What outdoor heating should I choose?

Warmth can add instant comfort to any space – especially when you’re outdoors.

When it comes to outdoor heating, there are a whole range of options out there – from outdoor fireplaces to electric or gas heaters, and everything in between. Depending on your outdoor space, some options will work better than others.

In this article, we take a look at some of the more popular outdoor heating options and explain their pros and cons.

What should I consider when choosing outdoor heating?

Before you buy an outdoor heater, there are a few factors you may want to consider to ensure you’re buying the right heater for you and your space. These include-

  • What you need it for: Ambience, cooking, or all of the above.
  • How much do you want to spend on heating? Some options are cheaper than others.
  • Heat output: Large or small space?
  • Do you want low maintenance? Some options require regular attention, others produce heat at the touch of a button.
  • Portability: Do you want your heater to be set in a fixed position or have the flexibility of moving it around?
  • Appearance: Do you want the heater to blend into your outdoor space or be an eye-catching design feature?
  • Energy or fuel source: There are several types of energy sources to choose from including wood, gas, electricity and eco-friendly biofuel, each with their own pros and cons

We recommend that you keep this list in mind when deciding which option you want to go for.

What is the best outdoor heating?

In this article we take a look at five heating options. By summarising the key features of each option, you should begin to get an understanding of the outdoor heater that could be best suited to your outdoor space and fit with your needs - whether it’s to keep warm, cook or to simply provide a soft ambience.

Best heating for a small space? Consider an eco-friendly fire table or fire bowl

Fire tables, fire bowls and fire pits are a modern take on the classic fireplace. Depending on the design and size, you can position a small fire bowl on a bar or dine around a fire table.

If you're after a portable, low maintenance heater that will be a focal point in your backyard - then any of these would be a great place to start. Watch the video below to learn about the common features you will find on one of the EcoSmart™ fire bowl models.

Watch: Top features of an EcoSmart™ Pod™ Fire Bowl

Click the button below to shop the EcoSmart™ range available at Spa World™.

Want a traditional looking heater? How about an outdoor fireplace?

Fancy giving your modern space a traditional twist? Outdoor fireplaces are among the largest of outdoor heater styles and ideal if you want the ambience of a real fire. Some can even double as ovens or stove tops so you can use it to cook an outdoor meal or pizza.

Outdoor fires have the wow factor but they are higher maintenance than other options out there. For example, you will need to continuously stoke it up with wood and clean out the embers. If low maintenance is a priority for you then we’d recommend heating powered by gas or electricity.

Looking for a small, subtle heater? Check out strip heaters

Strip heaters are designed to be installed on outdoor structures like pergolas, umbrellas and outdoor beams. One of the best things about strip heating is that it’s a subtle heat source which takes up minimal space and provides heating directly where you want it. They can also bring peace of mind if you have youngsters and want to keep heaters out of arm’s reach.

Strip heaters are fuelled by gas, electricity or infrared heating technology, making them a convenient, low maintenance option for outdoor areas. Many on the market can be turned on at the touch of a remote control button.

Keep in mind, strip heaters may need to be hardwired by a licensed electrician to hide exposed cords. If they are installed on a structure, they may also need to be a certain height above the ground. Gas fueled heaters may require plumbing or gas bottles that need replacing.

Want options and flexibility? Check out portable outdoor heaters

It’s all in the name - portable heaters are designed for convenience and versatility. It’s a heat source that you can move around your outdoor or indoor space. They are available on the cheaper end of the price spectrum and available in a range of sizes, styles. Because there is a wide variety of this heater type, you may come across portable heaters under the terms 'patio heater', 'fire table' or 'fire bowl'.

Do you have a preferred energy source? You will find portable heaters are likely to suit your needs with all options available - gas, electricity as well as liquid fuels such as bio ethanol.

It’s important to remember that if you’re looking for a heater that will also be a design feature, you may need to consider a more premium option such as a fire place, fire table or fire pit.

Prioritising heat over design? Is a patio heater worth it?

Whether it’s a deck, small courtyard, corner or yes, a patio - patio heaters are designed be a primary heat source for an outdoor area. If you’re asking yourself ‘how do I heat an outdoor patio’, you will find that patio heaters could tick the boxes with their sturdy structures (commonly made of stainless steel) and many are based on a set of wheels for easy portability.

Patio heaters provide the heat (through gas or electricity) but they may not be as energy efficient as heaters fuelled by clean energy such as bioethanol. When you compare with other heater options such as an outdoor fireplace or fire table, patio heaters may offer a lower level of design appeal.

Summary

Now you are more aware of the outdoor heating options on offer and what to consider – you can start browsing some options. Before you buy, remember to think about the space you have, the type and amount of heat you want, ease of use and maintenance.

For more information, click the button below to dive deeper into the pros, cons and comparisons of the best outdoor heating in Australia.

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