As the nights draw in and the temperature drops, you can still make use of your outside space, by installing an electric patio heater.
Unless it’s the height of summer (and even then, there are no guarantees!) evenings in the UK can be pretty nippy. An electric patio heater will help to take the chill off, so you can still make the most of your garden and enjoy evenings outside, even in the colder months.
Electric patio heaters are one of the quickest, easiest and cheapest methods of heating your outside space. They’re more energy-efficient than gas heaters, and are cleaner, quieter and easier to turn on and off than a wood fire pit, or other solid fuel heater.
This type of heater can come in freestanding, tabletop, wall-mounted or pendant designs, and you should ideally have an outdoor plug socket, to power your heater. The best electric patio heaters look stylish, in addition to performing a very useful function.
If you’re sold on the benefits of an electric patio heater, then read on for our pick of the 5 best options on the market. We’ve made our selection based on affordability, heat output, and aesthetics.
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With one of these in your garden, you’ll be sitting toasty outside, all winter long!
An affordable yet reasonably powerful freestanding patio heater, with adjustable height and heat settings
Our all-round favourite electric patio heater for warming a small outside space is this Heatsure 2KW Electric Patio Heater.
This portable, freestanding patio heater has an adjustable height, and the head can be tilted to 45-degrees, so you can set it to project heat where you need it the most. The heater can warm an area up to 15 square metres – although the closer you are to it, the warmer you’ll feel.
Three heat settings (650W, 1350W or 2000W) allow you to further customise your outdoor heating, depending on whether it’s a chilly summer or winter’s evening. The lamp is easy to assemble, and the fact that it’s freestanding means you don’t have to worry about fixing it to the wall, and can move it around as needed.
The heater comes with a 2m power cord, which is quite limiting, so you will need an outdoor socket, or an extension cord, if you want to run the heater from an internal socket.
Overall, this is a functional and high-quality patio heater and light in one. Whilst you will need to be pretty close to get the most out of it, we think it’s hard to beat as an affordable option for small outdoor space.
- Can heat an area up to 15 square metres.
- Up to 5000 hours of lamp life.
- 3 heat settings allow you to adjust the warmth level.
- Adjustable height and head allow you to direct the heat.
- Freestanding design requires no installation.
- Functions as a light, as well as a heater.
- Suitable for indoor and outdoor use.
- Short 2m cable means you’ll need a socket close-by, or an extension lead.
- Not the most affordable option.
An affordable, wall-mounted patio heater, that’s ideal for a shed, or small outdoor area
On balance, the patio heater we think offers you the best value for money is this Kingfisher Wall Mounted Heater, which is another 2000W heater, at only a fraction of the cost of our top pick.
This wall-mounted outdoor heater is a great way to heat a small shed or garage, or a seating area directly below it – although you will need more than one of these to heat a larger patio (which is true for many patio heaters).
The fact that it’s wall-mounted instead of freestanding also means that it can’t be easily moved around – although you can unclip it from the wall, once it’s cooled.
On the plus side, it’s not difficult to install, and it does have a 45-degree tilting head, which allows you some control over the direction of the heat. The heater is waterproof to a rating of IPX4, meaning it can be left outside year-round, and it also comes with an overheat protection, for safety.
Overall, this is a very reasonably-priced option, with a decent power output and some adjustability, and is ideal for taking the chill off a fixed area of your patio.
- Highly affordable.
- Overheat protection for safety.
- 45-degree tilting head allows you to direct the heat.
- Waterproof to IPX4 rating.
- Small heat output, only warms a very limited area.
- Wall-mounted design means it isn’t easily portable, and can’t be moved around your patio.
- Not possible to buy replacement elements.
A hanging electric patio heater, that makes a great option if you have a pergola, gazebo or beams over your patio
Our next electric patio heater offers a different style again. This Hanging Halogen Heater by La Hacienda comes with a hanging chain, and can be suspended from an overhead hook, beam, gazebo frame or branch.
It works especially well as a way to evenly distribute heat over your patio, and will look great positioned over an outdoor dining table, or peeking out from under a parasol. It’s also a good option for a smaller garden, as it’s unobtrusive, and doesn’t require the sacrifice of any floor space.
The heater emits a powerful 2100W, and, as with our top pick, has 3 heat settings, so you can alter the amount of warmth it throws out. The lamp will provide up to 5000 hours of heat – although bear in mind that once it reaches this limit, it will likely need to be replaced.
As with all of these heaters, the heat output is localised – but the pendant style means that it’s easier to position in a central location than a wall-mounted option, and the heat can therefore be dispersed more evenly over your patio.
This is our most expensive electric patio heater, but providing you have somewhere suitable to hang it, we would highly recommend this option for anyone looking to add warmth and a cosy level of light to their outdoor space.
- Powerful 2100W heater.
- Made from durable aluminium and brushed steel.
- Long lamp life provides up to 5000 hours of heat.
- Also functions as an outdoor light.
- Hanging style doesn’t take up any floor space.
- Evenly distributes heat over your patio, if hung in a central location.
- Rated to IP24 for outdoor use.
- Our most expensive patio heater.
- Heat output is localised to the immediate area.
- Requires a suitable overhead point for suspension.
Freestanding design with a reasonable heat output – but you will need a UK plug adaptor
Our fourth pick is this Luxeva Carbon Infrared Floor Heater, which features an aluminium housing, and a freestanding design.
This tall patio heater measures approximately 1m in height, and is suitable for both indoor and outdoor use. An included cover helps to protect the heater when it’s not in use, and prolong its lifespan.
It has a carbon-fibre heating element, which gives it 98% efficiency, and an integrated thermostat function. The heater draws 2000W of power, and throws out a considerable amount of heat, for its size.
As with our other options (to varying degrees), this heater also doubles as an outdoor light in the evening. The freestanding design means you can move it around, and position the heat and light where it is most needed. Built-in overturn protection helps to prevent it being knocked over.
This heater doesn’t come with a UK plug, so you will need an adaptor to use it. Considering the highly reasonable price tag though, this doesn’t seem too much of an ask.
- Durable aluminium housing.
- Carbon-fibre heating element, with 98% efficiency.
- Suitable for indoor and outdoor use.
- Functions as a heater and light.
- Includes a cover.
- Doesn’t come with a UK plug, so you will need an adaptor.
This wall-mounted patio heater throws out a decent amount of heat, especially when mounted high on a wall in a small courtyard or walled-in patio
Our final patio heater is this Futura Purus 2500W Deluxe, which measures 92 x 20 x 9 cm.
This slim 2500W heater is wall-mounted and comes with all the necessary fixings for installation. This means it doesn’t take up valuable floor space in a small patio, but you will need to make sure there’s a suitable spot on a wall nearby.
Be warned that this one has a short cable too, of only 1.5m, so you will most likely need an extension lead to plug it in. On the plus-side, it does come with a UK 3-pin plug.
According to the manufacturer, this model is capable of heating an area up to 25 square metres – but the majority of the warmth will still be felt in the immediate vicinity of the heater, directly above and below it.
The manufacturer also estimates that the heater will cost 25p an hour to run. This will of course vary, depending on external factors such as your electricity supplier, but is still a fairly reassuring bench-mark.
The remote control can be a little temperamental, but those concerned about faults should be reassured to hear that this heater comes with a 2-year guarantee. Ultimately, if you’re looking for a wall-mounted outdoor heater to warm your patio area, you can’t go far wrong with this powerful option.
- Powerful 2500W heating element.
- Waterproof rated to IP34.
- Wall-mounted design doesn’t take up any floor space.
- Comes with a 24-month guarantee.
- Short 1.5m cable, so you will most likely need an extension lead.
- Remote control can be temperamental.
- No cover included.
Are Electric Patio Heaters Expensive To Run?
The cost of running a patio heater will vary depending on several factors – including the design, power output, how long you keep it on for, and how much you pay for your electricity. However, as a general rule, electric patio heaters are one of the cheapest types of outdoor heaters to run, and tend to be much more energy-efficient than gas patio heaters.
For example, the Futura Purus 2500W Deluxe wall-mounted heater is said by the manufacturer to cost around 25p per hour to run. This means you could happily heat your patio for £1/day, if you turn it on for just a few hours in the evening – we think that’s pretty reasonable.
However, if you have multiple electric patio heaters, or you leave the heater on in the day, or use it every single evening, the running costs can easily mount up. To help conserve energy and keep costs down, try to refrain from turning the heater on until you really need it – always put a jumper on first.
It’s also important to remember to turn the heater off when you go inside, or when it’s not in use. We recommend using the heater frugally at first, and monitoring the difference it makes to your electricity bill, so you don’t receive any nasty surprises.
Can You Leave Them Outside Year-Round?
Many electric patio heaters are advertised as waterproof, and can be left outside in all weathers. Some also come with a cover, to further protect them from the elements. You should always make sure to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations on whether to leave your particular heater outside year-round.
Even if it’s advertised as being ok to leave outside, you should still consider bringing it inside during adverse weather conditions, if you want to keep your patio heater in the best possible condition. This is particularly true if your patio area is exposed.
Storing your patio heater in a garage, shed or utility area when not in use will help prevent it being damaged by high winds, and also reduce the risk of it degenerating, or the internal components corroding. This will help to prolong the heater’s life, and keep you outside, enjoying your new-found warmth, for longer.
April is a freelance writer who specialises in writing about home and garden design and the environment. She is an avid wildlife-enthusiast and adventure-seeker, and feels happiest when in the Great Outdoors.