Lit Outdoor Ceramic Fire Pit
(Image credit: kstphotography)

Outdoor heating devices are essential for extending outdoor living. Unless you live in the tropics, the colder months make it harder to spend time outside. With a heater, you can continue to enjoy your garden longer. Here’s what you need to know. 

Outdoor Heater Ideas

If you have only just begun looking into this, you may be surprised to discover how many outdoor heating solutions are available. You should be able to find something to suit your garden or patio, your preferences, and your budget. Here are some ideas and categories of outdoor heater: 

  • Gas Heater. The most common outdoor heater for patios is the type that takes a 20-pound liquid propane tank. They provide a circle of heat with the click of a button. You can also find smaller portable heaters with one-pound cylinders, but they provide heat over a smaller area.
  • Electric Heater. Electric heaters are not as movable as propane, as they need to remain plugged into an outlet. Some mount on the wall, while others sit on the ground, like an indoor space heater. 
  • Fire Pit. This is a fun option that also provides warmth. A fire pit allows you to create a warming fire safely, with plenty of room for people to gather around for socializing and roasting marshmallows. 
  • Chiminea. These wood-burning stoves provide some heat but are not as consistent or easy to use as electric or gas options.
  • Table Heaters. You can find gas heaters designed to sit on a tabletop, which are smaller and less expensive than standing propane heaters. Tabletop fire pits typically use gas and give you an attractive flame with no smoke.

What to Consider When Choosing a Winter Outdoor Heater

Each of the various types of outdoor heating solutions has its pros and cons. Before selecting one, consider what you need and what will work best in your space. 

For instance, if you have a large outdoor area and host parties, you need bigger heaters. Standing propane heaters provide good cover and are easy to operate. 

A fire pit or chiminea is a good option if you like to build actual fires. But, if you’re not interested in keeping a supply of firewood on hand or taking the time to build a fire each time, these aren’t for you. 

Consider price, too. A high-quality, large propane or electric heater can cost a few hundred dollars to more than a thousand. A small fire pit isn’t expensive, but a masonry pit built into your patio could cost a lot. 

Outdoor heating is essential for enjoying more time in your chilly garden. Get the right heater for your needs and setting for the best results and outdoor parties. 

Mary Ellen Ellis

Mary Ellen Ellis has been gardening for over 20 years. With degrees in Chemistry and Biology, Mary Ellen's specialties are flowers, native plants, and herbs.