Australia isn't the coldest place on the planet, even during winter. However, that doesn't stop the daytime temperatures from being a little cooler than what we'd like. Now that we're firmly entrenched in winter, the night time mercury is plummeting to uncomfortably frosty depths. Many of us are heading indoors as soon as the sun drops below the horizon, if not sooner.
There's no doubt the chilly weather can be a problem when you'd rather be outside. Maybe you've invited friends over for an afternoon barbeque and don't relish the thought of your guests crowding into your tiny kitchen while you cook. But, it's too cold outside to do otherwise. Or maybe you just want to be able to spend more time enjoying the extra living space your alfresco provides.
The good news is that with today's outdoor heating options, you can entertain your friends in comfort, or relax with a good book on your alfresco without adding three extra layers of clothing.
Outdoor heaters come in a huge range of types and styles, which means there is a model that has been designed with your situation in mind. Choosing one is relatively straightforward, but you will have to consider the pros and cons of each model, and take their size, safety, and portability into account.
We're here to make your decision a little easier, so read on to discover the outdoor heating options that will keep you toasty and warm at any time of the day.
There is a crazy amount of design choices in wood heaters for your alfresco. From old world charm to modern stylings, there is something for everyone. If you're looking to create a cosy, inviting atmosphere, then wood heaters are the way to go, but they do present a few issues.
For one, once you get your outdoor wood heater going, it's not as easy as flicking a switch to turn it off when it's time to head indoors. You will need to extinguish the fire completely before you walk away from a fire.
You've also got to consider the smoke produced by wood heaters while you wait for the coals. And speaking of coals, one other major caveat is that there is always some cleaning to do, which can be inconvenient if you're spending a lot of time on your deck or alfresco.
Gas Outdoor Heaters
Gas heaters are a convenient solution that can also be portable if you use a regular gas bottle. There's no mess to clean up, and it's easy to adjust the amount of heat put out by the unit. The main disadvantage is that portable gas bottles can look untidy, and the whole kit can take up valuable space on a small alfresco.
Another option is to have a gas heater attached to your home's gas line if you don't need the portable option, but you lose out on the portability. There's also the expense of a licensed tradesperson for installation.
Electric Outdoor Heaters
Electric heaters give you plenty of options for instant heat, but you do need to have an accessible power socket outside. An outdoor GPO will be an extra expense that needs to be installed by a qualified electrician. Extension cords are an option, but these can be inconvenient, as well as create safety and tripping issues when used outside.
Electric heaters come in a range of output options, so you shouldn't have a problem finding one that's a good fit for your outdoor living area.
Bigger, more powerful heaters will use up a lot of power. You'll want to keep your power bill in mind when making your choice.
Overhead Bar Heaters
An overhead bar heater will need to be installed by a qualified tradesperson, which can be an expensive upfront cost. However, the promise of instant heat whenever you want it, from a source that is out of the way and requires no clean-up is hard to beat. With all these benefits, the fact that the heater isn't portable is a minor one, but worth keeping in mind.
Who doesn't love a homemade oven-fired pizza? There's a lot to like about having a pizza oven that also keeps you warm on chilly nights. Pizza ovens can be freestanding or permanently installed, but either way, they are not your cheapest option. It also takes a little while for the heat to build-up to comfortable levels.
If you love a good yarn around the friendly warm glow of a campfire, then you will enjoy a fire pit for all the same reasons. Fire pits are most often fixed in place, but they spread the warmth evenly if you make them accessible from all sides. Yes, fire pits are great, but there is the inconvenience of having to clean them out. Smoke may be a problem in a roofed area.
Chimineas create a timeless yet contemporary look for your outdoor entertainment area. They're one of the cheapest options for outdoor heating, don't need to be professionally installed, and can be easily carried to where you need them. Like all open fire outdoor heating options, there's the inconvenience of smoke and cleaning up.
The crackle of the fireplace as you relax in your outdoor setting while brandishing a glass of red and sampling your favourite cheeses is a dream come true for many homeowners. Fireplaces can cost a pretty penny to install, and you've got the usual mucking about when dealing with wood fires. However, it's hard to put a price on the timeless ambience a fireplace can create, so the expense is usually worth it.
Electric lamps can deliver a lot of heat to a large group. You will need a mains power source to run them, but the instant heat makes them incredibly convenient. Plus, they are portable and safe, so you can deliver the heat to wherever you need it.
That's a lot of options, but when you weigh up the pros and cons of each while considering your needs, you should now find it a lot easier to come up with the best outdoor heating solution for your home or business.