How Big Of An Area Does A Patio Heater Heat?

A patio is an excellent extension of the home that allows you to enjoy entertaining your family and friends from the comfort of your own garden.

The problem with entertaining guests outside is the temperature, as day turns to night the patio area can become uninviting if it gets colder. 

Introducing a patio heater to your patio will have you enjoying the outdoors for a lot longer.

How big of an area does a patio heater heat?  Typically a patio heater will heat an uncovered area of about 300 square feet, if you have a more enclosed and covered patio area you can expect your heater to heat up an area of 2000 square feet.

To help you decide on whether adding a heater to your patio is a good idea, read on as we go into detail on the best type of heater for your patio.

Electric stainless steel metal gas burning outdoor patio heater along with tree trunk on the Route 66.

What patio heater has better area coverage, gas, or electric?

Both gas and electric patio heaters are an excellent solution for heating up your patio areas and both have great benefits.

Let’s take a look at some of their pros and cons and see exactly how much of an area each of them can heat.

Gas patio heater

A gas patio heater is sometimes the only option when it comes to portability, if you don’t have an outside power supply then the idea of an electric heater becomes very difficult.

A gas heater uses either propane gas or butane, this is supplied by either a refillable gas tank or one-use canisters.

A gas patio heater, once lit, produces instant heat from an open flame. Gas heaters generally have a reflective surface that helps to intensify the heat.

One can expect heat coverage from a gas patio heater to be approximately 215 square feet (20 square meters).

Heat dissipation and coverage are obviously a lot better when using a heater in a confined, covered area but due to the fumes given off from a gas heater, you should only use one indoors if you have an outside vent fitted.

Gas heaters become extremely hot and can be very cumbersome. They also have a tendency to give off a smell and as mentioned earlier produce carbon monoxide which is very dangerous.

A gas patio heater requires a source of ignition and sometimes can become a problem if there is a breeze or the ignitor is faulty.

Electric patio heater

An electric patio heater is a safer option when it comes to heating your patio area up, no naked flames and instant on/off switch make this a more desirable choice over gas.

Electric heaters have become a lot more efficient in recent years and only use approximately $0.13 of electricity per hour. This is considerably less fuel consumption than a gas patio heater.

When using an electric heater you can expect heat coverage of around 300 square feet (27 square meters) in an outdoor, non-enclosed area.

In an enclosed, covered patio area you can expect up to an impressive 2000 square feet (185 square meters) of heat coverage.

Unfortunately using an electric patio heater in an uncovered area that is wet is never a good idea, water and electricity do not go together.

You should also be aware of needing a power supply, something not every patio area has.

One thing to take into account when installing your electric patio heater is the cable, remember to tape the cable firmly down or cover with anti trip mats.

How to Choose the Best Outdoor Heater

What is the best position for a patio heater?

Whether you choose a gas patio heater or an electric one, one of the best ways to get the most from your heater is to have correct positioning.

Your patio heater should be used in an area that people frequent, so a seating area or over a table is the best place.

Although both heaters have a specific heat coverage, the further you are away from the heater, the lower the temperature.

If you have a specifically large area you might want to consider getting another heater, this should be placed within the heat range of your first heater at a point where the heat starts to drop off, allowing optimal heating cover. 

Is it safe to use a patio heater on a wooden deck?

The use of a patio heater on a wooden deck is often needed, especially if you live in an area where the temperatures can drop below comfortable.

You can use a patio heater on a wooden deck or any wooden area providing you use it in a safe manner.

Never leave your patio heater unattended in an area that could become flammable, especially when using one on a wooden area.

If you are using a gas patio heater or one that uses flames you should be extremely vigilant as a stray ember could cause serious damage and put you and others in danger.

When using this type of heater it is a good idea to keep a water source or fire extinguisher close by.

If using an electric heater, you have less chance of a fire providing the heater is erected or fitted in the correct manner.

Fitting an electric heater too close to a flammable material can eventually cause that material to combust. If this is the case you should never use water to extinguish the fire as this can cause electrocution.

When choosing your patio heater make sure to check the handbook provided and use the heater in the manner it was intended for.

Shot of a typical terrace gas heater against blue sky

Continue Reading: Pellet Patio Heater Vs Propane [WHICH IS BETTER?]


It is quite surprising just seeing how much area a patio heater can impact heat, but remember you are limited to varying factors, including the size of the area, time of day, weather, enclosure etc.

If you do have a patio area that is in fact enclosed, it would be best advised to use an electric patio heater. Although not the most aesthetically pleasing-looking heater they are the safest.