What to Look for When Buying a Restaurant Patio Heater

If your restaurant, bar or cafe has an outdoor area by providing heat during spring and autumn you can increase the number of covers and grow your profits. Since covid-19 there has been a massive swing towards people using their outdoor living space. When choosing a patio heater for your commercial property there are a number of factors to consider – fuel type, heat output, performance, maintenance and operation.

Patio Heater Performance

One of the main factors which affects patio heater performance is wind resistance. What does wind resistance mean? It doesn’t mean that patio heaters won’t tip over in a strong wind – it is how well a patio heater warms the surrounding area when there is a slight breeze. Typically, electric infrared heaters have better wind resistance because they work by warming objects rather than the air. Units with greater wind resistance will also operate more efficiently, meaning they will cost you less to operate. They use less energy to provide the same amount of heat to the surrounding area.

Traditional gas pyramid or umbrella patio heaters and electric patio heaters (non-infrared) may require more energy to heat the area. Also, non-infrared electric heaters may lose their effectiveness more quickly when the breeze starts because they work by warming the air. If your patio is usually affected by a breeze, you might need to use additional patio heaters to make up for the heat loss caused by the movement of the air.

Patio Heater Coverage Area

The BTU rating, power rating or wattage of a patio heater can sometimes be an indication of how much area it can cover, but this is not always the case. Some patio heaters operate more efficiently than others, so one of the most important things to be aware of is a unit’s coverage area as listed in its specification sheet and user manual. You can also find the coverage area for most units listed on their product pages, too. Keep in mind that weather conditions will affect the actual coverage area of a patio heater.

Stages for Patio Heaters – Do you need more heat during some seasons than others? You might need a little bit of heat during summer months and more during the spring and fall. This is where models with different numbers of stages come in handy.

If you need just a little heat during the day and more at night, two stage units are a great option. While they may be more expensive than single stage models and require special controls, a two stage patio heater lets you turn the unit on to either half power or full power. Not only does the half power option save energy, but it also provides the operator with greater control over the climate in an outdoor space.

Single stage units, either in gas or electric, are always either fully on or fully off. When you turn on the patio heater, it will come on with its full power. And when you turn it off, it will shut down completely. The single stage patio heater is a great option for many locations where you need a consistent amount of heat throughout the patio season.

Quartz Infrared Halogen Heaters include infrared short wave technology and provide high intensity radiant heat, similar to sunshine from the sun. This type of electric heater is ideal for space heating, whereas standard halogen heaters are not designed for heating large areas. Short wave infrared heaters are more energy efficient than most types of halogen heaters, with 92% of the energy being emitted as heat and directly heating the objects and people in the area, not the air around them.

Read more Outdoor Heating Guides – Patio Heating Explained