Best patio heaters 2021: propane and electric patio heaters for your garden

Choose from portable, wall-mounted, gas and electric patio heaters in our guide to the best patio heaters of 2021

Best patio heaters
(Image credit: Future)

The best patio heaters will allow you to entertain guests even when it's cold in your garden. From wall-mounted options for use year-round to portable patio heaters that can be stored easily, the best patio heaters can extend an evening spent in the garden. When you're done, simply switch off and store safely ready for your next event. 

Some of the best patio heaters in our guide come in columns that can be placed on patios or even tabletops to keep you warm as you sit out in the evenings. Other patio heaters (typically gas) can be taken out to the bottom of the garden because they don't need to be plugged in to warm you up.

In our guide below, we've included some patio heaters from Swan, Amazon, Argos and other top brands. You can also take a look at the best fire pits for some wood-fired warmth and plenty of atmosphere. For the best patio heaters in 2021, keep reading.

Should you buy a gas or electric patio heater? 

While the best patio heaters for you depends on how important portability is, most of the patio heaters in our guide are electric because they're typically cheaper and will heat you up faster. Many prefer electric patio heaters because they're more energy efficient and run cleaner than gas alternatives, but they do need to be plugged in. If you want a patio heater that can be carried out into the garden, away from any plug points, a gas patio heater is a good option because it doesn't need to be plugged in to heat the surrounding area.

Electric patio heaters tend to use infrared to heat up specific objects. These heaters will heat you directly, and can often give off a red glow as they do so. Gas patio heaters are convective and will heat the air around them. They don't give off the same bright light but they will take longer to warm you up because they warm the air around you, as opposed to heating you up directly. 

The best patio heaters 2021

best patio heater

(Image credit: Donyer Power)

1. Donyer Power Portable Patio Electric Heater

Best patio heater: this freestanding design looks good as well as warming you and your guests

Specifications
Best for: Longer evenings
Fuel: Electricity
Materials: Aluminium and stainless steel
Dimensions: H180 x Dia.50cm
Reasons to buy
+Affordable+Simple and storable design+Easy to use
Reasons to avoid
-Partial self-assembly

The Donyer Power Portable Patio Electric Heater has a discreet overhead design that will easily pack away for storage in the warmer months. It's made of steel with aluminium casing and the hardy design has variable height, perfect for large or small groups. 

Simple design

If you are looking for a patio heater that isn't going to totally take over your outdoor space, this is a great option. The overhead option is really subtle and there are two size options so you can pick the best one for your space. 

Easy operation

Plug in and turn on at the base of the heater head – how easy is that! Due to it being on the small size you can also pick up the heater using the handle at the top and move it around with you. The heater has three heat settings which makes it easy to amp up on those extra chilly nights, or turn down if it's done its job but you're enjoying the light. 

Infrared technology

This heater is designed to heat bodies, rather than just the air around it so no energy is wasted and everyone will feel nice and toasty. Plus no noise or fumes are given off either. 

best patio heater

(Image credit: Homebase)

2. Lume 1500w Table Heater

Best small patio heater: place on the table to heat chilly hands

Specifications
Best for: Tabletop use
Fuel: Corded electric
Material: Aluminum, Steel, Stainless steel
Dimensions: H210 x W45 x D45 cm
Reasons to buy
+Covered top acts as a lamp+Perfectly portable+Easy to turn on and off
Reasons to avoid
-Only one heat intensity option

The Lume 1500w Table Heater is a great pick for those who want to make the most of their garden furniture. It's got 1500W of power, which is plenty for keeping your hands warm as you sip on your evening drinks. 

Safe

The base is a generous 50cm wide, meaning you'll not have to worry about the heater tipping. 

Portable

The Lume 1500w Table Heater is only 10kg. Take it out into the garden or even put it in the car to share at a friend's house. Finding a space for it in your home won't be too hard down to the compact size. 

Bright lights

Many of the best patio heaters give off light, and this is one of them. The Lume 1500w Table Heater will act as a lamp as you sit in the garden, making it valuable for evening use. 

Swan Al Fresco SH16310N Column Patio Heater

(Image credit: Swan)

3. Swan Al Fresco SH16310N Column Patio Heater

Best column patio heater: for sitting out in the garden

Specifications
Best for: Seated areas
Fuel: Corded electric
Material: Aluminium, carbon fibre
Dimensions: 79.4 x 47.2 x 32.2 cm
Reasons to buy
+Two heat settings+Safety switch+Suitable for use in all weather
Reasons to avoid
-Only heated towards the top half

A reliable and waterproof patio heater, this corded electric option from Swan is perfectly suited to most gardens.

Two heat settings

Choose between 1000W and 2000W of heat intensity depending on how cold it is. Combining carbon fibre heating and an aluminium reflector, it's energy-efficient and offers direct heat. 

Safety features

The Swan Al Fresco SH16310N Column Patio Heater has a 360-degree tip over safety switch. This means it will automatically switch off if it tips. 

Simple and effective

The 80cm heater doesn't cover the entire column, but it's durable and corrosion-resistant. Swan claims it can be used come 'rain or shine'. 

Pacific Lifestyle Cosiscoop Fire Lantern

(Image credit: Pacific Lifestyle)

4. Pacific Lifestyle Cosiscoop Fire Lantern

Best gas tabletop patio heater: put this design at the centre of your outdoor dining table

Specifications
Best for : Sizing down
Fuel: Gas
Materials: Metal and glass
Dimensions: H 37 x W 16 x D 16cm
Reasons to buy
+Space-saving option+Portable +Super stylish design 
Reasons to avoid
-You aren't going to get as much heat as you would from a more traditional patio heater

A tabletop patio heater can be a convenient solution to outdoor heating as it’s not bulky, and this design is stylish to boot. 

Stylish design 

As far as portable patio heaters go we think this might just be the most stylish model we have ever seen. So chic and contemporary, it would bring something to you garden other than just a cosy feel to an autumn evening. 

Totally portable

This patio heater is powered by gas, so you don't have to worry about being anywhere near a plug. Simply pick it up by the handle and move to wherever needed in the garden. It's super lightweight too, using just a 190 gram gas canister (which do bear in mind is not included).

Swan Al Fresco SH16340N

(Image credit: Swan)

5. Swan Al Fresco SH16340N

Best wall mounted patio heater: a waterproof option for year-round use

Specifications
Best for: Wall mounted use
Fuel: Electric
Material: Aluminium, carbon fibre
Dimensions: H86 x W21 x D16 cm
Reasons to buy
+You'll hardly know it's there+Waterproof+Remote controlled
Reasons to avoid
-Better for small spaces

Designed for balconies and terraces, this wall mounted patio heater can stay outside all year long thanks to its waterproof design. It's discreet but has 1800W of power. 

Remote controlled

There's no need to stand up and turn this patio heater off once you're all warm and cosy, and if you've been sitting out as it gets dark you can simply use the remote control to kick up some heat and extend your evening. 

Install how you like

You can install this patio heater horizontally or vertically, which means it will work well on just about any wall, no matter how narrow. 

Efficient

With an electric design and carbon fibre mesh, the Swan Al Fresco SH16340N is energy efficient, making it good for the planet and your pocket, too.  

best patio heater

(Image credit: Luxeva)

6. Luxeva Carbon Infrared Patio Heater

Best freestanding patio heater: lightweight and easy to operate

Specifications
Best for: Those who want something simple
Fuel: Electric
Materials: Aluminium
Dimensions: W18.5 x D7.5 x H98 cm
Reasons to buy
+Freestanding and portable+98% energy efficiency+Comes with a cover
Reasons to avoid
-Better suited to seated

Buy the best patio heater for your seated guests with the Luxeva Carbon Infrared Patio Heater. At just shy of 100cm tall, it's a little on the short site for use in standing soirees, but for those who want something to sit beside them on the patio it fits the bill perfectly. 

Two heat settings

The maximum power is 2000W, but you can choose from two heat intensities with the Luxeva Carbon Infrared Patio Heater. 

Efficiency is everything

Infrared technology is as efficient as it gets. The Luxeva Carbon Infrared Patio Heater has infrared filaments that heat objects and people directly, instead of the air around it. All that leads to energy efficiency of up to 98%, which keeps bills slow and garden dwellers happy. 

Storage is easy

The Luxeva Carbon Infrared Patio Heater has a dust cover, meaning it won't be as prone to knocking about when you're moving it or storing. It's also only 6kg, so plenty lightweight enough for moving around. 

La Hacienda Hanging Carbon Fibre Electric Heater

(Image credit: La Hacienda)

7. La Hacienda Hanging Carbon Fibre Electric Heater

Best pendant patio heater: keep your outside space clutter free with a hanging heater

Specifications
Best for : Sleek results
Fuel: Electricity
Materials : Steel
Dimensions : H28, W43, D43cm
Reasons to buy
+Space saver+Cute design 
Reasons to avoid
-You’ll need somewhere to hang it

Getting the heat from a pendant is a space-efficient solution to cool evenings, leaving the patio and the tabletop free of extras.

Small but powerful 

Powered by a 1500W heater, this overhead patio heater is durable and high powered given its smaller frame.

Overhead light

As it’s fitted with an LED light this design will provide atmospheric lighting for a table or seating group as well as heat. It's a better option if you like that outdoor living room type feel in your garden. 

Easy to operate

Much like a normal overhead light all you do is pull the cord and voila, a nice toasty atmosphere is instantly created. 

MAISONS DU MONDE METAL PATIO HEATER

(Image credit: Maisons Du Monde)

8. Maisons du Monde metal patio heater

Best patio heater for simple style: a gas heater that discreetly heats

Specifications
Best for: Style
Fuel : Gas
Materials : Metal
Dimensions: H223 x W81cm
Reasons to buy
+Stylish simple design +Subtle grey finish
Reasons to avoid
-You’ll need to buy gas cylinders

If you don’t mind using gas cylinders as a fuel source, this design is really simple and stylish – ideal if you want your patio heater to almost go unnoticed in your garden. 

Flexible positioning

On wheels, this patio heater can be moved to where you need it and you won’t have to worry about a cable reaching the location of your table and chairs.

Simple operation

The heater can be lit at the push of a button, and there’s a choice of different heating settings too.

For stability

There’s a base reservoir system with this design. Fill it with sand or water to create weight low down. Bear in mind, though, that if the wind is high, it is possible for the heater to tip over. For safety, there’s a shut-off tilt valve that turns it off should this happen.

large floorstanding patio heater in the shape of a curved floor lamp

(Image credit: Cuckooland)

9. Cuckooland Heatsail Dome Freestanding Electric Patio Heater Floor Lamp

Best luxe patio heater: make a statement with a striking contemporary model

Specifications
Best for: Always-partying-in-the-garden types
Fuel: Electricity
Materials : Stainless steel and aluminium
Dimensions: H235.3 x W225.5cm
Reasons to buy
+Can stay outside year round+Remote control+Wheels on base+Provides light as well as heat
Reasons to avoid
-High budget option

This contemporary design will make a statement and complement a modern garden design.

Great lines

With a hood that’s 100 x 50cm and an attractively curvaceous stand, this design’s definitely attention grabbing as well as functional.

Don’t get up

It comes with a remote control to allow you to adjust the heat and light, which can be operated independently. You can control it from the central unit as an alternative, though.

Start the party

You can even have waterproof Bluetooth speakers in the base of this design – although they don’t come as standard.

How to buy the best patio heater

What do you need to consider to select the best patio heater for your outside space? Here’s the lowdown.

Size and space requirements

If space is at a premium, a tabletop or pendant design will probably suit best, leaving more of the floor area free for furniture. After that, think table size: do you have room for a heater on the tabletop without cramping the place settings? A pendant design won’t even require this, but you will need to be able to suspend it.

Floorstanding designs, while larger, can be fabulous outdoor features in their own right, and are ideal for outdoor living rooms and sizeable dining areas.

If you plan on entertaining this spring or summer, you should also take a look at the best BBQ for your garden with our roundup. For more outdoor essentials, take a look at the best garden furniture

Fuel

Electric patio heaters are fuss-free. There’s no need to deal with weighty gas cylinders and they’re clean and quiet. On the downside is the need to plug them in. Check the cable length is sufficient for you to put the heater where you want it. Gas designs aren’t tethered in this way, so win out in the flexibility stakes.

Safety

Be aware that high winds and tall patio heaters aren’t a good mix. Position with this in mind and look for anchoring features or safety cutouts. 

Millie Fender
Millie Fender

Millie has been writing for Gardeningetc since the beginning of 2021, covering all things barbecues, patio heaters, and fire pits. A lover of al fresco dining, Millie is always on the hunt for the best barbecues and pizza ovens for entertaining friends and family. She is a firm believer that everyone should have their own herb garden, and can often be found taming her over-zealous rosemary plant.