The wide range of products and marketing campaigns makes selecting the best commercial or residential heater for patio warmth and comfort increasingly difficult. Deciding between a suitable portable LP heater or natural gas patio heater tends to be exacerbated by the persuasive language and promises about expansive throw radiuses. Adding up all those heat ratings and square footage amounts can leave home and business owners unable to see the proverbial forest through the trees.
The chances are that business and house owners alike would prefer to drill down on some commercial or residential infrared gas heater basics in order to make a concise, informed decision. Given that a limited number of design options are available, it may make sense to set aside some of the details and consider them along the lines of two fundamental design elements — rectangular and circular.
If that idea sounds like something of an oversimplification, consider this overview guilty as charged. But, in reality, you may notice that the heater for patio warmth on local restaurants and backyard decks often has that iconic mushroom head. Mushroom heaters rank among the most popular round portable LP heater types in the market today. If you ever feel warm and look up when walking out of a big box outlet with open archways, you may see a rectangular suspended heater. Yes, even the most innovative commercial or residential infrared gas heater is either round or has four sides.
But it goes almost without saying that the details make or break the warming comfort everyday people experience on a cool fall or early spring evening. For the sake of an easy-to-picture jumping-off point, let’s consider a heater for patio use as circles or rectangles.
What Makes a Rectangular Box Heater the Right Choice?
Often called “box heaters,” this class of suspended heater is widely popular in semi-enclosed spaces such as verandas. The restaurant and pub trend to build partial roofs over outdoor patios led many to incorporate box heaters later to extend their late-night and seasonal use. They’ve also been wildly successful in a similar residential setting and typically increase property values.
The state-of-the-art rectangular infrared heaters for patio use by AEI Corp contain a heating element constructed from a quartz rod or ceramic elements. But the proven benefit of the Sunpak and Infratech lines, for example, is that it provides the greatest number of mounting options. These include the following.
- Overhead Suspension: A rectangular suspended heater is typically secured above the area business, and residential property owners wish to provide warmth to friends, family members, and patrons.
- Wall Mounting: One of the perks of selecting an infrared heater for patio use is that this style can be mounted on walls. This option allows residential and commercial property owners to create an outdoor heating system that maximizes throw radius in a space-efficient manner.
- Flush Mounting: In a space-restricted area, box heaters can be mounted in walls and ceilings so that the level of the heater is flush with the wall or ceiling surface. This installation strategy offers home, and business owners added flexibility and space efficiency when completing an outdoor heating system.
- Pole Mounting: This mounting option tends to be geared toward open landscapes that are detached from buildings. Outdoor concert venues and people who enjoy sitting in backyard fragrance gardens sometimes mount infrared heaters to extend daily and evening enjoyment.
Along with the greatest number of mounting options, suspended heaters have evolved in other ways as well. The AEI Sunpak models, and others, now come in a wide range of colors and finishes. This allows property owners to integrate them as part of the décor or blend them into ceilings and overhangs. Because they are secured in place, these patio heaters can either run on LP or NG.
Circling back to address the oversimplification of considering a commercial or residential infrared gas heater as either rectangular or round, the quality elements and heat generation most definitely remain difference-makers. Suspended heaters that employ infrared technology may come with single or multiple heating elements. This facet affects how far it reaches objects and how many people a single unit can make comfortable.
It’s not uncommon for home and business owners to deploy several box heaters and run them from a conveniently located control panel. Another caveat that property owners who do not have an existing natural gas line or desire to use propane can access is electricity. The Infratech AEI Corp line leverages electricity to generate abundant warming comfort cost-effectively.
What Makes a Round Portable LP Heater the Right Choice?
The iconic mushroom heater remains the most popular design used on backyard decks, restaurant patios, and outdoor gathering spaces, bar none. In the Patio Comfort and Sunglo series, the portable LP heaters house their fuel tank in their base that is easily swapped out as needed. The tried-and-true benefit of circular heaters is that they deliver a 360-degree throw radius. Property owners typically view this heat-throw strategy as highly effective. However, iconic mushroom heaters offer only two mounting options.
- Pole Mounting: Mushroom heaters can be selected with the standard pole mounting that involves an LP tank stored in the base or the pole-mounted directly into the ground. Similar to the way some people mount box heaters to poles, mushroom heaters can be fixed on top of a pole. This secure installation may open the door to employing it as a natural gas patio heater if a line can be connected. Propane mushroom heaters can be portable with a wheel kit added to their base.
- Suspended Heater Mounting: The Sunglo series has a mushroom heater that is suspended overhead in a way that adds an interior design element to any space. The AEI Corp line enjoys select finishes and functions equally well using either LP or natural gas.
When leveraging a circular model as a suspended heater, property owners typically enjoy the benefit of connecting them to a control panel, much like their rectangular counterparts. That means the control settings may be adjusted as needed, and not every unit has to run at the same time. Because infrared heating technology warms objects and not necessarily the surrounding air, they can be more cost-effectively used to deliver comfort to the bodies in their radius.
But perhaps the greatest attraction to mushroom heaters stems from the fact they can be repositioned when following manufacturer safety guidelines. This allows residential and commercial property owners to reconfigure outdoor spaces depending upon the number of guests and seating arrangements. It’s largely the convenient LP tanks and ability to move circular outdoor heaters around that made them so incredibly popular.
How To Decide Between A Box or Mushroom Heater
After considering a commercial or residential infrared gas heater in two distinct groups, decision-makers may begin to lean one way or the other. If you require flexible positioning on a backyard deck or patio, the Patio Comfort or Sunglo portable LP heaters probably make the most sense. But if there are other considerations, or you possess the ability to mount infrared heaters on walls, the decision opens up to the Sunpak and Infratech lines. After that, it’s a matter of utilizing liquid propane, natural gas, or electricity. Of course, an electrician can install a designated line that allows you to leverage the Infratech line in a cost-efficient fashion if preferred.
At the end of the day, rectangular and circular infrared patio heaters can be chosen for standalone use or as part of a greater warming comfort system. In this case, some due diligence about dual heating elements, throw radius, and other details must be considered. Hopefully, this oversimplification gets you over those first marketing hurdles and allows you to see the forest through the infrared heater of your dreams.