Gas or Electric Patio Heaters: Which One is Right for Me?

Natural Gas Patio Heater - Bromic Platinum Gas Heater Wall Mounted

Patio heaters are a great choice when it comes to extending the outdoor season. Our gas and electric patio heaters are used widely in the hospitality sector, but also for other commercial applications. We design our heaters to fit effortlessly into the ambiance of any kind of space. However, one of the key questions many people ask is whether gas or electric patio heaters might be the better choice. There are obvious benefits to both. Ultimately, which type works best will depend on the size of the area to be heated, existing power sources, and also personal preference in regard to appearance and control of the heater. Let’s take a look at some of the key arguments for each option.

Differences Between Gas and Electric Heaters

Our electric patio heaters simply need to be plugged into an electrical outlet, whereas gas patio heaters also require a fuel source such as natural gas or propane gas. You need to refill the fuel source when it is empty. In some instances, you need to connect it to a gas line. Gas patio heaters, on the other hand, tend to provide more heat so you can use them for larger outdoor spaces. If you need a heater for a small area, an electric heater will be sufficient. Discover our premium range of gas and electric heaters, blending refined design with impressive performance.

The Pros and Cons of Gas Heating

Gas patio heaters come in either natural gas or propane versions and are known for their powerful heat output. Depending on their power they can heat spaces of up to 20m2. Contrary to electric heaters they do require at least 25% of the space to be open to allow enough natural airflow for safe operation. They are therefore a great addition to larger, well-ventilated outdoor spaces, where they can be easily switched on and off via remote control or scheduled by a timer. While natural gas models will require to be attached to a gas line, portable propane models can run off an internal propane tank and can be moved around as required. This also means they can be easily moved out of the way and stored away during summer.

Gas heating systems are known to be very efficient. It does not take a long time to warm up a space in a consistent way. That is very convenient when your patio requires rapid heating. You will still need to connect your gas heater to the electricity for lighting it, but heating on natural gas tends to be cheaper than heating on electricity.

Gas heating has disadvantages as well. Gas heating systems are more expensive to install, require regular maintenance and monitoring, to ensure your safety. They contribute to air pollution as well and even though they require proper ventilation, they are less suitable for windy areas. Although gas heaters are still more susceptible to wind than their electric counterparts, models like Bromic’s Platinum Smart-HeatTM Gas, are equipped with ceramic fascias that not only protect the burner from wind, but also ensure that heat is spread evenly. Most manufacturers will recommend inspecting gas heaters on a regular basis to ensure there is no debris like spiderwebs or insects covering the heating elements and blocking the burner from sparking.

Advantages and Limitations of Electric Heating

One of the key advantages of having an electric patio heater is flexibility. There is very little an electric heater can’t do. With heat coverages of up to 15m2, they’re great for smaller spaces that might not have a lot of natural ventilation as there is no concern over carbon monoxide emissions. They can also be used in areas prone to wind as there is no risk of the heater blowing out. A lot of the top end models can also be dimmed to ensure they offer just the right amount of heat. For even more control, pair your electric heater with your home automation system.

They also tend to offer more flexibility when it comes to mounting options as they require smaller clearances. As such they’re not only great underneath umbrellas or awnings but can also be recessed directly into a flat ceiling. This makes them the ideal outdoor heating solution for design-focused spaces that want to preserve a sleek, minimal appearance. Once installed, they require very little maintenance other than a quick wipe-down or dusting to remove cobwebs. In addition, there are also electric heaters that are available in 316 marine-grade stainless-steel to reduce the risk of corrosion in harsh coastal environments.

Electric heating systems are easier to install than gas heating systems. They do not require gas or ventilation systems. An electric heater is a cleaner and safer option – it does not produce emissions – but it comes with limitations as well. Electric heaters do not provide as much warmth as gas heaters, which means you will need more than one heater in larger spaces. But all in all, these limitations are not much to worry about.

Important Considerations in Your Choice

The environmental impact could be an important consideration in your choice, but there are other questions to ask yourself as well. Do you need to warm up a large space? How much flexibility do you need when it comes to your heating requirements? And what about the costs? Running costs will vary per model and power output (wattage for electric and BTU for gas).

Still unsure on whether to choose gas or electric patio heaters? Head over to our complimentary design service page and one of our heating experts will be able to advise you on the ideal solutions for your project.