If you have a nice patio, whether it is an indoor patio or outdoor patio, chances are that you enjoy spending time out there, even in a cold winter. Because of this, it is perfectly reasonable to want a heat source to help keep you warm. There are several options to heat your patio. This post is going to go through many of the different types and talk about why they might or might not be a good solution for your outdoor living needs. This post will also highlight the differences between an electric patio heater and an electric fireplace, and which situations each are better suited for.
If you have been looking for a good way to keep your patio warm, keep reading.
What Kinds Of Heaters Are There For An Outdoor or Indoor Patio?
When it comes to brands that can reliably heat your outdoor space or indoor patio, there are a lot to choose from. Fire Sense, Bromic, Energ, Infratech, Solaira, Westinghouse, Hiland, MagikFlame, and more. Some of these brands have many different models, and even those specific models have more variations within a model. For instance, Bromic has the Tungsten Smart-Heat Electric that can range from a 2,000 to a 6,000-watt electric patio heater. Of course, even the lower end here will be more powerful than a low-cost tabletop patio heater. But then again, a tabletop heater has a lot more accessibility and can easily be set up within a few seconds.
Some models are made of stainless steel, some come propped up on a tripod, some need a propane tank, and some just need a standard 120-volt electrical outlet. Some use infrared heat to warm an area like Infratech does. This requires electricity. On the opposite spectrum on Infratech, Hiland makes propane-based heaters where you are required to change the tanks on a somewhat regular basis.
Let’s break down some specific types that you might use as your indoor or outdoor patio heater:
- Propane Gas Heater – This is pretty straightforward. It is a gas patio heater that needs propane as its fuel source instead of burning wood or using electricity. There are several different types of propane patio heater, and some of them have more heat output than others. Regardless if they all use liquid propane, a better brand propane heater will always outperform a cheap, generic one, especially a heater portable enough to fit on a table. While propane has its uses, an electric heater can usually
- Natural Gas Heater – This is another type of gas heater but instead of using propane, it uses natural gas. This means that you have to run gas lines to the location where the heater is located. Unless you already have natural gas lines near your patio, possibly from a built-in gas barbeque system, you are going to need to have them run to the heater and that can be a costly endeavor. The other downside is these heaters are in a fixed position and you can’t really move them if the need arises.
- Fire Pit – Usually these are simple wood outdoor fire pits, but they can be pit systems that are propane or natural gas. You usually see these as a circular unit that is raised so people can sit around it. It has more in common with a campfire but the flames aren’t usually as high as campfire flames can get.
- Infrared Patio Heater – This is a heater that uses an infrared heating system. Cold air is sucked in, the infrared heater quickly warms the air, then the air is blown back out. These work best as indoor patio heaters rather than electric outdoor heaters due to the lack of radiant heat production.
- Glass Tube Heater – These usually use gas but the flame has been directed into a vertical glass tube that radiates strong heat to the outdoor area surrounding the heater.
- Standard Coil Heater – This is a simple space heater that you would commonly use in a small room. Unfortunately, these can’t handle that much square feet indoors, and will certainly have major issues trying to heat an outdoor area.
- Halogen Heater – This kind of heater uses halogen lamps and can be rated as a very high BTU heater depending on the brand and model that you get. This can also cost a lot in energy usage if you need to warm a large area outdoors.
- Electric Fireplace – Modern electric fireplace inserts have a lot in common with the infrared heaters listed above except they are so much more. They simulate the experience of using a real fireplace so that you can capture that cozy and warm atmosphere. This is especially useful and efficient if you have an indoor patio.
What Are Some Different Common Categories of Electric Fireplaces?
- Electric Fireplace Mantle Set – An electric fireplace mantle set is an electric fireplace unit that comes with the mantle that houses it. When you purchase one of these sets, it will usually arrive in two pieces that you combine together. The reason for doing this is that you can then easily choose between several different mantle styles and find one that best fits your home’s style. These are usually wall units but they can also be units that are made to sit in the corner, facing out at a 45-degree angle. Either way, these are the electric fireplaces that tend to look the most like a traditional open hearth fireplace as long as you have good flame effects to choose from.
- Insert Electric Fireplace – If you have a traditional fireplace like a wood open-hearth fireplace, you don’t need a mantle to come with your fireplace unit. In these instances, you would use one of these electric fireplace inserts to slip into the existing fireplace opening and you can convert an old wood fireplace into one that is completely electric. It is also possible to do this for a gas fireplace, but the installation is a little tricky because the entire built-in gas fireplace needs to be removed first and the insert placed in the wall cavity. These can also be purchased if you already have a mantle, you want to build a mantle, or if you are buying a third-party mantle instead of one from the same fireplace manufacturer. If you do this, you just need to be sure that you properly measure the opening of the mantle so you know it will fit the fireplace insert.
- Wall Mount Electric Fireplace – It is possible to wall mount a fireplace with these units. Similar to an insert, these don’t come with a mantle. Instead, they come with all of the necessary equipment to mount it on the wall. It will have mounting brackets that you secure to the studs within your wall. Then you simply attach the fireplace to the secure mounting brackets. These wall mount electric fireplaces can also be installed directly into the drywall for a partially recessed or even a fully recessed wall mounted fireplace that sits flush with the wall it is installed in.
- TV Stand Electric Fireplace – Some media consoles, entertainment centers, and TV stands can be purchased with an electric fireplace built directly into it. These are great if you don’t have a lot of space to work with inside of a room and you want both a TV stand and a fireplace. The quality of these units can vary a lot, so it is good to stick to a high-quality brand name version. If you simply go and buy the first one you see at Walmart or on Amazon, there is a good chance that the heater won’t be very powerful and the flame effects will be little to non-existent. While some quality ones can be found, they will never be as good as a proper stand alone electric fireplace.
- Freestanding Electric Fireplace – If you want something that is just a basic space heater that you can easily move between rooms as needed but you want it to look aesthetically like a fireplace, then this might be what you are looking for. Unfortunately, there aren’t many good freestanding electric fireplaces on the market. When these two things are usually combined, a lot is sacrificed on both ends, making it not very good as a portable space heater and also not very good with visual effects of a real fire. Many of these have weak heaters inside and the fire effects are nothing more than some colored LED lights showing through the front of the fireplace. It leaves a lot to be desired.
What Heats Better – An Electric Patio Heater or an Electric Fireplace?
What heats better between an electric patio heater or an electric fireplace heater comes down to several factors. The level of quality of the actual model is a big part of it. A pricy electric fireplace will easily outperform a cheap patio heater. Conversely, a high-end patio will easily outperform a cheap electric fireplace. In both of these cases, what you pay for is really what you get.
The other factor is location. Is it indoors or outdoors? If this is for an outdoor patio, a top-of-the-line patio heater will usually do a nicer job and will be more efficient with its heat production. If you switch it around and want a fireplace for your indoor patio, an electric fireplace will be a lot better. Electric fireplaces are made for an enclosed space and heat a room in the same way that a kitchen oven heats up. Electric fireplaces are very efficient with the residual heat, but may not fare as well if it is placed outdoors.
What Are Some Other Benefits of Electric Fireplaces?
- Great For Enclosed Spaces – Like it was mentioned above, a good electric fireplace will almost always be superior to a patio heater if it is in an indoors environment.
- Cost-Efficient – Because of the way that the fireplace only turns on when the temperature drops below the setting and turns off when it becomes warmer, electric fireplaces usually won’t use as much electricity as fireplaces that don’t have a thermostat and simply have high, medium, and low settings instead.
- Immersive Fireplace Experience – While some cheap electric fireplaces just use some flashing LED lights to simulate a fireplace, a luxury electric fireplace can give you an incredibly realistic experience. For fireplaces like these, go with something like a MagikFlame electric fireplace.
- No Hassle – Wood fireplaces are a part-time job to maintain and keep clean. With electric fireplaces, they are basically set it and forget it.
- Incredibly Safe – One great feature of electric fireplaces is the auto shut-off heat if the overheat sensor detects a problem. Usually, this is because of something blocking the blower and whatever is in front of it just needs to be moved. The fact that electric fireplaces don’t have any flames present or produce any harmful emissions like wood and gas fireplaces, adds a lot to their safety when using them. Wood fireplaces are the most unsafe fireplaces to use. Gas fireplaces are a little safer, but they still can not compete with the safety of an electric fireplace.
- You Can Hang a TV – Mounting a TV above an electric fireplace does not put the TV at any greater risk of damage compared to wood or gas fireplaces.
- Control it remotely – Most electric fireplaces come with a remote control or an app you can use on your tablet or smartphone to control it.
What Electric Fireplace Should I Choose?
If you are someone that has an indoor patio with an enclosed space and you think an electric fireplace is the best type for you, then you will probably want to check out MagikFlame electric fireplaces.
MagikFlame has several reasons that they are one of the best electric fireplaces that you can find on the market:
- Stunning 3D Holographic Fames and Embers – There is no equal when it comes to MagikFlame’s ability to make super realistic 3D flame effects. This is all due to their unique holoflame technology that is in each and every unit. The way it works is that at the bottom of the fireplace, there is an authentic physical log set. When you turn the fireplace on, you can select between 30 different ultra-realistic hologram flickering flames and floating embers to be 3D projected onto the log set. Because of how realistic it looks, many people who come over to your house may not even realize that they are sitting in front of a MagikFlame fireplace, and they might mistake it for the real thing.
- Immersive Crackling Log Sounds – The sound of crackling logs accompanies the flame effects of the fireplace, to complete the authentic fireplace atmosphere. On top of the crackling sounds, you can also choose to play calming nature sounds if you want a specific mood in the home. Not many electric fireplaces include an auditory experience with their product, and this certainly sets MagikFlame apart.
- Powerful 5,200 BTU Heater – The 5,200 BTU heater inside of each fireplace is enough to heat a 1,000 square feet area. This can be a normal-sized apartment, a small house, or a very large room of a bigger house. This makes them absolutely ideal if you have a large indoor patio that you need to keep warm.
- Intuitive Smartphone Application – In place of a boring remote control, MagikFlame electric fireplaces have a smartphone app that is very easy to control the fireplace with. The app has large pictures for buttons so it is clear what the different settings are. With the smartphone app you can turn the fireplace on or off, change the thermostat to the perfect temperature for you, or cycle through any one of the many features that the fireplace comes with. If you have multiple MagikFlame fireplaces in your home, you can set them up to be controlled from the same app.