Best patio heater 2022: keep warm in the great outdoors

Don’t let lower temperatures spoil your outdoor entertaining – get a patio heater and feel the warmth

Best patio heater 2022
(Image credit: Canva)

 

The best patio heaters of 2022 can make your garden a place to meet and relax all year round. During the summer, after the sun goes down the nights can get a little chilly, and a patio heater can extend those long summer evenings. In the winter, a patio heater can give your outdoor space a whole new lease of life, allowing you to enjoy it even when the days are crisp.

Patio heaters can produce a little or a lot of heat, they’re easy to use and don’t have to be used for hours on end. In this guide we’ve picked out our favourite options that could be a great addition to your garden.

And so if you’re making your garden into an evening chill out space, you may also want to consider some other luxury garden staples such as the best fire pits, best hot tubs and the best outdoor solar lights to really finish off the ambience.

Check out our full guide to the best patio heaters in 2022 below.

The best patio heaters available today in 2022

Swan Al Fresco on white backgroundT3 Best Buy Award badge

(Image credit: Swan)

1. Swan Al Fresco SH16310N Column Patio Heater

The best patio heater for most people

Specifications

Fuel: Electric
Dimensions: 79.4 x 47.2 x 32.2cm
Power: 2kW

Reasons to buy

+
Two heating levels
+
Stylish design
+
Waterproof
+
Tip-over cut-off feature

Reasons to avoid

-
Heating element isn't massive
-
Cord length only 1.8 metres

We think the best patio heater that most people can buy today is the electric Swan Al Fresco SH16310N Column Patio Heater. This heater stands at 79.4 cm high and offers up two power settings, 1000W and 2000W, which means you can tailor its heat output depending on the situation.

It's super easy to use, too, with a mid-height, centrally-mounted knob allowing easy switching on and off as well as between heating levels. The heating element isn't the largest but it delivers very effective heating in the region around it and it boasts a 360-degree tip-over safety feature that cuts the power.

The Swan Al Fresco SH16310N Column Patio Heater is waterproof, too, meaning that it can be left outside all year round and in all weather conditions.

A 1.8-metre cord isn't the longest, though, so we advise people to think where they're going to place the Swan Al Fresco before ringing it up, as you may need a 13amp extension cable.

You can compare this top-rated patio to heater to a strong rival in T3's Swan Al Fresco Column vs Heatlab 2KW comparison feature.

Heatlab 2kW Outdoor Freestanding Electric Quartz Bulb Garden Patio Heater on white backgroundT3 Approved badge

(Image credit: Heatlab)

2. Heatlab 2kW Outdoor Freestanding Electric Quartz Bulb Garden Patio Heaters

Top twin pedestal option for larger gatherings

Specifications

Fuel: Electric
Dimensions: 50 x 47cm
Power: 2kW

Reasons to buy

+
Two heaters are better than one
+
Adjustable height and angle
+
Low running costs

Reasons to avoid

-
Do you need two heaters?
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Not great lookers

You know the scenario… You have half a dozen guests lounging about on your Manutti Zendo garden suite and half of them are freezing to death because you unwisely bought only one outdoor heater. What you need is this pair of 2kW-a-piece freestanding electric reflective bar heaters to keep everyone’s teeth from chattering.

Each two-bar Heatlab pedestal provides three levels of heat output – 650W, 1,350W and 2000W – plus height adjustment. The reflectors can also be angled downwards by up to 45˚ and their IPX4 rating means they can be sited indoors or out. Running costs are said to be about 10p an hour which seems quite cheap.

If you’re looking for a reasonably priced electric option that covers a greater area while throwing extra light on the proceedings, then put this pair on the consideration list.

You can see how this patio heater stacks up against a strong rival in T3's Heatlab 2KW vs Opranic 2KW comparison feature.

OPRANIC 2KW Electric Patio Heater on white backgroundT3 Approved badge

(Image credit: Opranic)

3. Opranic 2KW Electric Patio Heater

A tower patio heater that offers five levels of power

Specifications

Fuel: Electric
Dimensions: 100.5 x 19 x 12.7cm
Power: 2kW

Reasons to buy

+
5 power levels
+
Remote control

Reasons to avoid

-
Aesthetic won't suit all gardens

Providing you're happy with a more modern aesthetic, and want a free-standing electrically powered patio heater then the Opranic 2KW Electric Patio Heater (opens in new tab) is worth scoping out.

This tower heater boasts a power-to-heat conversion rate of 96 per cent, which is very, very efficient, and also offers five power levels to choose from in terms of how toasty things get. You also get a remote control to operate it while you enjoy a drink in your nearby chair.

While it is a free-standing unit, it isn't super heavy and therefore can be moved from place to place, which adds a dimension to its value that a fixed or mounted heater does not offer. The cable length of the heater is two meters, so that is something consider when purchasing it, as you may need a 13amp extension cable.

Overall, though, this is a strong free-standing patio heater that retails firmly in the mid-range price point.

Dellonda Freestanding Gas Outdoor Garden Pyramid Patio Heater on white backgroundT3 Approved badge

(Image credit: Dellonda)

4. Dellonda Freestanding Gas Outdoor Garden Pyramid Patio Heater

The best gas-powered patio heater

Specifications

Fuel: Gas
Dimensions: 52 x 227cm
Power: 13kW

Reasons to buy

+
Strong heating ability
+
Very portable

Reasons to avoid

-
Needs gas supply to work
-
Not as efficient as electric

Electric patio heaters are great but they are never the most portable as they need a wired connection to mains electricity. Enter gas, which allows you to remove that power cable entirely. The Dellonda Freestanding Gas Outdoor Garden Pyramid Patio Heater is a great example of this type, offering an ability to deliver a massive 13,000 Watts of heating power.

It's powered by a gas canister, so you can take this patio heater anywhere in your garden and it will work without any trailing wires ruining the aesthetic. So, for example, if you've got a pergola that sits at the end of your garden then you can simply move the Dellonda patio heater there.

You can obviously vary the level of heat delivered, and the whole system works like a gas stove would, with a gas level knob and igniter button working in tandem to fire it up. Gas isn't the most cost effective or environment-friendly fuel source for a patio heater, but if you need serious heating and freedom of placement, then this is a great choice.

Charles Bentley 2000W Electric Table Top Patio Heater on white backgroundT3 Approved badge

(Image credit: Charles Bentley)

5. Charles Bentley 2000W Electric Table Top Patio Heater

The best table patio heater

Specifications

Fuel: Electric
Dimensions: 81 x 45 x 45cm
Power: 2kW

Reasons to buy

+
Strong on-table heating ability
+
Compact and easy to store

Reasons to avoid

-
Upper body will be heated only
-
Cable will have to be managed

If you specifically want a patio heater so you and your friends and family can stay warm while eating outside then the Charles Bentley is well worth considering.

This patio heater is designed to sit directly on a table, in the middle ideally, and then heat diners sat around it with its strong 2,000-watt infrared heating element. At 81cm in height, it’s a pretty tall lamp so make sure your table is large enough to accommodate it.

Obviously, the downside with a table-based patio heater is that it will not warm anyone's legs, and as soon as you move away from being sat at the tablet its potency is completely voided.

Nevertheless, this model could be ideal as a complementary dining-focussed heater that can be used alongside a full-size column patio heater.

Prem-I-Air 2 kW Outdoor Garden Heating Wall Mounted Patio Heater on white backgroundT3 Approved badge

(Image credit: Prem-I-Air)

6. Prem-I-Air 2 kW Outdoor Garden Heating Wall Mounted Patio Heater

A cheap but popular wall-mounted electric patio heater

Specifications

Fuel: Electric
Dimensions: 52.5 x 26 x 23cm
Power: 950 watts

Reasons to buy

+
Compact
+
Cheap

Reasons to avoid

-
Has to be mounted
-
Not a great looker

If you're looking for a cheap, electrically-powered wall-mounted patio heater, the Prem-I-Air 2 kW is worth a gander. You get the 950 watts of heat, which is not great, it has to be said. Nevertheless, it definitely does the job for close-proximity warmth. It also offers an adjustable head for easy positioning. The heater is turned on and off with a long cord pull, so you don't have to be super tall to turn it on.

Obviously, there are more powerful patio heaters out there, but if you want modest heating in a relatively small area then this is one of the most affordable ways to do it. It's clearly a best seller on Amazon for a reason.

Blumfeldt Gold Bar Electric Patio Heater on white backgroundT3 Approved badge

(Image credit: Blumfeldt)

7. Blumfeldt Gold Bar Electric Patio Heater

The best wall-mounted bar heater

Specifications

Fuel: Electric
Dimensions: 63 x 19 x 19cm
Power: 750W, 150kW and 200kW

Reasons to buy

+
Attractive design
+
Three heat levels
+
Does the job

Reasons to avoid

-
Requires professional installation

This keenly-priced 240-volt wall-mounted electric bar is just over a metre in width and provides up to a substantial 2,000 watts of outdoor warmth. It’s an ideal model for verandahs and patios but, despite being weather resistant, it should be installed under full cover with zero chance of horizontal rain affecting it. Naturally, you’ll also want a professional to install it, if only to ensure that there are no unsightly wires dangling about.

The Blumfeldt is equipped with an aluminium casing for rust-free durability, a damp-proof rocker switch on the side and a handy remote control that, aside from switching the unit on and off, allows the user to select three levels of heat: 750W, 150kW and the full 200kW monty.

If you’re in the market for an outdoor heater that is always to hand when you need it, then this attractive and unobtrusive TV sound bar-style model is a great option.

Swan Al Fresco SH16330N on white backgroundT3 Approved badge

(Image credit: Swan)

8. Swan Al Fresco SH16330N Portable Patio Heater

Best portable electric patio heater for keeping legs warm

Specifications

Fuel: Electric
Dimensions: 60 x 32 x 32cm
Power: 120kW

Reasons to buy

+
Ideal for use under tables
+
Easy to carry
+
Great for warming legs

Reasons to avoid

-
Naturally requires an electricity source

This electric 1,200W portable is a brilliant solution for keeping legs warm when having a natter around the outdoor patio table. Simply plug in the 1.8-metre cable (you’ll need a 13amp extension if you don’t have have an outdoor electricity supply), grab it by the handle and place it under the table (or anywhere else nearby) and bask in the warmth of its 360˚carbon fibre heating element.

At this price this is a great-value option for outdoor warming and a boon for chilly outdoor rooms like work sheds, cabins and home offices.

Mr. Heater F215100 MH4B Little Buddy on white backgroundT3 Approved badge

(Image credit: Mr. Heater)

9. Mr. Heater F215100 MH4B Little Buddy

Best portable gas heater for patios and camping

Specifications

Fuel: Gas
Dimensions: 27.9 x 27.9 x 27.9cm
Power: 4,000 and 9,000 BTU/HR

Reasons to buy

+
Small and portable
+
High heat output
+
Uses cartridge gas

Reasons to avoid

-
Not advisable to use indoors
-
High-ish gas consumption

This portable gas model was designed for camping but it’s an excellent patio heater too. According to the stats, it kicks out between 4,000 and 9,000-BTU or radiant heat which is quite phenomenal for a heater of this size (just 28cm tall). While we haven’t actually laid our hands on one, the general consensus among Amazon users is that it excels at warming the air around your feet – or torso if you’re sitting low. It features four heat levels, an integrated Piezo sparking mechanism and a low-oxygen and tip-over shut-off mechanism for added safety.

We would advise against using it indoors, simply because it uses cartridge-based propane gas as a fuel and this may lead to a build up of dangerous carbon monoxide. Gas burners also produce condensation as a byproduct. If planning to use it inside a tent, we would advise keeping the main flap wide open. When it comes to CO, you can never be too careful.

The practically-named Mr. Heater weighs a tad over 2kgs so it’s easy enough to carry short distances. Granted, it’s not the most aesthetically pleasing model on this page but, judging by the swathe of positive reviews, it’s highly efficient even though it does tend to swallow gas at quite a high rate.

ALUK 2000W Patio Heater on white backgroundT3 Approved badge

(Image credit: ALUK)

10. ALUK 2000W Patio Heater

Best hanging heater for al fresco evenings

Specifications

Fuel: Electric
Dimensions: 58.5 x 35cm
Power: 2kW

Reasons to buy

+
Great option for verandahs and pergolas
+
Effective torso and head heating

Reasons to avoid

-
Don't hang it too low!

Here’s an easy-to-install, remote-controlled electric halogen patio heater that’s designed to be hung from the ceilings of verandahs, open conservatories, covered pergolas or any enclosed room that requires a 2,000-watt blast of intense warmth.

If used outdoors, just be sure to have an electricity supply close to hand or you’ll need to unfurl a durable 13amp extension lead – which you will doubtless forget to roll up and bring indoors at the end of the evening whereupon it will rain, a big bang will occur and your pergola will catch fire. Or something like that.

The ALUK Patio Heater also delivers three different heating levels, features an aluminium cover and has an integrated chain that makes hanging from gazebos and ceilings simple. This patio heater also comes with a remote control.

Quartz Electric Garden Patio Heater on white backgroundT3 Approved badge

(Image credit: Olsen & Smith)

11. Quartz Electric Garden Patio Heater

An affordable floor-standing patio heater

Specifications

Fuel: Electric
Dimensions: Adjustable from 175 to 210cm
Power: 2kW

Reasons to buy

+
Three heat settings to choose from
+
Auto turn off feature if knocked over
+
Affordable price point

Reasons to avoid

-
Not a looker
-
Maximum 2000w heat level

This mains-powered, floor-standing patio heater from Olsen & Smith offers an affordable way to inject your patio with some outdoor heating.

This heater doesn't do anything special, but what it does do is offer rock solid heating up to 2kW, with three different heating settings (650W, 1,300W and 2000W). It’s also height adjustable from 1.75m and 2.1m, while the head itself can be tilted between 45 and 90 degrees.

Those buyers with children will also be pleased to hear that this model comes with an auto shut-off feature if it is knocked over. However, the power cord is only two meters in length, so most people will likely need a 13amp extension cable if they're using it away from an outdoor power point.

While not the best looking or premium garden heater we’ve ever seen, it's super affordable and offers strong, AC-powered heating.

Everything you wanted to know about patio heaters

Let’s get the environmental argument out of the way first: the most environmentally friendly patio heater is a woolly jumper. But the best patio heater is one you buy online that usually runs on fossil fuels but keeps you warm during spring and cooler summer al fresco evenings.

If you need to beat the chill of the great outdoors, there are two main kinds of heat source to consider: propane gas and electricity.

There are pros and cons to each. Electricity feels free, although of course it isn’t, but it offers instant heat and fairly quick cooling. There are two main kinds of electric heating: long-wave infrared and halogen. The latter is much cheaper but suffers from very limited range, so you need to sit fairly close and you’ll probably end up complaining about a too-hot head. Long-wave infrared is much more expensive but doesn’t emit visible light and covers a much larger area.

Gas heaters can be very effective, but of course you need to buy gas for them – and that means thinking ahead so you’re not driving around the local garages and DIY stores on a Sunday afternoon looking for a new canister fifteen minutes before your guests arrive. They cost more to run than electric heaters do, but they warm a larger area without the hot-or-not issue that affects electric patio heaters.

Finally, there’s the good old log which we cover in detail in our guide to the Best Fire Pits.  Despite being fossil free, logs do create a lot of smoke so they're not especially environment friendly. That smoke will also waft over the patio table from time to time causing everyone to choke and splutter. Your guests' clothes will also smell, but they'll still enjoy the experience because nothing smells more earthy than wood smoke, cow pats notwithstanding.

Solid fuel patio heaters such as fire pits and chimineas can be very effective, but you’ll need to keep a stock of logs – and logs are notoriously expensive given how quickly they burn down. Fire pits and chimineas can also be a danger with young kids running around.

To find the best garden pits, head over to our feature on, er, the best garden firepits.

Derek (aka Delbert, Delvis, Delphinium, Delboy etc) specialises in home and outdoor wares, from coffee machines, white appliances and vacs to drones, garden gear and BBQs. He has been writing for more years than anyone can remember, starting at the legendary Time Out magazine – the original, London version – on a typewriter! He now writes for T3 between playing drums with his bandmates in Red Box (redboxmusic).