Spending time outdoors can take an interesting turn staying warmed up around a fire pit. You could have one installed out in your backyard for family time in the evenings or host friends out on your patio on a cool evening. In chilly weather, it might be challenging to catch any of these activities if there’s no outdoor heating source to keep you warm.

Sometimes you find yourself thinking, “fire pit vs patio heater; which is the best to choose for my space and why?” While both outdoor heaters are great for supplying warmth both in commercial and residential settings, it’s best to understand how they differ in function and the best to choose for your needs.


What You Need to Know About Fire Pits


A fire pit is a designated area or space, or material within which an open fire is made. The fire could be fueled by burning wood, coal, propane, or natural gas; all to provide outdoor warmth in an open area. Various types of fire pit designs suit different space styles and meet different tastes and fire needs.


Identifying Various Types of Fire Pits


While some fire pits are built permanently, others are suited for seasonal use and packed up during summer. You can make a choice based on your environmental conditions and the amount of space available to you. Also, determining if the fire pit would be used for commercial purposes or residential use will help you decide the best type to go for.

Built-in Stone Fire Pit


Built-in stone fire pit


This type could be a brick rectangular outdoor fire pit or circular structure constructed out in the open for burning wood. It’s more traditional and restrictive, as it means you can’t use any other type of fuel apart from wood. Also, for places with a wider space, it limits sitting to only around the firepit, while other spaces are left bare. Unlike outdoor propane fire pits which are easier to position where you prefer, the built-in type makes you restricted to sitting in a specific area when you’re outdoor.

Fire Bowl


Fire bowl


A fire bowl is a more versatile fire pit type that allows you the flexibility of positioning it where you prefer, either permanently or in-season. Depending on the type you purchase, it’s less restrictive, as you can decide to choose one that runs on gas instead of wood. Some more modern types are designed to generate heat from propane gas, or you could just use coal as well. Most of the fire bowls are often made from steel, perfect if you like the round outdoor fire pit which is great for outdoor aesthetics as well.

Fire Tables


outdoor fire pit table


Outdoor fire pit table is more conventional and factors comfort into its design. They are a modern upgrade to the traditional fire pit with an extended surface to use to place items, like drinks and plates. This category often includes patio propane fire fits that allow you to manage the intensity of the heat supply while. Propane fire pits in this category are great, as they don’t leave the smell of smoke over you due to the proximity to the fire tables.

Chimney Fire Pit


Chimney fire pit


These fire pit design takes the outdoor heating to a different scale, constructed to burn wood or coal especially, they feature a vertical design instead of an open horizontal design. They provide heating while directing smoke upwards and a great to sit around instead of being exposed to the fire pit’s open fire.


Fire Pit Pros


Intense heat supply

The outdoor fire pit provides an intense supply of heat that makes it easy to sit around and stay warm without being uncomfortably close to the flames.

Great source of light outdoor

The light from the fire pit is great for providing visibility during late evenings, and it’s easy to see each other’s faces through the light.

Can be purposed for barbecuing

The fire pit can easily double as a barbecue fire for a great and exciting outdoor time with friends and family.

Perfect option for camping

Outdoor camping is more fun with outdoor fire pits and some designs offer the flexibility that makes it easy to carry it around on camping trips.


    Fire Pit Cons


    Open Flame

    The open flames from the fire pit can be risky and need great care to manage. Also, wooden fire pits would often leave smoke scents on your clothes.

    Leaves Embers Flying

    while it’s easy to contain the fire within the fire pits, wooden fire pits often leave embers flying around, which could pose a risk of fire.

    Continuous Maintenance

    firepits often leave ash and soot that would require you to clean your outdoor area often. You’ll also need to maintain the fire pit for continuous use.


      What You Need to Know About Patio Heaters


      If you don’t have enough space to keep a fire pit, or you don’t like the cons associated with using one, your best alternative would be to go for a patio heater. It’s a tall-standing heating source that supplies heat to any outdoor space and provides warmth for comfort. With patio heaters, there are no open fires or visible flames to worry about, and you can sit around it conveniently in a residential or commercial space.


      Identifying Various Types of Patio Heaters


      There are a variety of patio heaters that work for your space, no matter how large or small it is. They come in a variety of designs that take different space configurations into account and you can simply settle for the patio heating system or design that works for you.

      Tabletop Patio Heaters


      Tabletop patio heaters


      These are miniature patio heaters designed to sit on a table surface and close enough to keep those sitting around it warm. They usually have various heating capacities based on different designs, but if you are using one in any of the colder regions, it’s best to settle for one with a high BTU for more effectiveness. Just like the square outdoor fire pit, it provides a good amount of heat when you sit within its range.

      Mushroom Patio Heaters


      Mushroom patio heaters


      These styles of patio heaters are more common and feature a vertical unit, with its heat source being atop the pole and covered by a metal plate. They dispense heat from the top and can also provide an effective in small commercial and residential outdoor spaces.

      Pyramid-style Patio Heaters


      Pyramid-style patio heaters


      The style of this heater is pretty different from the others. Although also a vertical unit, it features a vertical heating panel instead of atop the unit like the mushroom model. This model supplies more efficient heating to a space but could be quite expensive to purchase on install.

      Wall-mounted or Hanging Patio Heaters


      Wall-mounted or hanging patio heaters


      Where the foot space is limited, a hanging or wall-mounted patio heater works great for supplying heat. The hanging patio heater can be directly overhead and effective for supplying heat closer to the face, but more not be effective for low-ground heating.


        Patio Heater Pros


        Energy Efficient

        The patio heater is energy efficient and doesn’t use an open fire as a heating source. It makes it easy to control energy usage, especially if it runs on electricity, propane, or natural gas.

        Portable Size

        Most patio heaters are designed in portable sizes that make them easy to move around. You can position it anywhere that works for you and easily move it in when not in use.

        Easy to Control

        Most propane patio heaters and other heaters are easy to control. Managing the heat supply is easy when it gets uncomfortably warm. This is a major advantage over fire pit designs, especially when working with wood.

            Patio Heater Cons


            May Be Expensive to Operate

            Buying a patio heater is relatively cheap, but when you factor in the cost of propane, electricity, or natural gas that it consumes over time, it turns out to be an expensive alternative.

            Easy Topple Over

            Due to the vertical design of most patio heaters, they are prone to easily topple over under intense wind, which may pose the risk of fire. Hence it requires close monitoring on windy evenings.


              How To Choose: Firepit Vs Patio Heater


              There are some factors to consider in choosing between both heating sources:


              What heating source do you prefer or is acceptable in your location? Which can you deal with, putting in cost and maintenance requirements for each type?


              How cold does it get in your environment and how often would you be using your outdoor area? These would help you to determine the best heating source that works for you


              The amount of outdoor space available to you is an important aspect to consider in your heating choice.


              Would you want to reposition your heating source from time to time? Would you prefer something you can go camping with or a permanent source?




                Outdoor time is thrilling for many people, and it’s important to ensure that this goes smoothly regardless of the time of the day or season of the year. A drop in temperature or nightfall should not be a reason to miss out on such exciting moments; hence the need for an outdoor fire pit or space-efficient patio heater that can make all the difference on such days.