If you want to enjoy your garden all year round, then an outdoor heater would be a great investment. Having the right patio heater will allow you to take full advantage of your outdoor space, even when the temperatures drop. However, choosing the right patio heater can be tricky. With this guide, we explore all the options that you should consider, so you can keep your garden nice and toasty even on cold days.
1. Choose the right fuel type
Garden heaters typically use one of four main types of fuel sources – Natural Gas, Propane, Electric & Wood. Before purchasing an outdoor heater, it’s important to consider the pros and cons of each option.
Often used for fire pit heaters, propane is a better option than wood-burning as it provides instant warmth on chilly days, without the constant need of adding wood. Propane garden heaters are easier to control and eliminates the danger of flying sparks. However, they can become quite expensive to run in the long run, as the gas tank needs to be replaced regularly.
- Easy to start-up so you can enjoy instant warmth
- No installation required
- Enjoy more control, turn the heat up or down with ease
- Create the ambiance of a campfire, without the worry of smoke getting in your eyes
- Portable, so can be moved around easily
- Propane gas costs more than natural gas
- You are required to replace the gas tank periodically
- Doesn’t provide the same level of heat that a wood fire does
- Can’t be used in a covered or enclosed space
Natural gas garden heaters are popular for the great heat output they provide however, professional installation is required as you need the garden heater to be hooked to a natural gas line. Due to this, you will incur a substantial upfront cost, but once installed they are the cheapest to run.
- Cheap to use in the long run
- Easy to maintain
- Greater heat output than electric garden heaters
- Professional installation required
- Can’t be used in a covered or enclosed space
- It can be difficult to move as natural gas heaters are fixed to the permanent gas lines.
Electric Garden Heater
Electric garden heaters are typically the most convenient option as they don’t require any installation and can be simply plugged in for instant heat. Also, they are the only heaters that can be used in an enclosed environment. However, electric garden heaters are slow to heat the surrounding areas.
- Easy to use – just plug it in and flip the switch
- Can be used in a covered and enclosed space
- Easy to maintain
- Easy to move around
- You are limited to where you can place the heater, as it needs to be near an electric outlet
- Slow to heat up surrounding areas
There’s nothing quite like being huddled around a real fire, which is why wood garden heaters are a popular choice due to the atmosphere they create. However, you do have the inconvenience of continually adding more wood to keep the fire going.
- Provides a great atmosphere
- Affordable to purchase
- Requires more maintenance than the other options
- Can be tricky to ignite
- Have less control over the level of heat
- It can be difficult and expensive to get wood.
2. Choose the Right Design
Before purchasing, you need to consider what design will work best with the rest of your garden decor.
Floor Standing Patio Heater
With an out-there design, floor standing patio heaters are made to be noticed. They are tall, thin and give off a good amount of heat. The price for these can vary depending on how the heater is powered as you have the choice of either gas or electric. The Kalos Floor standing electric heater features a classic design and boasts an impressive 2100W heat output that can heat even the most expansive of gardens well.
Hanging Garden Heaters
If you want to save garden space, then you require a hanging electric heater. As it provides enough heat to keep you comfortable, without taking up precious garden space. Hanging heaters are almost always electric and available in varying sizes. They usually require installation and depending on how handy you are; are simple enough to do it yourself.
Tabletop heaters offer a more affordable option and are great if you only have a small space to heat. Many of them look like smaller versions of the large floor standing heaters; the same design but small enough to place it on top of a table.
If you want to enjoy that campfire feel in your back garden, then fire pits are perfect as they provide that wood-burning ambiance. Of all the options highlighted fire pits require the most maintenance, but for some people, the atmosphere they provide just cannot be beaten.
3. Other things to consider when buying an Outdoor heater?
Space & Use
Arguably the most important consideration when choosing the right patio heater, is the space that you want it for? The situations you will be using it in? How many people will typically be using the heater?
Your decision needs to be based on these considerations as for expansive gardens, a large floor standing heater would be best. Whereas if your garden is small and you spend your time in one area, then a tabletop heater can do the trick. For enclosed or covered spaces, you have to rule out most options, except electric outdoor heaters. If you want something more atmospheric and serves as a focal point, then a fire pit would be ideal.
To avoid unnecessary running costs and prevent wasted energy keep in mind the amount of heat you will need. If you have a wide space and need to provide heat for a lot of people, then a higher wattage heater will be required, usually over 2000W. For smaller spaces, then lower energy output is required, therefore anything around 1500W will be enough.
There’s no hiding from it all heaters come with risk. Tall, floor-standing patio heater need to be weighted down properly to prevent them from falling over on windy days as you have a risk of fire. All the Kalos electric heaters come with an auto shut off feature for that very reason.
Gas and wood heaters need to be kept in open spaces. If you place one in an enclosed area, then you risk the build-up of carbon monoxide and even a fire hazard. Electric heaters are the safest option for enclosed places, but you still need to be careful, as you can’t place them too close to anything that is highly inflammable.
As fire pits involve an open fire, you must practice extra caution. Make sure you always put the fire out completely when you’re done using it and never leave kids unattended.
Ease of use
While some garden heaters are extremely easy to use, like electric heaters, fire pits take a little more work and time to set up. Also, the fuel source needs to be replaced regularly.
It is worth weighing the outdoor heater you like against what maintenance work you are willing to do, as you want to ensure you get good use out of it.
You can’t control the British weather, but you can make your garden more comfortable by choosing the right outdoor heater. Make those social summer evenings last longer with the right garden heater, so your guests can stay comfortable and cosy. For more tips and ideas, keep an eye out for our upcoming blogs.