Patio heaters add comfort, even style

Metro Atlantans like to chill outdoors, but patio heaters can help warm up the coldest nights during the winter, spring and fall.

Patio heaters have been used by restaurants for years and are becoming increasingly popular for residential outdoor spaces.

“They’re great for patios and pool areas,” said Su Hodges, owner of Su Hodges Interiors in Marietta.

Heaters come in a growing number of styles and sizes, from standing with wheels to tabletop versions to mounted heaters, all of which appeal to homeowners who desire to entertain outdoors year-round.

Electric heaters have joined propane heaters on the market, which makes some homeowners happy because they’re leery of refilling the propane tanks. And since they can be comparable in price, electric versions are becoming attractive options, Hodges said.

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When purchasing a patio heater, Hodges said there are three important things to consider:

1. The amount of space heated

Propane and electric heaters will heat a certain amount of square feet, depending on their size. Since some reviews of heaters complain that they’re not warm enough, make sure the one you choose is functional.

2. The location of the heaters

If choosing a floor heater, you will want to make sure there is ample room to place the heater near a seating area or patio tables. Infrared mounted heaters, for example, aren’t as obstructive as their taller counterparts, said Damon Fogel, co-owner of Authenteak, an outdoor furniture store in west Midtown. Tabletop heaters also are an option.

3. The look of the heaters

You now can match a heater with your patio furniture, such as hammered bronze, wicker or stainless steel, and style, from traditional to contemporary. “You can use your heater to go with your decor,” Hodges said.

These four patio heaters show the variety of styles and sizes on the market.

Infratech Comfort Heater

The electric infrared heater can be mounted on walls, poles or beams, tucked up under a canvas or awnings, built into a ceiling or even recessed in a roof. The low-profile heater doesn’t have an open flame, unlike gas heaters, according to Infratech (infratech-usa.com). Available at Authenteak (authenteak.com); prices start at $359, depending on factors, including the wattage.

Tabletop Quartz Glass Tube Heater

The 39-inch-high heater, which comes in a hammered bronze finish, uses radiant heat to keep guests comfortable. It uses a 1-pound propane tank that lasts two to three hours (on high), according to AZ Patio Heaters, an Arizona-based company that sells to Target, Lowe’s and other major U.S. retailers. Also available at azpatioheaters.com; $139.

Fire Sense Pyramid Flame Heater

This gas heater, in stainless steel, doesn’t hide the source of the heat — the flame. The pyramid style of the 88-inch-high heater is eye-catching, too. Available at the Home Depot (homedepot.com); $479.

Tall Hammered Silver Outdoor Patio Heater

This gas heater, in hammered silver, is on wheels and one of the most popular heaters by AZ Patio Heaters. The propane tank lasts eight to 10 hours (on high). Also available at azpatioheaters.com; $219.

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