Patio Heater vs Pyramid Heater | Which is best for you?

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are "affiliate links." This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Winter is coming, and you don’t want to give up your cozy evenings in your patio or backyard. All it takes is a heat source, which is easy to come by. The problem, it turns out, is choosing just one. That’s what we’re here for: by the end of this article, we’ll have covered what a pyramid heater is, we will know more about the patio heater, and we will have answered the more pressing question patio heater vs pyramid heater | which is better?

What They Have in Common

At a glance, they are strikingly similar. They both run on propane; they are compatible with a 20lb tank (the standard for most appliances), and they can roughly be divided in three parts: base, which typically holds the propane tank; burner situated higher above the base, and at the very top a heat shield. More often than not, you may find units with wheeled bases, which makes it easier to relocate them. They both work in roughly the same way: propane flows to the burner, feeding a flame, which heats up the air and makes it rise towards the shield. From here, this hotter air it is redirected back down, to benefit anyone sitting or standing in range.

Certain features are also shared across both types, although they may vary between one model and another: tipover protection, in case the unit tilts too far off the vertical, Piezo (one-button) ignition, and knob for regulating flame intensity. As with many similar products (fire pits, for example, or heaters that run on electricity), their heat output is measured in British Thermal Units, or BTUs (one BTU is equal to the amount of energy required to raise the temperature of 1 pound of water by 1°F). The output will vary by model, but both patio and pyramid heaters offer outputs ranging between 40,000 and 50,000 BTUs. That said, the radius will vary.

So far, they might seem like the same thing with minor variations, but they are in fact different in a few key ways. Let’s get them to know individually.

Patio Heater: The Cliffnotes

This is the more basic type, which makes it compact and practical: round base at the bottom, which is usually reserved for holding the propane tank; relatively small burner at the top of a pole, and a round heat shield crowning the whole thing. Due to their shape, this sort of appliance is sometimes referred to as ‘mushroom heater’.

Although dimensions vary between models, you can expect an average diameter on the base of about 20″, with the heat shield measuring 30 to 34″ in diameter. The entire appliance will stand anywhere between 7′ and 7 and a half in height. Some models incorporate a small round table around the pole, just above the base, for your drinks and other small items.

Worth noting: the name ‘patio heater’ can be somewhat misleading, as there are other products that wildly differ from this one (in shape, size and even energy type) and are still worthy of the name, given the fulfill the exact same purpose—warming up your patio.

Pyramid Heater: A Closer Look

With a height averaging slightly over 7′, the space this one occupies is not too far to that of its mushroom counterpart. Where it differs (as you may have guessed from the name) is by way of its square shape, which begins larger at the base (and we do mean larger, especially compared to mushroom units), and tapers off towards the top. Another big difference is the burner: whereas mushroom heaters feature theirs at the top, and it is not exactly large, pyramid heaters come with a tall quartz tube, running from the end of the base all the way to the heat shield, which is where the flame is housed (and in full display, we might add). The upper half of the heater is all metal mesh, which encloses the tube.

Which Is Better?

Now that we know in general terms what each heater is, what it has to offer, and the characteristics they share, it’s time to move into the main question of this article. We have our two contenders—which one wins? Coming to an answer is not so simple, as it mainly depends on individual circumstances and personal choice.

1. Patio Heater

This one’s compatibility with your patio goes beyond the name: it’s not very bulky, its footprint is decently small, and some models will even offer you a little table for your drinks. As you can probably surmise, almost everything about a mushroom heater makes it ideal for smaller, more compact gatherings. This is also reflected on its average price: depending on the model, you can expect to shell out between $100 and $250.

Worth noting: because of its configuration, this one won’t irradiate heat very far; and it is also top-heavy, so it can easily tip over if hit by a sufficiently strong breeze—and nobody wants this to happen.

In short, if you’re looking to heat up a more reduced, probably covered area, which just so happens to be preserved from sudden gusts of wind, then the mushroom heater should be your top choice.

2. Pyramid Heater

Though they’re similar in height, a pyramid heater’s larger footprint makes it less ideal for a patio or similar secluded spaces—and it also makes it more stable and better at enduring stronger winds, although one should still be reasonably cautious. Its dancing flame is all but certain to turn heads even beyond your backyard, and the resulting light should be enough to keep your late gatherings from going completely dark. Its heat reaches a slightly wider radius too, on average. For all its strengths, this one is better out in the open, where everyone can see it.

In summary: if, aside from heat, you’re looking for a distinct accent to spruce up your open space, with light for your gatherings as a bonus, and which can be seen at a distance, then you should be focusing on a pyramid heater. One should keep in mind, however, that this one requires a heftier investment than its counterpart—between $300 and $400.

Our Final Thoughts

Some of us may not be able to afford a vacation (for reasons as simple as lack of time), which makes our outdoor space even more important; devoting but a few hours to sitting in silence, or merrily chatting with our loved ones, can make a few difference in our lives and health. This is just as true during winter, which is why having an appropriate heater is no trifling matter. Research is important, of course. And we hope this article, as well as the many others you may find ’round here, will be of help on your journey.