Propane vs. Electric Outdoor Heaters

Are propane-powered or electric outdoor heaters best? We'll break it down. Read how to choose the best outdoor heater for your space, and get cozy!

Outdoor Heaters: Is Propane or Electric Better?

The kabobs are on the grill, the tiki torches are lit, and ukulele music is playing softly in the background. But what do you do when chilly weather arrives at your party like an early, uninvited guest?

The best way to deal with your unexpected party crasher is to bring out your outdoor heater and consider it part of the party ambiance. An outdoor heater, or patio heater, will allow you to enjoy your porch, patio, or outdoor events long into the cooler weather of fall.

But should you use a propane heater or an electric one? Which one is safer? Easier? More efficient?

Props for Propane Heaters: Why to Choose Them to Heat Your Outdoor Space

Propane Heaters set up quickly and easily and begin to put out heat instantly. They are easily portable and can be placed on any flat surface. They can be used to heat any outdoor location without regard to outlets or extension cords. Propane heaters use LPG or Liquified Petroleum Gas in standard, twenty-pound liquid tanks. The heat generated is powerful, as much as 60,000 BTUs for a warmer, wider heated area.

There are many propane heater designs to choose from including heaters that contain a burner on a high steel frame with a steel umbrella to direct heat downward and out. Other designs include wall-mounted heaters, ceiling hanging heaters, and smaller, table-top models.

Most have automatic shut-offs as a safety feature to prevent fires if they are bumped or knocked over. Larger models are generally on wheels and can be easily moved wherever they are needed.

Gas heaters are larger than electric heaters. Typically they cost a little more but are less expensive to run than electric when used on a regular basis. They are designed for limited emissions and high-efficiency levels. Propane is clean-burning, colorless and non-toxic.

A propane heater creates both warmth and a lovely ambiance for outdoor enjoyment at parties, poolside, or even just so you can enjoy dinner on your own porch or patio on chilly fall evenings and take advantage of your outdoor space in the precious time after the fireflies are gone, but before the snow flurries begin.

The Best Efficient Electric Heaters: Why to Warm Your Yard This Way

Electrical Heaters are simple and easy to use. Just plug your electric heater into any outdoor outlet and you’re ready to heat. You can place them anywhere you have an outlet or an extension cord available. Unlike gas heaters, you can even use them in areas that are enclosed or not well ventilated. They tend to be smaller than gas heaters and take up less space. They are generally in stainless steel casings and can come as stand-alone models, or in wall-mounted designs. They generate heat in a twelve-inch radius, and consume around 230 to 240 volts of electricity, or sometimes more for larger heaters.

With electric patio heaters, you don’t have to worry about placing the heater far away from combustibles. They have no flames but come with glass-enclosed elements to protect children and pets.

How to Choose the best Outdoor Heater for your yard or patio

When it’s time to take out the tiki torches, it’s easy enough to choose which type of outdoor heater best suits your party needs. If you need to heat larger areas more efficiently and less expensively, a propane heater is a fantastic choice. It sets up easily with propane tanks that are available at any corner store, heats immediately upon lighting, and adds the ambiance of flame heating.

However, if space is an issue, or the presence of combustible items nearby is a problem, an electric heater is also a great choice. As long as you have an outlet or extension cord nearby, an electric heater can be placed and used anywhere. It takes a little longer to begin emitting heat and isn’t quite as energy-efficient as propane, but they are less expensive to purchase, and they don’t involve the necessary safety protocols of propane heaters.

So no matter which one works best for you, when cold weather wants to ruin the fun, an outdoor heater can put the party crasher back in its place.

Resources— Sylvane, Patio Heater Experts, Gas Outdoor Patio Heaters, Northline Express