The 7 Best Tabletop Outdoor Heaters
This wiki has been updated 16 times since it was first published in March of 2018. There's no need to move the party indoors when the sun goes down. Using various fuels, one of these tabletop heaters can keep you and your guests warm when it gets cold out, or keep you toasty in the wilderness. Just make sure to take care when operating one, because whether or not there's a visible flame, these all deserve the same respect as an open fire and may require adequate ventilation. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
January 29, 2021:
First things first, it always bears repeating that heaters can easily cause fires if they're misused, even in the winter snow. Make absolutely certain to take care with each of these, whether electric or propane.
One company clearly leads the pack here: the Mr. Heater Little Buddy, Mr. Heater Buddy, and Mr. Heater Big Buddy are about as efficient as portable propane heaters get. With that in mind, though, make sure that you're getting a model that is actually allowed in your state. Mr. Heater has a couple versions of each, and some are certified for use in all of North America, while others aren't allowed to be sold to Massachusetts, California, or Canada.
If you don't need portability, the Fire Sense 61322 is the best lamppost-style propane model, and the Star Patio 1566-CT the best electric lamp option. In terms of aesthetics, it's hard to beat the Bond Firebowl and The Real Hot Pot, depending on what kind of ambiance you're actually going for.
October 29, 2019:
When you're using a tabletop heater, safety is by far the utmost concern. After checking with a lot of former owners, we realized that the miniaturized versions of the umbrella- and pyramid-style outdoor heaters tend to be fragile, unreliable, and in some cases, significant fire hazards. While you can find some versions that work okay, we wouldn't recommend them for most situations, so we took most of them off the list, despite there being quite a few of those types available. The Fire Sense 61322 is basically the only one that wasn't widely panned for breaking down quickly or actually catching on fire.
If you'd rather not mess around with propane bottles or liquid fuel, there are a couple good electric options. The Star Patio 1566-CT is much like a normal lamp, just way hotter, although it doesn't have a variable temperature. It's one of the few electric tabletop models that's actually effective, though. Then there's the Ener-G+ Freestanding, which is a table in and of itself, with a 1500-watt heater underneath that keeps it nice and toasty. It's pretty expensive, though, and it will replace the actual table that you're trying to heat, of course, but it does look pretty neat and will especially keep your legs from getting chilly.
Anything by Mr. Heater is sure to be of very high quality, and the Dura Heat LP18 is constructed similarly but with 360-degree heating. For a heater that also adds to your patio's aesthetic, the Regal Flame Bruno, Endless Summer Fireplace, and The Real Hot Pot are fine choices. And with any of these ten options, be certain to follow all safety precautions, and be incredibly careful if you're using them in even slightly enclosed spaces, as they can sap oxygen from the air, the dangerous effects of which can actually sneak up on you after time.