Fire Pits vs. Outdoor Heaters: Which Should You Buy?

Are fire pits or outdoor heaters better? We'll take a look. Choose the right type of outdoor heating to create a cozy and welcoming space year-round.

Outdoor Heaters or Fire Pits: Which Is Best?

As the evenings start to get cooler, your patio can become a great place to unwind after a long day. But of course, you want to stay warm, and that's where the outdoor heating choices come in. You may be drawn in by the allure of the fire pit, but wonder about the maintenance, or like the idea of a simple outdoor heater but wonder if whichever model you might choose would do the trick. To help make your choice easier, here are some perks and disadvantages to each option.

What are The Perks of Fire Pits?

Great for home decor and overall look and design. Let's be honest, there is nothing that compares to an open fire pit in your patio. It is one of the great ways to cozy up your space and give it an elegant, luxurious feel.

Functional for warmth as well as roasting or burning. If you are the type that loves to entertain, and one of your main goals is to roast marshmallows or also be able to burn whatever you might need to, then this would be a great choice.

Provides a great amount of natural heat. Fire pits are able to generate a great amount of heat that is perfect for outside. It will give your patio a charm similar to camping, if you like that sort of thing, or know that you need a good amount of heat to warm up your outdoor space.

What are the Disadvantages of Fire Pits?

The danger of an open flame. Of course, most fire pits are open in order to show off the lovely flames and provide proper heating, but if you do have children around, this is an important thing to note. To fix this, you can always get a safety grate to go over your pit, but this does not remove the danger. It is also important to stay wary of possible fires, as even lingering ashes or low-burning embers can be a hazard.

Requires a constant source of fuel. To continue using your fire pit, you will need to have the proper fuel. This means you will have to regularly buy enough charcoal, propane, or wood on standby.

Limited range of motion. It is best for fire pits to stay in one place as they are typically heavy and harder to move. If you wanted to have a heat source that could be more mobile than even a portable fire pit’s design, then you may have to look elsewhere.

Limited heat range. There is no way to properly regulate the temperature of a fire pit besides turning it on and turning it off, so if you're someone who likes your space to stay properly temperate, then this may not be the best option for you.

Smoke. Fire pits can generate a lot of smoke with their heat, and this can be a deal-breaker for some, as smoke tends to linger and stay in one's clothes. If you can do without the hassle that fire pit smoke brings, it may be best to steer clear.

Why you should use Outdoor Heaters

Offer family safety. If you have a family with young children, then this is an important perk to note. It does depend on the model, but most outdoor heaters don't have flames the way fire pits do, which is an obvious hazard for wandering hands.

Temperature control. Outdoor heaters also have better temperature regulating controls, so you can manage exactly how hot you want your heater to get, and thus, keep your space perfectly temperate to your liking.

Easy to use. Outdoor heaters are much easier to use than fire pits, as you won't have trouble igniting the fire or having to wait for flames to get high enough for your space to be heated.

More mobile than fire pits. This is important to note if you often have guests around or just like to rearrange your area every now and then.

what are the Disadvantages of Outdoor Heaters?

Limited options for styles. Of course, outdoor heaters are not very design-dynamic or as aesthetically pleasing as a fire pit that not only heats your space but also serves as a light source. Though there are lots of interesting models of outdoor heaters that give a different look and feel to your space, if you are really sold on ambiance and the potential experience the fire pit provides, then a simple outdoor heater might not work for you.

Most might require a power source. If you're thinking of getting an electrical heater especially, this small thing matters. It could be an additional issue if you have to use a long cord in order to use the outdoor heater, which could potentially create a tripping hazard.

The Takeaway: Are outdoor heaters or fire pits better?

Both an outdoor heater and a fire pit can provide an ample amount of heat, can be more mobile depending on the model that you choose, and are great for gatherings with family or friends, or just a relaxing lounge out in your patio.

What the decision really depends on is the look you'd like to go for, as well as how much maintenance you are up for. For most people, an outdoor heater is way more manageable and is easier to set up and keep around for a long time. If you have a smaller family or space, then choosing a good outdoor heater may provide the best worthwhile use for you. If, instead, you have a larger family, and/or like entertaining, and don't mind the upkeep, then a fire pit might be more your style.

Either way, both are great options to warm up your patio space for the cooler weather to come, it really just depends on your mood for which is best for you.

Resources— Portable Fire Place, Patio Heater Expert