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Outdoor Heating Options | Patio and Alfresco Heating Ideas
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Outdoor Heating Options

February 15, 2020
Outdoor Heating Options

One of my favourite things about Summer are the balmy nights, when its warm enough to sit outside and the evening rolls along. It’s also the thing I miss most when the weather begins to cool down. Just in time, Sneddon’s present an overview of all your outdoor heating options, so that when the weather does turn, you’ll have lots of options to stay warm outdoors.

So let’s run through the different styles of outdoor heating options that you can choose from:

Plus there’s a variety of fuel types to choose from – ethanol, gas (bottle or mains), electric or wood. So pretty much, there’s something to suit everyone. Its just a matter of finding what works best for you and your home.

We’ve pulled together the key advantages and disadvantages of each of the different types of outdoor heaters into this article, plus some helpful tips on the size of the area that they will heat.

Patio Heaters

Patio Heaters are an awesome way to add warmth to an outdoor space. Two key styles – the portable, freestanding units and the ceiling installed units.

Freestanding Options

There are so many cheap freestanding patio heaters on the market, but this is a product category where you really do get what you pay for. The cheaper units on the market burn a lot of fuel for the amount of heat that they produce and often aren’t designed to deal with the heat that they do put out, in fact we’ve seen units that have bent and distorted out of shape they’ve got so hot.

Bromic is a brand producing high quality units that most definitely won’t buckle or distort, but they are at a higher price point. Take a look at the Tungsten Smart-Heat model, it is designed to heat up to 20 m2 of open space, and is easily moved around.

If you are wanting something with a different aesthetic the Falo Portable Outdoor Heater, also from Bromic, runs on gas and can also heat up to 20 square metres of open space.

Patio Panel Heaters

If you are wanting an installed alfresco heating solution, take a look at the range of gas and electric panel heaters from Bromic, Rinnai and Caloray.

Bromic have both gas and electric models. The Tungsten Smart-Heat Electric models are made for semi-enclosed spaces (like an under cover outdoor area) and because of their low profile design are great for ceiling mounting, and you have the option of recessing them into a ceiling for a really low profile installation.

There are four different heat outputs – 2KW, 3KW, 4KW, and 6KW. Figuring out how many heaters you need to heat your space is easy – for this model every 1KW heats approximately 3 square metres.


Bromic also do a range of gas panel patio heaters. These are suitable for wall mounting, and suit a semi-enclosed outdoor space. These run on either natural or LPG gas, so depending on the area where you are installing them, if mains gas is available you can absolutely connect the heater panels to that. These panels pump out a lot of heat – each one heating up to a 20 square metre space.

If rectangular panels aren’t striking the right design cord for your space, take a look at the Caloray range of patio heater panels. With their matte black finish, they are perfectly suited to a contemporary, industrial style of interior. They can be used indoors or in a semi enclosed space and each unit will heat approximately 4.5 sq metres.

Rinnai is another well known and trusted brand with panel heaters for use outdoors. Rinnai offer outdoor electric panels heaters, available across a range of sizes and heat outputs. So depending on your space size and shape, you can choose a number of panels to get you just the right amount of heating right across the space.

How many patio heaters do I need?

This is the question that everyone wants answered. If you are looking at strip or disc heaters, then each strip will heat, on average, approximately 3 – 6 sqm of outdoor entertaining area. But it does depend on the size and model you choose. There are definite variables that influence your individual requirements – things like ceiling height, and how enclosed the space is, so we always recommend speaking to an experienced retailer even after you’ve read the specs.

Outdoor Fireplaces

A fireplace is a beautiful way to bring warmth to an outdoor area. Unlike patio heaters you won’t find a firm measure of number of square metres heated because there are a lot more variables at play – how much wood you put on the fire, the type of wood you burn, and how good your fire lighting skills are! But if you are someone who doesn’t mind the process of buying in the wood and lighting the fire you’ll be rewarded with the awesome crackle of an open fire, the relaxation of watching the flames, and a warm place to gather (and toast marshmallows).

Don’t forget two key things – you’ll need a chimney built in, and wood. Outdoor Fireplaces probably best suit being built into an outdoor room, or structure.

Ethanol Outdoor Fireplaces

If you are one of those people who isn’t interested in managing a wood fireplace, then maybe look at an ethanol fireplace.

Ethanol fireplaces are incredibly flexible – they can be installed into the wall like a regular fireplace, built into a table, or installed like a firepit. Ethanol is a clean burning fuel, that is odourless and doesn’t produce any mess.

Interested in knowing more about the advantages of ethanol? Find out more here.

Firepits & Chimineas

Firepits and Chimineas are a nice in between. You get all of rewards of an open fire – the smell, the crackle, the flames, and the satisfaction of warming yourself on a fire you lit, but without the construction requirements.

Firepits and Chimineas are portable, which is great for flexibility, but they do need to be used in an open space. So while they don’t require a chimney, you can’t use them on a deck or under a structure – on the lawn or paving is the best spot for safely lighting your fire pit or chiminea. Plus there’s something really special about being able to all sit around a firepit – just like a campfire but in your backyard.

Pizza Oven

And then maybe this is a little left field, but what about a pizza oven? Then not only are you warming your outdoor space, but you can also cook up some very tasty treats (other than just roasting marshmallows!)

Here’s our picks for outdoor heating options:

We hope you found this article helpful, thanks to the team at Sneddons for their assistance in compiling it. If you are ready for outdoor heating, then be sure to check out Snedon’s range.

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