Freestanding vs Wall Mounted Outdoor Heaters: Pros, Cons, and How to Choose

Published: April 15, 2023


Wall mounted outdoor heaters come in various shapes, sizes, and types, but two of the most popular options are wall-mounted and freestanding heaters. Wall-mounted heaters are fixed installations that provide directional heat, while freestanding heaters are portable units that can be moved around to provide warmth in various areas. Each type has its pros and cons, which will be discussed further in this article to help you make an informed decision when choosing the right outdoor heating solution for your needs.

Freestanding Outdoor Heaters

Freestanding Outdoor Heater 

Freestanding outdoor heaters are standalone units that can be placed anywhere in your outdoor space. They come in various designs, from traditional propane patio heaters to electric infrared models and even wood-burning fire pits. The most common types are propane and electric heaters, with propane heaters providing more extensive heat coverage and electric heaters usually offering a more energy-efficient option.

Advantages of Freestanding Outdoor Heaters

  • Portability: Freestanding heaters can be easily moved around to provide warmth wherever it is needed, making them a versatile option for outdoor spaces.
  • Easy setup: Freestanding heaters generally require minimal assembly and can be set up quickly without the need for professional installation.
  • Heat coverage: Many freestanding heaters, especially propane models, can provide a large area of heat coverage, making them ideal for larger outdoor spaces. 
  • Versatility and aesthetics: With various styles and designs available, freestanding heaters can suit a range of outdoor aesthetics and preferences.

Disadvantages of Freestanding Outdoor Heaters 

  • Space consumption: Freestanding heaters take up more space than wall-mounted heaters, making them less suitable for smaller outdoor areas.
  • Safety concerns: As they are not fixed to a surface, freestanding heaters can be knocked over, posing a safety risk, especially for children and pets.
  • Fuel storage: Propane heaters require propane tanks, which take up additional space and may not be aesthetically pleasing.
  • Broad heat distribution: Freestanding heaters may disperse heat more broadly, making them less efficient in certain situations. 
  • Aesthetics: Freestanding heaters may not blend in with your outdoor décor as seamlessly as wall-mounted heaters, depending on the design and style.
  • Increased risk of theft or vandalism: Depending on where you live and store freestanding outdoor heaters, they may be more prone to damage and theft particularly if not secured or used commercially.

Wall Mounted Outdoor Heaters

Wall Mounted Outdoor Heater

Wall-mounted outdoor heaters are designed to be installed on walls or other vertical surfaces. They are space-saving, may be aesthetically pleasing, and generally safer as they may be out of reach of children and pets.

Wall-mounted heaters are commonly available in two types: electric infrared heaters and natural gas heaters. Electric infrared heaters use radiant heat to warm the surrounding area, while natural gas heaters burn natural gas to generate heat. 

Advantages of Wall Mounted Outdoor Heaters:

Wall-mounted outdoor heaters offer several advantages over freestanding models:

  • Space-saving: Wall-mounted heaters save valuable floor space, making them ideal for smaller patios or decks where space is limited. They can be installed on walls or ceilings, keeping them out of the way and allowing for more efficient use of your outdoor area. 
  • Safety: Since wall-mounted heaters are installed at a height, they are less accessible to children and pets, reducing the risk of accidents. 
  • Aesthetics: Wall-mounted heaters may have a sleek, modern design that can easily blend with various outdoor decors depending in the model and price point. They do not obstruct views or interfere with the overall layout of your outdoor space.
  • Directional heating: Wall-mounted heaters typically provide more focused and directional heat, allowing you to target specific areas of your outdoor space for heating. 
  • Lower maintenance: Wall-mounted heaters generally require less maintenance, as they are not exposed to dirt and debris from the ground. They are also less likely to be damaged by foot traffic or other outdoor elements.
  • Reduced risk of theft or vandalism: Wall-mounted heaters are more difficult to steal or tamper with due to their installation height and secure mounting, making them a safer option for public or commercial spaces.

Disadvantages of Wall Mounted Outdoor Heaters:

  • Installation limitations: Wall-mounted heaters require a suitable wall or ceiling for installation, which may not be available in all outdoor spaces. This can limit your options in terms of placement and could require additional construction work to create a suitable mounting surface. 
  • Limited mobility: Once installed, wall-mounted heaters are generally not easy to move or reposition. This can be a drawback if you want the flexibility to change your outdoor space layout or if you need to heat different areas at different times. 
  • Professional installation: Wall-mounted heaters often require professional installation, which can add to the overall cost. Installing a wall-mounted heater may involve electrical work, drilling, and mounting hardware, which can be more complex than setting up a freestanding heater. 
  • Less versatility: Wall-mounted heaters are typically designed for specific outdoor spaces and may not be suitable for all settings, such as open lawns or large, open areas where a freestanding heater might be more effective.
  • Higher upfront cost: Wall-mounted heaters can be more expensive than freestanding models, particularly when considering the cost of installation. This can be a drawback for those with a limited budget. 
  • Potential heat distribution issues: Depending on the design and placement, wall-mounted heaters may not provide even heat distribution across your entire outdoor space. This could result in hot and cold spots, which can be uncomfortable for those using the area.

Factors to consider when choosing between freestanding and wall mounted outdoor heaters

So now you know some of the pros and cons, how do these translate into helping you decide what is best to suit your needs? We would suggest you consider the following:

A. Space constraints

The size and layout of your outdoor space play a crucial role in determining whether a wall-mounted or freestanding heater is the best choice for you. Wall-mounted heaters are ideal for smaller areas or spaces where floor space is limited, while freestanding heaters are better suited for larger spaces that can accommodate the heater’s footprint.

B. Safety requirements

Safety should always be a priority when selecting an outdoor heater. Wall-mounted heaters are generally considered safer as they are installed out of reach of children and pets and cannot be easily knocked over. Freestanding heaters, on the other hand, pose a higher risk of accidents, especially if not properly secured or supervised.

C. Heat distribution preferences

The way heat is distributed can also impact your decision. Wall-mounted heaters provide directional heat, making them ideal for targeted warmth in specific areas. Freestanding heaters, particularly propane models, offer broader heat coverage and can warm larger spaces more effectively.

D. Installation and portability needs

Consider the ease of installation and your need for portability when choosing between wall-mounted and freestanding heaters. Wall-mounted heaters require professional installation, while freestanding heaters are typically easier to set up and can be moved as needed. If you frequently rearrange your outdoor space or need a heating solution for different locations, a freestanding heater may be the better choice.

E. Aesthetics and design

Finally, consider the aesthetics and design of the heater and how it will complement your outdoor décor. Wall-mounted heaters may blend seamlessly with their surroundings, while freestanding heaters come in various styles that may or may not align with your preferences. There is an increasing range of fashionable freestanding outdoor heaters to suit the look and feel of many decors, so what will suit you, really depends on the model that you consider and the style and ambience of your outdoor space.

wall mounted outdoor heaters

Final Thoughts 

In summary, wall-mounted and freestanding heaters each have their pros and cons. Wall-mounted heaters are space-saving and safer, while freestanding heaters offer greater portability, broader heat coverage, and versatility in design and style. 

Ultimately, the best outdoor heater for you depends on your unique needs, preferences, and space constraints. Consider the factors outlined in this article and choose a heater that best meets your requirements, ensuring a comfortable and enjoyable outdoor experience for you, your family, and your guests.



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