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Patio Heaters…

patio heater

Summer is here at last. Over the chink of Pimms-filled glasses we try to convince ourselves that our weather is akin to that in the Med. Alas, the reality is, that when the sun does go over the yard arm, there is a distinct nip in the air.  In the past few years there has been an ever widening array of stylish options to beat off the chill, yet what are the pros and cons of each? 


Gas Patio Heaters.

There are 2 main types of gas heaters.

a)      The traditional umbrella style ones, the gas element at the top, and a metal cover on the top to direct all the heat downward. These are either free standing or table top styles,

b)      Pyramid style – these have the gas elements around the upper sides of the pyramid.



–        They generate enormous heat

–        The heat is directed to where you want it to be

–        Easy to move to where you need them

–        Very stylish.

–        No smell, fumes or smoke to upset neighbours or invade the house.


–        If you want an eco-friendly option, the carbon footprint of these is dreadful.

–        You have to change the gas bottles at a professionally licenced re-filling location.


Fire Pits

In Africa and Australia, fire pits are known as “the Bush TV” because of the trance inducing effect of watching the live flames.  Once considered to be rather ugly cast iron drums, fire pits have come a long way in the past few years, in terms of style and design. The current range even include ceramic pits embedded in coffee-style tables so that they are multi-use.



–        Carbon neutral as they are wood burning.

–        Many styles to suite all tastes

–        Produce a lot of heat.


–        Heat is not directional

–        Danger of wood sparks

–        Wood is very smoky, so if the wind is in the wrong direction it could seep through your shutter clad windows, filling your house with smoke.

–        The smell of the burning wood could upset neighbours.



Chimeras originated in Mexico and South America and were originally used for heat and cooking.

Today, owners are realistic about their expectations of a chimera. They primarily rely on a chimera for moderate heating, although many come with small grills so you could cook the odd banger on it, but in reality the cooking space is generally very small, so for outdoor cooking you will still need a BBQ.

 fire pit with flames in garden


–         The chimney, from which the Chimera gets its name, means that smoke doesn’t get in your eyes.

–         Unlike a fire pit, where the fire is exposed and heat is allowed to circulate, the heat of a chimera remains contained

–         The heat is directional.

–         Carbon Neutral


–         In reality, the heat they produce is not great when compared to other heaters.

–         People who have children or pets many not appreciate that they are burning hot behind, so caution is needed in terms of location.

–         They retain their heat for a very long time, so be careful when moving them, to ensure you do not get burnt.

–         Terracotta style chimeras need to be moved inside in winter or they will crack in frosty conditions.


Fuel Gel Heaters

These are the latest trend in patio heating solutions. These combine the hypnotic-effect of real flames with the convenience of a small, elegant table-top design.



–        Small, portable and easy to store when not in use.

–        Very elegant, and simple to use.

–        Virtually smell free (although the fuel does smell a bit before it is lit)


–        Definitely not carbon neutral.

–        Provide a moderate amount of heat.

–        The fuel runs out relatively quickly, so you will need a ready supply if you wish to use them regularly.


Electric Heaters.

Electric heaters come in an enormous variety of styles, from portable heaters, wall mounted variety and even those which can be mounted under parasols.



–        No fuel required 

–        All that is required is either a long extension lead is needed or a convenient outdoor plug socket.

–        They provide a lot of heat, as an when you want it.

–        With most options, the heat is directional.



–        No matter how well designed they are, they just do not have the same ambient appeal as a fire.

–        Again, there is an environmental impact, however, it is lower than the gas or fuel gel options.


family enjoying a bbq

So which is best?

Choosing the right heater for you is a matter of personal preference. If you are looking for the best heat, then gas heaters and electric heaters are the winners.  If you are looking for an elegant heat producing centre piece for your table, then the fuel gel heaters are ideal. For a carbon-neutral option, then fire pits and chimeras are ideal.  However, the most cost effective and environmentally friendly option will always be a woolly jumper! There are a number of patio heaters to suit anyone’s needs available at B&Q and also at Tesco, you can do your BBQ food shop too!


At Purely Shutters we proud of our green credentials, which is why we have highlighted the environmental impact of the patio heating options above.  However, we also believe in choice. Our shutters come in an extensive range or shapes, sizes, colours and stains. We believe we have something which will appeal to everyone.  Our plantation shutters are made from solid woods from sustainable forests.  They are hand finished and stained or painted to your desired shade and come in a wide variety of cream and white shade. 


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