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If you’re in the market for a patio heater, there are several different options to choose from.
This includes electric patio heaters, which come in a few different varieties.
Finding the right patio heater will depend on a couple of key factors, so make sure to consider the pros and cons of each of the varieties detailed below.
Electric patio heater features
The electric patio heater is one of three types of patio heaters when grouped by fuel type.
There are also propane heaters and natural gas heaters available, but this comparison will be limited to the electric patio heaters.
Electric patio heaters are able to be hardwired or directly plugged into a regular outlet.
This gives them the ability to be either portable or fixed in one spot.
The plug in variety come in a few different designs with the portable features kept in mind.
One thing to note about these plug in heaters is that they have limited power since they are using the wall outlet’s 120 volts of electricity.
A hardwired heater will give you more power. These kinds of heaters can be pedestals or alternatively be attached to the ceiling or wall.
These kinds of heaters will require a professional to be installed and are not movable.
Clearly the tradeoff here is more power in exchange for less mobility.
These electric patio heaters project heat through infrared or halogen light.
This makes the electric patio heaters very efficient and they serve as a more environmentally-friendly option than the other options.
In fact, these kinds of heaters convert as much as 98% of their energy into heat through a process that is known as radiant heat.
There is no waste of energy on warming the air.
The wind also does not have an effect on this kind of heat.
These kinds of heaters also do not need to have ventilation.
They can be used indoors as well as the patio, and are easier to hide from vision.
The other good thing about electric heaters is that they do not need to be messed with as often as other kinds of heaters.
Overall, electric patio heaters are a good choice because they don’t need a large clearance and have excellent resistance to wind.
They also come with multiple heat settings. On the other hand, they can be expensive to operate.
Types of electric patio heaters
Electric patio heaters are installed in two different ways. This includes free standing and overhead models that are mounted on a wall or ceiling.
Each type certainly has its pros and cons.
Free standing heaters
Free standing heaters are able to stand on their own on a table or on the ground.
In general, these heaters are plugged directly into an outlet making the installation process incredibly easy.
These heaters are light in weight and can also be put away when needed.
There are a number of designs that are aesthetically pleasing and these types are made for areas that are small to medium size.
The amount of power these electric patio heaters output is moderate.
Be sure to note that the tabletop heaters are much smaller than the larger free standing ones.
These kinds of heaters use what is called directional heat, which will warm a specific area.
This is in contrast to the free standing patio heaters that heat in a circular region.
These kinds of heaters are a solid option for people who want to have a heater that is usable right away and don’t want to really do any drastic housework.
They are ideal for mid-sized patios and the tabletop versions can be quite handy for outdoor dining.
They are also very good for small outdoor parties, festivals and other gatherings and can emit heat up to 20 feet away from where they are placed.
The second variety is the overhead electric heater which more specifically includes models that are mounted to the ceiling, wall, umbrella or pole.
These kinds of heaters are often used because they are more permanent and are designed to be used in larger areas.
If you don’t have a good place to mount the electric heater on the wall or ceiling, these kinds of overhead heaters will also work on a pole or umbrella.
These types of overhead heaters are often divided into two different subcategories.
Mounted heaters are the aforementioned models that are found on the wall.
Hanging heaters are found on the ceiling.
Either way, they are both “overhead” hence the distinction.
They are also unobtrusive and do not use up any space on the floor. It is also possible to switch the temperatures of these heaters and you are even able to sync them with smart home technology.
These overhead electric patio heaters will require an electrician to install since they need to be hardwired.
This also means that they are more powerful than the free standing variety.
Some of these mounted heaters do have adjustable brackets, which allows you to move the heat around as you would like.
These kinds of heaters are good for people with very nice houses as well as businesses with a large outdoor patio.
They require more effort to install so if you are looking for a more serious electric patio heater this is the option for you.
Factors to consider
If you’re still unsure of which one of the types of electric patio heaters will make the most sense, consider a few things before making the decision.
- How do you want the electric heater to be installed? The first decision is to decide which of the two installation types you want. Is the heater going to be mounted on the wall, pole, ceiling, or umbrella or is it going to be free standing?
- How much heat do you want the heater to have? Once you have made that decision, consider the size of the area that you would like to have heated. Obviously, you may need to purchase multiple heaters if the area is fairly large.
- How much control do you want to have? The third thing to decide on is how much you want to be able to tweak the settings of the heater. Also, consider if you want your heater to be integrated with your smart home if you have one.
- Consider safety. In general electric heaters are fairly safe because they don’t actually emit actual flames. However, they can get very hot so it is important to take certain precautions. You will want to try to purchase patio heaters that have been UL approved and are also CSA tested. These are the standard certifications that mark a safe product.
- Maintenance needs. These kinds of patio heaters do not require a lot of maintenance in general. Just make sure that you keep all of the various power cords out of the way.
Overall, electric patio heaters are a great option for anyone trying to go the environmentally friendly route while also being able to choose between several unique options.
Be sure to shop around when looking for these items, especially if they are of the more permanent makeup.
Always consult the manufacturers instructions carefully for any product you elect to use.
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