Almost everything you need to know about outdoor patio heaters

There are currently about a dozen outdoor patio heaters setup around my very small patio at home. This includes several propane models that would easily constitute a fire hazard if they were all to be ignited at the same time. Fortunately, I'm only running them one at time — as part of my testing regime for the new Wirecutter/New York Times guide to the best outdoor patio heaters. I've spent the last month researching, interviewing people, and living with a variety of these models.

Unfortunately, outdoor patio heaters are hard to find right now, because everyone's anticipating their need to keep warm outside in order to continue social distancing as the months get cooler. So this guide's a little different than your standard Wirecutter fare. There's no "Top Pick," because even if we could tell what the single best one was, there's no guarantee you'd be able to buy it. Instead, I used my knowledge and research to breakdown the differences between all the different patio heaters on the market, to hopefully guide you towards making the right decision for your specific situation.

In the meantime, I guess all the COVID-safe outdoor parties are at my house, at least until it snows.

The Outdoor Patio Heaters We're Testing in Fall 2020 [Thom Dunn / New York Times / Wirecutter]

Image: Steve Parker/Flickr (CC 2.0)