When the sun goes down at the end of an afternoon entertaining friends, you might be reluctant to call it a night.
Because there’s nothing quite like being able to stay outside well into the evening enjoying good company.
Yet even after the warmest days, the temperature can drop sharply and force everyone to run for warmth.
Not so if you have an electric patio heater.
Cafés, restaurants, and bars have been onto something for years – so why not create that ambiance in your own home, and turn your yard into a beer garden?
Or, perhaps you simply need to keep your garage or workshop warm, enjoy alfresco dining, boost the heat in the sunroom, or provide some added comfort for your pets?
Whatever your heating needs, here we take a look at the best electric patio heaters on the market, with a helpful buyer’s guide and FAQ section to follow.
Now you can keep that party going long into the night – and if the neighbors complain – invite them over!
- Top 12 Best Electric Patio Heaters 2020
- 1500-watt Free Standing Infrared Electric Patio Heater
- RSH Portable Electric Infrared Patio Heater
- Simple Deluxe Patio Outdoor Heater
- Hiland HLI-2125 Hanging Electric Patio Heater
- 1,500 Watt Infrared Tabletop Electric Patio Heater
- Tradesman and Tripod Outdoor Infrared Heater
- Dr. Infrared Heater Portable Space Heater
- EnerG+ Infrared Electric Outdoor Heater
- New Orleans Cherry Tabletop Electric Patio Heater
- 1500-Watt Infrared Electric Patio Heater
- Walle Heritage Bronze Electric Patio Heater
- Heatstrip USA Large Electric Patio Heater
- How to Choose the Best Electric Patio Heater
- What is the best electric outdoor heater for the patio?
- Are electric patio heaters safe?
- Can you use an electric outdoor patio heater in the rain?
- Are electric patio heaters better than gas?
- Can you leave electric patio heaters outside?
- Can you use electric patio heaters inside and outside?
- Are electric patio heaters waterproof?
- How large of an area does an electric patio heater cover?
Top 12 Best Electric Patio Heaters 2020
1500-watt Free Standing Infrared Electric Patio Heater
You’ll find our first entry has also been included in the review of the best outdoor patio heaters (electric, gas, or otherwise) because it’s one of the most affordable products in its class on the market.
Adjustable up to 79-inches, this free-standing electric heater gives gas versions a run for their money – mainly because this will cost you a lot less. Fully CSA certified, it uses regular old household electricity to heat up anywhere you need it to, in a highly portable design that can be used indoors as well as outdoors.
Some assembly is required, but once you’re up and running this is easily the best cheap electric patio heater there is.
- Variable heat control.
- Automatic overheat protection.
- Safety bars.
- IP55 Rated.
- Not the most powerful heater.
- Limited range.
RSH Portable Electric Infrared Patio Heater
Next up is a wall-mounted portable electric heater that offers infrared heating capabilities with up to 1500 Watts of power, and capable of heating up to 150 square feet. Cleared for use either outdoors or indoors, it’s ideal for garages, covered patios, and workshops, or anywhere you need a burst of warmth to keep away the chills.
It comes with a universal wall/ceiling mounting bracket that is easy to install and can be adjusted once in place to achieve the desired heating angle. With a quartz heating tube, fully adjustable thermostat, six-foot cord, and durable, extruded aluminum housing, this is a great patio heater at an affordable price point.
- Overheat protection.
- 5118 BTUs of output per hour.
- Dial control.
- Anti-freeze setting.
- A remote would have been a nice addition.
- Not as powerful as other models.
Simple Deluxe Patio Outdoor Heater
For a couple of bucks more, you can add a remote control to your wall or ceiling mounted electric heater. With its infrared technology, this unit will heat you inside three seconds and not waste energy trying to heat the air.
With overheat protection should the temperature get too high, you can rest easy knowing it will shut off automatically if required, while it is safe for use indoors and out.
Fully weather-resistant and waterproof, use it anywhere come rain or shine, and with the addition of a remote you have full control to adjust the mode, heat, and a handy timer function to automatically switch the unit off after two hours.
Quite possibly the best wall mounted electric patio heater on the market.
- Affordable price.
- Energy-efficient operation.
- Versatile use.
- Carbon fiber heating tube.
- Super quiet operation.
- None to speak of – let me know if you find one.
Hiland HLI-2125 Hanging Electric Patio Heater
Moving on from the wall-mounted electric heaters, here we have a hanging ceiling version that’s ideal for covered patios and gazebos. It’s IP certified to be fully waterproof and comes complete with the chain you need to hang it anywhere you need some extra heat.
Capable of providing instant heat with its 1500 Watt output and golden tube lamps, you won’t be waiting long before you’re nice and toasty under this unit. Less expensive to operate compared to a propane heater, this is a great alternative to gas for overhead heating inside or out.
- CSA approved.
- Stylish, compact design.
- Easy to install.
- Remote operated.
- It can get very bright – which might be a bit too blinding for some.
1,500 Watt Infrared Tabletop Electric Patio Heater
This space-saving unit has a sleek and stylish design that offers minimalist heating solutions for your tabletops. It’s safe to use indoors and out and has a built-in anti-tilt breaker that will shut off the device if it is accidentally knocked past a certain angle.
Constructed of durable stainless steel and aluminum, it will heat around 15 square feet – which is perfect for cozy gatherings around a patio table. Standing just 38-inches high, with a cord length of eight feet, and offering 1500 Watts of power, this is a highly portable electric heater that can go anywhere a warming boost of heat is required.
- Simple, attractive design.
- Variable temperature control.
- Versatile use around the home.
- Easy to assemble.
- Might obstruct the view depending on its location.
Tradesman and Tripod Outdoor Infrared Heater
The Tradesman 1500 Watt, infrared portable electric heater is ideal for use in smaller spaces where you need gentle warmth. As well as including the portable tripod, it’s also possible to mount it on the wall or ceiling, so you have a very versatile heater that can be set up in a variety of ways.
With an output of 5200 BTUs, the carbon fiber heating element heats up only what you need it to with a beam of infrared heat.
Housed within an anodized extruded aluminum alloy frame, it’s a tough and durable unit with a six-foot power cord and IP35 certified against rain and dust.
- Well-built design.
- All mounting hardware included.
- Lightweight and portable.
- Not the most attractive design for patio heating.
Dr. Infrared Heater Portable Space Heater
Now here’s a clever device that incorporates two useful technologies that are much needed during the colder months. This portable space heater has a built-in humidifier, to add a cool mist of humidity to the often harsh, dry air throughout winter.
Engineered and designed in the USA, this 1500 Watt unit has variable temperature settings with a 5200 BTU heat output, and a dual heating system that can easily heat up a large room. Made with a wood-effect exterior and galvanized steel, settings can be adjusted using a remote control, while the humidifier gives you eight hours operation on a full tank of water.
- Overheating protection.
- Tip-over safety shut off.
- Whisper quiet.
- Timer option.
- Might not be suitable for outside use – or at least not as effective.
EnerG+ Infrared Electric Outdoor Heater
If you’re not happy with the visual style of the electric patio heaters that have been offered so far, how about a device that isn’t meant to be seen?
This infrared product from EnerG+ has been designed to sit underneath a table, so you and your guests don’t have to constantly see an eyesore, and your feet and legs are getting toasty at the same time.
IP24 certified for use outdoors, it’s weather and dustproof, offers 900 Watts of power, and has cool-touch technology to prevent accidental burning. Compact and lightweight, stash this out of the way under any table and your legs will thank you for it.
- Silent operation.
- Tip-over safety features.
- Low operating cost.
- Overheating protection.
- 5000 hours of bulb life.
- Lower Wattage than most other heaters.
- It will give out eventually.
New Orleans Cherry Tabletop Electric Patio Heater
One of the more refined and stylish entries in our review of the best electric patio heaters, this is another table-top design that wouldn’t look out of place in the drawing-room of a manor house.
A decorative accent to outdoor or indoor surroundings, the durable steel construction has been coated with an attractive dark cherry finish and reaches a height of 34.7-inches with a six-foot power cord.
Offering 1200 Watts that will heat 115 square feet of space, simply plug it into any suitable outlet for instant, radiant warmth with a decadent touch.
- Highly portable.
- Elegant design.
- Quality construction and finish.
- Power cord could be longer.
- Won’t be to everyone’s tastes.
1500-Watt Infrared Electric Patio Heater
For the most part, propane gas patio heaters have the free-standing market cornered, but this 1500 Watt electric version might just give them a run for their money.
Another minimalistic, elegant, and modern design, it features a built-in table for guests to place their drinks on while keeping warm from the Hanover carbon infrared heat lamp.
Specifically for use with open decks, patios, and other outdoor locations, the downward heat direction will affect up to 65 square feet surrounding, with a soft, radiant heat that is energy efficient.
Choose between two power settings with generous BTU output of up to 5118, it stands at 81.7 inches tall and is probably the best freestanding electric patio heater there is.
- Easy to set up.
- Attractive style.
- Rated IP65 for weather and dust proofing.
- Durable aluminum housing.
- We’re getting into the pricier territory.
Walle Heritage Bronze Electric Patio Heater
Our penultimate entry belongs to this futuristic design by Lava Heat Italia. It’s reputed to be one of the most technologically advanced patio heaters on the market, and a highly rated commercial class unit at that.
Constructed of durable stainless steel and aluminum, the sleek lines give way to 1500 Watts of heat through a 5,000-hour golden tube infrared heat coil.
It can be used as a freestanding floor lamp or mounted on the ceiling with the hardware included. A dead-switch pull cord is incorporated for safety, and it comes with a remote control for use from distance.
- Minimalist style.
- LED lights included.
- Highly portable.
- Top quality construction throughout.
Heatstrip USA Large Electric Patio Heater
And since we’re speaking of sleek, futuristic-style heating systems, let’s close out with this innovative design that is a serious departure for what you’d usually come to expect of an electric patio heater.
The Heatstrip is a slim, subtle, solution that can be mounted where it’s unlikely to be noticed at all. With no light or glow emitted, it blends seamlessly with your decor, while pumping out a generous 3200 Watts of power, using 240 Volts.
The hardware included can be adapted to direct the unit at a variety of angles, with a heat range of up to 57 feet. If you want to take patio heating to the next level – the buck stops right here.
- Unobtrusive design.
- Excellent power and heat.
- Smart silver and black finish.
- Looks good in any surroundings.
- No exposed heating lamps.
- Exorbitantly expensive.
- It Will likely require a professional to install.
How to Choose the Best Electric Patio Heater
Selecting the right electric patio heater isn’t as straightforward as you might think – there are plenty of things to think about before you add to cart.
With that in mind, below you’ll find the ever-useful buyer’s guide to provide you with tips on what to look out for.
Although BTUs are mentioned occasionally (British Thermal Units), the power of electric patio heaters is more commonly measured in Watts.
And it’s not rocket science here – the higher the Wattage, the more powerful the heat output of the device.
Check to see the maximum Watt output of the unit you’re keen on – with 1500 Watts being the general standard – although some devices can go higher, and many will also offer thermostat controls to allow adjustment to suit your taste.
Most good electric patio heaters will use infrared heating technology – which (basic physics aside) means that the unit will transfer heat directly to an object in close proximity – such as yourself or your guests.
It’s a more efficient and cost-effective means of providing heat and warmth, which ensures that no energy is wasted attempting to heat the surrounding air.
Of course, there are other multiple heating methods available, such as zonal heaters, fan heaters, and even underfloor options, but for the purposes of this article, keep a lookout for infrared versions.
Size and Style
Like propane heaters, electric versions are available in a number of different styles or types, as well as all kinds of shapes and sizes.
Free-standing electric patio heaters are usually tall units that produce heat from overhead.
Wall or ceiling mounted devices can be positioned anywhere there is something a mounting bracket can be attached to. They are by far and wide the most common of all electrical heaters – and often the cheapest to purchase.
Counter or table-top electric heaters are available for smaller, more intimate spaces.
Tripod heaters are also available, but perhaps more useful in a shop or garage as they’re usually not that attractive to look at.
Under table electric heaters are ideal if you’d like the unit to remain as inconspicuous as possible.
And there are several further styles or combinations that might attract your dollars – depending on your needs, budget, and often – your decor.
Most electric patio heaters will require access to a standard 120 Volt socket, and all you need to get going is to plug it in and switch it on.
However, some more powerful devices might require more juice, which means you might (should) contact an electrician to make sure they are installed safely.
The last thing you want is for your new heater to blow the fuses out and plunge the neighborhood into darkness – or – in the worst-case scenario – do yourself serious harm with a botched installation.
Aside from providing heat – which is the electric heater’s primary role – you’ll find that many of them come with additional features to make your life easier.
Or not – depending on what is essential for you. It’s up to you to decide which of the following factors are important when choosing a new electric patio heater.
- Temperature control – to adjust the amount of heat the device is giving off – and how much power it’s using.
- Safety features like overheating shut off and an automatic shut off if the unit tilts passed a certain angle.
- A timer function – very useful if you regularly forget to turn appliances off.
- Cord length – depending on where you’re positioning the heater and if you’ll need an extension cable.
- Mounting hardware for walls and ceilings.
- A protective cover for when it’s not in use.
How much you can afford to spend on an electric patio heater will be between you and your bank balance – but there’s more to consider here than simply the initial cost of the unit.
Running costs for outdoor heaters can be expensive. Electric heaters are cheaper to run than propane but more expensive than natural gas.
How much an electric patio heater costs by the hour will depend on the maximum Wattage of the unit, and your local kilowatt per hour rate.
Top tip – to figure out how much a heater will potentially cost, you should use the equation below.
Divide the unit’s total Wattage by 1000 – which will convert Watts to kilowatts.
Then multiply this number by the kilowatt per hour rate you’ll find on an electricity bill or utility statement.
It’s highly recommended you work this out before purchasing any electric heater – so you know what you’re letting yourself in for in the long run.
What is the best electric outdoor heater for the patio?
This isn’t an easy question to answer as it will depend on your own personal preferences and what you need the device for.
All the models included in this review are excellent electric heaters, suitable for a variety of sites and situations.
But to find the best one for your patio – you should take into account the size of the space you need to heat – and go from there.
Are electric patio heaters safe?
Yes – but with caveats.
Providing you adhere to the manufacturer’s guidelines and operate the unit only in the way it has been designed, then you shouldn’t have any problems.
By their very nature heaters can get hot – so use common sense when installing and don’t position them near to anything that might melt or possibly catch fire.
Check wiring and connections regularly, and inspect all the parts of the unit to make sure it’s still in safe, working order.
If it requires maintenance, or if you’re in any doubt it’s malfunctioning, discontinue use until it can be serviced or replaced.
Can you use an electric outdoor patio heater in the rain?
Outdoor patio heaters are designed to withstand the elements and most will come with an IP grade that will tell you how successful the unit is at repelling water and dust.
That doesn’t mean to say it’s a good idea to use it in all weather conditions.
Water and electricity don’t mix – so I would always use that old common sense again and keep the two apart. So long as the heater is under cover – you shouldn’t have a problem if the heavens open.
And if you are leaving a heater outside, electric or otherwise, it’s a very good idea to purchase a protective cover for it when not in use.
Are electric patio heaters better than gas?
They both have their advantages and disadvantages.
Similar to power tools, like these excellent weed eaters, electricity, and gas vie for superiority when it comes to making our lives easier around the home.
Electric heaters are (for the most part) cheaper than propane or natural gas versions – depending on the style and design, of course. They’re more environmentally friendly, too, with zero emissions and near-silent operation.
Electric heaters are cheaper to run than propane but more expensive than natural gas.
But they don’t have nearly the strength and range that gas patio heaters offer.
Once again, the type you go for will depend on your personal preference and budget.
Watch the video below for further information on the different types of power sources for patio heaters.
Can you leave electric patio heaters outside?
I wouldn’t recommend it. As previously mentioned, although certain heaters will claim to be water/weatherproof, it’s highly recommended that you bring your heater into a sheltered location when not in use.
Of course, if you have a more permanent set up and that isn’t possible, then you should really consider a protective cover for your heater – especially through the winter months or long periods of inactivity.
Can you use electric patio heaters inside and outside?
Yes. One of the big advantages an electric heater has over its gas counterparts is that you can use them inside and out.
Just be careful when you’re mounting or installing them to make sure there is nothing combustible in close proximity, or anything that is likely to melt.
Are electric patio heaters waterproof?
Yes, they can be. It’s important to check the IP rating whenever purchasing something that claims to be water or weatherproof – and that you’re likely to use outdoors.
That being said, I’d still be reluctant to allow any electrical device to get wet, and I believe it’s just a preemptive safety measure rather than having the ability to operate uncovered through a downpour.
How large of an area does an electric patio heater cover?
The higher the Wattage or BTUs of a patio heater – the larger the area it has been designed to cover.
The rule of thumb is a 10 to 1 ratio of Wattage to square feet heated.
So, a 1500 Watt heater should cover 150 square feet of area.
And for more information on electricity and a quick trip back to school, I recommended a refresher course on Watts, Amps, Volts and Ohms. Because that stuff can get complicated.
Finding the best electric patio heater can be a bit of a challenge, with plenty of factors to consider, a budget to stick to (or not), and a market awash with styles and designs.
Hopefully, this article has gone some way to pointing you in the right direction.
If I was looking for an electric patio heater, I’d prefer something more compact, eco-friendly, and economical.
Let me know which model you would choose and why.