Style. Power. Range. If these are things you’re keeping in mind as you shop around for a heat source to bring to your patio, then you are in the right place. Read on to find out just what makes for the best pyramid patio heaters, and how to narrow your choice down as well as a few good picks worthy of your consideration.
Where to Find the Best Pyramid Patio Heater
If you have seen one of these heaters at your favorite place for dining out, you’re not alone, as pyramid heaters are a staple of many restaurant with outdoors seating areas. They are, of course, a fairly popular choice for patios as well, and here’s a breakdown of why:
Attention beacon. By design, a pyramid heater stands taller than just about any other source of heat in the market, and so does its flame; this makes it very hard to miss, as well as a good source of light that will please the eye without being overwhelming.
Stylish frame. Pyramid heaters offer a wide range of finishes, which makes them even more of an aesthetic boon wherever they stand.
Portable. Many models of pyramid heater feature wheels at the bottom, so you can relocate the unit whenever you so choose.
Confined, safe flame. The combustion providing the heat happens within a glass tube (which is how the flame gets so tall). There is no smoke, and no stray embers; it’s about as safe as it gets, and this is boosted by certain features (which can very from model to model) such as topple protection, auto-shutoff, and more.
All-around comfort. A pyramid heater radiates heat in every direction around it; there is no ‘front’ of it, which means you will get the benefits no matter which side of it you choose.
Pyramid heaters are typically designed to work with a 20lb propane tank; most of them don’t include it, but it’s not hard to find one online.
A Word On Heat Output
When shopping for any sort of heat source—for example, radiators, or towel warmers—, you will find that products will vary in size and potency, among other things. It’s not always a matter of buying the biggest model available: aside from the hefty price you may be asked to pay, odds are you will end up unnecessarily boosting your energy consumption (and the resulting bill), and your space might even be too hot for comfort. The reverse is also true, as you may find that your selected model is insufficient to warm up your area, making your expenditure all but meaningless.
So how can you tell which model is more powerful than the other? The answer is, British Thermal Units, the modern standard to measure just how much heat is irradiated by a given source One BTU is equal to the amount of energy it takes to raise 1lb of water by 1°F. Determining the level of BTUs a given area needs can be tricky, particularly indoors, as the result will be affected, not only by the square footage, but also by other factors such as height and material of the surrounding walls (to name but a few). Since we’re talking about a patio, however, the math gets a bit simpler:
- Find out the square footage of the area you wish to warm up.
- Multiply the square footage by 20, and you get a decent estimate on how many BTUs you need.
This is, of course, not an exact science, as it will also be impacted by just how cold it gets in the area you live in. For places with lower temperatures, it is advised to multiply the square footage by 50 or 60 instead of 20.
All-Around Warm: Our Selection
Below, we present you with a few models you might like, to help you in your search.
1. Thermo Tiki Outdoor Propane Patio Heater
This one is not fully made in stainless steel—as some parts are aluminum, and a few of the screws and nuts are vulnerable to rust—, but you can get the modern look this metal offer, or you can go for the more muted black look. The tube where the flame is encased does go an extra mile, as it is made in quartz instead of the conventional glass; this makes it better at enduring exposure to the elements. Should the unit lose balance, the anti-tilt safety feature will cut off the flow of propane, effectively snuffing the flame out before it becomes a hazard.
- Instructions for assembly are easy to follow.
- Stronger flame tube than average.
- Generally considered to be better for ambiance than it is for actually warming up an area.
- Higher than average price, which might make it less cost-effective for those focusing more on heat output than looks.
2. PAMAPIC Patio Heater, 42,000 BTU
Exposure to wind and sun is not an issue with this one, as it is made in stainless steel from top to bottom, and the 3 differently-colored finishes are powder-coated for maximum durability. You don’t need to worry if you don’t know exactly where you’ll be placing it yet—or if you’d rather move it around depending on where it is needed—, as it includes wheels at the base so you can cart it from A to B with little to no effort.
Safety is something this model doesn’t skimp on, as it comes with anoxic (i.e. no oxygen) protection, emergency shut off in case of flameout, and anti-tilt safeguard. Aside from the bare stainless steel look, you can also get it in black, hammered gray and hammered bronze.
- Decent range of finishes to choose from.
- Heat output can be adjusted.
- Includes cover to protect the unit when it is not being used.
- Solid offer on safety features.
- Multiple consumers have reported that assembly is inherently complicated; instructions may be obscure, if not outright missing.
3. Hiland HLDSO1-WGTHG
This might be a good alternative if you find your preferences somewhat unspecific. Its palette is not the most generous—of the 5 finish options it offers, 2 of them are mere texture variations—, but there is still enough difference to cater to most tastes or decoration themes. The tube enclosing the flame is quartz instead of the not so durable (and more standard) glass, and the output can be adjusted via a knob with ‘High’ and ‘Low’ settings.
There is one small potential drawback if you would like it to come with its own cover right out of the box: only the hammered bronze finish offers this option.
- Decent balance between aesthetics, performance and safety.
- Heat output and performance generally hailed as adequate—even for winter, in a few cases.
- Anti-tilt feature can sometimes be overly sensitive, preventing the pilot from staying on.
- Some finish options are reportedly up to 5′ taller than advertised, which may be a problem when clearance is tight.
4. Fire Sense Stainless Steel Pyramid Flame Heater
This one might not be a lot of help if looks are important to you, as it only offers 2 options in terms of finish: the modern-looking but relatively basic stainless steel, and a brushed bronze finish that might be a good fit for more classically decorated spaces. It does, however, take an extra step in the right direction by placing the controls (knob for adjusting output and button for ignition) in the internal compartment, where the 20lb propane tank is housed. If it just so happens you want to buy it with cover included, you will be limited to the stainless steel option; worth mentioning, however, that this bundle is not available for purchase at the time of this writing.
- A fairly popular pick for restaurants, including some higher-end ones.
- If a cover is desired, it might be more practical to simply find it elsewhere instead of attempt to have it included.
- Dozens of screws on the unit are preinstalled, which may make assembly more complicated as they have to be removed and re-seated before the process is through.
5. Legacy Heating Quartz Glass Tube Patio Heater, 40000BTU
Although the limited finish selection available may be a demerit for those focusing on aesthetics, this model does go beyond in other ways: aside from a fairly solid range of protective measures (thermocouple, regulator, anti-tilt protection), it comes with ETL seal of approval, which might help give peace of mind to the safety-minded consumer. The button for ignition and the knob for regulating output are situated behind the door at the bottom section, in the propane tank compartment. Tube is a single piece of quartz glass, colored finishes are powder coated, and the base comes with wheels for improved mobility. It’s priced lower than average, though not by much.
- Only a short time for the area to be comfortable, as the unit is quick to reach optimal temperature.
- ETL approved.
- Instances reported of outdated instructions, which may require extra prudence during assembly.
- The lower price appears to have an impact on quality; overall, it’s reportedly not as sturdy as many other models.
Stands The Tallest: Hiland HLDSO1-WGTHG
This model may have no outstanding perks, but it is also without glaring weaknesses. Its color range, while not wide, is still adequate; the knob for adjusting temperature and button for ignition are hidden behind the door at the bottom compartment, giving it extra clean looks. Protection is not lacking either, as it comes with anti-tilt protection. The two potential drawbacks are the narrow offer to get a cover in the box, and the somewhat complicated assembly, but those are issues not uncommon in this sort of appliance and, therefore, a bit difficult to completely circumvent.
Overall, it is a well-rounded option, even in terms of price; and one that, per reported experiences, should serve you well.