Best/easiest to use propane patio heater


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So with the Autumn setting in, and winter on the horizon, I figured it was time to do some research on a good Patio heater. Every year I suffer in the cold or pass up on smoking due to my personal sensitivity to the cold.

So last year, I bought one of these:

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Thing is absolute rubbish. Its hard to start(Have to press down firmly on the dial for 5 minutes!) and Incredibly sensitive to fuel quality. When the propane fuel is of a quality it doesn't like, it makes a terrifying loud "WHOOOOMP" sound and then begins burning in a very abnormal fashion before going out and refusing to start again until its completely cooled down. Needless to say, I will not be suffering with this thing another winter and do not endorse it!

With that out of the way, Do you all have any recommendations on a suitable patio heater? Ideally one which puts out a large amount of heat so that i am genuinely warm, and which is easy to start!

No 5 minute purge cycle requiring me to hold my hand on a stiff dial, or any other garbage like that. Should be like a barbecue, turn, click, on!

 

 

 

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Check out the big buddy propane heater. Its not a leave out fancy patio heater but it is very versatile. Totally safe to run in a garage or even your home in an emergency. I bought the hose adapter to run off the 20lb tanks. Works pretty well for an all around unit, but again, likely will not compete to the industrial stand up units. 

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https://www.mrheater.com/15-000-btu-single-tank-top-heater.html

It's not fancy, but it's the most tried and true propane heater. It's incredibly simple, and even more reliable.

It won't disperse heat as widely as the tower/dome types, but it's also only ~$60. Shop for a propane tower heater to compare prices... 

I've used the fancy tower types, and the high BTU forced air types, etc etc. For simple heating needs of a small space, I don't think any of the extra features offered by fancier options, warrant the astronomical price difference vs a standard mr. heater. Plus the fancier they get, the more prone they are to maintenance and reliability issues. None of that comes into play with the barebones tanktop heater.

I've never been disappointed by a mr heater.

 

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I use something similar to this purchased at ACE Hardware for $99 on Black Friday about 5 years ago. It was 50% off. I have seen them run that in more recent years also. It's about 8 ft tall. I use it on my patio and in the garage with the door cracked open when it's really cold. Definitely get one with the built on table. No problem starting it. It can use quite a bit of propane if you run it wide open the whole time. I usually start it open full to heat up the garage then dial it back. I have considered getting the mr. heater like mentioned above if just going out for an hour or so. Most of the time I'm going out to watch a game and have a cigar or 2 so I like the patio model for that. 708c0f216589e39b369ced78bfb53787.jpg

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If you’re outside on the patio, you’re going to need a tall one.  It even works pretty well if you don’t have any protection from the wind.  You can fix having to hold the dial for too long by bypassing whatever check-valve it has, instructions easily found on YouTube.

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1 hour ago, Riverstyx said:

First I bought a tower.  It only worked okay.  Now I primarily use bunny ears...I think it is this one:

https://www.amazon.com/Mr-Heater-Outdoor-Cylinder-Included/dp/B00823W9B0/ref=sr_1_7?dchild=1&keywords=tank+top+heater&qid=1603740084&sr=8-7

You're not going to win a beauty pageant with it but you'll be warm.

I have the single stack. Have been debating about the twin, but I already go through propane super fast on a single.

EDIT:

Oh yeah, a standard milk crate fits a standard bottle really well. Makes the tank/heater much more stable. Just in case anyone else is using.

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2 hours ago, KGM said:

I have the single stack. Have been debating about the twin, but I already go through propane super fast on a single.

EDIT:

Oh yeah, a standard milk crate fits a standard bottle really well. Makes the tank/heater much more stable. Just in case anyone else is using.

That's a great tip about the milk crate.  i use them when I exchange my tanks so they aren't rolling around in the bed of my truck.

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Don't bother with a fire column gas heater. They may look cool, but they are hard to move around (most don't come with wheels) and the tube is extremely fragile. One bump, and the damn thing can crack. Cost to replace the tube is about half the price of the heater.
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I have a multi reflector gas patio heater (actually have a pair of them). They are big enough to heat my entire outdoor area when I have them on opposite sides of the pergola. Though, [mention=23478]JohnS[/mention] camps directly beneath one and cranks it up to max output. Sometimes I think John finds it a bit cold at my place.
Heater.jpg.b11188d32cfef20e58c2b1c6840c10d5.jpg
I've never seen one with multiple reflectors. Seems like a great idea. Do you have a model for this?

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7 hours ago, Zaxeiler said:

Anyone use kerosene? I’ve been looking at a couple of the simpler burners that’ll go hours on a gallon to keep me out of getting another propane cylinder. But I’ve never used one...

I had a kerosene heater for a long time, but its not great with cigars as it smells like your sat behind a large Diesel truck. If you like that smell its probably great though lol.

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2 hours ago, jvd1291 said:

I had a kerosene heater for a long time, but its not great with cigars as it smells like your sat behind a large Diesel truck. If you like that smell its probably great though lol.

Thank you! Didn’t realize the burn put out any odor. 

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8 hours ago, Fuzz said:

I have a multi reflector gas patio heater (actually have a pair of them). They are big enough to heat my entire outdoor area when I have them on opposite sides of the pergola. Though, @JohnS camps directly beneath one and cranks it up to max output. Sometimes I think John finds it a bit cold at my place.

Heater.jpg.b11188d32cfef20e58c2b1c6840c10d5.jpg

That is because JohnS needs the warmth of Hellfire to be warm. When I have the firepit going, John is so close that everyone is feeling like the heat of the Sun and John is going "This is just nice."

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1 hour ago, jay8354 said:

That is because JohnS needs the warmth of Hellfire to be warm. When I have the firepit going, John is so close that everyone is feeling like the heat of the Sun and John is going "This is just nice."

Haha...bring on summer I say! ?

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Others have recommended basically the same thing, but rather than getting the double “rabbit ears” one, get TWO of these inexpensive propane tank top heaters.

 

I tried electric heaters and also have a tall propane patio heater too. Nothing works as well.

 

For less than the one fancy pants patio heater, I got two of them to provide heat from both sides so it feels all encompassing. I can literally sit on my porch in just a shirt during the winter and be reasonably comfortable.

 

6b2bf9488997a820228b2799bfed1f62.jpg

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8 hours ago, mrmessy said:

I've never seen one with multiple reflectors. Seems like a great idea. Do you have a model for this?

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This was sold by Fiammetta, but has since been discontinued. Most people were happy to buy the cheaper, single reflector heater ($120-$160). The multi reflector was originally sold for $250-$300. I bought 2 for $250 when they were discontinued. I might have a picture of the box somewhere, but not sure that would help.

 

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16 hours ago, Stogieninja said:

Others have recommended basically the same thing, but rather than getting the double “rabbit ears” one, get TWO of these inexpensive propane tank top heaters.

 

I tried electric heaters and also have a tall propane patio heater too. Nothing works as well.

 

For less than the one fancy pants patio heater, I got two of them to provide heat from both sides so it feels all encompassing. I can literally sit on my porch in just a shirt during the winter and be reasonably comfortable.

 

6b2bf9488997a820228b2799bfed1f62.jpg

I may just go with this solution. the KISS principle has always served me well.

 

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21 hours ago, Stogieninja said:

Others have recommended basically the same thing, but rather than getting the double “rabbit ears” one, get TWO of these inexpensive propane tank top heaters.

 

I tried electric heaters and also have a tall propane patio heater too. Nothing works as well.

 

For less than the one fancy pants patio heater, I got two of them to provide heat from both sides so it feels all encompassing. I can literally sit on my porch in just a shirt during the winter and be reasonably comfortable.

 

6b2bf9488997a820228b2799bfed1f62.jpg

Just be careful if you have little people, drunk persons or El Prez around. El Prez is banned from going near or operating any propane tanks. 

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5 hours ago, jvd1291 said:

I may just go with this solution. the KISS principle has always served me well.

 

Mine works well down to about 50°F. Thinking about getting a 2nd unit for 40°F days. Added some 5% roller blinds to the deck this year to provide some additional wind break too.

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Others have recommended basically the same thing, but rather than getting the double “rabbit ears” one, get TWO of these inexpensive propane tank top heaters.
 
I tried electric heaters and also have a tall propane patio heater too. Nothing works as well.
 
For less than the one fancy pants patio heater, I got two of them to provide heat from both sides so it feels all encompassing. I can literally sit on my porch in just a shirt during the winter and be reasonably comfortable.
 
6b2bf9488997a820228b2799bfed1f62.jpg

This is interesting... what’s cold where you are? Trying to get a sense for if this is workable during long cold Chicago winters.


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1 hour ago, Gorangutang said:


This is interesting... what’s cold where you are? Trying to get a sense for if this is workable during long cold Chicago winters.


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He lives roughly 40 miles south of me i believe so we are in roughly the same climate! In the winter it gets down sometimes to 20 degrees during the evening/night where i'm at, but a temp of 30-40 is more average during the coldest times. 40-50 day time temps is common in the winter here. 40-60 during autumn. Night *can* get a lot colder if its clear skies, but this is WA so its usually not LOL!

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