Buying Guides: Outdoor Heaters

Outdoor heaters are becoming increasingly popular in private and commercial patios, decks, backyards and more. When it comes to selecting the right heater, there are a number of different options and factors to consider. Let’s take a look at the many models available, so you can make the right choice for your outdoor living space.

First and foremost, let’s decide which fuel source is best for you. Most outdoor heaters can be divided into 3 groups based on their fuel source; propane heaters, natural gas heaters and electric heaters. Here are some further details:


Fuel Types:

Propane Heaters

There are a wide variety of sizes and types of propane heaters available, making it easy to heat your space efficiently. Propane heaters are generally small and portable, ideal for heating a localized area, or for a space that is frequently rearranged. Propane tanks can be purchased easily and are straight-forward to use. Propane is nontoxic when used properly, colourless, and virtually odourless. As with natural gas, an identifying odour is added so the gas can be readily detected. 


Natural Gas Heaters

Natural gas heaters come in a wide variety of sizes and shapes and require a connection to a natural gas supply, meaning they can still operate even when the power is out. Natural gas heaters require more installation, but are perfect for cold winter nights or during a power outage.


Electric Heaters

Electric heaters are very simple and easy to use and, obviously, require an electrical supply to operate. Make sure to keep in mind which voltage you require, as they come in 120 V and 240 V options. With almost no moving parts to break or wear down, electric heating is very reliable and units normally require less upkeep than other heaters that use gas.



After you have chosen your fuel source, you need to decide which type of heater works best for your space. With the multitude of products available on the market the best idea is to break them down into categories and provide some further details. Here is a list of the most popular types of outdoor heaters:


Patio Heaters 

Patio heaters provide heat for a localized area through the use of radiant energy. Most patio heaters use propane tanks for fuel, which can be easily refilled or replaced. Even during a cold Canadian winter, a patio heater can make outdoor living spaces much more comfortable and provide a nice spot to warm up. They range in price from around $200 to $400, and come in a variety of shapes and colours.


Hanging Heaters

Hanging heaters are a great way to disperse heat evenly in any given space while keeping the area free of obstacles underfoot. It is ideal for gazebos, patios, balconies, workshops, garages, and more. There are even heaters that are designed to fit under a patio umbrella so you can still enjoy a nice meal or a drink outside when the colder weather starts to roll in. Make sure when installing a hanging heater to follow carefully the directions provided by the manufacturer.



Table Top Heaters 

These are similar in design to the patio heater — although smaller — and are made to keep your hands and upper body warm while seated. They are fueled by disposable propane canisters, and are typically less powerful than a regular sized patio heater. They are perfect for your backyard patio furniture and even portable enough to take with you on a camping trip or to the cottage! These heaters typically cost between $100 and $300. Make sure when setting them up that they are secured or fastened to the table, as damage or injury can result if they are knocked over.

Fire Pits

Fire pits come in various styles. Popular pits include square models that resemble low tables, and versions that feature a fire bowl. If you want a fire pit that can be moved around easily, try a bowl model. If your backyard is big and you want a spot where everyone can warm up, a more stationary square pit is your best bet. Most fire pits are fueled by gas, propane or the traditional wood-burning option. One upside of going with a wood-burning fire pit is that it is less expensive than propane — not to mention, everyone loves the sight and smell of a real campfire!


Whether you are hanging a heater in your garage workspace, or putting a fire pit in the backyard to keep warm with friends and family, at the end of the day you want to make sure that you get the best possible heater for your space. Hopefully, this guide has helped make sense of the different options out there. We want to keep you warm, Canada, so browse our wide selection of heaters for something you like on SHOP.CA, and extend your outdoor living far into the year!


SHOP for outdoor heaters and other home and garden products in Canada.

Share This Article: