Best 10 Commercial Patio Heaters
With the colder months approaching quickly and restaurant restrictions at an all-time high, it’s no wonder why many owners would want to stretch their capacity by any means necessary. By keeping the patio open, restaurants are still able to cater to their patrons without having to break any rules.
The best way to keep your patio open during the fall and winter months is to make sure your customers are comfortable while dining. Owning the best commercial patio heaters will entice customers to dine on the patio without having to bear cold winds and frigid temperatures.
Let’s go over what you need to look for when purchasing a new commercial patio heater as well as some of the different types available to you. We will also cover some of the best models available for purchase on the market today and which one may be the best fit for your restaurant patio.
Types of Commercial Patio Heaters
Essentially, commercial patio heaters are glorified space heaters. They are designed to expel an exponential amount of heat in their surrounding area. Most of the patio heaters use propane as a fuel source, but there are some that can be hardline into a natural gas line or use electricity to power the unit. For the most part, there are three different types of patio heaters.
Ceiling and Wall Mounted Heaters
There are two types of these heaters in terms of the fuel source they use. Electric powered heaters are very efficient and can heat up an area while using very little electricity. If you are worried about fuel cost over time, this heater will be able to cut down on the bill drastically.
Gas powered heaters can put out a much larger amount of heat at a time.
Gas powered heaters can put out a much larger amount of heat at a time. This means they are able to heat a larger area than the electric heaters while using less units. They may cost more initially and have a higher fuel cost but will be worth it in the long run if you have a larger patio to heat.
Free Standing Heaters
This type of heater is able to heat a small area while mainly using propane tanks as the fuel source. The great thing about these heaters is that they are usually mobile and can be moved from one area to another with ease. These types of heaters are highly coveted for many restaurants with larger patios.
These heaters are usually stationary which also use propane as the fuel source. They are mainly used as a “fire pit” for guest to gather around when it is cold outside. They are not really all that practical for dining though since the table top is not meant for glasses and flatware.
What to Look for When Choosing a New Patio Heater
When choosing a new commercial patio heater there are a few factors to consider. Whether it is your first time buying a patio heater or you are replacing one, you still need to consider what you will be using the heater for and how you will be using it.
First and foremost, you want to make sure that the patio heater you decide to purchase is constructed of quality materials. Some of the better models are made from stainless steel and heavy-duty aluminum. Heaters constructed of these materials will be able to withstand the elements of a harsh winter while also reduce the overall wear and tear of the patio heater.
The size of the patio heater should also be considered. Don’t just go buy the largest heater there is, especially if you don’t have a large patio. Depending on the style of the heater, they come in all sizes whether it is a small wall hanging heater or a 10-foot-tall heater.
The type you purchase needs to be able to fit on your patio while keeping safety measures in mind. If you have a smaller patio that is a bit more intimate than a large open dining patio, then you may want to consider a smaller unit you can mount on the wall or ceiling. If you have a larger patio of 2,000 square feet or more, then you will need to consider purchasing one or two freestanding units you can move around.
Performance is key to a patio heater and with that comes efficiency.
You want to make sure the unit you purchase is able to output a decent amount of heat while still maintaining a stable fuel cost. Propane tanks are cheap to fill, but they can empty fairly quickly after a week of usage. Electric patio heaters are going to be the most cost effective but they will slack in the performance arena.
Construction and Design
While these machines are simple enough, there are a few different special features each one has that may make your life easier when operating one. Besides the special features, you want to make sure the patio heater you choose has surpassed all safety measures and has a feature or two to back it up.
An automatic/emergency shutoff switch that is mounted clearly on the heater is absolutely necessary for the larger units. These units are no joke and could seriously harm someone if one were to malfunction.
A safety pilot is also another great feature for safety. This automatically shuts off the gas when the pilot light is lost or put out. Make sure the heater has been constructed properly and is sturdy. A flimsy or defective unit could also prove problematic in the long run.
So, depending on the type of patio heater you decide to go with and the size of the unit, this will determine the amount of heat output the machine is capable of providing. Heat output is measured in BTU’s and not all machines are capable of the same output as others. The wall mounted patio heaters have the smallest BTU output of about 5,000 and the table top heaters are next for about 10-15,000 BTU’s.
These heaters are better for smaller patios and enclosed spaces. The larger and taller freestanding patio heaters are capable of heat output of up to 40,000 BTU’s which can heat up about 2,000 square feet by itself alone. This does not mean they need to operate at this capacity constantly, since they can be adjusted by a digital or dial system.
Some of the heaters also have single or multiple domes that reflect the heat to a particular area of choice. The most common single dome heaters have dome on top of the heater that will reflect the heat down.
But you can purchase other heaters that are capable of deflecting heat in more than one area to open up their range of heating an open area more efficiently. Of course, these heaters do cost more, but sometimes it is necessary depending on your patio layout, floor plan and fuel cost.
Make sure to check your local regulations before buying commercial patio heaters and make sure to use a reliable source of information. For ex., Restaurant Business falsely claims that propane-based heaters are banned in New York, which was true prior to the pandemic, but the ban was temporarily lifted.
Propane heaters are not environmentally friendly so some cities like Paris have decided to ban them altogether.
In Chicago propane heaters are allowed, but only in open, uncovered areas.
1. EPROSMIN 48000 Btu Outdoor Patio Heater
This freestanding patio heater is one of the best on the market in terms of functionality. It is priced fairly moderately but does not come with a warranty to protect it from defects or damages.
The heater is constructed of stainless steel with a bronze exterior cover. It is powered by a single propane tank that is hidden within the bottom chamber.
It is capable of outputting a staggering 48,000 BTU’s of heat which is able to provide enough heat for a large 15-foot encompassing area. The heater is easy to use and easy to transport using the mobile wheels. It also has a litany of safety features to back it up as well.
The safe and durable heater features anti-dumping, anti-flame and oxygen-deficient safety protection devices as well as a built-in safety valve. The automatic shutoff switch ensures the safety of all nearby patrons.
2. AAROND Portable Outdoor Patio Heater
This is another great freestanding patio heater that is built to withstand the elements. It is also priced fairly but still does not come with a warranty to protect it.
The patio heater is constructed of stainless steel with an aluminum alloy reflector dome to direct heat. It is capable of creating 41,000 BTU’s of heat that is able to heat an 18-foot radius area comfortably. The mobile wheels also make it easy to move from one area to another while not in use.
The heater is quiet, efficient and is fueled by a propane tank that is hidden in the bottom chamber. It is also equipped with a rainproof hood that deflects rain and dust which will extend the life of your patio heater. It also comes with a rain cover to protect the heater when not in use. The unit is easily controlled by the temperature dial and also has an automatic shutoff switch for added safety measures.
3. Golden Flame 46,000 BTU Deluxe Propane Heater
Here is another freestanding patio heater that has been constructed to be a little more eye appealing than flat stainless steel. The unit is a little more expensive than the others on the list and it does not come backed by any type of warranty. the heater is constructed of stainless steel with a mocha-colored pole and wicker bottom cover to look a bit more attractive.
It is powered by a single propane tank and also has a spot to place extra sand in the bottom to add a little more stability to the unit. It is capable of providing up to 46,000 BTU’s of heat using its double mantel heating grid.
The heater features a pilotless burner system and an easy rapid spark ignition system for fail proof lighting every time. There is an automatic shutoff valve and an anti-dumping safety feature that comes along with the easy-to-use dial thermostat.
4. Fire Sense 46,000 BTU Stainless Steel Commercial Patio Heater
This freestanding patio heater is not really much to talk about when compared to the other top models. It is much more expensive than the others and does not come with a warranty to protect it. The patio heating grid and burners are constructed of stainless steel and the body has a durable powder coated finish.
The heater is powered by a single propane tank that is hidden in the bottom which also has wheels attached to make the unit mobile and easy to relocate. The heater is capable of creating up to 46,000 BTU’s of heat that can provide for an 18-foot area. the heater is equipped with an automatic shutoff valve, anti-dumping system and a dial thermostat for heat output. The electronic starter is pilotless which is reliable and dependable every time.
5. Raoccuy Patio Heater with Cover
The freestanding patio heater is very similar to all the others on the list but is a bit more of a basic model. It is a bit cheaper than the others but still does not come with a warranty to protect it. The body of the heater, the mantel and the burners are all constructed of stainless teel with a brushed and polished exterior that really pops on your backyard patio.
The aluminum alloy shield is able to deflect heat downwards to create a larger heating area. It is capable of creating up to 48,000 BTU’s of heat and has an easy-to-use dial-controlled thermostat. There is an automatic shut off valve, anti-dumping and a tip over protection system. The wheels on the bottom make it easy to move the unit around from place to place and the heater comes with a rain cover to protect it from the elements.
6. Hiland HLDSO1-WGTHG Pyramid Patio Propane Heater
This is another freestanding patio heater but with a little bit different aesthetic look than the others on the list. It does cost quite a bit more than the others but it does come with a 1-year warranty to protect it. The 91-inch-tall pyramid structured patio heater is constructed of stainless steel with hammered bronzed wheels.
The heating device does not use mantles like the other units, instead it uses a single quartz tube flame heater to omit up to 41,000 BTU’s of heat. It is powered by a single propane tank that is hidden in the bottom compartment and can last up to 10 hours on high output. The ignition system is reliable and it comes with an automatic shut off tilt valve. The unit is sleek and modern looking while still being able to heat up a large patio area safely.
7. Sunpak Stainless Steel 2Stage 25,000/34,000 Btu Natural Gas Direct Spark Heater
This patio heater is the type that needs to be mounted on the wall or on the ceiling to operate at a safe distance. The patio heater is astronomically expensive but does come with a lifetime warranty to protect it.
The wall heater is able to provide up to 34,000 BTU’s of heat which can heat up a 12 foot by 12-foot area easily. The unit does need to be mounted 10 feet off the ground and it uses natural gas which is hardline in to the unit itself. This makes it very powerful and also energy efficient.
The heater is constructed of stainless steel with a ceramic infrared heating element. That can be controlled by dial thermostat, by a remote control or by an app you can download on your phone or tablet.
It uses direct spark ignition and a flame sensor system to operate the heater. It can also be toggled on and off easily or set by a timer into separate intervals. It may be expensive, but for what it can do and the ease of use, its more than worth it in the long run.
8. Golden Flame Endless Summer Donovan DualHeat Fire Table and Patio Heater
This is a tabletop patio heater that is more than just a heat source, but also a work of art. It is priced very high for what it can do but it does come with a lifetime warranty to protect it. The unit contains two separate heaters; one upper unit that can omit up to 31,000 BTU’s of heat and a lower inner heater than creates up to 11,000 BTU’s of heat. The upper fire pit uses bronze glass to omit flames that are for show in this beautifully constructed tabletop outdoor furnace.
It is able to heat up a large patio area using propane gas easily. It comes with bronze fire glass; a table insert and a cover for the unit while not in use. It has an automatic shutoff valve and an easy to control dial thermometer. Perfect for an outdoor backyard patio or a small intimate restaurant setting.
9. Vilobos Outdoor Patio Heater
This freestanding patio heater is perfect for someone who is on a budget and not looking for anything too fancy. The unit is one of the cheaper models available out there making it very affordable but it does not come with a warranty to protect it.
The unit is constructed of hard cast aluminum with aluminum alloy reflector plates to deflect the heat properly and radiate an area. It is able to create up to 36,000 BTU’s of heat quickly and smoothly to warm an area of 15-20 meters. The unit is equipped with several safety features such as an automatic shut off valve, hypoxia protection and dump protection. It uses a single propane gas tank that is hidden in the bottom compartment. The heater also has wheels to make it easier to move from one area to another.
10. R.W.FLAME Electric Patio Heater
This is another outdoor patio heater that needs to be mounted on the wall or ceiling. It is more than affordable and comes with a 1-month, no questions asked warranty.
The unit is for a smaller patio but with enough of them mounted, you should be able to heat a larger area. The heater is capable of producing 1500 watts of heat within a matter of seconds and is powered by electricity. This makes the unit 90 percent more efficient than any other patio heater on the market, just not as strong.
The heating tube will provide over 5000 hours of life span and safe and waterproof. It is corrosion resistant, high heat resistant, dust and wear resistant and has automatic overheat protection with safety bars. Perfect for a small backyard or a small restaurant patio.
No matter the outdoor patio heater you decide to go with, make sure you use it correctly when placing it and operating it to ensure the safety of your restaurant and its patrons. Any of these units will do just fine as long as you treat them with the respect they deserve.
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