Written by Terry Smith

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UK’s Best hanging patio heater: Electric ceiling heaters for patios and gazebos

This article was last updated on April 23rd, 2022 at 5:34 am

When I was young, keeping warm in the garden, anytime other than summer, meant wearing your big coat, hat, and gloves, or if you were lucky – having a burn up similar to the modern fire pits or chiminea setups you can get now. These days, the number of options you have when it comes to patio heaters is staggering, not to mention a little confusing. Do you go for electric or gas? Free standing, wall mounted, or table top heaters? And what about the latest trend – hanging patio heaters? Are they a good choice for a gazebo or pergola setup?

Hanging patio heater

To answer that last one – yes, hanging patio heaters can be a good option if you have a permanent or temporary structure to hang one from – they are even ideal for pop up gazebos given how quickly they setup and light they are. The main advantage of these heaters is that you can have them centrally located, so that everyone can benefit from the heat they emit (a bit like the parasol heaters we just reviewed), and there’s no arguments among the kids about who gets to sit closest, like can happen with standing heaters (or worry they’ll burn themselves which is a constant consideration with space heaters). I have to say, I am a massive fan of this infrared heater for a whole myriad of reasons from economy to safety and the best hanging patio heaters compete with all older style heating.

So, in the hopes of helping you keep snug and cozy on the patio this winter, we’ve put together the hanging heater buyer’s guide that’ll educate you regarding all the things you need to know when purchasing a hanging patio heater.

On top of that, we have picked out the top products and reviewed them for you, to give you a clearer picture of what to expect should you choose to buy one. You can see our selections for best hanging patio heaters below:

Best overall hanging patio heater: La Hacienda Silver Series Hanging Heater – high quality is this brand’s specialty and this product doesn’t disappoint.

Best outdoor hanging heater: Donyer Power 2000W hanging heater – Best distribution of infrared heat.

Best waterproof option: Roronova 1500W Ceiling heater – thanks to IP55 rating.

Best hanging heater for gazebo: Outsunny 1500W hanging heater – lightweight (hangs off a thin tubular frame no problem) and stylish makes for a great combination and perfect for gazebos.

Best hanging heater for garage: Sortfield 2000W hanging heater – with good heat output, and durability, you can warm a large garage with this heater. Take a look at my garage heater reviews for many more options too.

First though, have a read through our detailed buyer’s guide, that’s full of essential information and tips on the subject, starting with the simplest question of all…

Hanging patio heater buyer’s guide

Before you reach for your wallet and choose one of the fantastic hanging patio heaters we have reviewed for you, you should have a read through this short but detailed buyer’s guide, where we’ll present you with a few of the main facts to consider when purchasing one of these items.

How high should my hanging patio heater be?

There’s no single, simple answer to this question, as it will depend on the particular hanging heater model that you buy, and how powerful it is. If you’re not sure about this, just check on the box or even in the product descriptions before buying to see how many watts is stated.

Generally speaking, a patio heater that had a power output of around 1500 watts should be hung 2 metres or so above the ground. A 2000-watt model such as the Donyer Power 2000W heater would need about another 50cm added to that, and a 3000-watt hanging heater should be about 3 metres off the ground.

La Hacienda – sensible distance to hang from your position

Obviously, if you feel that there is too much or too little heat at those heights, you will have to adjust slightly until you get it how you want it, but I think what we advised is a good starting point or guideline.

Don’t forget that there should be some distance between your hanging patio heater and ceiling too, to avoid any damage from the heat. Again, 50cm is a safe bet but it depends on the material above the heater. For example, concrete or stone is a lot less likely to be damaged by the heat than plastic and so you could get away with being a little closer.

Hanging patio heater power

Most hanging patio heaters are in the 1500W to 2000W range, but there are the odd models that are 2500 or even 300 watts.

It’s my advice, that unless you only have a small outdoor space to heat, you should go with a heater that is at least 2000 watts, especially when you consider just how cold it can get in the winter here in the UK.

Having said that, if your patio or decking is already fairly sheltered from the wind, or you want something for your garage or conservatory, a 1500W hanging heater should be just fine, and would save you a little money on the electricity bill too. A good example of this is the Outsunny 1500W hanging heater we review later in this article.

On average, an electric 1.5kw heater costs about 30p per hour to run, whereas a 2kw model costs about 40p. Not a huge difference, but if you’re going to be using it all the time, it might add up.

If you can find a model that has variable power controls, then that would be ideal, and the more control through a greater range, the better. Not all hanging heaters give you that much choice though, and heaters like the Sortfield 2000W hanging heater model will have only 2 settings- high and low, but more expensive models could have accurate thermostats. Whatever controls there are, having the option to dial it up when the weather is particularly nippy, or to reduce the power when you feel like your face is feeling a little too hot, is always a handy thing.

The last thing I’ll say regarding the power of hanging patio heaters, and outdoor heaters in general, is that they are designed to take the edge off the cold, and allow you to sit outside in your winter clothing and feel comfortable. Please, don’t expect to be able to sit there in your swimming costumes in mid-December, because that’s not going to happen, but on Spring and Summer evenings, you’ll be able to get away without wearing a coat.

Safety features

Whenever you’re dealing with things that get hot, especially electrical items, there is an element of danger present and so, any safety measures that are in place are welcome additions.

I’d say the main one to look out for when buying a hanging patio heater is a good level of weatherproofing, especially waterproofing, as the heater will be spending its life outdoors. Now, you might be thinking that it will be safe from the rain as you’ll be hanging the hater from a covered area, but when those winds kick up, that rain can be blown in almost horizontally, so having a good IP rating is important. Most hanging heaters will be tested and rated to around IP24, but some models, like the Roronova 1500W Ceiling heater have higher ratings of IP55.

Equal to the weatherproofing, is some protection against overheating. An automatic cut off feature that will shut down the heater if there is a malfunction or if the heater exceeds a certain temperature is something to look out for when buying too. Failing that, certain materials, like halogen tubes such as the ones found in the excellent La Hacienda Silver Series Hanging Heater , are a good sign that there’ll be no problems in this area.

Some hanging heaters have safety cut offs

When thinking about hanging patio heaters in particular, consideration has to be given to how securely they are hung up. Some heaters come with basic chains, while others have different ways of being suspended. Whichever you go for, you need to check that it is strong enough to hold the heater when you are installing it. If you doubt that it is, buy something better to replace it and don’t take chances.

Cable length on your hanging patio heater

Unlike with other types of patio heaters such as standing and wall mounted heaters, there aren’t many gas-powered hanging heaters around. In fact, you might find it difficult to track one down these days as the vast majority of products found online are electric ones.

Now, there’s nothing wrong with that, and I would even say that electric hanging heaters are far more convenient, less hassle to maintain, and do just as good a job as their gas counterparts. However, there is one drawback on some models, and that is the power cable length.

For some unknown reason, some manufacturers of hanging patio heaters only put a tiny power cable on them, leaving you to either get yourself a waterproof extension lead like the one in the photo below, or change the cable completely for a longer one. Obviously, the former option is the easiest for most people. Either that, or just keep an eye out for products with a good length of cable attached to them.

Alternatives to hanging patio heaters

As wonderful as hanging patio heaters are, they might not be the choice for everyone. Let’s say that you don’t have a strong enough beam or ceiling material to hang one from, for instance.

If you find yourself in this situation, there’s no need to fret as there are plenty of other garden heating options available to you. Here’s a shortlist for you to consider-

  • Parasol heaters – these work very similarly to hanging heaters with the difference being they are clamped to the frame pole as opposed to hung – I’ve even seen this type of heater suspended from a ceiling:

    Firefly parasol heater used as a hanging heater
  • Standing patio heaters – these come in a variety of styles, sizes, and power outputs, and you can choose from gas or electric powered models. Larger standing heaters can produce quite a lot of heat and can easily keep you and the family feeling toasty.
  • Wall-mounted patio heaters – probably the most powerful type of garden heater you can get, so there’s no worrying about how much heat they can produce. Installation can be a bit trickier, especially the natural gas models, but they are an excellent alternative to hanging patio heaters.
  • Table-top heaters– Just like with standing heaters, there’s a good selection of styles to choose from, and also both gas and electric models are readily available. Although they don’t produce the kind of heat that larger heaters can, the best models do provide enough warmth to keep you feeling comfortable around a small table.
  • Fire pit– Whether you go for a traditional, log burning fire pit, or opt for a modern gas or electric one, their classic styling makes them a firm favourite with home owners in the UK. You can even make your own fire pit at very little expense, and we have an article showing you how.
  • Chimineas– These stunning looking heaters are a good pick for people looking for a bit of style, but they aren’t really suited to warming up large outdoor areas. For a small group of people though, they can certainly take the chill away and keep you staying happily outdoors in the winter.

What is a hanging patio heater?

Usually resembling a standard lamp, although my nephew calls the one at his house his ‘UFO’, hanging patio heaters are an excellent way to provide warmth and comfort for friends and family without having to worry about things like equal heat distribution, tripping on wires, or pets knocking the heater over.

To install a hanging patio heater, you’ll need some kind of structure overhead, such as a beam, ceiling, or some other permanent or semi-permanent structure that is strong enough to support the heater’s weight.

In recent years, there has been an influx of products called parasol heaters, which you can simply attach under the umbrella of your parasol, and usually resemble a type of ceiling fan in appearance.

For the sake of simplicity, we haven’t included them in this hanging patio heaters article and created a separate page for them instead that you can find using the search bar at the top of the screen.

Well, now that everyone is clear on what we count as a hanging patio heater, it’s time to start looking into the things you need to consider when buying one of the best of them.

UK’s best Hanging patio heater reviews

Now it’s time to dive into our reviews of the best selling and most highly rated hanging patio heaters available for delivery in the UK. We’ve checked them out and compared them for things like heating power, build quality, price, and safety, and you can find out exactly what we thought about each one of them below.

La Hacienda is a name that people in the know associate with quality electrical products for the garden. We have featured their products in so many of our ‘best’ lists that it should come as no surprise, that their silver series hanging patio heater is the item we chose to kick off our reviews with.

Although it may look very similar to most other hanging heaters, and to be honest they all look alike, the difference between the vast majority and the La Hacienda silver series is in the quality and reliability.

I’ve owned, and still own, products from this brand so when they say that you’ll get 5000 hours of use out of it before anything needs changing, I believe them. What’s more the aluminium and stainless-steel construction is perfect for fighting off corrosion.

The IP24 rating is a common one with hanging patio heaters, and basically means that the item can handle being splashed from all directions with water and keep on ticking, so rain being blown in shouldn’t pose too many problems.

I was impressed by the amount of warmth that this 2100W heater produces, and the infrared heating elements make sure that you are feeling all the benefits and none of that energy is wasted heating the air around the product.

A good deal of light is also produced when the heater is turned on, which is very handy, unfortunately there’s no way to have the light on without the heater, but that wasn’t exactly shocking to me, as it is pretty much the norm.

With three power settings to choose from, a high-quality chain and fittings with which to install the heater, and an overall feel of quality and style, the Hacienda stands out from the crowd, and in my opinion, is worth shelling out a bit more for.

Pros

  • Trusted brand name that’s well known for longevity and reliability
  • 50,000 hours of working time before you’ll need to replace parts
  • Produces a good deal of light when the heater is on
  • Stylish and well built

Cons

  • For the price, it would have been good to have the option to have the light on without the heater sometimes.

2. DONYER POWER Electric Patio Heater, Ceiling Mounted, Outdoor or Indoor Use 2000W

For those of you looking for a high quality, yet affordable, hanging heater to add warmth over a small patio table, the Donyer Power HCH502 2000W heater is a very good option. Albeit one that has a very common and annoying flaw.

First off, the good stuff. This is a lovely looking garden heater, with a copper colouring and some subtle curves and layers that give it an understated attractiveness and modern aesthetic. The build quality is equally impressive for the price, and the whole product feels well put together with no rattles or unwanted wobbles anywhere.

There’s no waiting around, shivering your backside off, while waiting for the heater to get up to temperature either, thanks to the quick-heating halogen tubes. The overall amount of heat isn’t mind blowing, but as I mentioned earlier, it’s enough to keep four people sitting around a table snug on a chilly evening.

The weatherproofing is comparable with the la Hacienda, and it shares the same IP24 rating as its pricier competitor, and the aforementioned halogen tubes should get you plenty of hours of patio heating before you have to replace them.

Setting up the HCH502 is very straightforward, only needing you to fix the 1 metre chain to the hook, on top of the heater, and then use the fittings to secure it to something overhead. It only requires minimal tools, and almost zero DIY skill.

So, what was the one flaw that I talked about earlier? Well, the power cable length of course. The one on the HCH502 is only about a metre and a half long, if that, and while it isn’t exactly surprising, the fact that the rest of the product is so good just left me feeling a little disappointed that they let that detail slip.

Still, it’s not a deal breaker, it just means that you’ll need an outdoor extension lead, and when you compare that one negative to all the good things, such as the selectable power settings and the reasonable price tag, you have a good deal on your hands.

Pros

  • Very stylish looking heater with curved lines and a nice colour scheme
  • Easy to set up and use
  • Long lasting halogen tubes are very heat tolerant
  • Good for smaller spaces

Cons

  • · Short power cable length like most hanging patio heaters but with an extension lead, it would be fine for hanging from the frame of a gazebo.

Roronova might sound like the name of some ricin carrying Soviet assassin, or perhaps a famous figure skater or ballerina, but I have to say that they make very good hanging patio heaters, if this model is anything to go by anyway.

With a solid five-star rating on Amazon, the Roronova ceiling heater is pleasing pretty much everyone who buys it, with its combination of durability, safety, and quality.

Let’s start with durability and safety, those same halogen tubes found in our other top picks are here too, so you know you’re going to get your money’s worth. In addition to that, there is an automatic shut off safety feature in case those tubes get too hot, which will no doubt extend the heater’s working life.

If that wasn’t enough, the Roronova has a very high waterproof and particle resistance rating of IP55 and passed multiple standard tests, including FCC, CE, and ROHS. In short, this is a very robust product.

Just like with the HCH502 model from Donyer Power, this heater will get up to temperature very rapidly, and the amount of warmth is good for a small, concentrated space or maybe somewhere indoors like a garage, or even a gazebo. For larger, open areas outdoors though, I don’t think it has quite enough ‘oomph’, but there are three power modes to choose from, which is a bonus.

The 1.9 metre power cable on this hanging heater is slightly better than many similar products, but still a bit on the short side for my liking, and although the chain is adjustable, that too could do with being longer, so people with high ceilings might want to look elsewhere.

  • Longer power cable than many similar products
  • Highly waterproof and dustproof
  • Automatic shut-off safety feature
  • Passed many certified safety standards

Cons

  • Chain to hang the heater is a bit short

With its bright red paint job and mushroom shaped styling, the Outsunny 1500W halogen hanging heater offers a nice combination of retro and modern, as well as good heating performance for its size, but I’d say it’s better suited to sheltered areas.

Thanks to its lightweight design, this hanging heater is just the thing for making your gazebo a more inviting place in winter, or taking the edge off the cold in the garage and allowing you to work in there without having to wear 5 jackets, 2 scarves, and a large pair of mittens.

The 1500W heater is supposed to be able to cover an area of nine square metres, but I think that would only be under perfect conditions, and realistically, you will have to be sat within about 5 metres of it outdoors to feel any real benefit. Indoors, or in a sheltered outdoor space, you might get nine metres, though I doubt it’d be the type of heat that would have you taking your jacket off.

The power cable is short again, what a surprise! But on the plus side, there is a cord hanging down from the heater that you can use to switch it on and off. Unfortunately, there aren’t any other power controls to speak of, but for this price that’s not unusual.

The robustness of the metal housing, halogen tubes, and just about everything else was very good for the money, and it has been designed and tested to be splash proof to the same IP24 as many other hanging heaters. There’s also a waterproof plug that comes attached to the power cable, which is a nice little extra.

I guess I’d recommend this to anyone that wanted a low-cost, lightweight, hanging heater for their garage or gazebo that has decent build quality. For folks who have larger, more open patios to heat up, I think this 1500W heater might not have enough power so you might want to look at this brand’s 2500W model instead.

Pros

  • Nice bright paint job and retro feel
  • Well-built for the price
  • Lightweight and good for gazebos
  • Easy to set u and clear instructions as you can see in the photos below

Cons

  • Not enough power for larger outdoor area.

5. SORTFIELD Electric Patio Heater, 2000W,Ceiling Mounted, Outdoor or Indoor Use

Yet another affordable, stylish, electric patio heater, this offering from Sortfield is available in 2 slightly different styles and a choice of either black or copper paintwork. I’d say that although the Sortfield hanging heater didn’t blow me away, it was a very solid, all-round performer worthy of consideration.

With a 2000-watt energy output, and halogen tubes, you certainly feel the infrared waves warming your body when sitting or standing within 3-5 metres of this heater, but not much outside of that range unless indoors.

Speaking of indoors, the very lightweight nature of the Sortfield hanging heater means that you don’t need really large support beams to support it, and this makes it another good option if you want something to heat up your temporary carport or gazebo.

When looking at this product in terms of quality, it’s on par with the best in this price range, offering a decent amount of protection against splashes and dust, but not a product to be left completely exposed.

The design is also similar to most hanging patio heaters, but I did think the copper effect on this product looked really nice, so if I were you, that’s the one I’d go for. I also preferred the model that had some curved levels to it over the mushroom shape, but either of them would look fantastic hanging over a balcony, decking, etc.

Other features to note are the drawstring to select to use one heating ring or two and a third pull to switch off, an easily adjustable chain, and the fact that it heats up extremely quickly and cools off within about 5-10 minutes. The top of the heater doesn’t get hot thanks to reflective surfaces inside, but I would still make sure that there’s a little clearance between it and the ceiling, just to be sure.

Pros

  • Nice style and coper paintwork looks fantastic
  • Heats up quickly and cools down within 10 minutes
  • Power selection through the pull-string control
  • Not too heavy and would be good for a garage or carport

Cons

  • Although powerful, the heat doesn’t travel farther than 3-5 metres outdoors

Well, that’s the end of this article for now, but we will continue to monitor the market and update this, and all our other product review pages, with new content as time goes on, so be sure to check back from time to time.


About Terry Smith

I’m Terry Smith from gardentoolbox.co.uk, 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: info@gardentoolbox.co.uk

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