Why a heater is a great addition to your patio
There are lots of benefits to getting a heater for your patio, backyard, or deck area. These include the following:
- Cost-effective – The first, and perhaps greatest, benefit to getting a patio heater is that it will save you a ton of money over the alternative. Your only other option for making your patio a livable space during the colder months would be to completely enclose it. This is, obviously, a huge expense. Not only would enclosing your patio cost you way too much money, but it would also destroy the aesthetic of outdoor space. By getting a patio heater, you can save all of that money, and keep your patio or other outdoor space just the way you like it, all while keeping yourself nice and warm in the colder months.
- Safe – When it comes to warming up an outdoor space, you could also install an outdoor fireplace. Aside from the prohibitive cost with a fireplace, you would also have to worry a whole lot more about safety than you will with a patio heater, especially if you have younger children playing around them. With a fireplace, you would constantly have to worry about keeping your kids away. With a patio heater, however, there are lots of safety features built-in that help to prevent this from happening. For instance, all heaters have an automatic off switch if they are tipped over, which will go a long way in preventing any trouble.
- Compact – Another big benefit of getting an outdoor patio heater over installing a firepit is that heaters are nice and compact. While a fire pit or fireplace will take up a ton of room, a heater will only take up as much space as a patio chair. Some models, like the Muskoka Lifestyle Products 1500 Watt Infrared Heater, can also be installed on the wall, which saves even more space. Even if you have a much smaller patio area, your new heater shouldn’t really be all that intrusive, which will allow you to still enjoy your space without being inconvenienced.
- Portable – Something else that helps to make a patio heater such a good purchase is that, unlike a fireplace, you can move them wherever you need them. Let’s say that you want to be grilling outside during the fall. You can place your heater right by your grill so that you stay nice and toasty. When you are finished grilling, you can easily move your new heater over to your sitting area and keep yourself warm and comfortable while you enjoy your meal on your patio. The portability and lightweight design of most of the heaters on our list make them ideal for moving from place to place so that you have heat wherever you need it.
- Efficient – As we have already mentioned, your only other alternative to getting a heater on your patio is to install a fireplace. While these both are fine heating options that provide plenty of aesthetic value to an outdoor space, they are not very efficient. They burn through wood very quickly, which needs to either be purchased or split on your own. No matter what type of patio heater you choose, they are much more energy-efficient and much easier to operate than that, as you either need to keep them plugged in or refill a propane tank to keep them up and running.
Features to consider while choosing a patio heater
As you can imagine, there are a ton of different factors that you need to take into consideration when you are looking for a new patio heater. In this section, we will go through everything you need to know to find the right model for your home.
Once you have decided that you are indeed going to get the best patio heater for your money, you first need to decide the type of heater you want to buy. There are several different options on the market to choose from, and each model has its pros and cons to consider. When selecting a patio heater, you can choose from the following types:
- Propane – Propane heaters are extremely efficient. Propane is also a very cheap fuel source, which helps to make this a very economical choice as well. These heaters are also very portable, which allows you to move them to where you need them. They should not, however, be used in covered areas; however, as the fumes from the burning propane could become a bit too concentrated.
- Electric – Electric heaters are usually the cheapest option to buy but will cost the most to keeping running overtime. These models are extremely easy to use since all you have to do to install them is hang them up and plug them in. They can also be used in enclosed spaces or covered areas, making them a great option if you have a roof over your patio. These heaters are, obviously, not very portable, since they always need to stay close to an outlet.
- Infrared – Infrared heaters are extremely efficient and also quite quiet. These heaters are also very easy to maintain and install. They are, much like electric heaters, not very portable, since they will need to be plugged into an outlet in order to run at all. These heaters also heat up much faster than standard electric models, making them a great option for a spur of the moment evening on the patio when it is colder outside.
- Pellet/wood – While wood is great for aesthetic reasons, it is not very efficient. If you have the option, it is probably a better idea to go with pellets in this case, since they burn for a much longer amount of time while putting out just as much heat as a wood fire. Pellet/wood heaters are highly portable, but much more difficult to get started than other heater types.
BTUs is the unit of measure for any heating appliance. Basically, the higher the BTU output of your new heater, the better it is going to be at keeping you warm during your time on your patio in the cold. Of course, the amount of BTUs you need will depend on the time of year, the temperature outside, and how large of an area you need to keep warm. If you have a smaller space and it isn’t too cold, then you can save yourself a bit of money and get a cheaper option with a lower BTU output, like the Star Patio Outdoor Freestanding Electric Patio Heater.
On the other hand, if you are looking to really warm up space and you are dealing with frigid temperatures, then you should probably spend a bit more money for more BTUs. The Wood Pellet Outdoor Patio Heater is a great option in this instance. It has the ability to put out about 78,000 BTUs, which is more than 30,000 more than the next closest option on our list.
If you are looking to get an electric patio heater, then you need to take the wattage into account. The wattage is the operating power of any electrical appliance. Simply put, this measure will tell you how much energy your new heater is going to need to keep running correctly. This is important for two reasons. First of all, this will tell you how much your new heater is going to cost you on your monthly electrical bill.
The second thing that this will let you know is whether or not your electrical hookup on your patio is up to the challenge. You want to make sure that your electrical service can handle the needs of your heater to ensure the heater and your outlet won’t be damaged during the heater’s use. Infrared models, like the Dr. Infrared Heater DR-238, don’t use as much electricity as a standard electric heater, making them a great option for anyone looking to save on operating costs.
Another big decision that you will need to make concerning your new heater is how much coverage area you need. If you have a bigger space that you want to heat up, then you are going to need a heater with a bigger coverage area. The coverage area of any heater is going to depend on the type of heater.
Infrared heaters, like the Dr. Infrared Heater DR-238, usually have larger coverage areas in comparison to other types. Of course, you will pay a bit more money for a larger coverage area, so be sure to carefully measure out your space so that you won’t have to pay for coverage area that you don’t need. If you are looking for a cheaper model, the SURJUNY Electric Hanging Heater is a great pick, though it does have a limited coverage area.
After you have finalized the type of heater you want and the amount of coverage area that you need, the next thing you need to figure out is just how big you want your new heater to be. As we mentioned before, if you have a smaller patio space, you are going to want to look for something that is more compact or can be hung up on the wall. That way, you won’t need to worry about working around your new heater when you are trying to enjoy your patio in cooler weather.
Many patio heaters have a limited footprint due to their upward design. Even if you get a larger model like the XtremepowerUS Premium Propane Patio Heater, you aren’t going to lose much more space than you would if you got a new patio chair. These models are relatively tall, however, so make sure you take that into account and measure to make sure they will fit under your pergola or any other patio covering you might have.
No matter what type of appliance you are buying, whether it be a new fridge, washer, or patio heater, it is always a good idea to make sure to look for a model that comes with a good warranty. That way, you will be covered if something should break on your new item through its normal use. You need to be careful, however, as many companies will claim that everything is covered under warranty, but will actually only cover certain parts completely.
Even though all of the heaters on our list are made by reliable companies, it is still a good idea to read through the fine print on any warranty information you might receive. That way, you will be able to be certain of what is and what isn’t covered under the terms of the warranty. This certainty will help to keep you from having to pay out any unexpected amounts of money should something break on your new heater.
While patio heaters are relatively straightforward devices, there are several features or functions that, while not essential, will help to make them that much more effective for you when you want to get warm on a cold day outside. The first extra feature you should keep in mind is an automatic shutoff safety feature. This usually comes with propane models like the AmazonBasics Commercial Outdoor Patio Heater. This is a great safety feature, as it will turn the heater off if it gets knocked over, which definitely could happen if you have younger kids.
Another key feature that you might want to look for is an automatic starter. This can come in many forms, depending on the type of heater you purchase. If you get an infrared or electric heater, this will be in the form of remote control. If, however, you select a propane or pellet model, this would be an electric ignition switch. These quick-start systems will keep you from having to struggle to get your patio nice and toasty very quickly.
Some safety tips
Since these devices do use some sort of heating element, it is best to be as careful as possible with them. To do this, simply follow these safety tips so that you can enjoy your heated patio as safely as possible:
- Only use outdoor heaters (propane, pellet, or wood) in well-ventilated areas that are not covered.
- Always check the connection lines for any rust or loose fittings. This will help to prevent any propane from leaking during operation.
- Keep all flammable materials away from heaters.
- For electrical models, be sure to keep them dry.
- Never touch a heater during or after operation to prevent burns.
- Make sure that your heaters are properly installed. For stand-style heaters, you can add sand to the base for added stability.