There is something so tranquil about sitting out in the garden in the evening. The roads are quiet, the sky is dark, and the mood is more peaceful. However, one aspect of sitting outside that makes the experience a little less enjoyable can be the cold.
No matter what time of year, British evenings tend to get a bit chilly. So if you spend a lot of time outdoors, rather than shivering under a blanket, why not consider investing in an outdoor heater.
An electric or gas outdoor heater will allow you to host BBQs for longer, sit out in the evening until later, and will keep the cold at bay all year round.
What do I look for in an outdoor patio heater?
Heating element: Check it emits the type of heat you need for your situation
Reflector: A good reflector will both reflect and focus the heat where it’s needed
Low glare elements: These make the heater more comfortable to sit beside
Element size: This can affect how many people can benefit from the heat
Pros & Cons
Gas outdoor heaters:
• You don't require a mains to run a heater.
• The output is slightly better from a gas outdoor heater.
• This will be cheaper in the long run.
• This will usually cost more upfront.
• Shorter life span - typically lasting 10 to 20 years.
• Can be complicated to install.
Safety is the biggest concern in regards to using a gas heater. Be sure to check out our FAQs below for more information and advice.
Electric outdoor heaters:
• Easy to install - just need to plug in.
• Can last up to 20 to 30 years.
• Runs the risk of malfunctioning and can catch fire.
• More expensive to run.
Now that you understand the differences between a gas and electric outdoor heater let's take a look at the best outdoor heaters available.
The best outdoor patio heaters:
Neo Freestanding Electric Outdoor Heater
Editor's pick for best outdoor patio heater
This waterproof standing garden heater from Neo has a classic subtle design with three heat settings to suit your preference: 650W, 1350W, 2000W and can be adjusted to 130cm - 210cm. Additionally, this heater has adjustable elements such as angle versatility and a pull-string switch. It is powered by the mains and has a lead of 1.8m so that you can plug in and enjoy the warmth.
Review: "Good quality - and excellent heat - just what we needed."
Luxeva Electric Floor Patio Heater
Best floor outdoor electric heater
This elegant medium-height electric heater is designed with light aluminium, a simple three-stage heat dial to control the temperature reaching up to 2000W. The base is fairly wide, making it sturdy even in the most unlevel patios or terrains. All your guests will be gravitating towards this attractive feature when socialising.
Size: 98cm (H) x 18.cm (W)
Review: "Quick delivery, powerful heater. Works immediately. It takes a little while to cool down before putting it away. I am ordering a second one as I like it very much."
Swan Al Fresco
Recommended outdoor patio heater
When the weather starts to get a bit chilly this will take the edge off nicely. The best thing about it is that you don't have to wait long until it heats up fully. It comes with a 1.8-metre power supply cord and 360-degree tip-over safety feature.
Size: 68.2 x 35.7 x 29.6 cm
Review: "This is a stylish and stable patio heater. On account of climate change, I'm not generally a fan of outdoor heating, but I've made an exception because of Covid-19. We can now continue to see friends outdoors and socially distanced as the weather gets colder. I'm very pleased with this purchase."
Lume Table Electric Heater
Best small electric heater
Don't be fooled by this charming and classy little table heater - it really does bring the heat. Its heavy-duty stainless steel finish is both durable and aesthetically-pleasing. It's IP44 rated and has infrared halogen elements that heat objects rather than air.
Size: 66cm (H) x 44cm (W)
Heatlab Vintage Style Hanging Electric Patio Heater
Best electric hanging outdoor patio heater
Enjoy a late-night drink or gathering in the garden any time of year without having to worry about being chilly with this 1500W infrared hanging heater. It's IP4 rated and has a classy vintage black design. The heater itself is highly effective and will last up to 3,000 hours. This heater will be a source of both heat and light that will get your friends talking.
Size: 31cm (H) x 41cm (W)
Review: "Plenty of heat from a relatively small unit"
KMS HEATSURE New Outdoor BBQ Gas Patio Heater
Best classic gas outdoor patio electric heater
If you are looking for a gas heater that'll take centre-stage on your patio, look no further than this classic outdoor patio heater which you'll recognise in style from your favourite beer garden. Made from a choice of silver or bronze powder-coated hammered metal, this free-standing heater can be fueled with propane, butane, or LPG gas and even comes with wheels so you can move your warmth to where you need it with ease.
Weight: Not stated
Review: "Easy to put together (does need two people at a couple of points). Looks really classy in the bronze Hammerite. The cover is very thin and light - let’s see how it stands up to a Scottish winter, but so far so good."
Dellonda Propane Gas Pyramid Patio Heater 13kW
Best luxury style gas outdoor patio heater
If you are looking for a gas heater, this luxurious, large gas heater will provide you with plenty of heat over an 8 square metre range. Constructed from heavy-duty but elegant stainless steel, this heater is made to last. Another perk of gas patio heaters is that they donu2019t require an electrical cord so that you can set up your heated seating area anywhere in your garden. The heater has a few heat output controls and entirely enclosed gas cylinder chambers with a safety tip-over switch. This pyramid patio heater is available in black or stainless steel.
Size: 227cm (H) x 52cm (W)
Review: "Lighting is easy and looks good with the flame in the tube. I assembled on Saturday afternoon and had a query for the seller. I emailed them late Saturday afternoon and had a reply back by 7pm, excellent customer service. Overall, great service, a wonderful heater."
Heatlab 2kW Wall Mounted Infrared Heater
Best electric mounted outdoor heater
Another space-saving option is this wall mounter heater from Heatlab. This unit has a carbon fibre heating element including three heat settings u2013 700W, 1400W or 2000W so you can stay ultra toasty. Additionally, it can be remote controlled and heats an area of 10 square metres. In terms of cost, this heater has an effective running cost of 9.8p per hour so that you can stay out all night long.
Weight: Not stated
Size: 96cm (L) x 19 cm (W)
Review: "Excellent product quick to warm up and a cosy light around the area too."
THE FOREST & CO Tall Chimney Outdoor Fireplace
Best outdoor patio heater for design
If you are looking for a more rustic and natural heater, then this chimney from Not on the Highstreet will do the charm. Feel like you are in a Scandinavian paradise with this triangular-shaped fireplace. The tall chimney has two compartments u2013 the wood burner and space for storing logs. This fireplace is crafted from iron and fuses rustic style with practicality. Now your alfresco nights can last longer with extra warmth and comfort.
Size: 169 x 60cm x 40cm
Weight: 19.98 kg
Outdoor patio heater FAQs:
If you have selected your ideal outdoor heater, it is good to know some safety measures and other advice to confidently and safely use your heater.
Is an outdoor patio heater safe?
According to Patio Heater Expert, "The answer is yes. Patio heaters, especially well-made ones, have a safety mechanism that automatically shuts off the gas supply if the unit is tilted. There is a one-push auto shut-down button that on the device to ensure that you can turn the heater off in the case of an emergency."
You can read the full guide to heating for beginners here.
Gas heater safety tips:
- The most important piece of advice when using a gas heater is to never use it in any enclosed spaces such as in a caravan, tent, garage, or conservatory as you may be exposed to hazardous fumes such as carbon monoxide.
- Do not switch on a gas heater around anything flammable - think fences, plants, paper - anything that could cause a fire.
- Inspect the gas heater before you turn it on, as it could be potentially dangerous if it is damaged.
Can you use an electric or gas outdoor heater inside?
Unless you're using an indoor heater or clearly stated otherwise, it is not advised that you use an outdoor heater in your home or any other enclosed space, due to hazardous fumes.
Do I need to buy an outdoor heater cover?
In short, yes! This will not only protect and cover your outdoor heater when it is not in use but will also look better. Just like BBQs or hot tubs, it is best to cover and preserve your garden items so they will last longer and stay in better condition.