Are Electric Patio Heaters Better Than Gas?

Both electric and gas patio heaters are useful to produce heat and fight cold temperatures. Each of them has their strengths and weaknesses, but one kind stands out more than the other. 

So, are electric patio heaters better than gas? If you want to heat your patio quickly and efficiently, an electric patio heater is the best option. Electric patio heaters are great at keeping you and your outdoor areas warm during cold seasons. These heaters are stylish, colorful, and come in various sizes. 

They are also cheaper, generate up to 90% less CO2 emission than a gas heater, easy to turn on and off and consume less energy, with only 15% of the CO2 footprint of gas patio heaters. 

We understand that everyone has their own preferences. In this article, we elaborate more on both heaters and why you might want one over the other. Thus, helping you make the correct decision.

gas patio heater on patio next to wall mounted electric heater for comparison

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What is a Patio Heater?

A patio heater is a device that heats your patio. They have become a permanent fixture on terraces of cafes and restaurants in the colder months.

These have simple and elegant designs and use fuel to keep a space warm. Patio heaters are specifically designed for outdoor use, but they may also be suitable for covered porches depending on company specifications. 

These heaters come in four different types: natural gas, propane, wood burning, and electric patio heaters.

To select the heater, you have to decide on:

1. Heat emission

2. Power rating (KW)

3. Energy Source (gas or electric)

4. Effective range (meters) 

5. Stability and bulkiness

6. Duration of Use

7. Material Quality

You’ll have to take into account the size of your space needing heat, how many people will typically need heat and what fuel sources you have access to and prefer to use.

How do Electric Heaters work?

Electric heaters use infrared radiations to heat their surroundings. Radiations in electric patio heaters warm objects directly without heating the air around it.

These are cheaper and more eco-friendly heaters because they produce up to 90% less CO2 emission than a gas heater. 

Some electric patio heaters give off a little orange glow, and others produce no light at all. These are also no-fuss and amazingly simple to use, as they heat their surroundings instantly.

An electric heater is a favourite choice since they are comfortable, portable, safe to use, less noisy, and consumes less energy. They are a great option for winter patio heating as well due to the infrared heating.

Electric patio heaters are more environmentally friendly.

People are becoming increasingly conscious of sustainability issues and environmental impacts of their outdoor activities, especially when it comes to heating and burning.

Many people opt for electric patio heaters for their environmental benefits and use less energy and fuel than gas heaters. They can likewise prompt a decrease in energy bills.

An electric patio’s carbon footprint is just 15% of a gas heater and costs less to run.

Are electric patio heaters safe to use?

Yes, but with caution.

  1. Always stick to the manufacturer’s instructions and operate the heater only in the way it has been designed.
  2. Don’t install or position the electric heaters near to anything that might melt or possibly catch fire.
  3. Check to wire regularly and inspect all the heater parts to ensure it’s in safe working order.
  4. Don’t leave them on overnight or use them indoors unless they are specifically designed to do so.
  5. If you are in any doubt it’s not working correctly, stop use until it can be repaired.

Advantages and Disadvantages of using Electric Patio Heaters

Electric patio heaters have their pros and cons to consider before purchasing.


  • Safe for smaller outdoor spaces
  • Cheaper to use & Less bulky
  • Electricity converts efficiently and cleanly into heat
  • Lower risk level
  • Odourless and don’t produce smoke or risk of carbon monoxide
  • No hidden maintenance costs like gas heaters
  • Simple in use, you never have to source fuel 


  • Electricity required unlike gas heaters
  • An electric heater can only be placed where there are electrical outlets.
  • They provide slow heat up to surrounding space
  • More expensive to buy

How Do Gas Patio Heaters work?

Gas heaters use convection and radiations to heat their surroundings. The majority of the heat is transmitted through radiations, whereas the rest of the warmth is produced by convection.

Convection is less efficient as it warms the air around the heater because in large spaces such as gardens heat can escape quickly.

They are also portable due to their need to be attached to a gas line.

The flames that gas patio heaters generate heats space in the same way that fire does. Natural gas heaters are often chosen to make use of an existing natural gas line.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Using Gas patio heaters


  • Gas patio heaters are autonomous
  • Heavy and more stable
  • Highly reliable
  • Better heating performance
  • Stylish designs 


  • Gas heaters release carbon monoxide into the air during the heating process. That can lead to air pollution and global warming.
  • Gas heaters are bulkier than electric patio heaters 
  • If there is a problem with the heating component of a gas heater, the complete unit needs to be changed. In the case of an electric patio heater, only the damaged heating component requires to be changed. 

Are gas patio heaters are safe to use?

Yes, Gas patio heaters are also safe to use, as long as you follow the instructions for maintenance, use, and storage. But these heaters are designed to be used in outdoor spaces.

The propane gas used in patio heaters is flammable and it can be dangerous to use it indoors. 

Furthermore, patio heaters release carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxide, and nitric oxide. If you use gas patio heaters in a room with closed doors, the discharge of these gases can be lethal.

How much do gas and electric patio heaters cost?

Usually, gas heaters are cheaper to purchase than electric patio heaters, and the price of gas is less than electricity. But there is one reason that even the best gas heater will end up charging you more because of their lack of efficiency.

Because outdoor gas heaters do not only heat their surroundings, in contrast to electric heaters, they squander a great deal of warmth warming the air around it, which at that point rapidly disseminates.

Combustion is also an inefficient way of producing electric radiations and heat. On the other hand, electric patio heaters convert 100% of the energy into usable heat, so they are far more efficient in controlling their surroundings.

And they cost as little as one-tenth of the price of gas heaters to run.

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No indoor or outdoor heating is entirely safe and eco-friendly. Even the electricity running through your house affects the environment in one way or another.

However, when it comes to the best patio heaters, which have proven to raise the outdoor temperature in a user-friendly and efficient way, is the electric patio heater.