Is an Outdoor Heater Right for me?

Summer evenings at home can be the perfect time to relax with your family or friends or have outdoor gatherings. However as plenty of us in the UK find, as the sun goes down, the chill can be uncomfortable and sometimes you want to use your garden at other times of the year. With this in mind, outdoor heaters are a great way of providing warmth for garden’s during these times, keeping the area cosy and pleasant even as the night draws closer.

There are a few options to select from when choosing an outdoor heater and choosing the right one can ensure you make the most out the heat it produces and the cost of running one. Here in this blog, we run through a couple of key factors to consider when deciding on an outdoor heater for you.

How much power do you need?

To prevent any substantial energy waste and expensive running fees, always consider the amount of heat you actually need for your garden area. Is the space big or small? Do you use it regularly or very occasionally? How many people do you regularly have in your garden?

Often, if you are trying to get heat for a lot of people over a wider space, then a higher wattage heater is likely to be necessary, often between 2000W and 2970W. On the other hand, in a smaller space for a few people, the much smaller energy output is required, around 1500W. If you use your patio space for only a few people then a similar wattage or an even lower one should do the job.

Think about the fact that they can be easily turned on and off which means they should always be switched off when not in use to save energy. This is particularly true if you only use a patio heater infrequently and it is a high wattage for either space or occupancy reasons.

You want your garden to be a useable area that is both warm and comfortable so do your research prior to purchasing your outdoor heater to make sure you get the most of it, whilst still keeping the area warm and comfortable.

How You’ll Use It

This is arguably the most important consideration for you to make when buying an outdoor heater. The size and shape of your yard and patio, the situations you’ll use it in, how many people will typically be in the space taking advantage of the heater — clearly defining and considering all of these factors are important to choosing an outdoor heater that will satisfy your needs.

If your outside space is small and you and your family or friends usually stick close to one area or seating spot when outside, a tabletop heater will do the trick. If you have a space that’s covered or enclosed that you want to keep warm, you have to rule out all options except for the outdoor heaters.

If you wish for the heater to serve as a focal point during social gatherings, rather than something that’s functional and in the background, a fire pit option makes the most sense. Which choice is the best depends entirely on the setting and your personal preferences?


As previously mentioned, how powerful your outdoor heater is will determine how much space it heats. Power for a heater is usually measured in British Thermal Units (BTUs). The higher the BTUs, the more heat your heater will radiate. In some scenarios, the manufacturer will say how much space their model heats in their marketing materials, but keep in mind that how far that heat will go will depend on a variety of factors, such as how cool it is outdoors.

Measurements like BTUs and wattage can be good for helping you compare different models to one another, however, they can sometimes be misleading. In addition to the issue of power, the manufacturer says their product gives out. Speak to the manufacturer, they’ll usually offer a clearer picture of how powerful a heater is and how much space you can expect it to heat in different climates and types of weather.


Do consider that heaters do come with risks. A floor-standing patio heater has to be weighted properly to withstand cool and windy days – if it falls over while it’s switched on, you’re risking a fire. Many models will come with an auto-shutoff feature for that purpose. If strong winds are typical to where you live, you should definitely seek out a model that offers this feature. Or at the very least, find a way to anchor the heater down.

If you opt for a gas or wood heater, this  should be kept in open spaces. If you place one in an enclosed or covered patio, this poses the risk of both carbon monoxide buildup and a fire hazard. Electric heaters often are the safest option, you do want to be careful that you don’t place them too close to which is highly flammable.

Since backyard fire pits involve an open fire, they’re the type of outdoor heater that you need to practice with the most amount of caution with. Be sure you always put the fire out completely when you’re done and that you keep the fire contained to the pit itself so it can’t spread beyond.

Typical Weather

The average climate in your area will influence how much heat you’re going to require and what type of heater makes the most sense for your garden. If the area you live is prone to regular rain and drizzle, a fire pit won’t get used much. If you often see high-powered winds, then a floor standing patio heater may be hard to keep standing upright and properly maintained.

Think about what the weather often looks like during the times of year that you’ll most want to use your outdoor heater, and make sure you go with a model that will be practical for your climate.

Aesthetics and Atmosphere

Some are happy with the average, simple heater which is totally functional and serves its purpose. Others will want one that adds something to the look of their garden. Most floor-standing models fall mostly in the functional category, but some are designed to add a nice aesthetic touch to the area you put them in. Many people choose an option that has an open flame for the added atmosphere it offers.

If appearance and atmosphere are important for you and consideration for your home, take some time to browse the various options available to you and see which ones have a look that jumps out at you as being a good fit for your outdoor area.

Ease of Use

Some outdoor heaters are very simple to use from the second you get them for as long as you care for them. Others will present some work or maintenance issues for you.

How hard will your heater be to turn on? For most electric and gas models, it will be as simple as flipping a switch. For fire pits and chimineas, it will take a little more work and time. How hard will it be to put together when you get it?

Some models need more involved assembly or installation than others, so you’ll want to make sure you’re prepared for whatever your model requires. Electric heaters will mostly just need to be switched on and natural gas heaters only need to be hooked up once, whereas other models will require that you replace the fuel sources with some more regularity.

Here at Fireplaces & Furnishings, we provide not only a functional asset to your garden but also a stunning design feature; outdoor heaters can offer a cosy and inviting atmosphere to any room. As one of the leading outdoor heater and fireplace companies in Stockport, our fireplace superstore located in Cheadle, Hulme has a variety of fireplace options that can create a warm and inviting space to relax in. With gas, electric and wood-burning fireplaces available, we can help transform your home and garden into a cosy haven. To find out more, please get in touch.