Your outdoor living space should be a comfortable environment year-round. Low temperatures can dampen outdoor enjoyment, sending your guests scurrying indoors. With a tabletop patio heater you’ll never want to come inside.
The small heater safeguards against cold weather, providing you and your guests with a warm outdoor atmosphere.
In a rush? Here’s our shortlist on essential tabletop heater tips and features for smart buyers.
Smaller versions of full-size outdoor patio heaters, like the ones used at bars and restaurants, are available. And just as they keep patrons cozy outside, their smaller counterparts are ideal for home patios, decks, and gardens. The small tabletop patio heaters are convenient and easy to use.
Tabletop patio heaters come in different sizes and use propane, gel fuel, and bioethanol fuel. While electric heaters are readily available, propane models are the most popular, and mainly due to their portability.
Gel fuel tabletop patio heaters are ideal for providing ambiance rather than warmth. These special heaters use tin cans filled with alcohol gel, isopropyl alcohol, water, and other flammable substances.
Bioethanol tabletop patio heaters use liquid fuel made from renewable sources. They provide a non-toxic, smoke and odor-free heat source. And just like their gel fuel counterparts, tabletop bio-ethanol heaters specialize in creating ambiance rather than providing greater warmth.
The primary considerations when choosing a tabletop patio heater for your home include space and style.
Most tabletop patio heaters don’t come with a cover. It wouldn’t hurt to have one, so it would remain protected during inclement weather conditions.
Here’s a list of some excellent tabletop patio heaters to help you to enjoy your outdoor living area after the sun goes down.
How to Choose a Tabletop Heater
Before you purchase a tabletop patio heater, there are a few things to consider.
Consider the size of the area you will designate for your tabletop patio heater before making your selection. How big is your patio? Will the heater be in a covered, outdoor space or an open yard? How big is the table that will hold the heater?
Most manufacturers mention the required space for a tabletop heater. You will need to check that it is large enough to cover your table area. While most tabletop patio heaters radiate heat in a 360-degree circle, an oscillating element can help distribute heat evenly.
Tabletop patio heaters have an average output indicated in BTUs for propane heaters or kWh for electric heaters. Small propane heaters have a BTU output of between 3,000 and 12,000, enough heating power for a five-person table.
Consider the propane burner height. Make sure it has a reflector or mushroom shape as they affect heating levels. Electric radiation heaters pass similar standards applied to electric fires.
A heater of 10,000 BTUs equates to 2.9kWh, and most electric tabletop patio models have roughly 1,500-watt heaters. This does not mean that a gas model produces twice the heat but indicates higher energy consumption.
Due to their compact size, tabletop heaters are usually smaller and lighter in weight compared to other heater types, which makes them easier to move about your patio. They can weigh as little as 20 pounds, even with the included one-pound gas tank.
If you intend to travel with a tabletop patio heater, check that it can be readily dismantled or that the height is adjustable to allow for easier storage. There are smaller electric heaters available that are more compact and excellent for road trips.
When selecting a tabletop patio heater, it must include an automatic power-off valve that is activated if the heater is tipped or knocked off balance. While most tabletop patio heaters feature a weighted base for added stability, accidents can and will happen.
Keep in mind the following:
- Gas-powered heaters should have a safety valve so you can turn off the fuel when the situation calls for it.
- Those of you that want electric heaters need to make sure that the cable is long enough to be securely concealed.
- Numerous propane heaters allow for the addition of an additional hose for connection to a larger propane tank; simply ensure that the base is solid enough to accommodate a longer line.
- Additional protections surrounding the gas burner or infrared heating elements help keep hands away.
- Make sure the patio heater’s base is made in such a manner that it does not become excessively hot; you do not want it to sear the surface of your table.
- Certain tabletop heaters, particularly the less costly types, may be made of lesser materials, which could result in this.
Consider the area in which you live before selecting a tabletop patio heater. Weathered or more humid areas will need durable material, such as stainless steel, in its construction. Aluminum or steel is typically sufficient in inland and drier regions.
As manufacturers have suggested, disconnecting the gas supply when you’re not using the heater will safeguard against fuel leaks.
If you must leave the tabletop patio heater outdoors, place it on a firm surface and keep it protected from the weather with a decent cover. Painted models require enamel, heavy-duty coating to guarantee longer-lasting performance.
The ambient light created by an outdoor patio heater, whether freestanding or tabletop, is one of its most enticing characteristics. It may be insufficient to read a book by, but you also don’t want a very powerful light shining too close to your face.
A propane burner’s flicker may be rather atmospheric, and some tabletop patio heaters incorporate a flame for ornamental purposes. By comparison, some infrared heaters emit a bright red light, which can be unpleasant if placed too close to the eyes.
What Are the Different Types of Tabletop Patio Heaters?
Patio table heaters are typically divided into five main categories, as listed below.
Firepits help create the ultimate in outdoor ambiance, so if you’re ever going for that campfire-like experience, firepits and outdoor fireplaces are the way to go. Wood, natural gas, or propane tanks are the common heat sources.
Tabletop patio heaters
A tabletop patio heater is smaller than a traditional heater is usually attached to a patio table. They are available in propane and electric versions and have the advantage of portability but are often less powerful, making them ideal for smaller groups.
An outdoor space heater is a compact unit used to provide warmth for small areas. During colder weather, should you desire to eat outside, placing a space heater underneath your table would be an easy solution to keep your dinner guests warm.
The majority of tower-style patio heaters are between six and eight feet tall, with the heat source positioned at the tower’s top, center, or bottom. These patio heaters, which are available in propane or electric models, can warm an area up to five to ten feet in diameter, making them an excellent choice for yards and bigger patios.
Most mounted heaters use infrared technology and are powered by electricity. They’re ideal if you’re working with little floor space but need to heat a wide area.
Which Is Better Gas or Electric Tabletop Patio Heater?
Propane gas heaters provide greater flexibility in terms of where they can be used, as they do not require an additional cable or power outlet. Numerous models will utilize 1-pound propane cylinders that are stored inside the machine without the need for additional hoses. They can, however, run out rapidly, and costs can add up.
Propane often produces more heat and has a greater coverage area than electric tabletop heaters. Although electric models produce a more direct heat, similar to that of sunlight—be careful not to come too close for an extended period of time, as they can burn. For the environmentally conscious, infrared’s efficiency produces less emissions than propane heat and is even acceptable for indoor use.
How Many BTUs Do I Need for My Tabletop Patio Heater?
A BTU is an abbreviation for British Thermal Unit, and you’ll frequently see it when comparing patio heaters. A BTU is a standardized unit of heat measurement. BTUs refer to the quantity of heat that a heater can produce. When choosing a patio heater, a higher BTU rating indicates a larger heat output.
That is not to say that you should choose the patio heater with the maximum BTU output. If you have a tiny patio, you do not require a heater capable of heating 2,000 square feet. Choose a patio heater that is the correct size for your outside space by striking a balance between space and power.
Let’s take a look at some patio heater BTU vs. space that needs heating examples:
- To heat up around 100 to 150 square feet of space, you need about 5,000 BTUs.
- For areas of 450 to 550 sq. ft., you need about 12,000 BTUs.
- Patios that measure between 1,000 to 1,200 sq. ft. require heaters with a 21,000 BTUs heat output.
- You’re going to need about 34,000 TUs for patios between 2,000 and 2,500 square feet.
Top Tabletop Patio Heater For Your Patio
The attractive design of this 9,500 BTU Propane Table top Patio Heater from AZ Patio Heaters is a very stylish addition to your outdoor space as well as a very functional heater. The stainless steel heater incorporates a thermocouple anti-tilt device for added safety in case it tips over.
Emitting 9,500 BTUs of heat from its glass tube, the heater is ideal for warming up small seating areas with a heating range diameter of four feet. According to the seller, its design is safe enough to use inside a screened-in porch. Concealing the propane tank is a pyramid shape, making the heater ideal for camping.
Weather- and rust-resistant, this tabletop patio heater has a pilot light and multi-speaker igniter. The heat level is adjustable and it can run as long as two to three hours on high with one propane tank. It does not come with an adapter for a traditional propane tank to be attached. AZ Patio Heaters’ Propane Tabletop Patio Heater is covered by a one-year limited warranty.
With a design that is just like the full-size outdoor heaters, this 11,000 Propane Tabletop Patio Heater from Legacy Heating looks great anywhere and puts out a great amount of heat. A heat range diameter of 26 feet means you’ll have good warmth on your deck, patio or porch. The highly portable tabletop heater uses a standard one-pound propane tank, which fits neatly inside the base and is accessible through a handy door on the side. A weight plate adds stability for safety and a screen guard and anti-tilt device mean that the heater is safe to use.
With a pilot light and knobs for adjusting the heat, you’ll be able to sit outdoors comfortably in cooler weather, perhaps even into the winter depending on your climate. An unspecified warranty covers assembly. Happy Happy reviewers say that it works great, puts out a nice amount of heat, and is perfect for a table in a screened porch.
Contemporary design and multiple finishes make the SUNHEAT International 11,000 BTU Propane Tabletop Patio Heater a very stylish addition to your patio or deck. A glass tube contains the variable flame.
Easy to adjust, control knobs for the heater are inside behind the front panel. Also inside is a one-pound propane tank that’s hidden from view, fueling this heater for up to three hours on high. Ignition is simple with a push-button system that’s also safe. And, speaking of safety, this industrial-quality tabletop patio heater incorporates a tip-over shutoff safety switch, so you can enjoy it with confidence.
Weather- and rust-resistant, the heater keeps you and your friends toasty when the thermometer drops with its heat range diameter of five feet. Plus, the portability means that you can take it to the beach, the woods, the lake — or even tailgating — for some added warmth.
If being portable isn’t important to you, the heater can be converted to run on natural gas. The SUNHEAT Propane Tabletop Patio Heater is covered by a one-year limited warranty for parts and labor.
The unique round design of this 11,000 BTU Propane Tabletop Patio Heater is different from SUNHEAT’s original square silhouette but is no less stylish and works with any style of patio decor. Featuring a variable and decorative flame, the heater looks as attractive as it is functional.
Its five-foot heat range diameter will keep the whole family comfortable in the evenings and on cooler days in the spring and autumn — or even winter. In fact, the 11,000 BTUs it puts out will keep you warm for up to three hours on the high setting using a single one-pound propane tank.
Ignition is super simple with a push-button system, and adjusting the flame is done with a control knob just inside the front panel. If desired, an adapter is available so that this SUNHEAT Propane Tabletop Patio Heater can be hooked up to a larger 20-pound propane tank.
For organic ambiance and some heat that you can use just about anywhere, the Terra Flame Wave Gel Fuel Tabletop Fireplace is ideal. It’s a compact size that will help you relax and unwind any time. A classic hand-cast concrete bowl created with natural materials filled with stones.
At the center is a canister of gel fuel that burns clean and odor-free. You can use this type of fuel indoors as well as outdoor, so feel free to move the bowl indoors when you’re finished being outdoors. In the off-season, the wave gel tabletop fireplace is perfect for cozy ambiance indoors, especially if you don’t have a fireplace.
The golden 7-inch smoke-free flame that the Wave Fire Bowl holds puts out 3,000 BTUs of heat and is environmentally friendly. It comes with three Gel Fuel canisters, which burn for approximately 2.5 hours each. When you’re finished, simply put the lid back on to snuff out the flame. Replacements are readily available.
This tabletop patio heater is filled with smooth Mexican river pebbles that have an organic look, but they can easily be replaced with fiberglass if desired.
Keep the whole family cozy outdoors with the Napoleon Tabletop Patio Heater 11000 BTU Propane in Stainless Steel. With up to 11,000 BTUs and a seven-foot heat radius, you can enjoy your outdoor space far more each season. The stainless steel construction means its sleek design won’t rust and will last for years. In fact, happy buyers say they pulled it out of winter storage and it fired right up with the electronic push-button igniter.
The tabletop model is fueled by a one-pound propane tank located inside the base. Propane fuel and the heater’s manageable weight of 18 pounds also makes it portable for family gatherings away from home. For convenience, adapters are available, allowing your tabletop patio heater to connect to a 20-pound propane tank.
For a great amount of heat, the Dura Heat 360 Degree Instant Radiant Double Tank Portable Indoor Outdoor Propane Heater is a real winner because it’s appropriate for use outdoors as well as indoors. Indoors, you can heat up an all-season room, workshop or garage with this handy tabletop patio heater. It’s also useful as an emergency heat source. Outdoors, it will keep you toasty in colder weather because it provides 360° of instant radiant, infrared heat up to 25,000 BTUs. For outdoor use, one-pound propane tanks can be connected with a 20-pound tank.
An oxygen depletion sensor allows for indoor use as safety is top-notch with this heater. It also features a protective grill guard, safety tip-over shutoff, a built-in carrying handle and a swivel valve for easy tank loading. Better yet, you can light it and control the heat with the touch of a button. Happy reviewers who own multiple tabletop patio heaters say that this is the best and provides good heat.
Among the most popular portable propane heaters, the Mr. Heater MH12B Hunting Buddy Portable Space Heater is great for outdoors as well as indoors. It has a patented radiant heating system that puts out 6,000-12,000 BTUs to keep you warm whether you’re on the deck with friends, camping in the woods or tailgating on those crisp autumn days. The Hunting Buddy tabletop patio heater uses a one-pound propane canister and provides enough heat for an enclosed space, such as a cabin, of up to 300 square feet.
Attach a 20-pound propane tank for convenience with a hose and filter purchased separately. Light the heater with a knob and built-in electric ignition. Safety is also critical with propane heaters so the Mr. Heater Hunting Buddy has a number of features including an oxygen depletion sensor and an accidental tip-over safety shut-off. This product is unavailable in Canada and Massachusetts.
A new alternative fuel for tabletop patio heaters and firepits is bioethanol, which is what the very stylish Regal Flame Avon Ventless Indoor Outdoor Fire Pit/Tabletop uses. It’s vent-free and portability design allow for indoor or outdoor usage. Regal Flame logs and pebbles enhance the flame while the glass design offers a 360-degree view. The design is chic but it also puts out 3,900 BTUs in heat to warm a room of up 400 square feet.
Clean-burning and smokeless, lighting it is easy and the fire generates no ashes to clean up. A full tank of bioethanol lasts from two to four hours, depending on how high you turn the flame and how cold the space is. This heater is not suitable for use in windy conditions or inclement weather.
Table Top Heater FAQ
How Long Does a Propane Tank Last in a Table Top Heater?
A regular 20 pound propane cylinder will power an outdoor gas heater for up to ten hours. An outdoor gas heater powered by liquid propane with a 40,000 BTU rating will cost on average $1.60 per hour to operate. This figure is based on the outdoor gas heater’s operation and the typical cost of filling the propane cylinder, which is approximately $16 for a regular 20 pound cylinder.
Can You Use a Table Top Propane Heater Indoors?
Due to the potential of carbon monoxide buildup, avoid using external propane heaters in enclosed areas unless the appliance incorporates an obvious safety function that prevents operation when oxygen levels are insufficient.
What Patio Heaters Provide the Most Heat?
Gas heaters provide more warmth than electric heaters. Electric patio heaters have a maximum output of 1,500 watts and hence produce less heat than gas heaters, making them ideal for smaller patios. Alternatively, if you require greater heat output, consider installing two or more electric heaters on your patio.
Are Electric Patio Heaters Warm Enough?
It depends on the size of the patio you’re looking to cover. Electric patio heaters are effective, but do not provide the same warmth as gas heaters. However, you might need more than one electric patio heater for a larger patio.
Are Electric Patio Heaters Effective?
Electric patio heaters are energy-efficient. They convert up to 98 percent of their energy into heat through a process called radiant heat transfer.
Radiant heat conveys directly to a person or item, requiring no energy to warm the surrounding air. Generated heat is the most efficient way to warm your outdoor space. The reason for this is based on who the wind cannot push the heat out.
Table Top Heater: Conclusion
Whether you’re after high style, premium ambiance or higher heat functionality, there’s a tabletop patio heater that will fit your needs. After you find one that fits your needs, check the specifications, and get set to enjoy the outdoors even more.