As the weather outside grows frightful, the fire doesn’t have to be inside to be delightful. After nearly nine months of sheltering inside, many home dwellers will be looking for ways to stay outdoors as long as possible, making outdoor heating a new necessity of 2020.
Whether you have a lush backyard, a patio or a tiny balcony, there are many ways to stay toasty this fall and winter. All it takes is a little creativity and a few investments in useful products. As event planner and space designer Joe Moller shares, it’s possible to create an outdoor heating strategy no matter your location, style and budget. Below you’ll find some ways to start your shopping, as recommended by the experts:
Outdoor fire pits
Since most folks don’t have an outdoor fireplace, the next best hygge-inspired way to heat your outdoors is via a fire pit. Cozy and pretty, both wood-burning and gas fire pits emit the warmth you need to enjoy s’mores, cocktails and conversations outdoors. (Psst: If you live in a city, make sure to check local ordinances since some zip codes don’t allow for traditional wood fire pits and only permit gas options.)
Sunnydaze Decor Flaming Ball Round Steel Wood Burning Fire Pit ($195; homedepot.com)
For a more rustic way of staying warm once the temperature drops, Moller recommends this sphere-shaped fire pit. “Throw a couple of those quick-start logs underneath some natural wood and you can enjoy the popping and crackling of a real fire without worrying about flying sparks,” he explains. It can also be used as a planter during the summer, making it a smart multipurpose buy.
Kingso Fire Pit ($48.99, originally $70; amazon.com)
An Amazon shopper favorite, just throw a few logs into this affordably priced fire pit and you’ve got yourself some cozy outdoor ambiance. It also comes with a spark screen and fire poker, and customers rave about how safe it feels to use. Plus, it’s small enough to lug around.
Solo Stove Ranger Fire Pit ($229.49, originally $269.99; amazon.com)
If you have a smaller area, a large fire pit might take up too much space or not be safe. That’s why this pint-size yet durable and heat-emitting fire pit is a good idea. It’s compact and light enough to take camping but strong enough to keep your whole fam outdoors in the evening. What we love the most is how simple and fast it is to clean so you can spend more time hangin’ and less time worrying about the mess.
Endless Summer 30-Inch Outdoor Propane Gas Fire Pit Table ($275; amazon.com)
Rather than testing your Boy Scout or Girl Scout fire-starting skills, you’d rather flip a switch and enjoy the heat. This propane gas option is not only sleek and modern for your outdoor aesthetic, but it’s super safe and warm too. Thanks to the reinforced resin tabletop design, you can set your glass of vino by the flame and soak up the crisp evening.
Yaheetech 32-Inch Outdoor Metal Fire Pit ($107.99; amazon.com)
“This is a great little fire pit for the price,” writes one reviewer of this fire pit. “Assembly took maybe 20 minutes by myself. It’s easy to move around so you can have a fire anywhere. The actual fire pit part removes easily from the frame so that you can empty ashes easily. I also loved that it came with its own cover so I don’t have to worry about rain rusting it.”
Outdoor blankets and rugs
While a fire pit is a necessity, it may not create enough warmth for you to sit comfortably. In addition to clothing layers, outdoor blankets seal in the heat of your body. From cordless heating options to faux fur, you can match your blanket or rug to your aesthetic, so it’s both practical and stylish.
Lochas Faux Sheepskin Rug ($18.98; amazon.com)
To warm up your space in an entirely different way, turn to cozy textiles, like this faux sheepskin pelt, suggests designer Lisa Queen. When you add this to your outdoor chair before you sit down, you’re instantly piling on another layer of heat. Just make sure you take it back indoors when you’re finished since it won’t be able to sustain weather conditions, Queen says.
The Cozee Battery-Powered Heated Blanket ($249.99; amazon.com)
As Terry Lin, the co-founder and chief design officer of the outdoor living brand Outer, puts it, a blanket to keep the chill at bay is a must if you want to spend any amount of time outdoors. If you want an extended hang period but the wind is a bit too cold, consider this battery-operated heated blanket. It heats up thoroughly in a half hour and can last up to five hours, which would make the price worth it for anyone who’s always chilly.
Pinzon Faux Fur Throw Blanket (starting at $30.78; amazon.com)
Keep the faux fur theme going with this blanket, which will make you feel like you’re in a Swiss ski lodge. Who’s making the fondue?
Rumpl The Down Puffy Blanket ($249; amazon.com)
Let’s be honest: A plush down comforter is just about perfect for snuggling on the couch. Sadly, they’re far too heavy and bulky to carry outside…until now. The Rumpl down puffy blanket packs up tiny but opens to the perfect-size throw for outdoor lounging.
Outdoor heaters and lamps
Comfort Zone Ceiling Mount Quartz Heater ($49.99; bedbathandbeyond.com)
Queen recommends mounting one or two of these heaters under a trellis or on the side of a structure for warmth that stays out of your way. “Nothing on the floor to manage, so great for small spaces too,” she explains. If you aren’t exactly experienced in wiring, it could be worthwhile to hire an electrician to set this up safely.
Garden Treasures Stainless Steel Standing Liquid Propane Patio Heater ($265.97; amazon.com)
Just like what you experience at restaurants, this floor heater will keep you warm outdoors all year round, Queen says. Not only is it easy to set up and operate, but you can just move over the propane tank from your grill. “Wheel them nearby your lounge seating or dining areas and get ready to snuggle up,” she recommends.
Outdoor heating accessories
In addition to fire pits, blankets and heaters, there are other ways to retain warmth and comfort in the great outdoors. Here are a few ideas:
Ember Temperature Control Smart Mug ($99.95; amazon.com)
Technically speaking, it won’t keep you warm, but it will keep that morning cup of joe from going cold. Lin recommends this as an additional accessory for your heating investments since you can enjoy coffee on your patio at your leisure. “It will ensure that your beverage stays hot, and it warms you from the inside,” he continues. “Plus, the mug is controlled by an app on your phone and will hold the temperature of your choosing.”
K&H Pet Lectro Soft Heated Dog Bed (starting at $26.72, originally starting at $39.99; amazon.com)
Sure, your pup does wear a fur coat all year long, but they’d appreciate a little TLC through this heated dog bed. Since they never leave your side, Lin says to put this next to your chair so the whole family can savor your outdoor oasis.
Zippo Rechargeable Hand Warmer (starting at $18.01, originally starting at $24.95; amazon.com)
If you’re someone who tends to run cold, you may need more heat layers than the rest of your crew. Consider investing in two of these rechargeable hand warmers that come with six heat settings. In addition to using it in your personal outdoor space, it’s also ideal for skiing or walking around in wintry weather.
Ocoopa Rechargeable Hand Warmer (starting at $25.99, originally starting at $32.99; amazon.com)
Smaller than the size of your phone, this sleek rechargeable hand warmer has three different heat settings and provides double-sided heat for up to eight hours.