Outdoor Patio Heaters: Choosing A Good One

Outdoor patio heaters are a great way to expand your outdoor living space. Patio heaters range in price from under $100 to over $400. It not only allows you to be outdoors in the colder times of the year, but also allows hosting to be much easier! Why waste your outdoor living areas.

Warm Up With A Patio Heater

Patio heaters are easier to use than a microwave! Simply turn the comfort knob and press the ignition button and in seconds a warm sensation will begin radiating throughout the area.These infrared heaters bring outdoor living to an all new level. Too chilly to go out on your patio tonight, no problem, it’s as simple as pushing a button on this tower of comfort, in minutes it transforms your patio, deck or pool area into a comfortable, warm, summer like area that can be used any time of the year.

Patio heaters allow you to extend the life of your deck and patio to 9 or even 12 months, depending on location. Enjoying the chilly fall or winter evenings, with the use of a patio heater, will remind you of why you love your backyard. Producing energy in the form of infrared waves, patio heaters work at the turn of a switch.

How Patio Heaters Work

Patio heaters take the concept of a camp fire, remove the smoke and give you the heat. A patio heater, also called a mushroom or umbrella heater, is an appliance for generating radiant heat for outdoor use only. They provide a constant heat to a specific area and do this with no choking smoke or dirty ashes.

Patio heaters produce heat one of two ways. They either burn a fuel like propane or natural gas, or they heat an element using electricity. This heat source is then amplified through special heat directing materials so that it warms a specific area. Unlike a space heater that contains a fan, patio heaters warm the area around them by using radiant heat. The same heat that the sun produces, but without the harmful ultra-violet rays.

A basic design is simply a burner on top of a post that burns LP or or natural gas, propane, butane or runs on electric. When heated, it directs the flames against a perforated metal screen. Heat is radiated from the surface of the screen in a circular pattern around the appliance. A reflector atop the burner reflects the heat downward.

The reflecting hood is usually silvered which makes it a poor absorber of heat but excellent at reflecting infra-red heat back. This reduces the amount of heat lost. Outdoor patio heaters allow you to enjoy your outdoor patio longer during fall and earlier during the spring time.

Enjoy the outdoors during a brisk evening barbecue, early morning coffee, or any other outdoor activity. Whether you’re searching for a wall, free standing, or ceiling patio heater, there are many styles to keep your patio warm.

Patio Heaters Have A Low Cost To Operate

Available in a variety of different colors, sizes and fuel types, patio heaters offer additional beauty to your existing outdoor decor while providing the versatility and performance you prefer. One of the major advantages that you will get by purchasing an infrared patio heater is a low initial cost. And unless you choose a natural gas hookup, installation and setup is usually done in less than two hours.

  • Outdoor patio heaters retail for $100-$400. After your initial purchase the cost of operation depends on your fuel type.
  • Generally natural gas heaters are the least expensive to operate, but most expensive to install because of the requirement of a licensed professional to install a natural gas line.
  • Accessories like covers and additional hook up adapters are usually sold separately.
  • A 40,000 BTU patio heater with natural gas cost per hour is about $.48.
  • Electric patio heaters cost per hour is about $1.32.
  • Liquid propane patio heater with a 20lb propane cylinder costing about $16, makes the average cost per hour $1.60. One propane tank will last about 10 hours.

With this type of heater, you will have to be aware of some drawbacks with it as well. For one thing, the heat typically goes in a straight line out of the heater. Therefore, if you are in the direct line of heat, you will be warm. However, if you are not in line with the heater, it will still be somewhat chilly for you. This means that this is not the ideal solution when you want to provide heat for many people on the patio area.

Types Of Patio Heaters

Post-style, wall mounted and table top patio heaters are now readily available in most home centers and big box retailers across the nation at prices as low as $79.00. Once sold exclusively from specialty propane gas appliance and hearth products dealers for $600.00 and higher, manufacturers of patio heaters have come up with ways to decrease manufacturing costs to make them more affordable to the average homeowner.

But be aware that some post style heaters are not well constructed and you can definitely see a difference in quality. If you see a stainless steel model for $159.00 or less, it is probably not 304 stainless steel. Instead, it is likely made of cheaper 430 stainless or something lower in grade.

Patio Heaters On Sale At Amazon: Find Your New Patio Heater

Such heaters are usually very flimsy and, along with many painted models, will rust and corrode over time. Let’s face it, patio heaters are meant to be outside, so the material of the heater is very important.

Don’t forget to look for deals in the clearance section.

A good heater is kind of heavy too. Weight is a good determiner of quality. A heavier heater is usually stronger than a lightweight unit. Some are as light is 20 lbs. Some of the heaviest units are about 120 lbs. That’s a huge difference. Other than the fact that a heavier heater generally means higher quality, a heavier heater will not be as likely to fall over during high winds and summer storms.

It’s not unusual to see cheaper patio heaters with dented lightweight reflectors. All it takes is that first wind gust. Also, if you live in a cold climate with heavy snows, a heavy-duty reflector will not bend under the weight of snow.

Patio Heater Warranty

Don’t forget the warranty. This is a great way to measure quality and says a lot about a manufacturer’s confidence in its own products. Most manufacturers offer a 1 year warranty, but some are as little as 90 days. The best we’ve seen is a 5 year warranty. Lowes offers an extended warranty product replacement plan for patio heaters under $99 for $9.97. If the heater retails for up to $299, you can get a product replacement plan for 3 years for $39.97.

Our Favorite Lowes Patio Heater Models

Lowes item 1148805 Garden Treasures 47,000-BTU Liquid Propane Patio Heater.
Retail Price $149.
If you are looking for a great value in a full size 47,000 btu heater, this is our favorite. Easy to assemble and easy to operate. Hooks up to a 20lb propane cylinder just like on your BBQ grill. Will give you about 10-12 hours on the bigger tank. The heater is great and as an extra bonus it comes with a cover.

Lowes item 1303313. 5,000-BTU Tabletop Liquid Propane Patio Heater

Retail Price $99.
A great little table top 11,000 btu heater. Works with the small 1lb tanks (not included) and gives you about 3 hours worth of heat. Perfect for small get togethers. Tabletop, anti-tilt switch, safety devices and cover included.

These infrared heaters are no more difficult than a barbecue to operate. Just follow the instructions. If using a gas model, make sure you use some soapy water to leak test all of the gas connections before you light it. Table top models should be able to be fully assembled in less than an hour. Post type heaters take about 2 hours for assembly.

A patio heater can extend the enjoyment of your patio or deck well into autumn. Operating costs are very low as well, but buying the right one can be a bit tricky as there are many differences in heating sources, area to be heated, features and warranty.

By Victoria Stone