Gas vs Electric Powered Heaters

Gas vs Electric Powered Heaters

I have researched the above for a while. My day job is as a garden landscaper and I am often asked about patio heaters. What the differences are, which type is best. I struggled to answer for a while and to be honest the type you buy is always subjective, not my choice to make really, I can advise but all really depends on what your personal needs are, what you want. 

Making your choice between gas or electric power for your patio heater will depend on several important factors. Whether you want your heater to be mains operated or fuelled by a canister. Some of these factors are easier to consider than others ie: where to place your heater, size of your heater, portability, what model, price range, does it fold away but there are also other considerations you should be aware of before you buy.

Electric (using mains power):

  • Usually lightweight, electric heaters come in a range of designs wall mounted, ceiling mounted, free standing and convertible so you can convert them from wall to floor mounted heaters.
  • Heaters that are powered by electric are cheaper to run compared to their gas heater counterparts, and they also operate very quietly and some are even silent.
  • They never run out of fuel (although you can have a power outage from time to time) and their operation is usually quite simple, sometimes even just the flick of a switch and some models come with a remote control.
  • Electric heaters usually use targeted, direct heat to your skin, so they usually warm up specific areas, instead of a patio.
  • The heat is usually unaffected by wind, unlike their gas counterparts that can be seriously affected by the elements.
  • Prices can range from anything between £40 – £600

Gas Heaters (using canister fuel):

  • Gas heaters are great for heating up enclosed areas such as patios or outdoor bar areas, and the gentle radiant heat offers the same pleasant sensation as sitting in the sun.
  • Ideal where electricity is not available, or it is not practical to have wires trailing on the floor.
  • Gas heaters usually do not need installation and most gas heaters can be moved around freely as you please.
  • Usually very simple to set up, just requiring you to install the canister and turn it on.
  • Many gas heater models use the same canisters as domestic gas barbecues; so you may already have some compatible canisters in reserve around the house.
  • Prices can range from anything between £10 – £500.


Before you decide what type of heater to buy, consider your space and what size heater to buy, do you need a portable heater, one that packs away. Also, consider the price, if you are going to use the heater a lot, then maybe spend a bit more on it, if not don’t spend too much, it won’t be value for money, you will hardly use it.

Electric heaters on average are cheaper to use than gas. Is cost a consideration for you? If so, electric should probably be yor choice. Do you have a weather proof place for an electric lead in case of bad weather. If it rains, you don’t want an electric lead exposed to that.

If you don’t have anywhere to keep your electrical appliance out of the rain then gas might be a better option for you. Whatever your needs are consider carefully before you buy, there is something on the market for every requirement.

Posted in Garden.