Essential Tips for Buying Outdoor Infrared Heaters in 2024

The market for residential portable patio heaters and commercial patio heaters continues to grow in North America. That’s primarily due to the quality of life benefits homeowners experience, as well as the increased profits enjoyed by hospitality industry businesses.

In the U.S. alone, the market for outdoor heaters exceeded $155 billion in 2023 and is expected to hit $223 billion by 2030. While that data includes both residential and commercial purchases, the business benefits prompted an increase in installation, particularly since the pandemic. According to the National Restaurant Association, 7 in 10 customers say they prefer outdoor dining. Eateries that offer open-air dining reportedly increase profitability by more than 30 percent.

Rather than shut down that lucrative revenue stream and eliminate a key attraction, restaurateurs have an opportunity to extend the day and season by strategically placing natural gas, electric, and propane patio heaters. If you are considering purchasing infrared heaters, AEI Corp has a comprehensive line of reliable products.

Mushroom and Horizontal Heaters

When choosing the best residential or commercial patio heaters, it’s essential to understand that these products can be broken into two distinct types — mushroom head and horizontal infrared heaters.

Mushroom patio heaters whether fixed-in-place or portable disburse radiant heat in a circular fashion. The 360-degree infrared heat warms the objects within its throw radius. What’s particularly compelling about this state-of-the-art technology is that the surrounding air is not necessarily affected, only the objects it touches. That means a breeze won’t influence the warming comfort people experience.

The horizontal heaters also enjoy infrared technology. The critical difference is this class of electric, propane, or natural gas patio heater must be secured to an overhang, wall, or post. In some cases, these rectangular infrared heaters can be flush-mounted and angled to cover a wide heat-throw radius. One of the strategies property and business owners usually employ is overlapping the radiant warmth to cover entire areas.

Purchasing Infrared Heaters Based on Preferred Fuel Source

When buying residential or commercial patio heaters, it’s prudent to start the process by considering what type of fuel you’ll be using. Home and business owners need to keep in mind that while AEI Corp infrared heaters can be powered by liquid propane, natural gas, or electricity, cost-effectiveness and convenient access are important. These are common reasons for choosing infrared heaters based on fuel.

  • Natural Gas Patio Heaters: Existing lines are a primary reason to select a natural gas patio heater. A certified contractor can run a designated line. Natural gas is considered both cost-effective and a sustainable energy resource.
  • Propane Patio Heaters: Mushroom patio heaters can house a propane tank in their base that can be easily swapped out and refilled, allowing them to be moved around as needed. Like natural gas, existing propane lines can also be run to fixed-in-place propane patio heaters.
  • Electric Patio Heaters: Home and business owners can tap into existing electrical systems to power infrared heaters. A certified electrician can run a designated line into your property’s electrical grid.

When choosing an outdoor heater based on fuel source, it’s essential to consider that AEI has mushroom and horizontal outdoor patio heaters that can be powered by liquid propane and natural gas. Portable outdoor heaters can only be fueled by liquid propane, and only securely fixed horizontal heaters can leverage existing electricity.

Mounting Options for Outdoor Patio Heaters

We offer industry-leading outdoor patio heaters with a variety of heater mounting options. This remains an important facet of purchasing the best infrared heaters for outdoor spaces. Mushroom designs, for example, can be used as portable propane patio heaters. This class of outdoor heater can be moved strategically to reconfigure seating and gathering spaces. But the Sunglo natural gas heater that is mounted overhead must be secured in place. The same holds true of natural gas mushroom heaters that can be attached to posts in the ground.

Horizontal outdoor heaters offer a wide range of mounting options, regardless of whether owners use natural gas, propane, or electricity for power. These box heaters can be suspended from ceilings to bring the infrared warmth closer to seating and gathering areas. Many of the AEI horizontal heaters offer mounting accessories that allow installers to secure them at an efficient angle. Some can even be flush mounted to walls, ceilings, posts, and other infrastructure.

The critical point is that AEI offers wide-reaching mounting options to help property owners and businesses install the most efficient outdoor heating system possible. When mapping out any patio heater system, consider manufacturer-recommended clearances and the location of combustible materials.

Patio Heater Placement

Perhaps the greatest value of installing infrared heaters is the fact that the warmth and comfort they deliver cannot be whisked away by the slightest breeze. But because the radiant heat positively effects people and not the surrounding air, placement is a crucial factor in a welcoming infrared heating system.

When mapping out your patio heater design, review the BTU ratings and heating distance each portable or fixed-in-place patio heater provides. To efficiently cover the floor space of a veranda, for example, it may be prudent to install horizontal heaters that can be suspended. This option allows business operators and homeowners to place them in the best position to ease chilly weather. Similarly, using portable patio heaters with the mushroom head design to encourage al fresco dining calls for blanketing each seated patron. Not only will this strategy bring more customers, but it will also prompt them to stay for dessert and late-night beverages.

Although designing an outdoor infrared heating system may seem complicated, AEI provides all of the specifications needed for the average DIYer to make a plan. Review the manuals of heaters that make sense for your space. Jot down the throw radius of your preferred infrared heaters and measure the designated area. Then, plan an installation that overlaps the range of each heater with the next to ensure maximal comfort. And if one type of patio heater doesn’t necessarily cover every area due to obstructions, it’s perfectly fine to onboard portable propane patio heaters to fill any voids.

Outdoor Heaters Enjoy Attractive Finishes

All of the AEI brands offer distinctive finishes that support appealing décor in open-air settings. Whether your preference is to integrate a patio heater that trails into the background, seamlessly blends into an existing color palette, or augments the visual appeal of an existing space, AEI outdoor heaters offer the following selections.

  • Patio Comfort: These traditional portable mushroom heaters come in finishes that include stainless steel, antique bronze, jet silver, and antique.
  • Sunglo: This post-mounted version of the mushroom heater comes in classic stainless steel and black. This line also includes an aesthetically pleasing hanging heater that resembles a chandelier. It is a rare opportunity to add a creative element to an outdoor area while making customers or guests cozy.
  • Sunpak: This overhead horizontal heater line is also available in black or stainless steel. They are often used as suspended heaters in commercial settings.
  • SunStar: Designed to withstand harsh weather conditions, these horizontal heaters can be selected in black or stainless steel. Their enhanced value stems from the fact they continue to function at a high level even after storms, as well as the uniquely tinted glass.
  • Infratech: This is the only line of electric horizontal heaters offered. Black finishes allow buyers to blend them into an overhead area without affecting the décor. Those with stainless steel finishes provide a standout element that enhances spaces, particularly industrial looks.

AEI Corp offers five select lines of infrared heaters — Patio Comfort, Sunglo, Sunpak, SunStar, and Infratech. All of these reliable patio heaters deliver exceptional warmth and the benefits of remaining outdoors after dark and deep into the cold weather season.