Choosing the right outdoor heater can be a difficult task, especially with so many patio heaters available. We’ve put this handy guide to outdoor heating together to help you choose the right infrared patio heater for you and answer the most commonly asked questions.
Types of outdoor heaters
An outdoor or patio heater uses infrared (also known as radiant) heat to directly warm people within proximity of the heater. These come as electric infrared / patio heaters, gas heaters or firepits/chimineas.
Gas heaters are highly inefficient as they consume a high amount of gas for the relative heat output and are very bad for the environment due to the high CO2 levels. They are also very inconvenient with heavy gas cannisters or complex installation.
Fire pits / chimineas are a bit better for the environment and can create a nice atmosphere. However, they are usually very smelly and of course need constant attention, supplies of wood etc and are not practical for most urban areas or anything more than occasional use.
Herschel’s patio heaters are the most efficient form of electric outdoor heating. The infrared heat output can be directed exactly where it is required, they are totally silent, maintenance free, have long lifetimes and are the most environmentally friendly form of outdoor heating, especially when powered by a renewable energy source. As the energy grid continues to decarbonise the environmental credentials will improve further.
There are 3 basic types of outdoor patio heater: Wall-mounted; Freestanding and Hanging.
How do electric patio heaters work?
Electric infrared patio heaters convert electricity into infrared heat via a heating element or lamp. This heat is transmitted by electromagnetic waves through the air until it reaches an object (they do not heat the air itself).
The objects (and that includes us humans) absorb the electromagnetic waves which has the effect of warming us. It is similar to the heat transfer from the sun, but due to the lower intensity there are no harmful effects such as UV. Infrared is completely safe.
Infrared is a form of light and just like light, it travels in straight lines and reduces over distance. So like a light bulb, the closer you are to it, the more of the infrared heat is absorbed by you and the warmer you feel. The further away, the less of it reaches you and the colder you feel.
In terms of your comfort outdoors, you can compensate for feeling cold by having several heaters, hotter heaters or being closer to the heater. These are the main things you can adjust.
How do I work out how many patio heaters or what size I need?
We give a heated area guide for each patio heater, but this is a guideline only and the area covered will depend on the ambient temperature, level of wind and mounting height.
As a general rule, any cover (whether temporary or permanent), such as an awning will help to keep the area warmer and cosier, and the more shelter in terms of walls or wind blocks that exist, the better. Even though you are still absorbing the infrared heat from the heater, a cold wind will prevent you from properly feeling the benefit – just like the effect that a chilly wind has on a sunny day.
Installing more patio heaters in an area is preferable to installing too few because you only turn them on when you need them and you won’t risk under-heating an area on colder days.
People will usually need to be within 2-3m of the infared heater to feel the warmth from it, so it is important to consider the location of the outdoor heaters to ensure good coverage.
We have a range of mounting options from wall to ceiling, hanging, freestanding and under table patio heaters– so a combination may well be the best solution for larger areas.
Herschel also has experts on hand to respond to your calls, emails or online chat, so if you are in any doubt, please ask for help.Contact Herschel
How much do electric patio heaters cost to run?
The amount of electricity consumed by a patio heater is measured by its wattage (power). So a 1000W (or 1kW) patio heater will consume 1kW of electricity per hour that it is running. The average price of 1 kWh of electricity in the UK is currently about 15 pence. So, a 2000W (2kW) infrared heater will cost 2 x 15p = 30p per hour to run. For outdoor heaters with different heat settings the usage could be lower than the stated wattage (for example our 2000W California has a half power setting, so on half power would only consume 1kWh of electricity on this setting).
However, whilst the energy consumption of all patio heaters will be the same as their power (wattage) rating, there are big differences in the efficiency and the effectiveness of different makes of patio heaters. Each kW of electricity consumed needs to be properly and efficiently turned into effective infrared heat or some of it will be wasted heating the air, and heating air outdoors is extremely wasteful as it simply rises and disappears into the atmosphere.
Are patio heaters bad for the environment?
When powered by clean, renewable electricity we believe that our outdoor heaters provide a sustainable way to allow people to enjoy time outdoors with zero harmful fumes, air pollution or CO2 emissions.
The majority of the components in our patio heaters are metal and a very high percentage (c.95%) can be recycled at end of life. They are designed to last and there are no harmful chemicals used in the production process, or in the heaters.
What is the difference between zero light, warm-glow, quartz halogen, shortwave, middlewave and longwave patio heaters?
The level of emitted light, heat and their electromagnetic “wavelength” tends to dictate the different classifications of patio heater types you will come across. They do all make sense, but they can be confusing so this simple guide to outdoor heating looks to explain in more detail.
Most people’s experience of electric outdoor heaters will be from those outside pubs, restaurants and cafes, The vast majority of these are older style “quartz halogen” type of patio heaters which are “shortwave”. These heaters can give off a high level of light which “glares” making them uncomfortable to be near for any length of time. Thankfully outdoor heating technology has moved a long way and we only supply much more comfortable low glare or zero light types of patio heater.
Herschel’s infrared patio heaters fall into two ranges:
Choose the range of heater that best matches your requirements, the location and how you expect to be using them.
How easy are Herschel patio heaters to install?
All of our patio heaters can be run from a standard domestic mains supply. Any competent electrician can install them and run the necessary wiring for outdoor installation, using appropriate IP rated electrical fixings. The Florida, Malibu and Havana come with a plug and require no electrical installation.
How do I control patio heaters?
Many of our infrared heaters come with remote control options and have on/off switches on the heater. Alternative control options are available.
Do I need a cover for my patio heater?
The straight answer is, no. All our outdoor heater have an IP rating which describes exactly how resistant they are to the weather and water ingress. Our outdoor heaters have IP ratings as good as IP65 and none with a lower rating than IP44. This means that all out outdoor heaters can be left outdoors, year-round without the need for a cover or any addtional weather protection.
What IP rating of a patio heater makes it suitable for outdoor use?
An IP rating consists of two digits which show the ‘ingress protection’ rating for an electronic item, and the exposure it is protected against for solid objects and water. For outdoor heaters, it is the second digit that is important as this relates to the protection provided against harmful ingress of water.
We have a range of outdoor heaters and their IP ratings range between IP44/IPX4 and IP65. Protection level 4 (second digit) provides protection against splashing water from all directions. Protection level 5 (second digit) provides protection against water jets from any direction. IP44 is generally recognised as being sufficient for most applications outdoors with all year round outdoor use. IP65 is suitable for exposed outdoor use, in all weathers.
Why are Herschel heaters more expensive than some others?
A good outdoor heater should:
- Provide a comfortable level of heat without glare
- Be efficient and effective when running with a high proportion of Infrared output
- Be safe to use
- Enhance the look of your property
- Last for many years.
Patio heaters at the cheaper end of the market are made from low grade materials and components, cheaply made heating lamps and are often far less efficient at projecting out usable infrared, with heat wasted by convection from the unit. A patio heater has to withstand all sorts of weather conditions and if components rust the heater will not last long.
Built to last
All Herschel patio heaters are built with longevity in mind. None of the components including fixings can rust and they have high IP (water and dust ingress) ratings. Where appropriate we use mirror reflectors or special infrared emitting coatings to ensure that the heater is efficient. They are tested at least to UK and international safety standards by independent testing labs and are all commercial grade heaters. Our lamps are very long life and made from premium materials. All paintwork and coatings are fully tested against fading, discolouring or flaking.
We believe that Herschel infrared patio heaters represent the best value and best performing outdoor heaters on the market.
“Absolutely delighted with the Manhattan heater”.
‘Superb outdoor heater’
“A great addition to our outdoor seating area”
“Best Contemporary Design Outdoor Heaters”
“Makes it possible to enjoy the outdoor area”
“The heaters are working as a life saver for outside seating”.
“The Herschel heaters have proved invaluable for enabling our students to meet together outside even in the coldest weather”.
We believe in stylish outdoor heating to enhance your outdoor entertaining environment
Designed for maximum efficiency and effectiveness, using the best technologies
Quality & Safety
Made to withstand the harshest environments and strictest safety tests
WHERE OUR HEATERS ARE USED AROUND THE WORLD
Colorado warm glow heaters used to heat outdoor seating area at a café in Holland.
Summit zero light heaters provide heat for diners at “Farina” bar and restaurant in Mexico City.
Summit heaters are used for discreet heating at one of Auckland’s most popular restaurants.