The lighter summer evenings are perfect for relaxing and enjoying your outdoor space, but when the sun starts to go down, you may begin to feel a chill in the air. However, investing in a quality patio heater can provide a cosy warmth that can let you enjoy the outdoors, and al fresco entertaining, for longer.
There are many types of patio heaters available on the market and it may be tricky to decide which one is the best choice for you and your space.
You will need to consider:
- How much do I want to spend initially?
- How cost-efficient it is once running?
- How well will it distribute heat in my space?
- What style will look good in my space?
- Do I want freestanding or wall mounted?
- Is it environmentally friendly?
- What features do I want my patio heater to have?
Keep reading to find out the answers and determine which is the best option for you.
How much do I want to spend on a patio heater?
The initial cost of a patio heater can vary greatly, as it is dependent on your space and the type of heater you choose. Obviously, the larger the space, the more the cost.
The lowest cost option is a fire pit or chimenea, which generally costs between £20-£100. Other garden heating solutions like mid-range gas or electric heaters can be anywhere from around £50 to £600 dependent on their features.
Premium options for those with a higher budget are available, so to create a feature with stylish designs to add to the décor of a larger garden, you could well be spending over £1,000.
How cost-efficient is my patio heater?
An average electric patio heater runs at 2kW and running this for an hour will cost approximately 40p, depending on your energy tariff. Infrared electric heaters have the added benefit of directing heating to a particular area so there is less potential for wastage. A gas patio heater uses a comparatively large amount of energy compared with electric heaters and you will need to factor in the cost of buying gas canisters. Fire pits and chimeneas have a low ongoing cost as you can pick up logs or kindling quite cheaply.
What style patio heater will look good?
Patio heaters are available in many styles; the first decision is freestanding or wall/ceiling-mounted. Freestanding heaters can look like lamps, towers or pyramids while wall-mounted heaters tend to be bar heaters or look like a ceiling light. Mounted heaters are more inconspicuous and don't take up floor space, but they do need to be plugged into the mains. It is worth looking at the many different designs available to see what will suit your space.
Is my patio heater environmentally friendly?
Unfortunately, no patio heaters are truly environmentally friendly yet. But some options are kinder to the environment. Gas heaters rank the lowest in terms of energy efficiency as they produce significantly more CO2 than electric heaters. Infrared patio heaters are a top choice as they reduce the environmental impact significantly in comparison and are certainly the best eco-friendly option.
What features do I want my patio heater to have?
The technology of heaters is evolving all the time. Some features are important for safety, such as grates, covers and emitter screens, which are essential if you have pets or small children. An automatic switch-off feature for freestanding heaters if they topple over is also ideal. A few other benefits to consider are that many heaters now have adjustable temperature settings and adjustable light settings, and a step up from that is WiFi heaters that can be controlled through a phone app.
Types of Heaters
Gas patio heaters
Gas heaters rely on propane gas cylinders or a fixed gas pipe; the latter is an unlikely option in a domestic garden. Gas heaters often have a slightly lower initial outlay, but ongoing costs are higher and they are not energy efficient. They provide instant heat, but because they heat the surrounding air rather than objects, some energy is wasted.
Electric patio heaters
Electric patio heaters can be freestanding, or wall or ceiling-mounted but they do need to be plugged into the mains. Electric heaters can heat by convection (heating the surrounding area) or by radiation (see infrared heaters below). Electric heaters consume less energy than gas heaters, so are a more cost-effective option to run, although convection heaters do waste some energy in the surrounding area.
Infrared patio heaters
Infrared patio heaters emit warmth through radiant heating, providing instant heat to objects directly rather than the air around them. As the heat warms up people, furniture, ornaments etc, these objects then retain the heat and radiate it further. They do not release any CO2, making them one of the most energy-efficient and cost-efficient heating solutions. They do not feel hot to the touch, protecting you and your family from potential harm.
Solid-fuel patio heaters
Fire pits and chimeneas both burn solid fuel, such as wood, charcoal, pellets etc to emit warmth. A traditional way to keep warm outdoors, they can look decorative and give that cosy 'round the campfire' feel and are cost effective to buy and run. However, they do emit smoke which can be harmful to inhale and leave your clothes smelling smoky. They require a supply of materials to burn and need a regular clean.
If you need any advice on the best patio heater for your space, we have a team of experts who can advise. Just drop us a line here.