Patio Heaters Review
Why Buy a Patio Heater?
Patio heaters can extend the time you can enjoy the outdoors comfortably, whether it means having guests over on your patio or seating customers outside of your restaurant. In warm states, outdoor heaters allow you to use the patio year-round, while cold states will gain a few extra months. Patio heaters like the Omcan Commercial, the Infinita Bonfire Patio Natural and the AZ Outdoor provide outdoor heating in a much more manageable way than a fire pit. The heat is a constant temperature, there is less smoke and it’s more environmentally friendly.
Patio Heaters: What to Look For
There is a wide variety of patio heaters available depending on the amount of space you need covered and the layout of your patio. The most common are full-size, tall heaters that your guests can stand under, but there are also tabletop heaters and outdoor heaters that mount on the wall or ceiling. You can also choose which fuel source is most convenient: propane, natural gas or electric. Lastly, you should consider how it looks in the space. Most manufacturers provide several options for the same heater, from basic stainless steel to bronze or gold accents.
There are three fuel sources to choose from when it comes to a patio heater: propane, natural gas and electric. Propane patio heaters offer mobility and they're easy to use. You can place them anywhere and no installation is required, though propane fuel costs are the highest. Natural gas will cost you much less and provide constant, available fuel, but you will need to have the heater installed professionally. Electric patio heaters produce zero emissions and are right in the middle as far as cost. They may need to be professionally installed or simply plugged in depending on the model.
Size & Output
Full-size units are the ones you’re used to seeing outside of clubs, keeping the lines warm. They stand around 7 to 8 feet tall and produce around 40,000 Btu. Outdoor patios may also have tabletop heaters at each individual table. These smaller outdoor heaters produce around 12,000 Btu. Mountable wall and ceiling heaters vary greatly depending on the size. The smallest emit around 3,300 Btu. Large, industrial-strength heaters can produce hundreds of thousands of Btu. You should consider the entire layout of your patio and whether a few full-size units would work best or if you prefer smaller units at every table. The ceiling-mounted outdoor heaters can also work on table umbrellas.
Perhaps the most important aspect of the patio heater you choose is the overall design. The aesthetic appeal of the unit is half the fun. Outdoor heaters should complement the design of your patio, not distract from it. Different manufacturers put their own flair on the basic design of the full-size units, from simple, functional steel to a more modern look around the fire.
Patio heaters make a big difference. Nothing cools down a party like a cold night. Closing down an outdoor patio at a restaurant because of the cold also limits your seating and could mean thousands of dollars in lost revenue. Outdoor heaters are affordable solutions that are also better for the environment than fire.