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Whether it’s for your restaurant patio or your backyard veranda, an outdoor patio heater provides comfort to your outdoor space, allowing you to enjoy the benefits of being outside in the fresh air no matter the season.

With all the available options, it can be hard to know which is the right one for your space. In this post, you’ll learn the differences between the various types of outdoor heaters for sale to help you come to the right decision for you. But before getting into the details and differences between the types of outdoor patio heaters, let’s take a look at how they work in the first place.

How do Outdoor Heaters Work?

The most effective outdoor heaters for sale are the ones that use infrared light to create warmth. Infrared light is light from a part of the spectrum that is invisible to the human eye. When we’re outside and are being warmed by the sunshine, even in cold temperatures, we are feeling the effects of infrared light/heat (also known as “radiant heat.”) It warms us up as the light is absorbed by our skin and clothing.

Infrared outdoor heaters use this light to directly heat people and objects without producing harmful UV radiation that comes from the sun. By contrast, other heaters warm the air in a space which, in turn, warms the people and objects in that space. This is a much less efficient heating method as it heats up an area instead of the objects in that area and is impractical for outdoor spaces as the warmed air dissipates and must continually be replenished.

There are three main types of infrared outdoor heaters for sale: gas, propane and electric.

Natural Gas Powered Outdoor Patio Heaters

These outdoor heaters are installed on a natural gas line to generate the power they need to operate. Natural gas is relatively cheap, but gas-powered heaters also produce emissions like carbon monoxide that are harmful to humans and the environment. Also, gas heaters are not portable because they are connected to a gas line and are only available in limited styles and mounting options (see below.)

Propane Outdoor Patio Heaters

Propane heaters were created to provide a portable solution to outdoor heating. They run on a propane tank that sits at the bottom of the heater. This creates a few concerns, however. First, you must always have a full, spare propane tank on hand in case it runs out. Second, because of the propane tank, these heaters also come in a limited number of styles (mostly pyramid-shaped, freestanding units.) Lastly, propane heaters also produce harmful emissions.

Electric Outdoor Patio Heaters

Electric heaters, on the other hand, are portable, cleaner, produce zero emissions, are safer to operate than gas or propane, come in a wide variety of sizes and styles, and many can be plugged into a regular outlet. The knock on electric heaters is that they cost more to run than gas or propane.

What are the Different Styles of Outdoor Patio Heaters

Outdoor patio heaters come in three basic designs:

● Freestanding.
● Tabletop.
● Ceiling or wall mounted.

Always check the manufacturer’s specifications on how large an area it can effectively heat before finally deciding on an outdoor heater for sale.