Selecting the Perfect Electric Patio Heater: A Step-by-Step Guide

When selecting the perfect electric patio heater, you should consider the size of the space, the style of the heater, safety features, unique options, and your budget.

Do you have a beautiful patio that you wish to enjoy throughout the year, but the winter season makes it tricky?

If so, you might want to consider investing in a good patio heater.

A patio heater will help you to keep warm and enjoy your outdoor space even when the weather is chilly.

When faced with numerous online options, it can be a challenge when selecting the perfect electric patio heater.

Below, we will discuss the steps you must take to make the right decision.

A close up of a standing heater that may be an option when selecting the perfect electric patio heater.

Related Reading: Using Electric Patio Heaters Indoors: Best Insight

When Selecting the Perfect Electric Patio Heater, Consider All the Variables

When it comes to making large purchases, it’s essential to consider your personal needs and preferences.

This also applies to patio heaters, since what may work well for your neighbor may not be the best fit for your outdoor space.

Therefore, it’s essential to carefully consider various factors before selecting a patio heater, such as:

  • The amount of space you have on the ground
  • Whether you want the heater standing, mounted, or hanging
  • Heat range of the heater (BTU)
  • Price
  • Any special features you might want

As with most significant purchases, such as a car or computer, you may not be able to have all the features you want in a patio heater right away.

Choosing the most important elements you need in a patio heater is best and then prioritizing them accordingly.

From there, you can build up and add additional features over time.

Measure Your Outdoor Space

When selecting the perfect electric patio heater, it’s crucial to determine the amount of outdoor space that needs to be heated.

The unit of measurement for heater strength is British Thermal Units (BTUs), and generally, the higher the BTU rating, the greater the area a heater can effectively heat.

To determine the number and type of heaters needed, measure the porch’s cubic footage by multiplying length, width, and height.

Remember that the amount of space you need to heat your patio depends on whether it’s covered or not.

For an uncovered space, you will need to heat approximately seven feet of space vertically.

It is essential to consider the outside temperature and the desired warmth of your patio.

For example, if the temperature outside is 35 degrees Fahrenheit and you want your patio to be 75 degrees Fahrenheit, you will need to increase the temperature by 40 degrees.

To determine the BTU you need to heat up a space, you have to do some calculations.

Multiply the cubic feet of the space by the desired temperature change to get the BTU.

For instance, let’s assume you have a 20 x 20-foot patio, and you want to increase the temperature by 40 degrees F.

To calculate the BTU you need, you should use the following formula:

  • 20 (length) x 20 (width) x 7 (height) = 2,800
  • 2,800 x 40 (desired temperature increase) = 112,000

It might be necessary to use multiple standing patio heaters, each producing approximately 30-40,000 BTU, to heat the entire space.

Given that we are outdoors, our heating expectations should not be the same as indoors.

While the heaters will take the chill out of the air, it is important to note that they will not create the same environment as indoor heating systems.

Here is a helpful guide for determining the recommended BTU for your space:

  • 100 – 150 square feet = 5,000 BTU
  • 150 – 250 square feet = 6,000 BTU
  • 250 – 300 square feet = 7,000 BTU
  • 300 – 350 square feet = 8,000 BTU
  • 350 – 400 square feet = 9,000 BTU
  • 400 – 450 square feet = 10,000 BTU
  • 450 – 550 square feet = 12,000 BTU
  • 550 – 700 square feet = 14,000 BTU
  • 700 – 1,000 square feet = 18,000 BTU
  • 1,000 – 1,200 square feet = 21,000 BTU
  • 1,200 – 1,400 square feet = 23,000 BTU
  • 1,400 – 1,500 square feet = 24,000 BTU
  • 1,500 – 2,000 square feet = 30,000 BTU
  • 2,000 – 2,500 square feet = 34,000 BTU

Measuring your space and doing the math yourself is still recommended since a heater should work for your specific needs, making a one-size-fits-all approach impractical.

Related Reading: How to Choose a Patio Heater

Features You Want In Your Heater

When looking for a patio heater, it’s essential to consider the different features available in various models.

Doing so lets you narrow down your options and make an informed decision in selecting the perfect electric patio heater.

Look at the special features of different patio heaters to find the one that best suits your needs.

Some of these features can include:

  • Portability – If you want to carry your little heater between different outdoor spaces, it might be worth buying a portable one instead of two for each space.
  • Indoor/Outdoor – Some heaters are designed only for one or the other. If you want a heater that can be safely used wherever you must ensure it says so on the packaging.
  • Wheels – Heaters designated as ‘portable’ tend to be smaller and weaker. If you want a heater that comes with you but has some oomph, check to see if the patio heater has wheels.
  • Tipping Safety – This is a fantastic safety feature to look for. If someone tips over the heater, it will detect that it is on the wrong angle and shut itself off before disaster can happen.
  • Remote Control – Change the temp without ever needing to leave your chair!

Style Of Heater

When selecting the perfect electric patio heater, there are various styles to choose from, each with its own advantages and disadvantages.

  • Hanging heater – Intended to be installed on ceilings, it is perfect for gazebos or porches due to its compact size. Small but mighty, it can produce between 10,000 to 30,000 BTUs.
  • Tabletop heater – This option takes up a bit more space, but it’s still relatively compact and easy to move from one location to another. It’s a great choice if you plan on being outdoors and need some additional warmth. Typically, it has a heating capacity between 10,000 and 30,000 BTUs.
  • Mounted heater – This is a wall-mounted solution that saves space and provides seating for guests, with an average output of 5,000 BTUs.
  • Standing heater – This is the largest model, but its typically sleek design makes up for it. They can be powerful at 40,000 BTUs, and also potentially portable.


When considering the purchase of a heater, it’s important to decide how much you’re willing to spend.

There are various options available, with some of the most affordable starting at approximately $100.

However, it’s important to bear in mind that the adage “you get what you pay for” applies here, and the least expensive models are unlikely to offer the advanced features we discussed earlier.

When buying a heating system, it’s important to consider your needs.

If you just want to take the chill off in winter, you don’t need to spend as much as if you want to maintain a perfectly heated indoor temperature.

So, consider your requirements before making a purchase.

If you want to save money on a heater, consider buying one that is portable and can be moved around easily.

Although a mounted heater may seem cheaper at first, it may be more cost-effective in the long run to purchase a single portable heater instead of two or three mounted ones.

Contniue Reading: Halogen vs. Infrared Heaters: Which One is the Best for You?


Selecting the perfect electric patio heater can be an easy task if you break it down into a few simple steps.

Firstly, determine which variables affect you.

Secondly, measure your outdoor space and calculate the necessary British Thermal Units (BTUs) you would need.

Thirdly, decide on what special features and design of the heater you would like.

Finally, set your budget for a heater.

I do enjoy my outdoor heaters giving me an extra few months of being outdoors.

I prefer using an electric heater under my pergola for its safety and convenience as opposed to anything with a flame.

Good luck in finding the best heater for you!

Enjoy living the outdoor life!!!