Pellet Patio Heater Vs Propane [WHICH IS BETTER?]

Generally, a pellet patio heater or a propane heater, are hard to compare due to their very stark differences in the fuel source used. There are a couple of factors that make the two stand apart from one another and could help you decide on which one would be the better selection for heating your patio.

A patio heater could be the perfect addition to your outside space that offers your family or guests a chance to stay warm while enjoying the fun outdoors. Selecting the right patio heater for yourself is crucial, but how can you decide between a pellet patio heater or a propane heater? The table below offers a comparison glimpse into a pellet patio heater and a propane heater.

Pellet Patio HeaterHow they comparePropane Patio Heater
60,000 – 80,000 BTU’sAverage Heat Output40,000 BTU’s
$.63/HrCost To Run Per Hour$2.00/Hr
24hrs per 40lb bagRun Time10Hrs per 20lb tank
Carbon NeutralEnvironmental ImpactClean Energy Source
pellet patio heater being loaded

Related Reading: How Big Of An Area Does A Patio Heater Heat? [ANSWERED]

Which Heater Is More Fuel Efficient, Pellet Patio Heater or Propane?

The fuel efficiency of the pellet patio heater and propane heater is relatively similar with only a couple of major aspects that separate them. If fuel efficiency is a make or break point for you, read on to see how the pellet patio heater takes on the propane heater when it comes to how they could affect your wallet.

Generally, the propane heater fuel, or just propane, will fluctuate in cost based on market rates and usually, it is consumed in a much faster time frame than the pellet patio heater. This means that you could be paying a lot more out of pocket and more frequently if you are an avid user of propane heaters. With a full cylinder of propane having around 10 hours of use, it becomes a bit more of a stretch if you are thinking of long term all year use as opposed to occasional use.

The fuel source for the pellet patio heater stands out among the two heaters due to the cost versus output alone and if you like being friendly to the environment, then this might be the best option for you. Wood pellets, which are repurposed and compacted sawdust shaped into pellets, are readily available at most supermarkets and hardware stores and are a fraction of the cost of propane.

Wood pellets are also not on a sliding price scale like propane which means you can nearly guarantee that you will pay the same cost for a bag of wood pellets at any location that sells them. With one bag of pellets lasting roughly around 40 hours of run time, it speaks for itself when it comes to being the more cost and fuel-efficient option between the two.

In total, you may be looking for a patio heater that is more bang for your buck and if so, the pellet patio heater is the clear standout as well as offering a more eco-friendly option to fueling your patio heater.

Which Is Better at Heating an Open Area, Pellet Patio Heater or Propane?

When looking at comparing a pellet patio heater to a propane heater, you have to look at what the heating coverage will be and if that is sufficient enough for what you will be using the heater for. Each heater offers options that may or may not suit your patio area, but if you read below, the differences between the two and their specific heating coverage are revealed and discussed.

The Pellet patio heater is designed to emit heat from the top of the unit to the bottom making it a powerful source of heat on any patio. This becomes noticeable when loading the pellets into the basin for burning and the pellet patio unit begins to heat as a whole and not in a limited space that the propane heater has on most of the units on the market.

This by design makes it the perfect option if you are looking to heat a great space or are having a big gathering on a patio where there are many people who will be using the pellet patio heater.

A strong word of caution, this pellet patio heater is designed to heat from the entirety of its unit and as a best practice, there should be a sign to state that touching any part of the pellet patio heater can result in a burn.

There is a handy comparison to the propane heater that shows the heating capabilities of a pellet patio heater versus a propane heater. It is worth it to  check out this thermal image that shows the heat distribution between the two heaters. This design for the pellet patio heater is hugely beneficial as it will ensure that all of your guests can enjoy being heated up from their top to their toes.

A propane heater, with several indoor or outdoor unit options, could be a suitable fit for all your heating needs if you are looking for a versatile and reliable patio heater. The options for units include a free-standing tower unit, a portable large or small floor unit, and a more polished-looking canopy heater that is popular with outdoor restaurants and bars.

All of the listed options are fitted with a propane cylinder as their fuel source and you could very easily have one for every occasion and patio!

Generally, with a propane cylinder at full capacity, the patio heater can run for roughly 10 hours. Propane heaters offer a fair amount of heat without too much fuss to go with it which is ideal if you want an easy setup and easy to manage patio heater. Unlike the pellet patio heater, a propane heater only heats from a limited section but offers a bit more safety if you plan to use a patio heater where there may be guests or family that could potentially touch or fuss with it.

As a rule, a propane heater should be kept at a safe distance from any other flammables and should always have a well-ventilated space as the heater needs oxygen to run properly. No one wants to have a potential fireball or worse on their hands!

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Last update on 2023-01-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Pellet Patio Heater Vs. Propane, Which One Is the Better Option For You?

No matter which heater you decide to go with, they both offer different and unique options for heating your patio. Selecting the right patio heater comes down to what you plan to use them for and where. With all things considered, they each offer a unique experience.

With the propane heater, you get an upfront and immediate blast of heat, but not necessarily with the heating coverage you may want or at the price point that suits you.

The pellet patio heater offers a sustainable, long-lasting, cost-effective option that would be suited for those who would like to have an all-around heat disbursement and can trust that no one gets close enough to it to burn themselves!

Pellet patio heater or propane, the choice is yours and with a bit of consideration to what you need it to do, you will not be disappointed with either heater on the next cool evening where you might need a bit of heat to warm you up!