What do I need to consider before buying a Patio Heater?
There are several significant considerations should be made before buying an Outdoor Patio Heater which I have detailed below:
The patio or garden environment you are trying to heat could immediately play a factor in your decision.
Is there enough height to have a free-standing patio heater? Do you have a wall where a wall-mounted heater would go?
Is there an electricity supply if you are thinking of buying an electric patio heater? Are there any restrictions i.e. a porch awning or an outdoor kitchen etc.
Taking your environment into consideration could narrow your searching time quite considerably.
Heat Output of Outdoor Patio Heater :
Patio Heaters come in many different shapes and sizes and can have varying levels of heat output.
The required heat output depends on the size of the area you are trying to heat. If you are unsure what range would suit and maybe how strong 12.5Kw of heat actually feels like, there is always the option of asking a salesman to turn on the heater so you can get a better idea.
It would be a waste of money to buy a patio heater with a 6-foot radial heat capacity if it is for a 25-foot wide patio.
It would also be helpful if you find out how the heat travels as there are some patio heaters (mostly the gas type) which heat the air and can be affected by wind, whereas some of the newer electric patio heaters heat objects and people and are unaffected by wind.
Safety Issues of Outdoor Patio Heaters:
Most outdoor patio heaters come with an automatic shut off device that will instantly cut the heat to your heater to prevent I overheating.
They also can come with tilt shut off devices that cut off the heat source if the heater is tipped up or blown over ensuring that the surroundings will not catch fire. These, together with the usual heat adjustment buttons are the most common safety precautions items found within most types of patio heaters.
It is always best practice to ask about the available safety features before purchasing as this area is an important one often influences people’s decisions on whether or not to buy the heater.
Cost of an Outdoor Patio Heater:
The traditional full standing gas patio heaters seem to be on the whole slightly less expensive than the freestanding electric patio heaters although prices can range depending on the heat output and style.
You seem to pay a little more for the style and design of a propane heater compared to the electric version, which seems a bit more basic looking. The wall-mounted electric patio heater tends to cost less as they are much smaller and don’t require a base like a standing patio heater, but the price can easily vary depending on the heat output requirement. A table gas patio heater which is the most common table heater is more commonly the cheapest type on the market due to its size.
It must be said that the cheapest or dearest heater available or the heater that has the greatest heat output or the largest number of safety features doesn’t always make it the best. Make sure that you consider all of the other factors mentioned when choosing your patio heater.
What are the different types of patio heater available?
There are many different patio heater styles but only really about 4 types which I have detailed below:
Traditional Gas Patio Heater:
Traditional Tall Standing Patio HeaterThe traditional gas patio heater is what we commonly see in a garden center which is generally a tall upright heater that has a widened bottom that normally houses and conceals a propane gas bottle.
These types of heaters are generally the same shape looking a bit like a lamp post with a flat bottom and come in a variety of different colors and styles, for example, an old fashioned style that look like an old lamp post from the 19th century.
There are also more modern patio heater themes with chrome patio heaters and bronze patio heaters which look great in a modern garden or patio. The only difference between these types of patio heaters apart from the style is the heat output which can vary depending on size and price with current propane prices.
Table Gas Patio Heaters:
Table Patio HeaterThe table gas patio heater is a perfect choice for a small outdoor dining area or where height clearance is tight and can be also used for camping and if necessary under an awning.
This type of patio heater as the name suggests will simply sit on your Rattan Outdoor Garden Furniture and keep the area cozy and warm.
They are a shortened version of the traditional patio heater and like their taller cousins come in a range of styles and themes. The heat output on a table patio heater is more commonly less than a taller traditional taller model but depending on the price you are willing to pay is more than capable of matching it.
Traditional Electric Patio Heaters:
Electric Patio HeaterTraditional electric patio heaters look like their gas counterparts but rather than use a Propane gas bottle to generate its energy, it uses electricity with halogen elements.
These heaters provide heat similar to the way the sun’s heat distribution works, where things are heated up rather than just the air in between. Electric patio heaters provide the best efficiency levels of anything on the market today making it the economist’s choice and combined with zero carbon emissions also makes it the environmentalist’s choice too.
Wall Mounted Electric Patio Heaters:
Wall Mounted Patio HeaterThese types of patio heaters have all the benefits of the traditional patio heaters mentioned above with their efficiency levels and environmentally friendly emissions but have the added advantage of being wall-mounted rather than free-standing. Therefore you don’t need to find space to stand the heater or take up room on a table a piece of the wall will do nicely.
These types of heaters are more often being used commercially at the moment in pubs and restaurants rather than vertical radiators but they are now creeping into the domestic market as they are space-saving and with the appropriate garden lighting ideal for smaller gardens and patios.
Outdoor Patio Heaters Q&As
It is absolutely essential that before buying a patio heater that you fully understand the requirements to keep one. Therefore I have compiled a list of common patio heater Q&As:
Q. Are all patio heaters the same?
A. NO. There are several types of patio heaters that come in a range of styles and shapes. The main differences are the energy source whether i.e. gas or electric and the purpose whether it is for a wall, a table or just simply free standing. With a variety of products to choose from, there is obviously a varying cost level depending on the style you require and the heat output generated.
Q. How much heat do patio heaters produce?
A. The latest patio heaters produce around 40,000 BTU/h of power which is enough to heat a small house. Don’t think more is better, larger heat capacities require a wider reflector to reflect it downwards or the heat is lost in the air.
Q. How much gas do patio heaters use?
A. Most of the modern patio heaters today have high energy burners with pilot control which lets you decide the temperature of the heat. Normally at full power, modern patio heaters will use just under 1kg of LPG per hour. Older models burn a great deal more. The best way to use patio heaters is to warm up the surroundings and then reduce the heat control to the level which is most comfortable. Under average use, a gas LPG cylinder will normally last between 3-5 weeks depending on the weather.
Q. Are electric patio heaters cheaper to run?
A. A standard 2KW electric patio heater will run at about 10p per KW per hour. Gas (LPG) patio heaters running at a maximum heat of 13KW cost around 8p per KW. This cost is obviously reduced when the heater is turned down a notch.
Q. Are the patio heaters I see in bars the same as my own?
A. NO. The patio heaters that you see in bars with nice landscape lighting are generally more robust and are with higher-grade components and are manufactured and engineered for heavy usage. These types of patio heaters are generally more expensive and do not come in a range of styles like the home use patio heaters.
Q. Can patio heaters be left outside all the time?
A. During the spring and summer months, patio heaters can be left outside all the time but during the winter months, it would be best practice to purchase some patio covers for use to prevent weathering. Most patio heaters are pretty durable depending on what it is made from as stainless steel patio heaters are generally more durable than powder coated patio heaters.