Being able to enjoy your patio well after the sun’s gone down, alone or with friends, depends on your patio heater.

However, it can be hard to know which type of patio heater you should get. Both Halogen and Ceramic Patio Heaters offer a great choice, but which should you get? If you’re wondering, you’re in the right place.

Comparing halogen vs ceramic patio heaters, halogen heaters are more energy efficient, safer around kids, cheaper. However, a ceramic patio heater can heat a space more quickly than a halogen one, and ceramics can heat larger spaces too.

However, that’s just the short version. If you’re wanting to make sure you don’t waste money on a bad choice, we’ve covered the pros, cons, and comparisons between both heaters below.

Sounds good? Then let’s dive in.

Halogen vs Ceramic Heaters: Their Pros & Cons

Before jumping into the specifics, it’s important to understand what each model can do well, and what it doesn’t. Depending on your specific situation, some of these might be more or less important, but they all matter.

Halogen Patio Heater 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 Patio Heater 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 Patio Heater 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 Patio HeaterCons

  • 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.

Halogen vs Ceramic Patio Heaters: Detailed Comparison

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.

The 6 factors below are the main consideration points when choosing between these two patio heaters. Have a read through each, while considering which is important to you. There’s no option which excels in every department, instead it’s about choosing what’s best for your home’s patio and how you use it.

#1 Price

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 other 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 (covered below).

#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. 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

Heating efficiency between halogen and ceramic patio heaters are actually about 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

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.

Normally, ceramic patio heaters 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

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 Patio Heater Is 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 short answer is that if you want an appliance that heats up your patio 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.