Patio heaters are awesome aren’t they? They can turn an outdoor space that’s just a little too cold into a place where you can spend hours and hours enjoying yourself.

The only problem is, how many do you need? And are they worth the cost?

How Many Outdoor Patio Heaters Do I Actually Need?

The basic guideline when it comes to how many patio heaters is one free-standing patio heater for every 1,500 square feet of space. So if you have a patio that’s 500 square feet, you’d need one patio heater. If your patio is 3,000 square feet, then you’d need two patio heaters and so on…

As for whether or not patio heaters are worth the cost, that really depends on how often you’ll be using them and what your budget is, really.

If you found this article interesting, you may like – When Is The Best Time Of Year To Pressure Wash Your Patio And Driveway?, also if you are looking to build a new patio in the winter, then this article might be of interest – Can You Lay a Patio in the Winter?

Assessing Your Needs

What you need and how many you will need will be different for different people and also the budget you have available. The first you need to think about is the size.

Size

As I mentioned earlier, you need 1 patio heater per 1500-2000 square foot of open space. Now, there’s no reason why you couldn’t increase that to 2, but look at this way. The likelihood of you wanting to heat the entire patio is quite small. Oftentimes, you will use a smaller section of the patio that needs to be heated.

1 patio heater per 1500-2000 square foot
1 patio heater per 1500-2000 square foot

You may have noticed that the preceding figures are for covered patios only. But what if you don’t have a covered patio? In that case, you should anticipate a freestanding patio heater to cover a 20-foot diameter (or roughly 314 square feet overall).

AreaBTU Estimate
100-450 sq. ft. (~9-42 sq. meter)5,000 – 10,000
450-1,000 sq. ft. (~42-93 sq. meter)10,000 – 20,000
1,000-1,500 sq. ft. (~93-139 sq. meter)20,000 – 24,000
1,500-2,000 sq. ft (~139-186 sq. meter)24,000 – 30,000
2,000-2,500 sq. ft (~186-232 sq. meter)30,000 – 34,000

Patio heater range

A typical free-standing propane patio heater generates around 40,000 BTUs of energy, enough to heat a 20-foot radius (or more than 300 square feet) effectively. While this is usually sufficient for normal decks and patios, you may need to purchase additional heaters for a larger area or a special occasion.

What Are BTus?

BTU stands for British Thermal Unit, and is the standard unit of measurement for heat. One BTU is the amount of energy needed to raise the temperature of 1 pound of water by 1 degree Fahrenheit.

Budget

By now, you should have worked out how many patio heaters you need for your personal unique requirement, now you need to work out what the budget is. freestanding patio heaters generally start at about $100 and go up to $1000 for a quality patio heater.

Are They Worth It?

Like I said before, it really depends on how often you’re going to be using them and what your budget is.

If you’re someone who likes to spend a lot of time outdoors in the colder months, then investing in a few quality patio heaters is definitely worth it. However, if you only use your patio a couple times a year, then it might not be worth the expense.

Also, will you be using them for domestic or commercial use? Domestic use patio heaters will have a different price tag to commercial ones.

Positioning

Since you won’t need to heat the whole patio (I’m assuming), the positioning of your patio heater is fairly straight forward. Place it in the area that you want to be heated and enjoy. This is normally near a seating area, such as a table and chairs, so you can relax in the warm glow of your patio heater.

Most patio heaters come with a tilting option, so you can easily adjust the angle of the heater to get the most out of it.

Related: Patio Chair Cushions And You

Extra features

Almost all patio heaters come with some type of safety feature. This can include an automatic shut-off if it falls over, a timer to turn it off after a certain amount of time, or even a sensor that detects when someone is too close and shuts off automatically.

What are the Different Types of Patio Heaters?

There are three main types of patio heaters: electric, propane, and natural gas.

What Are The Different Types Of Patio Heaters?
What Are The Different Types Of Patio Heaters?

Related: The Patio Guide: (Everything You Needed to Know)

Electric patio heaters

Electric patio heaters are the most popular type and run off of electricity. They tend to be the cheapest option and come in a variety of styles. The downside is that they can be a little bit more expensive to operate than other types of patio heaters.

Propane patio heaters

Propane patio heaters are the most popular type of freestanding patio heater. They run off of propane tanks, which can be purchased at most hardware stores, and are very efficient. The downside is that they can be a little bit louder than other types of patio heaters.

Natural gas patio heaters

Natural gas patio heaters are the most expensive option, but also the most efficient.

They run off of natural gas, which can be piped into your home, and have a large range.

The downside is that they can be difficult to install and require professional installation.

You also have wall mounted, table top, freestanding, quartz tube, mushroom Style, hanging, lighted, umbrella, fire pit, patio tables with built-in heater, mobile patio heater (comes on wheels and handle), gazebo with heater.

Patio Heater Options (The different types)

There are quite a few different options on the market when it comes to patio heaters. To help you make a decision, I’ve put together a list of the most popular ones.

Lowes patio heaters are the most popular ones in the US and Heatlab are more popular in the UK.

You can either purchase them at your local garden centre on shop online at Amazon for a much larger choice.

Do Outdoor Patio Heaters Need To Be Covered?

Yes, patio heaters do need to be covered to protect them from the elements like rain or snow. It also stops debris from building up on the heater, which can eventually cause damage or even set fire.

Most patio heaters will come with a cover, but if yours doesn’t or you’ve lost it, then you can easily purchase one online or at your local hardware store.

Just be sure to get one that’s specifically designed for your patio heater type.

FAQs

How many patio heaters do I need for an outdoor wedding?

The bare minimum is one free-standing patio heater for every 1,500 square feet of space. So, if you have a 500-square-foot patio, you’ll need one. If your patio size is 3,000 square feet, you’ll require two patio heaters; and so on.

Since this is for domestic use, you could likely increase the number based on the fact that you will probably hire your patio heaters rather than buy them.

What is the most efficient patio heater?

The most efficient patio heater is the natural gas patio heater. It runs off of natural gas, which can be piped into your home, and has a large range.
The downside is that they can be difficult to install and require professional installation.

Can you use an electric patio heater indoors?

No, it is not safe to use an electric patio heater indoors since they are not designed for indoor use. If you have propane gas patio heaters, they give off carbon monoxide which needs open space to escape.

You are not able to easily vent this if you used it indoors.

How many BTUs do I need for my patio heater?

How many BTUs do I need for my patio heater
How many BTUs do I need for my patio heater?
The equation is:
Length X Width = Area
20 BTU x Area2
Simply multiply the square footage by 20 BTUs per square foot.

How many square feet will 48000 BTU heat?

Patio heaters with a capacity of 48,000 BTUs can warm up to 200 square feet. The most powerful patio heaters have an output of 50,000 BTUs per hour. These are great for smaller groups. If you wish to heat a larger patio space, go for a heater with an output of 60,000 BTUs per hour.

Do Slate Patio Slabs Scratch
Do Slate Patio Slabs Scratch?
About the Author

Passionate about helping households transition to sustainable energy with helpful information and resources.

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