Electric or Gas Patio Heaters: Which One is Better? A Comprehensive Comparison

Electric or gas patio heaters are efficient in providing heat to tackle cold temperatures.

While each has its advantages and disadvantages, one type is superior to the other.

If you’re wondering whether electric patio heaters are better than gas ones, the answer is yes!

Electric patio heaters are the most efficient and effective way to heat your outdoor space quickly.

Not only do patio heaters keep you warm during colder seasons, but they also come in various sizes and stylish designs to enhance your outdoor living space.

These heaters are not only more affordable, but they also produce up to 90% less CO2 emissions compared to gas heaters.

They are easy to switch on and off and use less energy, resulting in only 15% of the CO2 footprint of gas patio heaters.

We recognize that people have different preferences, so we hope to help you with this overview of electric or gas patio heaters.

In this article, we will provide more details on heaters and help you choose the most suitable one for your needs.

We aim to assist you in making the right choice.

Example of electric or gas patio heaters being used.

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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 heaters feature simple and elegant designs and use fuel to provide warmth in outdoor spaces.

While patio heaters are primarily intended for outdoor use, they may also be appropriate for covered porches, depending on the manufacturer’s specifications.

You can choose from four heaters: natural gas, propane, wood burning, and electric patio heaters.

To select the heater, you have to decide on the following:

1. Heat emission

2. Power rating (KW)

3. Energy Source (gas or electric)

4. Effective range

5. Stability and bulkiness

6. Duration of Use

7. Material Quality

When considering heating options, it’s essential to factor in the size of the space that needs heating, the number of people who will require heat, and the available fuel sources that you prefer to use.

This will help when choosing electric or gas patio heaters.

Here are a few electric patio heaters of various styles and prices to view at your convenience.

How Do Electric Heaters Work?

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

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

Electric patio heaters come in two variations; some emit a slight orange glow, while others don’t produce any light at all.

They are easy to use and require minimal effort, providing instant warmth to the surrounding space.

Electric heaters are popular because they are comfortable, portable, safe, quiet, and consume less energy.

Thanks to their infrared heating capabilities, they are an excellent option for heating patios during the winter season.

Related Article: What Are Patio Heaters? And How Do They Work?

Electric Patio Heaters are More Environmentally Friendly

More and more individuals are showing concern about sustainability and the environmental consequences of their outdoor activities, particularly regarding heating and burning.

Many individuals choose electric patio heaters due to their positive impact on the environment and their ability to consume less energy and fuel compared to gas heaters.

Additionally, they can result in lower energy expenses.

Did you know that an electric patio heater has a carbon footprint of only 15% of a gas heater? Plus, it’s more cost-effective to run.

It’s essential to consider the environment when considering electric or gas patio heaters.

Are Electric Patio Heaters Safe?

Electric patio heaters are safe; however, you should know the following.

  1. It is essential to follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer and use the heater only as intended.
  2. It is important to avoid installing or placing electric heaters near objects prone to melting or catching fire.
  3. It is essential to regularly check the wiring and inspect all the heater parts to ensure that it is functioning safely.
  4. Don’t leave them on overnight or use them indoors unless they are specifically designed to do so.
  5. If you have doubts about its proper functioning, refrain from using it until it is repaired.

Perhaps the advantages and disadvantages of electric or gas patio heaters will help you decide.

Electric Patio Heaters: Advantages and Limitations


  • Safe for smaller outdoor spaces
  • It is more cost-effective and less cumbersome to utilize.
  • Heat can be produced efficiently and cleanly through the conversion of electricity.
  • Reduced level of risk.
  • These products are odorless, do not produce smoke, and pose no risk of carbon monoxide.
  • Unlike gas heaters, no hidden maintenance costs are associated with electric heaters.
  • It is easy to use and requires no fuel to operate. 


  • Electricity is needed for these heaters, unlike gas heaters.
  • An electric heater requires an electrical outlet to be used.
  • This item emits heat gradually to its surrounding area.
  • It is more expensive to purchase.

How Do Gas Patio Heaters Work?

Gas heaters utilize convection and radiation to warm up their surroundings.

Radiations are responsible for transmitting most of the heat, while the remaining warmth is generated by convection.

Heating through convection is ineffective in large spaces like gardens because it warms the air around the heater, and the heat can escape quickly.

Portability is limited since they require attachment to a gas line.

Patio heaters that use gas generate flames that heat the surrounding space like a fire would.

Many people prefer natural gas heaters, which can be connected to an existing natural gas line.

Here are natural and propane gas patio heaters for your convenience.

Gas Patio Heaters: Advantages and Limitations


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


  • During the heating process, gas heaters emit carbon monoxide into the air, which can contribute to air pollution and global warming.
  • Electric patio heaters are less bulky compared to gas heaters.
  • If the heating component of a gas heater is faulty, the entire unit must be replaced. However, in the case of an electric patio heater, only the damaged heating component needs to be replaced.

Are Gas Patio Heaters Safe?

Yes, gas patio heaters can be used safely if you adhere to the guidelines for upkeep, usage, and storage.

However, it’s important to note that these heaters are intended for outdoor use only.

It is important to note that the propane gas utilized in patio heaters is highly flammable and should not be used indoors, as it can pose a severe safety hazard.

In addition, it’s important to note that patio heaters can emit harmful gases such as carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxide, and nitric oxide.

If you choose to use gas patio heaters in a room with closed doors, it could potentially lead to dangerous consequences as these gases can be lethal.

Electric or Gas Patio Heaters-Costs

Gas heaters are typically less expensive to buy than electric patio heaters. Additionally, the cost of gas is generally lower than electricity.

However, it’s important to note that gas heaters may cost you more in the long run due to their inefficiency.

Outdoor gas heaters are less efficient than electric heaters because they heat their surroundings and waste a lot of warmth by warming the air around them, which quickly dissipates.

Producing electric radiation and heat through combustion is not very efficient.

In contrast, electric patio heaters convert all the energy into usable heat, making them more efficient in controlling their surroundings.

These heaters are much cheaper to operate than gas heaters, with costs as low as one-tenth of the price.

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It’s important to recognize that no heating method, whether indoor or outdoor, can be considered entirely safe and environmentally friendly.

Even the electricity used to power heating systems can impact the environment.

The electric patio heater is the most effective and user-friendly option for raising outdoor temperatures among patio heaters.

I like having the electric patio heater within the pergola during colder nights. The electric heater is easy to move to any location and a bit safer while under the pergola.

I do have a propane heater as well for the outside area, so maybe you might want to consider a combination of the two.

When it comes to electric or gas patio heaters, it may be a split to choose between them.

I hope this article helped you in making the right decision for you and your family.

Whichever you decide, having the extra heat outside really makes for an enjoyable evening.

Enjoy living the outdoor life!!!