Propane vs. Gas Outdoor Heating

5 minute read |

Outdoor Patio Heating: Propane vs. Gas, Which is Better?

Outdoor patio heaters are fast becoming more in demand in residential settings. Previously, they were typically only found in restaurants, but now outdoor heaters are increasingly sought-after in private homes.

There’s no need to stay indoors once you own a patio heater! Regardless of how big or small your outside area is or the kind of style you’ve selected for your balcony, patio, or yard, there is always an outdoor heater that fits your needs and personal taste.

When deciding on which outdoor heater to purchase for your home, keep the following pros, cons, and suggestions in mind.


  • Uses your gas line: Gas outdoor patio heaters tie into your gas line, so there’s no need to remember to buy gas to fuel it. With a constant flow of gas, you won’t have to worry about running out of fuel.
  • Versatile: Although portable gas heaters are available too, permanent outdoor gas heaters can be installed along walls to supply year-round warmth! 
  • Safe: Since gas is lighter than air and dissipates rapidly, natural gas outdoor heaters are safer than propane (which is heavier than air and can pool at ground level).
  • Cheaper: The costs of operating a natural gas outdoor heater are much lower than comparable propane models.
  • Clean: Natural gas burns hot and clean. Of all the fossil fuels, natural gas is the cleanest burning! 
  • Heats up immediately and warms large areas: No need to wait to feel the warmth, just light it and enjoy the benefits of outdoor heating!
  • Highly mobile and self-contained: The obvious benefit here is that you can place the propane heater anywhere you wish, which means that you aren’t limited to heating only one area of your patio. In addition, you won’t need a power source or cord, making the propane heater more mobile. You can even buy one with wheels!
  • Heats large areas: Although propane heaters are also available in small tabletop models, the majority of propane outdoor patio heaters come in the large “umbrella” style. Mushroom shaped propane heaters reflect the heat down and out, thus heating larger areas. 
  • High heat output: Propane outdoor heaters put out more heat than gas outdoor heaters, so this is definitely a plus if you have a larger area to heat up. In addition, you won’t have to purchase as many propane outdoor heaters compared to gas outdoor heaters.
  • Requires professional installation: If you opt for your natural gas heater to be connected to your gas line, then you will have to get it professionally installed. 
  • Limited mobility: Once your gas outdoor heater is connected to your gas line, you cannot move it around as easily as propane outdoor heaters.
  • Can be affected by wind: When there is a strong wind, gas heaters can go out. Be sure to install them out of the wind’s reach.
  • Gas leaks: Gas leaks are invisible and dangerous. If you smell gas but are unable to see the leak, contact the fire department and leave the area immediately.
  • Easily affected by wind: How warm the area surrounding the heater is can be easily affected by just a little bit of wind. To avoid this problem, set your propane heater near overhangs, fences, or walls, but be sure to place them at least 2 feet from walls and ceilings. This can somewhat limit where you place your propane outdoor heater.
  • Must purchase propane: One drawback is that you have to buy propane before use. Therefore you must remember to ensure that you actually have propane in the outdoor heater before you try it out. 
  • Takes time to heat up: Propane outdoor heaters do not give off heat immediately after you light them. That being said, you may want to light them a few minutes before use.
  • Uses flammable fuel: Given propane’s flammable nature, it’s important to take care when using propane outdoor heaters and to follow the instructions carefully. Always keep them out of reach of children.

Benefits of Outdoor Patio Heaters

In addition to considering the pros and cons of outdoor heaters, there are also many other benefits of outdoor heating, including:

Extending the length of seasons during which you can use your patio. You can start using your outdoor heater earlier in the spring, continue later in the fall, and linger longer during those cool summer evenings.

Outdoor events such as parties can last longer when guests aren’t forced to leave because of the cold. Outdoor heaters are perfect for completing outdoor projects. Remember that outdoor project you left unfinished? Well now you can complete it during winter—and your hands won’t feel numb!

Outdoor heaters come in various styles to suit your individual taste and can add to the ambience of your outdoor space.

So, should you buy a propane or gas heater?

You be the judge.

Be sure to pick the outdoor heater that works best for you, your environment, and your budget. You cannot go wrong with whichever one you choose, but keep the above points in mind to enhance your outdoor comfort experience.

Want more information? Have a question? Contact us today, and we will be happy to help!

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