Patio Heaters – Autumn Alfresco Guide

by Jack Gardener on September 4, 2009 · 1 comment

in BBQs,Garden Furniture

Many of us wish to spend more time in the garden than the weather will allow!

Patio heaters now allow us all to enjoy our gardens all year round.

During the summer, an evening of alfresco dining can be continued long after the sun has gone down and in the colder months  a comforting cup of cocoa can be enjoyed on a sunny crisp morning, under the heat of your new patio furnishing.

Patio heaters offer additional comfort in your garden all year round. They provide fast effective outdoor heating and some forms are quite cost effective. They are capable of heating a radius of 10-20ft and can increase the temperature in that area by up to 30 degrees fahrenheit.

You will find that patio heaters run on a variety of energy sources such as gas, propane, electricity, coal and wood.

There are many types of patio heater :-

Portable Patio Heaters

This type is ideally positioned on your outdoor table and can be re-positioned anywhere which is great if you use more than one spot to dine or simply to chat and relax in your garden.  The amount of power used by this heater is small and therefore makes it one of the most economical choices.

Natural Gas Patio Heaters

This is by far the cheapest method for running a heater. There is the initial cost of connecting the heater to your gas supply which must be considered and because of this you will not be able to move this heater freely around your garden. It will be in a fixed position.

Propane Patio Heaters

Often thought of as the optimal performance energy source. Propane is more expensive than natural gas but using this energy source allows you the flexibility of moving your heater around your garden as the fuel is stored in the same cylinders as used for your gas BBQ. This is the most popular type of heater for both private and commercial use.

Electric Patio Heaters

This type of heater does not have a flame like the gas heaters, instead it utilizes a radiant heat element which should appeal to those more environmentally conscious. It has zero carbon emissions, is odourless and unaffected by wind. You will have to connect this heater to an existing electricity supply, therefore you need to consider connection types and whether you are likely to want to move the heater around the garden.

Firepits and Fireplaces

Portable and extremely attractive outdoor heating product which gives the feeling of sitting around a camp fire! Generally fuelled by coal and/or wood. This type does smoke and will be affected by wind. Small children and animals will have to be watched when the fire pit is in use. This type of heater will require more cleaning than the rest but most come with a removable ash compartment.


This type of outdoor heater is fuelled also by wood and/or coal. It can be a beautiful focal point in your garden. Chimineas were originally produced only in clay but are now also available in cast iron and steel which are more durable than clay versions which had a tendency to crack if subjected to rapid changes in temperature. The cast iron chimineas also have a grill inside which can be used to cook on. Look out for the grill options as they can often be a handy alternative to a barbeque.

Remember to ask yourself the following questions before deciding on which type of heater to purchase:

  • What area am I looking to heat?
  • How easy will it be to connect the heater to my electricity or gas supply?
  • Will I want to move my heater around the garden?
  • Will it be safe if I have pets/small children?
  • Do I need to use the cheapest energy source?
  • Am I prepared to pay a little extra for optimal heat provision?
  • Am I looking for a garden feature or a heater which is purely functional?

An outdoor heater can sometimes be an expensive purchase but by asking yourself the right questions and ensuring you make the correct purchase the first time round you are making a sound investment into your future happiness!!!

Happy Heater Hunting!

Gardener Jack

About The Author

Jack Gardener has been gardening all his life, and is passionate about passing on his experience to the next generation of gardeners.

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