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Choosing the best patio heater can be quite a bit intimidating because there are just so many kinds to choose from. In truth, one really can be electric, gas, or wood-fired and still be a formidable competitor with the best outdoor fire pits. You just need to know what to look out for before spending your hard-earned dollars. In this article, we'll take a look at some of the key factors you should consider before settling on any particular type of outdoor patio heater.
The first thing you should consider is how powerful your patio heater is. This will directly affect its heat output, which will directly affect how much heat it can give off and how long it will last. For instance, on the low end of the scale you have small, compact units that can manage to put out a warm glow for about twenty minutes per session. While these are adequate for most situations, they don't have the same output power as those that are a couple of or three times its size. The best are in the mid-sized range, with about one thousand Btu's for a medium-size unit to four hundred Btu's for a large heater.
Another important aspect of gas patio heater power is the source of its power. While most people choose their heater based on how much heat they plan to put out, not all models are created equal. For example, while most propane heaters are powered by a small gasoline engine, some are powered by natural gas and even others by diesel. Before settling on a model based on energy output, you should factor in the cost of replacing the fuel source to get your heater to perform up to its potential.
It is also very important to understand the BTU's of each model you are considering and determine if your patio heater will be able to maintain that level of output for your needs. The BTU's, which is the abbreviated term for British Thermal Units, are the standard measurement for how much heat a gas appliance releases. The higher the BTU's, the greater the amount of heat is released from the burner.
One of the best patio heater options available is a wood-burning unit. While many people opt for this type because it produces less smoke, many also find it to be the most efficient way to provide warmth outdoors. The main consideration when choosing a wood outdoor heater is the kind of wood used in the product. In order to burn wood efficiently, you need a tightly sealed space in which to operate the wood.
For this reason, the best patio heater options often come with a chimney. These units offer an efficient way to heat a large surface area and the ability to vent out any excess gases that are produced. Another key highlights to consider are the size and overall design of the product. Most freestanding models are relatively small, while the table top and standalone freestanding units are larger. The larger models are designed to provide more square footage of coverage, while being able to fit better in outdoor spaces.
When considering the gas patio heater options, you need to also consider the BTU's they produce. The BTU, or British Thermal Unit, is the standard measurement of how much heat a gas appliance releases. You can compare different brands by looking at the numbers on the packaging to get an idea of how energy efficient the unit is. Be sure to note the BTU's, as well as the BTU's per BTW. Compare the differences between the models that offer the best BTU's in order to select the one with the best overall performance.
In addition to a gas patio heater, you also have the option of purchasing a propane patio heater. The propane models offer similar heat output as the gas models, however they do have a few different safety features to consider before using them. The propane heaters are equipped with a safety cut-off switch that cuts off the power if the tank gets too full, as well as a signal that it is time to refill the tank. It is best to follow the manufacturer's instructions, but all propane heaters feature a safety cut-off switch, an extinguisher, and a flame arrestor.