The SLMan Guide To… Outdoor Heating

The SLMan Guide To… Outdoor Heating


Lockdown aside, outside entertaining is looking like the best we’ll be able to do for a while. Investing in some decent outdoor heating therefore makes perfect sense. To choose the right option for your space, Lynsey Abbott from garden centre group Dobbies told SLMan what to look for…

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?

Why is now the time to invest?
It goes without saying there’s been a huge demand for outdoor heating in recent months (online searches for patio heaters alone have gone up 300% since September), so now is the perfect chance to finally invest in something you may have put off for years. The thought of sitting outside in the dead of winter seems a little bleak. A good heater will bring a whole new dimension to your space and allow you to make the most of your garden or patio year-round. Firepits can also double up as an outdoor grill or barbecue – great for alfresco dining.

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.


Interested? Here’s the SLMan edit of the best outdoor heating out there right now…

Lifestyle Tahiti Flame Stainless Steel Gas Patio Heater

For the ultimate at-home heating system, invest in this stainless-steel patio heater from Lifestyle. The central flame creates a cosy atmosphere while the 13KW of internal heat is enough to warm you and several outdoor guests. Wheel it onto the patio and store it away at night.

Available here

Cosiscoop Timber Fire Lantern

If you’ve got a small outdoor space, opt for this compact gas-fired lantern which can be positioned on a table or outdoor decking. Fire up the ignition, enjoy a medium-level heat, then remember to pack it on your next camping trip as a portable heat source.

Available here

ATR ARTTOREAL Electric Patio Parasol Umbrella Heater

Attach this halogen electric heater to a garden parasol and it can provide heat for up to six people. It’s a safe bet if you’ve got kids, as it can be firmly secured to the umbrella, while each pane works independently so you can easily control the level of heat.

Available here

Blumfeldt Heat Guru 360 Stand Radiant Heater

This radiant heater is small, but it has a serious amount of power thanks to clever internal infrared technology. On a cold night, place it outside and crank up the heat to 1,200W for 360° heating.

Available here

La Hacienda Stonehurst Steel Outdoor Fireplace

La Hacienda is a clear leader in the outdoor heating game. This outdoor fireplace is a great option if you’ve got a garden or large patio. The top-level log burner gives off substantial heat while the bottom storage compartment makes it a stylish centrepiece.   

Available here

Gardeco Dakota Steel Charcoal/Wood Burning Fire Pit

If you’re after a quality fire pit, this sturdy option from Gardeco burns wood, charcoal and coal. A strong choice for large outdoor spaces, it gives off a decent amount of heat and will impress guests at your next gathering.

Available here

La Hacienda Extra Large Steel Chiminea

When it comes to chimineas, La Hacienda is the go-to brand. Behind a mesh door, this traditional model burns coal or wood. Chimineas are best kept on sturdy ground so keep it away from grass.

Available here

La Hacienda Vintage Lamp Heater

Get some serious style points with this large outdoor vintage lamp by La Hacienda. With three powerful settings, you can adjust the temperature and easily move it around.

Available here

Rylan Bowl Concrete Propane Fire Pit

Cased in solid concrete, this sleek fire bowl is a great focal point for any garden – and if it’s good enough for the Love Island villa…

Available here


DISCLAIMER: We endeavour to always credit the correct original source of every image we use. If you think a credit may be incorrect, please contact us at [email protected].