With the pandemic still raging on in much of the United States, it stands to reason that we’ll continue socializing outdoors for much of the foreseeable future. In fact, the New York City Council has made its outdoor retaurant program permanent and will allow restaurants to use portable heaters during the winter months.
The NYT’s Wirecutter review team put the struggles currently facing reviewers as outdoor patio heater models sell out faster than we can write about them into perspective.
“At this point, if you’re looking to make an immediate purchase for something to use in the coming months, you’re better off buying whatever’s available that fits your circumstances.”
With that in mind, here are the best outdoor patio heaters that, at the time of publication, are still available for purchase, complete with the best information I could find about them compiled for easy reading and shopping alike.
Best for Restaurants: Frontgate Commercial Patio Heater
Here’s a great option for restaurants and other socially-distanced commercial spaces, if you need something sizable and seriously powerful. Frontgate’s commercial patio heater pumps out 46,000 BTUs of heat via a Piezo igniter system and uses stainless steel burners and a double mantle heating grid. It’s pricier than the Member’s Mark model below, but could be better suited for your space and needs.
Best for Restaurants Overall: Member’s Mark Patio Heater
This outdoor heater from Member’s Mark is designed for restaurants, so it’s sturdy and durable.
“It puts off a good amount of heat and warms a good area around the heater. You’ll be perfectly comfortable in your sweater while hanging out by the patio heater,” says one Sam’s Club reviewer.
She continues, “I love the lighted drink table around it! It’s very conducive to conversation during an outdoor party. I would highly recommend this patio heater to anyone who enjoys being outside, even in the winter!”
Another promising review makes one thing clear: The “lighted table is VIP club cool.”
Best Portable Heater: AgiiMan Patio Space Heater
This budget-friendly space heater is rated BestReview.Guides’ top choice for outdoor heaters. It’s budget-friendly, due to its low $49 price point, but also versatile. It can be used indoors and out, even in a greenhouse! Featuring an extra-long cord, it heats quickly and is perfect for adding a little warmth into your outdoor socializing life.
Best Ambience: OT Qomotop Propane Fire Pit Table
This romantic backyard patio fire pit is perfect for romantic dates and hot chocolate moments with friends. With a 4.5 amazon rating, reviewers are raving. “It took me approximately 30 minutes to put it together by myself and was pretty easy since the directions were straight forward to follow,” one Amazon review gushes. “I have now used this fire pit table approximately 8-10 times and have been very happy with it.”
Best Pyramid Heater: Oakmont Pyramid Outdoor Heater
While most expensive, this pyramid outdoor heater is by far my favorite. It’s the preferred style for restaurants sporting a classy sophisticated look. It’s also safer than the mushroom top version of heaters. The heat spreads across the entire length, rather than emitting from the highest point alone. Most sought-after models are sold out, but this Oakmont is still available.
Best Wall-Mounted Heater: PatioBoss Electric Patio Heater
If you want a wall-mounted heater, this PatioBoss heater looks like it will do the trick. Electric with a carbon fiber tube as a heating element it saves energy by being efficient. It works rapidly, boasting a 3 seconds warm-up period. The Patio Boss heater is also more affordable then standing heaters, perfect for small spaces.
Best Outdoor Patio Heater: Hampton Bay Hewitt Tabletop Firepit Square
If you’re looking for a compact outdoor heater that can rest easily and safely on a tabletop, then consider Hampton Bay’s Hewitt Tabletop Firepit Square. It provides a flame and heat within a small, gas-powered box shape that’s only about 16 inches across and 8 inches tall, delivering a 9 square-foot heating area. It’s ideal for patios.