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The Best Patio Heater

Updated on April 13, 2012

The Best Patio Heater

Well, this is a difficult question. I suppose it depends what you want form your patio heater and how much time and money you have to invest.

Anyone who knows me knows that I am an avid gardener. When I'm not writing I LOVE being outdoors, pretty much in all weathers. If I'm not working on my garden I'm helping someone else out with theirs. However, this time of year I need a little help to enjoy the fruits of my labours, particularly in the evening when It's getting cool. There's only so much clothing you can wear at any one time, so I need a patio heater (although, when I was trekking in Nepal I found I could wear the entire contents of my rucksack plus my sleeping bag and still manage to breathe!)

Chiminea Patio Heater

There are so many types of heater out there to choose from and you could spend from £30 to £300. It just depends whether you want an all-singing-all-dancing gas patio heater, or a little halogen heater.

I looked at all of the different types and it took a lot of weighing up, but in the end I plumped for a chiminea, in particular, a black cast iron chimnea burner patio heater.

 Whilst I'm on the subject, just how do you spell chiminea, somebody help me out here.  I think this is the correct spelling (although I'm not sure why I think that), but I've also seen it spelt chimnea and chimenea.  My dictionaries were no help on this score either, giving two different spellings - maybe there is no 'correct way.'

The reason I went for the chiminea in the end was because I'm an earthy kind of gal, and I quite like the idea of 'going wooding'  (as they say in this part of Devon) to find fuel to burn.  I also like the fact that it doubles up as a barbequeue, and I can cook homemade pizzas on it (just about, though it's a bit fiddly). I can burn some of my confidential office waste in it too, then there's the little ritual of lighting it, fussing over it, then sitting in the twilight watching the flames with a glass of something.  Plus, the price was right.  I didn't think £49 would break the bank.

 Like I said, I did weigh up the other options.  I thought about a gas patio heater, but then people tell me how bad these are for the environment.  I'm not sure that my little burner is better, but I guess the carbon is offset by the growing of trees for the wood or charcoal that I burn.  Plus, you could spend anything from £150 to £300 on a gas patio heater, so there's that to be considered.

I thought about a table top heater, but then my table is cluttered enough when we all sit down to eat, so quickly discarded this, and then, what would happen in winter if it was cold but bright and I wanted to use the garden parasol.  Terri, always the Firefighter, thought we might catch fire using it under the umbrella.  you can actually buy halogen patio heaters which fit under your parasol, and these are really cheap, but somehow a couple of bright light bulbs uder the umbrella just couldn't compare with real naked flames, and I'm never convinced how much heat they actually give out.  They remind me of those big, red light bulb heaters you used to have in your bathroom in the 1960's; remember those?  All they did was look warm (ish)

Chiminea or Gas?

Do You Prefer a Chiminea, or a Gas patio Heater?

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 In the end it was the warmth and look of real naked flames that did it for me, but you pays your money and makes your choice as they say.

How to make a Garden Incinerator

At the risk of sounding like a complete pyromaniac I made my own garden incinerator this year, which works really well (I really must get over this pretty flames thing, especially living with a Firefighter!).

Some while ago I thought about buying a fire basket, so that I could burn some stuff from the allotment safely, but then I had an aha! moment. Our tumble drier had broken down and we'd decided not to replace it, because of the amount of electricity driers use and them, not being very environmentally friendly. I dismantled the drier and took out the drum, which makes a great fire basket. I rested the drum on a couple of bricks which allows free movement of air up through the holes which would have been at the back of the drier. My little home made garden incinerator burns things a treat without letting the fire get out of hand. Also, I saved myself round £30.

i know that not everyone happens to have a broken tumble drier lying around, but if you really wanted to have a go at this, you could do what my 14 year old son does and wait by the Council Skip when it visits our town, then see if there are any tumle driers going begging. Or, maybe have a look at freecycle, the network where you offer things for free, maybe there would be a drier going there.

Anyway. I'm off outside to set fire to stuff (safely of course!), and when I've finished and the ashes are cool, I save them in the garage to use as fertiliser.


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    • profile image

      Casey 8 years ago

      I love our chiminea. It makes our patio quite inviting when entertaining. Good info.

    • profile image

      Premiere Fire Pits 8 years ago

      Chimineas are very decorative, and although they cannot be fully used indoors, they can make nice indoor "candle holders".

    • Georgina_writes profile image

      Georgina_writes 8 years ago from Dartmoor

      I Know, I just can't resist the real fire bit. It gets pretty cold here at nights as we're quite high up.

    • Stacie L profile image

      Stacie L 8 years ago

      chiminea's are my favorite outdoor fire place.

      I've used them up north and in Florida on cool nights!