Many people enjoy having a meal in the open air or reading the newspaper on the deck. Unfortunately, these outdoor diversions can be interrupted when the temperatures get low. An outdoor heater can keep the fun going. Here is our guide to picking the right option.
Electric vs. Gas
For those who don't want the smell of gas or fuel near them, electric options make an excellent choice. You can install electric heaters much closer to combustible materials than gas heaters, so they are less obtrusive when mounted on ceiling fascia or soffit. Electric heaters like the Infratech Slimline can even be flush mounted into a ceiling in some jurisdictions.
On the other hand, propane heaters or natural gas heaters have the ability to produce more heat and heat a larger area with a single heater. They are also usually much cheaper to operate and have more diverse styles from which to choose. Propane heaters usually have to hide a tank somewhere in their design and can be bulkier than natural gas models, but they do have the benefit of being flexible in regards to their placement. Natural gas heaters are restricted by the location of a natural gas outlet, but those currently involved in a renovation can relocate outlets to a desired location.
Outdoor heaters come in varied styles, including stand-alone, mounted, tabletop, and firepits. Stand-alone options from brands like Sunglo Patio Heater throw a lot of heat and have the added benefit of ultimate portability. Linear heaters can be mounted to an overhead support like a trellis or fascia board above a deck to provide heat without taking up valuable deck space. Tabletop heaters from brands like Napoleon Grills are great for small patios with limited space and a small heating area. Firepits or firetables, like those available from American Fyre, are a blend of design and function. This variety of heater provides guests a comfortable centerpiece to gather around for drinks or a meal.
It is always best to know the restrictions that your local jurisdictions have when putting an open flame or high-temperature heater near your home. These should be reviewed in conjunction with specifications of the particular model you are considering. Visiting a retailer with a knowledgeable staff can help you to navigate these restrictions to find a product that is safe for your needs.