How Many Patio Heaters Do I Actually Need?

The best way to heat your outdoor area is with a variety of patio heaters. This article will help you determine the quantity of patio heater setups needed for optimal heating in your backyard or poolside gathering area.

The “how many patio heaters do i need for wedding” is a question that often comes up. The answer to the question depends on how large your party will be and what type of weather you are expecting.

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Patio heaters are an excellent method to prolong the time that your outside area may be used. They may offer enough heat to keep you warm in the cooler months, or even in the winter, depending on the BTU device. However, if you have a large patio, you may be wondering how many patio heaters you’ll need. 


The power output in BTU (British Thermal Units) and the square footage you’re seeking to heat can help you choose the proper patio heater. A patio heater with more BTUs is required for a larger patio. In most cases, depending on the layout of your patio, one heater with the appropriate power output can warm the whole area.

You may usually utilize one patio heater if it’s a larger, freestanding type unless you’re holding large outdoor parties with visitors all around your patio. You may need more if you utilize a smaller setting. This guide will assist you in determining how many heaters you will need to maintain your patio area as pleasant as possible.


Contents Table of Contents

  • I’m not sure how many patio heaters I’ll need.
  • Identifying Your Requirements
  • Patio Heater Alternatives
  • Patio Heaters for Small Spaces
  • Energy Sources for Patio Heaters
  • Patio Heaters and Safety
  • Last Thoughts

I’m not sure how many patio heaters I’ll need.

The chart below might assist you in determining the precise number of To heat, you’ll need a lot of BTUs. a certain space. Simply multiply the square footage of your patio by the number of BTUs required. When you’re searching for a quality patio heater, you may utilize that information to help you make a selection.

Locality (in square feet) To heat, you’ll need a lot of BTUs.
100-150 5,000 
150-250 6,000 
250-300 7,000 
300-350 8,000 
350-400 9,000 
400-450 10,000 
450-550 12,000 
550-700 14,000 
700-1,000 18,000 
1,000-1,200 21,000 
1,200-1,400 23,000 
1,400-1,500 24,000 
1,500-2,000 30,000 
2,000-2,500 34,000 

*Data from patioliving.com was used to create this table.

Because the heat from a standalone unit radiates outward in a circle, this table implies you’re heating a square room. If you have a patio with alcoves or distinct zones, you may need a few of heaters to heat the whole space. 

In these circumstances, you may consider each patio parts as a whole, determine the square footage for those areas, and then buy a heater with the appropriate BTUs. Patio heaters that are affixed and push heat in one direction are also available, as we’ll see later. In these circumstances, many heaters may be required to completely cover your outside area.


It’s also important to remember that a patio heater will not make your patio as warm as your home. Your patio will still be frigid since there is nothing surrounding it to capture the hot air. As a result, only the five to ten-foot radius surrounding the patio heater should see significant temperature differences. If you wish to heat more areas, you’ll need more heaters. 

It’s All About the Design

Heat is radiated and directed differently by various kinds of patio heaters. Because mounted units, for example, often deliver heat to a tiny area, you’ll need many to cover your patio (similar to the way a camera can only see a certain angle in front of it). Standalone patios, on the other hand, transmit heat 360 degrees around them with variable degrees of effectiveness. 

Identifying Your Requirements

You should first examine your demands before looking at patio heater alternatives. Patio heaters aren’t Inexpensive, and you don’t want to make a mistake by choosing the incorrect one for the task. Some of the most crucial characteristics to evaluate are shown in the table below.

Criteria Description
Space The size and form of the space that has to be heated
Price The purchase price of the unit as well as the cost of maintenance and fuel
Aesthetics What the heater looks like and how well it blends in with your patio’s décor
Fuel What kind of energy is needed by the heater — propane, Natural Gas is a kind of fuel that is used, wood, or Electricity?

It’s up to you how important these criteria are, but they’re something to think about. You may have more requirements, but these are the most significant distinctions you’ll discover among patio heaters on the market.

Patio Heater Alternatives

When it comes to outdoor patio heaters, there are four basic alternatives to consider. The model you choose will be determined by the size of your room and your requirements. These are the four possibilities:

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  • Stand-alone Heaters for the Patio
  • Patio Heaters for Tables
  • Patio Heaters Mounted on the Wall
  • Alternatives to the Pit

Stand-alone Heaters for the Patio

Large stand-alone heaters are one of the most frequent forms of patio heaters. These heaters differ in terms of size and space needs, as well as construction and heat output. Quartz tube heaters and mushroom shape heaters are two of the most frequent forms of stand-alone heaters.

Because the heat isn’t directed anywhere; it merely radiates out from the tube in the middle, quartz tube heaters are less efficient in terms of energy usage and heating. They’re measured in BTUs and available in a number of forms and sizes, but if you use one on your patio, expect it to take up at least 2-3 square feet. 

Mushroom-style heaters feature a big base and a tall pole with a reflecting dish at the top that directs the heat downward. Mushroom-style heaters are more energy-efficient than quartz tube heaters when using this technique of heating. As a result, one of its advantages is lower fuel costs and, in many situations, a greater heated area. 

In summary, Stand-alone Heaters for the Patio have the following pros and cons:


  • Frequently used as a decorative element on patios.
  • Can generate a tremendous quantity of heat
  • Usually, it’s simple to move about.
  • Electricity or propane gas may be used to power it.


  • The most costly heaters (prices ranging from $200 to $1,000 and above) are:
  • They take up a lot of room and get in the way.
  • Utilize a significant amount of fuel and/or energy
  • Mushrooms are simple to knock down. 
  • During severe weather, it requires a cover or to be moved inside.
  • It doesn’t cover a large area.

Patio Heaters for Small Spaces

The portable heater is a smaller version of patio heaters. These heaters are normally a little larger than a camping light, and they’re designed to heat a much smaller area for one or two people sitting at a table or around at the campsite when a bonfire isn’t allowed.

Portable heaters are often less costly than stand-alone heaters, but they will only heat a smaller area (up to a four-foot radius or so). They have a similar construction to stand-alone heaters, however they use propane as a fuel source.

Portable heaters are an excellent choice if you want a heater that you can take with you and use as a camping warmer or for other purposes. A stand-alone heater would be difficult to bring camping, but a portable heater can be packed with your camping kit. They’re also a wonderful alternative for eateries that want one at each table and have outside dining. 

In conclusion, table-top heaters offer the following advantages and disadvantages:


  • Highly portable and adaptable to a wide range of requirements
  • Option with a lower price tag ($50-$200)
  • A wide range of appealing designs


  • They are often less powerful and will heat a smaller area.
  • Typically, just propane is used.

Patio Heaters Mounted on the Wall

Patio heaters that are wall-mounted are another alternative. These heaters are permanently attached to a wall or roof support column and direct heat downwards toward the patio. Electricity powers many of these heaters, which heat up fast. They can also generate heat for a big area, up to 400 square feet in certain situations. 

A mounted heater can be an ideal alternative for you if you’re short on space on your patio and don’t care about the appearance of your heater. They provide a significant quantity of heat and are also quite Inexpensive. If you have a big patio, you may want to acquire a second one and install it so that your whole patio is covered.

In conclusion, mounted heaters offer the following advantages and disadvantages.


  • Inexpensive
  • Energy-conserving
  • Warm up a huge area
  • Don’t take up too much room on the floor.


  • Electricity is the only available fuel source.
  • This is not the most appealing choice.
  • It might be difficult to set up.
  • They aren’t portable, and relocating them involves some effort.

Heaters for the Pit

The fire pit, oh, the fire pit, the meeting point for many an outdoor celebration since the dawn of time. Many patios have a pit-style heater; some individuals even construct permanent fire pits as a focal point for their outdoor areas. While they take up the most floor area, they also create a pleasant gathering location and may be a lovely addition to any patio.

Also, Heaters for the Pit come in a wide variety of styles and designs, and they can be purchased to use any energy source, from propane to Electricity to Natural Gas is a kind of fuel that is used to wood. They’re generally not too portable unless you get a small dish-style pit, and if you have a Natural Gas is a kind of fuel that is used pit heater, you won’t be able to move it. 

Wood-burning fire pits may add atmosphere to your outdoor area by emitting the smoky aroma that many people associate with outdoor autumn festivities. If that’s not what you’re looking for, you can always locate a gas or electric-powered fire pit.

Fire pits are one of the most cost-effective ways to heat your patio, but they aren’t always the most energy-efficient, and they don’t always provide enough heat for a wide area. They also occupy a significant amount of area on the patio. 

In summary, Heaters for the Pit have the following pros and cons.


  • There are many different types, patterns, and sizes to choose from.
  • Consider a broad range of fuels.
  • Affordably priced (price range: $50-$250)
  • Option that is really appealing


  • Some models may not be transportable.
  • It takes up a lot of room on the terrace.
  • It doesn’t heat a lot of room.

Mentions of Merit

Believe it or not, there are more Patio Heater Alternatives. Outdoor restaurants can find tables that have heaters built into the pedestal supporting them, which heats outdoor diners’ legs while they’re near the table. Heaters are built to be mounted under patio umbrellas as well. All of these are good options for an unusual solution to heating your patio.

Energy Sources for Patio Heaters

As previously said, when it comes to energy sources for your patio heater, you have a few basic possibilities. We’ll go through each of these energy sources in detail, as well as how effective they are in heating vast regions.


Electric patio heaters heat up rapidly and can provide a lot of heat, but they’ll likely be more costly in the long term due to the high cost of power. When you use electric-powered patio heaters, you may notice an increase in your monthly cost. 

Although you’ll be linked to the closest power outlet, electric patio heaters are frequently quite portable. Finding a reliable outlet on your patio might be difficult at times. They have the advantage of not emitting carbon monoxide, thus they may be used both inside and outdoors. 


Propane heaters are frequently costly, since propane tanks are costly to refill after they’ve been exhausted. They are, however, quite simple to set up and heat up rapidly. The unattractive gas tank is usually effectively hidden by propane-powered heaters, so it does not distract from the visual appeal of your heater. The length of time they last is determined on the size of the tank and how much time you spend outdoors in the cold.

Because propane-powered heaters emit carbon monoxide as a byproduct, they can’t be used indoors without proper ventilation. They’re also portable, possibly even more so than electrically powered warmers, since they’re not plugged in.


Pit-style wood burning heaters, such as a wood-burning fire pit, are the most common. Wood has a pleasant smoky aroma that may enhance the ambience of your patio, but it also necessitates more upkeep since you must wipe up the ashes after each fire. 

Wood, on the other hand, is difficult to light and takes a long time to heat up to the point where it can keep a room warm. You must also tend to the fire while it is burning, which requires regular attention. It’s also worth checking with your local fire department to see whether you may have outdoor fires where you live.

Natural Gas is a kind of fuel that is used

Natural Gas is a kind of fuel that is used heaters are the trickiest ones to install, as you’ll need to run a gas line from your tank to your heater. You may need a professional to do it for you. This means that Natural Gas is a kind of fuel that is used heaters are often the most expensive in terms of installation costs, but, depending on the cost of Natural Gas is a kind of fuel that is used, they’re among the cheapest to run long-term.

Natural Gas is a kind of fuel that is used heaters are typically not portable, as they have a gas line running to them that isn’t easy to move. They’re very easy to maintain and use once they’ve been installed, though, so if you’re looking for something to simply fire up and enjoy, these can be a great option for you.

Patio Heaters and Safety

We’d be negligent if we didn’t address how to use patio heaters safely. Propane heaters emit carbon monoxide, which is toxic if inhaled, thus they must be used in a well-ventilated area or outside. You’ll want to keep an eye on the fire with a wood burning heater since it involves fire, and you won’t be able to use it in strong winds or dry circumstances.

Your patio heater will be hot, so you also should keep children or pets away from them. This may be more of a concern with stand-alone heaters or with Heaters for the Pit than with table-top or mounted heaters that are harder for small children to reach. 

Many heaters have a clearance distance that should be used to determine how close you should set furniture or other objects near it, as well as how much room you should give it while snuggling up next to it. If you’re using a wood-burning pit, have a fire extinguisher or water nearby in case of an emergency.

Finally, take in mind that the taller stand-alone versions may be top-heavy and may topple over if you’re not cautious. When it’s windy, you may not be able to utilize it, or you could need to use something to hold it down or prevent it from moving.

Last Thoughts

The number of patio heaters you’ll need is determined by your budget and the size of your area. If you have a big patio and intend on hosting large events throughout the winter, you may need many heaters to keep the room warm. However, if your patio will only be used for small events, you can definitely get away with only one.

Patio heaters vary in terms of the amount of power and heat they produce, as well as the efficiency with which they heat their surrounds. You’ll need to examine your position and weigh the benefits and drawbacks of the different types discussed above before making a selection. However, after you’ve done that, you’ll be able to use your patio comfortably throughout the most of the year.


The “how many btus do i need for my patio heater” is a question that comes up often. The answer to this question is not easy, because it depends on the size of your patio and how big you want your heater to be.

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