patio-heater

5 Best Patio Heaters to Keep You Cosy Outside! (2021 Review)

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In this guide we’ll take a look at the best patio heaters for the UK market.
I’ve compared design, safety, build quality and cost
to give you my top recommendations.

What Is The Best Patio Heater?

In a rush? Here's my top choice...

Heatlab Freestanding Electric Patio Heater

The perfect patio heater: cheap, powerful and easy to adjust!

This Heatlab Freestanding Electric Patio Heater offers 3 heat settings to give you ultimate control over the temperature of your patio. It costs only 10 p / hour to run, providing cheap, powerful heat, from a portable unit that can be easily moved around and adjusted.

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Everything We Recommend

IMAGE RECOMMENDED PRODUCTSPRODUCT FEATURES
  • Best patio heater on the market
  • Adjustable height and heat
  • Safe for indoor and outdoor use
  • Best patio heater & light combo
  • Heat and light source
  • Use indoors and out
  • 5.5 m heating range
  • Gas patio heater
  • Portable heater with wheels
  • Garden table-top patio heater
  • High-quality freestanding design
  • Weatherproof
  • Powerful 2500 W infrared heating element
  • Versatile outdoor heater
  • Attractive design

More Detailed Patio Heater Reviews

Heatlab Freestanding Electric Patio Heater

FEATURES RATING PRICE
FEATURES
  • Best patio heater on the market
  • Adjustable height and heat
  • Safe for indoor and outdoor use
OUR RATING
98
PRICE
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Heatlab Freestanding Electric Patio Heater Review

This Heatlab 2KW FreeStanding Electric Garden Patio Heater is water resistant, sturdy and quiet. It’s one of the best patio heaters to use in the UK’s slightly unreliable climate – we can’t always trust that there’s going to be clear sky, but at least this heater can cope with a little drizzle before we get it packed away.

It has in IPX4 water-resistance rating which means it’s resistant to water splashes; therefore, if you’re out on the patio and rain starts threatening, it won’t be ruined if it’s caught in a few drops. It can also be used inside as well, and is a good choice for chillier rooms like conservatories.

If using outside, you can expect a level of heat that will take the chill off a colder spring/summer/autumn evening, and there are three settings to choose from: 650W, 1350 W and 2000 W.

The stand is height adjustable, and the freestanding lamp can be positioned wherever makes the most sense, with a head that can be adjusted up and down through 45° as well. This makes it possible to change adjust depending on whether people are sitting or standing; however, as with all heaters that use radiant heat, you do need to be relatively close to benefit from the warmth.

Being electric, as opposed to gas, it’s quiet and cost-efficient to run. The power cable is 3 m long though, which may mean you need to use an extension cable depending on where the socket it located in relation to the patio. Whilst this isn’t too inconvenient, it can still cause a bit of a trip hazard.

Pros

  • Heating element is adjustable by 45° to suit your outdoor space
  • Remains stable even in strong winds
  • Assembly is easy and takes just 10 minutes
  • Can be used to warm both patios and indoor spaces like conservatories

Cons

  • Intense heat can only be felt by those who are close to the heater
  • Cable is 3 m long so you may have to use an extension cord depending on where the plug is
  • Does not come with a cover although one can be bought separately - should still be stored inside when not in use

Heatlab Set Of Two Free Standing Patio Heaters

FEATURES RATING PRICE
FEATURES
  • Best patio heater & light combo
  • Heat and light source
  • Use indoors and out
OUR RATING
96
PRICE
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Heatlab Set Of Two Free Standing Patio Heaters Review

This Heatlab Set of Two Freestanding Patio Heaters is one of the best patio heater options to go for if you want value for money. The single Heatlab 2KW Patio Heater is also featured on this page, and this set provides good value if you’re after more than one.

The benefit of having two heaters is that they can be set up on larger patios, essentially ‘sandwiching’ guests between the two units. Given that they use radiant heat, they also provide light as well, which can be helpful when sitting out into the evening.

With adjustable stands, the two heaters can be positioned at different levels if required, depending on where people are sitting, and the head of the heaters can be adjusted vertically through 45°.

There’s also the option to choose between three heat settings, 650 W, 1350 W, and 2000 W, and each unit can be set differently if necessary.

Plus, it’s always nice to find a product that’s backed by a celebrity recommendation, and Alan Titchmarsh (possibly one of our most famous gardening personalities here in the UK) has featured these lamps on his ITV show.

Whilst this does go some way to vouch for their quality, there are still a couple of design features that make these lamps a little less practical. Primarily, the 3 m cable may be a little restrictive on large patios and require the use of an extension cord. Plus, if both heaters are being used on their highest heat setting, you will need to consider using two separate extensions which can lead to a lot wires running around.

Whilst the heaters themselves are water resistant, with an IPX4 rating meaning they can withstand light rain, any additional power extensions obviously won’t be, so you’ll need to keep a close eye on the weather as well.

Pros

  • Suitable for both indoor and outdoor use
  • Much cheaper to operate than gas heaters at less than 10p per hour
  • Adjustable height to warm you whether you are standing or sitting down
  • Both heaters together can emit enough heat to comfortably warm a 6 x 3 m gazebo
  • Assembly of each heater generally takes 5 - 10 minutes

Cons

  • There are no written instructions included so assembly needs to be done using common sense
  • Included screws aren’t the best quality and many users have opted to replace them
  • Cable is just 3m long so an extension lead may be required
  • In open spaces the heat is best felt by those right in front of the heaters, others may not benefit from as much warmth

Amazon Basics Havana Bronze Commercial Patio Heater

FEATURES RATING PRICE
FEATURES
  • 5.5 m heating range
  • Gas patio heater
  • Portable heater with wheels
OUR RATING
94
PRICE
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Amazon Basics Havana Bronze Commercial Patio Heater Review

If you’re after a traditional gas patio heater, the type that are a familiar staple in pub gardens and outdoor eating areas all over the UK, that’s exactly what you get with this Amazon Basics Havana Bronze Commercial Patio Heater.

It also has the potential to be a bit more interesting that the run-of-the-mill black heaters that you normally see, as it comes in a range of colours. The Bahama Blue option is one way to add a splash of colour to the patio if you want something a bit livelier than the traditional heater.

In terms of fuel, it’s possible to enclose an 11 kg or 13 kg gas bottle in the base of the unit, so you don’t need to see any clutter whilst enjoying the heat. Anything larger has to sit outside of the heater though, as the base won’t be large enough to conceal it.

There is a dial above the ignition switch which allows you to easily control the temperature from low to high, and, for peace of mind, this heater features an anti-tilt mechanism which cuts off the gas if the appliance accidentally gets knocked over.

Stands at 2.26 m high, this quite a tall option which spreads 46,000 BTUs of warmth well over a relatively large area. The downside of this is storage, as it requires somewhere with quite a high ceiling. There is a waterproof cover that can be bought separately to help protect it, but generally it will be best to store it inside when possible.

Whilst it’s a little heavy, at just over 18 kg, it comes with the benefit of being a free-standing gas heater in that you can place it where you want without the restrictions of power cables. The base is fitted with wheels as well, making it easy to position the heater (although they’re only small wheels so it should only be transported over hard surfaces).

Pros

  • Assembly takes 60 minutes and the instructions are very clear
  • The bottom stand can be filled with water or sand for stability in strong winds
  • Easy to move around the patio thanks to the integrated wheels
  • Produces 46,000 BTUs of heat which can warm large outdoor spaces

Cons

  • The protective film surrounding the stainless steel parts can be very difficult to remove during assembly
  • Only takes 11 kg and 13 kg gas bottles which doesn't offer as good value for money as using larger canisters
  • Storage can be difficult due to the 2.26 m height

Kingfisher PH300 Garden Outdoor Table Top Patio Heater

FEATURES RATING PRICE
FEATURES
  • Garden table-top patio heater
  • High-quality freestanding design
  • Weatherproof
OUR RATING
93
PRICE
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Kingfisher PH300 Garden Outdoor Table Top Patio Heater Review

Table-top heaters are a bit of a game changer when it comes to keeping warm outside in the evening. This Kingfisher PH300 Garden Outdoor Table Top Patio Heater can be placed in the centre of the table, throwing out heat to everyone sitting round, as opposed to having to be positioned off to one side.

It’s one of the best patio heaters for entertaining at the table as, unlike traditional gas heaters, everyone can face the heat source.

For a table of about six people, this powder-coated 4 kW heater should keep everyone warm into the late evening; it’s best suited for use from around May – September when the outdoor ambient temperature is a bit higher. In colder temperatures you’ll have to sit much closer to the heater and may not find it as effective.

Ideally, you’ll need a medium-to-large table to sit this on, as the base measures 53.5 cm. However, when it comes to storage, it’s a lot easier to tuck into the shed than larger models, at 88 cm tall. It also weighs just over 5 kg, so moving it around requires very little effort – unlike full-size heaters which can weigh three times that.

In terms of fuel, it has the flexibility of being able to run off either propane or butane, and requires a regulator to attach to an external gas canister. Unfortunately, the regulator doesn’t come included, so you need to buy both the gas and hose separately.

On the plus side, it’s easy to get going thanks to the Piezo ignition, so you don’t need to fuss around for long trying to get it lit whilst everyone gets chilly.

Overall, this heater is a great option for keeping the heat close to everyone whilst sitting around a table. It shouldn’t be used indoors, but can take the edge off colder spring/summer/autumn nights outside.

Pros

  • Produces 4kW of heat - a good amount for its smaller size
  • Easy to assemble in around 20 minutes
  • Lightweight at 5.35 kg so can be removed easily from storage and positioned in the ideal spot before lighting
  • Piezo ignition ensures it’s easy to start every time
  • Can be fuelled by either propane or butane depending on your preferences and the weather conditions

Cons

  • Best for mild summer evenings as opposed to colder winter nights
  • No regulator included so this will need to be sourced separately
  • Not particularly sturdy in strong winds due to its lightweight, tall design

Futura Deluxe Wall Mounted Electric Infrared Outdoor Garden Patio Heater

FEATURES RATING PRICE
FEATURES
  • Powerful 2500 W infrared heating element
  • Versatile outdoor heater
  • Attractive design
OUR RATING
91
PRICE
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Futura Deluxe Wall Mounted Electric Infrared Outdoor Garden Patio Heater Review

Not all free-standing heaters feel safe to use around younger children, but fortunately there are other options. The Futura Deluxe Wall Mounted Electric Infrared Outdoor Garden Patio Heater is one of the best patio heaters for keeping out of reach from small hands, and also little paws.

It can be positioned on any wall, with all of the kit needed for wall mounting included. The cable is 1.5 m long so that’s the only real restriction in terms of placement – you may need an electrician to install an outdoor socket or extend the cord.

Apart from that, you don’t even need to be able to reach the heater yourself most the time, as there are two remote controls for changing the temperature from a distance. Of course, another benefit of this, alongside keeping everyone safe, is that no-one has to get up to change the power.

There are three heat settings to choose between: 800 W, 1600 W and 2500 W, meaning it’s actually the most powerful infrared heater featured on this list; the manufacturer recommends it can warm interior spaces of up to 25 m², which is larger than most standard patios.

In terms of efficient heating outside, you’ll likely want to be closer to the heater than that – within 2 or 3 metres of the unit – to benefit from the warmth.

It’s relatively large, measuring 95 cm long by 10 cm high, so will disperse heat well, but does need to be placed somewhere with sufficient room. However, as it doesn’t take up any floor space, it’s still a good option for people with smaller areas to heat, as it doesn’t get in the way.

For added safety, there is a waterproof (IP65) casing surrounding the heater, to protect it from the elements.

Pros

  • Easy to assemble in 30 minutes
  • Remote control allows you to adjust the heat without leaving your chair
  • Produces a cosy glow to add ambiance to your patio
  • Wall-mounted design makes good use of unused space and doesn't encroach on floor area

Cons

  • Wall mounted so takes longer to install than freestanding heaters
  • Heat output is best within a 2 - 3m radius of the heater - any further and it’s noticeably weaker
  • The 1.5 m cable may be too short for most patio/room layouts so an outdoor socket or cord extension will likely be required
  • Cannot control the heat without the remote control - so a problem if you lose them (fortunately there are two)

Things to Know Before Buying a Patio Heater

I don’t think many of us need much persuading to think that having a patio heater is a great idea.

We only need to think back to a time in a pub or restaurant, where the cool air threatened to ruin an enjoyable gathering on the terrace, to remember the patio heater that saved the evening.

At home, patio heaters are a great option for making sure you can get the most out of your patio and outdoor furniture sets. Al fresco meals can go on a little longer, and coffees to be sipped with views of the garden even in cooler months.

Finding the best patio heater for your specific garden can take a bit of thought, but the following tips should help you make an informed decision:

When it comes to fuelling your patio heater there are really just two choices: gas or electric. Both options have their advantages and disadvantages.

Gas Patio Heaters

With a gas heater you have two choices: a heater which produces a visible flame to provide both heat and light; or a more traditional gas heater which features a burning element.

Gas heaters with visible flames are spectacular to look at but are much more expensive compared to the traditional alternative. Both types of heater do of course contain some sort of flame, produced from burning gas, so also come with the responsibility of being aware of the dangers this presents.

The power of gas heaters is measured in British Thermal Units (BTUs), and it’s difficult to know exactly how many BTUs you’ll need to heat a certain area. However, a general rule of thumb is to have approximately 5000 BTUs per 30 m².

You will need to buy either butane or propane gas canisters to fuel your gas heater. Some heaters can be fuelled by either gas, whereas others specify which type to use. Check the manufacturer’s instructions for your specific heater.

Propane is a popular choice for people living in colder climates. This is because it has a very low boiling temperature of -42°C. Propane has also been shown to produce more heat than butane.

Butane will be a suitable choice for most of the year in the UK. It has a boiling temperature of -2°C which means that it isn’t a good fuel in very cold weather. It’s marginally cheaper than propane, plus it doesn’t burn as fast. This makes it a good choice if you’ll be using your gas patio heater frequently, as you won’t burn through your fuel supplies unnecessarily quickly.

You will also need a gas regulator to connect the canister to the heater. Some heaters come with these already included, whereas others don’t. Different regulators exist, with different connectors. You need to make sure that the connectors between the canister and regulator are compatible, otherwise you won’ t be able to hook them up. When choosing which canister to buy, check that you have the correct regulator, and vis versa.

Finally, having a gas heater means you need to deal with the upkeep of gas canisters; this means buying them, storing them, and disposing of them safely when empty. This can put some people off, so it’s something to bear in mind.

Electric Patio heaters

Electric heaters use ‘radiant heat’ and are normally in the form of infrared lamps. They are generally more lightweight, and more versatile, than gas heaters. Freestanding and wall mounted versions are widely available. Electric heaters also tend to be cheaper to run than gas heaters and operate quietly (gas heaters can ‘roar’ when burning fuel).

Another advantage of electrical heaters is that they use mains power, so you don’t have to worry about running out of fuel. The downside of this is that they need to be placed near a mains socket. A lot of electric heaters have a power cable of only 2 – 3 meters long. Therefore, if the socket is far away, you may be left with a lot of impractical wires trailing across your patio.

If it’s too impractical to plug in an electric heater, a gas-powered heater might be more suitable.

A common concern with electric appliances is not being able to ‘see’ how much money you’re spending whilst using them. Fortunately, it’s very straight forward to work out how much it will cost you to run an electric heater.

Calculate how much it will cost you to run an electric heater:

  1. First you need to know how much your energy provider charges you for 1 kWh. For this example we will presume that they charge 18.54p /kWh, which was the 2019 average.
  2. Find out the wattage of the heater. Most electric heaters have more than one heat setting and use different a different wattage on each setting. For this example we will use settings of 800 W, 1600 W and 2500 W.
  3. Divide the appliance’s wattage by 1000 to find out how many kilowatts it uses per hour. In this example, at 800 W the heater would use 0.8 kW/h, on 1600 W it would use 1.6 kW/h, and on 2500 W it would use 2.5 kW/h.
  4. Multiply the price you pay per kW/h (18.54p) by the number of kilowatts the heater uses in one hour. This will give you the cost of running the heater for one hour.
    • 800 W = 0.8 X 18.54 = £0.15 per hour
    • 1600 W = 1.6 X 18.54 = £0.30 per hour
    • 2500 W = 2.5 X 18.54 = £0.46 per hour

There are three main designs when it comes to patio heaters: freestanding, wall mounted and table top.

Table-top patio heaters are compact and they can be easily transported and stored. As a result, they’re great for people who have less storage space. They can be either gas powered or electric, and sit in the middle of the table, keeping guests warm. You need a sturdy table to support a table-top heater, just to make sure it doesn’t topple. For this reason, a lot of care should be taken when using table-top heaters around children or pets, in case they knock the table.

Wall-mounted electric patio heaters are a space-saving solution to patio heating. They don’t take up any floor space, so that’s great if you don’t have much to spare. They also don’t require you to have a table. They do, however, need you to have an appropriate wall close to your patio area – relatively clear of windows and other fixtures.

If you can find the perfect place to position your wall-mounted heater, you’ll find it both convenient and effective. Of course, they can’t be moved around like many other heaters, so you are a bit more limited on flexibility. And, finally, you will need a sufficiently close power socket. Many wall-mounted heaters come with relatively short power cables of 2 – 3 metres max, so you may need the help of an electrician to fit an outdoor socket or extend the flex.

Freestanding patio heaters are extremely versatile. The electric versions can be very lightweight and cheap to run, making them practical enough to keep on for many hours and to position and re-position as many times as necessary. Gas versions may be slightly heavier, but don’t require a mains cable so can used anywhere in the garden.

Patio heaters with a choice of power settings will give you the versatility to choose how much heat you’d like in a given moment whilst also giving you control over usage costs.

With gas heaters, you can generally control the power output by turning the dial in order to burn more or less gas. One slight drawback of this is that you don’t know exactly how much gas you are using at any given time, which can be slightly nerve wracking from a cost point of view.

Electric heaters often have a variety of heat settings. Having three settings to choose from tends to be a good amount to offer sufficient control over the temperature.

The benefit of having different settings on an electric heater is that you can know exactly how much electricity you’re spending, depending on what setting you’re using. Using a lower-wattage setting will cost less than a higher-wattage settings.

In the ‘Electric Vs. Gas Patio Heaters’ section above, you can see a more detailed breakdown of how to work out the price of using an electric heater on different settings.

Occasionally, you and your guests may get too hot using a patio heater on its highest heat setting, so having access to some variation can help keep the temperature comfortable.

Naturally, when using any heating device, there is a safety risk involved.

There are a lot of steps that you can follow to keep you and your family safe whilst using a patio heater.

Whilst this may not be a fully comprehensive list, here are some ways to stay safe whilst using your heater outside:

  • Only use heaters for their intended purpose. If a heater states it is for outdoor use only, don’t use it inside, and vis versa.
  • Avoid naked flames. If using a gas heater, make sure any flames are contained behind tempered glass to minimise the fire risk.
  • Look for anti-tilt features. Anti-tilt features can be in the form of a base that is hard to knock over. More expensive heaters can be fitted with a mechanism which shuts off the heat if the heater falls.
  • Keep heaters away from flammable materials. This can be anything from plants and plant pots to dry grass or climbing ivy. If you have a gas-powered BBQ or similar, you may have gas canisters on the patio. If this is the case, remove them before using a patio heater.
  • Ensure the heater is on level ground. Don’t position it directly on grass and, if you do want to have it on the lawn, make sure to put down a solid, stable surface first.
  • Beware of windy days. Wind can catch a heater and knock it over. Try to use heaters in positions where they won’t get caught by sudden gusts, and avoid using the heater on a day with strong wind.

Patio Heater FAQs

Electric patio heaters are generally considered to be cheaper to run, better for the environment, and more efficient – they convert approximately 98% of their power into heat. In general, they’re more practical, but you may prefer a gas heater if you like the appearance of the flame, don’t want trailing electricity cables, or prefer their convector heat.

You should always check the manufacturer’s guidelines before using a heater under any kind of cover. You should never use a gas cover in a sheltered environment. Some electric heaters may be suitable to heat under an awning or gazebo; however they must always be kept away from the walls and ceilings. A wall-mounted heater should therefore not be used under an awning.

In general, mosquitos are not attracted to warmth or heat, but to CO2. So, when animals breath out, they sense it. Therefore, an electric heater won’t draw any more mosquitos to your patio. However, a gas heater which burns propane or butane gas will produce CO2 which could attract mosquitos to your patio.

Sources
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