as infrared heaters) put out fewer BTUs than propane heaters, but they can be used wherever an electrical outlet is available. These patio heaters come in a wide range of sizes and form factors, including freestanding, table-top, hanging, and even oscillating versions.

What type of patio heater would be best for you?

The best type of patio heater for your space depends on a number of factors. These include the amount of space to be covered and the preferred form factor.

For example, if you would rather have a patio heater that puts out maximum BTUs, then propane is the obvious choice. If you don’t want to be bothered swapping out propane tanks, or you want a heater that can be placed on a table, then you would likely be looking at electric patio heaters.

How many patio heaters would I need for my space?

How effectively a patio heater warms a space varies. The number of BTUs it can put out is the most important variable. A 40,000 BTU propane heater is going to cover a much larger area than a 5,000 BTU electric patio heater can. However, there are design differences to take into account. The deflector helps to direct heat and different designs vary in their effectiveness—so a direct BTU to BTU comparison may not be as clear-cut as it sounds. Position counts, too. If people are going to be sitting around a central table, a lower-output electric heater may be more effective than a high-output propane heater standing in a corner.

Your best bet is to know how big your space is, where people will be sitting or standing, the BTU output of the patio heaters you are considering, and the ideal form factors for the use of your space. Ultimately, that may mean multiple patio heaters of different styles.

But it will be worth the time to do it right because you will gain months of additional use of your patio or deck. Discover other outdoor heating products such as fire pit tables, fire pit and fit pit table accessories, and outdoor fireplaces

If you want to give your home's heating system a little boost, discover our large selection of space heaters.