Are Patio Heaters Really Worth The Hefty Price Tag?

For many homeowners, the patio is seen as an ideal place for hanging out during the warmer months of the year, but it gets neglected once the temperatures start to go down. However, this doesn't have to be the case. Patio heaters can make your outdoor space warmer and allow you to lounge there while staying warm and cozy — even as it gets colder. But are they worth the cost?

Outdoor patio heaters are a bit on the pricey side. Electric patio heaters may cost you $150 or less but propane heaters tend to cost between $150 to $600 or more. Natural gas heaters cost around $1,500 on average but can cost much more. 

Despite their cost, it may be well worth buying a patio heater if you want to fully use your home's patio area during any season. Many homeowners find that patio heaters are worth the hefty price tag since they can open up a patio area for use year-round. If you've put effort into designing your perfect outdoor patio, you'll maximize your enjoyment of it by investing in an outdoor heater. You'll be able to use it during every month of the year.

How to choose the right patio heater

Not all patio heaters offer the same heating capabilities. You'll need to take care to choose one that's perfect for your space. The main things you'll want to consider are the size of your patio and the heater type.

Heaters specify how many British thermal units (BTUs) they offer, so check the listed number when choosing one. BTUs measure how much heat is needed to raise a pound of water's temperature by one degree. A higher number of BTUs will be more efficient and will heat a space more easily.

You'll need to have at least 20 BTUs for every square foot you'll cover in your patio. One or two patio heaters will usually be enough to heat an average patio. For a patio that's 400 square feet, you'll need to have a heater with an output of 8,000 BTUs.

There are several different types of patio heaters including natural gas, propane, and electric heaters. Electric heaters are convenient to use and are easy to install, but they don't put out as much heat as gas heaters. Natural gas heaters provide a lot of heat but will require professional installation. Propane heaters offer the best of both worlds. They don't require installation and can be placed anywhere while still providing great heat output. On the other hand, you'll have to plan well with propane patio heaters since a propane tank will provide heat for a limited amount of time.

Using patio heaters safely

Even though patio heaters can be a great addition to an outdoor patio, you'll need to keep safety in mind when using them. Be careful with the placement of the patio heater and ensure that it's not close to anything that could catch on fire. It's generally best to keep at least three feet of clearance around the heater for safety reasons.

You should be especially careful when using patio heaters in covered areas. If using a natural gas or propane heater in a covered patio, there should be plenty of ventilation. When using a gas or propane heater in a covered patio, the ceiling should be at least 10 feet tall.

You should also take extra care when you have small children and pets around. Ensure that they don't touch the heater and that you're supervising them closely when using a patio heater. You should also check the instructions provided by your heater's manufacturer carefully before using it.