Whether you want to stay warm sitting at your outdoor dining area in your back patio or you just want to heat the outdoor area of your home when you have guests over, finding the right outdoor patio heater to do the job can be a bit tricky. There are a lot of patio heater options out there, both in types of patio heater and brands of patio heater, so it can be quite overwhelming when trying to figure out what is the best outdoor heater for your specific needs.
You probably have a lot of questions like: what are the different types of outdoor heaters? Can I use an electric fireplace as an outdoor heater? This guide is going to help answer all of the questions that you might have about outdoor heating devices and some indoor options as well. Let’s jump right into the article.
In The Following Article, You Will Be Learning:
- What Are Some Different Types of Outdoor Heaters? – When choosing the right patio heater, there are a lot of different types. Some are electric. Some are gas. Some are wood burning. This will explore the different types and what scenarios you might want to use them for.
- Can Electric Fireplaces Work As a Patio Heater Outside or Just Indoor Use? – If you have an electric fireplace already or are thinking about getting one, you might be wondering if they will work for outdoor use. This section will help answer that question.
- Why Is a High BTU Patio Heater Better For Outdoor Use? – In this part of the article, we will explore what a BTU is and why it makes a difference in how well a patio heater works when it is cold outside.
- Will Using An Outdoor Electric Heater Cost a Lot On My Energy Bill? – Because energy cost can be a big issue, this area of the post will go into the energy cost of an outdoor electric heater and why it probably isn’t a good idea to use them too often.
- What Is a Good Brand of Outdoor Heater? – Brand can make a big difference in quality when you are choosing an outdoor electric heater or even a gas patio heater. You don’t want to buy the first cheap thing you see on Amazon. Instead of browsing for deals on Amazon or Home Depot, first read this section that will talk about some of the different quality brands of outdoor patio heater.
- What Kind of Heater Would Be Best For Indoor Use? – Whether you have an indoor patio you want to heat, a garage you need to keep warm, or some other indoor use, this section will talk about your best indoor heating option.
- Which Electric Fireplace Should I Consider For Indoor Use? – If you are considering getting an electric fireplace for indoor use of your home, read this section so you know about the best possible electric fireplace you can go with.
What Are Some Different Types of Outdoor Heaters?
When trying to heat outdoor spaces, there are a lot of things to consider. Does the heater take up a lot of space or does it offer good accessibility? Do I go with an electric outdoor heater or something that runs on propane? In the following section, we are going to list many of the common types of heating devices people tend to get for outdoor use at their home. Here are the following types:
- Natural Gas Heater – These are outdoor heaters that require gas lines to be run to them if you don’t already have them in the area you will install it. While you don’t need to change a propane tank like you do with a propane patio heater, due to the need for gas lines, this will have to be a permanent place. You won’t be able to easily move the heater as needed. Keep in mind that gas heaters aren’t good for enclosed spaces unless you have sufficient ventilation of the unit.
- Propane Gas Heater – This is another gas heater but it uses propane instead of natural gas. These can come in different styles, including stainless steel. The upside is that it doesn’t require any kind of gas lines to be run to it, which means that these can sometimes be mobile. The downside is that you have to change a propane tank from time to time. Keep in mind that gas heaters like ones that use liquid propane, usually have weaker heat output. For this reason, if you use a propane heating device, keep in mind that range will be limited to the immediate area.
- Fire Pit – These are typically small pits for wood burning. They are often part of a raised, circular table. Similar to a small campfire, these generally only keep the people sitting around it warm. While these can be nice if you want to roast some hot dogs or make some smores like you are having a backyard camping trip, make sure not to use these under any kind of covered area because of the smoke and carbon monoxide it produces. You want this exposed to the open sky.
- Infrared Patio Heater – There is more than one type of infrared electric patio heater. This outdoor electric heater can be freestanding, telescoping, wall mounted, carbon infrared, and more. Outdoor heaters that use infrared heat will usually be a high watt electric patio heater. These usually use a quartz glass tube or some other quartz heating element to quickly heat the area. Because many are taller, make sure you get one with good safety features like auto shut-off if the sensors notice it has been knocked over.
- Tabletop Electric Patio Heater – A tabletop heater is usually smaller, made to heat just the area around an outdoor table. They are usually a standard radiant heater, but can sometimes be a convection style heater.
- Electric Space Heater – These are usually small, portable heaters made for indoor use. If used outdoors, don’t expect the heat to have much of a range at all.
Can Electric Fireplaces Work As a Patio Heater Outside or Just Indoor Use?
Electric fireplaces typically aren’t made to be used outdoors. While their heaters are rated very well for indoor use, they aren’t designed to heat outdoor heaters very well. If you used one for outdoor use, keep in mind that just like portable space heaters, the range may be a bit limited. They shouldn’t be used in any kind of weather condition. If you did place one outside, it would need to be completely covered overhead to protect it from the elements.
While electric fireplaces aren’t the best choice for outdoor areas, if you had an indoor patio, an electric fireplace would be a great way to keep that space warm. Electric fireplaces are always great for enclosed spaces where you want to use energy incredibly efficiently to keep that area warm.
Why Is a High BTU Patio Heater Better For Outdoor Use?
Typically, electric heaters made for outdoor spaces need extremely powerful heating units because so much heat dissipates in the cold outdoor air. For this reason, you will usually see them listed with a lot of BTUs. A BTU is a British Thermal Unit. This is the amount of energy that is needed to increase a pound of water by a single degree Fahrenheit. The more BTUs a heater has, the more heat they can put out per hour. While indoor heaters like high quality electric fireplaces don’t need heaters rated for outdoor use since they are made to efficiently keep an enclosed home toasty and warm, heaters made for outdoor use need a lot more power depending on how much square feet of space you are trying to keep warm.
Will Using An Outdoor Electric Heater Cost a Lot On My Energy Bill?
Yes, using outdoor heating devices will cost you a lot on your energy bill if you are using them regularly. This is because of the extremely high BTUs needed to keep an outdoor area warm. Of course, you will usually only be turning these outdoor heaters on for limited use on special occasions. They aren’t made to be efficient for indoor use like good electric fireplaces are. You won’t usually be running these outdoor heaters consistently for several days in a row. That being said, if you do use an outdoor area heater every day, maybe because you have a dining area in your outdoor patio, be aware that you can see a sufficient rise in your energy bill compared to eating indoors with a much more efficient electric fireplace heater.
What Is a Good Brand of Outdoor Heater?
There are several good brands of outdoor heaters like Fire Sense, Hiland, Bromic, Ener-G, Hampton Bay, Infratech, Solaira, Westinghouse, and more. While it is a great idea to choose high quality heaters from trusted brands, you also need to be aware that not all brands make all types of outdoor heaters. Because of this, you need to first figure out what type of outdoor heater you want and then see which trusted brands offer that type. While a brand like Infratech has a variety of good outdoor heaters, they will function differently than something like a Bromic Tungsten Smart Heat outdoor heater. Buy the right type of heater for the situation you need it for, and then choose a brand based on which brands make that type of heater.
What Kind of Heater Would Be Best For Indoor Use?
Whether you want to warm up an indoor patio, a converted garage, or any other room of your home, outdoor heaters shouldn’t be used indoors. For this reason, you will want to get a heater that is made to keep indoor areas warm, while efficiently using electricity compared to outdoor heaters.
For this reason, it is best to go with an electric fireplace. Electric fireplaces come in many different types depending on the style you prefer and the space you have available. Some of the types of electric fireplaces that you can commonly find are:
- Electric Fireplace Mantle Sets – These are the most common type of electric fireplace that you will see. These are electric fireplaces that would normally be installed against a flat wall so that it looks like a standard fireplace, however there are also corner unit designs if a corner fireplace is more your preference. The fireplace comes as two parts: the standard fireplace that houses the heater and produces the flame effects, and the mantle that surrounds it. The reason that these will usually come as two pieces is because many good companies have different mantle styles that you can choose. This way you can find a mantle that is perfect for you and matches the style you already have in your home.
- Electric Fireplace TV Stands – Although electric fireplaces don’t usually take up a lot of space, some people want to save even more space, so they get one of these electric fireplace entertainment media consoles. It is essentially a normal TV stand, however it has an electric fireplace built into the bottom of the unit. Keep in mind that there is a lot more limited space for things like shelving and cabinets to store devices you need plugged into the TV.
- Electric Fireplace Inserts – Electrical fireplace inserts are perfect if you have an old, unused wood, open hearth style fireplace that you want to convert into an electric fireplace. These inserts slide directly into the old firebox so that you can still use the existing mantle and fireplace housing. These inserts are also great if you want to buy a fireplace mantle surround from a third party company or if you are feeling extra handy and want to build a fireplace mantle for yourself. In either case, be sure to look up the measurements of the insert and match it to the measurements of the mantle you will be going with.
- Wall Mounted Electric Fireplaces – Some people like the idea of using something that is a bit more modern. Wall mounted electric fireplaces fit that need. Instead of being placed on the ground like a standard electric fireplace, they can be securely mounted to the wood studs of a wall in your home. Many of these types of electric fireplaces can also be installed into a recessed wall. By doing this, instead of having an electric fireplace just hanging there, it can be recessed part way or completely into the wall for a nice flush look.
- Portable Electric Fireplace – These are very similar to space heating devices, but they usually have some kind of flame effect. Unfortunately, these don’t do a very good job of heating a room, their flame effects are very poor, and they often look very tacky. You should usually avoid these and stick with one of the unit types listed above.
Keep in mind that it is very important to invest in a high quality electric fireplace from a trusted brand instead of going with one of the cheaper ones that you will find. Think of buying an electric fireplace as an investment into your home instead of a purchase. Because of the high energy savings that usually comes with installing an efficient, high end electric fireplace into your home, over time, the fireplace ends up paying for itself. On top of this, the heating capacity and the flame effects with cheap electric fireplaces are just very disappointed.
With that in mind, if you do choose to go with a high end brand of electric fireplace, you can expect some of the following benefits to come with it:
- Safe For Indoor Use – Electric fireplaces don’t have any flames of any kind and they don’t release any harmful emissions like carbon monoxide or smoke. Because of this, you can have the peace of mind knowing that you don’t need to sit there and keep your eye on a burning fire like you would with a more traditional fireplace.
- Incredibly Energy Efficient When Used Indoors – Because high end electric fireplaces use infrared convection heating, they can heat up a room very fast and use very little energy compared to other heating methods. There is also no ventilation like with other fireplaces, so all of the heat stays in the room, meaning the fireplace doesn’t have to work nearly as hard to keep the home warm.
- Zone Heating Ability – While small homes and apartments only need a single electric fireplace, some large homes can benefit from zone heating with multiple fireplaces. By spacing fireplaces around a large home in different rooms and only using those fireplaces when the rooms are occupied, you can save even more money on your energy bill.
- Remote Control – Electric fireplaces will come with a remote. Really nice electric fireplaces have an app that you can use your smartphone or tablet to control the fireplace from the comfort of your couch.
- Immersive Fireplace Experience – While cheap electric fireplaces have bad flame effects, high end electric fireplaces like MagikFlame use 3D holograms that look like the real thing. Many people that sit in front of these kinds of fireplaces genuinely can’t tell that it is an electric fireplace and think that it is a real fire.
- Installation That Is Effortless – With the exception of installing a recessed wall mounted electric fireplace, electric fireplaces are fast and easy to install. After getting your fireplace, it is as easy as finding the spot you want to put it, setting it down, and plugging the fireplace into a standard 120-volt electrical wall outlet. That is it. The only extra work needed is if you don’t currently have an outlet at that spot and need to have an outlet installed there. Luckily, with modern houses having so many outlets, this is rarely an issue.
Which Electric Fireplace Should I Consider For Indoor Use?
If you are considering getting an electric fireplace for your home, MagikFlame is what you should consider going with. They are ahead of the competition in three important areas:
- They have 30 different ultra-realistic holographic 3D flames that are projected inside.
- Crackling log sounds compliment the flickering flames to further add atmosphere.
- They have a 5,200 BTU heater that will keep your home warm and your energy bill low.
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