Electric VS. Gas: Which is the Best Patio Heater?

  • By: Mike Hale
  • Date: July 17, 2022
  • Time to read: 5 min.

You don’t have to say goodbye to your patio when it’s wintertime anymore!

Outdoor patio heaters have become increasingly popular due to the warmth they provide when you’re having a bonfire, a movie night, or a party outside. Regardless of the kind of soiree you’re having, patio heaters allow you to party all night long.

There are many other benefits of having an outdoor heater on your patio; for example, most of them are sturdy and durable, so you can expect them to last for a long time and withstand different weather conditions.

For that reason, patio heaters are indeed an investment that more and more people are making. A report suggests that the patio heater market will grow even further in the coming years.

There are many different types of patio heaters, but the most common ones are electric or gas. This guide will provide you with information about each of the two heaters to determine which one of the two types is the best patio heater for you.

Best patio heater

Key Considerations to Make Before Choosing a Patio Heater

Before discussing which patio heater is the best, it is essential to note the key things you should consider before deciding.

1. Design Options

You get several design options when it comes to buying a patio heater. Depending on your outdoor space and your needs, you can choose whichever design suits you best. Some of the design options for patio heaters include:

  • Floor standing patio heaters
  • Hanging patio heaters
  • Wall-mounted patio heaters
  • Tabletop patio heaters

2. How You Will Use It

Asking yourself how you will use the heater will determine whether a patio heater is what you need. Consider how many people would take advantage of the heater, approximately how many times you will need the heater, the size, and shape of your outdoor area, etc.

3. Cost

The cost of a patio heater typically ranges from $50-$1,000. Floor-standing and wall-mounted patio heaters will cost you a bit more than the other designs. It is best if you create a budget for yourself before exploring your options further.

4. Safety

Patio heaters often come with a safety hazard. Hence, if you get a wall-mounted patio heater, make sure it is mounted correctly, and if you get a standing patio heater, then it does not topple over. You must be careful because of the risk of causing a fire that heaters contain, especially the gas ones. 

So if you have kids, be extra mindful of these risks.

5. Aesthetics

Some people prefer a merely functional patio heater, while others may choose one which complements their backyard. Before buying a heater, you have to decide whether aesthetics or functionality is your priority.

6. Maintenance and Installation

Some patio heaters require minimal maintenance, while others need regular cleaning and checking. Some patio heaters are easy to install, while for others, you may need help. Depending on what you prefer, you will need to consider this when browsing for a patio heater.

What is the Difference Between a Gas and Electric Patio Heater?

The most apparent difference between a gas and electric heater is that the former uses gas, while the electric patio heater requires electricity to provide heat. Other than that, an electric patio heater is considered to be cheaper and more eco-friendly as compared to a gas patio heater. They also consume less energy. Gas heaters may have a lower upfront cost, but they become costly in the long term in terms of usage and maintenance.

Electric Patio Heater

Electric patio heaters typically create warmth through radiation, which heats things directly, making these heaters quite efficient. These patio heaters are also an excellent option if you have a large garden or patio. You can read this to find out more about how electric patio heaters are environmentally friendly.

Now, let’s take a look at the pros and cons of this heater to decide whether this is the best patio heater for you:

Pros of Electric Patio Heater

  • They pose less risk because they don’t create direct flames
  • You can plug them anywhere, which makes them simple to use
  • They heat things quickly
  • They require little maintenance
  • They are easy to install
  • You can use them in covered spaces, which is often not the case with other types of patio heaters

Cons of Electric Patio Heater

  • You can only place them near an electrical source
  • Compared to gas heaters, they have slow heating
  • More expensive to operate compared to gas patio heater

Gas Patio Heater

For homes with existing gas lines, gas patio heaters are an excellent option. They provide constant warmth to well-ventilated open areas. For that reason, they are perfect for parties and large gatherings. These heaters come in various shapes and sizes, and their three main types are natural gas, propane, and LP. If you are thinking about buying a gas patio heater, consider the following pros and cons first.

Pros of Gas Patio Heater

  • They are much larger than electric patio heater and use up less energy
  • They are less expensive to run in the long term
  • They have a greater heat output
  • Have more significant design features compared to electric patio heaters
  • They are perfect for large areas
  • They are easy to set up, especially the propane gas heaters
  • With natural gas patio heaters, you can get a continuous supply of heat as long as it’s connected to your gas line
  • Unlike electric heaters, you can leave gas heaters out in the rain. Read this guide to find out if you can keep outdoor heaters in the rain.

Cons of Gas Patio Heater

  • Requires installation from a professional
  • Heating depends on the availability of gas in the lines
  • It has a safety risk; so it needs to be placed in well-ventilated areas
  • They require regular maintenance and yearly checks by professionals
  • It would help if you kept them clean and free of dust and debris at all times
  • Compared to electric heaters, these gas heaters are less green and eco-friendly

Final Words

By now, we hope you know the answer to the question, ‘which is the best patio heater for you?’ There is no decisive verdict about which of the two is the best one; it all comes down to your preference, budget, use, and priorities. Overall, most people prefer electric patio heaters because they are safe and easy to use.

Once you have decided which type of heater you prefer, you can check out our guide on the best patio heaters available in the market to make your decision.