How should I choose a patio heater? What elements should I consider?

When the cold arrives, the terraces are emptied, unless they acclimatize properly. But it is important to know how to choose the type of stove that best suits the needs of each terrace.

Whether it is the terrace of a local bar or restaurant, or if it is for the porch of a terrace of a private house, there are several factors to consider: the most common questions are: Should I buy electric or gas heaters? What heating power do i need?


Let's start by describing the different types of outdoor heater and which one is better for my installation:

- Electric heaters with light or without radiant light

The first thing to decide when buying an outdoor stove is whether the stoves are to be electric or gas. In general, if we have enough electrical power (see below: what stove power do I need?) And ease to take the electrical installation to the points we want to heat, the electrical option will be the most practical. Since this does not depend on the gas supply and we will not need to store gas cylinders in the premises.

In the case of not having enough contracted power for the placement of electric stoves, we must assess the following before increasing the power: the cost of the contracted power becomes an annual expense (not only for the months in which it will be needed heating) so it should be assessed if necessary.

Although electric stoves are suitable for outdoor use, it is recommended that they always be placed under cover.

Ejemplos de estufas de terraza de gas y eléctricas

- Gas stoves or gas patio heaters

On the contrary, if the electric stove option is not possible (because of the contracted power, the type of installation available, or because of the distance or the ability to take the power cable to the points to be heated), the stove option Gas will be the most practical. Gas stoves can move freely. Most models of outdoor gas stoves carry wheels, which facilitates their placement at any point. The market of gas stoves has evolved from the classic crown or mushroom type stove, to gas stoves that simulate wood burning fireplaces, through pyramid-shaped stoves or low-crown gas stoves. The latter having very good reception in the market since it has no limitations with the installed awnings.


How should we distribute the heaters on the terrace? What power will I need to heat my terrace?


The heating power required does not depend on the type of heat (electric or gas). Both options can provide the necessary power for a cozy environment.


Here is an image of how to place the patio heaters:

Ejemplo de colocación de las estufas de exterior

As a rule, a gas heater has a power, depending on the model between 10 and 13kw (13kw equals 11,200 kcal / h). This allows heating a terrace with an area of ​​20 to 30 m2, depending on the outside temperature and the protection against the wind.


For an electric heater, placed 2.2 meters high (recommended height) we should consider approximately 250 to 300 watts per m2, depending on the outside temperatures in the area and, again, wind protection.

Other features of outdoor stoves

We have already seen the 2 most important aspects when choosing a terrace heater. From here, the selection of a stove model or another depends on other invoices such as price, but also other features that will help us select the one that best suits our installation:

the aesthetics of the stove (the shape of the heater, the color of the stove so that it is in line with the rest of the outdoor furniture), the type of activation of the outdoor stove, which can be by Switch or Radiant electric heater with remote control, the incorporation of power regulation in the heater (being able to turn on the heater in medium powers when the weather or the time of day permits), etc.


We must also check if the stove we like carries or does not have wheels (most models have wheels on the bottom to facilitate its movement inside the terrace or to store it.


In case of electric heater, why are there 2 types: stoves with light and without light? What are heaters without light?

Recently, radiant electric heaters, popularly called lightless heaters, have been introduced to the market, since they do not emit orange light. In this case, which one is better for my terrace, the heater with light or without light? Surely, the answer is not unique, but only one system would exist. We explain below the differences between both systems can be summarized in a few points:


- Quick start: the infrared light heating system is faster than radiant electric heating systems.

- Performance: We have already seen that the system without light is slower to start and reach the desired temperature, but this point is interesting in cases that you need to heat an area for a very short time (for example, the porch of a house while we take the coffee). In general, the premises have heated areas for long hours, so the performance can become a key aspect when choosing the heater, since the light consumption will be lower. In general, lightless heaters have 35% more performance, since it transforms 96% of energy into medium-wave heat, which is perfect for providing comfort in outdoor environments: radiant heat is absorbed by the bodies and objects, instead of getting lost in the air.

- Aesthetics: Against personal or aesthetic preferences, there are tastes for everything. In general, architects and interior designers prefer to place radiant stoves without light since they are better integrated into the decoration.

- Price: We have left it for the last point, although it always ends up being the most used criteria to choose a product. Radiant heaters have, today, prices higher than their infrared equivalents at the same power. Therefore, if the arguments of performance or aesthetics are not decisive in the case of your terrace, the option of infrared stoves, cheaper, will allow you to have a heated terrace with a smaller investment.

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