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Warm Up With An Outdoor Fire Heater: How to Choose One for Your Backyard

It’s that time of the year when the temperatures are dropping and you’re longing to spend time outside, grilling food and socializing with your friends without freezing.The solution? Outdoor fire heaters.

The past few years, outdoor heaters have been on the rise as people are spending more time on their patios and in their backyards. Outdoor fire heaters can provide heat, light, and a beautiful ambiance for you and your guests.

The only question is, which style is right for you?

Main Types of Outdoor Fire Heaters

 Outdoor Fire Heater

There are scores of outdoor fire heaters on the market, the most popular of them being fire pits, fire tables, chimineas, and patio heaters. We’ll walk you through each kind of fire heater and the reasons you might choose each one.

1. Fire Pits: Best for Camping, Backyard, Small Patio.

Fire pits are typically characterized by having a central pit in which the fire is situated. They have exposed flames, so should be used with caution. Without a doubt, fire pits are a great place to gather in the chilly evenings.

Whether your fire pit is powered by gas or wood, you can light a fire and enjoy being outside with the glow of the flames keeping you warm.

Benefits of Fire Pits:

  • Provide heat, light, and ambiance
  • Come in many sizes and shapes
  • Can be portable or built-in
  • Can be fueled by propane, natural gas, wood, or coal
  • Great focal point for your patio or backyard

2. Fire Tables: Best for Eating and Drinking on Patio, Restaurant Usage

One of the most trendy fire heaters of the moment is a fire table. If you are looking for a fire heater that you can also use as an outdoor dining table, then a fire table is the right choice for you.

A fire table is an elegant statement for a more formal patio or deck where your focal activity is gathering to eat or drink al fresco.

As with a fire pit, the flames are exposed in a fire table, however you can temper them with a wind guard or by adjusting the knob to control their height.

Benefits of Fire Tables:

  • They are an impressive multipurpose addition to your patio furniture
  • You can close the lid and use the table as a regular dining, drinks, or games table
  • When the fire feature is turned on, the table showcases a beautiful display of flames
granville fire table

3. Chimineas: Best for Relaxing on Patio or at a Restaurant

Chimineas are stylish enclosed outdoor fire pits that are shaped like a pear or bulb with a slender smoke stack at the top.

Traditionally, they are made of terracotta or clay, but modern versions are often made of steel, aluminum, copper or cast iron. While most are wood-burning, you can get some chimineas that run on gas.

Benefits of Chimineas:

  • As flames are directed up out of the stack, chimineas have a controlled burn
  • They provide a homey ambiance to your backyard or patio
  • They are a safer way of burning wood than exposed fire pits

4. Patio Heaters: Best for Restaurants or Bars with Outdoor Patios

Patio heaters are strictly used for the purpose of heating your outdoor space, not for the look or for lighting. While there are some attractive models, for the most part, patio heaters prioritize function over form.

Benefits of Patio Heaters:

  • They focus on heat and can heat a large space outside
  • You can find ceiling and wall mounted versions that provide a more even spread of heat
  • They are typically easy to move around

Popular Fire Heaters to Choose From

Best Portable Propane Fire Pit Heater: OUTLAND LIVING Firecube Fire Pit

Our selection

Firecube Fire Pit

The Firecube is our first ever square fire pit. The compact size and included Cover + Carry Kit make this model portable and easy to store without sacrificing heat output or flame profile.
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If you are going camping or plan to move your fire pit around for parties in your backyard or patio, then this lightweight propane fire pit heater is a dream.

The latest model of fire pits from OUTLAND LIVING, it has the following features:

  • Dimensions: L 14.13" x W 14.13" x H 9.1"
  • Weight: 19.4 lbs
  • Ignition Type: Manual Ignition
  • Includes: Cover + Carry Kit, pre-attached 10' hose + regulator, 5.5 lb natural lava rock set, propane tank stabilizer ring
  • 58,000 BTU/HR, for use with a standard 20 lb (5 gallon) propane tank
  • Chrome valve knob offers adjustable flame height
  • Stainless-steel burner + fasteners
  • CSA approved to use during most fire bans
  • No assembly required; compact + easy to transport
  • Price: $149.99

Best Heavy Duty Fire Pit: OUTLAND LIVING Mega Fire Pit

Our selection

Mega Fire Pit

This propane fire pit is a classic, but also our largest in diameter – perfect for big backyard BBQs. This heavy-duty fire pit can stand on your patio all year long.
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If you want your gas fire pit heater to be a permanent feature in your backyard, then consider this large, sturdy model. While it is heavy duty, it is still only 34 pounds, so it can be moved if necessary.

The Mega Fire Pit can stay outside year round and is great for a gathering of a bigger group of people, providing warmth and atmosphere.

Here are the important features of this model:

  • ​​Dimensions: L 24" x W 24" x H 13"
  • Weight: 34 lbs
  • Ignition Type: Manual Ignition
  • Includes: UV + weather resistant cover, pre-attached 10' hose + regulator, 4.4 lb natural lava rock set, propane tank stabilizer ring
  • 58,000 BTU/HR, for use with a standard 20 lb (5 gallon) propane tank
  • Chrome valve knob offers adjustable flame height
  • Stainless-steel burner + fasteners
  • CSA approved to use during most fire bans
  • No assembly required; compact + easy to transport
  • Price: $179.99

Best Wood Burning Fire Pit: OUTLAND LIVING Oakridge Wood Fire Pit

Our selection

Oakridge Wood Fire Pit

This wood-burning fire pit is perfect for cooking and keeping warm in the backyard – fully accessorized with a protective mesh lid, grill grate, and poker tool.
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If you like the crackle of a traditional log fire, then you should opt for a wood burning fire pit. Besides providing the smell of a traditional fire, wood burning fire pits are the best for cooking.

You can roast marshmallows, cook hot dogs, or set up a skillet to cook your breakfast in the morning while camping.

Here are some features of this model:

  • Dimensions: L 31" x W 31" x H 17" (Inner Bowl Diameter: 23.5")
  • Weight: 22.7 lbs
  • Includes: Protective fire screen lid, poker tool, stainless-steel grill grate
  • High-quality steel construction with weather-resistant, high-temperature coating + stylish flame cut-outs
  • Easy assembly; compact + portable
  • Price: $140

Best Fire Table for Large Gatherings: OUTLAND LIVING Granville Fire Table

Our selection

Granville Fire Table

Featuring award-winning design, this propane-powered fire table is a perfect combination of functionality and elegance – bringing people together.
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Make a statement on your patio with the Granville Fire Table, a rectangular table that functions both as a dining space and a fire pit.

Powered by propane, it has an award-winning design that blends form and function to create an elevated outdoor dining experience.

Notable features of this table include:

  • Dimensions: L 44" x W 32" x H 24"
  • Weight: 96 lbs
  • Ignition Type: Auto Ignition
  • Includes: 10 lb Arctic Ice decorative glass rock set, pre-attached 3' hose + regulator
  • 50,000 BTU/HR, for use with a standard 20 lb (5 gallon) propane tank
  • High-quality aluminum frame construction with protective powder coating + resin wicker wrapping + 8 mm black tempered glass top
  • Chrome valve knob offers adjustable flame height
  • Stainless-steel burner + burn pan + fasteners
  • CSA approved to use during most fire bans
  • Price: $729.99

Best Decorative Fire Heater for Your Patio: BALI OUTDOORS Outdoor Fireplace Wooden Fire Pit, Chiminea

BALI OUTDOORS Outdoor Fireplace Wooden Fire Pit, Chiminea

If you are looking for a wood burning fire pit without exposed flames, then give this chiminea a look. It is made of cast iron with a round wire mesh screen that allows for visibility of the fire from every direction.

Removing the ash is easy with the sliding door and ash tray. Here are the main features to consider:

  • Dimensions: 45.7" H x 22" L x 22” W
  • Colour: Brown/Black
  • 360° fire visibility
  • ​​Sliding door, ash tray, poker and top
  • Lifespan: 2 years
  • Price: $179.99

Best Patio Heater for Restaurants: Dr. Infrared Heater DR-238

Dr. Infrared Heater DR-238

Restaurants looking for an affordable outdoor heating option should consider this wall or tripod mounted model by Dr. Infrared. It has a very strong heat output that can cover an area of up to 1,000 square feet.

As it is powered by electricity, it should not get wet, so it must be used under a shelter.

  • ​​Type: Infrared
  • Total BTU: 42,000
  • Fuel Type: Electric
  • Heating Area: 1,000 square feet
  • Size: 47.0 x 35.0 x 4.0 inches
  • Weight: 8.0 pounds
  • Price: $127.33

Concluding Thoughts on Outdoor Fire Heaters

Now that you have an idea of the types of outdoor fire heaters available, it’s helpful to consider your specific space and how you plan to use the heater. If you are looking to create a more atmospheric environment, then a fire pit or chiminea is your best bet.

A fire table will make a statement if you plan to host outdoor dinners, whereas a fire heater is best used as just a heating source adjacent to a table. Be sure to factor in the size of your space, your budget, and the fuel type of each model when you’re making a final decision.

For more inspiration, take a look at our other fire heater guides: