Electric patio heaters are the modern type of heaters. They are the only type of heaters that can be used both indoors and outdoors. All electric heaters have the same characteristics except the heating mechanism. There are two heating mechanisms that an electric patio heater can have. Which are, through radiation and through infrared.
We are going to discuss these two heating mechanisms and at the end, you can decide which type of electric heater is the best for you.
Heating Mechanism for an Electric Heater
- Radiant mechanism
This is the transfer of heat through electromagnetic waves. It involves carrying energy through the space around the heat source. The heat energy spreads out from the source.
A patio heater that uses the radiant mechanism will first warm the room before you as the user feels warm.
The radiant mechanism depends on the movement of air hence making them very directional. This mechanism is not the best for an outdoor heater because the air is always moving. Sometimes if the weather is breezy you will not feel the heating effect. The radiant mechanism is best for indoors or for drying effect.
- Infrared mechanism
This is the direct heating of an object or space. The sun uses this mechanism to warm up the earth. The electric patio heater produces short-wave heat energy that can penetrate the skin. It has the best heat effect on a person. It allows you to breathe in cool air and at the same time your body is being heated. There is no uncomfortable hot air in your nose like the radiant mechanism.
Electric patio heaters that use the infrared mechanism are the best for outdoor environments. This mechanism allows you to use your heater on a windy day or a breezy evening. The downside of the infrared mechanism is that these heaters consume a lot of power to produce short waves of heat.
Types of Electric Patio Heaters and the Heating Mechanism they use
- Wall mount electric heater
This is an electric patio heater that is hard wired to the power and mounted on the wall. It saves a lot of ground space and it is at a safer distance than floor heaters. Most of this type of heater uses infrared mechanisms to warm the room. The only disadvantage is that they consume a lot of electric power. The high power consumption is the reason it is hard-wired to the main power supply.
- Table-tops electric heater
This is the most portable electric heater. It has a plug-in cable that you have to plug in a power outlet. It uses a radiant mechanism to warm up the room. This is why you have to be close to it so that you can feel warm. If you have many guests then buy one for each table. It saves a lot of space because it is small. It is best for a small patio that is enclosed to reduce the air movement.
- Free-standing electric heater
This is the largest type of patio heater. Most free standing patio heaters use gas as a source of power but nowadays some are electric. Here the heating mechanism depends on the style of the free-standing heater. If it has the mushroom style then it uses a radiant mechanism. But if it has quartz style then it uses the infrared mechanism.
It is the best heater if you have big patio space and a huge family. If you want more heat, sit close to it. The limitation is that it is not portable because of its huge size and it is heavy. Another limitation is that it consumes a lot of electricity.
- Hanging electric heaters
This heater is designed in a way that it hangs from the ceiling or the wall and brings the heat down. It saves a lot of table and floor space. It uses the infrared mechanism to warm up your patio. It is also hard wired to the main power supply. If you are hanging it from the wall, keep the pictures and calendars at a safe distance or else it can start a fire.
- Solar electric heater
This is an electric heater that uses solar energy as a source of power. This type of heater uses either of the heating mechanisms depending on the number or size of your storage battery. If you have 12 volts to 24 volts of battery energy then you can use one with a radiant heating mechanism. But if you have more than 24 volts of battery energy then one with an infrared mechanism is the best.
Benefits of Electric Patio Heater
- It is convenient
Just plug it in and flick on the switch and the heater is in use. Rather than gas heaters that can give you a hard time balancing the valves and ignition components. It does not require any ventilation and it is easy to install. It is also easy and cheap to maintain an electric heater because it does not need frequent replacement of the burner or gas cylinder.
Most electric patio heaters are portable like the table heater. It allows you to enjoy your patio space from any position. Sometimes you can take your patio heater indoors if the patio is not favoring you. Most of them are not heavy and a six-year-old can carry them with ease.
- Silent, clean and safe burning
Electric heaters are safer than gas heaters. Any little leakage in a gas heater can lead to an explosion on your patio. Electric heaters do not produce harmful fumes like the gas heaters hence clean air on your patio. Electric heaters are silent than gas heaters that produce a hissing sound when they burn.
- Excellent designs and styles
Most electric patio heaters come in complex designs and sophisticated styles that add elegance on your patio. Some electric heaters can be custom made by making an order with specifications to the manufacturer.
The heating mechanism is the determining factor for the best electric patio heater. From the above information, we can deduce that the best electric patio heater is one that uses infrared as a heating mechanism. The infrared mechanism produces short-wave heat energy that can penetrate the skin leaving you feeling warm.