Are electric patio heaters waterproof?

Last updated: February 2023 

According to the Met Office, it rains an average 156.2 days per year in Britain, so having a patio heater that can withstand the drizzly UK climate is essential. Typically, getting an electronic item wet leads to corrosion, short circuiting, and permanent damage. Luckily, when it comes to electric patio heaters, you can always expect a certain amount of protection against windblown rain, dirt, dust, and anything else the outdoors will throw at it. But do all electric patio heaters have the same level of weatherproofing? The answer is in their IP rating.

IP ratings explained

The International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) developed IP ratings to signify an electrical appliance’s level of protection against the ingress of solid objects and moisture. To put it simply, IP stands for Ingress Protection and is always followed by two numbers:

  • The first number (0-6) represents the protection level against solids.
  • The second number (0-9) represents the protection level against moisture.

Check out the IEC’s website for a full breakdown of each IP rating.

Which IP ratings are considered waterproof?

IP ratings were created to give consumers a clear indication of an item’s protection against certain environments, since terms like ‘waterproof’ and ‘weatherproof’ can be pretty vague and misleading. An IP rating ending in 4 is the minimum level required for a heater that’s going to be installed outside. Level 4 indicates protection against splashing water from any direction – a must, considering windy and rainy weather is a UK staple!

What about IPX ratings?

In some cases, either digit can be replaced with an X (eg. IPX4). All this means is that the item has not been tested for that specific type of ingress protection. When it comes to electric patio heaters, as long as the X is used as a placeholder for the first digit and not the second, you're in the know as to how waterproof your electric patio heater is.

So, now you have an idea of what IP ratings are and which are considered waterproof, it’s time to determine the exact level of water protection your electric patio heater needs. The answer is simple – it depends entirely on where you plan on installing it.

Patio heaters for sheltered outdoor spaces

Like we’ve mentioned, Level 4 is sufficient for most outdoor locations that may only be subject to the odd rain shower. When opting for a Level 4 heater, installing it to the roof of your gazebo or beneath your sun umbrella provides it with ample protection against windblown solids and rainfall, so you can enjoy the comforting warmth of your electric patio heater year-round.

Recommended electric patio heater: Ecostrad Thermaglo

At a glance

  • IP rating: IP55
  • Price – £199.99
  • Heats from – 5-9m²

Top 3 features

  • 4-Stage Power Output & Timer
  • Programmable Remote Included
  • Portable Heating Option

A sleek black finish and innovative carbon fibre technology make the Ecostrad Thermaglo the ideal outdoor accessory. Switch between four different output levels and program your heater’s timer function for up to 9 hours for comfortable and efficient heating no matter the season. With point & click remote control, the Thermaglo can be adjusted from afar with ease, providing your outdoor space with vigorous mediumwave warmth and an ultra-low glare. The Ecostrad Thermaglo goes one step further than offering basic waterproof protection with its secure IP55 rating. While not being completely dust-tight, it does have guarding against this type of windblown matter and can also withstand water jets projected by a nozzle (6.3mm) from any angle, so if the aim of your hosepipe ever goes awry, the Thermaglo is more than prepared for it.

Patio heaters for exposed outdoor spaces

Looking for an electric patio heater that can withstand frequent harsh weather? Perhaps you’re even looking to install a heater in a warehouse or other commercial setting that may be subject to water jet cleaning. Whatever your requirements, we’ve got you covered: heaters that will be exposed to higher levels of moisture require a rating that ends in 5 or higher, so you can reap the benefits of its long-lasting radiant warmth without worrying about damage or effects to performance.

Recommended electric patio heater: Stratus

At a glance

  • IP rating: IP65
  • Price – £199.99
  • Heats from – 10-12m²

Top 3 features

  • 9 Heat Levels
  • 24-Hour Timer Function
  • Programmable Remote Included

For an outdoor heater you can depend on no matter the weather, look no further than the Stratus Infrared Patio HeaterCapable of heating in under 10 seconds, the mediumwave infrared technology of the Stratus provides soothing all-day warmth behind a contemporary curved frame. With remote control, make instant changes from the comfort of your chair: utilise the Stratus’s handy 24-hour timer function and switch between two heat levels and nine intensity settings. With a sophisticated silver finish, this ultra-low glare heater emits a soft ruby light, perfect for chilled all-day hangouts in domestic and commercial spaces alike. Install it outdoors with confidence: a robust IP65 rating means the Stratus is completely dust-tight, with total protection against solid objects as well as rain and water jets from any angle.

Does DIY or hardwired installation help with waterproofing?

While many of our patio heaters are suitable for DIY-installation, hardwiring your outdoor heaters to the mains is the best way to safeguard them from the elements and ensure a long-lasting product. Quick DIY-fitting is great for those spontaneous outdoor hangouts in dry weather – with all fixtures and fittings included, you can have your heater running in minutes. Our Ecostrad Infrared Patio Heater Stand is also the ideal choice for portable heating, so no mounting required – just make sure to use an IP-rated socket and you’re good to go!

If you do plan on making your electric patio heater a permanent fixture by mounting it to the wall or ceiling, professional hardwiring is a must to ensure safe operation. This is a simple job for any qualified electrician, and with no maintenance required, you can enjoy the soothing warmth of your electric patio heater for years to come.

Want some help finding the best infrared patio heater for your outdoor space? Check out our buying guide.

Get your waterproof electric patio heater today

Come rain or shine, electric patio heaters are a way to make your outdoor space snug and functional all year round – and now that you know all of our patio heaters are weatherproof-rated, you can shop our full range with total confidence. If you’re still unsure what IP rating you need, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our sales team for expert advice on all things electric heating.

Key learnings

  • Our full range of electric patio heaters are classed as waterproof. Check out a product’s IP rating to determine how much protection it has against the elements.
  • An IP rating ending in 4 is the minimum level required for a heater that’s going to be installed outside.
  • Heaters that will be exposed to frequent harsh weather or industrial water jet cleaning will require a rating that ends in 5 or higher.
  • Professionally hardwiring your electric patio heaters is a must to ensure safe operation.