Make the most of the shorter evenings in autumn and winter with our guide to the best outdoor gas heaters in 2022. As the evenings draw in, and the temperatures start to fall, we all want to stay outside a little longer.
Whether you’re enjoying your outdoor kitchen, or just want to sit outside with a beer, outdoor patio heaters are an ideal way to keep enjoying the garden for longer in autumn and winter.
In our guide, we’ve got information on how to choose the right gas heater, and our top ten outdoor gas heaters to help you find exactly what you’re looking for.
Outdoor Gas heaters Product Chart
Our buyer’s guide to outdoor gas heaters aims to demystify everything from fuel types for gas heaters, to what sellers mean when they talk about tip-over switches and flame failure.
What are Outdoor Gas Heaters?
Propane heaters have long been used as a backup heat source for our homes in winter, and any regular pub-goer will recognise the standing gas heaters in the corner of their favourite beer garden.
Gas heaters use patio gas (usually butane or propane) to fuel controlled flames or heating elements that radiate heat. The best outdoor gas heaters are directional, allowing you to position them in the ideal spot without wasting heat.
Directional patio heaters tend to be more efficient too, but for many, 360 heating is the only choice, so tabletop gas heaters can be a great way to heat small spaces on a budget.
What to Look For When Buying an Outdoor Gas Heater
The biggest advantage of gas patio heaters over electric patio heaters is that they can be used anywhere and everywhere. They don’t require a mains socket and are usually completely weather-resistant too.
For coastal, or humid environments, you’ll need a stainless steel patio heater. That goes for any garden appliance, as it will last longer in those conditions. For dry conditions, and inland gardens powder-coated steel is the best material for outdoor gas heaters.
Heat output & fuel types
Gas patio heaters are generally warmer than electric patio heaters you can buy for the same price, so are a more cost-effective option. Obviously, there are fuel costs for gas heaters but they are slightly more efficient than electric heaters so ultimately keep the costs down.
The only downside of outdoor gas heaters is their environmental impact, not only releasing carbon, but as a non-renewable fuel, they are much less environmentally friendly than electric heaters if you have renewable sources of electricity.
Gas heaters should have a stable base, and while most are installed in fixed positions, it's a good idea to choose a portable gas heater that can be repositioned if you do decide to move the furniture around on the patio.
Different Types of Outdoor Gas Heaters
There are three styles of outdoor gas heaters; tabletop heaters, gas patio heaters, and portable gas heaters.
Portable Gas Heaters
Portable gas heaters are inefficient but great for camping or bringing out for special occasions if you’re concerned about storage size.
Tabletop Gas Heaters
Tabletop gas heaters are the middle ground of outdoor heaters, typically radiating 360 heat. This means that tabletop gas heaters are less efficient, but better for group settings.
Thankfully, the best tabletop gas heaters come with adjustable settings so you can at least control the heat.
Gas Patio Heaters
The best outdoor gas heaters are gas patio heaters. The static heaters you’ll be familiar with from pub gardens. Gas patio heaters are typically free-standing, and very heavy, so are difficult to move around and store, but they can be 360 as well as directional, which makes them more efficient, and heats up outdoor spaces much faster than smaller gas heaters.
Outdoor Gas Heaters Safety Guide
All states have their own regulations for gas heating appliances, so if you’re concerned, check local regulations, but buying gas heaters from Bunnings or Edison’s, or choosing a good brand on amazon should give you peace of mind that your gas heaters are safe to use.
There are a few important safety features on most modern outdoor gas heaters though, which we’ll run through below:
Gas regulators are advised on any gas appliances, but for outdoor heaters with open flames, or even heated elements, it’s essential that you buy a gas heater with a regulator, or buy a regulator valve for your gas heater if it doesn’t already have one.
Gas regulator values for gas heaters are the same as BBQ regulators and are usually sold alongside propane canisters.
Flame Failure valve
Flame failure valves are included as standard in the best outdoor gas heaters. They are simple valves that switch off the gas supply when the main flame is lost to prevent gas leaks.
Flame failure valves are not essential, but they are a useful safety precaution for outdoor heaters, especially in more enclosed spaces where gas can build up if it continues to leak.
Tip-over switches are generally not included in smaller outdoor gas heaters, but the best patio heaters all included a tip-over switch. A tip-over switch is a safety feature that automatically shuts off the gas when an appliance is tilted beyond a certain angle.
Each tip-over switch is unique to the appliance, but they are a very useful safety feature to prevent dangerous flames in high winds, or if heaters are knocked.
Best Outdoor Gas Heater Reviews
Mimosa patio furniture is always designed with comfort in mind. This easy to use and reliable patio heater is one of the best outdoor gas heaters money can buy, and it doesn’t even break the bank.
The 360 heating is less efficient than directional heating but it’s a wonderful free-standing outdoor heater that’s easy to use and can be set to different temperatures so you don’t end up standing in a puddle of sweat.
The safety features on this patio heater by Mimosa are second to none too, with a tip-over switch, flame failure value, and even an oxygen depletion sensor which will reduce the gas flow if the oxygen supply falls below optimum levels (usually indicating that the space isn’t well ventilated enough).
If you’re on a budget, or like the idea of heating very specific areas, it’s hard to find directional heat lamps for patios, even though they can be much more efficient than larger 360 models.
This directional camping heater by Germerse is attached to any portable butane or propane gas bottle and includes a bottle stand for safety too.
At less than 1/3 of the price of comparable heaters, it’s the obvious budget choice for outdoor gas heaters, but that cost saving comes at a price: The Germerse heater has no safety features at all.
This heat lamp is sold as a camping accessory, but I’d be very cautious about using it in that setting. However, for a garden party where you want to be heating in autumn, this would be absolutely perfect.
99% of outdoor gas heaters follow the set style of parasol heaters, where the gas travels up producing a controlled fanned out flame at the top of the heater, radiating heat downwards from the parasol at the top.
This sleek patio heater from Mimosa is a more modern take on a classic design. It still incorporates the parasol to prevent lost heat, but has a crisper body, with visible flames throughout to create a cosier feel that’s ideal for dining outdoors or just a few drinks in the garden.
Lausaint might not be the best-known brand in patio furniture, but their free-standing patio heater is a great choice for someone looking to match existing styles and materials in the garden.
This outdoor gas heater comes in a choice of colours with a powder-coated brown finish or a polished stainless steel base. Personally, I like the contemporary stainless steel base, which holds up better to our weather here, but the powder-coated brown helps with weather resistance and would look great on a patio in front of a tropical garden.
The Jumbuck outdoor gas patio heater is a great way to add sleek style to your garden, and with maximum efficiency for this style of heater.
While almost all free-standing patio heaters provide 360 heat, the Jumbuck model is really efficient compared to other models, heating around 17 square metres on full power, which is more than any comparable free-standing patio gas heater we’ve found.
Obviously, these taller gas heaters are difficult to store as they need disassembling every time they are put away in the garage, but it’s easy enough to take this heater apart, usually taking users around 20 minutes to set it up or take it apart.
The table top gas outdoor heater by Mimosa is a great space-saving alternative to free standing gas heaters and can be easily secured to your existing garden table.
The Mimosa table top heater requires an existing central parasol hole in your table, but you can easily adapt any table to fit it by drilling a suitable hole.
Its gas inlet is from beneath so it needs to be fed from below, but once it’s installed it's incredibly easy to use with classic Piezo ignition, and a tip over switch that works whether the heater falls over, or the entire table.
If you want the safety of Mimosa patio heaters without the big initial spend, then this is a slightly more cost-conscious option.
Its detailing isn’t great which makes it look like a pretty industrial outdoor gas heater, rather than the beautiful decorative heaters we’re used to from Mimosa. However, it works really well and has all the safety features of most Mimosa heaters.
For the practical gardener, this is a really good quality heater, just not one that’s going to be the talking point of your next party.
Mr. Heater is a brand dedicated to easy portable heating. The Little Buddy propane heater is designed for camping but would work just as well on a table for an informal garden party too, and stores really easily thanks to its clever and compact design.
Mr. Heater works with disposable gas bottles, which makes it more expensive to run, but for something that takes up such little space to give off such a big amount of heat is really impressive.
The tiny gas heater is suitable for indoor and outdoor use too, with flame loss safety features, oxygen depletion sensors, and even a tip over switch, it’s designed with safety in mind.
The Lava heater is specifically designed as an outdoor gas heater for Australia, with the Australian weather conditions in mind, so it’s powder-coated steel, with a matt black finish, helping it withstand the dry summers if you leave it outside, and can easily take brisk winds, or coastal weather too.
The Lava branded outdoor heater is designed with safety in mind as well as durability, with tip-over and flame loss safety valves for peace of mind on the patio.
And, just in case that wasn’t enough, the Lava outdoor gas patio heater heats up to 17 square metres of outdoor space, making it equal to our most efficient space heater on review.
The Buddy heater from Mr. Heater might not be the best looking outdoor gas heater in the world, but it’s efficient and projects heat more effectively than most traditional gas heaters.
Strictly speaking, the Buddy heater isn’t a patio heater, it’s a camping heater, designed to be safe to use in tents, campsites, and hostels, so you can rest easy knowing your heater has every possible safety feature installed.
That said, for camping enthusiasts who don’t mind slightly clunky looking furniture in the garden, this is probably the most efficient patio ether you can buy (even though it’s not strictly a patio heater).
Best Outdoor Gas Heaters Australia
Outdoor Gas Heater - Our Top Pick
The best outdoor gas heater in Australia right now is the Mimosa Short Area Heater, making a usually clunky tool look good in any garden, and heating small areas generously without wasting energy.
It’s easy to think of patio heaters like central heating, focusing on trying to heat up entire areas, but if you really think about what you need from a heater it’s probably more simple than you think; warmth. You need to know that you can sit in your favourite spot without feeling the chill.
Mimosa’s short-area heater is the perfect choice for entertaining spaces, and private gardens alike, and is the best mix of value and functionality of any patio heater on review.
Best Value Outdoor Gas Heater
If you need an outdoor gas heater that can keep you warm without draining your wallet of every last cent, then you’ll have to make a few compromises.
The biggest compromise is safety, with most outdoor gas heaters under $100 lacking any real safety valves or features, but thankfully efficiency is still good in these models.
The Germese Outdoor Gas Heater is directional, so helps to conserve gas for long evenings outdoors, but is definitely not a gas heater that should ever be left unattended.
The big bonus of the Germerse is cost, saving you around $100 on the next comparable model, so you could easily kit out your patio with a few of these for a special evening for the cost of a single free-standing gas heater.
Premium Choice Outdoor Gas Heater
For gardeners looking for style, and style alone, the Mimosa Matte Black Tall Flame Outdoor Gas Heater has it in droves. Ok, so the tall flame patio heater by Mimosa isn’t the most efficient heater on the market, but sometimes, it’s not about efficiency, it’s about looking good.
Like all gardeners, we know the all too familiar desire to have everything looking perfect all the time, so heaters like this that add a crisp chic to the garden are just perfect.
That premium design comes with a premium price tag though, but the Mimosa model is cheaper than most comparable models online, so you’ll be grabbing a bargain either way!
Outdoor Gas Heaters FAQs
What is the best gas for an outdoor gas heater?
Propane and butane gas are both perfectly safe to use in gas heaters, and propane and butane are equally efficient, but propane has a lower boiling point than butane, so is safer to use in outdoor gas heaters.
What’s cheaper, gas or electric outdoor heaters?
Gas heaters are cheaper to buy than electric outdoor heaters, and the price of gas is typically lower than the price of electricity per kWh. That being said, gas prices are rising, and as a fossil fuel, an electric heater may be cheaper in the long term.
Here is our outdoor electric heaters buying guide if you want to dig into this type of outdoor heater.
How long does a 9kg propane tank last on a patio heater?
Different patio heaters run at different efficiencies, but on average, a standard 9kg tank of propane will burn for around ten hours on a high setting. For smaller tabletop heaters, some can make a tank of propane last for around fifteen hours in continuous use.
Can you use a patio heater on a covered porch?
It’s safe to use a patio heater on a cover porch, as long as there are no walls and there is free-flowing oxygen all around. Make sure there is good clearance between the top of the heater and the roof though.
For more gardening tips, see our guide on outdoor blinds you can add to your garden design.
Grab the Outdoor Gas Heaters for 2022
As we head into autumn and the nights get longer and colder, outdoor heaters are a brilliant way to keep entertaining in the garden. They add a sense of purpose to an outdoor space too, meaning you’ll want to be out there instead of indoors, even if you need a blanket with you.
Obviously, there are environmental concerns around gas heaters, but while electricity is still largely dependent on gas and multiple fossil fuels for its production, the best outdoor gas heaters are still more efficient, and more cost-effective.