Best patio heater 2020: top 5 buys for chilly autumn nights

The best patio heater will help you enjoy the garden on chilly nights, well into autumn

Best patio heater: Kettler Kalos Plush floor patio heater
(Image credit: Kettler)

The best patio heater will make autumn nights in the garden warmer and brighter, while looking good, too. Choose from freestanding, table top, or ceiling-mounted versions to make the most of the outdoors without feeling cold. Our top picks have adjustable settings and other helpful features to make your out door heater easy and safe to use.

When you've chosen the best patio heater, take a look at the best pizza ovens.

The best patio heaters

Kalos Patio Heater

(Image credit: Wayfair)

1. Kalos Patio Heater

Best patio heater: Lovely-looking an efficient patio heater

Specifications
Best for: Style and substance
Type: Tabletop
Power: 1500w
Fuel: Electricity
Heat type: Direct
Reasons to buy
+Beautiful design+Easy operation+Portable
Reasons to avoid
-Doesn't rotate

This great-looking heater will make a gorgeous addition to any patio and will blend in with most decorating styles. We like the modern shape and slender design. However, it's not just about looks: the single halogen bulb heats your body as soon as you switch it on, without wasting energy on heating the air around you. There is a remote control, which is very handy for switching it off if you've forgotten – although there's also an automatic switch-off function, just to be sage. The base is very sturdy, too, so it won't topple if it's windy. We're really struggling to say anything bad about it – we only wish the head rotated as well. 

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Kalos Plush Floorstanding Electric Patio Heater

(Image credit: John Lewis & Partners)
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Kalos Plush Floorstanding Electric Patio Heater

(Image credit: John Lewis & Partners)

2. Kalos Plush Floorstanding Electric Patio Heater

Best patio heater for small spaces: this small heater packs an almighty punch

Specifications
Best for: Power
Type: Freestanding
Power: 2100W
Fuel: Electric
Heat type: Direct
Reasons to buy
+Floorlamp design+Three heat output settings+Doubles up as a light
Reasons to avoid
-Can't leave outside year round

Another great patio heater by Kettler, this freestanding electric heater looks like a floor lamp and will fit right in an outdoor room design or a smart patio that creates an indoor-outdoor link. We like that you can control the heat output (and your electricity consumption) with three settings: 900, 1200, or 2100 watts. The heater also comes with brackets to fix it to the ground, so it won't topple. It is somewhat annoying that you can't leave this outside during prolonged spells of wet weather, but it would be perfect for a covered patio or a greenhouse.

Swan wall mounted patio heater

(Image credit: Wayfair)

3. Swan wall mounted patio heater

Best wall mounted patio heater: free up more floor or surface space with this ceiling-hanging heater

Specifications
Best for: Covered patios
Type: Wall mounted
Power: 1800W
Fuel: Electricity
Heat type: Direct
Reasons to buy
+Remote control+HIgh quality and durable
Reasons to avoid
-No instructions in box

Unique among our picks is this wall mounted patio heater, a clever space-saving solution for small patios, decks or balconies. That it’s electric also means you don’t run the risk of ending the party early by running out of power, as can happen with gas patio heaters – unless there’s a power cut, of course! The remote control function is very useful here – no need to try and reach the switch if you've mounted it higher up. We do wish there was an instruction manual included, although installation is fairly straightforward even without one. 

The best patio heater: Kingfisher Outdoor Table Top Patio Heater

4. Kingfisher Outdoor Table Top Patio Heater

Best patio heater for table tops: a smaller, more sociable option for outdoor tables

Specifications
Best for: Small spaces
Type: Tabletop
Power: 4kW
Fuel: Gas
Heat type: Fire
Reasons to buy
+ Doesn’t take up floor space + Impressive output for a small heater 
Reasons to avoid
- Not the best for big gatherings 

A tabletop heater is a simple way to create a cosy atmosphere at an intimate get-together or all by yourself, especially if your space is on the smaller side. Rather than having to bend around a tall centrepiece heater every time you want to speak to your guests (or see them) this compact heater invites you all to gather round and lean in, and assuming your patio already has a table, won’t take up any more floor space. Reviewers were very impressed by the amount of heat it generated without getting stuffy, which just goes to show that you shouldn’t be fooled by a small stature!

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Santorini patio heater

(Image credit: Robert Dyas)
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Santorini patio heater

(Image credit: Robert Dyas)

5. Santorini 11kw Gas Flame Patio Heater

Best gas patio heater: a powerful gas option that produces a stunning flame

Specifications
Best for: Larger gardens
Type: Freestanding
Fuel: Gas
Heat type: Convection
Reasons to buy
+Powerful and sturdy+Stunning 360-degree effect+No assembly needed
Reasons to avoid
-Expensive

If nothing but gas will do, you can't go wrong with the gorgeous Santorini heater. This is serious heat for a large patio or garden, with a dancing flame that you'll want to look at for hours. The extendable design stands an impressive 176 centimetres tall, but can be reduced to 126. It's not cheap, but it is the best option for a large space.

Please note this patio heater will come back into stock in early October. 

Best patio heaters in the US

In the US and looking for the best patio heater? Check out our handy price comparison tool below that will give you quite a few patio heater to consider, always at the best prices. 

How to buy the best patio heater

When it comes to choosing the best patio heater to suit your outdoor space – as well as your requirements – there are a few factors worth bearing in mind. These include:

Size

If you only have a small area to heat, such as a petite patio or small balcony, then you don’t have to go for a large freestanding model. Try, instead, a tabletop patio heater, which looks a little like a bedside lamp and doesn’t give out as much heat so you won’t cook in close quarters. 

Owners of small gardens will also be cheered, no doubt, to hear that wall-mounted patio heaters are another viable and surprisingly adaptable option, letting you direct the heat upwards or downwards by adjusting the vent.

The flipside of this, of course, is the aforementioned freestanding patio heater. It will take up more space, but if you have a large patio or deck that offers enough space for it, chances are there’s a lot more area to heat, so you’ll need the extra power they can dish out. 

Fuel type

The final consideration you need to make is the type of fuel your patio heater will use. While the easiest way to fuel a patio heater is with electricity, you may not have an external outlet at your disposal, or be nervous about the plug being exposed to the elements. The other options are natural gas and propane, the latter being the most common. 

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