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This year, outdoor gatherings have become more important than ever before. Considering the CDC's guidelines that small outdoor gatherings where social distance is maintained are the lowest risk option for in-person hangouts, our patios and backyards are getting much more use right now. But as cold weather creeps in, outdoor entertaining starts to get a little chilly. The solution: invest in the best outdoor heaters to keep your backyard cozy and comfortable. Look for options that heat up the largest area possible, so guests can safely space out while still basking in the warmth.

As restaurants and homeowners alike invest in outdoor heaters, sales are spiking and most models are selling out. Home Depot, Wayfair, and Amazon all report significant jumps in sales for patio heaters—so if you're going to cozy up to one now, we'd recommend ordering ASAP. Don't worry, we've already done the browsing for you, so all you have to do is click "checkout."

Safety first: It may be tempting to put an outdoor heater inside a tent or enclosure to maximize the warmth, but there are a couple of reasons to avoid this. First, some of these products (particularly those that run on propane) could produce carbon monoxide, which can be fatal inside an inclosed space. Second, if you're gathering outdoors to reduce the risk of coronavirus, an enclosed area will reduce the necessary airflow.

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silver outdoor patio heater
Credit: Amazon

Stainless Steel Patio Heater

$301, amazon.com

Truth: outdoor heaters aren't known for being very attractive, but this sleek stainless steel option will fit seamlessly in your space. To keep this heater rust-free for years to come, invest in a durable cover, like the one below. 

hiland bronze outdoor patio heater
Credit: Amazon

Bronze Propane Patio Heater

$278, amazon.com

This sleek standing patio heater runs on a 20-pound propane tank. With built-in wheels, it's easy to move right where you need it. 

Fire Sense Outdoor Electric Patio Heater

Electric Patio Heater

$219, homedepot.com

Want to warm up your outdoor space fast? This telescoping patio heater lets you focus the heat right where you want it. And because it's electric, you won't have to worry about refilling propane tanks. 

Silver portable outdoor heater
Credit: Home Depot

Portable Outdoor Heater

$100, homedepot.com

If you're simply searching for a cheap, portable heater rather than a stylish fixture you'll want to display year-round, this small (just 20 inches tall) propane heater will keep you toasty. Don't underestimate it, this heater can warm an area up to 2,000 square feet. 

Mr Heater portable heater

Portable Radiant Heater

$73, homedepot.com

You can bring your own heat to an outdoor party with Mr. Heater's highly rated (and super-portable) radiant propane heaters. They can run off small 1-pound canisters or larger propane tanks, and give off a ton of heat from a small package. 

Patio Heater Cover

Outdoor Standup Patio Heater Cover

$22, homedepot.com

To protect your outdoor heater from rain and snow, which can cause rust, invest in a sturdy cover. Check the dimensions first: this cover fits most standup heaters, up to 94 inches tall.