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Buying a Patio Heater

Patio heaters let you spend more time in your garden in spring and autumn evenings as well as on occasional chilly summer evenings. They have become increasingly popular in the last two to three years.

There are several ways to heat your patio including gas powered patio heaters, both free standing and table top; electric usually wall-mounted heaters; chimineas; and barbecues.

Gas powered patio heaters need good ventilation and should only be used outdoors. Chimineas and BBQs too should only be used outdoors for the same reason.

Patio heaters warm you with their radiant energy. This generally means that you have to be within a few feet of the heater to feel the heat coming from it. More powerful heaters produce more heat (measured in kW) and their heat can be felt over greater distances. The most effective heating is produced by a powerful heater with well-designed emitters and reflector. The reflector which is usually mounted at the top of the patio heater distributes the radiant heat in an arc downwards and outwards.

Free standing vs. table top heaters

Free standing patio heaters generally have a power output from 6 to 13 kW, and many have adjustable heat settings. Table top heaters are generally less poweful, usually in the region of 3-6 kW. Table top models are however lighter and easier to store and position. Free standing models can be heavy, although some have wheels to help move them.about.


Look for models that have:

  • A solid, firm base that provides stability.
  • An anti tilt shut off device. This means that the gas flow is stopped if the heater gets tipped up.
  • A reflector and emitter mounted a long way (over 6′) from the ground so you can’t accidentally touch then and get burnt.

Remember to place the heater away from anything that might burn, such as gazebos, trees and trellises.

When not in use you should store the heater in a sheltered place, to prevent damage in high winds.