How many Patio Heaters do I Need?

When temperatures start to plunge, patios are the only hope of an outdoor experience. An excellent patio experience is entirely contingent on the level of heating done there. Without patio heating, you can forget all hope of pure air and outdoorsy freshness, and go back to house arrest. If you are tired of being caged like a bird, the prudent step is to invest in patio heating. Are you wondering “how many patio heaters do I need?”

There is no one straight answer to that question. The number of heaters you need to breathe life and warmth into your patio depends on many factors, top among them the type of patio heater (different heaters have varying degrees of heat intensity), the size of your patio and the temperature rise you need.

Energy of a Patio Heater

The heat energy of a patio heater is measured in BTU. Two heaters with the same BTU can have varying heat intensities depending on their design efficiency. The size of your patio is also an essential factor to consider when looking for patio heaters. You might need more than one heater for a bigger porch, or in a region where there are constant wind.

Types of Patio Heaters


Electric patio heaters: Electric heaters need to be plugged into an electrical socket. You cannot possibly have that too many outlets in our patio. An 800-watt electric patio heater would deliver 2,730 BTUs of energy (1 watt = 3.4121 BTUs). Electric heaters are not the ideal option for a big patio. The good thing is that the heaters can be used indoors and outdoors.

Gas and Propane heaters: Gas and propane patio heaters have a higher heat output than electric heaters. The icing on the cake is that these heaters are cordless and 

you can place many of them in large patio areas. They are however only recommended for outdoor use. Gas and propane heaters can be expensive to run, but they offer the convenience of a cordless heating system.

So, How many Patio Heaters do I Need?

For your small patio at home, you only need one heater. However, if you have a large patio area, you will need to do some calculations based on the BTUs of the heater model you have in mind, the square footage area of your patio and the temperature rise you want.

The simple formula is here:

Energy (BTUs) required to heat your patio =square footage area of patio X temperature rise you need. The number of heaters required = BTUs required to warm the patio ÷ BTUs of the model of heater you have in mind.

Bottom Line

If there is no BTU number indicated on the heater model you want to buy, you can gauge the energy emission potential of the heater from its watts. One watt is equal to 3.4121 BTUs. There are a couple different answers for “how many patio heaters do I need.” For a small patio space, you only need one heater. For a large patio space, you can determine how many you need by calculating the energy (BTUs) required to heat your patio. No matter what type of heating you are looking for, the professionals here at Worlock Air Conditioning can help you determine the right heating type for your home’s patio.