Three Types of Outdoor Heaters for Staying Warm when it’s Cold Outside

A good heater can make a huge difference on how comfortable you are while working or playing in cold conditions.

Sitting beside a heater in a snowy wood
Whether you need just a little bit of heat, or the feeling of a turbine engine kicking out thousands of BTUs, there’s an outdoor heater perfectly suited for your favorite activities.Mr. Heater

If you’ve ever participated in any outdoor activities when it’s really cold outside, you know just how uncomfortable things can get. Whether working, playing, or a combination of the two, having ice-cold fingers and frozen toes doesn’t typically yield a quality experience. A good outdoor heater can change all that, and many manufacturers make heaters for a variety of different needs. When shopping for a heater, consider how these three different types of heaters match up to your wants and needs.

Infrared Heaters

Dr. Infrared Heater
This infrared heater runs off standard 120V electricity and includes wall and ceiling mount brackets.Dr. Infrared Heater

Infrared heaters run off electricity, so you don’t have to worry about messing with fuel, fuel canisters, or some kind of striker when using them. The biggest advantage of this type is units are much more energy efficient than most other kinds of space heaters, making them cheaper to operate. Unlike other types of heating units, infrared heaters don’t actually heat the air. Instead, they emit infrared radiation that only warms the objects the radiation touches, much the way sunlight warms objects. Also, this type of heater doesn’t move around large qualities of air, leading to excessively dry conditions like some blower heaters, and since they don’t get extremely hot like some other types of heaters, they’re somewhat safer. These are ideal for garages, workshops and other enclosed spaces, along with outdoor patios.

Standing Heaters

AmazonBasics Commercial Outdoor Patio Heater
This large standing heater is designed for patios and has a heat output of 46,000 BTUs.AmazonBasics

Large standing heaters are typically used to warm up patios, decks and other outdoor areas. Most are gas powered and give off a good amount of heat in a pretty wide area. Freestanding stand heaters are the most versatile and easy to use because they don’t require any special equipment for the initial set up. Since their stable bases allow them to stand on their own, you can put them nearly anywhere you need a heat source, including on your favorite crappie fishing dock, and their stability makes them safer than some types of heaters that are easily bumped, tipped, or knocked over. The large models are very heavy and made to stay in one place, so where you initially place them is where they’ll remain most of the time. But small ones are fairly portable and can easily be moved to whatever area you want to heat.

Portable Heaters

Mr. Heater Indoor-Safe Portable Propane Radiant Heater
This portable propane-powered heater is small, lightweight and can heat up to 225 square feet of space.Mr. Heater

Portable heaters have a few things in common—they’re small, lightweight and easy to move from place to place. They can be powered by either electricity or gas, and they come in all shapes, sizes and heating methods. Small gas heaters that use a pre-filled gas bottle are quite popular for hunting blinds and other small enclosed places with plenty of ventilation. Larger portable heaters produce an enormous amount of heat and have strong blower motors so the heat can be distributed quickly and efficiently. Still others that don’t give off any dangerous fumes are great for heating small spaces indoors when your regular home heater doesn’t quite do the job. Figure out how big of space you want to heat before shopping for a portable heater. Then check out the capacity on the sales information of the models you are considering to determine which one best meets your needs.

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