Choosing the right patio heater for your outdoor space
There's nothing better than enjoying summer evenings under the gentle, radiating warmth of a patio heater. With the British weather hard to rely on, it's no wonder this handy garden accessory remains so popular. The choice on the market can, however, be bewildering.
Tim Mitchell is part of the small family team behind SimplyPatioHeaters.co.uk. They have been selling patio heaters for nearly ten years and are one of the leading suppliers in the field.
"The key is to measure out exactly the area you want to heat. It sounds obvious, but do you really want to heat a huge area if normally there's only two of you? A table-top patio heater would perhaps be better suited to your needs rather than a free standing one," says Tim.
Children and pets may also restrict your choice of patio heater. "Patio heaters are very stable, but from a practical point of view a wall patio heater might be more suited. Then there's the question of whether to go for gas or electric. With electric there are plenty of styles to choose from but sometimes they will not give out the same amount of heat as their gas patio heater cousins.
"Again, it sounds obvious, but with an electric patio heater you will have a trip hazard because of the wires. You're also restricted in terms of where to place your patio heaters."
Gas patio heaters
Gas patio heaters are the other alternative and today's versions are particularly efficient. The most powerful on the market are 16KW, and some even come with built-in wooden drinks tables. The slight disadvantage is having to refill the gas cylinders, but what type of gas cylinder will they run on?
"You can purchase standard patio heater gas from many garden retailers," says Tim. "They come in green propane bottles and the normal sizes are 5kg or 13kg. Look out for patio heaters that will burn around 0.4 - 0.9kg of gas per hour. Our heaters, for instance, have a 80cm base. Make sure you can turn the heat up or down; you can't increase heat if it's already on its max, so a more powerful heater, such as 16KW, would be better than buying a 13KW."
What about safety standards?
Tim advises customers to look out for patio heaters that meet industry safety standards. "Check that the patio heater you are buying is CE and CSA approved. Our ones, for instance, meet or exceed EU,UK and US safety standards. The choice of patio heaters can be baffling, but if you work out the type you want right from the start, the easier the job of purchasing a patio heater will be."
Specialising in 16KW gas patio heaters, Tim's website can be found at http://www.simplypatioheaters.co.uk.
Photo credit: Simply Patio Heaters