Make the most of the shorter evenings in autumn and winter with our guide to the best outdoor gas heaters in 2023. 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 outdoor gas heater to help you find exactly what you’re looking for.
1. Mimosa Powder Coated Tabletop Gas Heater
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 Review
1. Mimosa Powder Coated Tabletop Gas Heater
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.
Outdoor Gas Heaters Frequently Asked Questions
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 2023
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.