If you’re starting to feel the chill in your garden, or out on the patio this autumn, it’s worth considering an outdoor electric heater. Gardens can be enjoyed throughout the year, no matter the weather.
So, in our guide to electric and infrared heaters below we’ll run through some of our favourite heaters, and pit them against their gas, and wood-burning rivals.
Outdoor Electric Heaters Ratings Chart
Outdoor Electric Heaters Buyers’ Guide
What is an Outdoor Electric Heater?
Outdoor electric heaters can be described as mains-powered heat lamps that heat outdoor spaces quickly, often with directional heat. They consume more energy than wood burners and gas burners, but they are more efficient because they heat more quickly and use less energy to run.
As safer alternatives to gas patio heaters, electric heaters are often installed in pubs, beach bars, and modern outdoor kitchens.
How do Infrared Heating Systems Work?
Electric patio heaters heat lamps and elements using electricity. This electricity is then radiated by electromagnetic waves through the air until it reaches an object or is cooled.
Radiation of heat in this manner is more efficient over shorter distances as it pumps heat further than convection heaters and conduction heaters that slowly heat objects and warm air around them.
This is why electric heaters can feel warm and warm when they are near you. However, the back of the heater may be just a little warm.
What to Look for When Buying Infrared Heaters
Outdoor electric heaters are almost all made from infrared technology. This means that they are almost identical and nearly as efficient.
That means there’s really not much to separate the different models of patio heaters and it’s hard to give a definitive “best outdoor electric heater”In that regard.
Really, what you’re looking for is how they work, and what they look like because outdoor heaters are as much a fashion statement as they are a practical tool to keep warm.
Selecting an electric outdoor heater based on your size
There are so many different types of patio heaters out there so, to know which is the best infrared heater for your garden, you need to consider how many people you’re likely to entertain, and the size of your space.
For larger spaces, you’ll naturally need a larger heater, but for intimate gardens, you can consider cosier patio lighting with Infrared HeatingAs a bonus, rather than the main feature, and even as an option Cozy electric blanketThis works just as well as any radiation heater to keep you warm during the winter nights.
Outdoor electric heaters by power
Most Electric patio heaterWhile s is roughly equal in power, there are a few things to consider. Our table below gives a guide to heat vs space, but first, it’s important to explain that most outdoor heaters are sold under BTU* (British Thermal Unit) ratings.
*1 kW is equal to 3412 BTU/h
How to Install an Outdoor Electric Heating System
Infrared heaters are much safer than gas heaters as knocks won’t cause gas spillages, or spread fires as easily. With that said, it’s still important to install your outdoor electric heaters properly, whether that means attaching them to permanent wall fixings or making sure they are on level ground.
There are many different styles of electric heaters available from parasol heaters, to hanging lamps, but all have one thing in common – a wire! Make sure all cables that connect to your electric heater are protected.
This will prevent trips that knock over your heat lamp. However, it also prevents any accidental cuts with garden tools that could cut through the wire, causing shocks or even causing the appliance to be broken.
Installation instructions for electric heaters are included with every unit. They should be followed to a T.
Safety Guide for Outdoor Heaters
Most outdoor electric heaters are weather-proof and can be used outdoors year round if they are covered with a canopy. But some models need to be used in dry conditions or under cover.
Remember that the heating element is essentially electricity passing through a heated component. Water can blow out fuses much faster than gas heaters. Energy efficiency is the best indicator of how to maintain your electric outdoor heaters.
They may need to be replaced if they begin using more power (check your smartmeter for live kW/h data). The same applies to any indications of lower temperatures or dimmer lights.
Best Outdoor Electric Heater Reviews
1. Star Patio Outdoor Ceiling Electric Heater
If there’s one thing you don’t want in an outdoor kitchen, it’s a freestanding heater getting in your way, so wall mounted or ceiling mounted heaters are the only choice.
Star Patio’s retro-looking ceiling lights are my favorite. They give off a lovely glow from the halogen tubes. The focussed infrared heat is up to 1500W. But, the light is as gentle as 700W at the lowest setting. This makes outside more comfortable and less warm.
These patio heaters are waterproof but should be placed under a ceiling so they don’t get wet.
2. Lenoxx Outdoor Electric Heater Free-standing
Lenoxx specialise in budget electricals but don’t skimp on quality. Their infrared heater is one of the best outdoor electric heaters you can buy if you’re on a budget, with a rotating head that tilts to suit different patio set ups, and a weighted base to help prevent tipping.
When I saw the price of the Lenoxx heater I expected it to lack the safety features of most other brands, but this heater comes with a tip-over switch on top of its simple design, which is a great bonus if you’re worried about kids and pets knocking over your appliances.
You can remove the head of the free-standing lamp to make it a wall-mounted heater or part of an outdoor kitchen in winter. This makes it one of the most versatile heaters we reviewed.
3. SFSGH Freestanding Outdoor Infrared Heater
The second function of outdoor heating is often overlooked. Outdoor electric heaters can also double up as ambient lighting, creating a warm glow in your garden well into the night.
Some manufacturers ignore this fact and continue to produce a fairly average product. outdoor radiant heaterSFSGH, despite its unknown status and being an amazon-only brand has realized that we want beauty in heating appliances and not just heat.
These stunning, weatherproof outdoor electric heaters make the perfect autumn evenings for your patio.
4. SereneLife Outdoor Electric Heater Stand
SereneLife’s outdoor stand heater is, visually, as basic as it comes but with a few interesting updates on old fashioned stand heaters, including better waterproofing making it easier to maintain, and a remote control so you don’t need to get right up in its grill (literally) to turn it off.
And in defence of the very conservative aesthetic, which looks more like it’s been designed by the electrician than a product designer, many gardeners just want something functional that blends into the background without being a talking point in itself.
So having a simple, basic looking heat lamp that’s functional can be a great option to less flashy gardeners, and alfresco chefs, who just want the heat, without the flash.
5. Maxkon 360° Outdoor Electric Heater
Infrared tower heaters are actually pretty hard to come by, because the main advantage of infrared is usually that it’s directional, and can be reflected back out of the lamp to avoid wasted heat. With that in mind, it’s actually pretty unusual to find a heater like this by Maxkon, but I’m glad we’ve found it.
These 360 infrared heaters are great for casual evenings. They emit a lot more heat without forcing it out in one direction. This can create a more comfortable environment.
In many ways, the Maxkon tower heater reminds of a firepit. Its soft heat is comfortable for everyone, and it can be used by anyone who sits around it. This makes it ideal for casual evenings with friends.
- Warm 360 heating, campfire-style
- It is simple to use
- Large patios will be heated by 200W
- A dedicated brand with many styles to choose
6. Dreamaker Faux Fur Electric Heated Coral Fleece
You know we love a curveball at Aussie Green thumb, so for those of you who don’t like the idea of stand lamps, infrared, and permanently fixing heaters to walls, then this is the ideal snuggly choice for you.
Dreamaker’s heated blanket is fully machine washable, remote-controlled, and folds away surprisingly well so barely takes up any space at all, but most of all, it’s the perfect outdoor heater for anyone just wanting to cuddle up on a cool autumn night on the patio, watching the garden go to sleep.
7. Briza Hanging Outdoor Electric Heater
Briza’s outdoor heat lamp is a more modern version of the hanging patio heater. It features a sleek remote and 1500W of heat, which can be turned from cold to warm in less than 3 seconds.
These heaters are incredibly easy to install too, with simple plugs that work with carabiner clips for attaching the ceiling, and plug & play cables that make them instantly enjoyable.
8. ZYR Outdoor Electric Parasol Heating System
Parasol heaters remind me of the 90s. They towered over pub gardens, even when it was hot, just to show off their latest equipment. But somehow, that wow factor hasn’t been lost on parasol eaters. Parasol eaters still find them to be like space-age attachments to parasols floating effortlessly above tables and emitting just enough heat.
Today, heaters have adjustable settings and remote controls. This makes them far more advanced than in the 90s.
The panels’ three-way heating capabilities make them ideal for parties. They radiate heat in 360 degrees similar to 360 heaters but more efficient.
9. ZRXRY Electric Patio Infrared Heater
There are dozens of budget electrical brands selling really innovative products at the moment, so you don’t need to spend branded prices to get the best outdoor electric heater. This ZRXRY latest model features modern fan heating and ceramic infrared heating. It heats spaces at the same rate as 2000W lamps, and uses 1500W.
And what’s more, they look great too, with modern casings that make them look like any other stand lamp in your house and a well-insulated case so you can control them at the touch of a button without any risk of burning yourself.
10. Devanti Outdoor Radiant Heater Strips
To heat up your outdoor kitchen as quickly and efficiently as possible, keep it simple. Don’t go all-in for hanging lamps and stand lamps, and avoid anything rounded (it’s a simple but effective design trick). Use parallels to follow the existing lines in your space.
These simple strip lamps can be installed outdoors or in covered areas. However, they are most effective when used as part of an outdoor cooking area. They produce 3000W heat, which is enough to heat the entire outdoor kitchen and patio beyond.
Our Top Picks For Outdoor Electric Heaters
Top Rated Outdoor Electric Heater
These heaters emit a beautiful ambient light that provides both style and comfort. For me, that’s what makes the best outdoor electric heater.
They don’t need tip switches, and they’re safe to use outdoors even in bad weather, so other than severe rainstorms, these can be kept outdoors in Australia pretty much all year round.
Patio heaters are usually pretty ugly things, so I’m thrilled we’ve found these great heat lamps, and hopefully they’ll add some style to your patio or outdoor kitchen too.
Best Value Outdoor Electric Heater
For the average gardener, an outdoor heater is just a tool – a way to stay warm. Heaters don’t need to be beautiful, and while it’s always better if they are, sometimes, warmth is enough in itself.
If you’re happy with an average looking heater, this powerful freestanding heater is a versatile infrared heater that will keep you warmer than most other models. Although it might not seem like much, it does the job.
Premium Choice Outdoor Electric Heater
If you’re willing to spend a little bit more on a really good looking heater, then this down-facing outdoor heater is perfect for autumn and winter nights in the garden. Its safety features are second to none and go to show that it’s not just the best brands that can make the best products.
Manufacturers are quickly learning that consumers know what they’re looking for, and if they can’t find it through major brands, then the factories will start making themselves.
This is a great example of the global market, and the products that result from it. If you’ve got the budget, these standing heaters are our best outdoor electric heaters in a premium range by a long way.
Outdoor Electric Heater FAQs
Do outdoor electric heaters work well?
Outdoor electric heaters use radiant heat to heat their surroundings, which is unlike gas. This means that all heat is directed at the right place and not wasted energy heating walls or shrubs behind it.
Are outdoor electric heaters very efficient?
Although ceramic and halogen heaters are extremely power-intensive, they are mainly used for greenhouse and garage heating. Infrared heaters consume up to 40% less energy than traditional counterparts, making them more energy-efficient.
How warm can outdoor electric heaters be?
The ambient temperature of outdoor electric heaters is typically raised by about 5 degrees. They can be uncomfortable if you are directly in front of them. However, by increasing the temperature of outdoor spaces, it creates a more comfortable atmosphere.
Can outdoor electric heaters go outside in the rain?
Infrared heaters and outdoor electric heaters should be protected from snow, rain, and high humidity. However, most modern models can be used after light rain by being kept under a canopy or parasols. They should be kept indoors when not being used.
The Best Outdoor Electric Heaters 2022 to Heat Your Patio
While outdoor electric heaters might only raise the ambient temperature by around five degrees, it can be the difference between a comfortable evening, and a patio that’s too cold to use at all.
If you plan on using your garden in winter, it’s well worth considering a new outdoor electric heater for that reason, and that reason alone.
Gardens aren’t meant to be a challenge, they’re meant to be a joy, so if you’re going to spend money on your outdoor space, spend it wisely and buy the best outdoor heater you can afford.
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