The arrival of colder weather needn’t limit the amount of time you’re able to spend in your garden or outdoor living space. With a patio heater, you can comfortably relax, dine or host outdoors – while making use of your garden furniture and outdoor cushions – regardless of the temperature.
When it comes to choosing a heating appliance for your home, there’s a lot to choose from. With everything from gas and electric-powered heaters to wood-fired chimineas and fire pits, the style of heater best suited to your needs will depend on the size and style of your outdoor living space.
To help you choose the perfect patio heater for you, The Recommended searched the internet to find a selection of some of the best user-reviewed gas heaters, electric space heaters and fire pits online. We’ve also included some useful tips for calculating the cost of electric space heaters and the types of gas you might need for a patio heater.
The best patio heaters at a glance:
- Best value outdoor space heater: VonHaus Electric Patio Heater 2000W
- Best portable outdoor space heater: Swan Al Fresco Portable Electric Stand Patio Heater
- Best remote controlled patio heaters: Heatlab Set of 2 2kW Patio Heaters
- Best value gas patio heater: GardenCo Outdoor Gas Patio Heater
- Best pyramid-shaped gas patio heater: Stainless Steel Outdoor Patio Gas Heater
- Best overall gas patio heater: Amazon Basics Commercial Patio Heater
- Best fire pit: Solo Stove Fire Pit Bonfire
- Best chiminea: Log-Barn Chiminea Black Steel Firepit
- Best budget fire pit: VOUNOT Fire Pit Table with Grate Shelf
The best electric patio heaters
Best value outdoor space heater: VonHaus Electric Patio Heater 2000W
Adjustable heat settings
This tall, free-standing electric space heater has three power settings - 650W, 1350W and 2000W - and is adjustable up to a maximum height of 210cm.
Electric space heaters such as this are 100 percent efficient at point of use, meaning that every Joule of energy you pay for is converted into heat. The heating section of this heater tilts 45 degrees in order to alter the direction of the heat source and the base of the appliance is weighted to help prevent it from falling over. This heater also has a weatherproof rating of IPX4, meaning that it is resistant to water splashes from any direction.
Best portable outdoor space heater: Swan Al Fresco Portable Electric Stand Patio Heater
Ideal for small spaces
This miniature and lightweight space heater stands 60cm tall and has a power output of 1200W, making it a great option for small and intimate outdoor dining spaces.
Featuring a compact and minimalist design, this space heater has a large handle on the top of the unit and weighs just under 9kg for portability. Other useful features include a 1.8 metre cable and an automatic tip-over safety feature.
Best remote controlled patio heater: Heatlab Set of 2 2kW Patio Heaters
Set of two heaters
This set of two electric space heaters are remote controlled, which means you can toggle between the three heat settings (650W, 1350W and 2000W) without having to move to the appliance.
Doubling as an outdoor light source, these heaters are adjustable in height up to 210cm and come with a 4.8 metre power cable. The heating sections are adjustable (0 to 45 degrees) for altering the direction of the heat, and they feature heavy bases to help prevent the heaters from falling over.
How much does it cost to run an electric patio heater?
According to Ofgem, the Office of Gas and Electricity Markets, the current price cap for electricity for households in the UK currently stands at £0.28 per kWh used (until 30 September 2022). This is in addition to the daily standing charge of £0.45, a daily fixed amount that households must pay to their energy provider irrespective of how much energy is used.
From 1 October, the price cap for electricity for households in the UK will rise to £0.52 per kWh used (until 31 December). The daily standing charge will rise to £0.46.
The amount you currently pay for electricity may differ from the price cap. To find out how much you pay, you can find it on your electricity bill.
How to calculate the monthly operating cost of an electric appliance
Multiply the appliance Wattage by Hours used per day to calculate the Watt-hours consumed per day
Divide the Watt-hours per day by 1000 to calculate the Kilowatt-hours (kWh)
Multiply the kWh by 30 days to calculate the kWh per month
Multiply the kWh per month by electricity price per kWh to calculate the appliance’s monthly operating cost
The best gas patio heaters
Best value gas patio heater: GardenCo Outdoor Gas Patio Heater
Immediate heat output
Compatible with propane, butane or LPG, this gas patio heater has a heat output of 1350W, which is suitable for heating a garden patio.
This gas patio heater features built-in housing for a gas canister and comes with a waterproof cover to protect the appliance from wet weather. It also has an anti-tilt switch, which is designed to shut the gas supply off if the appliance were to fall over. Built-in wheels at the base of the heater allow for easy manoeuvrability.
More like this
Best pyramid-shaped gas patio heater: Stainless Steel Outdoor Patio Gas Heater
Great for larger patios
For those seeking a wow factor for their outdoor space, this gas patio heater features a dramatic open flame that rises through a glass tube.
This heater is powered by propane gas and is designed to radiate warmth across a 10-foot radius. It is made from stainless steel with an aluminium powder-coated finish, which is said to be waterproof and able to withstand sun exposure, salt water and cold temperatures. This heater can also comes fitted with a bluetooth speaker for playing music.
Best overall gas patio heater: Amazon Basics Commercial Patio Heater
Impressive heat output
This outdoor gas heater has an impressive heat output of 46,000 BTU, which is plenty for heating the average outdoor patio.
Powered by LPG gas, this heater has a simple-to-use ignition system and a variable heat control knob for altering the temperature. The contained burner section of this heater is designed to provide constant heat, with no smoke or open flames. It also comes in a choice of seven colours to match the style of your outdoor space.
What gas do I need for a gas patio heater?
The majority of gas patio heaters in the UK take butane or propane cylinders. It’s worth checking before you buy a patio heater which gas type it is compatible with, as well as the type of regulator (valve) that the heater requires and the size of the appliance’s storage compartment.
The best wood-burning patio heaters
Best fire pit: Solo Stove Fire Pit Bonfire
Doubles as a BBQ
This fire pit is designed for burning wood both for heat and for cooking. It features a patented design which is said to burn fuel more efficiently and produce less smoke than traditional fire pits.
This fire pit is made from stainless steel and has a double-wall design, which is said to improve airflow efficiency and therefore burn fuel more efficiently. It is also designed to prevent the ground beneath from getting scorched, and comes with a free carry case.
Best chiminea: Log-Barn Chiminea Black Steel Firepit
Lightweight log burner
This classically-shaped chiminea is made from steel instead of clay, meaning that it is more lightweight than traditional burners, while keeping the distinctive chiminea design.
This chiminea weighs 6.1kg, so it can be easily moved around your garden space when the heater has fully cooled. It also comes with a poker for moving logs around when the fire is lit.
Best ornamental fire pit: VOUNOT Fire Pit Table with Grate Shelf
Great for hosting
With an artificial stone design, this square fire pit table is ideal for gathering friends and family around.
The table section that surrounds the bowl section of this fire pit helps to protect people from the fire and provides a place to place food and drinks. This fire pit comes with a stainless steel grill, fire grate, plug cover, poker, and a waterproof cover.
Want to read more expert-recommended product round-ups? Check out our Garden page for a full list of recommendations, including our list of the best outdoor rugs, the best rattan garden furniture and the best outdoor cushions.
Luke Chamberlain is a Staff Writer for The Recommended, and interviews some of the world’s most knowledgeable product experts to help readers make smarter decision about the products they buy online.