Comparing wall mounted outdoor heaters with table top heaters for energy efficiency, safety, and price

We all love spending time outdoors. Whether it is catching some rays on the sun lounger you’ve set up on the lawn, relaxing in the shade of your gazebo or pop-up tent, or simply having a BBQ on the patio, being able to get out of the house and enjoy the fresh air just can’t be beaten.

Unfortunately for us UK dwellers, the weather doesn’t always want to play ball and let us spend as much time in the garden as we would like, and once September rolls around, you can already start to feel the chill in the wind and know its a sign of things to some- ‘winter is coming’ as they say in Game of Thrones.

The falling temperatures in the later months of the year don’t have to stop you from enjoying yourhete outdoor space though. There are plenty of options to help keep you such and warm out there such as fire pits and chimineas if you like open fires and all kinds of electric and gas heaters too.

In this article, we will compare wall-mounted outdoor heaters with table top heaters to see which offers better energy efficiency, safety, and price, and we will also have a quick look at some other alternatives that might pique your interest.

Just remember guys…..

Wall mounted heaters vs table top heaters– Which is better for energy efficiency?

This is actually a harder question to answer than you might think. The reason being, that there are different sub-types of both, wall-mounted outdoor heaters and table top heaters, but I’ll try my best to clarify things a little. Let’s start with wall mounted outdoor heaters

The three main types of wall-mounted garden heaters are electric, propane, and natural gas. Out of these three, electric models were probably the least energy-efficient back in the day, as electricity costs more than gas, and the difference in running costs used to be significant. However, with recent advancements inn technology, electric wall-mounted heaters are much more energy-efficient than they used to be, and in fact, most of the products available these days are electric heaters.

In this video, they talk about electric wall heaters and the different power outputs of them, so take a look if you’re still not sure what we are talking about-

Like wall-mounted heaters, table top versions also come powered by different sources such as electricity and gas. One of the most common fuel sources for table top heaters these days is ethanol, used for both it’s environmentally friendly properties and fuel efficiency. There are also heaters that connect to the mains gas supply and butane and propane fed table top heaters, and there is very little difference in running costs, to be honest.

When comparing table top heaters with wall mounted outdoor heaters for energy efficiency, you also have to consider that the former will generally be sitting quite close to you, and so will not need to be turned up to as high a setting as a heater that is mounted upon a wall and further away from you. This of course, will also affect energy efficiency and running costs.

One thing to remember guys, is that table top heaters are called that because that’s where you place them- on the table. Obviously someone forgot to tell this guy 😂

Comparing wall mounted heaters to table top heaters for safety

As most wall-mounted heaters available these days are powered by electricity, and also the fact that they are fixed to a wall and away from you, I would have to say that, in my mind at least, they are safer than table top heaters.

A lot of table top heaters are fueled by ethanol or other flammable fuels, and this makes them dangerous if knocked over, especially if there are other flammable things like cushions or garden sofas nearby. They also produce flames and quite a bit of heat, and as they are placed on top of a table, there is the risk of the heater being knocked over, or simply burning the table, or someone’s arm or leg.

Table top electric heaters are safer than gas and ethanol-fueled models, but they are still in close proximity to people, generally speaking, and there is always a chance that someone could spill a drink on the table, and as we all know fluids and electrical products don’t mix well.
Having said that, if you use any type of heater responsibly, there shouldn’t be too much risk of injuries or accidents, and certainly not as much as using a fire pit or similar.

I believe that everyone should have some aweness of fire safety, especially if using products with flames, so here’s a video on the subject for you to watch-

Wall mounted outdoor heater or table top heater- comparing price

There are a ton of variables that come into play when it comes to the price of both these types of heaters. Everything from the size of the heater and the power output, to the style and brand name attached to it, will affect how much you’ll have to pay.

The prices for wall mounted outdoor heaters can range from as low as 50 pounds or so, putting it in the same bracket as an electric lawnmower for comparison, right up to multiple hundreds, and the same can be said for table top heaters, so there’s no clear way of saying one is cheaper or more expensive than the other.

However, if I really had to choose, I would probably say that you’ll likely find a table top heater for under 40 pounds than a wall mounted one, but I wouldn’t like to guarantee the build quality of anything that cheap. I’ve always found that when it comes to anything that gets hot, you should avoid the absolute bargain basement products as corers have usually been cut with the safety of them. I once tested out a cheap greenhouse heater and it burst into flames within minutes!

If you are very skilled in the DIY deartment, then you might want to have a go at ths little project in your garden shed, and build your own heater. It might save you a few quid, but it certainly isn’t a a job for beginners-

Alternative ways to heat patio compared

Other than using a wall-mounted or table top heater, there are some other ways to add warmth to your patio this Autumn and winter, and we thought we’d have a brief look at them here.

Freestanding patio heaters

These patio heaters are basically oversized table top heaters that you stand on the ground, and as such behave in much the same way. Because of their larger size, they usually produce more heat than table top heaters. I would regard them as safer as it is more difficult to accidentally knock them over as you reach over to grab something.

Fire pits

Fire pits are great for getting that traditional campfire feel, and they can produce a lot of heat for a large group of people to enjoy. They are also easy to make yourself if you are low on funds, or you can spend a bit and get a really attractive fire pit that you can cook on like a charcoal BBQ. The downsides to fire pits are the smoke and ash that can be blown around in the wind.

There are some very cool fire pit designs out there these days, just take alook at this one taht is a ust for any 80s horror fan-


Chimineas resemble pot-bellied stoves with a chimney on top and can be used to cook on like a BBQ, as well as used as a source of heat. They also give a traditional feel, with open flames, but as the fire is contained inside the chiminea there is less danger from flying cinders and ash. You will still have to deal with the smoke though.

Hanging patio heaters

These ceiling-mounted patio heaters can look fantastic, especially in a garden with modern-style garden furniture. As they have to hang down from above, they are only really practical for people with solid roofs over their patios, or if you have a wooden gazebo or pergola that can be used as an anchor point. You also have to think about headroom or you’ll be burning your face and head every time you get up to go to the fridge or toilet, just look at what happenned to this guy! 😉🤣

That brings this article to an end, but we thought we’d finish by adding that no matter which patio heater you buy, you should also think about how to arrange your garden to trap the heat produced, as this can make a huge difference if done right.
Until next time, goodbye from me.

About Terry Smith

I’m Terry Smith from, a professional landscape designer, hobbyist gardener, and barbecue fanatic with 20 years experience building and restoring. So as you go through my site you'll watch me document some of the professional garden installs I make as well as the major projects I take on at home. While sharing those experiences and guiding you, I'll be recommending some great tools I use to enable this along the way so you can really buy in confidence. Always feel free to pop me a message:

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