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Electric Patio Heating - The Greener Alternative

Heat Outdoors is dedicated to selling only the most environmentally friendly outdoor heating products. We provide efficient, controllable and cost effective outdoor heating solutions. Ultimately, all heat, whether for inside your home, via a radiator or in your fireplace ends up outside. The only question is, are we getting value for money or value for CO2 emissions in relation the warmth we are benefiting from?

Accepting that we could all wear another jumper indoors and turn the heating down, we must agree that heating in itself is an acceptable use of energy. However, is using energy to heat people outside acceptable? Gas Patio Heaters have been getting a bad rap recently and perhaps rightly so. They are expensive to run and extremely wasteful in terms of both heat generated, the energy consumed and CO2 emissions. Their electric cousins are perhaps misnamed as patio heaters as due to the way they operate by heating the people and not the air around them, they are perhaps better termed as personal outdoor heaters. They don't heat the general area of a patio, only the objects or people on it! The latest short-wave quartz heat technology ensures that the heat energy is radiated like the rays from the sun using a powerful reflector to focus the heat energy in the same way as the light beam from a torch or flood light is directed onto it's chosen target. This way, a surprisingly small amount of heat can make a big difference. A typical 'mushroom' style gas patio heaters heats all around it - 360 degrees, as well as much of the air above it. For this reason, four people sitting beneath a gas patio heater will only be benefiting from a fraction of the heat being pumped out.

An electric quartz infrared patio heater aims its heat directly where it is required. The heat is magnified by a parabolic reflector and focused into a beam that can be pointed exactly where it is needed. There is virtually no wasted heat. Another massive advantage is the controllability that electric infrared patio heaters have. This is not just control in terms of turning the heater up or down, it is control by installing either a PIR (passive Infrared) or Time Lag switch to operate the heaters when they are needed rather than have them on all the time wasting energy and money.

A gas patio heater takes a long time to warm up and is difficult to light. Usually, they are simply lit at the beginning of an evening and left on until the pub/café closes. By using an electronic switch that is set for say 10 minutes usage each time it is pressed, the heaters are rarely heating no one and statistically are usually working for less than 50% of the time their gas counterparts are pumping heat out to no-one in particular.

At Heat Outdoors we consider the most eco friendly heaters to be short wave infrared heaters. These heaters heat objects and people and not the air. Our Shadow range of electric heaters are mostly shortwave infrared heaters and these are therefore the better and most efficient patio heaters to choose.


An average gas patio heater (13kW) emits approx, *3,300 KG CO2 per year

An equivalent (2kW) IR heater uses approx *500 KG CO2 per year

Electric Patio Heaters have only 15% of the CO2 footprint of Gas Patio Heaters


An average gas patio heater (13kW) costs approx £3.00 per hour in gas

An equivalent (2kW) IR heater uses approx 36p per hour in electricity

Electric Patio Heaters cost 15% of the running cost of Gas Patio Heaters

* Data Source Market Transformation Programme; used to inform Government decisions. The information and analysis form part of the Evidence Base created by Defra's Market Transformation Programme.


Gas heaters generate over 6.5 times as much CO2 as Infrared patio heaters
Gas heaters cost over 6.5 times as much to run as Infrared patio heaters
Gas heaters give off fumes
Gas heaters are noisy
Gas heaters have been implicated in serious burns accidents
Gas heaters heat 360 degrees around as well as straight up! 70% is usually wasted
Gas heaters heat the air and not the people. One gust and all the heat is gone.
Gas heaters are an environmental nightmare
Gas heaters can be more difficult to switch on and are usually lit and then left on all evening
Electric Infrared heaters are efficient. They warm the people and not the air and therefore the heat is not blown away by the breeze.
Electric Infrared heaters are clean
Electric Infrared heaters are silent
Electric Infrared heaters emit no smelly fumes
Electric Infrared heaters cost a fraction of the price to run hour for hour
Electric heaters can be switched off and on in a second and when used in conjunction with a remote switch and cost as little as one tenth of the price of gas heaters to run.

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