Longer evenings and smouldering sunsets mean it’s finally time to dust off your garden chairs and retreat to the patio. However, with the unpredictability of UK weather, having a robust heating system in place is an absolute must. So, when it comes to outdoor heaters, what are the options? From flexible installation choices to different types of infrared warmth, we’ll be breaking down all the variations available, to ensure you make the best possible purchase for your exterior. Before we get into it, let’s first understand how infrared patio heaters work and why they’re the best choice for heating outdoor settings.
How do infrared patio heaters work?
Infrared patio heaters convert electricity into infrared radiant heat – a harmless type of warmth that sits on the electromagnetic spectrum. Every kind of radiation travels in waves, with each wave possessing a different level of intensity – the intensity you choose depends entirely on your outdoor space (size, sheltered/exposed etc.). Versatility aside, infrared radiant heat is 100% natural. In fact, it’s the same kind of warmth you feel from the mellow sun on your skin on a chilly evening or the comforting glow of a campfire. Not only is it completely safe, but it also energy-efficient, with warmth absorbed directly by people, objects and surfaces, instead of the surrounding air. This way, heat isn’t easily lost to the wind, making it a great choice for breezy exterior settings.
Why electric patio heaters are ideal for outdoor use
When it comes to keeping exteriors toasty, durable radiant warmth is undoubtedly the main benefit of infrared patio heaters. Marking a departure from traditional gas or oil heaters which only warm the air, these electric solutions provide an efficient and effective alternative. Besides heat transfer, there is a whole host of advantages that makes these heaters ideal for the outdoors, such as:
- Weatherproof IP ratings: all infrared patio heaters come with a suitable IP rating that means they’re safe for outdoor use, so you can maintain ambient heat levels without the worry.
- Flexible installation: freestanding & wall-mounted options offers versatility when it comes to installation, so you can choose a portable heater for adaptability or a more permanent fitting for areas that are frequently in use.
- Silent solutions: outdoor spaces that demand serenity will benefit from quiet infrared heaters that don’t feature a disruptive fan.
- Zero-maintenance: with no gas or moving parts, these heaters come with a no maintenance guarantee, eliminating the time and money involved in upkeep.
- Stylish options: ideal for commercial and domestic settings alike, these heating solutions come in a vast array of chic finishes and elegant designs, so you can cherry pick an appliance that best complements your exterior design scheme.
Infrared patio heaters – the options
So, now that we understand how infrared patio heaters work and why they make ideal outdoor heaters, it’s time to take a closer look at the various options available. In this section, we’ll be unpacking the different levels of heat intensity at play as well as the two main installation types, so you can easily choose a heater that best suits your space.
1. Shortwave heat
Shortwave heat or near infrared is produced by a heat lamp and delivers an immense level of warmth. They provide high intensity and quick warm-up times whilst being the least affected by the surrounding air. Halogen heaters, quartz heaters and tungsten heaters are all examples of shortwave infrared patio heaters.
Best suited to: exposed areas, as well smaller domestic/commercial exteriors & sheltered spaces such as restaurant terraces and pergolas. Using multiple shortwave infrared heaters is recommended when it comes to warming larger locations.
Top Product – Ecostrad Solaglo
The Solaglo offers the very finest in strong, fast-acting warmth. Delivering a robust 2000w output, this heater is ideal for smaller spaces that require powerful and highly responsive radiant heat. Built with a gold coated bulb and special reflectors, the Solaglo also provides any exterior with soothing lighting, to enhance the ambience of your setting. Plus, this infrared patio heater comes with a weatherproof IP65 protection rating, certifying it as dust-tight and water-resistant, for complete peace of mind.
2. Mediumwave heat
Intended for continuous use, these heaters provide vigorous yet gentle radiant warmth, making them a prime choice for exteriors that are used for long periods of time. Constructed with sturdy carbon filaments, their bulbs are long-lasting and offer discreet, low-glare lighting.
Best suited to: Semi-exposed settings that require greater coverage, such as sheltered and standard sized spaces – draught-prone garden rooms, garden gazebos and restaurant courtyards are all prime examples.
Top Product – Ecostrad Cirrus
If your exterior needs an all-day heating solution, look no further than the Ecostrad Cirrus. Besides its comfortable and enduring radiant warmth, the Cirrus offers user-friendly heat management, with its remote control letting you choose from 3 different heat settings. With this handy feature, you can easily adjust your outdoor heating so it aligns perfectly with weather conditions, all from the comfort of your garden chair. The Cirrus is also equipped with a set and forget 1-9 hour timer function – ideal for those wanting to schedule warmth in advance.
3. Longwave heat
Longwave warmth can be found at the opposite side of the spectrum to shortwave, offering ultra-low-level intensity. The ultimate heaters for all-day use, this type of warmth is easily absorbed by our skin, for soothing heat that lasts. They are fitted with ceramic heating elements instead of a bulb, passing electricity through heat retentive ceramic plates that deliver a slow yet durable release of warmth.
Best suited to: Open plan commercial & industrial settings, such as shopping centres and loading bays. They are also suited to large & lofty interiors, such as factories, warehouses and garden workshops.
Top Product – Herschel Advantage
With no light and no glare, the Herschel Advantage is as unobtrusive as it effective. Available in 1300w or 1950w, you can select a version that perfectly matches the size of your space. Producing mellow longwave infrared, this heater is an excellent choice for airy spaces, such as domestic warehouses, garages and renovated sheds, as well as commercial showrooms and venues. You can even pair it with a tech-savvy Herschel iQ thermostatic controller, which offers WiFi app-based heat management and precise thermostatic control.
A freestanding infrared patio heater can be attached to a compatible stand and moved around freely, for exceptional adaptability. Fully portable, these heaters can be positioned where heat is needed most, such as your seating area or workstation. DIY-friendly, simply attach the heater to the stand and plug it into a socket with a suitable IP rating. Plus, most of these heaters allow for wall or ceiling mounting too, so you have the freedom to change your mind if you need permanent fitting later down the line. It’s worth noting that if you’re planning on using multiple freestanding heaters, you should consult with a qualified electrician beforehand to ensure you have a suitable supply.
Best suited to: Any suitable outdoor location
Top Product – Ecostrad Thermaglo
This sophisticated mediumwave infrared heater can be purchased with the Ecostrad patio heater stand to enable portable outdoor heating. The Thermaglo also comes with an ultra-low glare promise, so you can discreetly position it in frequently used spaces like your seating area without the worry of harsh lighting. Complete with a 4-stage power output, timer and LED display, the Thermaglo also offers exceptional heat management with a slick contemporary design to boot.
5. Wall mounted
Wall mounted infrared patio heaters can be fixed to walls and awnings to provide a more permanent type of fitting in domestic and commercial environments. Whilst a contractor is required for hardwiring, this quick and simple task doesn’t require expensive fees or time-consuming call-outs, so your heating will be up and running in no time at all.
Best suited to: Any suitable exterior/interior location – especially for those keen to save-space and safeguard small children from their outdoor heating system.
Top Product – Stratus
Slick, sophisticated and intuitive – meet the Stratus infrared patio heater. Easy-to-install, the Stratus comes with handy wall-mounting brackets to make professional installation that much quicker and more straightforward. In terms of controllability, the Stratus is a cut above the rest thanks to its colour coded touchscreen display, which lets you easily monitor and adjust outdoor warmth. Customise your heating by making use of its 24-hour timer, for maximum energy-saving and personalisation.
Browse our versatile range now
So, whichever level of heat intensity you require, you’ll find an infrared patio heater that fits the bill. Once you’ve decided which type of infrared best matches your space, you can then start to consider your preferred installation type – after that, handpicking your ideal heater is simple. From convenient timers to different heat outputs, our extensive collection of patio heaters offers something for everyone – browse our full range today.