How to Decide: Patio Heater vs Fire Pit

When looking for a way to keep your guests or customers warm and cozy, while enjoying your outdoor space, there are two main options: patio heaters and fire pits. As temperatures drop, having an outdoor heating source means you can stay outside longer without having a built-in fireplace or digging an expensive firepit. Even on chilly summer evenings, you will love having something to keep away the chill or roast marshmallows for s’mores.

How do you know if a patio heater or if a fire pit is right for you? Use our guide to help you decide which heat source is more your style. Your patio or backyard will seem like a whole new space!

Patio Heaters

93'' Exige Stainless Steel Deluxe Patio Heater

The 93” Exige Stainless Steel Deluxe Patio Heater

Commonly used to heat outdoor seating sections of restaurants, patio heaters are capable of heating a large area with the use of propane fuel or electricity. If you spend lots of time outdoors, patio heaters may be perfect for you. Children and pets are safe with pole style heaters and there are no flying sparks or embers. Patio heaters are low maintenance and heat quickly. Yes, they really work and provide plenty of heat!

Some models are safe for tent and garage use, great for parties and events. The most common style of patio heater is pole style, but other heater styles such as wall mounted, tabletop and flame heaters are available. Safety features, such as automatic shut off, make patio heaters top choices for many.

Pros of Patio Heaters

  • Versatile—excellent for commercial or home use
  • Can be used safely around children and pets
  • Temperature control
  • Warms large area
  • No embers or sparks
  • Low maintenance & quick heat
  • Some are approved for tent/garage use
  • Easy to move
  • Safety features

Cons of Patio Heaters

  • Limited design choices
  • Commercial appearance
  • Require fuel or power source
  • Cords create trip hazard
  • Propane fuel is constant expense
  • Not a significant light source

If you’ve decided that an outdoor patio heater is right for you, make sure to check out our Patio Heater Buying Guide!

Patio Heater Buying Guide I Portable

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Fire Pits

64.5" Brown Tile Top Uptown Conversational Fire Pit Table

The 64.5″ Brown Tile Top Uptown Conversational Fire Pit Table

Outdoor fire pits are a fantastic alternative to open fires or expensive in-ground fire pits. All the warmth, light, and flame, but contained in a beautiful decorative piece. Unlike in-ground pits, outdoor pits can move with you when move to a new home. Fire pits can use a variety of heat sources, including propane, coal, and wood, some designs including electronic ignition. Create the perfect fire for roasting marshmallows every time or an aesthetically pleasing atmosphere for a party with fire gems.

Choose a fire pit to suit your personal style—table fire pits, fire bowls, rustic or modern—the options are endless. City or country, lake side or beach front, there is a fire pit for your outdoor space. Although fire pits provide plenty of warmth, the heat range for fire pits is limited. When using a fire pit, extra care needs to be taken, especially with children and pets. Mesh covers are available for many models to help with sparks. With an outdoor firepit, you can have that campfire feel, but with added safety and less mess to clean up.

Pros of Outdoor Fire Pits

  • Design options
  • Warmth and light for entertaining
  • Roasting Capability
  • Alternative to building an in-ground pit
  • Can be moved easily
  • Less messy than campfires

Cons of Outdoor Fire Pits

  • Danger of sparks and embers
  • Limited heat range
  • Open flames
  • Limited temperature control
  • Require fuel source—propane, coal, or wood
  • Cannot be used indoors

Shop the latest outdoor fire pits today!

Now, imagine what you want your outdoor space to look like with your new heating source. Your outdoor space should be a place that you will be happy to spend time in. With your new knowledge, you can easily choose a heat source that fits in with your lifestyle. Look forward to nights under the stars, spent with family and friends, warm and cozy with a new outdoor heat source from

We are happy to answer all of your questions and make sure you find exactly what you’re looking for. You can view more outdoor heaters, here.

More Outdoor Heating Solutions

  1. Choosing Between an Outdoor Fireplace and an Outdoor Fire Pit
  2. Outdoor Heaters can Provide Four Seasons of Enjoyment
  3. 3 Great Places for Tabletop Fireplaces