Outdoor Heaters: Should You Get Electric, Gas or Propane For Your Backyard?

Dec 11, 2020 | Outdoor Living Space

You’ve probably seen heaters of all shapes and sizes popping up on restaurant patios as we prepare for a winter with COVID-19 precautions. These heaters make outdoor dining and socializing year-round possible, but have you ever considered getting one for your own backyard or patio?

At Agape, we’ve helped transform more backyards into year-round living spaces than we can count, so here are a few things to keep in mind when selecting the right outdoor heater for your home.

Factors To Consider For Your Backyard Heater

When choosing the right type of heater for your backyard, there are a number of things to think about before moving on to different types of heaters.

Open-Air or Enclosed

Are you wanting to get a heater for your screened in porch, a sunroom or covered patio? Or is your backyard area more ventilated like a porch or open-air dining area?

If your area is more enclosed, you won’t want to use an energy source that requires ventilation like gas or propane.

Estimate Your Energy Bills Based On Use

One important consideration that will help you assess your budget is how often you see yourself using an outdoor heater.

Most people tend to overestimate how much they will use a new home feature over time, but that number should help you estimate what your peak budget will be.

If you plan on only using the heater for special occasions or events, then you will probably have a bigger budget to spend on the energy bill or heater itself since it won’t be a frequent expense.

If you plan on using it every morning when you have your coffee outside, then you might want to go with a heater that has a less expensive fuel source.

Pros and Cons of Electric Heaters

There are advantages and disadvantages to choosing an electric heater. Again, you will need to take into consideration your backyard setup and how/when you will be using the heater.

There are several benefits to outdoor electric heaters, including:

Simple Plug-and-Go Use

Place the electric heater where you need it and plug into any standard home outlet and you’re good to go.

Safe For Smaller Outdoor Spaces

For outdoor patios that are enclosed and not well ventilated for gas heaters, electric outdoor heaters provide warmth without harmful byproducts.

Easy To Use

In addition to just plugging in, electric heaters are easily placed where needed. Pick a corner, place it near your favorite chair, or set up near the party for ultimate comfort.

However, depending on how often you use it, the costs of running an electric heater could be higher than if you were to use an alternative fuel source.

Some of the drawbacks for electric heaters are include:

Higher Electricity Usage

Since electric heaters plug into the wall, you could see an increase in your electric bill. Additionally, electricity is typically more expensive than gas.

Limited Placement

Electric heaters require a nearby outlet, so you need to make sure your outdoor space has plug-in access.

Slower Heating

Electric heaters are slower to heat up surrounding space, unlike natural gas or propane.

If an outdoor electric heater is the appropriate choice, there are several options to consider for your next outdoor gathering. Check out the variety of designs in the gallery below.

Pros and Cons of Gas Heaters

If electric heaters don’t fit your outdoor space, gas heaters may be right for you.

While many opt for the electric heater because it’s easier, many say gas heaters produce more/better heat.

Here are some more reasons you might want to go with a gas heater:

Gas Brings The Heat

Natural gas combustion gives gas heaters a much higher heat output than electric outdoor heaters.

Gas Heaters Offer Stylish Design Options

Many outdoor heaters now feature sleek exteriors and can blend in with outdoor décor. These features are excellent for outdoor bars, decks, patios, and pool decks.

However, the cons of installing natural gas patio heaters should also be considered:

Professional Installation Required

Gas heaters require professional installation for safety and to safeguard product warranties.

Fixed Heating Location

Natural gas heaters are fixed or wall-mounted to permanent natural gas lines.

Gas Heaters Require Ventilation

Gas heaters need to be placed in well-ventilated areas for safety.

If the pros outweigh the cons, a gas heater might be the right fit for you. Click through below to see all some samples of stylish gas heater designs.

Pros and Cons Propane Heaters

Many people may overlook propane heaters when doing their research. However, a propane heater can sometimes be the best of both worlds – they can provide the portability of electric heaters with the heat production of a gas heater.

There are several pros to going with a propane heater, including:

Increased Flexibility

Propane heaters are portable, maneuverable, and easy to place at jobsites for quick set-up.

Independent Power Source

Since propane heaters use a tank, they don’t require electricity or a fixed gas line.

However, there are cons to propane heating that you may want to consider:

Propane Tank

Most require about a 20-pound propane tank.

Assembly & Installation

Some assembly and hook-up is required, and in some cases, professional installation may be recommended if connecting to a direct propane line.

Click through some of the propane tanks below. And as always, check out the Agape Pinterest for more examples of electric, gas and propane heater styles.

Call Agape To Design Your Dream Heated Backyard Patio Today!

Agape is skilled designing and building dream backyards in the St. Louis area.

Ready to enjoy your backyard and outdoor spaces year-round? Call Agape for a complimentary consultation on your dream patio today!

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