Do Patio Heaters Work in the Winter?


If you are looking to remain warm all year long, patio heaters are a great choice. Patio heaters are also called mushroom or umbrella heaters; they use radiant heating system to keep your body warm. Patio heaters are a great investment, but the big consideration is, “Do they really work in the winter?”. This is essential because you don’t want to spend so much money on a device that doesn’t function as you want it to. To answer that, yes, patio heaters work well in the winter. This is because they work by heating up your clothes, skin, and objects around you instead of the space between you and the heater. Patio heaters are mostly used outdoors but can be used both indoors and outdoors. Read Can Patio Heaters be used Indoors?

Also, read Do Patio Heaters work?

Before purchasing a patio heater, there are a couple of things you have to look out for; some of these things will be discussed in this article.

How Do Patio Heaters Work?

Patio heaters work by emitting thermal radiation, which gets absorbed by your skin, clothes, and objects around the area. Thermal radiation is a type of electromagnetic radiation that is produced by the movement of particles. This mode of heat transfer is very similar to how the sun heats up the environment. Unlike conventional heaters, patio heaters don’t blow out hot air into the atmosphere, neither do they heat the space between yourself and the heater. This thermal radiation or radiant heat emitted by the heater gets absorbed by your skin and objects around you, thus heating you up as soon as it is turned on. Patio heaters are capable of heating up an entire room or area within minutes, making them the perfect choice if you need an incredibly fast heating system. The maximum coverage of patio heaters, as well as their BTUs (British Thermal Unit), are always specified.

Types and Styles of Patio Heaters

Patio heaters are classified based on their power source. Patio heaters can be powered by three different power sources: electric, propane, or natural gas-powered.

Electric Heater

Electric patio heaters are very convenient and handy. They don’t require a difficult installation process; all you have to do is plug it into a power outlet. This type of heater can be used everywhere as long as there’s a socket around the area. The main disadvantage of electric patio heaters is having to keep it close to a socket. This may limit the placement option of the heater, except there’s a long cord. Running an electric heater is more expensive than using a gas-powered type.

Propane Heater

Propane heaters are easy to use and install. You may not need a professional to install this type of heater because they are usually pre-assembled. All that is needed is connecting a gas tank to the heater, and it is ready for use. They provide instant heat and are best used outdoors. Propane heaters are more expensive than natural gas heaters in the long run, and you may need to replace the gas tank very often.

Natural Gas Heater

Natural gas heaters require professional installation; this is mainly because it needs to be connected to your gas line. In general, natural gas heaters provide constant heat and need little maintenance. Using a natural gas heater is much cheaper than a propane or electric heater. The only extra cost is the installation cost, which is worth it in the long run. Natural gas and propane patio heaters are best used in open spaces because using these types of heaters in an enclosed space may lead to fire hazards.

Patio heaters come in different styles, from the standing types to the wall-mounted types. Some of the different patio heater styles are listed below

Standing Patio Heaters

Standing patio heaters are one of the most popular types of heaters, especially the gas standing heater. This type of heater is ideal for large open spaces and can heat up these spaces incredibly fast regardless of the size of the heater. It is usually really tall and thin, and you may need to measure the height of the area before installing heat. It is made up of a base, pole, reflector, and heat source.

Wall-mounted or Hanging Patio Heaters

Wall-mounted patio heaters, like the name implies, are usually hanged or mounted on a wall. They require wall brackets to keep them secure and fixed to the walls. They are ideal for small spaces or for saving floor spaces on your patio. Hanging patio heaters are one of the most convenient types of heaters because they are not in your way, and they release enough heat to keep you and your family comfortable. If you purchase this type of heater, you may need a professional to help you install it.

Tabletop Patio Heaters

Tabletop heaters are the smallest types of heaters and are only capable of heating up a small distance. They are the best type if you need to heat up a small space and are also very affordable. They are mostly powered by electricity and may look like smaller standing patio heaters.

Things to Consider when Choosing a Patio Heater

Power Source

This is the first thing to look out for before purchasing a patio heater. Patio heaters can be powered by three types of fuel, electricity, propane, and natural gas. Electric patio heaters need to be close to a power outlet, and this may limit its placement options. Also, the cost of electricity may make it very expensive to use. Propane and natural gas heaters are not as expensive to run, but propane heater’s gas tanks need to be replaced very often, which will cost a lot. Natural gas heaters require extra installation costs. Choosing between these three depends on what you prefer.


The style of patio heater you want is another important thing to think about. Patio heaters come in different styles and designs; choosing between them depends on the size of the area and how the heater will be used.


Patio heaters are one of the most common ways of heating an outdoor space. They work by directly heating up objects around you and work best even in winter. Patio heaters are of various shapes and sizes, and choosing the best one for you depends on your preference and what’s best for yourself and your family.