Best outdoor heater 2021: 5 electric, gas, and wood-fired heaters

Buying the best outdoor heater will bring warmth to your garden, with fire pits, patio heaters, and chimineas

Best outdoor heater
(Image credit: MADE)

Buying the best outdoor heater will keep your hands warm and your garden well-lit even when the sun goes down. From gas patio heaters to authentic wood-fired chimineas, our top outdoor heaters will bring heaps of style to your home and garden, as well as the heat you need to party all night long. 

Patio heaters offer a compact design that can sit on your tabletop or down by your legs as you prolong an evening spent around the best barbecue. Alternatively, many fire pit outdoor heaters come with grill inserts that allow them to act as the grill, patio heater, and campfire all in one. 

In our best outdoor heater guide, you will find our top five stylish outdoor heaters for use all year round. Including top picks from MADE, Swan, Elementi and more, here is our complete guide. 

The best outdoor heaters

Swan patio heater

(Image credit: Swan)

1. Swan Al Fresco SH16310N Column Patio Heater

The best outdoor heater overall

Specifications
Type: Electric patio heater
Dimensions: ‎79.4 x 47.2 x 32.2 cm
Reasons to buy
+Very versatile+Easy to store+Two power settings
Reasons to avoid
-It needs to be plugged in

The Swan Al Fresco SH16310N Column Patio Heater is an electric patio heater with 2000 watts of power. Simply plug it in for the choice of two warmth levels: 1000 watts or 2000 watts, and it is 80cm tall. 

Easy to use

Use the Swan Al Fresco SH16310N Column Patio Heater on patio for a more stable base. It does have a 360 degree tip-over switch for safety purposes, so if it does get knocked over, it will automatically shut itself off. 

Smart heating

Electric patio heaters are some of the best outdoor heaters you can buy. The infrared will heat directly, instead of simply heating the air around you, making them more energy-efficient than gas or fire heaters. 

MADE Ivy Line Outdoor Iron Fireplace

(Image credit: MADE)

2. MADE Ivy Line Outdoor Iron Fireplace

Best outdoor heater fireplace

Specifications
Type: Fireplace
Dimensions: 175 x 65 x 65 cm
Reasons to buy
+Works as a fireplace and grill+In-built wood storage+Compact enough for small spaces
Reasons to avoid
-Not suitable for gathering around 

The MADE Ivy Line Outdoor Iron Fireplace has so many things going for it. For a start, the chimney will funnel smoke and fumes up and out of your garden, and there is in-built storage for firewood and fuel.

You new BBQ

The grill and fuel tray both pull out, meaning you can use the MADE Ivy Line Outdoor Iron Fireplace as a BBQ for cooking hot dogs or toasting marshmallows. 

Smart design

We're keen on the dimensions, which are tall but narrow. Suitable for use in large and small gardens, you can even prop it against a wall. 

Because the front opens up on one side, it won't be suited for large gatherings where you want to sit in a circle. 

Kristian Bowl Concrete Propane Fire Pit Table

(Image credit: Kristian Bowl Concrete Propane Fire Pit Table)

3. Kristian Bowl Concrete Propane Fire Pit Table

Best gas fire pit

Specifications
Type: Gas fire bowl
Dimensions: 37cm H x 87cm W x 87cm D
Reasons to buy
+Can be used on any surface+Effort-free style+Acts as a table, too
Reasons to avoid
-It's expensive

Powered by propane, this gas patio heater has the charm and warmth of an open flame, but with easy ignition with the touch of a button.

Weather-resistant

This Love Island-style firepit design doesn't require the same dry climate. It's weather resistant, and comes with a cover to keep it out of the rain. 

Great for gatherings

The Kristian Bowl Concrete Propane Fire Pit Table has a great wide edge that can be used to rest a cup of hot chocolate, or an evening glass of wine. The propane tank is easy to replace, and has a 26-hour burn time. 

Dellonda Freestanding Gas Outdoor Garden Pyramid Patio Heater

(Image credit: Dellonda Freestanding Gas Outdoor Garden Pyramid Patio Heater)

4. Dellonda Propane Gas Pyramid Patio Heater

Best gas patio heater

Specifications
Type: Gas patio heater
Dimensions: W 52 x D 52 x H 227 cm
Reasons to buy
+Freestanding+Tall enough for entertaining +Doesn't need to be plugged in
Reasons to avoid
-Gas is less efficient than electricity

Gather with your friends and family, pub garden style. We've all sat next to a gas patio heater at a local restaurant, but the Dellonda Propane Gas Pyramid Patio Heater is surprisingly affordable to bring into your own garden. 

Freestanding style

No need to plug this Dellonda Propane Gas Pyramid Patio Heater into a power source, you can place it even at the foot of the garden thanks to the freestanding design. It has a sturdy metal gate that keeps you safe from the bright flame, and straightforward ignition at the press of a button. 

Variable heat

The Dellonda Propane Gas Pyramid Patio Heater has a temperature dial that adjusts the level of gas released into the flame. At 2 metres tall, it's suitable for parties where you'll be mingling. 

Round Fire Pit

(Image credit: Not On The High Street)

5. All Things Brighton Beautiful Round Fire Pit

Best fire pit

Specifications
Type: Fire pit
Dimensions: H73.5 x W59.2 x L59.2cm
Reasons to buy
+Compact design+Stylish look+Made of sturdy steel
Reasons to avoid
-No wood storage

Pure style, the All Things Brighton Beautiful Round Fire Pit is constructed of heavy carbon steel that rusts over time.

Love the look

The circular design allows you to drop wood into the top of the pit, and then sit around it and enjoy the glow from every angle. 

Stand included

The tripod legs keep the fire bowl supported as it burns, but the All Things Brighton Beautiful Round Fire Pit will need to have a slab placed underneath it to catch ash if you want to protect your lawn or patio. 

What is the best outdoor heater? 

Swan patio heater

(Image credit: Swan)

If you want a simple and easygoing outdoor heater for your garden, we suggest the Swan Al Fresco SH16310N Column Patio Heater. It's simply a case of plugging it in and choosing between its two heat modes for a warm and toasty evening. 

For more flair and a classic wood-burning heater, we love the MADE Ivy Line Outdoor Iron Fireplace, which can also act as a grill. 

What type of outdoor heater is best? 

Outdoor heaters come in all shapes and sizes, from chimineas to gas patio heaters. The right one for you will depend on how you intend to use it.

Like the best gas barbecues, any gas-powered outdoor heater will require that you replace the fuel tank over time. Gas heaters heat the air around them, so while you can hold your hands near the flame for some warmth, they won't heat you directly in the same way an electric patio heater will. 

Wood-fired heaters offer so much charm, with the smokey smell and crackling firewood of a childhood campfire. Some are very stylish though, and come with smart storage for firewood when not in use. 

Millie Fender
Millie Fender

Millie started writing for Livingetc in 2021. Specialising in indoor and outdoor cooking, Millie is always testing kitchen appliances like juicers, stand mixers, and pizza ovens. She loves finding renter-friendly ways of adding her own touch to living spaces, and browsing the property market for houses with larger kitchens.