What Features Should You Look For When Buying A New Outdoor Heater?

When it comes to buying a new outdoor heater, there are a few key features that you should keep in mind. From heating capacity to fuel type, finding the right heater can make all the difference in creating a cozy and comfortable outdoor space. In this article, we will discuss the essential features to look for when purchasing a new outdoor heater, ensuring that you make the best choice for your outdoor heating needs. So, let’s dive in and explore what features you should consider in your quest for the perfect outdoor heater.

Heating Capacity

When searching for a new outdoor heater, one of the most important factors to consider is its heating capacity. The heating capacity is typically measured in British Thermal Units (BTUs) and refers to the amount of heat that the heater can produce.

BTU Output

The BTU output of an outdoor heater is a crucial specification to take into account. It determines how much warmth the heater will provide in your outdoor space. The higher the BTU output, the greater the heat output and the larger the area the heater can effectively warm.

It is essential to evaluate your specific needs and the size of the area you want to heat. For smaller spaces and intimate gatherings, a heater with a lower BTU output may suffice. However, for larger areas or events, it is advisable to opt for a model with a higher BTU output to ensure sufficient warmth.

Heating Range

In addition to the BTU output, it is crucial to consider the heating range of an outdoor heater. The heating range refers to the distance from the heater at which you can feel its heat. Some heaters have a more focused heating range, while others disperse warmth over a broader area.

If you have a specific seating arrangement or want to direct the heat towards a particular spot, a heater with a more concentrated heating range may be ideal. On the other hand, if you want to warm a wider area or have the flexibility to move around, a heater with a broader heating range may be more suitable for your needs.

Fuel Type

Outdoor heaters come in a variety of fuel types, each with its own advantages and considerations. The fuel type you choose should align with your preferences, accessibility to fuel sources, and even environmental factors.

Natural Gas

Natural gas-powered outdoor heaters are a popular choice for many homeowners. They offer a convenient and continuous heat source, as they can be connected to your home’s existing natural gas line. This eliminates the need for frequent refills or exchanges of fuel tanks.

Furthermore, natural gas heaters tend to have higher BTU outputs, making them suitable for larger outdoor spaces or commercial use. However, it is important to note that installation can be more complex and may require professional assistance.


Propane heaters are another common option for outdoor heating. They utilize propane gas tanks, which can be easily replaced as needed. Propane heaters are renowned for their portability, making them perfect for camping trips, tailgating, or any outdoor activities where access to a natural gas line is not available.

Propane heaters typically have lower BTU outputs compared to natural gas models. However, they are still capable of providing ample warmth for most residential outdoor spaces.


Electric outdoor heaters are rising in popularity due to their ease of use and environmentally friendly nature. These heaters plug into a standard electrical outlet, eliminating the need for any fuel or tanks. They are incredibly convenient and require minimal maintenance.

Electric heaters are often deemed safer since they do not involve an open flame or produce any combustible fumes. However, their BTU outputs are generally lower than their natural gas or propane counterparts, making them more suitable for smaller outdoor areas or personal use.

Safety Features

When purchasing an outdoor heater, safety features should be among your top considerations. These features not only protect you and your loved ones but also provide peace of mind during operation.

Tip-Over Protection

Tip-over protection is an essential safety feature that ensures the heater automatically shuts off if it accidentally falls or is knocked over. This is especially crucial in windy conditions or when children or pets are present. The automatic shut-off prevents any potential accidents, such as fire hazards or burns.

Safety Shut-Off Valve

A safety shut-off valve is particularly important for propane or natural gas heaters. It enables the quick and automatic disconnection of the fuel supply if the flame goes out or if a leak is detected. This feature prevents gas buildup, reducing the risk of fire or explosion.

Cool-Touch Exterior

Outdoor heaters with a cool-touch exterior are designed to remain cool to the touch, even during operation. This is vital for the safety of individuals nearby, especially children or pets who may accidentally touch the unit. It minimizes the risk of burns and ensures safe operation, even when the heater is running at high temperatures.

Wind Resistance

Wind resistance is an important safety consideration for outdoor heaters, particularly in areas prone to strong winds. Heaters with wind resistance features are designed to withstand gusts and stay stable, reducing the risk of tipping over or causing any damage. This feature ensures safe and reliable operation, regardless of weather conditions.

Design and Portability

The design and portability of an outdoor heater are not only important for functionality but also for aesthetic appeal and convenience.

Size and Weight

The size and weight of an outdoor heater will determine how easily you can move and store it. Lightweight heaters are generally more portable and can be easily transported to different areas of your outdoor space. On the other hand, larger and heavier heaters may be more stable and better suited for permanent installations.

Consider where you plan to use the heater and how frequently you need to move it. If portability is a priority, opt for a lightweight model. However, if you prefer a more robust and stable unit, a heavier heater may be the better choice.

Adjustable Height

Some outdoor heaters offer adjustable height options, allowing you to customize the heat direction and target specific areas. This feature can be beneficial when you have varying seating arrangements or want to focus the warmth on a particular spot. Adjustable height also provides versatility and flexibility in how you use the heater.


For ultimate convenience, consider an outdoor heater with wheels or handles for easy mobility. This feature allows you to effortlessly move the heater around your outdoor space or even transport it to different locations. Whether you have a large patio area or enjoy hosting parties in different parts of your yard, a portable heater can enhance your outdoor experience.

Aesthetic Appeal

Outdoor heaters come in a wide range of designs, so you can find one that perfectly complements your outdoor decor and personal style. From sleek and modern stainless steel designs to more traditional or rustic options, there is a heater to suit any aesthetic preference.

Consider the overall theme and ambiance of your outdoor space when selecting an outdoor heater. Choose a design that seamlessly integrates into your decor, enhancing the visual appeal while providing warmth.

Energy Efficiency

Energy efficiency is not only environmentally responsible but also helps to reduce operating costs. Look for features that promote energy efficiency when investing in an outdoor heater.

Energy Star Certification

The Energy Star certification is a mark of energy efficiency and environmental sustainability. Outdoor heaters with this certification have been independently tested and meet strict standards for energy consumption, providing reassurance that they are designed to minimize energy waste.

By choosing an Energy Star-certified outdoor heater, you can enjoy the warmth without excessive energy consumption, contributing to a more sustainable environment.

Efficient Heating Elements

The heating elements of an outdoor heater play a significant role in its energy efficiency. Look for models that utilize advanced heating technologies, such as infrared or ceramic elements. These elements are known to produce heat more efficiently, converting a higher percentage of energy into actual warmth.

Efficient heating elements not only provide consistent and rapid heat output but also help to reduce energy consumption, resulting in cost savings and reduced environmental impact.

Thermostat Controls

Thermostat controls allow you to maintain a set temperature and prevent excessive energy consumption. With this feature, the heater will automatically adjust its output to reach and maintain the desired temperature. As the surrounding area warms up, the heater will reduce its heat output to avoid wasteful energy consumption.

Thermostat controls enhance energy efficiency while providing a comfortable and customizable heating experience. They eliminate the need for constant adjustment and ensure that the heater operates at an optimal level.

Ease of Use

Investing in an outdoor heater that is easy to use can make your outdoor activities more enjoyable and hassle-free. Look for user-friendly features that simplify operation and assembly.

Ignition Method

Consider the ignition method of the outdoor heater, as it can significantly impact its ease of use. Some models feature push-button ignition, allowing for quick and effortless start-up. Others may require manual ignition, such as using a lighter or match. While manual ignition may require a bit more effort, it can be a reliable option in case of power outages.

Choose an ignition method that aligns with your preferences and comfort level. If convenience is a priority, opt for models with push-button ignition.

Control Options

When it comes to controlling the heat output and other settings of an outdoor heater, multiple control options can enhance ease of use. Look for heaters that offer various control options, such as adjustable knobs, remote controls, or even smartphone app compatibility.

Having different control options allows you to adjust the heat settings to your preference without the need to physically interact with the heater. This can be particularly convenient in situations where you are seated farther away or want to make temperature adjustments without interrupting your activities.

Easy Assembly

No one wants to spend hours trying to assemble a complicated outdoor heater. Look for models that are easy to assemble, with clear instructions and minimal tools required. Ideally, the heater should come with all the necessary components and an intuitive assembly process.

Opting for an outdoor heater with easy assembly not only saves time and frustration but also ensures that the unit is properly set up for safe and efficient operation.

User-Friendly Interface

Consider the user interface and control panel of the outdoor heater. Look for models with clear and intuitive controls that are easy to navigate. Ideally, the control panel should provide easy access to temperature adjustments, mode selection, and any other heating settings.

A user-friendly interface ensures that you can effortlessly operate the heater and make necessary adjustments when needed. It eliminates any confusion or frustration, allowing you to focus on enjoying the warmth and your outdoor activities.

Weather Resistance

Outdoor heaters are exposed to various weather conditions throughout the year. To ensure longevity and optimal performance, it is crucial to select a heater with weather-resistant features.

Waterproof Construction

Waterproof construction is vital to protect the internal components of an outdoor heater from rain or moisture. Look for models with a waterproof housing or an IPX rating that signifies their level of water resistance. This ensures that the heater remains functional and safe even during wet weather conditions.

A waterproof construction minimizes the risk of electrical malfunctions or damage to the heater and extends its lifespan, providing long-term value.

Rust-Resistant Materials

Outdoor heaters are susceptible to rust due to exposure to moisture and air. Opt for models constructed with rust-resistant materials, such as stainless steel or aluminum. These materials are known for their durability and ability to withstand the elements, ensuring the longevity of your outdoor heater.

A rust-resistant construction also maintains the aesthetic appeal of the heater, preventing unsightly corrosion over time.

UV Protection

Outdoor heaters are exposed to the sun’s harmful UV rays, which can cause damage and discoloration. Look for heaters that feature UV-resistant coatings or materials. These coatings prevent fading, cracking, or any other deterioration caused by prolonged sun exposure.

By prioritizing UV protection, you can retain the visual appeal and functionality of your outdoor heater for years to come.

Noise Level

Noise level is often overlooked when purchasing an outdoor heater but can significantly impact your overall experience, especially during intimate gatherings or quiet moments in your outdoor space.

Quiet Operation

Opt for an outdoor heater specifically designed with quiet operation in mind. Look for models that utilize noise-reducing technologies or have sound-dampening features. This ensures that the heater operates silently or at a low noise level, enabling you to enjoy the soothing warmth without any noise interference.

Quiet operation creates a more peaceful and relaxing environment, allowing you to fully immerse yourself in conversation or simply enjoy the serenity of your outdoor space.

Low Decibel Ratings

Some manufacturers provide decibel ratings for their heaters, indicating the amount of noise produced during operation. Lower decibel ratings correspond to quieter heaters. Seek out models with lower decibel ratings to minimize noise disruption during use.

Checking the decibel ratings can help you identify the outdoor heaters that offer a more serene and tranquil heating experience, particularly if you prioritize a quiet ambiance in your outdoor space.

Price and Warranty

Price and warranty considerations are crucial when investing in an outdoor heater. This ensures that you are getting the best value for your money and protection in case of any defects or malfunctions.


Determine your budget before searching for an outdoor heater. Prices can vary significantly depending on the fuel type, brand, features, and overall quality. It is essential to strike a balance between affordability and the desired features, ensuring that you are making a worthwhile investment.

Consider the long-term cost as well, including fuel consumption or any ongoing maintenance expenses. Look for models that offer a balance of performance, reliability, and affordability to ensure maximum value for your investment.

Long-Term Value

The long-term value of an outdoor heater is determined by its durability, performance, and ability to meet your heating needs for years to come. Read product reviews, check manufacturer specifications, and seek recommendations to assess the long-term value of different models.

Investing in a high-quality heater may require a slightly higher upfront cost but can save you money in the long run by avoiding frequent replacements or repairs. Consider the overall quality, reputation of the brand, and durability when evaluating the long-term value of an outdoor heater.

Manufacturer’s Warranty

A manufacturer’s warranty provides essential protection and peace of mind, ensuring that you are covered in case of any defects or malfunctions. Carefully review the warranty terms and duration when considering an outdoor heater.

Look for warranties that offer reasonable coverage, preferably covering both parts and labor. Longer warranty periods indicate the manufacturer’s confidence in the product’s durability and reliability. A comprehensive warranty can significantly increase your confidence in the outdoor heater, knowing that you have the support of the manufacturer if any issues arise.

Customer Reviews

One of the most valuable sources of information when buying an outdoor heater is customer reviews. Understanding the experiences and opinions of other individuals who have purchased the same model can provide insights into reliability, performance, durability, and customer support.


Customer reviews can shed light on the overall reliability of an outdoor heater. Look for reviews that highlight consistent performance, longevity, and easy maintenance. Pay attention to any recurring issues or complaints raised by multiple customers, as this can indicate potential concerns or limitations of the product.


Customers often share their experiences regarding the heating capacity, ease of use, and functionality of outdoor heaters. Look for reviews that align with your desired heating needs and expectations. Consider reviewers’ comments on the BTU output, heating range, control options, and overall satisfaction with the heater’s performance.


The durability of an outdoor heater is crucial, as it ensures that your investment lasts for years to come. Read customer reviews to gauge the quality and durability of different models. Look for positive feedback regarding the materials used, weather resistance, and overall construction.

Negative reviews mentioning frequent malfunctions, rusting, or other durability issues should be taken into account, as they may indicate potential weaknesses in the product.

Customer Support

Having dependable customer support and responsive service is essential when investing in any product. Read customer reviews to gather insights into the level of customer support provided by the manufacturer or seller. Look for reviews that praise prompt responses, helpfulness in addressing concerns, and seamless warranty claims.

Consider the reputation of the brand for customer support and after-sales service, as this can significantly impact your overall satisfaction with the outdoor heater.

In conclusion, when searching for a new outdoor heater, it is essential to consider various factors to ensure you find the perfect fit for your needs. Evaluate the heating capacity, fuel type, safety features, design and portability, energy efficiency, ease of use, weather resistance, noise level, price and warranty, and customer reviews. By analyzing these aspects, you can confidently choose an outdoor heater that provides optimal warmth, convenience, and long-term value for your outdoor activities and gatherings.