HeatingForce is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more
The Best Garden Patio Heater (Reviews) on the Market in 2021
You want to keep your garden warm during those chilly summer nights, and perhaps even in the colder months. You’re looking for the perfect garden heater, but the options are just overwhelming. Does that sound about right?
In this post, I’ll do my best to demystify these wonderful devices, and list the top 5 garden heaters available online right now. We’ll talk about fuel types, mounting methods, sizing and safety. Read on to find out more!
Table of Contents
What Types of Heaters Can I Use in My Garden?
Garden patio heaters come in various sizes and shapes, as well as an array of different mounting and fuel options. Still, no matter which one you choose, a garden heater will quickly become one of your most cherished items. I will help guide you through the drove of choices.
First, let’s explore the fuel options. They are:
- Gas: Propane, LPG, Natural
- Electricity (Corded)
- Real flame: Charcoal, propane, wood
Then, there’s the mounting;
- Freestanding, floor and tabletop. Large, freestanding gas heaters are the standard choice for the gardens, but you can also find sizeable floor-mounted electric models, as well as small portable ones. These smaller variants are rarely gas-fuelled; more often than not, they are electric and even infrared. Such portable heaters are made with handles to help you quickly move them around.
- Wall-mounted. These are a fitting choice for the garden, but only if you wish to use one above a dining table or a workbench. It may not be the best choice if you want to move the heater around wherever you go. That said, some wall-mounted heaters come in portable versions, where you can slide out of the wall bracket and mount them to a stand.
- Freestanding Firepits. Freestanding fire pits come in numerous designs, shapes, and sizes. Firepits can be used everywhere outside. The smaller ones (tabletop versions too!) are easy to bring with you wherever you find yourself going. A significant advantage is that these can also be used as a cooking grill, and the newer ones run on bio-ethanol.
- Chimney. A popular choice with all the same benefits as a fire pit, chimneys can also withstand rain. What’s more, they are quite decorative if you are into the rustic style.
The Best Garden Patio Heater (2020)
The Harbour Houseware Garden Burner is the classic-looking, round and straightforward garden burner. It comes in a range of diameters – 55.5 cm, 75 cm, and 85.5 cm – and is crafted from the matchlessly enduring cast iron. This traditional fire pit offers plenty of radiant heat, creating the perfect space for friends and family to gather around.
The tripod construction offers stability on uneven terrain, while the inclusion of sturdy side handles makes for easy movement and transportation.
It has a hole in the bottom to drain the rainwater; and, you can buy a cover for the heater.
- Diameter: 75cm.
- Width w/handle: 87cm.
- Height: 38.5cm
- Weight: 15kg
- Material: Cast iron
- Power source: Wood/charcoal
What do people say about it? Quite a few reviewers question whether the heater is genuinely made from cast iron, mainly due to the product’s thin feel and its strikingly low price. Nevertheless, the slender build is not itself a problem, as the burner is quite sturdy. You have to assemble the tripod legs yourself, but it’s no hassle. The handles make moving the heater easy, but be sure to only do so with small fires inside (or, better, before you light it), as the handles can get scorchingly hot!
- Great value for the money.
- No assembly issues.
- Questionable material
The Harbour Houseware Garden Burner is the simple, cheap choice for a garden patio heater that can also be used as an incinerator. It features a remarkably straightforward design that can fit into any garden, and there are no reported problems with assembly.
The classic Glow Warm patio gas heater makes a powerful heat source and a popular choice for heating gardens and patios. It comes with a set of wheels, so you can handily move it around the patio; and, it has an anti-tilt switch that instantly turns of the heater should it tip over. The Glow Warm has a tremendous output capacity of 13kW (approximately 40.000 BTUs). It runs on propane, with a standard 13kg bottle lasting for 16 hours on maximum heat. The battery-powered ignition button is yet another cool feature.
- Height: 224cm
- 27mm propane regulator
- Fuel: propane gas
What do people say about it? People who bought the Glow Warm heater seem to be genuinely thrilled with their purchase. The device can serve a large space, yet the heat is comfortable – precisely what many buyers hope to get. It is easy to assemble, although some reviewers were thrown off track because they didn’t realise the unit needs a battery (there’s no mention of one in the manual). Once you figure out that it needs a set of AA batteries, the rest is smooth-sailing.
- Decent value for the money
- Handy ignition button
- Nothing obvious
At 13kW, this is one powerful heater. What’s more, it boasts a design that fits most outdoor settings. Since all you need is a propane bottle, running out of fuel can typically be solved with a quick trip to the petrol station or hardware store.
The BU-KO pyramid gas heater is the trendy choice. The pyramid-shaped design goes well with contemporary décor and provides the surrounding area with warmth. It displays an open flame contained in a quartz glass tube and is equipped with embedded Bluetooth Speakers.The BU-KO is made of stainless steel and aluminium, and its manufacturer claims it can withstand almost any weather.It is CE-approved per the European safety standards, with a standard valve that turns it off if the heater is tilted.A step-by-step assembly video guide eliminates the guesswork.
- Height: 227cm
- Power source: Propane/ LPG Gas 13kg bottle
What do people say about it? Most reviewers were content with the gentle, adjustable heat and the bonus Bluetooth speakers. It takes a while to put the unit together, but the video guide is super handy, so apparently, there isn’t much head-scratching during the assembly (ignition batteries aside).
- Very stable.
- It has excellent heat output, which is easily adjustable.
- Nothing obvious.
The BU-KO patio heater is an acclaimed product with a vast amount of reviews everywhere on the web. It comes at a similar price to other garden patio heaters, so it honestly looks like you get a quality product for your money.
La Hacienda Murcia Chimenea is a traditionally styled chimney made with durable steel and coated with a high-temperature black paint finish. This versatile garden and patio heater features a chrome-plated, removable cooking grill for barbequing all year round (and keeping warm around the glowing embers once you’re done cooking). It comes in a range of sizes, depending on your needs.
- Height: 107cm
- Diameter: 43cm
- Weight: 12kg
- Material: metal
- Fuel: Wood/charcoal
What do people say about it? Reviews on the La Hacienda Chimenea range wildly, from fantastic to horrible, so to give a clear overview of this one is a bit tricky. However, The Chimenea is NOT made of heavy-duty material, nor does it claim to be. It’s steel. It will rust very quickly if you don’t spray coat it, or buy a heater cover to shield it from the rain. It is easy to assemble, and it provides a great deal of heat.
- It is lightweight.
- Cheap material that has to be shielded from the rain to prevent rust.
If you like the style of a traditional-looking chimney, La Hacienda is a cheap and decent choice with robust heat output.
Its versatility is quite handy in a garden setting, and you don’t have to drain your bank account to afford it. With a bit of care and attention, you can get good use of the La Hacienda Chimenea, as both a garden heater and a small barbecue.
The Imus model is a convenient, portable infrared heater you can place anywhere in your garden. It radiates heat from 2 sides and handily fits under the table to keep your guests’ feet warm. The Mensa infrared heater comes with Safe-Touch technology, so the grill stays at a low temperature at all times. This feature keeps the heater safe around children and pets.
The length of the cord gives you the possibility to quickly move the heater around your property.
- Dimensions: 67.2 x 20 x 20cm
- Weight: 3.6kg
- Power supply: electricity 230v /50Hz
- Output: 550W
- Cord length: 3 metres
What do people say about it? Most reviewers have expressed satisfaction with this product. Here’s a summary of their feedback.
The Mensa heating Imus is a quality product with generous heat output. The device provides instant heat while staying energy-efficient at the same time. An electric-powered heater is not the obvious choice for a garden, but the length of the cord, at 3 metres, makes it possible.
- Great heat output, excellent quality.
- Safe-touch technology.
- 3-metre power cord.
The Imus is portable, small, safe, and powerful. Like all infrared heaters, this model is way more efficient than its convection peers.
Then, there’s the power cord. You may think it’s strange to list the power cord as a selling point. Still, after reviewing a thousand electric heaters with unabashedly useless, 1-metre cords, I feel like the Mensa guys are genius for giving their heater a full, functional 3 metres of cable. Bravo.
Garden Patio Heater FAQs
What Size Garden Patio Heater Do I Need?
Sizing garden heaters can get a bit complex. Sure, the heater’s output is a significant factor, but it’s one of many. Is the patio covered with a canopy? Or is there a gazebo? If you answered ‘yes’, then heating your patio is much easier than a fully open one that drains heat the second its emitted.
Regardless of your patio’s design, don’t expect the heater to heat the entire space evenly, or maintain the temperature you like. Instead, it’s best to concentrate heat on a particular location; one, ideally, where you and your friends intend to assemble. Infrared heaters are great for this because they emit direct heat that only warms up the surface at which you aim it. Alternatively, you can opt for a fire pit, which can spread heat more evenly around itself without costing you an arm and a leg in gas or electricity.
Above, I’ve covered an array of garden patio heaters that work for a variety of uses.
- Gas patio heaters are the best for heating a large area (just beware the cost), and you’ll find that it’s relatively easy to calculate the perfect size to get the correct area coverage.
- The same goes for electric patio heaters.
For both types, you can use the chart below to estimate how big your heater needs to be, or how many heaters you need, to get adequate coverage.
Patio heater sizing chart
|Patio Area (m2)||Heater Output (kW)|
|9-42||1.47 – 2.93|
|42-93||2.93 – 5.86|
|93-139||5.86 – 7.0|
|139-186||7.0 – 8.79|
|186-232||8.79 – 9.96|
Now, I’ve listed some heaters that are not as easy to give a precise dimension chart for, such as fire pits and chimneys.
The freestanding fire pits and chimneys are fuelled by charcoal or wood logs, and the output of heat has a lot to do with how big a fire you get going, and how much you keep refueling.
Needless to say, a massive pile of logs with roaring flames will heat a larger area than a tiny grill with glowing embers. That said, a large fire pit will give off enough heat for you to sit around with a group of family or friends, and will feel much cosier than an electric heater humming away in the corner.
A chimney-style heater will keep warm a while after the flames are out, so just being near it, you will still get some precious warmth.
What’s the Best Fuel for a Garden Patio Heater?
Gas is the easiest option. You can move gas heaters around, as you are not dependent on an electric outlet and cord extensions. Gas heaters provide far-reaching heat but are expensive to run.
Electric heaters might be tricky to connect in a garden, but they are much more eco-friendly. Electric heaters are often infrared, which means they warm up what they are directly aimed at instead of blowing hot air around. Direct radiant heat means that there is less energy wasted, so you can both slash your carbon footprint, and spend less on heating than you would with a gas heater.
A log burner or fire pit is the cosy and popular choice right now. It provides you with that campfire feeling and thoroughly heats the immediate surroundings. It can be fueled with both wood logs and charcoal, but neither option is great for the environment (OK, neither is gas). A real fire can also be hard to light, and must continually tend to it to keep it burning safely. Once you are passed that, chimneys and fire pits are both aesthetically pleasing and cosy, and provide immediate, powerful heat.
Are Garden Heaters Safe?
Short answer – yes. Long, proper answer – it depends. As I mentioned above, garden heaters come with different fuel options and designs, so there are many variables affecting safety.
Fire pits are not the safest choice if you have small children or pets. I say this even though some have decent safety measures, like mesh covers that protect against sparks. Real, open fires are a huge hazard in the open air (think unlimited fuel supply), so you have to keep an eye on them without pause. Also, be aware that natural fires cannot just be “turned off” as quickly as their gas or electric peers.
Gas heaters are generally safe. Most are fitted with a tilt-over safety switch and often come with heavy weight-plates to avoid tilting in the first place.
Electricity is a bit more tricky but is generally safe as well. Some electric heaters are guarded with a –safe-touch technology, which keeps their grille at low temperatures in case of accidental contact.
That said, these are electric devices that you’re placing outdoors. Always follow the instructions on the product, keep electricity and water apart, and check cords and mounting before plugging in the device.
For added safety, it is recommended to use a cover to keep dust, bird droppings, and moisture away from outdoor heaters. A protective cover will not only prolong the lifespan of your heater but also ensure it’s safety during use.
With winter just around the block and indoor socialising facing constraints, garden heaters top the shopping list of many owners. And why not? For a modest price, these gadgets let you enjoy the outdoors in comfort and relative safety. I hope that my list of the top 5 garden heaters, and the selection guide, will help you find the right heater for your home.
Is there anything I missed? Perhaps you’ve used one of the models I mentioned above (or any other model, really) and would like to share your experience? If so, please leave our readers a comment below!