The Best Outdoor Heaters for Commercial Use

With the notorious unpredictability of the British weather, heating your outdoor commercial space may sound like a daunting task at best and a pointless one at worst. During the colder months, it could seem inevitable that your terraces, patios and pergolas are destined to go unused, left out in the cold, waiting for those first threadbare signs of spring. Thankfully, infrared heating is the ideal solution to make sure those outdoor areas in your restaurants, bars, offices, and stadiums don’t go to waste. We’ve narrowed down the top 3 best outdoor heaters that are powerful and advanced enough to be used in larger commercial spaces. But first…

Which is better - gas or electric?

When it comes to heating outdoor spaces, there are two main options: gas and electric. If your area isn’t fully covered and contained, which is usually the case for outdoor seating areas, electric is your best bet. This is all down to the way outdoor electric heaters, and in particular infrared heaters, work. Infrared heats through radiation, meaning it heats objects (people, tables, walls) directly, rather than heating the air, as a lot of gas heaters do. As bracing gusts of wind are common all year round in the UK, heating the air is not particularly effective. Infrared heating travels in a wave, making sure heat is focused on stable objects, so it cannot be lost to airflow - no matter how wild and windy it may be outside.

Ecostrad Sunglo: For instant, intense heat

Type of bulb: Tungsten

Wattage: 2000kw

IP rating: IP65

Heats up to: 16m²

Colours: Silver, black

The Ecostrad Sunglo is aptly named, with its low-glare tungsten bulb creating instantaneous, soothing warmth that mimics the natural warmth of the sun on a glorious summer’s day. Featuring a sleek honeycomb grill, and available in either silver or black, the Sunglo is as attractive as it is functional, bringing a touch of modern style to any exposed bar or restaurant area. Housing a powerful gold-plated bulb, this outdoor heater casts a golden glow with minimal glare, meaning it doubles up as a neat outdoor lighting solution on an evening, keeping users comfortable even after it gets dark.

Controllability

The Sunglo has two heat settings, one restricting output to 50%, and one delivering its full heat capacity. This is a handy feature once warmer temperatures start to kick in, saving on bills and making sure unnecessary energy isn’t produced. This is easily controllable by a button on the side of the unit. The Sunglo also comes with a remote control for heat management from afar - great if you plan on installing the heater in higher up, hard-to-reach areas, such as above tables in an outdoor dining area.

Near Infrared Heat

The type of heat the Sunglo emits is near, or shortwave, infrared. Near infrared is the most powerful form of radiant warmth, instantaneous and enduring, making it a logical fit for outdoor applications. This doesn’t mean the Sunglo’s pleasant warmth isn’t far-reaching - it has an impressive 16m² heat projection, which is more than enough for small patio areas. If needed, multiple heaters can be installed for efficient heat output in larger spaces. The Sunglo’s radiation is completely safe, so unlike sitting under the sun on a warm day, there’s no harmful UV rays to worry about!

Most suitable for:

Both fully and semi-exposed outdoor heating areas that require quick yet long-lasting heat, such as patios, terraces, pub gardens and outdoor restaurants.

Ecostrad Cirrus: A timeless all-rounder

Type of bulb: Carbon-fibre

Wattage: 2400kw

IP rating: IP65

Heats up to: 13.5m²

Colours: Silver

With the Ecostrad Cirrus, you get the best of everything you could need in an outdoor electric heater. A strong 2.4kw power output, a classic chamfered body with a silver aesthetic, and a carbon bulb that effortlessly balances performance and comfort. Carbon bulbs generally boast longer lifespans than their tungsten counterparts, useful for commercial properties that intend to make frequent use of their outdoor heating.

Controllability

The Cirrus can deliver three heat settings, each at intervals of 800 watts up to its maximum 2400. This provides an optimal level of controllability - suiting both the needs of its users and the temperamental British weather. Another particularly useful feature is its 1–9-hour timer function, so you can program the heater to remain on throughout the working day and automatically switch off come closing time. Remote control operated, the Cirrus is manageable from a distance in a simple point and press manner.

Mediumwave Infrared Heat

Mediumwave infrared is less intense in its nature than near infrared, but still powerful enough to be used in outdoor places exposed to the elements. It’s the best of both - long-lasting heat that’s comfortable enough to sit under for hours on end, yet still strong enough to warm users quickly. As carbon bulbs operate at a lower temperature to tungsten bulbs, the light they emit is not as bright - perfect if you’d prefer something slightly more discreet.

Most suitable for:          

Mid-wave heaters are suitable for workshops, warehouses and restaurant courtyards, helping to offset the cold without becoming overbearing.

Herschel Aspect XL - For natural, far-reaching heat

Type of bulb: None – the Aspect heats by ceramic infrared

Wattage: 1950kw

IP rating: IPX4

Heats up to: 9m²

Colours: Black

The Herschel Aspect is exactly what you need if you’re looking for an outdoor heater with undeniable style and sophistication. The Aspect works through heating ceramic plates, rather than heating a bulb, and so does not emit any glare or light. This works great if your outdoor space already has sufficient lighting, or for areas such as outdoor theatres needing to achieve total blackout. Ceramic infrared heat is robust and far reaching, a natural choice for churches, warehouses and lofty interiors, but they do a brilliant job of providing ambient warmth to sheltered outdoor spaces too.

Controllability

The Aspect XL is controllable through a simple hardwired switch or, for greater convenience, it can be paired with a Herschel iQ Thermostatic Control System. With integrated WiFi connectivity and a weekly control function, managing the Aspect’s heating is at the touch of a button.

Far infrared heat

The Aspect’s ceramic technology produces far infrared radiation, a highly efficient form of infrared with high levels of absorption, ensuring surrounding objects are heated gently and thoroughly. Far infrared does not produce that instant, engulfing type of heat you would get from a near infrared heater, but this means it feels more natural - in fact, far infrared is the same wavelength of heat our bodies give off. Whereas near infrared is more likely to be used for a quick burst of heat, far infrared is comfortable for a longer amount of time, meaning it’s ideal for larger, open plan commercial areas in frequent use.

Most suitable for:

Sheltered outdoor spaces which need to be kept at a more ambient, steady temperature, such as stables, gazebos, and alfresco seating areas.

An outdoor heating solution for any space

Finding the right electric heating solution for your commercial property ultimately depends on how you’ll use it and where it’ll be situated. The Sunglo, Cirrus and Aspect offer superior heating for a broad range of applications, whatever your property’s needs. Whether you’re looking to get your space prepped and primed for the summer or would like to fill up outdoor seats even when it's colder, our broad range of electric heaters are bound to fit the bill.

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