Halogen vs ceramic outdoor heating. Which solution will suit your needs better? Here they are, compared in 6 different ways.

Having a steady heat source in your home for your outdoor activities, is a must. Whether you’re planning a family picnic or a get together with friends to enjoy a nice steak paired with a bottle of your favorite Shiraz, being able to stay warm will make the experience much more enjoyable.

There’s a myriad of options out there when it comes to patio heaters. Depending on your personal preference, you could choose between ceramic, halogen, infrared, oil, and propane models.

In theory, they should all provide you with a warm, cozy feeling, but even in this case, there are noticeable differences in efficiency and costs.

Today, we’ll be comparing halogen and ceramic models to get a deeper understanding of where each one shines, and where they need some work.

Below, you will find a list with the most relevant pros and cons of each model, and a couple of key aspects to look out for. I’m sure once we’ve reached the end of it, your most burning questions will have been answered.

Sounds good? Let’s go!

The Pros and Cons

Before delving into the specifics, it’s important to understand what each model can do well, and where there’s room for improvement. Depending on your specific situation, some of these might be more or less important, but they all matter.

Halogen Pros

  • Energy efficient: These heaters are great at harnessing and transforming the electricity they draw from your wall outlet, into heat. This translates into lower utility bills.
  • Environmentally friendly: Like any other electric heater out there, there’s no CO2 released in the heating process.
  • Safe to use: Halogen lamps inside these appliances do not get hot, so they’re generally safer to use than other models.
  • Affordable: You can find a good halogen option without breaking the bank.

Halogen Cons

  • Not ideal for heating large spaces: Since this heat source uses a more direct approach to increasing ambient temperatures, it’s not as good at doing so in large spaces.
  • Heat dissipates quickly: Halogen technology can provide great results, but the heat in the room can quickly dissipate after turning the unit off.

Ceramic Pros

  • Quick heating: Thanks to the ceramic inside them, these heaters are great at increasing a room’s temperature quickly.
  • Longer-lasting heat: As opposed to halogen models, these can stay warm for longer after deactivation.
  • Affordable: Ceramic heaters are usually very budget-friendly, and easy to find.

Ceramic Cons

  • Expensive to run: As opposed to halogen models, these heaters tend to consume more energy, resulting in higher electricity bills. 
  • Burning hazard: Contrary to halogen models, the ceramic inside these heaters can reach high temperatures, making them a potential source of burn injuries.

What Are the Key Aspects to Look Out For?

Now that we’ve examined the general advantages and disadvantages of each model, it’s time to look into more specific aspects that should be taken into consideration before making any kind of decision.

These are:

  1. Price
  2. Durability
  3. Heating efficiency
  4. Running costs
  5. Lifespan
  6. Safety

#1 Price

heap of money dollar bills
Research and compare the cost of each heater

I want to start off this list by talking about how much you’ll have to pay for either model, since I know it’s likely what you’re most interested in.

You’ll be glad to hear that both halogen and ceramic patio heaters are within the same price range. If you’re just looking for a basic model, you should be able to find it for less than $50.

And if you’re looking for as many bells and whistles as possible, there are options upwards of $1,000.

Price is not only determined by extra features, though. Larger spaces require larger, more complex heaters with higher wattage, so, if you’re in need to heat up a big area, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a cheap model that can do the job well.

That being said, while the price tag is important, it’s also essential to consider the collateral costs that each model entails. You will not only be paying for the initial price of the unit, but also for the cost of electricity, as well as maintenance and repairs.

We’ll get to that later on, but this just goes to show you how crucial it is to always look at the bigger picture when doing these comparisons. 

#2 Durability

Even if you buy a cheap model, you will still be spending your hard-earned money on it, so you want to make sure you’re buying quality, right?

If you buy a known brand from a reputable vendor, you should not have any problems. Most original models out there have high-quality materials and thorough standards during their manufacturing process.

The problem is that knockoffs out there are getting better every day. You might think buying an off brand product would be a great way to save money, but you’d be wrong. These normally do not have any kind of warranty, and are made of cheap, non-durable materials.

Remember, buy cheap, buy twice. This is a lesson I had to learn the hard way.

Now, assuming you buy an original model, since neither halogen nor ceramic patio heaters have moving parts, they should last a very long time.

Moreover, most of these heaters have manufacturer warranties. If, for whatever reason, during the period of coverage your unit breaks when using it normally, you should be able to call your vendor and have your manufacturer repair it for free.

Having said that, no matter how long a manufacturer claims their product to last, what will determine your heater’s durability more than anything else, will be how often you maintain it, but we’ll get to that.

#3 Heating Efficiency

a collection of electric heaters
Both heaters are 100% efficient but differ in power consumption

Surprisingly, they’re both the same.

Since both models use electricity to operate, they’re both 100% efficient. If we were comparing either heater to a propane one, there would certainly be noticeable differences, but in this case, it’s a tie.

If you’re not sure what heating efficiency means, let me explain it with one of my favorite examples. Let’s say you have a jar full of water, and you want to pour some of it into a glass. If all the water that leaves the jar ends up filling the glass, you have 100% efficiency, and any droplet that falls outside the container, is lost efficiency.

The same principle applies to both models of patio heaters. This will translate into less power consumption, and lower energy prices when compared to other solutions, such as propane models.

#4 Running Costs

electric meter
Cost of electricity in your area could be an important factor to consider

A lot of people fail to consider this, but it’s crucial.

While we’ve already discussed the price associated with buying either model, we are yet to talk about how much it will cost you to run them.

Depending on the kilowatt per hour price in your area, this might be more or less of a problem for you. You wouldn’t believe how many people think they got the deal of a lifetime on a new electric patio heater, only to realize after a month or two, that running it is costing them a fortune.

Sadly, since both halogen and ceramic patio heaters run on electricity, your utility bills will increase by using them. However, while you can’t control this, you can control how high the prices rise.

Normally, ceramic models are a little more expensive to run than their halogen counterparts. The difference is not too great, but if electricity in your area is very expensive, every kilowatt counts. 

This is where you want to start looking at how long the heat lasts after the appliance is turned off, and how direct the heating method is.

It might be cheaper to run a halogen model, but if heat preservation is slim to none, you’ll have to turn it on again after a little while. Whereas, while a ceramic model might be a little more power hungry, you’ll be able to enjoy the warm feeling it provides you with, for much longer.

#5 Lifespan

professional technician repairing heater
Giving your heater proper maintenance can prolong its lifespan

While neither model is extremely expensive, you’re still paying for it, so making sure you pick the one that will last the longest, should be one of your top priorities.

A lot of people confuse durability with lifespan since they sound like the same thing; however, they have completely different meanings. Durability means how likely your heater’s components are to break prematurely, whereas lifespan refers to how long you can expect the unit to last while operating it normally.

Most common halogen and ceramic patio heaters are certified to last at least, 8000 hours. This means that, if you were to use your heater 6 hours a day, every day of the week, you could expect it to last about 3.5 years.

There are some models out there which can last a lot longer, but as you can imagine, they’re much more expensive.

Lifespan is just an estimate and could be strongly increased or decreased by how you use the appliance, and whether you maintain it when necessary.

#6 Safety

Lastly, let’s discuss safety.

This is where halogen heaters start taking the lead, as they’re much safer to use than their ceramic counterparts.

While the latter relies on a ceramic plate and heating coils to provide you with heat, the former uses halogen gas-filled bulbs. As opposed to ceramic, these bulbs do not get hot, which greatly decreases the risk of accidental burning and other injuries.

This is especially useful if you live with small children or pets that could be endangered by your appliance’s high temperatures.

Now, I’m not saying that owning a ceramic heater will most definitely result in injury, but, if you want to own the safer model, go halogen.

Which One’s Best for You?

There’s no single answer to this question. I wish I could tell you either heater is one-size-fits-all, but if I did, I’d be lying.

The best heater for you will be that which solves the most problems and makes your life easier. If you want an appliance that heats up your room quickly, go ceramic. And if you live with people who are prone to knock the heater over and hurt themselves, choose halogen.

At the end of the day, it will all come down to your personal habits, and preferences, as well as the price of utilities in your area.


Having a myriad of choices can sound good. But more often than not, it can also be overwhelming, and a double-edged sword.

In this piece, I’ve tried to provide you with useful information to help you make the right choice; however, you should not stop here. Go to your favorite online marketplace, and read the customer reviews for each model, so you know what to expect.

You can also ask the people you know for their personal experiences with either unit. After all, word of mouth can’t be beat.

Thank you so much for reading. If you found this article helpful, why not become an expert in the subject through our other incredible resources below?

I wish you all the best!