Hurll Nu-Way Pty Ltd offers a comparative study of three different types
of portable outdoor gas heaters to assist buyers with making the right
selection for their specific application.
Patio heaters are available in a range of options to suit commercial as
well as residential applications, with key differentiators including output,
fuel efficiency, heating efficiency, heating coverage, weight, warranty, price
and total cost of ownership.
Portable heaters include floor standing mushroom style gas heaters, pyramid
flame glass gas heaters, and ceramic infrared gas heaters.
Mushroom style gas heaters
Considered the cheapest option, mushroom style gas heaters are available
in a $100 - $500 price band.
Offering 40 Mj/hr output, the heater offers 11 hours of heating on a 9kg
cylinder. If the heater is run 100 hours per season, at $20 per swap bottle, the
heating fuel cost amounts to $200. A typical cafe owner will run it for 200
hours per season, paying $400 per year for fuel.
However, mushroom heaters are inefficient since a considerable amount of
heat is lost through the top of the metal reflector cover. The average heating
coverage is 9 – 17 square metres and one will need to sit close to the heater
to feel the comfort. It takes up to two minutes to turn the heater on.
Top of the range heaters of the mushroom type are heavy and extremely
hard to move around, while cheaper options are too light and unstable, which
can create safety concerns. Mushroom style gas heaters are mostly available
with a 3-month warranty for commercial use.
Based on average price and 200 hours of consumption per season for five
years operation, the total cost of ownership for mushroom style gas heaters will
be over $2200.
Pyramid flame glass gas heaters
Definitely more aesthetically pleasing in appearance, pyramid flame
glass gas heaters are priced in the $300 - $1500 range, and claim to heat 16-30
square metres of area depending on the model.
With an average 36 – 42 Mj/hr heat output, and an option to run on high
or low settings, the top range models will use 1 bottle in 10 hours. Though easier
to switch on, pyramid flame glass gas heaters offer more flames than heat, with
the user required to sit close to the heater to feel the warmth.
Pyramid gas heaters also take up a lot of floor space, which can make a
cafe layout space-inefficient, and reduce revenue for the restaurant owner. A
big venue will need quite a few of these heaters to heat the floor area
Pyramid flame glass gas heaters available in Australia, are manufactured
The total cost of ownership for a 5-year operation is estimated at
Ceramic gas heaters
Also known as infrared heaters, ceramic gas heaters are considered the
most efficient as they heat the objects, and do not waste energy heating the
Available in a price band of $500 - $1200, ceramic gas heaters have an
output capacity of 16 Mj/h (running on low) to 24 Mj/h (set on high), with a 9kg
gas bottle sufficient for 20 – 30 hours of usage. To operate a ceramic gas
heater for 200 hours per season will cost the venue owner $130 - $200, which is
2-3 times less than the other heaters. Average cost for personal patio use for
100 hours per season would be $70-$100.
Easy to switch on, ceramic gas heaters offer a side spread heat pattern,
eliminating the need for the user to sit next to it. Depending on the size, the
heater covers an area of 25 - 40 square metres, and a lesser number of portable
heaters will be required to heat the same café area, which equates to floor
space savings and lower investment per square metre of heating for the venue
Manufactured in France, the ceramic gas heaters are available in
Australia, with the heater operating on average for 20 years and requiring
little or no maintenance.
The total cost of ownership for a 5-year operation is $1800, with a good
quality infrared heater even lasting 30 years.