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Fire Pits vs. Outdoor Heaters – Which is Better for Your Space?

In Chicago, we know what it’s like to have cold winters. When the first sign of temperature drop occurs, we know it’s time to start packing up the outdoor furniture and getting the patio ready for winter – we typically won’t see that space for several months.

However, many of us like to continue to use our outdoor space, even during the winter, which is why investing in a fire pit or an outdoor heater can be extremely beneficial to keep your patio warm and cozy during the winter months.

There are pros and cons to each heat source – let’s take a look at which outdoor heater option is better for your space.

Patio Heaters

You have more than likely seen these heat sources in restaurants. Patio heaters can give off enough heat to warm a large area and are powered by propane or electricity, depending on which model you choose. A patio heater is a great choice for families with children and pets – the heating mechanism is typically high enough away from little fingers, and there are no sparks or embers to be worried about.

Since they are so large, heaters give off enough heat for prolonged periods of time. If you plan to use your patio for extended periods of time during chilly weather, having one or two on hand (depending on the size of your space) may be the best option for you.

Types of Patio Heaters

There are several types of patio heaters available on the market. These include electric and gas heaters which come in freestanding, tabletop, and even mounted heaters.

Electric heaters tend to be the most efficient option. Some models even come with a motion sensor that will turn on when it senses movement in the area. Other options include propane which will require monitoring the level of the tank and changing it once the gas has worn out.

Pros of Patio Heaters

  • Extremely versatile. You can choose from a variety of different sizes and options, and place them virtually anywhere in your outdoor space.
  • Safe to have around children and pets.
  • Warms a large area.
  • You have control over the temperature.
  • Low maintenance.
  • Portable (if not mounted).
  • Most come with safety features like a quick extinguish if they are knocked over.

Cons of Patio Heaters

  • Design choice is limited.
  • Require a fuel or power source.
  • Propane fuel is added expense.

Fire Pits

Next on our list of outdoor heating solutions is the fire pit. These are a fantastic way to stay warm in the winter and come in a variety of different styles. These fire pits are not built to be in-ground but instead will move around with you if you decide to change homes.

Fire pits can use different heat sources like propane, coal, and wood. Some even have a switch for electronic ignition. It all depends on the style and type of fire pit that you choose.

Since there are so many options, choosing the right fire pit can seem a little overwhelming at first, but it really just comes down to personal preference.

Types of Fire Pits

Fire pits come in different sizes and types like:

  • Portable fire pits
  • Copper bowl fire pits
  • Tabletop fire pits
  • Gel fuel logs
  • All of these types appear in very different designs!

Pros of Fire Pits

  • Large variety of design options.
  • Warms the area around the fire pit, along with the surrounding area, depending on the strength of the fire.
  • Portable, and can be moved easily.
  • Alternative to building an in-ground pit.
  • Roasting capability over the flames.

Cons of Fire Pits

  • Sparks and embers can be dangerous to pets and children.
  • Open flames.
  • Limited heat range.
  • Cannot be used in a garage or tent.
  • No temperature control.

While there are pros and cons to both patio heaters and fire pits, it comes down to personal preference and what you decide you’d like to use in your outdoor space. Either outdoor heater option will keep your patio warm in the winter, allowing you to continue to stay outside even in colder temperatures!

The biggest thing to remember with both of these options is fire safety. Taking certain safety measures is important, but accidents can happen, which is why McMahon Services is here 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Once fire emergency services have left and it’s time for clean up, our team of experienced restoration professionals will be on the job to help you bring your home back to normal as quickly as possible.

We service Chicago residents, and all surrounding areas, and are ready to take your call today.