The prospect of heating a garden might seem fruitless but patio heating is far more effective than you may realise. The reason outdoor heaters work so well is because they use a more direct form of heating – there’s no reliance on convection to deliver warmth, these products project heat straight to where it’s needed. The reason they’re able to keep you toasty despite the occasional gust of wind is all because of infrared, so if you’re still not convinced, read on to find out why these heaters are so effective outside…
How do outdoor heaters work?
All outdoor patio heaters – whether they’re fire pits, electric heaters or gas – use infrared radiant heat to produce warmth. Radiant heat is nothing new; it’s emitted by any hot object, so in essence, we’ve been using it for centuries with our bar fires, stoves and underfloor heating. But what exactly is it? Infrared is part of the electromagnetic spectrum, just like natural light and radio waves. At one end of the scale we have longwave infrared, which is the gentlest form of infrared emitted by radiators and infrared panels; and at the other end we have shortwave infrared, which is used by patio heaters to deliver a stronger form of warmth. Unlike convection, which is used in many traditional home heating systems, radiation doesn’t require air as a medium to transfer warmth. In the same way the heat from the sun is able to travel though the cold expanse of space to our planet, the warmth created by a patio heater will continue to travel through the air until it comes into contact with a solid object. That’s why you can still feel the heat from a fire when you’re stood outside, despite any chilly breezes! The direct nature of radiant heat, coupled with the intensity of shortwave infrared, is why outdoor heaters work so effectively.
Are electric outdoor heaters better than other forms of patio heating?
Each form of outdoor heating comes with its own unique appeal: you might like the elemental heat of a fire pit or a chimenea, or if you prefer flames but with less of the mess, gas heaters are a popular alternative. The big draw of electric, however, is the instant and convenient heat it can provide, as well as its more efficient form of heating. Once your outdoor electric heater is plugged in or wired into the mains, the most effort you need to expend to enjoy instant warmth is flicking a switch or pressing a button. Gas and solid fuel heaters often look appealing at first glance but few people realise just how much effort they are to prepare and maintain. Sourcing fuel is just the tip of the iceberg – solid fuel heaters need a lot of hands-on preparation to get the fire going and maintain the flame, whereas gas heaters require regular maintenance to ensure they’re safe. Neither of these types of patio heaters are very user-friendly for a first-timer, so for complete convenience, it’s a better bet to go electric.
Improved Efficiency with Electric
Electric patio heaters aren’t just the best choice when it comes to being a convenient and low maintenance solution, they’re also much more efficient at point of use compared to any fuel burning alternatives. Combustion is inefficient no matter what fuel you use, and though you may create a good amount of heat from burning gas or wood, you’ll always be producing a sizeable amount of waste by-products in the process. With electric outdoor heaters, you can be sure that all of the electricity you use is converted into effective warmth, and what’s more, it’s converted into radiant heat only. That’s right – gas heaters and solid fuel burners also lose some of their warmth to the surrounding air, making them less efficient compared to their electric counterparts. On a cool day, it’ll be radiant heat that makes the difference, so in this regard, electric patio heaters are the clear choice.
Which types of electric outdoor heater work the best?
The electric outdoor heaters people are most familiar with are quartz heaters, also known as halogen heaters or low-glare heaters. These patio heaters emit shortwave infrared – the strongest form of infrared – which is perfect for outdoor heating, particularly in areas that are quite chilly and prone to more air movement. Though the levels of light they emit aren’t to everyone’s tastes, they’re certainly the most effective for on-demand heating and you’ll be able to feel their warmth the second they’re switched on. As their vigorous heat is designed to offset cooler temperatures, their warmth can eventually start to feel overwhelming over longer periods. We highly recommend purchasing products that have staged levels of output, such as our Ecostrad Sunglo, so you can switch to a lower heat setting on warmer days and save energy. If you find the warmth from a halogen heater is too intense, ultra-low glare or no glare products can make a suitable alternative, but as they produce a gentler form of warmth, they’ll need a little more care when it comes to placement.
Effective Outdoor Heating at Your Fingertips
Outdoor patio heaters work extremely well because of their direct form of heating, and with an electric solution, you’ll find them easy-to-use and convenient to boot! We have a wealth of effective patio heating solutions for home gardens and businesses, so whatever outdoor space you’re looking to heat, we’re sure to have the perfect product.