It can be frustrating to have a beautiful outdoor living area only to be trapped indoors once the temperature plunges. But take heart, outdoor patio heaters can save the day, and extend your outdoor enjoyment well through the winter months. With several available options, you can pick the perfect patio heater to keep you warm and toasty. Here are three things to consider when choosing your heater:

Style

Outdoor heaters come in three configurations; mounted, table top and free-standing. Most free-standing posts are over 6 feet tall and will generate a great deal of heat – up to a ten-foot radius depending on the model. This is the style you typically see in outdoor cafes (Paris anyone?). Mounted heaters come in several sizes and can be attached to decks, brick or ceilings. These are great if you need to save space on a smaller patio. Table-top heaters are small, portable and generate less heat then their big brothers. They are great for camping, or tail-gating. Some models require electricity, so make sure to have a plug-in close by.

Type

Propane or electric outdoor heaters are the norm, and produce varying amounts of heat. Electric heaters use halogen or infrared bulbs and heat up very quickly. Propane heaters use fuel (gas grill) and create 10,000 to 50,000 BTU’s of heat through a flame. Some propane heaters may produce more heat, but you must be careful on windy days.

Cost

Depending on your region, propane can be fairly expensive. Therefore, you need to factor that into your cost. Propane heaters can cost more initially, and sometimes in the long run as well. Electric heaters are less expensive and use electricity, albeit, not much. Wayfair has a beautiful collection of both types of heaters with the added bonus of providing customer ratings for each product.

Fortunately, heating your outdoor living area isn’t expensive and is well worth the effort. By using your patio or deck into the colder months, you are getting more out of your home. Winter is a fun time and being able to use your patio without getting frost bite is a big plus for you as a homeowner.

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