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How to Select an Outdoor Heater or a Fireplace

Create a cozy outdoor living space that you can use even when the temperatures are chilly with patio heaters and fireplaces. From portable heaters to gas fire pits, discover the different heating options available and find solutions for any budget. 

Gas Fire Pits

Fire pits are a popular outdoor heat source because of how easy they are to set up and use. They can instantly transform your backyard into a warm and welcoming entertainment area perfect for hosting friends and family. Plus, they come in a wide array of sizes and shapes to suit your space. Perhaps you like the classic look of a circular fire pit or the modern appeal of a fire table. There is a design available for all needs and styles.

Types of Fire Pits

When shopping for a new fire pit, your main choice will be between a wood-burning or gas unit. Consider the unique pros and cons of each to help make the right decision.
Types
PROS
CONS
Wood-Burning Fire Pits
  • Easier to set up
  • More portable
  • Greater heat
  • Can be used for grilling
  • More smoke
  • Slower to heat up
  • Regular cleaning and maintenance needed
  • Can be harder to use in harsh weather
  • Wood may be pricey, particularly in urban areas
Gas Fire Pits
  • Does not produce smoke
  • Less maintenance and no ash to deal with
  • Faster heating time
  • Easier to use in inclement weather
  • More affordable fuel
  • Needs a tank or a gas line connection
  • Not portable
  • Less heat
  • Not for cooking
Types
PROS
CONS
Wood-Burning Fire Pits
  • Easier to set up
  • More portable
  • Greater heat
  • Can be used for grilling
  • More smoke
  • Slower to heat up
  • Regular cleaning and maintenance needed
  • Can be harder to use in harsh weather
  • Wood may be pricey, particularly in urban areas
Gas Fire Pits
  • Does not produce smoke
  • Less maintenance and no ash to deal with
  • Faster heating time
  • Easier to use in inclement weather
  • More affordable fuel
  • Needs a tank or a gas line connection
  • Not portable
  • Less heat
  • Not for cooking

Wood-Burning Fire Pits

Outdoor fireplaces provide fantastic heat output in a neat, tidy, and self-contained setup. As the flame can be closed off, they are a good option for families with children and pets. Though they are typically not portable and tend to be more expensive, outdoor fireplaces give off a greater heat output and are better suited to larger entertainment areas. You can choose from traditional as well as sleek and modern styles. 

Pro Tip

Keep safety in mind when using an open flame, even outdoors. Ensure that your heating source is at least 10’ away from your home or any other structures as well as away from any combustible materials as well. It should be placed on a nonflammable surface and in an open area that isn’t covered by a porch overhang or gazebo.

Patio Heaters

Patio heaters use radiant heat to warm up the space within a diameter of 6’ to 20’. They provide both exceptional heat output and unbeatable flexibility. Configurations include full-sized free-standing, wall-mounted, hanging, and tabletop designs. Some heaters are portable as well, allowing you to move them where you want them with ease. Another feature to look out for is a safety switch that will turn the heater off if tilted. Patio heaters are also available in gas and wood-burning models. 

Pro Tip

Pay attention to the BTUs of different heaters when making your selection. BTUs (British thermal units) are a measurement of the heat output necessary to raise the heat in the surrounding area. Larger spaces require heaters with a higher BTU.

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