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Adding an outdoor sitting area or a patio can help a restaurant increase it's business by adding more seats. An attractive outdoor area can also help any business to attract more customers, by creating a more inviting look from the outside. After investing in this new addition you would want to keep it open as long as you can, even when the temperatures start dropping. Patio heaters can help you do just that and put more money in your pocket.

In this article, we'll take a look at different types of commercial patio heaters available on the market today and point out the best options in each category. 

Types of Commercial Patio Heaters 

There are two popular types of commercial patio heaters based on the installation: free-standing and overhead.

Free-standing Commercial Patio Heaters 

    This type of heaters is ideal for large open spaces. These heaters come in different styles, such as a portable "mushroom" style heater, permanent post heaters, and pyramid style decorative heaters with flame.

    Portable Commercial Patio Heaters

    Portable patio heaters work well for large open areas.

    Portable heaters give you the freedom to move then to the most suitable areas and remove them completely when you don't need them.

    Portable heaters are popular in restaurants with seasonal patios, and other open outdoor spaces. They are great for hotel events, outdoor parties, and festivals.

    Each portable free-standing heater has its control allowing you to use only the heaters that you need.

    The Benefits of Portable Free Standing Patio Heaters

    • Portable free standing patio heaters distribute heat well in large spaces.
    • They are easy to control and set.
    • They are easy to move around and heat a specific area.
    • Free-standing heaters are super easy to assemble and dismantle.

    Best Portable Commercial Patio Heaters

    When it comes to choosing the best portable commercial heaters there are a few things you want to look at:

    • Heating power and efficiency;
    • Corrosion resistance;
    • Stability and safety.

    Best commercial-grade portable heaters that score high on all of the above criteria are:

    IR Energy Evenglo Portable Infrared Heater

    It is a luxury infrared patio heater manufactured in Canada out of the highest quality materials. Fueled by liquid propane, it is completely portable.

    • This heater offers better heat performance and bigger coverage than competitors.
    • Commercial (304) and marine (316) grade stainless steel construction of this heater ensures durability and corrosion resistance.
    • 100% safety control, this patio heater meets or exceeds CSA safety and performance standards in the US and Canada.

    Available in Stainless Steel, Bronze and Black powder coated colors.

    Learn more here: IR Energy Evenglo Portable Infrared Heater

    Bromic Tungsten Smart-Heat LPG Heater

    It is a portable, stylish, and functional heater designed to be used in an outdoor, semi-outdoor or patio environment. Using propane gas, this powerful heater provides efficient directional heat with its adjustable tilt head wherever it is placed. The award-winning design of this heater makes it a piece of art that looks great and provides a lot of heat in any patio setting.

    • Provides high-intensity directional heat that can be easily controlled.
    • Commercial grade and marine-grade stainless steel construction.
    • ETL Approved for the US and Canada.

    Can be used with natural gas using the optional Natural Gas Conversion Kit, no need to keep switching fuel tanks.

    Learn more: Bromic Tungsten Smart-Heat LPG Heater

    Overhead Commercial Patio Heaters: Wall, Ceiling, Umbrella and Pole Mounted

    These heaters work well as a permanent solution. This type is ideal if you are looking to heat an outdoor or covered patio or a deck.

    With this type, however, you need to map out where to place your heater(s). This is because the specific area you mount determines the distribution of heat. You might need several heaters to cover the entire area you wish to heat, a typical heat radius of an electric overhead heater is 5 - 11 ft. and for the gas one is 10-14 ft. Also, you need to follow guidelines on how to install these heaters correctly.

    Unlike free-standing heaters, overhead models have multiple control options that allow you to operate them remotely. Additionally, in many cases, you can link several heaters together to control them all with a touch of a button.

    It is important to note that with this type of heaters, extra accessories are needed. Therefore, you need to make sure you have the necessary hardware to install them. It differs by model and installation location.

    The benefits of Overhead Patio Heaters

    • This type saves on floor space and clears the way in high-traffic areas.
    • Overhead Patio Heaters are less visually intrusive.
    • They provide more targeted heat.
    • Overhead heaters are more energy and cost-efficient than free-standing heaters.

    Best Overhead Commercial Patio Heaters

    When it comes to choosing the best overhead commercial heaters there are a few things you want to look at:

    • Heating power and efficiency;
    • Heat control options;
    • Corrosion resistance;
    • Clearance requirements;
    • Safety.

    Best commercial-grade overhead heaters that score high on all of the above criteria are:

    Calcana High Output Gas Patio Heater

    Calcana High Output Stainless Steel Gas Patio Heater is a sleek and sophisticated outdoor heater. Powered by propane or natural gas, this infrared heater can work in high altitude and is not affected by the wind. 

    • More warmth (up to 75000 BTUs) with 40% less fuel, save gas and money with this efficient heater.
    • The only gas heater that has temperature control without open flames or glowing red parts.
    • Stainless steel construction (304 or 316 marine grade) for a durable, corrosion-resistant, and low maintenance outdoor heater.
    • Low clearance to combustibles, this heater can be installed in tight spaces where other heaters can’t.
    • Made in USA. 100% safety control, this patio heater meets or exceeds CSA safety and performance standards in the US and Canada.

    The heater can be fueled by Natural Gas or Liquid Propane.

    Learn more: Calcana High Output Stainless Steel Patio Heater

    Infratech 61" WD Series Infrared Electric Heater

    Infratech WD Series heater is a classic stainless steel dual-element patio heater that can be installed anywhere you want. This infrared electric heater produces 6000 Watts of infrared heat covering an 11' x 11' area and works well with almost any control option even smart home systems.

    • Great heat output and coverage for an electric heater: 6000 Watts and 11' x 11' Heat Coverage.
    • Variety of control options: from duplex stack switches with high/low heat to more advanced controllers with more features. For Sleep Timer, temperature control, and other control options, get an Analog Controller, Universal Control, or a Home Management System for smart home integration.
    • 304 Stainless Steel Construction.
    • No clearance restrictions can even be recessed into the ceiling using an optional flush mount kit.
    • Made in USA. UL Listed for Indoor and Outdoor due to low clearance requirements.

    Learn more: Infratech 61" WD Series Electric Heater

    Also available in sizes: 33" and 39" long.

    Bromic Overhead Heaters

    When it comes to looks, Bromic is definitely a leader in the patio heater industry.

    Many commercial locations choose bromic heaters because of their looks and easy wireless controls. Bromic heaters are average when it comes to performance. They meet all the safety standards in the US and Canada, however, they are made overseas.

    • Industry-average heat output. Efficient infrared heat.
    • Easy wireless control options including wireless dimmer for electric models.
    • Stainless Steel construction.
    • Standard clearances. Electric models can be recessed/flush-mounted.

    Learn more: Bromic Patio Heaters

    Types of Fuel for Commercial Patio Heaters

    Understanding differences between the types of fuel available for patio heaters gives you an insight into the type that works best for your space.

    • Natural Gas

    Natural Gas is the most common and economical type of fuel used for patio heaters. Many free-standing, permanent post, and wall/ceiling mounted heaters run on natural gas, which, once it is on, just keeps on flowing. Natural gas heaters are more powerful and can heat up larger areas. The downside of Natural Gas is the higher cost of heaters, more expensive installation, and higher clearance requirements. Patio Heaters fueled by Natural Gas cannot be installed indoors without proper venting like for example Calcana Standard Output Heaters.

    • Propane

    Propane patio heaters are pretty easy to use and come with the same benefit as natural gas when it comes to strong heat outputs plus the benefit of mobility and. The downside is that you do have to refill or replace that propane tank whenever it’s empty and the cost of Propane is a bit higher than that of Natural Gas. However, if you don't have access to Natural Gas and are looking to heat large areas or if portability is what you need - Propane Patio Heaters could be a great option.

    • Electricity

    Patio heaters that run on electricity are convenient to use in any space. They have lower clearance requirements, sleeker design and can even be recessed into a ceiling. Electric patio heaters don't produce any harmful emissions and can safely be installed indoors. They are over 90% efficient and are cheaper to buy and install than their gas competitors. However, there are two downsides to electric heaters. First, they are not as powerful as gas heaters. And second, you need to have access to electricity in order to use them. 

    Buying Guide

    Features and factors to consider when choosing Commercial Patio Heaters and Why they are Important.

    •  Material

    People often overlook the type of material when choosing the style of a patio heater. But, it is one of the most important to consider in some cases.

    A good example: if you have a restaurant in the coastal region, most metals and wood might not last a long time. Such an environment, therefore, requires sturdy materials that can withstand the moist conditions. An excellent choice is marine-grade stainless steel. This metal can resist corrosion in salt-water environments.

    Choose a Patio Heaters made with Marine Grade Steel for coastal locations.

    •  Wind Resistance

    This factor does not mean the heater will not tip over in windy conditions. It is a measure of how well the heater warms the area when there is a breeze. Infrared heaters have higher wind resistance since they warm objects rather than the surrounding air. One of the best heaters for windy conditions is Calcana High Output Patio Heater.

    • Anti-tilt Feature

    This feature is a must-check with free standing heaters. It is a safety element that prevents any accidents once a heater tips over. In the event a heater tilts, it switches off automatically.

    It is a crucial feature to consider, especially when looking for a heater to use in high-traffic spaces. Most high-quality commercial heaters will have this feature but double-check to make sure. 

    • Controls

    Free standing heaters have controls mounted on the units. If you choose wall or ceiling mounted heaters, for most models there are additional options to choose from. When you are shopping for a heater, consider the control options available.

    Some overhead heaters, like Calcana and some models of Sunpak Gas Heaters, come with wall control panels - one per heater, so you don't need to worry about buying additional controls.

    Other overhead heaters like Bromic and Infratech have multiple control options from standard ON / OFF to wireless dimmers and smart home integration, all of them sold separately.

    Depending on the needs at hand, you can select what works best for your space. 

    • Heat Control

    How important is it to control the heat output? If heat control is not an issue and all you want is to turn the heaters ON and OFF, then you have plenty of options. 

    However, once you start getting more particular with controlling the heat output of your heater(s) your options become more and more narrow.

    Most free standing patio heaters will have a dial that allows you to control the heat intensity. However, most permanent post heaters don't offer that option.

    For overhead heaters, most electric units allow you to control the temperature via various control options.

    When it comes to overhead gas heaters, Hi-Low temperature options is the most of what the majority of the brands have to offer. The outlier here is Calcana that offers complete temperature control over their overhead gas patio heaters. 

    • Coverage Area

    Patio heaters indicate how much area they can cover but it is only approximate. It is important to note that weather conditions affect the coverage area for most units.

    If you need help deciding on how many heaters you need for your particular project, reach out to our expert at support@patiofever.com and we will draw up a plan for you.

    Factors to Consider when Choosing the Best Commercial Patio Heaters

    Here, you will learn the factors you should keep in mind before purchasing a commercial patio heater.

    Functionality

    How functional is the heater in your space? You want to choose a heater that can distribute heat well. If you have a large outdoor space without any gas or electric lines nearby, then free-standing propane heaters might be the best.

    On the other hand, if you are looking to heat a patio a wall/ceiling mounted or tabletop heater is suitable. The idea is to evaluate the space you have and the suitability of the specific heater you choose.

    Let’s say you get a free-standing heater for your restaurant. Do you have enough space to fit more units? Will the units cause obstructions? How will the units affect the traffic? These are some of the questions you should ask yourself before you settle on a heater.

    Environment

    When choosing a patio heater you need to consider the environment you are planning to put it in.

    For example, not all heaters work well in high altitudes. Some of our customers have experienced issues with Bromic heaters not performing well in Denver, CO area due to elevations. From our experience, Calcana Heaters are a good choice for high altitude conditions.

    Low temperatures can be another obstacle. Calcana Heaters are winning in these conditions again as they are certified to –40F weather conditions

    Preference

    Your preference might come in the way of functionality when choosing a heater. But, it is an essential factor to consider. The type of heater you choose has to match the space and complement the theme.

    Installation and Use

    Installation of overhead or permanent post heaters is definitely more complex and requires professionals. However, once these heaters are installed there is nothing else you need to do but to turn them on. With free-standing models, next to no installation is required but you might need to put them in and out of storage all the time and keep replenishing propane tanks.

    Safety

    It is essential to ensure the type of heater you choose is safe in the space. If you intend to install wall/ceiling-mounted heaters, then you should consider a safe height and whether you are installing them indoors or outdoors. With free-standing models and tabletop designs, consider those that come with the anti-tilt feature for safety. Also, ensure there is enough room to move around them to prevent accidents.

    Maintenance

    You want to keep maintenance costs at a minimum. Gas heaters might need servicing once in a while to enhance functionality. On this note, you might need to check the hose connections to ensure there are no leaks. On the other hand, electric heaters require little to no maintenance, therefore suitable for regular use.

    Cost

    What is your budget? The amount of money you have at hand and how long you plan to use your heater(s) for will determine the type of heater you choose. 

    Gas heaters are relatively cheaper to operate but come at a high installation cost. It makes sense to get gas if you need to heat larger areas in lower temperatures and are planning on using them over a long period of time.

    Electric heaters on the other hand, are lower in price than gas models but you might need to get more of them to heat the same area and the cost of electricity usually is higher than the cost of gas.

    Bottom Line 

    Patio heaters are beneficial to any entertaining outdoor space. They are available in different styles to suit various areas. With a couple of factors in mind, you can get the best model and enhance your patio. Click here to shop commercial patio heaters. 

    We hope this article was helpful in figuring out which commercial patio heaters are the best. It’s our goal not just to provide the best patio heaters, but also the best advice. Please don't hesitate to reach out to us, our Patio Heater Experts are always happy to help: Contact us

    So, were there any burning questions we failed to address? Is there anything else we should add? Let us know! Leave us a line in the comments, and we’ll do our best to follow up.


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