As the weather gets warmer, it’s time to spruce up your patio and get it ready for action. Adding outdoor heaters to the mix is a great way to get more use out of your outdoor space. Whether you favor hosting large events, or more intimate dinner parties, including heating in your outdoor setup makes the space that much more versatile.
Shopping for an outdoor heater:
A fire pit is the least expensive, simplest option as it’s essentially a container in which a campfire can be built. Opt for a portable one, or one that’s installed in the ground.
A patio fireplace is designed to look like indoor fireplace, but is usually fueled by gas. The advantage to this option is the cozy, fireplace look and feel.
The most versatile options for outdoor heaters are freestanding ones. They’re portable, come in different sizes, and usually run off propane cylinders like gas grills do. The small, lamp-like ones are suited for tabletop use, while larger ones are meant to stand on the ground; you’ve probably seen them used in outdoor cafés. Typically these heaters can warm a radius of 8-12 feet, while their commercial grade counterparts have a warming power of up to 20 feet.
If you have a semi-enclosed area in your outdoor space, a wall- or ceiling-mount heater is another option. This arrangement is more permanent in that the unit is affixed to the wall, so while it offers less in the way of versatility, it is a great, deluxe option for outdoor spaces can accommodate it.
A few tips
• Start by measuring the area you want to heat. For most small gatherings, a tabletop model is sufficient.
• If there are kids or pets running around, opt for a wall-mounted heater if possible.
• For maximum safety, purchase a heater with features like automatic shut-off, a timer and thermostat.
• Be sure to place your freestanding heater on a level surface away from combustibles, including potted plants and trees.
• Be sure the heater is off and cool before you move it.
Now just be ready for your ultra-comfy guests to want to linger a little longer.