How to Choose the Best Outdoor Heater

An outdoor heater is…

one of the most uncelebrated backyard treasures.

By adding one of these body warmers to your patio,

sunroom or deck, you can extend your outdoor season,

enjoy more nighttime activities, and stay cozy on cool, rainy days.

Whether you want to warm up on those chilly spring mornings or entertain

well into the autumn season, an outdoor heater is ideal.

There is a vast range of styles, sizes and shapes to choose from,

and each type offers a different benefit. 

Consider Your Space

Before you purchase a heater, evaluate the size of the area you will be using it in.

You can choose from mobile, free-standing or wall units as well as open pit varieties that resemble fireplaces.

Mobile heaters are generally small and do not put out much heat. However, a portable unit gives you the freedom to warm up wherever you want.

You can even select a tabletop device for heating up those late-night dinner parties. 

A larger free-standing unit can heat up to 25 feet, while a smaller version may only cover 10 to 12 feet.

If you opt for a wall-mounted heater, you should consider heat output before buying.

A wall unit is ideal when it comes to safety factors, but it may only heat a limited area.

To provide ample warmth for a large area, you may want to purchase a fire pit heater.

A pit heater may run on gas or electricity, and it has the rustic feel of a campfire. 

Select the Heat Source

Once you decide where your heater will go, you need to select a heat source. Outdoor heating units may run on electricity, natural gas or propane.

Electric heaters are a safe option because they do not pose a carbon monoxide risk.

Although they are inexpensive and safe to operate, they are not as convenient as gas heaters.

You will need to plug an electric unit into an outlet, so your placement options are limited.

Additionally, the heating capacity varies significantly from one electric heater to another.

Natural gas is a cost-efficient fuel for heating your patio or deck, but finding a line to connect the unit to may be difficult.

The alternative to this is propane, which is inexpensive to use and easily accessible.

You can transport a propane heater from place to place as well.

However, propane is extremely combustible and should be used in well-ventilated areas.

You should also store a propane heater indoors during exceedingly cold weather.

Outdoor heaters project heat in two different ways. If you plan to use your heater in particularly windy area, you may want to choose radiant heat.

This type of heater warms the nearby objects rather than heating the air.

The alternative is forced air, which blows heat outward in a straight path or covers a certain range.

Forced air is the best option if you enjoy feeling the gust of warmth on your face or body. 

Analyze All Safety Features

Most outdoor heaters are equipped with some type of automatic shut-off function.

This prevents the heater from overheating, but it also provides protection if the unit is tipped over or something is spilled on it.

Many gas heaters have features that stop the flow of gas in the event of the burner going out.

Some units also are equipped with sensors that turn off the heater if there is a low level of oxygen in the surrounding area.

You should look for a heater that has a stable base as well.

Whether you place the device on a table or pavers, the base should be level and wide enough to hold the weight of the unit on a windy day.

Additionally, consider purchasing a heater that has a timer.

With this feature, you can turn the heater on before you begin entertaining, and you won’t have to worry about it again.

Additional Features to Look For

When purchasing your patio heater, look for features or accessories that will extend the life of the unit such as a rain cover or powder coating.

You can also choose extras that simplify things for the user.

These include a digital thermostat, adjustable heat settings and domes for distributing heat more efficiently.

If you plan to use a wall-mounted heater, make sure the unit comes with all the necessary hardware for installing it. 

The type of outdoor heater you choose should reflect your personal needs.

If you consider how and where you will use the heater, you can make the proper decision.

Whether you want to thaw out on a blustery afternoon or warm up after a midnight swim, you will benefit from purchasing an outdoor heating device.

For more tips on choosing the best heater for you, contact Install It Direct or join our mailing list today.