Gas or Electric Patio Heaters: Which is Better For Your Garden?
May 09, 2024

Outdoor heaters are a great asset to any garden – they can be used anytime to help you make the most of your space, especially on summer evenings when the cool air may otherwise send you back indoors. However, deciding between an outdoor gas heater and an outdoor electric heater can be challenging. To make your decision easier, our experts have drawn up the benefits of each type. 

A Breakdown of Gas & Electric Outdoor Heaters

Both gas and electric patio heaters have different benefits, so we’ve laid out the key factors to consider, from which is more efficient to which is the easiest to use and more. 

Comparing the Efficiency of the Two 

Outdoor gas heaters are known for their powerful heat output, making them well-suited for larger gardens. They need plenty of open space to allow enough airflow for safe operation, so a well-ventilated area is a must to avoid concerns over carbon monoxide emissions. 

On the other hand, outdoor electric heaters can be used in smaller spaces with minimal natural ventilation and carry no risk of the heater blowing out in the wind. More efficient to run than gas models, many have a heat adjustment feature so they produce your desired level of heat.

The Cost of Outdoor Gas & Electric Heaters 

When considering whether to get a gas or electric patio heater, it’s of course important to think about the cost of running each type. Electric types tend to be better than gas, as most gas heaters can cost over a pound an hour to run, whereas electric heaters cost around 30p an hour. The cost difference boils down to efficiency and, as we stated above, gas models are generally less efficient. There’s also the cost of the gas canisters to consider, which you don’t need to think about with electric types. 

Ease of Use

Both gas and electric heaters are generally easy to use, especially as our outdoor heaters at Robert Dyas are always equipped with clear instructions. Gas can take a little while to heat up, while electric heaters provide instant heat the moment you turn them on. 

This Sherpa Gas Patio Heater has a simple push-and-turn control knob, allowing you to easily switch it on and control the heat that the gas exerts. It also comes with wheels for ease of movement when you want to move to different areas of your garden space or store it away in the colder months.

The Flexibility of Each Heater

Electric heaters are great for covering small areas with little natural ventilation and they come in a variety of designs: They can be wall-mounted, freestanding, placed on a table or even parasol-mounted to best suit your heating needs.

Gas models are slightly less versatile as they need more open space with plenty of natural ventilation, making them the ideal choice for larger gardens. 

The Environmental Impact of Gas & Electric Heaters

Electric heaters are favoured over gas heaters when it comes to which is more eco-friendly, though they’re certainly not free from having any environmental impact. Outdoor electric heaters use electricity to run, which inherently affects the environment, but it doesn’t create any by-products, unlike gas heaters which produce CO2. Also, given that they run more efficiently, electricity again beats gas.

The Design

Your garden is there for you to enjoy, so a stylish design is a must. There are lots of different designs available so you can choose which one best suits your garden landscape. Gas heaters can be a little bulkier than electric but there are still plenty of stylish designs to choose from, like this Outsunny Gas Fire Pit Table with Wind Screen. The hidden tank storage makes it sleek and attractive and it can even double up as a dining table. 

For those who are looking for an electric model, this Nova Rattan Electric Freestanding Patio Heater is highly on-trend with its stylish rattan effect. 

How To Decide Whether a Gas or Electric Outdoor Heater is Best For Your Garden

So is a gas or electric patio heater better? Well, the answer depends on your specific needs. Take into consideration each point we’ve detailed in this guide, as well as other factors like whether your garden has access to power output for an electric heater, or if your space is large enough for adequate ventilation for a gas model. 


All in all, there are some great benefits to both types so whichever you choose, you can enjoy evening after evening of warmth and relaxation. We have a great range of patio heaters in some highly stylish designs, so have a browse – you’ll be spoilt for choice.