How to choose the best patio heater for the Canadian climate

How to choose the best patio heater for the Canadian climate

Patio heaters also called electric heaters are a great way to maximize the time outside. 

The goal of this article is to help you choose the best patio heater for your patio which will produce the best comfort.

The first question is whether to opt for an electric heater or a propane heater.

Electric vs Propane

The two most popular patio heaters are propane heaters and electric heaters.

Propane patio heater

Propane heaters are usually self-standing heaters.  Burning propane to provide heat.



Electric patio heater

Electrical heaters are usually wall-mounted, ceiling-mounted, recessed, or pole-mounted. This allows heaters to be more subtle and take less precious patio space. Electric heaters use infrared rays to provide heat such as the sun.


Comparison between propane and electric patio heater


Propane patio heater

Electric patio heater


+/- 50%


Cost of purchase

250$ - 500$

500$ -1 500$

Cost of operation

Around 1.7$ for an hour of use of a 40 000 BTU heater (at 17$ for a 20lb propane tank)

Around 0.4$ for a 4kW heater (at 0.1$ per kW)


Annual maintenance & constant refilling of propane

Almost none

Easy to move

Yes (carefully to avoid risk)



Distorted or rusted after a year

+ 10 years for the heaters / 5 000h for the element

Intoxication Risk



Esthetical aspect

-          Bulky and take more place

-           Some heaters have a nice flame



Efficiency: Electric heaters provide a better efficiency which provides more comfort for the users.

Cost of purchase: Propane heater is less expensive at purchase.

Cost of operation: Electric heaters are less expensive to operate.

Maintenance: Electrical heaters are maintenance-free compared to propane heaters but need annual maintenance to ensure nothing blocking the heater in addition propane needs to be refilled after approximately 11 hours of use.

Easy to move: Propane heaters can be moved to different places with special care to security. Electric heaters are permanently installed.

Durability: Electric heaters such as Infratech are built in American 304 stainless steel for maximum durability. On the opposite, Propane heaters usually tend to rust or be distorted after a year of use.

Intoxication Risk: Propane heaters have more risk such as intoxication risk.

Esthetical aspect: The preferred look depends on taste. However, propane heater uses more patio space but can include a nice flame. Electric heaters are installed to be more subtle.


Usually, an electric heater will be preferred if the electrical supply is available. How to choose the best electric heater?

How to choose the best electric patio heater?

We created the following list to help to the best electric patio heater,

Element to take into consideration to choosing the best electric patio heater

Heat output.

We determined earlier that electric patio heaters provide better efficiency than propane heaters. However, the proper heat output needs to be selected to offer the proper comfort. Feel free to take our quiz to determine the best heat output for the size of your terrace

Usually, in the Canadian weather, a more powerful heater is going to be appreciated. We suggest, when possible, to avoid heaters below 3 000W.


With the harsh climate in Canada, having a durable heater is a no-brainer. Choosing a heater that will last multiple years despite the outdoor condition will save you money in the long run.

Infratech heaters are built in American 304 stainless steel for maximum durability.

Control options

Electric heaters can be controlled by a large possible array of choices from value control to custom control with home management control.

Depending on the control desired, selecting an electric heater with a large choice of control is primordial.


Look is a personal taste; choose the heater you find most in line with the style of your terrace.


Note: while choosing the best-looking heater, make sure not to reduce heat efficiency for the look. Some heaters come with a front glass which creates a nice look but reduces the efficiency.



Based on the elements above, we found that the Infratech patio heater offers the best choice for a patio heater.

Starting with their elegant look for the SL series and the recessed option, the heaters are customizable to select the best length and color for your patio. In addition, Infratech offers a wide selection of control options. With American-made stainless steel, Infratech offers the most durable heater on the market.


Popular patio heater option for 12’ x 12’ patio or terrace

To conclude this article, we linked a few popular options for a 12’ x 12’ patio heater system.

Package: 2 x 4kW infrared heater SL Series - with Panel – Signature Radiant.

 Package: 2 x 3kW infrared heater SL Series - with Regulator – Signature Radiant

Take our quiz to discover the best patio heater system for your terrace.

Getting Started: Choosing an Infrared Heating System for Your Terrace – Signature Radiant

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