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Patio Heater: Gas or Propane?

Patio heaters can extend the usable season for your patio, effectively creating a year-round entertainment area. Gas- and propane-powered patio heaters are readily available in a multitude of designs, so you can like find one to fit your decor and your needs. The following guide can help you choose which fuel source is best for your needs.


If you want to be able to move your heater around the patio, then a propane heater is the way to go. Propane heaters come in a range of sizes and styles, many of them small enough to easily move as your needs change throughout the season. Gas heaters tend to be much larger so they aren't quite as portable. The benefit of the larger size is that gas heaters are sturdy—they won't get easily moved by children playing, for example.


There are two main styles to choose from: standing or tabletop. Propane heaters are commonly available in both, while natural gas heaters are generally only available as standing models. Small tabletop models are great if you just need to make a warm, cozy bubble for one or two people. They also work well when temperatures are chilly but not cold. There are even models that come incorporated into a tabletop already, as well as those that you can set on your own table. Standing models are often larger so they put out more heat and cover a lot more space. Another benefit of a standing unit is you won't have to give up table space to use it.

Fuel Delivery System

The next option is whether you want a heater with an attached tank or one that hooks into your existing gas line. Most propane heaters come only as tank models. This means you will need a place to store the tank unless it is integrated into the base of the unit. A gas heater can easily be hooked into your existing gas line, but this is only a good option if you already use natural gas in your home. You may need to run a line out to the patio to make this a viable option. The benefit of hooking right into the gas line is continuity of heat—you never need to worry about a tank going empty or needing replacement.

Contact a local patio heater dealer in your area to see some of the styles and designs available.