Patio Heater Buying Guide
Why Patio Heaters?
Well it’s simple. Sadly summer can’t last forever so whether you are a restaurant hoping to expand seating capacity to the great outdoors, a hotel manager trying to keep the poolside feeling like paradise after the sun goes down, or a homeowner looking to spend every extra minute on your newly finished deck, stylish patio heaters are here to help!
What you need to know:
Different settings require different forms of heating. Obvious right? But sometimes it’s not so obvious to the “why’s” and “what’s” when it comes to styles, placement and brands. Simply put, patio heaters circulate heat in a circle motion; spot heaters are focused in one direction. Both have portable, stand-alone options; spot heaters are otherwise mounted by brackets, while patio heaters come in tabletop, ceiling-mount, and in-ground forms.
What kind of area do you need to heat?
Patio heaters are very versatile and provide even, circular heating up to a 20-foot diameter depending on the style of your heater. Spot heaters are better when more intense, focused heat is needed. Patio heaters are also designed with a nod to style; they are meant to complement outdoor settings like patios and trendy restaurants, while spot heaters have a more industrial aesthetic.
What should I know about patio heaters?
Portable –These full-sized patio heaters have no fixed fuel line, which is good news for you! They can be moved from place to place as the need for warm up to a 20-foot diameter – arises. Most are designed with a compartment for their fuel tanks.
Tabletops– Tabletops are compact, portable, inexpensive options perfect for providing warmth over a small circle.
Ceiling/Wall Mounts – Worried about clutter? ? Opt for a ceiling-mount model, which provides all the power and heating capability without getting in the way or are ideal if you are limited in space. These models are built for permanent installment; they are designed to hook into an established natural gas supply.
Power rating/range -Power ratings are expressed in BTUs (British Thermal Units); the higher the BTU rating, the broader the heater’s range. Products boasting the same range can be compared by BTU rating; the higher the rating, the more effective the heating over the described range.
Construction –The vast majority of patio heaters are made from steel, although some at the lower end of the price range include lower-quality aluminum parts. The type of steel used – stainless, weather-treated – varies by price, as does the size of the base (for portable heaters) and the diameter of the pole.
Dome -Another important feature of the construction is the dome. Domes with bigger diameters allow better, more effective heat distribution. Most patio heaters have single-dome construction, but the Endless Summer Triple Dome Commercial Outdoor Patio Heater is easily distinguished by its triple-dome construction, which guards the heating element against wind and diffusion.
Fuel –Most patio heaters are fueled by liquid propane tanks; some are designed to tap into an established natural gas source. Others come in two models, allowing you to order by fuel preference. Please note that for models that use tanks, the fuel is generally sold separately.
Ignition –Only the most basic models require anything more than the push of a button to ignite. Most models come with a form of Piezo electric ignition, which produces sparks that interact with the fuel; higher-end heaters can have automatic or electronic ignition.
Safety features –Patio heaters are available with a wide range of safety features – the most basic of which are automatic shut-off switches, to prevent leaking gas, and safety tilt shut-off switches, to prevent heaters from lighting objects on fire should they fall. Other features include heat adjustment, pilot lights, tip-resistant construction, and shut-off switches to guard against severe weather.
Heater accessories –The primary accessory line for patio heaters is covers, which guard against dust, dirt, and insects – all of which shorten a heater’s life and limit effectiveness. Another option is a clamp to hold tabletop models in place.
“PATIO-HEATER-BUYING-GUIDE.” Patio Heater Buying Guides. Web. 11 Feb. 2015. <http://www.patioproductsusa.com/content/Patio-Heater-Buying-Guide/info.aspx?bid=sub2>.