Patio Heater: Gas, Propane, or Electric?
Experts are predicting a cold winter, so if you're planning to keep your restaurant patio open, you'll definitely need one or more patio heaters to help keep your customers warm. The question is, what kind of patio heater is best for your needs? There are three basic types on the market - natural gas, propane, or electric - and they each have their advantages or disadvantages.
In this article, we'll briefly break down your options and when they'd be best.
Choosing Between Propane, Gas, or Electric Patio Heaters
1 - Natural gas patio heaters
If your kitchen already has natural gas lines, getting a gas-powered patio heater makes a lot of sense. Your gas bill is already part of your budget, and a gas-powered heater isn't going to use that much more fuel. Gas-powered heaters are also powerful, and very good at heating larger areas - although you'll need to be careful not to put guests too close to it.
However, there are a couple of downsides. For one, natural gas heaters require professional installation. Also, natural gas heaters must become permanent fixtures, attached to the floor or wall. So thoughtful placement is necessary, since moving them would be almost as expensive as the original purchase/installation.
2 - Propane heaters
Propane patio heaters bring most of the same benefits as a natural gas heater. They're quite powerful and relatively affordable to run. The biggest benefit, however, is that propane heaters can be portable. If they're running off a separate propane tank, they can be moved and reused as needed, so reorganizing your outdoor layout isn't nearly so difficult.
However, they can be quite heavy, especially if there's a 20+ pound propane tank involved. Plus you will have to arrange for regular fuel refills, which adds some logistical challenges. Also, with both propane and gas, you have to always be aware of the risk of fuel leaks.
3 - Electric heaters
Electric heaters are safe, simple, and effective. We particularly recommend electric heaters for smaller areas or partially enclosed patios, since there's no chance of a dangerous fuel leak.
The big drawback to electric heaters is that they simply aren't as powerful as gas/propane, so you may need more of them - and that can add to your electric bill. Also, power cord management can become an issue, since poorly managed cords become a tripping hazard.
Zanduco Restaurant Equipment & Supplies
Zanduco Restaurant Equipment & Supplies has all the items and accessories you need to create a great restaurant! Click here to browse our full selection of patio heaters.