The best portable outdoor heaters should be:
- Have a space-saving design
- Be easy to carry
- Have an adjustable thermostat for comfortable warmth depending on the weather
If you are looking for a portable patio heater, it’s because you don’t have a huge amount of space to host a huge gas patio mushroom heater in your garden, or simply because you want to be able to carry it with you when socialising outside.
That’s where our list comes into play. We take a look at some of the different type of portable garden heaters that you can use wherever you go. From camping, to ones you can chuck in the boot of the car, there will be something for everyone here.
Overall Best Portable Outdoor Heater
So we start with what we think makes the best portable patio heater overall.
An electric heat lamp is a great solution. Make sure it’s made of stainless steel for durability and heats up quickly – there’s no point having an electric heater if you don’t get heat in 3 seconds or less.
You’ll need at least 2000W of heat to be able to feel the heat, especially on a cold winter’s night. We’ve picked a fan heater with ceramic heating elements because if you want small, you need that fan to blow the hot air quickly and warm-up more than just a meter in front.
These will rarely cover more than 20 to 30 square feet, but that’s still enough to keep a small company of people comfortable on a cold night, especially if you are in a sheltered space. If you’re not, reduce that range to maybe 10 square feet.
- Small compact design
- Sturdy and easy to carry
- Fan heater covers 20-30 square feet
- Ceramic heating
- Automatic overheat system
- Can be used inside or outside
- Electric heating is greener and cheaper than gas
- Electric heating means you need a plug. Not good for taking with you to parks or camping.
Best Portable Gas Outdoor Heater
Sometimes you don’t have a plug socket for electric patio heaters. Sometimes you need the flexibility of being able to just pick up and place your portable heater anywhere, inside or outside.
That’s when you need to use a portable gas patio heater with a handle that provides instant heat. This is why we’ve picked a gas heater that takes A4 Butane Battery for ease and for safety.
Convenient, powerful, and space-saving in all aspects, not just with the gas heater itself.
These come with 1.3kW heating with a highly efficient ceramic element, adjustable angle and variable heat control. They are ideal for outdoor entertaining, heating gazebos, or taking with you to parks and recreational grounds.
Butane gas canister to buy:
What are butane gas canisters and why do we pick them over the propane tanks for portable heaters? Well, mostly butane batteries are easy to carry and one should provide you with 3 hours of heat.
It shouldn’t just be the gas garden heater that is portable, but the canisters themselves. After all, you don’t want to lug around big gas tanks when you are hanging out at a friends garden or hiking up in the woods.
Plus there is safety to consider; these butane gas canisters burn with a clear blue flame and no smell and have a resealable valve which means they can easily be removed even when not empty.
- Carry handle for extra portability
- Efficient ceramic elements for powerful heat
- Adjustable angle for flexibility
- Quick to turn on and off
- Small gas canister for 3 hours heat
- Easy to store away
- No gas smell
- No gas smell, but it’s still gas so only use in well ventilated areas – not for indoor use, but fine in outhouse and gazebos
Best Freestanding Radiator Patio Heater
Radiator heaters tend to be for indoor use for good reasons. The way they work is that they take up air from the bottom, pass that cold air thought heating elements, and push out warm air from the top.
As with all electric heaters we are looking for at least 2000W of heat. Because any less won’t heat any space in winter. But multiple heat setting is obviously needed to cover all seasons.
Radiator heaters are best used for covered or small patio heaters, but they are great ‘indoor’ and ‘outdoor’ solutions. Maybe you want something to warm up a glass conservatory or a covered patio or a small balcony.
They provide lovely heat if you are nearby, and a small compact design with handles are a must to make this a portable heater option.
With no light or noise, it’s easy to turn on and ignore whilst you relax with a glass of wine.
- Great for outdoor and indoor use
- Multiple heat setting
- automatically shut off when optimal heat has been reached – cannot overheat
- 2,000W max heat makes for an efficient electric portable garden heater
- No light
- No noise
- No smell
- Electric heater – you need a plug nearby
- The design makes it more suitable for covered areas – glasshouses, gazebos, covered patios
The Best Space-Saving Portable Garden Heater
If you are looking for a stylish table-top portable electric heater, then you need to find something that is small and can be used both indoors and outdoors.
PTC heating element heaters create fast efficient heat and are super safe to use. They work by circulating air through the PTC elements to heat it, and can be slightly noisier than regular fan heaters, which is why they are further down the list.
However, as long as they provide at least 2,000W of heat you can forgive a little noise if it means a more widespread heat, to heat up all your dinner guests.
Make sure these come with overheat protection and tip-over protection so if little feet catch the cable or it gets too hot, it automatically shuts off.
- Easy to story away
- Easy to set up
- Electric portable heater
- PTC heating element provides a strong powerful heat
- You’ll need a plug nearby – it uses electric off the mains
- For the extra heat, you also get a little extra noise. Fine for outdoors, a little harder to ignore if using inside
The Best Portable Outdoor Heaters for Camping
What are you looking for in a portable camping heater? From our point of view we want something that has more than one use.
It needs to provide heat, it needs to be weatherproof, it needs to last you through the night, and it needs to have multiple uses.
This is where this clever little chimney style portable tent heating stove comes into play. If you want you can use twigs, leaves, grasses or wood as kindling to create a small little fire-pit in a pinch.
More likely you’ll connect it to a gas canister that will allow you to create a bright blue flame, that with its chimney 360 design, will give out heat in all direction and avoid energy wasting.
It’s not the biggest stove in the world, and if you are planning on feeding a family of four for the week you’ll need to find something bigger, but for roasting marshmallows and cooking up a few sausages, this makes for some great quick backyard fun.
You might also like to check out our pick of the best Pop Up Fire Pits, handy for camping and small gardens and patios.
- Portable and lightweight
- Chimney style design provides 360 heat
- You can use as a mini-fire pit with kindling
- You can use it as a mini camping stove
- You can fit a gas burner for it to stand stably
- Easy to carry for backpacking, camping, or travelling
- It’s small. It won’t feed a large family of four
- You will need to buy the gas canister separately
Best gas canister to go with the camping mini-heater
What you have here is a compatible gas canister with a large steady base so you can place this on tables, chairs or even uneven ground.
These should usually have a double seal resealable safety valve, meaning if the canister gets disconnected from the gas patio heater, no gas should leak. You should be able to assemble and disassemble it quickly, even if the gas canister is not fully empty.
After all, you might not need to use it all, or you might want to store the two separately. Either way, pick high-quality gas with safety in mind.
Best Tower Electric Portable Heater
Tower heaters are only portable in the sense that you can put them in your boot of the car and bring them with you to other peoples gardens and conservatories.
But they should be on the list because sometimes you need more than just a personal heater, sometimes it nice to bring something to the table that will heat the whole part.
Of course, as it’s a tower heater you can afford to get an infrared patio heater which provides the best and more efficient heat – still with that powerful 2,000W as a must. If it oscillates even better giving you a larger wind blowing range and warming every corner of the room or patio.
With plus tower heaters you can get all the little mod-cons that makes this a mist buy: a remote control so you don’t have to get up and chance the settings, a timing function so it switches off automatically, an internal thermostat so it shuts off if it gets too hot or reaches the required temperature.
Add a solid design with a handle so you can easily move it around, and whilst this may not be a traditional portable garden heater, it may be your secret weapon to socialising outdoors.
- Adjustable temperatures up to 2,000W
- Oscillation means heat moves around to every corner
- Good for indoor and outdoor use
- Thermostat control save energy
- Timing function for ease of use
- Larger than most portable garden heaters, so harder to store away if you have limited space
When do you need portable outdoor heating?
When you are cold. Some of us are simply better at weathering the elements, and all the jackets and coats in the world can’t always take that bitter chill from the air, especially if you are sitting down or not moving much.
At the end of the day portable outdoor heating is a modern solution to a modern problem – you have space outside you’d like to use all year round, and this is the solution to helping you achieve that.
What is better, an electric or gas portable heater?
The age old debate of Gas Vs Electric patio heater will rage on for as long as there are fans of both. Generally gas tends to be more powerful, but electric tends to be more efficient, cheaper and eco-friendly.
When it comes to portable heating solutions, at this size, it doesn’t matter too much. As long as your electric heater gives out at least 2,000W of heat, it will rival any gas outdoor heaters. And yes, it’s still cheaper to run the electricity off the mains than to buy gas canisters.
But it’s not always possible to have a plug nearby, and for sheer flexibility, you can’t beat a good gas garden heater that can be used in the woods, camping, hiking, or just for family gathering in the park.