Electric vs. Natural vs. Propane Outdoor Heaters

Last Updated

Electric vs. Natural vs. Propane Outdoor Heaters

The end of summer doesn’t have to mean the end of enjoying the outdoors! With the right heater you can enjoy relaxed evenings outside at any time of the year. Outside heaters come in many styles, sizes and fuel types, ensuring you can find the right outdoor patio heater for your space. Here we’re looking more closely at the differences between the three main types of outdoor heater:

  • Electric
  • Natural Gas
  • Propane

Read our guide to gain a better understanding of the right choice for your space and consider some of the best models available in each fuel type.

A Closer Look at Electric Garden Heaters

Outdoor electrical heaters are a great choice for keeping your space as warm as possible. They are the perfect choice for compact spaces where there is little or no ventilation. Electric patio heaters come in a range of styles including table top, under table, and wall-mounted.

The right electric heater is the perfect partner when you want to sit out and enjoy an early morning cup of tea or a late night al fresco dinner with friends.

Considerations when Choosing an Electric Patio Heater

Electric patio heaters could be the right choice for your space, but it is important to weigh up the benefits before making that final decision. The pros to keep in mind include:

  • Ease-of-use: electric heaters couldn’t be easier to use as they work on a simple “plug in and heat” basis, fitting into all standard plug sockets and providing instant heat.
  • Safe for small spaces: enclosed patios and decked spaces do not have the ventilation necessary for gas heating, but they’re perfect for electric heaters.
  • Portable and practical: electric heaters can be used indoors as well as on your patio. They usually come with casters so they can be easily moved around the home and simply plugged in wherever you need them.

Of course, it’s also important to consider the cons too:

  • An electric heater it does need a power source nearby (but this can be facilitated with an extension cable)

A Closer Look at Natural Gas Patio Heaters

Natural gas heaters are a popular choice for large and well-ventilated spaces. They are ideal for decked areas and patios in homes and businesses with existing natural gas lines. Specially designed for outdoor use, natural gas heaters need to be professionally installed, but they provide quick heating.

Considerations when Choosing a Natural Gas Patio Heater


  • High-quality heat output: the combustion of natural gas means they have a great heat output
  • Stylish designs: outdoor heaters using natural gas have a sophisticated and stylish design

It is also important to keep in mind the cons when it comes to opting for natural gas heating for your garden, including:

  • Qualified installation: you must ensure your heater is installed by a qualified professional as this safeguards your product warranty and ensures safe use
  • Ventilation: this type of heater is only suitable for well ventilated spaces
  • Fixed position: natural gas heaters must be directly connected to your gas lines so are usually wall-mounted and must be in a fixed position

A Closer Look at Propane Gas Patio Heaters

Propane gas heaters can provide flexibility for home and business use and are quick to setup wherever they’re needed, making them highly portable.

Considerations when Choosing a Propane Outdoor Heater

Propane heaters have always been a popular choice for residential and business use but it’s worth keeping in mind both the pros and cons before making your final decision. Pros to consider include:

  • Flexible usage: propane heaters are portable, easy to manoeuvre, and great for business purposes like events or building sites
  • Separate, freestanding power source: running on propane tanks, these heaters do not need an electrical power point


  • Propane tank essential: you need propane gas tanks to run this type of heater and they can weigh up to 20lbs, making manoeuvrability a little more tricky
  • Assembly and setup: some models of propane heater do require some installation and setup and you may need to call in a qualified professional depending on the source of gas


Why We Recommend Electric

With the initial affordability, easy maintenance, portability, ease of use and the fact that these heaters now have the option of added Wi-Fi capability, our Air Con Centre outdoor heater choice is an electric patio heater.

Our favourite Electric Patio Heater is the Devola Platinum 1.2kW Floor Standing Patio Heater with Remote Control.

Image of a Devola patio heater on a white background