Outdoor heating options

The addition of outdoor heating to your home is not only a great way to extend those cooler nights under the stars but also adds ambience and a sense of coziness to your outdoor space. There are so many options available to suit almost any budget, so let’s take a look at some of the most popular and cost effective outdoor heating options:

Fire Pit

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Nothing quite beats the warm, cosy glow and soft crackle of a real fire, which is why fire pits are one of the most popular forms of outdoor heating. They are affordable, easy to use, and multi-faceted. All you need is some wood and firelighters to get the fire going and you not only have a beautiful source of heat but also a pit which can be converted into a grill should the need arise – or an awesome marshmallow toasting spot! The most popular fire pit design is round as it allows for guests to easily sit around the fire and socialize whilst enjoying the warmth, however there are many other shapes to choose from with square or rectangular being next in the popularity line. You also have the option of choosing a built-in or portable fire pit depending on your preference. Whilst a built in pit is sturdy and can often be designed to convert into a table when not in use, a portable fire pit allows you to move the fire to wherever you need for the night.


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A Chiminea is a freestanding, three-legged fire feature that looks a bit like a mini fireplace. One of the perks is that although it looks like a fireplace, they are far more affordable and are absolutely perfect for smaller patio spaces. Whilst traditionally they are made from clay or terracotta, modern day chimineas are also made out of copper, cast iron, and other modern materials. Chimineas work much like a traditional fire place, with a front opening where one can place wood and light the fire whilst the vertical chimney diverts smoke up and away. You can also buy chimney extensions and spark screens should you need.

Patio Gas Heater

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These are quite popular in restaurants as they take up minimal space but provide a heat-packed punch for their size. The great thing about gas heaters is that they give off heat almost instantly and they won’t push up your electricity bill. The only thing is that gas is quite expensive in South Africa making it about R18 an hour to run a gas heater in comparison to about R10 an hour for a wood-fire based heater. However they are easier to use, don’t have any smoke, and a single unit can heat up an area of about 2 square meters.

Infra-red Heater

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Infra-red heating bars are another popular outdoor heating option as they are cost-effective, durable and quite powerful. They heat objects up directly via electromagnetic waves which means no energy is wasted heating up large volumes of cold air. Like gas heaters, they work almost instantly but unlike the other options they are the more eco-friendly choice as they do not burn up fuel or emit any gas fumes. The only issue is that because they heat up objects directly, they will not actually raise the temperature of the surrounding air, meaning you need to be quite close to the heater for the warmth to take effect. This direct heat also means you’ll need to watch you don’t get too close and burn yourself. However, a bonus of infra-red heaters is that the lamps have a lifespan of 5000 hours.

So there you have it – a roundup of the most popular and cost effective outdoor heating options. Whichever you choose, you’re sure to extend those beautiful evening socials with a bit of ambience and warmth.