We’re always receiving emails from people asking which full-size patio heater we recommend, so we decided to put together an article on the best propane patio heaters.
For those of you who don’t want to do a ton of research on heat lamps, and want a good recommendation, our top pick was the Fire Sense (Hammer Tone Bronze) Commercial Patio Heater. We have personally used and tested out all the best and most popular patio heaters, and this one is definitely our favorite.
I started off reading 2 not-so-good reviews about this patio heater, so I was a little on the fence before I ordered this patio heater from Amazon. But after doing some more research, I realized that there were over 800 great reviews, and the Fire Sense Hammer Tone Bronze Commercial Patio Heater is actually the #1 selling full-size patio heater on Amazon, which says a lot. In my experience, Fire Sense is a reputable brand, I have bought their products before, so I was feeling pretty confident about my purchase.
Winner: Best Propane Patio Heater
Fire Sense Commercial Patio Heater
- 46,000 BTU’s (approximately 10 hours of use on a standard 20 Lb. Propane Tank)
- Piezo (clicking) ignition or improved Electric ignition (Stainless Steel model only)
- Durable stainless steel burners and double mantle heating grid
- Safety auto shut off tilt valve
- Wheels on the base are included
- 48 pounds
- Dimensions: 89 x 33 x 18 inches
- 1 year warranty (extendable to two years for free. See Pro Tips below)
Colors, Models & Options
It also comes in other color options like stainless steel and mocha, asides from the bronze.
|Model||Stainless Steel||Copper||Hammer Tone Bronze||Mocha||Mocha & Stainless Steel||Black|
|Weight & Dimensions||51 lb.
89 x 33 x 18 inches
|Heat Output||46,000 BTU
Heats up to 18 feet diameter.
|Propane Tank||20 lb. Propane Tank Required.
Lasts approximately 10 hours.
|Wheels||Wheels on base included.|
|Ignition||Electronic Ignition System (1-AAA battery)||Piezo Ignition System (Clicking)||Piezo Ignition System (Clicking)||Piezo Ignition System (Clicking)||Piezo Ignition System (Clicking)||Piezo Ignition System (Clicking)|
|Buy Now||Buy Now||Buy Now||Buy Now||Buy Now||Buy Now||Buy Now|
Patio Heater Assembly
Upon receiving this patio heater in the mail, the product was well packaged and undamaged. Assembly required less than 1 hour to have it up and running. All that’s required is a phillips screwdriver and a wrench.
Instructions were very easy to follow, and quite honestly, the highlight of my day. Some reviewers on Amazon complained about the instructions being blurry, hard to read, or too small. The instructions I received were fine, but if yours aren’t, you can go onto the product’s page on Amazon and download the instructions with big, clear print, and is very easy to read.
All the parts were present, and not only were they all there, the smaller pieces were packed in a blister pack and individually labelled (think Ikea style)! There was no guesswork about which bolts or nuts to use at any time, all the holes lined up well, and the bolts all fit nicely.
Within less than 5 minutes of assembly I had the unit on my outdoor patio fired up and running nicely. On initial startup the directions say to hold in the gas control knob for 2 minutes prior to pushing the igniter button. However, I only held the button in for a few seconds, and when I pressed the igniter button there was a flash and the unit was immediately fully lit. Personally, I would not recommend waiting very long before pressing the igniter. All in all, the heat lamp is easy to light, and you get a great amount of heat right away.
Outdoor Heater Ignition & Heat Output
We purchased the stainless steel model, which costs a little more, but includes an electronic ignition that requires a AAA battery. I strongly recommend going with a Fire Sense model that has the electronic ignition. So far it has started up every time, and hasn’t failed me yet.
At 46,000 BTU’s, this patio heater pumps out a great amount of heat. The heat and flames are also fully adjustable by turning the dial, and their burners are made of durable stainless steel, plus they also have a double mantle heating grid. The unit pumps out a ton of heat; so much so, I had to dial them back so as not to roast any nearby guests. It is quiet, and the entire burner lights up evenly with a nice blue flame.
If you’re willing to sacrifice the heat output, a pyramid patio heater would also be a great choice.
Patio Heater Use Cases
I liked this heater so much that I bought another one, the Fire Sense 46,000 BTUXL-Series Matte-Mocha Propane Patio Heater w/Drink Table & Wheels, which comes with a drink table and wheels! Our friends love this! They huddle around it and we have a few drinks or smoke cigars outside, even during the winter. It’s the perfect height for us to sit under and even has a table for all of our drinks! I have one of the heat lamps fairly close to our seating area, and I have the other one by our outdoor kitchen area. I also use it when I cook on my outdoor griddle, it keeps me warm, and I sometimes roll it closer to the seating areas if needed, as we have a few areas where our guests sit and converse.
During the colder months, we bring our heat lamp into our screened-in patio with our grill to barbecue, and it’s been great! It’s safe to use in a gazebo or patio with screened windows. The manual states to keep the unit 50 inches away from combustible materials. We keep it that distance from the screens and siding (just in case), but do only have about 30 inches to the wood ceiling. It served us well on on a 50 degree day and a full propane tank ran about 9.5 hours. Surrounding the propane tank is a cage consisting of three metal bars. Resting the housing on the bars while switching out propane tanks makes it an easy one person operation.
Our friends own a busy cafe, and they absolutely love this Fire Sense patio heat lamp, and swear by it. For over a year, they have been using 2 of these, which have held up well and are still going strong. The heat lamps get rolled out to the patio every morning, and then get rolled back inside before closing every night, and the wheels are still holding up well. Each unit has burned at least 50 tanks of propane, and the burners still light up immediately and crank out heat like the first day they were assembled.
Features, Safety & Warranty
The heat lamp is 7.6 ft tall, which is tall enough to be safe from hair lighting, yet not so tall that the heat is too far from where it is needed. The unit weighs about 42 pounds, the base measures 18 inches wide, and the width of the top ‘umbrella shade’ part is 33 inches. Most importantly, the heater also has great safety features. There is an auto shutoff tilt valve, which will immediately shut off the unit if, for any reason, it gets tipped over.
Unlike the less expensive patio heaters with painted bodies, this one has a weighted base and does not need the addition of sand or windshield washer fluid (to prevent freezing) to weigh it down, which makes assembling it just that much easier.
The heaters are very sturdy and the burner is made of stainless steel with a double-mantle heating grid for optimal durability. The aluminum reflector hood helps to direct and enhance heat output. The included wheels also make it easy to position around your outdoors.
If you purchase a Fire Sense product don’t forget to go to the Fire Sense website and post a review. It will double the length of your warranty. Also, before you throw away the box, look for the serial number and record it for future reference. I called the company to find out how to register my unit; to my surprise, they answered the phone within a couple rings, and I was told that as long as I had my receipt it was unnecessary. Also, another great reason we buy everything from Amazon, because you have an email confirmation of the receipt, and you can always find it when you log into your Amazon account.
I am still very satisfied and happy with these Fire Sense heat lamps. They work great and are just as good, if not better, than comparable patio heat lamps that are even more expensive. They are good quality, and an awesome value for what you pay. It easily lights up every time, and the heat is fully adjustable by turning the dials. They are built well with good safety features and an auto shutoff tilt valve, which shuts off the heater if it falls over. I’ve found that the best and fastest way to order is through Amazon, you get free 2 day shipping with an Amazon Prime account. Enjoy!Check pricing, and buy now!
Pro Tips: Buying your first Propane Patio Heater
- To keep your propane patio heaters in tip-top shape, purchase a full length patio heater cover at the same time from the manufacturer.
- If you’re super lazy, or just not good at assembling things, you can order on Amazon and pay $120 for Amazon to deliver it assembled to you!
- After purchasing, leave a review on the Fire Sense website to double the length of your warranty.
- For outdoor patio dining, a propane tabletop patio heater is a great addition to keeping your guests warm and cozy. Read our review on the best tabletop patio heater.
We love hearing from our readers, let us know what you think!