Here at the Strategist, we like to think of ourselves as crazy (in the good way) about the stuff we buy, but as much as we’d like to, we can’t try everything. Which is why we have People’s Choice, in which we find the best-reviewed products and single out the most convincing ones. (You can learn more about our rating system and how we pick each item here.)
And while we’ve written about lots of ways to stay warm — including space heaters, firepits, and propane heaters — here, we’ve rounded up the best outdoor heaters, as praised by the most enthusiastic reviewers on Amazon.
Best-rated outdoor heater
The Fire Sense gets top marks for being easy-to-assemble, and having a generous heat output and long lifespan. “The item was easy enough to put together and ours came with all the required parts. At a leisurely pace, I had it together in a little over an hour,” one reviewer attests, adding, “No cursing, smashed fingers or frustration. It fired right up and we have happily been using it ever since.” Others mention this heater putting out an “enormous” amount of heat on even the lowest setting without burning through propane too quickly. As one reviewer writes, “On high, I go through a 20-pound tank of propane in about 6-8 hours, but on the lowest setting (at which it will stay ignited) it’s probably 20-25 hours, and there is still a fair amount of heat. After one year, there is no obvious deterioration.” One reviewer bought this outdoor heater for their father, and writes, “He continues to be amazed at the amount of heat this puts off. It was unseasonably chilly this weekend and he and his friends were able to sit comfortably on his patio long into the night. One heater was all it took.”
Best-rated (less expensive) outdoor heater
Most reviewers mention using this portable heater in their golf carts, as it’s easily mounted in a cupholder. “If you live in a region that gets cold but still has golf courses open for play, and you own a golf cart cover, then this is the product for you,” one reviewer explains, adding, “I can play in relative comfort down to 40 degrees.” Others agree that this heater is best used in combination with a golf-cart cover, since the wind can cause the flame to go out, but as one reviewer puts it, “Use common sense.” Another reviewer raves, “Bought this for my dad for Christmas as he works on a golf course and early mornings are very chilly. He is the envy of the course now. He LOVES his heater and all of the guys wanted to know where he got it.”
Best portable outdoor heater
“I ordered one of these for when I sit on my back porch, thinking there may be a point when I’d want to heat up my garage workshop too. Then, three weeks later we had a major storm, and no power for seven full days. With temps in the upper 20s, a few nights having heat was critical. The heater worked flawlessly,” writes one reviewer, speaking to the versatility of this propane heater. And customers have used this little heater for everything from camping to heating a semi-outdoor space like garage or patio, even while ice-fishing. “Used it in my ice-fishing shanty all winter and even on the coldest days I never had to turn on the second heating element,” one reviewer attests. Another satisfied customer explains, “We bought this for baseball season (son plays year around) and it is AMAZING. It kicks out so much heat. Other heaters make you bring a lighter but not this one. I couldn’t last outside in 30 degree windy weather without my buddy.”
Best outdoor patio heater
If you don’t have room for a full-sized patio heater, this parasol heater attaches well to an outdoor umbrella and emits enough heat to “cut the chill,” according to one reviewer, who adds, “What a great way to warm a table for 6 on cool evenings.” Another reviewer calls this “perfect for sitting outside on my patio under the umbrella heater when it’s between 40 and 60 degrees. Great that you can use one, two, or three heater panels depending on the temperature.” Others appreciate the ability to only use certain panels, with one reviewer explaining, “Love that you can turn the arms on and off individually so that we are not unnecessarily heating the side of the table where no one is sitting.” Some do not find the light this heater emits quite as pleasing as the heat; as another reviewer puts it, “It does give off an odd orange-color light, but it’s not too bad if there are other lights on.” And others find it to be a benefit, like one who writes, “I am pretty sensitive to bright light, but this was very mellow, enjoyable light.”
Best propane firepit
Five-star reviewers agree that this outdoor propane firepit is excellent at simulating a real campfire when in the wilderness. “We are in a Stage II fire ban in Colorado but propane campfires are allowed. Other campers came by thinking the amount and look of the fire was too real and large to be a propane fire bowl,” one reviewer writes, adding, “Well, they were wrong. We had a great campfire each night with no worries. Really liked that there was no smokiness like a real campfire.” Another reviewer describes this propane firepit as “awesome. My husband and I take it camping and it is so easy to enjoy a fire without having to carry wood, smell like smoke or to worry about embers flying out somewhere.”
Lots of reviewers agree this firepit puts out a substantial amount of heat, as well, with one explaining, “I recently camped in Colorado, which has a ban on anything ember producing. This definitely kept us warmer at night and will attract all the other campers within a 100 foot radius … which is great because they’ll share their whiskey with you. In short, I had whiskey and have new friends thanks to the Outland Firebowl Mega 850.”
Best propane firepit with table
Ambience is one of the words reviewers most commonly use to describe this outdoor firepit table. “We loved the idea of a dual purpose table/firepit, and it has worked out just like we had hoped. We purchased the add on glass cover and the wind screen. It is beautiful at night and we enjoy the ambiance when we are entertaining,” one reviewer explains. And though this option is more pricey than others, several reviewers agree it is “worth every penny,” including one who says it “looks very high-end and puts off good heat.” Another reviewer writes, “We love our new coffee table! The height is perfect for drinks and to relax our feet when we are reading and chillin’ on the porch — we were worried if the heating was going to be enough or too much but it is just perfect. We will not need to buy an outdoor heater after all.”
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