Patio Heaters Buying Guide

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Patio Heaters Buying Guide

It is always a pleasure to enjoy a delicious meal on a Summer or Autumn night at your favourite restaurant. Enjoying the landscape is going to be less easy if you're freezing in the outside garden. This is where Patio Heaters can give you the warmth to match your incredible outdoors vibe. They are suitable for homes, as well as commercial environments like bars, cafès, restaurants, terraces and warehouses.

If you simply want to know the best patio heaters available, check out our Top 10 Patio Heaters

How Do Patio Heaters Work?

There are two main types of Patio Heaters:

Electric Patio Heaters which are plugged in and switched on. They produce heat which is powered by the infrared element, which will warm the bodies of occupants, not the air. The heat won't be wasted. For home owners, they are the most preferred choice because they are efficient and produce zero carbon emissions. If you want to heat up your garden quickly with less hassle, they are the best choice. Electric patio heaters are suitable for large gardens and can be used inside.

Gas Patio Heaters are powered by either a fixed natural gas line, or a propane gas tank. They are suitable outdoor heaters for a pub garden. Natural gas heaters need to be attached to a fixed natural gas line. You may need a Gas Safe engineer to install this type of heater. Natural gas patio heaters can be less expensive than Propane gas heaters or Electric Patio Heaters. Gas Patio Heaters are very efficient, require little maintenance and have a flame which can create a beautiful effect. Propane gas heaters need to be connected to a gas tank, but tend not to have an additional setup. They require more maintenance than a natural gas heater, as the gas tank needs to be replaced once it runs out.

Important Considerations For Your Patio Heater

When you are choosing a Patio Heater, there are key considerations you should take into account to buy the right one for you.

Placing it in the Right Area

The placement of the Patio Heater in your outdoor space is important. If you place it too far away, the heater will be less effective. They should be at least 1 metre away from anything flammable, and kept on a flat surface so they don't get knocked over easily. Make sure the patio heater is well out of reach of children and pets. Depending on how your garden is set up, you may want to put it in a parasol which will directly heat up a table, mount it to the wall by your seating area, or have one freestanding next to the table.


An electric patio heater will have the lowest running costs by a country mile. There is a gap because electric heaters concentrate their heat on objects, whereas gas heaters warm the air around objects and the space above the heater. This leads to wasted heat, which creates a long-term cost. Gas patio heaters also use much more energy at an average of 13 kW, whereas electric patio heaters are 2-3 kW.

Environmental cost and maintenance

Gas patio heaters produce significantly more CO2 than electric patio heaters, especially if you use 'green' electritcity.

Before you buy a patio heater, you should be prepared to maintain it regularly. Maintenance includes shielding it from the elements in winter, moving it into storage if you are not using it as much, cleaning off debris inside and cleaning the outside. Always check for broken parts when reassembling the patio heater.


If you desire a roaring flame to create ambience, a gas patio heater is your best option. However, if you want a heater that is modern and subtle, an electric patio heater is your best option.

Ceiling mounted patio heater in a modern outdoor seating area


  • Patio heaters are good for outdoor gatherings with friends and family when it's cold
  • They come in multiple size and design options
  • Patio heaters are affordable, with our price range between £100-600 for most of our units
  • They can heat a large area if required
  • They are portable, so you can find the perfect spot for it in your space


  • Gas Patio Heaters may require professional installation, which could be expensive 
  • Gas patio heaters can have a negative effect on the environment, as they produce carbon dioxide


  • Heat Output - The heat output of a patio heater depends on the power rating of the device. The level of heat coverage will be provided in either BTU or kW, and should be calculated to your needs.
  • Room Size - The room size of the patio heater determines the heat coverage for your room. Generally, the larger the patio heater, the higher the room size it will heat.
  • Emitter screens - Large emitter screens make patio heaters more comfortable to use around tables, as they absorb some of the heat. You can also tilt some models which allows you to direct the heat as required.
  • Material - The materials used in construction of a patio heater are steel, stainless steel and aluminium.
  • Power connection - Electric patio heaters are plugged in, whereas gas patio heaters are powered by natural gas line or propane gas tank.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. How high from the ground should my patio heater be fixed?

A. Most patio heaters should be mounted from 2.2-2.5 metres high from the ground. Larger 4 kW heaters may need to be mounted up to 3.5 metres.This will be sepcified in the included instructions.

Q. Can I mount inside my gazebo?

A. Some freestanding patio heaters maybe be able to be used in temporary structures like gazebos, but you should be careful to ensure there is proper clearance from any materials and circulation. 

Q. Can I mount my Patio Heater indoors?

A. Patio Heaters can be used indoors and can provide instant heat at the touch of a button.

Q. Do I need an electrician to install my Patio Heater?

A. A basic patio heater plugs into a socket, so if you feel confident about safely mounting your heater to the wall you don't need to employ an electrician. If your heater is above 3 kW, linking to multiple heaters, or hardwired into your electricity supply, then you will need an electrician.

Q. What level of clearance do I need around the Patio Heater?

A. You will need approximately 30 cm below a ceiling or away from the corner of the wall.

Q. If it's still raining, can I still install the Patio Heater outside?

A. Most Patio Heaters are IP65 rated, which will make them weather resistant, so they can be installed in any outdoor situation.

Q. Can electric heaters be wired together, and plugged into a standard 13A socket using a standard three pin plug?

A. Yes, they can be wired together, as long as the combined power they are drawing doesn't exceed 13 Amps. The maximum power that can be put through a conventional UK fused plug socket is 13 Amps.

Q. How much do Patio Heaters cost to run?

A. A number of factors determine the running costs, such as: efficiency, the level of heat you need, and your electricity tariff. To work it out simply take the Wattage of your heater, times it by the amount of time you want to run it for to get the kilowatt-hours and then find the price you pay for your electricity or gas. For exmaple, if you want to run your 2kW heater for 6 hours you have 16kWh. If you pay 52 p/kWh for electricity you'll be paying £8.32 to run your heater.