Looking for a way to prolong your garden soirée? We have rounded up the best patio heaters that mean you can stay outside as late as you want, regardless of the weather.
British weather is notoriously unstable. A sunny day barbecuing and lounging in the garden can quickly turn into an evening huddled in a pile of blankets.
But that doesn't mean you should rush for the warm comfort of your living room. A patio heater will ensure you can enjoy a night outdoors while remaining cosy and comfortable.
Which heater is the greenest?
No patio heater is fully green - the most eco-friendly way to stay warm, of course, is to wear a jumper. But if you are after a patio heater, it's worth considering the eco credentials before doing so.
According to Heat Outdoors, gas heaters are far from the greenest alternative out there. They can be costly and "extremely wasteful in terms of both heat generated, the energy consumed and CO2 emissions." The carbon footprint of an electric patio heater is just 15pc of a gas model, and costs less to run.
Log burners, which are in fashion, are not wholly eco-friendly either. Earlier this year, the Government announced a ban of stoves that fail to meet environmental standards. This is because wood- and coal-burning stoves are responsible for over a third of particulate matter air pollution, which the Government is trying to combat. Check the environmental standards of a wood-burning patio heater before buying, and look for wood that's dry.
Electric patio heaters
If you want to heat your garden quickly and with minimal fuss, an electric heater is the one for you. They are easy to turn on and off, and typically reach the desired temperature quickly.
They come in different shapes and sizes and, depending on the model, can either be placed on the floor, on a raised surface such as a table or bench, or even mounted on the wall.
Electric heaters are typically radiant heaters which heat objects directly - as opposed to convection heaters which circulate warm air to heat up the surrounding area.
Radiant heaters are generally better for large gardens as you can choose what area you'd like to be heated directly.
Fire pits are a great way of cultivating that campfire feel at home while warming the space immediately around you. They are usually made from from steel, clay or cast iron and many also come with cooking grills so you can enjoy a cook-up too.
They're fueled by either charcoal or wood and can be even be used as an incinerator.
Fire pits are great for creating an ambience in your garden and many come with a protective lid for peace of mind - particularly handy if you have small children.
Gas patio heaters
Another option is a gas-powered patio heater. They're expensive to run at £1.20 per hour on average; the average running cost of an electric heater is just 15pc of a gas version.
They can also take a while to heat up. However, they do often provide very wide-ranging heat, making them a good option for bigger areas, and can be cheaper to buy.
1. Firefly Hanging Electric Halogen Garden Heater
Well-designed and unobtrusive, this Firefly heater is ideal for a garden party or long nights spent on the patio. The infrared heating makes it silent, safe, and efficient, as it heats as soon as you switch it on.
The halogen heating element inside this infrared patio heater lasts for up to 5,000 hours, meaning you'll be able to enjoy a drink in the garden all year round. It's an eco-friendly option, as well, costing under a third of a gas patio heater.
2. Outsunny electric parasol infrared heater
During the day, your outdoor parasol can provide shade when the sun gets a bit too strong. When it goes down, however, and you start getting the chills, a patio heater is required.
If the thought of a giant heating device in your garden is off-putting, this model is fantastic as it can be mounted within a parasol - you won't even see it unless sitting directly under the umbrella.
As for heating, it warms up within minutes and provides a wide range of heat thanks to the three lamps that each face a different direction.
3. Gobi garden patio table top bio-ethanol burner
The very modern looking freestanding Gobi patio heater is a versatile and eco-friendly device. It's small and light, so can be moved to wherever you need the heat. Though this does mean the range is compromised.
Unlike gas, electric or wood-burning heaters, it patio heater runs on bio-ethanol, a fuel produced from food waste. This gives it impressive eco credentials - the fuel burns clean, with no scent or smoke. As an added bonus, that means you can use it indoors if you so wish. The fuel doesn't come with, however, so you will have to buy some.
4. Stainless Steel Living Flame Gas Patio Heater
It's a pretty out-there design, and certainly not subtle, but this Fire Mountain patio heater is up there with the best of them — just like its price tag.
A classic design, this Landmann heater boasts an impressive 11kW of output, which means it can heat even the most expansive patios rather well.
The temperature is adjustable, so you can choose between a light simmer and feeling toasty. Plus, at the head, there is an aluminium reflector, which ensures even heat distribution.
6. La Hacienda Wildfire steel fire bowl
For a more natural source of heat, a fire pit may be right for you, though it's worth noting that it's unlikely to heat such a large space.
This easy-to-assemble model is one of the best options. Made of strong steel, it can withstand serious heat, but has a handy lid for increased safety.
What's extra special about this heater, though, is that it doubles up as a barbecue by simply popping a grill (included) inside. While that may lead to smelly fires, killing two birds with one stone is always a good idea.
Stylish and practical, this chimenea is made from high-temperature, powder-coated steel and is covered in a layer of temperature-resistant paint. It's got a handy log store to keep you going through the night, and is waterproof, so can withstand some rain (though it's recommended that you cover it when you can).
The Malmo is suitable for any garden, but would fit wonderfully in modern and contemporary gardens or patio areas.