The ABCs of buying a patio heater
With the warm weather returning, are you feeling the urge hit the patio? Unfortunately, the air is still a little too cool for sitting outside for long stretches, especially in the evenings. This is where the patio heater comes in.
It can extend the summer vibe from late spring to fall while letting you stay outside later in the evenings.
But what type should you buy?
Electric, propane or natural gas? Fixed or portable? Suspended or freestanding? Such a wide variety of models does not make for an easy decision.
Here’s a little guide to help you choose.
Which energy source should you choose for your patio heater?
The main difference between the various types of patio heaters is the energy source used to produce the heat. There are three types:
- Electric: Eco-friendly and quiet, these models use clean energy and are also easy to install. However, you may need to ask an electrician to properly connect them, especially if you are installing more than one.
- Propane gas patio heaters are powerful and can be connected to your barbecue cylinder or larger fixed tanks. To connect your patio heater to a fixed tank, you will need a plumber.
- Natural gas patio heaters generate warmth through infrared radiation. Unlike the other two types of heaters, they do not heat the ambient air, but objects nearby. You can also closely control the heat produced.
When deciding, consider the cost of each type of heating, while taking into account basic factors such as:
- Do you really want to have to keep changing the tank?
- Do you prefer odourless heating?
- Would you like a fixed, low-maintenance solution?
- Do you want to be able to move the patio heater depending on what you have planned?
Removable, suspended or fixed?
Once you’ve settled on your type of energy, consider which model will work best for your patio. Consider the following factors when making your choice:
- How much space do you have?
- Will you need to install more than one? Check the coverage area of each model before deciding.
- Do you need a powerful heater or just a backup? Power and coverage area vary between models. Design may affect the efficiency of the patio heater.
- How important is design to your patio? You may want a heater that suits the style of your home or patio.
You’ll find a variety of styles in store or online:
- Umbrella or lamp-style patio heaters generally use less energy and provide comfortable vertical heating. Some use electricity, others gas.
- Tower-shaped patio heaters may be stylish, but their heat is restricted to smaller areas.
- Wall-mounted models resemble indoor baseboard heaters. They are very effective and provide consistent heat.
- To warm guests gathered around a table, you may want to opt for a suspended lamp-style model.
- Some models have a base specifically designed so they are easy to move.
Which model should you choose?
After reading this little guide, you would hope to have a clear recommendation of the best model, right? Sorry, that’s just not possible, because the best patio heater will be the one that’s an ideal fit for your patio, its layout and how you plan to use the heater.