Which is the best outdoor heater for me?

When you think of outdoor heaters, you may immediately think of the wintertime. However, considering that many people like to be outside during the summer months and that British weather is so unpredictable, heaters may be just as useful at this time of the year.

When choosing a product, there are many factors to consider, including the type of heater, cost, size, and environmental impact. With this in mind, we are going to take a look at the different types of patio heater available and their respective strengths and weaknesses, hopefully allowing you to choose the best for you.

Solid Fuel

Solid fuel patio heaters work through the burning of natural materials such as wood or coal.

They tend to be central features and are chosen just as much for their aesthetic as their heating potential.

In contrast with their modern electrical counterparts, solid fuel heaters tend to come in the form of fire pits, chimineas, or yurts.

In terms of benefits, solid fuel heaters can offer a variety of different advantages. As already mentioned, they feature a more natural aesthetic and are therefore favoured over more clinical electrical or gas devices.

In terms of the environment, solid fuel heaters can be particularly friendly if the fuel has been sustainably sourced. Unfortunately, there are also quite a few drawbacks to these of heaters. For example, the devices themselves tend to be fairly small, and therefore the heat that is produced can vary and is susceptible to environmental factors such as wind.

As a solid fuel burning process, smoke and ash is produced which isn't ideal for those around the heater, especially in commercial settings.


Gas-filled cylinders of petroleum, butane, or propane power outdoor gas heaters. They produce a constant, ambient heat with a radius of anywhere between 3 and 10 feet.

When the gas in the canister has been used up, a new canister can be installed. This process is quick and easy, meaning the heater will always be operational.

As no electricity is involved, the device doesn't need to be situated near a mains outlet and there is no need for extension leads.

As a mobile device, gas heaters can be placed anywhere, making them ideal for remote areas such as campsites.

However, it should be pointed out that there are some drawbacks to gas heaters. They tend to be the most expensive in terms of equipment and fuel. They also tend to be bulky which may be a problem for those without a lot of space. In terms of output, the heat emitted can be affected by environmental conditions such as wind. Therefore it's often recommended that Gas heaters are situated in enclosed areas.


Outdoor Electrical heaters offer a wealth of benefits and with so many advantages over their counterparts, they are arguably the best option for many people.

The majority of electrical heaters emit infrared radiation which warms surfaces directly, rather than traveling through the air via convection. This means the heat can be targeted with accuracy and won't be affected by wind.

In terms of design, electrical heaters come in a wide range of shapes and sizes with aesthetics to suit everyone.

Costing should also be considered, with electrical heaters being much cheaper to run than gas.

Thanks to their targeted design and the ease at which they can be turned on and off, electrical heaters are much more environmentally friendly than gas devices.

The only real major downside with electrical patio heaters is that they obviously need to be connected to the mains, forcing you to place them close to an outlet. To combat this problem, extension leads can be used but these may also be problematic as they could cause a health and safety issue and are considered unsightly by many people.

Overall, solid fuel heaters offer a more natural approach but aren't very efficient or mobile and are best suited to domestic gardens.

When choosing a heater for a commercial setting such as a pub or restaurant, the choice should be between electrical and gas devices. Although on paper, electrical wins out, it all depends on your specific circumstances and what's best for you.