For the past few months, many of us have enjoyed visiting with friends and loved ones outdoors. With a little creativity and resourcefulness, social distancing has been easy to do in backyards and public spaces.
But now, it’s starting to get cold. I, for one, am not really eager to stay indoors and return to a life of exclusive screen-to-screen contact. That’s why, at Epi, we’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about how to stay comfortable outside—even as it gets chilly—so that we can spend time in person and maybe even share a meal together.
Maybe you have been thinking about this too. If so, I bet you’ve asked yourself, Should I buy an outdoor space heater? If the shortage of outdoor heaters across the internet is any clue, you aren’t the only one.
Don’t despair, though, if you can’t find an outdoor space heater in stock. There are other options for staying warm. Outdoor heaters are luxurious, but they are also bulky, expensive, and stationary. For restaurants and bars hoping to extend their outdoor seating for as long as possible, a stationary outdoor heater is a worthwhile investment. For the average person wanting to spend time with friends, there are far more affordable solutions out there.
The fancy option
Okay, you have the heart and budget for an outdoor space heater. You have a few options. There are propane, electric, and natural gas heaters. Propane types rely on a tank (like a grill does) and are slightly more portable. Electric heaters require wiring and a plug. Natural gas heaters need to be hooked up to a gas line at all times.
For home use, electric or propane options work best for most people, because they are much easier to set up. With propane heaters, you will be limited to stand-alone heating towers or gas fire pits, while electric heaters give you the option of mounting a heater on a ceiling or wall.
A space heater, but smaller
Sometimes a small heat source is enough to stay comfortable if you are strategic about placement. Let’s say you have a group of people gathered around a large table. You could use a long drapey (nonflammable!) tablecloth to trap some heat and put a small indoor space heater underneath, making something similar to a Japanese kotatsu (a traditional table-blanket hybrid with a heating element underneath the tabletop). Of course, this isn’t going to provide the same warmth as a large heater, but it will make a chilly day a little more comfortable.
$50.00, Home Depot
The analog option
Sometimes good old-fashioned fire is more than good enough. To read about the fire pits that might be best for your space, dive into this article dedicated to propane, wood-burning, and even mini options. Here are a few basic varieties below:
Originally Appeared on Epicurious