What types of patio heaters are there?

Alfresco dining. Ah, that’s the life. It’s a pity about winter, though – it can get a bit chilly entertaining under the stars.

Outdoor heating is the obvious solution, of course. So, what are the options? Well, for many, the first thing that comes to mind is outdoor gas heating. However, this may not be the best choice.  If you need outdoor heating this winter, you may be better off with an electric radiant heater.

How do outdoor heaters work?

As already mentioned, there are two main types: gas and radiant electric. Here is an explanation:

  • Outdoor gas heaters – air is heated when making contact with a hot surface. The warm air is then distributed throughout the area to be heated. The process is called convection.
  • Outdoor electric radiant heaters – they work similar to the sun. The sun, so scientists say, heats the earth, which then heats the air.

Why does this matter?

Well, because outdoor gas heaters heat the air, the heating process is less precise – heat is distributed to the target area and beyond. Also, heat is easily blown away by wind. As a result, gas heating is expensive and costs $3.50 – $5 per hour – three to four times more expensive than electric radiant heaters.  In comparison, outdoor electric radiant heaters are far more accurate, and heat is focused on a precise location.

Here are 3 types of electric heaters

There are three types of electric heaters. For outdoor dining, a medium wave is best. Here is an explanation of the three types:

  1. Shortwave – these are generally smaller. They emit a bright light, a bit like a search light, and are uncomfortable to the eyes. Therefore, we don’t recommend them for outdoor dining.
  2. Medium wave – these are longer and heat larger areas. There is no obvious light, and they are ideal for outdoors.
  3. Long wave – these are usually flat with no visible heating element. They are slow to warm and only effective in enclosed rooms with low ceilings.

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