Electric Vs Propane Patio Heater: What To Choose What Is Right For You? (Pros and Cons)

Searching for a patio heater but do not know which one to choose in electric vs propane patio heater?

A patio is a place where the family gathers every evening for a family fun time. So if you’re the kind of family that likes making use of your patio all through you’re, you may find it difficult using it during colder evenings or winter season if you don’t have an appropriate heating system to keep you and your family warm.

To help you reduce the level of your confusion due to the many types and brands of patio heaters on the market.

We have put together this short article to guide you through by comparing the two most popular patio heaters common in North America, which are Electric Patio Heater and Propane Patio Heater, though there is a third one called Natural Gas Patio Heater that will be discussed another day.

Most electric infrared heaters are used to heat living areas from overhead, and close to an electrical source. Propane heaters are most effective when used in outdoor settings to heat large open areas.

Having said these, Let’s talk about each heater in deep:

Electric Patio Heaters

Most people choose an electric patio heater over the propane one because they are safer and more convenient to use. They do not produce any flame, which makes them safe for many occasions and the perfect heater for garages, workshops and sheds where safety is of the essence.

Electric patio heaters use electricity as their main source of power and can be charged up in about 8 hours of direct sunlight. They are very simple to use and require no maintenance, but they do need a safe and dry environment since water can cause their wires to corrode and rust.

Therefore you will enjoy breathing in cleaner air around your home as electric heaters do not emit carbon monoxide, burn oxygen, fossil fuels, do not have a flame. Meaning no nasty chemicals, no bad odor to disturb your nose.

  • Heat Output

Electric patio heaters provide more than enough power for evening gatherings and backyard parties, and they keep the atmosphere comfortable and warm right until you decide to turn them off. They do not provide the same amount of heating power as propane or gas patio heaters, but they are great for maintaining a comfortable temperature in smaller areas without using too much energy.

  • Fuel Source

Electric patio heaters are powered by electricity, which means that you have to be very careful about your surroundings so no one gets hurt. They are not only safe but also very convenient because you do not have to wait for them to heat up or refill them with the gas every now and then. Another benefit is that they will work even during a power outage if they are still charged.

  • Efficiency

Electric patio heaters use electricity as their main source of power, which means they will need more time to heat up a large area. On the plus side, most units have built-in thermostats that help maintain a steady temperature and consume less energy in the process.

  • Power Consumption

Electric patio heaters are very efficient when it comes to the speed of heating but this is due mostly to the amount of electricity that they consume. In other words, they are not as efficient as propane patio heaters and require more time to bring the temperature up.


  • Electric patio heaters are energy efficient as almost all them run on normal household standard 110/120 volts electrical outlet.
  • They’re environmental or Eco friendly because they do not cause environmental pollution by burning oxygen, fossil fuels, or emitting any dangerous chemical or gas.
  • They can be strategically mounted on the ceiling or walls, thereby providing maximum use of valuable patio floor space.
  • Electric patio heaters blend into an existing decor as they come in multiple finishes, and flush mounting options includes frames.
  • They are available in different sizes, shapes to meet the needs of any outdoor space.
  • They also come with convenient accessories like mounting brackets. And their installation is very easy. All you need to do is to plug it, set the temperature, and the heater will do the rest.
  • They’re heat efficiency. Because electric patio heaters are infrared, they heat people and not their surroundings. Meaning it comfortably warms people and objects within it mounted radius. They’re just efficient.
  • Electric patio heaters are versatile. They can be used indoor and outdoor s.
  • No heavy propane tank to replace, refill or transport.
  • They are safe for family with children and pets.
  • They give instant heat. No need to turn on before hand like propane heater
  • Electric patio heaters require no maintenance and assembly.


  • Electrical patio heaters do not have the capacity to heat up large outdoor spaces just with a unit. Meaning you would buy 2, 3 or 4 units of electric patio heater if you have a large space to keep warm.
  • You cannot use electric patio heater when there is power outage.

Looking for heater for shed, you check out this our article.

Propane Patio Heaters

On the other hand, a propane heater uses liquefied Petroleum gasoline to generate its own heat. It provides heat or warmth as soon as the burner is connected to the 20 l tank through a hose and the fuel is released, the flame is ignited by means of lighter or automated ignition.

Propane heaters also called gas patio heaters are incredibly popular because of their efficiency and great performance under almost any conditions (except for water). They can provide a lot of power and supply constant heat throughout the night, which is why they are so popular among homeowners who work all day long.

Propane heater burners are put on a tall steel frame, then covered with a metal sheet that has holes and a small steel cover like an umbrella to help stop the heat from rising too much and escaping. they come in different designs and colors to match existing decor.

Electric Vs Propane Patio Heater
  • Portability

Fully charge propane heaters before you turn them off because if the flame goes out, there will be no heat at all after that. Since they run on gas instead of electricity, you can take them anywhere without worrying about space or charging time. Just make sure to keep a full propane tank at all times.

  • Heat Output

Propane patio heaters provide a powerful flame that will keep your guests warm and comfortable for many hours, but they require constant refilling and careful handling to operate properly. The best models can produce enough power to keep you warm without heating up the surrounding area too much, making them perfect for outdoor parties and gatherings or just for keeping yourself warm at home or the office.

  • Fuel Source

When it comes to fuel sources, propane patio heaters are very convenient because they have a built-in tank that you only need to refill from time to time. They do not require charging and you can take them anywhere without worrying about space restrictions, but you have to be extra careful when handling them.

  • Efficiency

Propane patio heaters are very efficient and work great even in windy conditions, which is why they are highly recommended for people who live in colder areas. They come with a built-in thermostat that helps monitor the temperature and adjust it accordingly as needed.

  • Fuel Consumption

One of the biggest advantages of propane heaters is they can easily heat your shed garage or workshop without electricity if you don’t have a proper electric connection. Another biggest advantage of propane patio heaters is that they use gas as their main source of power, which means you do not have to charge them or wait for them to heat up.

The burning time is directly proportional to the amount that you pay for your gas heater, so keep that in mind when shopping around for one of these units. Make sure to take into account the maximum heat output that you need before making a decision because not all types are suitable for heavy-duty use.

  • Downside

They produce a strong flame that needs constant refilling, which means you have to stay near the heater and wait for it to heat up properly before you use it. One downside is that the heating area of these units is smaller than most people expect, but there are models designed to heat up large areas.

Another downside of propane heaters about you have to clean the thermocouple whenever you use it again after a long time.


  • Propane patio heaters generate huge amount out of heat and can cover a very large space up to 60,000BTUs or more, Very good for commercial usage.
  • They are not depending on electricity, therefore could be use anytime.
  • They’re constructed with safety features to prevent them from exploding and catching fire such as auto shut off feature in case they mistakenly falls.
  • It could be used for commercial and residential spaces.


  • The 20lb propane last only for 10 hours. Meaning you have to be replacing, refill, and transporting the cylinder constant. this make using propane heater hectic and expensive to run.
  • Not safe for family with children and pets.
  • Heavy tank to change lift all the time.
  • Too heavy to move around.
  • Propane heaters can take up your valuable patio floor space.

Electric Vs. Propane Patio Heaters

There are so many differences between electric and propane gas heaters some of are discussed below:

  • Installation

Electric patio heaters are very easy to install and do not need any professional help in order to operate. They have a simple design with a few essential components, so you can assemble them in minutes even if you are not very experienced. And at the same time, propane heaters are more expensive and require professional installation in order to run properly.

  • Safety

Electric patio heaters are much safer than their propane counterparts because they do not pose a fire risk when operated incorrectly or when left unattended. On the other hand, propane heaters can easily tip over to someone and cause fire hazards due to their tall height and not being installed properly balanced.

  • Space Requirements

Electric patio heaters do not need much room at all and their compact size makes them ideal for patios and sheds with limited space. But on the other hand, propane patio heaters are very bulky because you have to install a tank, so they are best suited for larger patios.

  • Fuel Refilling

Electric patio heaters do not need constant refilling and you can take them anywhere without having to worry about where you will refill the tank from. But propane heaters require a stationary source of fuel and constant refills, which means that they tend to be bulkier and are best suited for large patios.

  • Ergonomics

Electric patio heaters are very easy to use and you do not need any special skills in order to get them up and running. But propane heaters require constant supervision, which means that they are harder to use and are better suited for professionals. Propane units have a number of safety features that make them easier to use, but electric patio heaters are much safer because they do not pose a fire risk.

  • Patio Design

Electric patio heaters are very versatile and can be installed on almost any type of furniture without inconveniencing the user. But propane patio heaters cannot be placed on chairs or lounges without obstructing the user’s view, so they are best suited for larger patio areas.

You can use electric heaters to keep smaller patios warm and comfortable without blocking too much space with furniture, but because propane heaters need to be placed on posts or other types of supports you do not have as many options when it comes to the design.

Propane Vs. Gas Heaters

There are a number of differences between propane and gas heaters some of are discussed below :

  • Output

When it comes to heating capacity, both types of patio heaters have an output that ranges from 10,000 BTUs up to 40,000 BTUs. The main difference is that propane units tend to provide more power because they utilize a large tank, while gas heaters rely on a smaller tank that can get very hot and is more effective in windy conditions.

  • Gas Tank

Propane heaters are more expensive than their natural gas counterparts because you have to install a large tank, but they provide better heating capacity due to higher outputs. Natural gas patio heaters require professional installation and you have to hire a contractor in order to get them up and running.

  • Operation

Natural gas patio heaters can be used indoors without causing any damage, but because propane is a compressed fuel you cannot use it inside your home or garage because of the risk of explosion and fire. Gas patio heaters are very easy to operate and control, so they are good for beginners and homeowners with no experience in dealing with them.

Gas Vs. Electric Patio Heaters Which

Some of the main differences between gas and electric patio heaters are listed below:

Patio Heaters come with different BTU ratings which are used to indicate how powerful the heater is, but they are also rated according to their coverage area so you know exactly what kind of range they have.

Electric patio heaters are very versatile and can be used for any occasion indoors or outdoors, while gas models are best suited for keeping larger patios warm.

Natural gas patio heaters provide more power and are capable of heating outdoor spaces up to 700 square feet or more, while electric models can cover an area between 50 and 300 square feet.

Natural gas patio heaters need professional installation and additional equipment like an exhaust hose in order to be brought to life, which makes them more expensive to buy and maintain. But electric patio heaters do not require any installation or professional help, so they are cheaper to set up and operate.

Natural gas patio heaters are good for maintaining a constant temperature outdoors, but electric patio heaters are better for quickly warming up areas during winter.

Last Words

Prices for natural gas patio heaters are higher than those of electric models, but they provide better heating capacity and you do not have to pay extra for the installation. Electric patio heaters require no professional help or additional equipment, so they are cheaper to operate and you can use them in areas where there is no access to a power outlet.

Natural gas patio heaters can provide more power and cover larger outdoor spaces, but electric models are better for smaller patios because they produce fewer emissions. Electric patio heaters do not pose any safety risks and they are environmentally friendly, while natural gas units need professional help when it comes to installation.

I hope now you have a better understanding of which one to choose in propane vs electric patio heater. Each type of heater has its own pros and cons.

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