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Heat Lamps, Providing Year-Round Comfort on the Deck

Heating lights, or heat lamps, can make your patio or deck enjoyable and comfortable for much longer in wintry climates, and even year-round for those with milder winters. They typically clip or mount just about anywhere around the patio, sending out some serious wattage by way of a heat bulb. Typical electric-coil heating lights look somewhat like a drop light or work light and run for about $140 a piece.

That is a conventional electric heat light; newer trends lean toward infrared heat lamps or even gas patio heaters. Some are even built into patio umbrellas.


Infrared heat lamps are usually electric and claim higher efficiency than fan heaters or hot air blowers. They use electromagnetic radiation—often called radiant heaters—similar to that emitted by the sun but not carcinogenic, to heat the surrounding space. Infrared heat lamps, whether small enough to clip onto a patio umbrella or large, are standalone models. Some makers of infrared heaters are heatlight.com (British) and Whynter, which uses propane gas to power their heater. Infrared heaters may be gas or electric, although gas heaters are more common in commercial warehouses.


Traditionally, most patio heaters use propane or natural gas as fuel. Propane usually wins out because it is more efficient and portable. Gas heaters are common on restaurant patios and in commercial settings. They usually look like a slender, tall mushroom with a base that hides a propane tank and a cap that prevents warm air from escaping upward. While gas patio heaters do not give off any real light, they are often referred to interchangeably as patio heater or heat lamp. Gas heat lamps will range from about $100 for a small residential model to $500 for a commercial grade product.

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