The type of heaters available are all based on the fuel source used to power the heater. There are three main types of fuel and thus three main types of patio heaters. One fuel source is gas, either propane or natural gas, or something else along those lines. Another source, and perhaps a bit more economical, is electricity. Lastly we have wood burning stoves and fire pits which are nice for their old fashioned look and feel of having an open flame. The type of heater that is best for you is determined by a few key considerations. One consideration is what size of an area you are looking to cover with your heater. Some heaters are better suited and specifically made for large outdoor areas, and others are small personal heaters. Another consideration is how often you feel like using it and thus how often you want to purchase fuel for it. Gas heaters will need more gas, wood burns up, and electricity isn’t free. Electricity is readily available though, but wood and gas have to be purchased from a store. So take all this into consideration when buying a patio heater.
Gas heaters often are some of the larger heaters you can find. If you’re interested in covering a large outdoor area than this is your best bet. As mentioned above the fuel types tend to be natural gas or propane. Burning gas as a fuel allows for more heat to be put out at a lower cost as compared to electricity and there are hardly as many emissions as with burning wood so there is no worry about too much smoke. Gas heaters will tend to be made of stainless steel, brass or aluminum. These heaters will often come equipped with safety measures that will stop the flow of gas in case the unit is damaged or tipped over. This helps prevent accidents. Outdoor gas heaters will be rated at BTU’s well into the thousands and can cover an area of 15-20 feet for the larger sized heaters. This is perfect for outdoor parties.
Next up we have electrical heaters. These are a better choice for more frequent use as electricity is more readily available and you don’t have to worry about running out in the middle of a party as you would with wood or gas. Since they are something you simply plug in you can use them forever as long as your bills are paid. Electricity isn’t practical for large outdoor areas because as is the nature of electicity the more you’ll end up using for the more heat you want to put out. This runs into problems because household outlets are only rated for a certain amount of electricity and larger units will consume more power thus costing a bundle gas heaters in bills. This type of heater is best suited for a more personal roll and are best suited for indoor use. Heating power output should be expected around a few hundred up to over a thousand watts and power consumption will be around 100 volts if not more or less.
Lastly we have the good old fashioned wood burning stove/pit. For outdoor use these will come looking like a table with a pit in the middle. The pit will be covered in some form to prevent people from being burned and also to prevent burning coals and embers from jumping out and making a mess of things. If you’re going for an old fashioned way to keep warm that is both comforting and calming than a wood burning pit is the best choice. The beauty of a table design is that your group can gather around in a big circle on a cold night and have a great time talking and sharing all the while keeping warm. If there are children around than you can use it as a fun time to teach them how to roast marshmallows like we used to do when we were young. The great part about a fire pit is that it isn’t this staunch kinda cold looking pillar of metal like other standup heaters can be. It’s a rustic table that has both style and character to it. They will be made out of metal and will also be heat treated so that the structure doesn’t degrade. Some models come with a table element that wraps around the pit. This will tend to be made of heat treated tiles and you can use this table to rest things on our just prop up your feet to warm them. These pits will come in different sizes and depending on the size will be the amount of wood you can hold. The more wood you can hold the bigger the fire will be and the longer it will last, and vice versa.