Offers visual interest
Heat radiates at seat level
Uses standard propane tank
Not as powerful as traditional heaters
Too tall to use under structures less than 10 feet
Height is non-adjustable
AZ Patio Heaters is a 17-year-old Arizona-based company that specializes in outdoor heaters, heater repair, and replacement parts, so clearly it’s pretty dedicated to its niche. The company distributes the Tall Quartz Glass Tube Heater, part of the Hiland Premium Series. This top-rated patio heater combines form and function with a format that showcases the tall, propane-fueled flame responsible for the radiant heat. It adds tons of atmosphere to outdoor gatherings, but does it provide enough warmth? We put it through its paces to find out.
Performance: Gather ‘round and watch the show
During chilly nights at our home in Portland, Oregon, the AZ Patio Heaters Tall Quartz Glass Tube Heater allowed us to enjoy our uncovered patio despite the 42-degree temperature. Not only did it offer a generous glow of warmth to keep us cozy, but it also provided a flickering light show for our viewing pleasure. The flame, powered by the same standard 20-pound propane tank you’d use on an outdoor grill, shoots through the entire column of glass up to a flame screen capped by a heat reflector. As a result, the flame that provides the heats doubles as entertainment. One full tank provided about eight to ten hours of heat, depending on how high we ran it.
Though distributors list the BTUs at 40,000, the product labels say 42,000. Even at 42,000 BTUs, this is not the most powerful patio heater you can get, and you’ll need to gather close to really reap its benefits. We found that sitting next to the heater on an outdoor couch provided a very warm and toasty glow we really enjoyed. In fact, we noticed that the heat radiated all along the tube, not just from the heat reflector above, which meant we could really feel it even while sitting down. But at 4 feet away from the unit, the heat was just barely detectable.
Not only did it offer a generous glow of warmth to keep us cozy, but it also provided a flickering light show for our viewing pleasure.
Standing next to it, the heater offered even better full-body warmth, making it a great choice for outdoor parties when guests are standing and mingling. Plus the ambiance from the flame can’t be beat. Still, once we stood more than 3 feet away, we could barely feel it. If the heat reflector at the top had a larger diameter, it might do a better job of directing the heat back down in a wider radius, though admittedly that might look a little top-heavy.
The heater has an easy ignition process similar to a camp stove. First we lit the pilot by turning the knob and pressing the pilot button, then we turned the knob to high to ignite the column of flame. On high, the flame reached two-thirds of the way up the glass column. For a lower temperature, we simply adjusted the knob to low, and the flame reached one-third of the way up. There’s no crackling sound, like you get from a campfire, and no smoke—and if there is, something is wrong.
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Design: A bit showy
This heater’s clean lines and pyramid shape skew more modernistic than most patio heaters. And the flame that shoots up through almost the entire length of the glass tube adds to that non-traditional vibe. The heater is definitely designed to provide a spectacle as well as warmth.
It’s over 7 feet tall, but the transparency of the glass keeps it from feeling overwhelming. We thought the hammered bronze base gave it just enough visual heft to make it feel like a substantial piece of patio furniture.
At 4 feet away from the unit, however, the heat was just barely detectable.
The front door of the base tilts out, so we were able to access the propane tank and the ignition and temperature controls.
To move the heater, we tilted it onto its two wheels located on the back. They’re not big and robust enough to make rolling smooth and seamless, especially on uneven surfaces, but they work well enough.
Setup Process: Fiddly and time-consuming
We didn’t need anything more than a step ladder to put together the AZ Patio Heaters Tall Quartz Glass Tube Heater—though if you’re tall, you may not even need that. The stool was especially useful when attaching the heat reflector onto the flame screen at the top (it’s too awkward to try to tilt the whole unit).
A package containing all the nuts, bolts, and screws is provided, including a little wrench and a tiny Phillips head screwdriver. But just one type of screws came in a quantity of 42, so you can imagine how much time we had to spend screwing things together.
The manual estimated it would take 60 minutes. It took two of us closer to 80 minutes to get it done. That’s partly because a metal support on the base was bent, and we had to use pliers to straighten it in order to get the other pieces to fit.
We noticed that the heat radiated all along the tube, not just from the heat reflector above, which meant we could really feel it even while sitting down.
That being said, the instructions were very clear and easy to read. Every step was carefully diagrammed. If your manual gets lost or mangled, the company offers downloadable PDFs on its website.
Since the heater doesn't come with a propane tank, you'll have to supply your own. They're easy to find at a propane supplier or home improvement store.
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Safety Features: Heavy construction and auto shut-off
Looking for a heater for your porch or under a pergola? Know that the top of this model gets very hot, which is why the manufacturer warns against placing it under anything combustible (keep it at least 2 feet below and 3 feet away from anything remotely flammable). Also, it can produce carbon monoxide gas, so it can’t be used in enclosed spaces like a garage.
At a whopping 65 pounds, the heater is quite heavy, and after we added a propane tank it was heavier still. It’s not likely to topple over unless winds are really strong, but if you live in a high-wind area, you can bolt or stake to the ground using the small holes in each foot at the base. There’s also an auto shut-off tilt valve in case it does topple over.
Price: Not the most expensive of its style
AZ Patio Heaters sells this Tall Quartz Glass Tube Heater for $449, though it is sold at big box retailers like Home Depot for far cheaper—about $300. That’s still not cheap, but considering the Lava Heat Italia Capri A-Line Series 6MPS has an MSRP of $1,299 and looks almost the same. In comparison, this is practically a bargain. And if you like the look of this heater with its live flame, it’s like you’re getting a two-for-one deal: a piece of patio art and a heater combined. But if the visual flame isn’t as important as powerful heat, you can get a more traditional patio heater that heats more effectively for around $130.
AZ Patio Heaters Tall Quartz Glass Tube Heater vs. Lava Heat Italia A-Line
AZ Patio Heaters distributes several identical glass tube heaters under different brands, including Hiland and XtremePowerUS, so we can’t really consider those competition. But the much pricier Lava Heat Italia brand is a legitimate competitor for those who have the budget to spend more.
The Lava Heat Italia A-Line heaters come in an AL6MPS model (as mentioned above), which is shorter at 72 inches versus our 91-inch-tall heater. However, it’s made from higher-grade stainless steel, so it’s a comparable weight even though it’s shorter—and it boasts the same number of BTUs. The Capri also comes in a far wider range of colors and can be ordered to accommodate natural gas instead of propane.
For about $500 more, you can get the Lava Heat Italia 2G A-Line, which is taller and comes with a remote control and a whopping 66,000 BTUs.
If ambiance is important, get it
There’s a lot to be said for adding the visual interest of a glowing flame to your evenings on the patio, and in that department the AZ Patio Heaters Tall Quartz Glass Tube Heater doesn’t disappoint. Although it provides a bit more ambiance than heat, if you sit or stand near it you’ll likely be warm enough.
- Product Name Tall Quartz Glass Tube Heater
- Product Brand Hiland/AZ Patio Heaters
- Price $251.63
- Weight 65 lbs.
- Product Dimensions 20 x 20 x 91 in.
- Color Hammered bronze, stainless steel, matte black
- BTUs 42,000
- Warranty 1-year limited warranty