Should I Get a Wall-Mounted Heater for My Patio?

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Learn how wall-mounted heaters can bring your patio year-round warmth without taking up precious floor space.

As winter’s cold temperatures make outdoor gatherings more challenging, and many experts anticipate more indoor restrictions to counter a resurgence of COVID-19, home and business owners alike have been purchasing patio heaters at unprecedented levels.

Unfortunately, many outdoor patio heater models are large and bulky, taking up precious floor space a small patio can’t sacrifice. Wall-mounted heaters, on the other hand, are designed to save space while bringing comforting heat. Read on to see whether a wall-mounted heater is right for your patio, and discover some highly-rated products in various categories.

What Is a Wall-Mounted Heater?

A wall-mounted heater is attached to or installed on a wall, instead of resting freely on the ground. The main advantage is that it doesn’t take up any floor space, making it ideal for compact patios, or increasing the space for guests and furniture in larger patios. They’re also generally safer to use, since you don’t have to worry about knocking it over and creating a fire hazard.

Types of Wall-Mounted Heaters

Wall-mounted patio heaters can run off electricity, propane or natural gas, using radiant or convection heating.

Electric

Electric wall heaters are typically the most popular and affordable. Although their power supply is more expensive to run than propane or natural gas, the units themselves are considerably cheaper and can usually be installed without professional assistance. Just plug the power cord into an outdoor electrical outlet. They also have a low carbon footprint since they don’t emit any gases, and rarely require upkeep or maintenance.

Propane and Natural Gas

Wall heaters powered by propane or natural gas aren’t as common as electric wall heaters, mostly because these units are generally more expensive and often require a professional to connect the gas supply to the heater. However, gas is a more affordable fuel source than electricity, and gas-powered units are more durable in outdoor conditions.

Aside from the greater expense, other downsides are that they emit greenhouse gases and may require more frequent maintenance.

Convection vs. Radiant Heat

Convection heaters heat up the air in a specific space, while radiant heaters emit heat waves directly onto objects while bypassing the surrounding air. While there are wall-mounted heaters that use both types of heat, radiant heaters are considerably more energy efficient, since no heat is wasted warming unoccupied air.

Which Heaters Are Cheapest to Run?

Heaters that run on natural gas and propane are the cheapest to run, while electric heaters are the most expensive. That’s because natural gas and, to a lesser extent, propane cost considerably less than electricity in most areas. Regardless of the fuel source, radiant heaters are much more energy-efficient than convection heaters and will be cheaper to operate long term.

Where Can You Put a Wall-Mounted Heater Outdoors?

  • Mounted on walls or ceiling of a patio-covering structure, like a pergola or overhang;
  • Above the door to your patio entrance, to block cold air from entering your home when the door is open.

If installing a convection heater, mount it close to the ground to prevent the hot air from rising and not reaching you.

If installing a radiant heater, ensure it faces directly towards the area you’re trying to heat.

Can You Leave a Wall-Mounted Heater On?

You shouldn’t leave an unattended wall mounted heater on for an extended period of time, especially overnight, since the excessive heat may ignite any surrounding combustible materials. Fortunately, most modern wall heaters include safety features like overheat shutoffs and automatic shut-off timers to prevent this.

Wall-mounted heaters are also intrinsically safer than floor-mounted units since there’s no tip-over risk, and they’re less likely to be directly in front of combustible objects if the heater is mounted high enough. Even so, it’s recommended to keep at least three feet of open space around your heater to avoid potential fire hazards.

Best Wall-Mounted Heaters

If a wall-mounted heater seems like an ideal way to heat your patio, consider the following highly-rated options:

  • Best Overall: Briza’s electric patio heater can be hung on the wall, mounted to the ceiling or attached to the included stand as a portable free-standing unit. Its versatility, combined with the powerful and efficient infrared heat, makes it a great addition to any patio, big or small.
  • Best Value: Comfort Zone’s electric wall-mounted heater features an infrared heating element, a swiveling mount for adjusting the heating angle and a halogen light for illuminating your outdoor space at night. Truly hard to beat at such an affordable price.
  • Most Compact: If your wall space is as limited as your floor space, RMYHome’s wall-mounted electric heater was made with you in mind. Its small size houses a powerful infrared heating element designed to bring efficient warmth to your patio.
  • Best Gas: Although this unit is expensive, Sunpak’s wall-mounted heater runs on natural gas, which makes it incredibly affordable to operate. It also warms impressively large spaces and can be mounted on a wall or ceiling.

James Fitzgerald
James Fitzgerald is a handyman and freelance home-improvement writer with a passion for DIY, gardening, and anything involving working with his hands. He has over a decade of professional experience in a variety of trades, including construction, tree work, landscaping, and general maintenance. When not in search of the next enticing DIY project, he may be cooking, lifting weights, riding his motorcycle, hiking out at the coast, or nose deep in a great book.