Honestly, there are more than 5 ways to heat your outdoor living space in winter. However, I feel like all of these other methods kind of fit snugly into 5 categories and so we’ll be going over those 5 main categories.
In my opinion, the 5 best ways to heat yourself and your outdoor living space for winter are fire pits and fire tables, outdoor fireplaces, patio heaters, heat lamps, and outdoor heating accessories.
If you keep reading, you’ll not only see the categories but those will be broken down into various methods listed under those and I’ll also include some links you may find helpful as well!
Outdoor Fire Pits or Tables
Fire Pits can be portable or custom-made. They are made to use charcoal or wood or they can use gas. Usually, a fire pit is aesthetically pleasing and people can sit all the way around it. It can be used for more than warmth, sometimes for cooking – almost like campfires. If you use wood, lighting things up could take a while, but a gas firepit can be ready to heat immediately.
Fire Tables are like having a smaller version of a fire pit that can be used even on covered patios. They are usually gas/propane heaters. Some can be used just for heating, others can be used for both cooking and heating. They can make a place nice and cozy all year round.
The difference between a fire pit and a fire table is obvious, but what about those and a fireplace? Well, a fireplace has a chimney where all of the smoke should go. A fire pit produces smoke that simply dissipates into the air around it, which means it may come right through your seating area. So, let’s look into fireplaces…
Most outdoor fireplaces are useful when most of your year-round weather tends to be warm. That way you can actually use the fireplace for cooking and not just keeping warm. It’s this dual purpose that makes an outdoor fireplace the right choice for many folks.
Outdoor fireplaces can be custom-built or pre-made and portable. Obviously, the custom-built version is going to cost more money, but in the long run, it actually adds good value to your home. Because the chimney takes the smoke away from you and your friends and it can be used for cooking as well as entertaining, these things often are better to have than fire pits.
Chiminea’s function similarly to old-fashioned pot-bellied stoves. They have a large bottom where the fuel goes and burns and the top narrows to a chimney for getting rid of the smoke. But these things are much smaller in design than actual fireplaces and are often portable.
They’re available in all kinds of materials, but my faves have all been terra cotta or clay. You can use wood, charcoal, or woodchips in chimeneas. Another cool thing about them is they can keep going even if it’s raining or snowing.
Outdoor Pizza Oven
I know these things can put some heat out, like anything that burns fuel outside. However, does it work as a heat source during winter as compared to other things? Not really. Usually, the pizza oven is on one side of your outdoor space and is really small compared to a full-blown outdoor fireplace. I want one, though.
Hear me out. I love pizza. and you can make your pizzas much healthier if you make them yourself. Not only that, it usually only takes a good pizza oven maybe 60-90 seconds to fully cook a small pizza. There’s not a lot to clean up, if it’s during the hot season, you can make your pizza’s outside and not heat up the house, and during the winter it can help warm the patio area while it’s in use.
Outdoor Patio Heaters
Propane Patio Heaters
These are the tall, mushroom-shaped heaters you see in most commercial spaces during the winter. Because of their size, you need to make sure the one you choose will work for your space. They have a spectrum of price points to choose from. Each version may come with different options, some come with wheels, for easy maneuverability.
They are best suited to being outdoors and in open spaces, not in a covered patio set-up, but that’s up to the safety guidelines and size of your heater. Since most of them are tall, you need to be very careful of comparing sizes. They also come in all sorts of designs, so you can get one that looks good with your aesthetic.
These are actually infrared heaters. Infrared heaters can be a bit more expensive than others, but they are ready when you are and often minimize the amount of energy that’s being used.
These heaters come in all kinds of designs. Some hang from pedestals or as a pendulum light would be hung in the middle of the roof of your outdoor living space. They might be freestanding or wall-mounted as well.
Outdoor Heat Lamps
The outdoor heat lamps are electric plug-ins. They are easier to deal with than propane heaters. They can be used wall mounted inside covered patios or outside as well. You can usually direct heat to where you want it to go with these kinds of heaters. There’s no smoke and some of these bad boys can really blend in – some are even table-top models.
Outdoor Heating Accessories
Outdoor Blankets and Rugs
Having a rug under your feet helps cushion your feet but also provides a barrier between the cool patio and your feet. So, it’s a natural warmth bringer. And of course, if you need to warm up on the patio, regardless of what other heat sources you have – a nice cozy blanket can do wonders.
Heavy Outdoor Curtains
I usually put these up so that I can open them and let some air flow through my patio space and close them to keep the colder wind at bay. Heavy outdoor curtains don’t just act to keep the cold breezes out, though. They also keep heat in – and keep you warm.
Yes, there are heated flooring systems for use outside. I know! I was surprised, too! I’ve never heard of them, but they are a thing. You can buy radiant heated floor mats in all sorts of places. There are also more permanently designed radiant floors for both inside and out. You can use radiant heat almost anywhere, including in concrete, pavers, patio stone, dirt, and grass.
A bonus to people who have to deal with snow? It melts the snow. People are now using this technology for driveways and walkways where snowfall is an issue. There is electric and hydronic (hot water flowing through tubing) radiant heat. These systems are designed to resist corrosion and when installed correctly can last for years.
Hot Tubs and Spas
I want to mention hot tubs and spas in passing, only because they will definitely warm you up in the winter months and they’re usually on your patios. However, you have to be willing to get wet to enjoy them, and sometimes that’s just not the thing to be doing. Hot tubs can get you good and heated and so when you get out, even in snow, to go back inside, your body temperature will keep you warm.
The same goes for a personal spa. The drawbacks are just getting wet and being limited to the time you can stay in them.
What do you think? Do you have more suggestions for our listing? If you do, let us know! In the meantime, I’ve left links to other interesting articles about these topics and hope this helped you with some ideas for upgrading your outdoor living space for winter usage.