July 12, 2018 by Chris Chapman
Your patio or decking is a great place to relax at any time of day all year round. Sadly, the famous British weather can make this hard sometimes, meaning many people’s patios only get used on the odd summer afternoon. If you want to hold an evening garden party, or you simply want to relax outside in the cooler autumn weather, you’ll need a patio heater to keep your outdoor area cosy and warm. These heaters come in many shapes and sizes, and depending on your patio, some will be better than others.
What to Look for in an Outdoor Heater
What to look for in a patio heater depends mainly on the size of your patio and decking. Outdoor heaters use either infrared or halogen bulbs to heat you and the objects around you directly, meaning they’ll start kicking out heat as soon as you turn them on. It works in a similar way to the sun, only without the potentially harmful UV rays, so you don’t need to worry about sunburn! However, you do need to make sure the infrared rays are actually powerful enough to reach you or you won’t feel any heat.
Naturally, more powerful heaters with a high wattage will kick out more heat to a wider area, so bear this in mind when you’re buying a heater. You’ll also want to consider whether you want a portable heater that you can pick up and store away between uses, or a fitted patio heater that fixes to your wall and stays there permanently.
What Not to Look for in an Outdoor Heater
If you have a small, portable panel heater that works a treat indoors, it probably won’t work outside. If you find a cheap panel heater online, please be aware of this if you want to use it on your patio!
This is because most panel heaters work by a process called convection, which means they heat up the air around them. This warm air then moves around the room, gradually warming the whole space. This is great when you’re indoors, but in the great outdoors, you’ll find this warm air just dissipates and you won’t feel any benefit.
Which Outdoor Heater is Best for Me?
Due to the way outdoor heaters work, you have a lot of options that are available, but the best one really depends on what your patio or decking looks like. Does it have a roof cover? Is it large or small? Where do you sit on your patio? All of these questions and more matter, so make sure to read on and we’ll do our best to answer them for you!
If you want something that’s affordable and low-maintenance but which still gives off enough heat to keep you warm on the patio all night, this MYLEK model is the one to go for. It’s simple and effective, with a robust design that’s IP65-certified (meaning it’s protected against both dust and water spray) so you can safely install it outdoors with complete peace of mind.
It’s a no-frills heater that’s nevertheless extremely powerful and energy efficient – just turn it on or off with the pull-cord switch and you’ll feel the heat instantly! At 2kw of heat, it’s more than powerful enough to heat up an area of around 20 square metres, making it perfect for even larger patios.
Halogen heaters are very similar to infrared heaters, although they don’t have quite as long a range as many other patio heaters. Still, if you have a small patio and you only want a small, portable heater to keep it warm on an evening, this Igenix halogen heater offers you the best – and most affordable – option.
It’s small and light, so you can pick it up and move it around if you need, and it even has an oscillation function to spread the heat around your patio evenly. You’ll have to store it indoors as it’s not meant to be kept outside, but it can be used in bedrooms, garages, or outdoors to give you a quick blast of heat.
One positive note is that halogen bulbs don’t attract nearly as many insects as normal bulbs do, so you can safely sit outside all night long without attracting any annoying pests!
If your patio or decking has a ceiling or some sort of cover, you might want to look at a ceiling mounted heater to make sure the heat is evenly spread around your seating area. Due to the way infrared heating works, you need to make sure the light is hitting you to feel the heat from it. This means that if you’re lucky enough to have some cover over your patio, this MYLEK lamp-style heater might well be the best option for you.
Offering 3 heat settings up to 1.5kw, this patio heater is surprisingly small, meaning it’ll subtly hang above your seating area without taking up too much space, and it can safely be installed on gazebos and awnings, too. It’s remote controlled, meaning you can easily flip between these 3 heat settings without ever leaving your seat, perfect for relaxing in a deck chair on a cool summer evening.
If you want a heater that’s a great midpoint between affordability and performance that also features a bunch of handy features, then this Dimplex model is a great shout. With a robust steel construction, IPX4 water-resistant rating, and a 1.3kw heating element with low running costs, this model gives you a solid tick in every box.
This patio heater even comes with a PIR (Passive Infrared) motion sensor that will detect movement and switch on or off accordingly, potentially saving you a decent wedge on your electricity bill. It also has twin-quartz infrared heating elements, so while its 1.3kw element isn’t the most powerful on this list (though it is ample for most sized patios with around 13 square metres of coverage), it is incredibly energy-efficient.
The Dimplex patio heater also comes in a 2kw model (the OPH20) if you want a bit more power.