Propane vs. Electric Patio Heaters: What’s Best for You?

Thinking about buying a patio heater for your Cape Cod, MA home? They’re a great way to keep comfortable in an outdoor space when it starts to get cold, but if you’ve never bought one before, you might feel at a loss when considering the two major fuel types available: propane patio heaters and electric patio heaters. Each unit comes with its own list of pros and cons, which ultimately makes the question a bit more complicated than merely declaring one or the other the winner.

To help you figure out which one makes the most sense for your needs, we’ll be looking closely at the strengths of each unit, their significant points of contrast, and what situations might make one or the other better for you. So, continue reading this blog post from Breakaway to learn more about the top differences and benefits of propane patio heaters vs. electric patio heaters for the Cape Cod, MA area.

Propane vs. Electric Patio Heaters: What’s the Difference?

Propane Patio Heaters

Propane patio heaters bring a number of benefits to users, mostly directly related to the fact that they’re utilizing propane tanks as a fuel source instead of being connected to an outlet. Here are some of the top benefits of a propane patio heater:

  • Carry it anywhere and use it with no problem
  • Can produce exceptional amounts of heat safely
  • Most models heat equally in a wide area

There are also two styles to be found in propane patio heaters: traditional and pyramid or tower styles. What are the differences between the two? Traditional propane patio heater styles can deliver a 12′ radius of heat. Meanwhile, pyramid or tower styles offer more ambiance with an attractive flame to watch.

Related Post: Top Benefits of Patio Heaters on Cape Cod

Now that we’ve outlined the top advantages of propane patio heaters, there are some disadvantages. However, these drawbacks should not keep you from purchasing a propane patio heater. They are merely considerations you should think about, because it could make a different type of patio heater better for your situation. The drawbacks of propane heaters come down to their dependence on a finite fuel source (propane), the need for ventilation as a combustion-based heater, and higher up-front costs. Depending on your fuel needs and what you’re paying for propane vs. electricity, propane heaters can cost more or less to run than their electric cousins. In addition, propane gas patio heaters can be tricky to turn on – lighting the pilot can be difficult on a windy day, for example.

Show Now: Propane Patio Heaters for Sale on Cape Cod

Electric Patio Heaters

An electric patio heater is not unlike an electric space heater, except designed for safe and effective use outdoors. Electric patio heaters are generally installed in a fixed position, though there is quite a bit of flexibility in designs and applications. They offer a number of key benefits:

  • Lower up-front costs
  • Generally better for the environment
  • Run indefinitely so long as you have access to electricity
  • Many different styles and sizes for directional or area heat of varying intensity
  • Safer in general, especially for pets and children
  • Easy to turn on

Now, the downsides of an electric patio heater. Just like propane patio heaters, let these drawbacks help you figure out which patio heater is right for you. For example, you can expect the heat from an electric patio heater to be less intense than what a propane patio heater might produce, though this can be more comfortable as long as the heat is distributed well. Unlike propane patio heaters (which heat equally around the heater), electric patio heaters heat radiantly in the direction that they are facing. Electric patio heaters are mostly not portable designs and you can only plug 1 electric patio heater in per electric circuit.

Shop Now: Electric Patio Heaters at Breakaway

Propane vs. Electric Patio Heaters: Which Should You Choose?

If you want to simplify the difference between propane and electric patio heaters, without accounting for unusual units of either type, electric patio heaters are inexpensive, safe, and efficient units that cannot be moved, while propane patio heaters are portable units you can take anywhere but may pay more for up-front and over time.

Propane units introduce the need for careful ventilation if your patio or other outdoor space is enclosed to some degree, and the intensity of propane heat can be uncomfortable or dangerous up close, but this in turn makes them capable of warming a larger area more reliably, while electric patio heaters heat more in the direction they are facing.

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Visit Breakaway to Learn More About Our Patio Heater Selection

Breakaway is the Cape’s premier destination for gas grills, gas fireplaces, patio products, patio heaters, fire pits, and much more. In addition to offering these products for sale, we can also help you with maintaining or repairing these heating products. Request service today if you run into any issues with a heating product at your home.

Not sure which patio heater is right for your Cape Cod home? Get in touch with the experts at Breakaway to learn which patio heater you should buy. If you’d like to learn more about patio heaters of either type, or you’re looking to purchase one in the Barnstable County, MA area, you can contact the team at Breakaway with your questions or interest. Give us a call at 508-398-3831, contact us online, or visit us at either our South Dennis or Mashpee store locations to learn more.



Monday – Saturday: 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Sunday: Closed.

435 Rt. 134 South Dennis, MA 02660
Next to Mid Cape Home Centers

Phone: (508) 398-3831


Monday – Saturday: 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Sunday: Closed.

17c Trinity Place Mashpee, MA 02649
Next to Boston Interiors

Phone: (508) 539-1674