Fire Pit vs. Patio Heater: Best One For You?

Which is better for you, a fire pit or a patio heater? Both have benefits and drawbacks; choosing one over the other depends on your circumstances. This article will compare and contrast fire pits and patio heaters to help you decide which is right. Let’s check out what might work best for you, whether you want to stay toasty in the winter or have a party in the backyard.

What is a fire pit, and what are its Pros & Cons?

Firepit
Firepit

A fire pit is a bowl-shaped enclosure that contains a fire. People use fire pits for various purposes, such as cooking food, providing warmth, or creating an ambiance.

There’s nothing better than a backyard party over a crackling fire. They are used for heating, making s’mores, and cooking.

 However, before buying or building a fire pit, you should consider the pros and downsides of installing one.

The Pros of Fire Pits

From a functional standpoint, fire pits serve several purposes. They can provide warmth on cool evenings, as a gathering place for family and friends, and even be used for cooking. And since there is such a wide variety of sizes and designs, you may be sure to find one that works for you.

In addition to their practicality, fire pits also offer some aesthetic benefits. For example, they can create a focal point in your yard or patio. They can also add visual interest and ambiance after the sun goes down. All of which makes them a great addition to any outdoor living space.

  • They are used for warmth, cooking, or roasting marshmallows
  • Features a flexible design that may be scaled to fit any backyard occasion.
  • It can be made from multiple materials, including stone, concrete, metal, or brick. 
  • Some fire pits are portable, so they can be moved around as needed. 
  • Differing fuel types, i.e., wood, coal, propane, biofuel, and natural gas. 

The Cons of Fire Pits

While there are many positives associated with fire pits, there are also some potential drawbacks that you should be aware of before purchasing. One of the biggest complaints about fire pits is that they can be messy. If not properly maintained, they can produce smoke, ashes, and soot that can tarnish furniture and pollute the air. 

Another concern is safety. Because fire pits use open flames, there is always the potential for accidents. To reduce the risk of injury, it’s essential to follow all manufacturer’s instructions when using your fire pit and to keep flammable materials like leaves and paper away from the flames.

Never leave a fire unchecked, and make sure the embers are out before retiring for the evening.

  • There is a risk of sparks and embers with any open flame. This risk can be reduced by using a gas, propane, or biofuel fire pit instead of one that uses wood. 
  • If not adequately maintained, fire pits can become dirty and smoky. Regular cleaning and proper ventilation will help reduce this risk. 
  • Some jurisdictions have regulations on open flames in residential areas. Before you acquire or install a fire pit, check with your local authorities.

Different Types of Patio Heaters

Masonry or Concrete-encased Metal Circles – These are the most permanent option. They are made of either masonry or concrete-encased metal circles. The advantage of these fire pits is that they are durable and last a long time. Unlike other alternate choices, they cannot be transported about easily.

Gas, Propane, or Biofuel Fire Pits These fire pits use gas, propane, or biofuel as their fuel source. The advantage of these fire pits is that they tend to be less smoky than wood-burning fire pits. The disadvantage is that they can be more expensive than other options.

Wood-Burning Fire Pits – These fire pits use wood as their fuel source. The advantage of these fire pits is that they add a pleasant smell to the air when they are burning. The disadvantage is that they can be smokier than other options.

What is a patio heater, and what are its Pros & Cons?

Patio Heater
Patio Heater

Patio heaters release infrared radiation that warms nearby items. Patio heaters warm patios, decks, and poolside areas. They also work in business settings like restaurants, hotels, and bars. Electric or propane patio heaters come in several forms.

Patio heaters are mainly used for warmth, although some types include a built-in light source for ambiance lighting.

Pros:

Patio heaters let you enjoy your backyard in the winter: One of the best things about patio heaters is that they allow you to extend the time you spend outside. You no longer have to pack up and go inside as soon as the sun goes down or the temperature drops. With a patio heater, you can enjoy time with family and friends well into the evening.

Patio heaters are electric, natural gas, or propane-fueledAnother great thing about patio heaters is that they come in various fuel types. Electric patio heaters are great if you’re looking for an environmentally friendly option. Or, if you want something that will produce more heat, consider a natural gas or propane patio heater.

Patio heaters are safe around children and pets: If you have young kids or pets, you may be worried about using a patio heater for fear that they’ll get too close and get hurt. But most patio heaters nowadays come with built-in safety features that make them safe to use around children and pets. 

And if you’re still worried, there are also freestanding grills available that will keep kids and pets at a safe distance while still providing warmth.

Cons:

Cost: One of the most significant drawbacks of owning a patio heater is the cost. Depending on the heater model, they can range in price from around $300 to $1,000 or more. And if you choose a gas-powered model, you’ll also have to pay for installation fees and the cost of gas itself.

Trip hazards: Another thing to consider before buying a patio heater is that they can be trip hazards. Should you have hyperactive children or pets that like to run about, it’s critical to set your patio heater in a spot where it won’t be easily toppled over.

Portability: While some patio heaters are portable, others need professional installation. This means that if you move houses or decide to change up your outdoor space, you may need to pay for someone to come out and uninstall your old patio heater and install a new one at your new home.

Different Types of Patio Heaters

Electric Patio Heaters

Electric patio heaters are the most popular on the market. They’re efficient and straightforward to operate. Some electric patio heaters have motion sensors that switch on when they sense motion. As an outcome, you won’t have to worry about leaving your patio heater on all night.

The only negative of electric patio heaters is that they need to be plugged in. That may be a headache if your backyard doesn’t have any outlets.

You may need to hire an electrician to run an extension line from your property. Or you may invest in a portable generator. It’s crucial to consider the expense of running an electric patio heater.

Natural Gas Patio Heaters

Natural gas patio heaters are another popular alternative. They’re comparable to electric heaters because they’re simple and need little upkeep. Heating a patio using natural gas is more cost-effective than using a propane heater. The main issue is that you need a natural gas hookup to your residence for them to function.

If you don’t have a natural gas line, you’ll need to contact an expert to install one, you can look at Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to help you with this. That can be pricey. If you intend on living in your house for many years, a natural gas patio heater may be worth the investment.

Propane Patio Heaters 

Easy to operate and low-maintenance, propane patio heaters are convenient. Propane tanks are more mobile than natural gas tanks. If you sell your home, you may carry your propane tank and use it at your new home.

Propane patio heaters need constant monitoring of the tank level. If the tank runs empty, your heater will cease operating until you replace it. That may be troublesome if you’re in the thick of a cold spell and can’t get to the store.

How Do Fire Pits Work and Patio Heaters work?

Fire pits ignite a fuel source and circulate the resulting heat around a crater. This can be done with either natural gas or propane. Patio heaters work by using gas or electricity to generate heat. This radiates outwards, providing warmth for people and objects around it.

How are fire pits and patio heaters different from one another?

There are several critical differences between fire pits and patio heaters. Fire pits typically use wood, coal, or gas as a fuel source, while patio heaters use electricity or gas. Fire pits are also more permanent fixtures, while patio heaters can be portable.

Another significant difference is that fire pits produce sparks and embers, which can be dangerous if not properly monitored. On the other hand, patio heaters do not produce sparks or embers and are, therefore, much safer to use.

Finally, fire pits are typically larger than patio heaters and can heat a larger area. However, this also requires more maintenance and care than patio heaters.

Which is better for you, a fire pit or a patio heater?

In short, it relies on your specific situation and personal preferences. A fire pit may be the best option if you’re looking for a more permanent solution that can heat a larger area. However, a patio heater may be the better choice if you’re looking for a more convenient and safer option.

Outdoor Fire Pit Ideas Backyard

Final Thoughts

Fire pits and patio heaters are great options for providing warmth in your outdoor space. However, there are several key differences between the two that you should consider before making a decision.

Think about what fuel you want to use, how permanent the solution is, and how much area you need to heat. And do you want to cook with your fire pit or just use it for warmth?

In light of these considerations, you’ll be able to choose the most favorable heat source.

Thank you for reading!

Leave a Comment