Best patio heaters of 2020

There may not be more outdoor accessory in the fall of 2020 than a patio heater.

Amidst the global coronavirus epidemic, experts say the safest way to socialize with others is at a safe distance. As the mercury falls, these inexpensive, portable propane heaters are a good way to extend the seasonal life of your porch, deck, or patio.

Courtyard heaters emit radiant heat, which can heat people similar to sitting in sunlight. While other types of patio heaters are available – such as natural gas and electric-fueled ones – this round of testing focuses entirely on propane-burning heaters.


Chance Lane / Tips Clear

I tested seven propane heaters in total: five in the traditional pole design, two in the modern-looking pyramid style. The price range nearly fell between $ 150 and $ 500, but – over the course of my evaluation period – prices have gone up, and almost all models evaluated here have gone out of stock at most retailers.

In other words, like everything from toilet paper, hand sanitizer, and even yeast earlier this year, these outdoor heaters have become the latest category to suffer from COVID-related deficiencies. So, when we feel that it is disappointing to see our pics without the ability to buy them, we are electing to post our recommendations, so that you can compare and contrast our choices with other models. Can. If and when we see major changes in availability – or we have tested a new model worthy of this list – we will update this story accordingly. In the meantime, we have included the list prices in our top selections, and would not recommend paying more than that in each case.

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Chance Lane / Tips Clear

The best overall heater (as well as the cheapest, best performing and made by the company with my favorite name) goes to the 96054 by the model XtremePowerUS. This heater checks at 48,000 maximum BTUs and it shows. All measurements within two feet of the heater increase the temperature to 7.51 degrees on average. All measurements within four feet are 4.78 degrees warmer than the surroundings. This traditional style heater has a base with a saucer for reflection, a pole and a high heat element.

Instead of an access door like many other models, it has a base that lifts to reach the propane tank. It has wheels to help it rotate, but I find traditional style pole heaters to balance well and are easy to carry from one point to another.

$ 169 price tag This is the cheapest model I tested, but keep in mind that the warranty is significantly less generous. Unlike many other heaters that come with a one-year limited warranty, it is covered only for 30 days from purchase. Pricing for this seems to vary, but is typically less than $ 250. Originally, I chose this heater as the best performer when I found it for $ 249. Walmart has $ 196, but when I found the low price tag of $ 169 at Home Depot, it wasn’t hard to give it gold. Since then it is hard to find in stock, but as long as you can find it in the same price range, this model is my top choice. Read more.

Chance Lane / Tips Clear

Initially, I chose the Hiland HLDS01-GTCB as the best overall patio heater I tested. Running along its pyramid shape and the length of the center of the glass tube heater, it has a more modern look than the pole and saucer style of traditional patio heaters. Similar to staring at a campfire, watching the flame rising continuously through the glass tube is complete entertainment. It also throws heat.

Looking at all the points I measured within four feet, you would see an average temperature increase of 4.59 degrees. Within two feet of the heater, on average from all points, you get a change of 7.49 degrees. Within a foot, this heater provided an 11.72 degree increase in average temperature, the highest average ever recorded. There are heaters reaching high temperatures at some points, but it also distributes heat when you are near it. Hiland also has an easy-to-use control system that lights up easily every time.

A downside to this model is that it is slightly less portable than some others; It is heavy, and even though it has wheels, it is unnecessary to roll a glass tube over a rough surface like concrete. If you try to carry it, the security guards will be upset. The hinges on the door have already started bending. And while I like to stare at the flame, this heater illuminates the surrounding area so much that you or your neighbors may find it very bright.

At $ 270, this 40,000 BTU heater is priced in the middle of the pack and comes with a one-year limited warranty. It’s not the hottest heater of the bunch, but if you can stay close to it, it will warm you up, and I really liked the look of it. Read more.

Chance Lane / Tips Clear

Full disclosure: I had high – perhaps unrealistic – expectations for the patio heater. Any time I looked at an outdoor location, they always burned hot enough to adequately heat the surrounding area, and they usually looked like enough pieces of outdoor equipment. They burn hot (up close), but they don’t look as strong as I expected. They actually feel a little cheap. Usually I take into account features, ease of use, appearance, etc. to determine the winning model, but some models require an AA battery for the igniter and one model has an adjustable table, these The units are all the same.

Cambridge stands out in this crowd based on looks alone. It is the smallest – only 6 feet tall – and has a glass tube structure similar to the Highland model. The unit feels stronger than some of its rivals, and mesh guards around the heating body are kept in the process of moving and testing. It is compact, easy to carry and will take up less storage space during the warmer months.

In terms of performance, this heater offered nothing with the others, as you would expect from a 34,000 BTU unit. With a $ 499 price tag, this heater is only worth it if aesthetics and embed and size are more important to you for performance. Read more.

How did i take the exam

In addition to the above models, I tested these other propane heaters:

All heaters were packed in boxes and delivered to the required assembly. The difficulty level was almost equal to the combination of IKEA furniture: there were manuals that sometimes required little explanation.

In traditional-style pole heaters, there was a lot of variation between products – from assembly to operation – that they all came from the same factory. Nevertheless, I followed each set of instructions as they were written to ensure test accuracy. By the time I reached the last of the pole heaters, I was a supporter and it was a breeze. Nothing really stood out about the assembly process, other than the fact that it highlighted similarities between all traditional models. However, I was very happy to see that Amazon sent not one, but two cheap wrenches to support my efforts! However, the excitement was minimal, as pyramid-style heaters were a bit difficult to put together.

Patio Heater-8

Cordless drill-driven test rig. It is important that the thermocol is able to lift quickly during the test process

Chance Lane / Tips Clear

None of the heaters I tested are going to make you sweat long distances, but getting up next to one will definitely warm you up. Some manufacturers claim that the heater will heat up to eight feet away from the heater, and the results prove it to be true – sorting. All but one heater showed elevated temperatures at a distance of eight feet. But keep your coat on, because at that distance we are talking about only half a degree warmer than the ambient temperature. Hot flashes will be good on your face, but you need to move closer to the flame of the heater to keep it warm on cold days. I measured the temperature at four set heights relative to the heater’s cap, and 11 equal distances from the heater for a total of 44 points of measurement. Because a patio heater is not necessarily built for heating, the useful range for most of them is about four feet.

I measured each unit by recording the temperature with a one-dimensional, horizontal array of 11 thermocols that I moved to four different heights. Thermocols begin at a distance of one foot from the burner, each spaced one foot apart. For test parity, the height of the thermostat is determined by testing the height of the unit: 10, 20, 30 and 40 inches below the cap of the unit. I then compared the temperature at each location to the ambient temperature (recorded by the thermocouple removed from the reach of the heater effect). I do not have a temperature-controlled environment at my home in southern Indiana, so I tested all the heaters in one session, to minimize the variance of ambient conditions on the test results. In order to get through the tests as quickly as possible I picked up a drill-powered system and put the array of thermocols together to reduce the height to a minimum.

View from the side showing the temperature rise at every measured point. Data were recorded at 10-inch intervals, starting at 10 inches below the heater’s cap and exiting the heater 4 feet.

Chance Lane / Tips Clear

Real world application

After crunching the data, the Highland Heater emerged as a strong contender. It was one of the hottest models I’ve tested, and when you combine that with cool scenes of a flame darting a glass tube, it sounded like a no-brainer.

But then I added an extra step to the test: sitting outside each heater on a cooler evening. It turns out that thermocol did not: conventional pole-style heaters give too much concentrated heat. When I was sitting next to one, I felt a warmth at rest. While the Highland Heater’s glass tube still performs very well – and looks clean – the heat scattered along the length of the tube did not completely warm me.

A lot of heaters were the same as I mentioned earlier. But when I tested them, it was clear that the Highland and Amazon Model 62516 – despite having almost identical pyramid-style tube heaters – were not identical. Highland was one of the best performers; The Amazon 62516 was one of the worst. Upon inspection, the reason was clear: the only difference was in regulatory control. That simple variation made all the difference, and it proved to be true even among many similar pole heater models.

When all these heaters look the same, it can also be tempting to choose one based on additional accessories. Homelabs’ model had one that stood outside: a table attached to the heater. However, I would not recommend placing your cold beer on the table attached to the heater.

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