In this article, I’ll only cover a small amount of the vast information available for a patio heater. One of the first things to consider is the area you want to keep warm on those fall nights. If you are in a condo or apartment with only a small patio to provide heat, perhaps a tabletop heater is the right ticket. If your patio covers several hundred square feet, it may need to have more than one larger heat source. Or maybe, it’s just you and you like to read a book before bed and you just need warmth right where you sit in that all-weather wicker rocking chair, then think of a directional patio heater. So the first choice you have to make is how big the area you need to heat is.
The second decision, in my opinion, is whether you want to have the patio heater in one place and then not worry about it for years and years or have the versatility to move it where the heat is needed for any particular occasion. There are basically 3 types of patio heaters to consider. You use propane, which means that from time to time you will need to fill your tank. The only thing you need to consider with a propane powered patio heater is the time when the party is just starting to get lively and you run out of propane in the tank. Too bad, now you have to bring the party inside (which may not be enough space), put on jackets (maybe some didn’t bring any) or the party is interrupted because some of them get cold and go home. I’m not trying to dissuade you from a propane patio heater, I just want you to be aware of all the possibilities if you make this decision.
Another type of patio heater uses natural gas. This is ideal because it will probably be the cheapest to operate and you won’t have to worry about running out of fuel, that is, unless there is a major earthquake near you and gas lines burst. Of course, if that’s the case, running your patio heater isn’t the main concern, or at least I hope it isn’t. But then if you decide to go for a patio heater that runs on natural gas, you lose the flexibility of placing the heater in different locations depending on a particular function.
Then we come to an electric patio heater. And within this type, you also have to make a number of different options. There are electric patio heaters that can be plugged directly into one outlet (but not many, unless that outlet is dedicated just for this). When it is clear that the style and wattage required are more than can be plugged in, you need to consider the cost of having an electrician run the wiring for the patio heater only. And with this type, you can also be tied to where it can be placed to provide the warmth you are looking for. Some are mounted on the ceiling (or beams) and their base allows some movement to direct the heat to a specific location.
Finally, comes the best (or worst) part of this decision. Style and quality. You only get what you pay for, I don’t care what the seller says. Styles are plentiful and can even be a focal point for your patio, but you’ll pay a little more for that. Quality is king for me. Why buy something that I’m going to need to replace soon and then pay even more? I’d rather put off buying one for a while to have the money to get the right one, then pay now and later and possibly even not have enough power to provide the heat I’m looking for anyway.
In closing, do your research and then enjoy that book late into the night while staying warm and comfortable on your patio.