Outdoor Lighting & Heating

Outdoor Heating Buying Guide

Outdoor Heating Buying Guide

No matter your preference, size of your garden or budget – there is an outdoor heating solution to suit everyone’s needs. From lazy summer evenings to cosy winter days, an outdoor heater will enhance your outside space and allow you to enjoy it whenever you please.

Read on to discover our top outdoor heating ideas.

 

Electric heaters

Electric heater

An easy and budget friendly way to heat your garden is with an electric patio heater –  simply plug it in, flick a switch and enjoy instant warmth.

You can choose from several types of electric outdoor heaters – ranging from floor, tabletop and wall-mounted units to tall, freestanding models. Some can even be used in your garage or workshop.

What to consider when choosing an electric heater

  • Look for an outdoor heating solution that uses short wave lamps. These produce heat in the infrared band that warms the body and not the air, meaning the heat won’t be disrupted by a breeze.
  • Medium and long wave lamps warm the air itself, which doesn’t make it as easy to direct the flow of the heat.
  • Short wave lamps typically use clear halogen, ruby red halogen, or gold bulbs, while medium and long wave heaters use quartz.
  • The higher the kw of a heater, the more warmth it will generate.
  • You’ll need to have an electrical outlet to plug your heater into.
  • Some models of electric heaters may make noise, although it isn’t usually very loud.

 

Firepits and fire baskets

Fire basket

If your aim is to impress, a great outdoor heating idea is either a firepit or fire basket. Designed to look like a freestanding open fireplace, usually made from steel or cast iron, they make a stunning focal point in any space after the sun goes down.

The heat element comes from burning wood, which you’ll need to make sure is untreated or painted, as this can release dangerous chemicals.

Outdoor firepits and baskets can serve several purposes:

  • They generate heat just as a traditional open fire would.
  • They can be used as an incinerator.
  • Some models can be used as a traditional charcoal BBQ if you put a cooking grill over the flame.
  • You can gather around them to toast marshmallows over the open fire.

 

Chimeneas

Chimenea

Chimeneas are a classic form of outdoor heating that originated in Mexico and are usually made from clay, cast iron or steel.

Most chimeneas follow the traditional design of a round lower body topped by a vertical smokestack, and although modern styles are available, they all work in the same way.

Chimeneas are available in two distinct styles:

  • Clay chimeneas come in a variety of traditional designs and bright colours and make stunning centrepieces, especially when surrounded by garden furniture.
  • Metal chimeneas can be more expensive than clay models but they tend to last longer as they’re more robust.

 

 

What fuel is best for outdoor heating?

Type Pros Cons
Gas Doesn’t require an electric outlet, can be moved around. Affordable and sturdy. Some models can be heavy.
Wood Renewable energy source- traditional feel and natural warmth. Must have a supply of dry logs available.
Electric Easy to use. Safe for use in small areas, light to carry. Requires a plug socket- restricted placement, slower to heat up.
Natural Gas Heats up quickly, efficient. Usually has to be installed by a professional and has to be fixed.

 

How to look after your outdoor heater

Whichever form of outdoor heater you choose, you’ll need to maintain it to ensure it continues to serve you well throughout the years. Here are some top tips for keeping them in the best condition:

  • Electric: Replace bulbs when necessary. Store safely away or use a protective cover when not in use for extended periods.
  • Open flame: Once cooled after use, wipe down with an oily rag to safeguard against rust. Firepits, bowls, baskets, and chimeneas will stand up against the occasional Summer shower but will need protection from harsher conditions. As it’s not so easy to store them away like smaller electric heaters, it’s a clever idea to buy a suitable cover to keep them protected.

 

Important safety considerations to think about

Including an outdoor heating solution in your garden set up is a great stylish and practical addition. However, there are a few simple rules you’ll need to follow to stay safe.

Electric

  • Keep the electrical cable that connects the heater to the power outlet tucked safely away to avoid accidentally tripping over it.
  • If you choose a floor or tabletop heater, make sure children are supervised and watch out for little hands getting close to the hot elements.
  • Any maintenance should be carried out by a professional electrician.

Open flame

  • Whichever outdoor heating solution you decide to buy, make sure they’re used only on a level surface.
  • Don’t use too much wood or create a fire that’s too large.
  • All open flame forms of outdoor heating should only be used outside, and children and animals kept a safe distance from the fire.
  • Keep a bucket of water nearby in case you need to extinguish the fire.

Top tips:

  • If you choose a clay chimenea, you’ll need to cure it before initial usage.
  • Curing entails lighting a few small fires in the chimenea, this coats its interior with soot and seals the pores in the clay.
  • This is an essential process that protects the chimenea against moisture damage and cracking.



Homebase

Homebase

Writer and expert