Outdoor patio heaters create a welcoming environment
People are spending more time and investing more money in the areas around their home. It's not surprising, since entertaining family and friends on a backyard patio or hardwood deck is a welcome alternative to being cooped up inside, but the air can get a little chilly at night as the seasons change from Spring to Summer to Fall and to Winter. Outdoor heaters provide warmth to keep things cozy so you can enjoy a comfortable al fresco dinner or catch up over a bottle of wine on a private balcony or in the garden under the stars year-round. The global patio heater market is expected to reach $2.75 billion by 2027. This growth is indicative of homeowners’ desire to maximize the utility of their entire property without hassle and safety concerns of traditional wood burning fires.
Power & fuels for outdoor heaters
Most patio heaters are powered or fueled by electricity or gas and their heat output is measured in Watts and BTUs. In order to compare patio heaters with different fuel sources, multiply the Watts by 3.41 to calculate the equivalent BTUs. Each model offers different levels of heat settings, safety features and costs can vary greatly by fuel type and geography.
Electric Patio Heaters
Electric heaters can either be plugged into a standard outlet or hardwired into a system. Sales of outdoor heaters powered by electricity are expected to grow faster than the rest of the industry due to their low cost and easy installation. In the past, most electric units used convection heating to warm the air. Integrated fans were often used to move the warmer air around a room. However, this method of heating is less efficient than the radiant heating technology of contemporary infrared electric heaters. These products primarily heat surrounding objects, which retain warmth rather than cooling in the air. Think of your experience walking from the shade into the sun on a cool day. The air temperature is the same but the sun's radiant heat provides additional warmth. Electric outdoor heater output is measured in Watts, which can be converted into BTUs for comparisons.
Propane Heaters & Natural Gas Heaters
Liquid propane and natural gas patio heaters are relatively inexpensive to operate and generate high heat. Some models utilize a radiant ceramic fascia and others have a live flame in a glass tube to generate heat. Mobile units can house readily available propane tanks, while mounted versions require plumbed connections that have high upfront installation costs. Standalone gas towers are among the most popular heaters and can be seen in outdoor areas of many bars, restaurants and hotels. Their heat output is measured in British Thermal Units (a.k.a. BTUs).
Freestanding outdoor heat lamps & mounted space heating
Outdoor patio heaters come in a variety of styles. Portable free-standing versions vary from large propane heaters that resemble floor lamps to small table top heaters that can go almost anywhere on your porch and require little to no assembly. If you prefer less conspicuous heating, there are a myriad of mounted electric infrared heaters that can attach to a wall or the ceiling. Wall-mounted heaters are great when floor space is limited and there are high (or absent) ceilings. Ceiling-mounted heaters are ideal when you have open walls or a lot of windows. High ceilings can be accommodated by hanging patio heaters.
Outdoor heating for commercial and residential settings
Gas patio heaters are frequently used by restaurants and bars with outdoor seating, especially the tower-style floor models. They generate a lot of heat, are relatively inexpensive to operate and heat in all directions - key for warming multiple tables. If you're hosting a party or event, like a barbecue picnic, during cooler months in an open outdoor area, you should consider these portable heaters. When floorspace is at a premium, wall or ceiling mounted natural gas heaters are often employed. Most homeowners prefer modern ceiling or wall mounted electric radiant heaters that simply plug in or connect to existing wiring or portable heaters with wheels that use readily available propane tanks. Directional heat is effective in smaller spaces, while self-contained propane heaters can simply be moved to where they’re needed.
Frequently Asked Questions - Patio Heaters
Who makes the best high-end luxury patio heaters?
There are many manufacturers of outdoor heaters that range in price, quality and performance from small inexpensive space heaters or heat lamps to massive high-output marine-grade heaters. Decor Outdoor’s upscale residential clientele and commercial buyers tend to favor luxury brands whose durable heating items generate high heat, have installation options and have elegant or unobtrusive designs. Below are a number of high-end patio heater brands in alphabetical order.
- Detroit Radiant
- Patio Comfort
How much heat does a patio heater produce?
Patio heaters typically produce between 10,000 and 40,000 BTUs (British Thermal Units) of heat. The amount of heat produced by a patio heater will depend on the size and type of heater. Smaller, tabletop patio heaters typically produce between 10,000 and 15,000 BTUs, while larger, free-standing patio heaters can produce up to 40,000 BTUs of heat.
How effective is the patio heater at heating up an outdoor space?
The effectiveness of a patio heater at heating up an outdoor space depends on a variety of factors, including the size of the space, the type of patio heater being used the ambient temperature and the ventilation.
For small outdoor spaces, a patio heater can be quite effective at heating up the area. Portable patio heaters are especially effective at heating up small spaces, as they can be moved around to direct the heat to the desired area.
Covered areas will help minimize heat-loss from heat rising and dissipating from convection heaters, although these heaters need some breeze to help circulate warm air in large spaces. Uncovered or open areas tend to do better with multiple radiant heaters, which direct infrared rays to warm objects and people rather than the air. These gas or electric patio heaters are efficient in converting energy into heat. However, you need to make sure that heaters used in outdoor spaces that are more exposed to the elements are made from weather-resistant materials in addition to given protection from excessive rain or blowing debris.