Here are some brief summaries that match garden heater types with heating objectives.
Simple and Versatile Garden Heaters
If your heater requirements specify, an easy to use the garden heater that is portable has a warming ambiance, plus a good heat discharge and a natural flame, then a gas tower heater will be a good choice.
Gas heaters vary in size from small table mounted units to towers over 2 meters high. All use a gas bottle that can be moved around separately and the heaters take up a comparatively small amount of storage space.
These are not the cheapest of patio heaters to run, but if they are used for 50 or 60 firings a year they are still good value.
They are attractive to look at and will last well if stored when not in use. They are currently the most popular garden and patio heaters for domestic outdoor situations, i.e. with homeowners.
Economic to Run Patio Heaters
If the economy and low running costs are a major concern in patio heater selection, then an infrared heat lamp option may be a good solution.
These heaters are very cheap to run, but they do have some limitations and it may be necessary to have several lamps (which “kinda” defeats the object of the economy exercise). Even so, they can be hard wired, offer immediate (radiated) heat and work well in enclosed areas like beer gardens.
Wall mounted infrared heaters should be hard wired by a qualified electrician.
A Complete Garden Heater Environment
If space and cost are no object, then a permanent fire pit can be built or (if factory made) installed in a hard landscaped area with matching seating and fire pit wall.
This approach sees a real fossil fuel (or gas) fire as the center point of a social area that can be used for warmth and even the preparation of food.
A large chimenea can also be used as an alternative to the fire pit with the option of doubling as a barbeque or food heating stove. If you are interested to purchase a stove, this article might be a good read for you – best wood stove reviews.
Fire pits and cast iron chimeneas have the advantage of being (generally) weatherproof. This means that they can be left in situ without the need for storage.
Fire pits and chimeneas do have an extended startup time as the fossil fuel needs to burn and pass its heat through to the structure of the chimenea or fire pit unit. They are however the best “permanent” garden heater option.