Sometimes we shut our patio down because of the winter cold, the snow, or freezing ice and rain. However, if you want to use your patio and sit on the patio during the winter months, you might want to know if patio heaters work in the winter. After all, there’s no point in buying a patio heater if you are spending half the time fighting to get it working during the freezing heat.
The answer to the question: Do patio heaters work in the winter can be a bit tricky to solve, because it depends on two things: The type of patio heater you have, and the lowest temperature it gets in your state during the wintertime.
If you have the best patio heater, then yes, a good patio heater can keep your patio warm when the outside temperature is below freezing at zero degrees Fahrenheit.
Table of Contents
- Do Propane Patio Heaters Work in the Winter?
- Do Electric Patio Heaters Work in the Winter?
- Do Natural Gas Patio Heaters Work in the Winter?
- Do Patio Heaters Work Below Freezing?
- How Does Temperature Affect How Patio Heaters Work?
- What Type of Patio Heater is Best for Winter Months?
- Is a Hanging or a Standing Patio Heater Better for Winter?
- Where to Place Your Patio Heater in the Winter?
- What Are the Best Patio Heaters for Winter?
- Winter Patio Heater FAQs
- The Verdict – Are Patio Heaters Worth it in the Winter?
Gas patio heaters are powered by propane, which is used to produce the heat for your patio. If you find that you want to use your patio during the colder months, then you can turn on your propane patio heater and get your body warm! Just make sure to always have an extra can of propane on hand if the heater stops working, and keep an eye on the temperature of the patio heater in case it starts to overheat.
Do Electric Patio Heaters Work in the Winter?
If you want to go electric, then electric patio heaters can also work for you. They won’t produce as much heat as a propane powered patio heater though, and are best used in mild climates. If you live in an area where the winters are mild, and you don’t get a lot of snow or freezing temperatures, an electric patio heater will work in the winter just fine.
However, you should invest in another choice if you want a patio heater that will work whenever the winter gets very very cold and things start to freeze, because they just don’t produce enough power compared to their gas counterparts.
An exception to this are infrared patio heaters, which don’t heat the air but only heat the people and objects the infrared rays hit. The heat can spread out over a wide area because the rays are actually hitting you and not just the air around you, and that means that an electric infrared patio heater can work even in the coldest months of winter. You might not even feel the cold!
Related: Top 10 Best Hanging Patio Heaters
Do Natural Gas Patio Heaters Work in the Winter?
Natural gas heaters work the same as propane heaters, just using a different fuel source. They will work in the winter and keep you and your family all warmed up!
Do Patio Heaters Work Below Freezing?
All patio heaters have some capability to fight the cold, otherwise, they wouldn’t be heaters. However, if you live in an area that has very very cold winters and the temperature regularly dips below freezing, then you want to get the best patio heater that can stand up to that cold temperature. For the freezing temperatures of the world, you will need to get an infrared patio heater.
Infrared uses direct interaction with your body to warm you up, almost like whenever you stand directly in the sun on a warm day. You warm up a lot faster than you would in the shade because the rays of the sun are directly touching you. This makes the infrared patio heater a heater that is going to warm you up even when the temperature is freezing, and the weather outside is frightful.
How Does Temperature Affect How Patio Heaters Work?
The cold weather affects the patio heater due to the wind. The heavy wind during the cold winter months captures the heat that is being released from a patio heater, and the air molecules absorb it and take it away. Additionally, most patio heaters radiate heat outward, and when the weather is colder there is more cold air for the heater to interact with, which can stop it from being as effective at warming you up.
Related Article: 10 Best Patio Heaters for Windy Areas
What Type of Patio Heater is Best for Winter Months?
If you can, get an infrared patio heater. They will do the job and keep you warm no matter what the temperature outside is. However, if you can’t get or afford an infrared patio heater, then a propane or natural gas patio heater is going to be the next best thing to keep your patio and the people on it warm.
Is a Hanging or a Standing Patio Heater Better for Winter?
Both of these will work well for your wintertime needs; it all depends on where you want the heater placed and the size of your patio. If you have the space to hang a hanging patio heater safely and out of the way of your guests, then do so. Otherwise, place the standing patio heater in an out of the way area, but both will do the trick.
Where to Place Your Patio Heater in the Winter?
If you have a hanging patio heater then you can hang it from a pergola or on your gazebo, especially if you pair it with some Vinyl curtains. Stand up patio heaters are the best near where people will sit or gather, although where you place them doesn’t really matter.
What you do need to keep in mind is the enclosing of the heat. Enclosing your patio can keep heat trapped making things more efficient, and allowing you to get the most out of your patio heaters.
What Are the Best Patio Heaters for Winter?
This PatioBoss patio heater is completely weatherproof, so no matter what ends up hitting your patio this heater will handle it. It also heats up fast and quiet, and also is rated IP65 to handle everything the freezing months hit it with. Plus, the electric power source guarantees you are running on environmentally friendly power and won’t run out!
This pyramid heater has a variable heat setting and built in control value to keep you in control of the temperature. Plus, you can easily access, install, and change out the propane tank that powers the item. Finally, it comes with a glass flame tube that makes you feel like you are sitting by a fire!
If you live in an area that gives you long winters, then the bulb in the DONYER POWER Electric Patio Heater will last up to 6,000 hours and give you easily transferable heat. It is also safe and non-toxic for use around people and pets, and comes with a stylish design that looks like any other lamp.
Winter Patio Heater FAQs
Can I Just Use a Wood Burning Fire Pit During the Winter?
Yes, a wood burning fire pit is another great source of heat during the winter months! If you don’t want to deal with a patio heater, or just like the ambiance of a crackling wood burning fire pit. You can also use a chiminea as well, which is just as effective and very nice to look at!
Are Patio Heaters Dangerous in the Winter?
Well, they can be dangerous any time of the year, because they are a fire hazard and something you need to keep an eye on. No matter what type of patio heater you have, avoid placing them near the walls and the patio furniture, and make sure your guests aren’t all around them too.
Can I Use a Patio Heater While it is Snowing?
If you want to sit outside while it is snowing, then you can! The heater will work just fine! It is best to cover it up when you are not using the heater in the winter though.
Should You Store Your Patio Heater Away in the Winter?
It is recommended to store your patio heater away if you are not going to use it, because if you leave it outside to the mercy of the elements every single day of the year, then it could get damaged. Then, you will have a damaged patio heater that won’t work during the winter. Always put it away or keep it covered until use.
Read Related: How Long Do Patio Heaters Last?
The Verdict – Are Patio Heaters Worth it in the Winter?
Yes, I certainly think so. As long as you do your research and figure out what type of temperatures you will be experiencing during the winter, then you can use a patio heater and have no problems getting your money’s worth!
Jamie is the founder of The Backyard Pros. When he was 15 years old he started working at a garden centre helping people buy plants, gardening products, and lawn care products. He has real estate experience and he is a home owner. Jamie loves backyard projects, refinishing furniture, and enjoys sharing his knowledge online.