If you’re in the market for a patio heater, the sheer number of options can seem intimidating. Between propane, natural gas, and electric patio heaters, there’s a lot to choose from.
Today, we’ll be talking about the best electric patio heaters on the market. Because different people will need different heaters to meet their needs, there’s no single best option for everybody. So we’re going to start by talking about different types of outdoor heaters, and why an electric patio heater might be your best choice. After that, we’ll talk about the different features you should be looking for.
Let’s get started!
There are three types of outdoor heaters based on fuel type: propane, natural gas, and electric. So, why might you choose an electric heater over a different type? It depends on what you’re looking for. Here’s a quick look at each type of patio heater, and what it’s good and bad for.
Propane patio heaters have a liquid propane tank, similar to a propane grill. This makes them easy to set up. All you need is a propane tank and a regulator, and you’re ready to go. The only downside is that you’ll typically want to keep two sets of propane tanks on hand, just in case you run out of gas.
You might also need to install a permanent line for wall or ceiling-mounted heaters. But in most cases, propane heaters are designed to be portable.
Natural gas patio heaters come in several different varieties. They can be free-standing like propane heaters but a more popular set up would be wall-mounted or ceiling mounted. The one thing they all have in common is that they’re in a fixed location because they’re tied into a natural gas line.
This is a good and a bad thing. On the one hand, it costs less over time than a propane heater and you don't have to remember to constantly buy more fuel. On the other hand, it isn’t very portable, and you’ll need a professional installation.
Electric patio heaters can either be hardwired or plugged directly into a standard outlet. This means that they can be portable, like propane heaters, or fixed in a specific location, like natural gas heaters. But there’s a tradeoff involved in this choice.
A plug-in electric patio heater can be built with several different designs, which we’ll talk about in a moment. Generally speaking, they’re designed to be portable. However, their power is limited to your wall socket’s 120 volts.
To get more power, you’ll need a hardwired heater. These can either be built as pedestals or more commonly attached to a wall or ceiling. Hardwired heaters aren’t portable, and require professional installation. That said, they offer significantly more heating power than plug-in heaters.
Electric heaters use infrared or halogen light to project heat, which is over 90% efficient, more environmentally-friendly than propane or natural gas, and cost very close to natural gas to operate (this depends on electricity and gas rates in your area).
Electric heaters don’t require ventilation. You can use them in an indoor space as needed. If you need to heat a barn or a ballroom in the dead of winter, they’re a safe, affordable option.
With electric heaters, you don't have to sacrifice the look of your space. Electric heaters are more discrete and some models can even be recessed into the ceiling making them virtually invisible.
Finally, electric heaters require less maintenance and cost much less than gas heaters which is a huge plus.
If you’ve decided to invest in an electric patio heater, you’ll first need to choose the installation style you want. In general, electric patio heaters come in two main installation styles: free-standing, and wall or ceiling-mounted many of which can also be mounted on a poll. Let’s take a quick look at each of them.
Free-standing heaters can stand alone on the ground or on a table. Most models simply plug into a standard household outlet making these heaters super-easy to install and ready to use right out of the box.
Overhead electric heaters are popular as a more permanent solution. They don't take up any floor space and are very discrete, some models can even be recessed into the ceiling preserving the style of your decor. These heaters also have versatile control options allowing you to fully control the temperature and even connect them to your smart home.
Overhead electric patio heaters need to be hardwired in by a licensed electrician. Even though the installation is a little more complicated than with free standing models, these heaters are more powerful because the Voltage (and hence the power output) can be increased with the hardwired installation.
So, what makes each type of electric space heater unique? We’ve put together a handy list.
Free-standing electric heaters:
Wall and ceiling-mounted electric heaters:
Now that we’ve taken a broad overview, let’s take a look at what each type of patio heater is best suited for. Since we know what we’re looking at, this should be easy.
To sum everything up, you can decide on which electric heater is right for you by following these three steps.
And the last important step determines the convenience of operation. You want to decide what kind of control you are looking to have over your heater(s) is it a simple On / Off with just one heat setting, full temperature control, or full-blown smart home integration?
There are a few other features that are important when choosing your electric heater. So, what else should you be looking for?
One important feature to look for in any patio heater is safety. To find the safest choice, make sure your electric heater is UL Listed or ETL Approved. These are industry-standard ratings that ensure that a heater has been tested for safety. All models by the top brands of electric patio heaters like Infratech, Bromic, Victory, and Endless Summer are UL Listed.
Depending on what you need, you may be looking for a heater that’s purely utilitarian. Conversely, you may want a heater that lends a dash of flair to your patio. Bromic overhead heaters and Endless Summer tabletop heaters are an excellent choice if you’re going for looks.
Another important consideration is the type of heat you want, infrared or halogen. Halogen heat is slightly more powerful but it produces a bright light that can be distracting and intrusive. Infrared heat is more efficient and infrared heaters only create a mild glow that is barely noticeable.
You’ll also want to check your owner’s manual to see what kind of clearance you’ll need. For example, your manual will tell you how far your heating element should be from flammable materials like deck umbrellas.
For most outdoor patio heaters, cleaning is easy. All you need to do is wipe down all exposed surfaces with water and a mild household cleanser. You can use a damp cloth or paper towel, and the process will be done in mere minutes.
Electric patio heaters require minimal maintenance. This is one key advantage they have over propane heaters. That said, make sure your power cords are protected if they’re in a high-traffic area.
At Patio Fever, we provide outdoor space heaters from several major brands. Here are a few of the brands we’re about to look at:
No matter what your patio heating needs, Patio Fever has got you covered. With our wide selection of electric patio heaters and accessories, you’ll easily be able to find just about anything you need. From the smallest residential heater to the largest commercial heater, we’re here to serve your needs.
We hope our guide was helpful. 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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