The Best Heaters For Outdoor Entertaining | SLMan

The Best Heaters For Outdoor Entertaining

If you want to make the most of your garden in autumn or just the UK for that matter, a heater is a bit of a must. For movie nights, drinks parties or dinners, here are the best models on the market right now – from traditional chimineas to sleek smokeless styles.
Photography SKYNEXT, KNAPE / ISTOCK
SKYNEXT, KNAPE / ISTOCK

First of all, what are the options? 

Outdoor heating systems come in various styles and designs. Most people opt for a traditional outdoor plug-in heater or one powered by coal or wood, but there are several others worth considering. Electric heaters, gas-fired heaters, mini tabletop lanterns and hanging heaters are proving popular right now, as are firepits – a great choice for creating a cosy, campfire feel in your garden. Traditional clay chimineas or contemporary metal designs can also really elevate an outdoor space.

What should you consider when buying one?

The most important thing to take into account is the size of your outdoor space. A garden or large outdoor area will need a sufficient heater to do the job – free-standing heaters and open firepits are a good choice. If you’ve got a small patio or balcony, it’s best to stay away from fire-powered heaters as these may overpower the space. Instead, go for a small electrical heater, a raised chiminea or a tabletop lantern.

You also need to consider what you’re going to use your heater for. Would you like it to be portable for camping or beach trips? Are you looking to create an authentic firepit experience? Or, realistically, will it get more use if you can easily plug it in? Also, think about where you will store it – are you looking for a garden centrepiece that can stay in place year-round, or a portable model you can hide away in the summer?

How can you look after them year-round?

Like any outdoor equipment, look after your heater or firepit and you’ll be able to use it for several years. Electric heaters should always be brought inside after use, so make sure you have enough indoor space to store yours safely. To prolong the life of a firepit or chiminea, clean it out after each use and buy a weatherproof cover so it can live outdoors. When the weather is particularly bad, store them in a dry shed or garage to avoid the weathering of clay and metal.

How much should you be prepared to spend?

There are types of heating to suit all budgets, but it’s worth really investing in a quality heater if you want it to last for years. For an outdoor heater or firepit, look to spend up to £500, while a good lantern or small gas heater should cost no more than £200. Chimineas range in price, but clay designs tend to be slightly more expensive and generally last longer.

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The Smokeless Stove, £330

This device is one of the sleekest heaters out there. Completely smokeless, the Solo Stove has been designed to create an efficient burn and impressive flame – with minimal ash. It’s crafted from durable, weather-proof stainless steel and weighs just under 20 pounds, so it can be moved around easily. Put it away in its cover post-use to ensure it stays shiny. 

Available here

The Traditional Bowl, £129

With its all-black, egg-shaped metal dish, this traditional bowl-style fire pit is solid and simple. It’s well priced – coming in at just under £130 – and has a tilted back to ensure you get the most out of the wood-burning fire. It’s only slightly raised, though, so make sure you use it on a heat-resistant surface and avoid grass or decking.

Available here

The All-In-One, £130

If there’s one thing you buy this season, make it this. Combining a heater with a bottle opener and BBQ, it’s a solid all-rounder that will provide you with drinks, food and, most importantly, warmth. It’s compact – the shape and size of a crate of beer – and comes with an integrated bottle opener. You could even use it as extra seating. 

Available here

The ChimineA, £134.48

This classic chiminea blends into any outdoor set-up. It’s crafted from durable steel covered in weather-resistant paint and features curved accent legs. A rain lid ensures the inside doesn’t get damp in wet weather and a built-in log store has been added for extra ease. Just fill it up and let it do its thing.

Available here

The Patio Heater, £77.98

A patio heater might not be the most stylish of choices, but it gets the job done. This lantern-style device is housed in a sturdy aluminum case and can be used both indoors and outdoors. Its compact size means it suits any space, from a small terrace to large garden. It also features a safety switch, sturdy base and multiple heat settings that can be adjusted depending on the weather. Just make sure to bring this one in after use.

Available here

The Basket Fire Pit, £69

This basket-style fire pit is incredibly easy to use. Coming in at under £70, it’s also the most affordable option on our list. The low, contemporary square design comes with two handles and features an open grate, so you always have a 360º view of the flames. It also comes packaged in sustainable materials designed to be reused as firewood. 

Available here

The Fireplace, £119.99

For something that makes a statement, opt for this traditional fireplace-style heater. Crafted from high-quality steel with a bronze finish, it features open sides to encourage air flow and a log compartment underneath for added ease. A great choice if you're looking for something stylish and practical. 

Available here

The Tabletop Heater, £99.99

No room for a pit or standalone heater? The solution is a tabletop heater, and this mint green number is one of the coolest out there. Portable, lightweight and with a convenient handle, it can be taken with you on camping trips or to your mate’s house. It works via a gas cartridge that sits under the lantern, burning for around six hours continuously. Combine multiple heaters around a courtyard or balcony for a chilled, relaxed atmosphere. 

Available here

The Umbrella Heater, £99.99

Attach this fan-style device to your parasol for a blast of heat when eating outdoors. It's entirely foldable and promises a silent operation. This heater is weather and dust-resistant and comes with a choice of three power settings. 
Available here

Don’t forget these other winter essentials too…

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