Home and business owners seem to have a difficult task when deciding between liquid propane, natural gas or other resources to fuel heaters and grills. Cost, convenience, and the impact on the environment all factor into decision-making.
When thinking through the pros and cons of propane fuel, you’ll also need to understand the nature of liquid propane and what makes it different from other fuel sources. However, making an informed decision does not have to be overly complicated.
What Is Liquid Propane?
Liquid propane or “LP” as it is commonly called, is generally extracted during the petroleum gathering and manufacturing process. It can be extracted from a natural gas stream being culled from the ground or during the fossil fuel refining process. LP gas is widely used to heat homes, commercial facilities, power grills, heaters, and stoves, among many other uses. It remains one of the more readily available portable fuel sources in the U.S. and abroad.
Does Propane Burn Clean?
The simple answer is: Yes. Liquid propane is a clean-burning fuel source that does not release harmful emissions into the environment. It far exceeds numerous fossil fuels as an environmentally compatible resource because it poses no risk to the water, soil or air.
Switching to LP gas is considered so safe that the EPA agrees large, below-ground tanks are not a hazard. All evidence points to LP gas usage delivering improved environmental benefits when compared to similarly used fossil fuels.
LP Benefits for Standing Propane Patio Heater
It’s clear that LP gas provides the environmental safeguard home and business owners value. But that still leaves the other pros and cons of propane fuel with respect to practical use. Among the most common uses, home and business owners rely on at least one standing propane patio heater to extend the season or enjoy late-night comfort. The Sunglo and Patio Comfort from AEI rank among the most reliable and products on the market today.
Among the popular pros cited about these iconic mushroom head, gas heaters are their agility. Unlike heaters that depend on fixed fuel lines, the Sunglo and Patio Comfort line can be safely moved when cool by following manufacturer guidelines. They remain relatively lightweight, and the propane is discretely hidden inside the unit’s base. It can be removed when moving the outdoor heater and easily swapped out when needed. Outdoor gas heaters enjoy exceptional agility.
Another benefit of using LP gas in standalone outdoor heaters is that next-generation designs have minimized the use of exposed flame. It was not that many years ago that people mingling on a backyard patio or restaurant’s outdoor area huddled close to heaters. The idea was to remain in close proximity to the exposed flame.
The advent of the infrared portable propane heater, such as the Sunglo and Patio Comfort models, has radically improved the experience. Still highly agile, the infrared technology warms objects and people within the expansive throw radius. Comfort no longer requires milling around the unit because an infrared portable propane heater delivers warmth. An LP gas-fed standing propane patio heater far outpaces other types. But, do the same benefits apply to gas grills or is such a comparison apples-to-oranges, so to speak?
Stainless Steel Propane Grill Pros and Cons
It’s obvious that LP gas is overwhelmingly the most popular fuel source for a stainless steel propane grill in residential and commercial settings. Without rehashing much of the same reasoning as outdoor heaters, agility, discretion, and convenience far outpace tapping into fixed natural gas lines.
The tanks are similarly tucked away inside patio propane grills, and tank refills are readily available at gas stations, convenience stores, and supermarkets, among other locations. These units are easy to start, and quality units are often outfitted with matchless ignition switches and specialized briquettes that reduce flare-ups and deliver even cooking. Also, propane generally burns twice as efficiently as natural gas. Yes, a quality stainless steel propane grill remains a tremendous outdoor cooking asset.
But, how does propane stack up charcoal?
Propane or Charcoal Grill?
Perhaps chief among the reasons that some people continue to cook with charcoal grills is cost. In terms of charcoal grill pros, they are inexpensive. Of course, you get what you pay for in more ways than one.
Charcoal grills rely on harsh chemical fluids that release black smoke and hazardous carbon emissions into the environment. They tend to be greasy, messy, and prone to flare-ups that unevenly cook food. These low-level cooking devices also lack the technological advancements and accessories of a quality stainless steel propane grill.
For example, the PGS propane grills trending on the market can be accessorized with rotisserie kits, infrared cooking options, side shelves, additional burners, steam trays, and smokers, as well as shut-off timers. Those are just some of the reasons propane gas grills are superior to outdated charcoal units. The comparison really isn’t apples-to-oranges because charcoal isn’t even in the fruit family.