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How to Choose the Best Outdoor Heater: Your Ultimate Guide

Whether you’ve got a patio, garden, or deck, outdoor heating has the ability to transform your space into an inviting and comfortable retreat year-round. But how do you choose the right outdoor heater? With our expert advice, we’ll help you find the best option for your needs and outdoor area.

What is the Best Outdoor Heater?

Electric or gas heaters? Fire pits or fire tables? What is the best outdoor heater? Let’s dive into the pros and cons of each.

Outdoor Electric Heaters: Pros and Cons


• Power electric heaters by simply plugging them in.
• They provide instant heat without the need for any additional fuel or setup.
• No emissions, fumes or odours make them a clean and environmentally-friendly heating option.


• May not effectively warm larger outdoor areas.
• Operating costs may be higher than some other types.
• Designed to be weather-resistant; however, direct exposure to rain can affect functionality.

Browse our wall-mounted electric outdoor heaters.

Outdoor Gas Heaters: Pros and Cons


• High heat output and even heat distribution; ideal for warming a large area.
• Operate independently of electricity, making them suitable for outdoor spaces where access to electrical outlets may be limited or unavailable.
• Gas patio heaters are portable.


• Require a steady supply of natural gas.
• Produce emissions, such as carbon dioxide.
• Involve open flames and must be used with caution.

Browse our stainless steel gas outdoor heaters.

Fire Pits: Pros and Cons


• A fire pit can be used for cooking, roasting marshmallows, or gathering around.
• Provide protection from the cold and enhance your outdoor ambience.


• Burning wood can contribute to air pollution. Use non-treated firewood.
• Can produce smoke and emit odours. Proper ventilation and wind direction should be considered for smoke management.
• A fire pit involves open flames, presenting potential safety hazards.

Browse our outdoor fire pits.

Fire Tables: Pros and Cons


• A versatile and stylish addition to outdoor living spaces.
• Can use as a table in summer and spring.
• Enjoy easy-to-use ignition systems and adjustable flame controls.
• Designed with safety features such as flame guards, safety valves and heat-resistant materials.


• Can be more expensive than other outdoor heating products.
• Use gas to create heat, which can add to the ongoing cost and maintenance.
• Require regular maintenance, including cleaning and checking gas connections if applicable.

Browse our range of rectangular fire pits and square fire pits.

Choosing the Right Size and Level of Portability

A compact and portable patio heater may be sufficient if you have a small patio or balcony. However, you might need a more powerful unit with a higher heat output for larger outdoor areas, such as a backyard or a commercial setting.

What is the Most Energy Efficient Outdoor Heater?

An infrared heater is generally considered a more energy- and eco-friendly heating option than a gas or electric heater. Enjoy a silent operation that produces zero emissions and does not release harmful gases or pollutants into the environment. If you’re searching for gas or electricity-powered heaters, look for built-in thermostats or sensors that automatically adjust the heat settings based on the surrounding temperature.

What are the Benefits of Infrared Heaters?

Infrared heat uses electromagnetic waves to warm objects and individuals directly. This direct heating method is similar to heat transfer from the sun, minus the harsh light and UV, due to its lower intensity. It does not produce an open flame or feature hot surfaces, so it cannot cause burns.

How Many Patio Heaters Do I Need?

The number of patio heaters you need depends on the size of your outdoor space and the weather conditions in your area. Here are some considerations to help you:

• One patio heater might suffice if you have a small area. If you’re still feeling cold, opt for multiple heaters. Consider the heat output or BTU (British Thermal Units) rating. Higher BTU ratings suit larger spaces or colder climates.
• Consider the coverage area and ensure your patio heater is strategically positioned to effectively cover the seating or gathering areas.

Are Outdoor Heaters Bad for the Environment?

The environmental impact of outdoor heaters can vary depending on the type of heater and the fuel source used. Select eco-friendly models with cleaner fuel options, and use them responsibly.

Are Outdoor Heaters Safe for Pets?

While outdoor heaters offer warmth and comfort for humans, it’s important to consider the safety of our furry friends. Here are some tips:

• Provide a space for pets a safe distance away from the heater.
• Ensure the outdoor heater is secure and stable to prevent accidental knocking over.
• Ventilate the area to prevent the accumulation of harmful gases.
• Tuck away or cover all cords to prevent potential hazards or electrical accidents.

Outdoor Heating Maintenance and Safety Tips

Maintenance and safety are essential to ensure your heater’s proper functioning and minimise potential risks. Here are some guidelines to follow:

1. Always read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for installing, operating, and maintaining your outdoor heater.
2. Position your outdoor heater in a well-ventilated area, away from flammable materials, structures or overhead obstructions.
3. Ensure that your outdoor heater is securely wall-mounted, or if it is freestanding, it is placed on a stable surface.
4. If using an outdoor gas heater, ensure cylinders are stored away from ignition sources and direct sunlight.
5. Regularly inspect your outdoor heaters for any signs of damage, wear or malfunction.
6. Clean your outdoor heaters regularly to remove dirt, dust and debris.
7. Properly store your outdoor heaters when not in use to protect them from exposure to moisture, extreme temperatures, and other environmental factors that can cause damage.
8. Do not leave the heater unattended, and never use it for purposes other than its intended use.

Find the Best Outdoor Heaters NZ-Wide at Trade Tested

Discover a wide range of high-quality outdoor heating products at Trade Tested. Whether you need gas, infrared or electric outdoor heaters, Trade Tested has the best outdoor heater for your space. Contact our friendly team for professional advice.