A patio can be a great place to spend the evening whether eating, drinking or simply enjoying the outdoors. Unfortunately many do not fully utilize their patios because of colder climate conditions especially at night. Yet, a patio heater can effectively and efficiently create a comfortable environment.

Patio heaters vary with respect to how they are powered, their functioning, their style and of course their design.

While some patio heaters are powered by electricity, many are gas models because the environment contains a large potential for ventilation and it is less expensive to operate them. Gas models can vary from liquid propane to natural gas depending on your home's existing systems as well as personal preference. Patio heaters connected to natural gas lines are a more permanent fixture and are more common among those residing in colder environments. Liquid propane models have the advantage of portability and are usually less expensive. Both are very effective, the choice is yours.

Some heaters are convection style units, many patio heaters operate via infrared. Infrared heaters function by directly heating objects in their line of sight. This increases efficiency tremendously as opposed to blowing heated air in a widely open area. It is also effective because many patios consume a smaller surface area.

A patio heaters style is another essentially important aspect to consider when deciding which model will best suit your needs. Each style, from wall units to free standing heaters, has a different capacity. Before choosing a model, it is important to measure the area. Most heaters warm consistently in a circular pattern but are differentiated in capacity by the distance from the heater.

Most come in an upright form extended from the ground by a post with the upper portion containing the heater itself. Some can be set on tables or mounted on walls while others are stand alone or tiki style patio heaters. Table style heaters are perfect for warming a few guests located in close proximity to the table itself. These are great for dinner parties. Free standing patio heaters are ideal for heating an entire patio. These patio heaters also have the convenience of not needing a table so that they consume less used space. In addition they retain portability uncommon to natural gas patio heaters. Wall mounted units are great for heating smaller areas and these are space conserving units as well. They are also an inexpensive way of maximizing your overall heat when used in conjunction with other units.

Most patio heaters have a modern design that is very appealing to the eye. Yet, some are built to mesh well with existing patio furniture while others have a more eye catching design and are intended to be a focal point. It really on depends on your setting and what look you are aiming to achieve. Nonetheless, there is a wide selection of patio heaters so at least one is sure to fulfill all of your needs and expectations.