Patio Heaters Are the 'New Toilet Paper'

October 29, 2020

Fast Company is calling patio propane heaters the “new toilet paper” of pandemic sales. That’s because heaters are flying off store shelves at record speeds as homeowners look to extend their outdoor spaces amid cooler weather in many locales.

The pandemic has prompted greater interest in home outdoor space as owners try to maximize every square inch. It’s become an important consideration for home shoppers too. Real estate stagers are paying particular attention to showing off homes' outdoor amenities, which includes adding fire pits with surrounding chairs and a tray of s’mores ingredients to set a scene. They also may even bring in a patio heater to show how a spot can be used even as the weather cools.

“As it gets colder outside, shoppers are looking for ways to extend the use of their outdoor spaces with fire pits, outdoor heaters, outdoor lights, canopies, and even hot tubs,” Jonathan Johnson, CEO of, an internet retailer, told Fast Company. Sales of patio heaters at from March 1 to Oct. 1 climbed by 1,150% in the Northeast, by 816% in the South, and by 734% in the West.

Restaurants, hotels, and property management firms also have been buying up patio heaters to make greater use of their public spaces in the colder weather.

Fast Company reports that Ace Hardware has seen a 60% jump in the sale of outdoor heating products compared to last year. Its most trending items are wood- and gas-burning fire pits. Amazon’s best-selling outdoor heating item is a 22-inch fire pit. Hannah Album, senior manager of consumer communications for Etsy, told Fast Company that the site has also seen a surge in searches for fire pits and accessories, plus outdoor blankets and outdoor lights.

Propane Heaters Are the New Toilet Paper,” Fast Company (Oct. 28, 2020)