Looking for a top-rated outdoor heater for the patio, deck, garage or shop?

Camping or barbecues are some of the best ways to enjoy the great outdoors with friends and family. Such activities are regular occurrences during the warmer months but they can really be ruined by the chill in the air in late Autumn through to early Spring, or even later in the evening in the shoulder seasons.

However, there is no reason to put a damper on such fun because with a great electric or propane outdoor heater you can enjoy the peace of the outdoors all year-round.

In this article we will take a look at four of the best outdoor heaters available in 2012. All of these outdoor heaters have great customer reviews and are available online at great prices.

It's always important to check out what other customers who have bought the product have to say about it, that way you can know for sure that you are buying a great quality product. When your dealing with propane and electrical products this is especially true as safety is in question with low quality products.


Mr. Heater MH12T Single Tank-Top Propane Heater for the patio or shopSingle Burner Tank Top Heater MH12T by Mr. HeaterCredit: Amazon

This simple but sturdy outdoor propane heater simply attaches to the top of a standard 5-20lbs propane tank making it the perfect outdoor heater for camping or for outdoor areas where space is limited.

This heater features a single heating element that put out a radiant heat of up 14,000 BTUs per hour. Radiant heating is perfect for outside as the heat is not affected by wind moving across it

Mr. Heater's tank top heater has no moving parts so it is extremely low maintenance, just clean it and check the hose before operation. It also runs very quietly so it is not going to kill the dinner time conversation.

Portability and ease of set up are really the main benefits with this product; as such it comes fully assembled and only weighs four pounds by itself. Once ignited the heating element takes only a few seconds to reach the maximum temperature so you can get out of the cold quickly. For safety it features an integrated shut-off valve.

Reviews for Mr. Heaters MH12T propane heater have been extremely positive with it receiving an average review score of 4.5 out of 5 stars on Amazon over 70 total reviews. One customer said that the Mr. Heater single unit burns clean, creates no odor, smoke or soot and is great for their asthmatic child.


Delux 75K BTU Kerosene Forced Air Heater by Dyna-GloDyna Glo Delux 75K BTU Kerosene Forced Air HeaterCredit: Amazon

This kerosene heater from Dyan-Glo puts out some serious heating making it particularly great for the really bitter months around Christmas. This heater is rated up to 75,000 BTUs and can heat an area up to 1,750 square feet. It is portable with an easy carry handle and is the perfect heater for people having to work outdoors or in workshops.

 Dyna-Glo's heater features a built-in thermostat control, a safety shut-off feature and a real-time fuel gauge. It comes with a one year warranty from the manufacturer for piece of mind. The heater is CSA approved but it's a good idea to check your local laws regarding kerosine heaters before purchase.

 Dyna-Glo's kerosene forced air heater has received unanimous five out of five ratings on Amazon. Two customers stated that this heater was excellent for working in their garage, driveshed or shop in the colder months of the year. It is recommended as a safety precaution that you have a CO2 alarm installed if the ventilation in your workspace is poor.


'Cosy' Outdoor Commerical/Residential Electric Heater by Solaira

Solaira Cosy SCOSYAW15120W 1500W/120V Outdoor Commercial/Residential Heater, WhiteCredit: Amazon

Solaira's weatherproof commercial-grade electric heater is perfect for outdoor areas such as on the back patio. It is attached to a wall and connected to a power outlet using a 15 feet cable. This heater is ideal for children as it is up out of reach on a wall and it uses electricity as a fuel source. A great choice for peace of mind heating. It is also requires no maintenance aside from a dust every now and then.

This heater features a quartz heat lamp that can effectively heat an area of up to 10 by 10 feet. Because it uses electricity as a heating source it produces no CO2 or odors and it still manages to heat up almost instantly (where some electric heaters can take a few minutes to warm up). Energy consumption costs work out to be about 15 cents an hour if electricity is billed at 8 cents per KW hour.

Customer reviews for Solaira's electric outdoor heater average out at 4.5/5 stars on Amazon. One customer notes that the quality of manufacture was quite good, and another stating that once they removed the warning stickers it ended up looking quite elegant and unobtrusive.


Garden Sun Propane Patio HeaterPropane Patio Heater by Garden SunCredit: Amazon

This free-standing propane patio heater by Garden Sun is one of the cheaper options of standing patio heaters that still boasts a high level of quality. These types of heaters are perfect for barbecue areas as they throw heat downwards and over a decent sized heating area.

The heat type is also radiant so there is no loss to air movements. They take a standard barbecue-sized propane tank that is hidden the stainless steel cover at the base of the heater. The design also makes them another heater that is well suited to children as the hot element and cover is well out of reach.

Garden Sun's offering features a 44,000 BTU heating element that can cover an area of up to 200 square feet. The stainless steel body won't rust in the weather so you can leave it outside, though if you do want to move it there are wheels at the base that make it much easier to do so.

Customer reviews on Amazon have been unanimously positive with a full 5/5 stars awarded to it. One customer stated that "this is the best item I have bought in years" and another exclaiming "Heats up our deck pretty well and super fast. Nights outside are so awesome now".


Additional Information and Safety Advice


  • Before purchasing an outdoor heater check your local regulations, especially with kerosine based heaters.

  • Fire-restrictions apply to outdoor heaters that have an open flame or exposed element, again check local regulations before operating your heaters during fires restrictions.

  • Always check all hoses and piping for signs of holes, wear or deterioration. This is the number one safety rule when dealing with propane.

  • Check your that your heaters are clean and free of excessive dust before operation.

  • Always follow the safety guidelines that come with your outdoor heater.