Are Patio Heaters Expensive To Run? Find Out Here!

Written By James
Updated July 12, 2023 by James

Are Patio Heaters Expensive To Run? Find Out Here!

Are you considering buying a patio heater but worried about the cost of running it? Well, you're not alone. Many people who want to enjoy their outdoor spaces during chilly weather wonder if patio heaters are expensive to run. The good news is that there are different types of patio heaters with varying fuel sources and energy-efficient features that can help manage costs.

In this article, we'll discuss the types of patio heaters available and how to calculate their running costs. We'll also share tips on making your patio heater more energy-efficient and compare the cost of running different types of heaters.

By the end of this article, you'll have a better understanding of what factors to consider when choosing a patio heater that fits your budget and lifestyle needs. So sit back, relax, and let's dive into the world of patio heaters!

Essential Highlights

  • The cost of running different types of patio heaters varies depending on the fuel type, with electric heaters costing around £0.20 per hour, propane heaters costing between £1.50-£2 per hour, and natural gas heaters costing around £0.75 per hour.
  • Natural gas heaters are the most cost-effective option in the long run, although reflective shields and strategic placement can make heaters more energy-efficient overall.
  • Cleaning and buying a smaller unit can help lower the running costs of a patio heater, regardless of the fuel type.
  • When choosing a patio heater, factors such as size, location, fuel type, and weather conditions should be considered, and energy-efficient features like programmable timers and automatic shut-off switches can help lower costs even further.

Types of Patio Heaters and Their Fuel Sources

Looking for a cost-effective way to keep your outdoor space warm? Consider the different types of patio heaters and their fuel sources.

There are three main types of patio heaters: electric, propane, and natural gas.

Electric patio heaters are the most energy-efficient option, using about 1,500 watts per hour on average. They can be plugged into any standard outlet and provide heat instantly without any harmful emissions.

Propane patio heaters use a propane tank as their fuel source and produce heat by burning propane gas. They're more powerful than electric heaters but also require more maintenance, such as changing out propane tanks.

Natural gas patio heaters are connected to a natural gas line and produce heat by burning natural gas. While they typically have higher upfront costs for installation, they are the most cost-effective option in the long run.

Now that you know the different types of patio heaters and their fuel sources, let's talk about calculating the cost of running a patio heater without breaking the bank.

Calculating the Cost of Running a Patio Heater

Calculating the cost of operating a propane or gas-powered outdoor heating appliance can be quite significant. The amount you spend on fuel will vary depending on several factors, including the size of your patio heater and how often you use it.

For example, a 40,000 BTU patio heater running for six hours a night could cost around £20 per week in propane.

To lower your costs, consider investing in an energy-efficient patio heater. Electric heaters are generally more expensive to purchase but less expensive to operate than gas-powered models. Additionally, look for units with features like programmable timers and automatic shut-off switches that can help minimize wasted energy.

With these tips in mind, you'll be able to enjoy your patio heater without breaking the bank!

Tips for Making Your Patio Heater More Energy-Efficient

Investing in an energy-efficient outdoor heating appliance can significantly reduce your fuel expenses. Look for features like programmable timers and automatic shut-off switches, which can help you save money by heating the patio only when it's necessary.

Here are some tips to make your patio heater more energy-efficient:

  1. Use a reflective shield: This will direct heat towards the area you want to warm up, reducing waste.
  2. Place the heater strategically: Position your patio heater where it can benefit from windbreaks or natural insulation like walls or roofs.
  3. Clean your heater regularly: A clean unit will work more efficiently than a dirty one.
  4. Consider buying a smaller unit: The right size of patio heater means less wasted heat and lower running costs.

By following these simple tips, you'll be able to enjoy outdoor evenings without breaking the bank on fuel costs.

In the next section, we'll look at how different types of patio heaters compare in terms of running costs so that you can choose the best option for you and your budget.

Comparing the Cost of Running Different Types of Patio Heaters

To save on energy bills, you should know how different types of outdoor heating appliances compare in terms of running costs. Electric patio heaters are the most cost-effective option as they use electricity to produce heat, which is cheaper than propane gas or natural gas. On average, electric patio heaters cost around £0.20 per hour to run.

Propane gas and natural gas heaters are more expensive to run as they require fuel to produce heat. Propane gas heaters can cost between £1.50-£2 per hour while natural gas heaters can cost around £0.75 per hour depending on the area you live in and the current price of natural gas. Understanding these differences will help you make an informed decision when choosing a patio heater that suits your budget and needs.

When considering purchasing a patio heater, there are various factors to consider such as size, location, type of fuel used, and weather conditions in your area.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Patio Heater

When choosing a patio heater, it's important to keep in mind various factors such as size, location, fuel type, and weather conditions. The size of your patio should determine the type of heater you choose. If you have a large outdoor space, then a freestanding propane or natural gas heater might be the best option. However, if your area is smaller or more intimate, then an electric or tabletop heater may suffice.

Location is another important factor to consider when selecting a patio heater. If you live in an area with high wind or rain, then you'll want to choose a sturdy and durable model that can withstand harsh weather conditions. Fuel type is also crucial - propane heaters are more portable and offer greater heat output than electric heaters but require frequent refilling. Lastly, don't forget about weather conditions - if it's often cold where you live and there's little sun exposure on your patio during winter months, then investing in a powerful and efficient patio heater will ensure that your guests stay warm and comfortable while enjoying their time outside.

Factor Propane Heater Electric Heater
------ -------------- ----------------
Cost £1 per hour 10-20 cents per hour
Heat Output 40-45k BTUs 5-6k BTUs
Portability Portable Less portable

As seen from the table above comparing propane and electric heaters; propane heaters cost more to operate but produce significantly more heat output compared to electric heaters which are less expensive but produce lower amounts of heat output. Take these factors into consideration before buying your next patio heater so that you can make an informed decision based on what suits your needs best!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can patio heaters be used indoors?

Yes, patio heaters can be used indoors but it's important to follow safety guidelines and ensure proper ventilation. Keep in mind that they may still use a lot of energy and could be expensive to run.

How often should patio heaters be cleaned and maintained?

To keep your patio heater running efficiently, it's important to clean and maintain it regularly. Check the manufacturer's recommendations for specific instructions. Don't forget to also check for any damage or wear and tear that may require repairs.

What safety measures should be taken when using a patio heater?

To ensure safety when using a patio heater, keep it away from combustible materials and always supervise its use. Also, make sure it's well-maintained and follow manufacturer instructions. Stay warm without worry!

Are there any environmental concerns associated with using patio heaters?

When using a patio heater, it's important to consider the environmental impact. These heaters emit CO2 and other pollutants, contributing to climate change. However, you can reduce your carbon footprint by opting for electric or gas models with higher energy efficiency ratings.

Can patio heaters be used year-round or are they only suitable for certain seasons?

You can use patio heaters all year round, depending on your location and climate. They are suitable for outdoor gatherings in colder months and provide warmth to ensure you and your guests stay comfortable.


In conclusion, patio heaters can be expensive to run depending on the type and fuel source you choose. Gas heaters tend to be more expensive than electric ones, but both have their pros and cons.

To make your patio heater more energy-efficient, try using it only when necessary and adjust the temperature as needed. When comparing the cost of running different types of patio heaters, consider not only the initial cost but also maintenance and fuel expenses.

When choosing a patio heater, keep in mind factors such as size, design, and safety features. Ultimately, it's important to find a balance between cost and functionality that works for your needs and budget.

With these tips in mind, you'll be able to enjoy your outdoor space even on chilly nights without breaking the bank.

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My father, and his father before him, and his father; for the past 3 generations, my family have always been into gardening. The green fingers is a gift passed down to me and I thoroughly enjoy it! I also have worked in the manufacturing department for Bosch and DeWalt so I like to think I know a thing or two about tools and such!
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