Determining the Right Patio Heater Quantity: A Helpful Guide

In determining the right patio heater quantity, one should use one heater for every 1500-2000 square feet in a covered area, and one heater for every 300 square feet in an uncovered area.

A cozy night spent outside with hot cocoa and a patio heater. But, how many are needed?

When determining how many patio heaters are needed, keep in mind the variety of styles and capability options available.

Natural gas, electric, and propane heaters are the primary options for patio heaters.

These options are based on the type of fuel source used, and each has pros and cons to be explored.

It is important to have an understanding of British Thermal Units (BTUs) when you’re calculating the number of patio heaters required.

The amount of BTUs necessary will depend on the size of the area you want to heat and whether the space is covered or not.

Finally, after you have purchased your patio heaters, it is crucial to be cautious about where you install them.

You need to be mindful when setting them up and using them.

Placing them too close to certain flammable materials can be hazardous.

Therefore, it is imperative to take the necessary precautions.

Indoor use of certain types of heaters requires proximity to ventilation systems due to carbon monoxide emissions.

Determining the right patio heater quantity by looking at multiple patio heaters lined up.

Types of Patio Heaters

There are three types of patio heaters based on their fuel source.

It’s important to consider factors such as installation, energy efficiency, and upkeep.


Propane patio heaters are not only easy to install, but they heat up quickly.

All you will need for your propane heater is a propane tank which can last for up to ten hours.

Grill masters with a propane tank can easily use propane heaters.

These heaters don’t require professional installation but do require replacement and exchange after they’ve emptied.

A propane heater will need to be kept in an open or uncovered area due to carbon monoxide.

Natural Gas

Natural gas heaters require professional installation and careful placement, as they are difficult to move once set up.

This heater must be connected to your home’s natural gas line.

After installation, natural gas heaters must be kept in open or uncovered areas due to carbon monoxide emissions.

Electric heaters are the most cost-effective option.

Related Reading: The Truth About Electric Heaters and Carbon Monoxide Poisoning: Best Insight


Electric heaters are easy to install and don’t require professional help.

You won’t have to worry about replacing propane tanks or tapping into your home’s natural gas line with an electric heater.

Electric heaters are a safe option for heating your space, as they do not pose the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.

However, it’s important to keep in mind that using a heater will increase your electricity bill.

Additionally, it’s worth noting that electric heaters take longer to heat up compared to other options.

Assessing the fuel sources, one might ask which one is best.

If you already have a propane tank or gas line set up in your home, a Natural Gas or Propane Patio heater might be the most convenient option. 

However, keep in mind that electric heaters offer the flexibility of customizable heating in that they have more options other than on and off. 

In researching these three options, it is important to consider cost and efficiency. Research fuel costs for electricity and gas in your area.

Related Reading: Replacing Patio Heater Parts: Discover the Best Options and Tips

Understanding British Thermal Units

Now that you have an idea of the type of patio heater you need, it’s important to determine the exact number required to heat your space effectively.

To achieve maximum efficiency and effectively warm your outdoor area, it’s important to understand British Thermal Units (BTU).

The BTU, as defined by the U.S. Energy Information Administration, is a unit of measurement used to determine the amount of heat present in a fuel or energy source.

Specifically, it represents the amount of heat required to raise the temperature of one pound of liquid water by one degree Fahrenheit at the temperature where water has its maximum density.

BTUs are not only used for patio heaters, but this unit of measurement is also associated with heat pumps, air conditioning, and various heating and cooling mechanics in a home.

In short, the higher the area that needs to be heated, the higher the BTU required.

The BTU rating is typically listed with the patio heater to indicate the amount of heat it will emit and how many heaters are needed.

While patio heaters come in different sizes, the average standing heater emits about 40,000 BTUs.

With smaller models also available, it’s essential to check the BTUs to understand how many you will need.

Considering how your patio heater emits its heat, for example, in a circular area, you may require several heaters based on how much space you are attempting to heat.

With options like wall-mounted heaters oscillating heat and pushing heat in one direction, you may require multiple heaters whereas, standing heaters that radiate heat in a circular pattern could heat larger areas.

What is the Right Patio Heater Quantity?

When selecting a patio heater, there are several options to consider, each with its own advantages and disadvantages.

It is important to factor in the installation process, energy efficiency, and maintenance requirements of each option to determine the best fit for your needs.

Propane and natural gas heaters emit carbon monoxide and must be used in a well-ventilated area.

Electric heaters are slower to heat up and can be costly.

To determine the number of patio heaters you need, check the BTUs on the heaters.

To determine the appropriate unit of measurement for heating and cooling appliances, both the energy emitted and the square footage of the space must be taken into account.

In other words, the larger the area that needs to be heated, the higher the BTU should be.

On average, a standing heater emits 40,000 BTUs which can effectively heat a covered area of approximately 2,000 square feet.

However, if the space to be heated is uncovered, you may need to use two or more heaters depending on the square footage.

Final Thoughts

Knowing the size of your outdoor space is necessary to find the right patio heater quantity.

Whether your space is covered or not will determine the amount of heat needed throughout your area.

Covered spaces need less power as the rooftop helps contain some of the heat.

However, those open spaces will require much more heating output needing higher BTUs.

Remember, propane and natural gas will offer more heat, but electricity is more environmentally friendly.

Now that you’ve decided what kind of heater and how many you will need, you can set them up in your space and begin enjoying your patio heaters.

Enjoy living the outdoor life!!!

Related Article: Electric or Gas Patio Heaters: Which One is Better? A Comprehensive Comparison