Difference Between Commercial & Domestic Patio Heaters
Q. How can you tell the difference between a domestic or residential patio heater and commercial heaters?
The patio heater market has become cloudy as a few traders attempt to incorrectly label domestic or residential grade patio heaters as commercial grade. With a trained eye it is easy to spot a domestic patio heater but for those choosing one for the first time there are a few tips. A simple quick way is to check the patio heater's country of manufacture, if it's China with a low retail price ticket the clues are all there!!
And don't be fooled with 40% and 50% or even 65% off banners, these sites hoodwink shoppers with false discount on domestic grade patio heaters that are a long way short of commercial grade. Their method is to sell domestic grade patio heaters with made up or inflated RSP to mislead shoppers with false discount banners. The law is changing to clamp down on rogue traders that use dodgy practices such as false RSP's and fake discount claims.
Q. What makes a patio heater commercial grade?
It's the quality of the components, right down to the raw nuts and bolts. Most budget domestic patio heaters ship with steel nuts and bolts fittings which corrode and weaken the supports over time. Every piece of the patio heater from the grade of stainless steel used on the pole, housing and support to the thermocouple is much higher grade on commercial patio heaters. This difference in the components is not just slightly better but well over triple the specification. Commercial patio heaters are supplied with a heavy duty (much wider than domestic) centre pole for added stability, a high grade stainless steel double skinned ultra quiet burner that is fully serviceable, heavy duty wheel assembly and triple safety features. Many of the budget domestic patio heaters can be seen leaning to the left or right due to low grade steel and wonky pole fittings used in manufacture. These lack the support needed to stay upright and therefore tend to lean slightly and wobble in the wind.
Q. Both patio heaters look the similar?
Check out our domestic
and our commercial patio heater models
and you'll see very little difference in the picture alone. From a distance they appear similar but get up close to the real thing and the differences are easy to see. The finish on a commercial patio heaters is much higher grade, typically stainless steel domestic patio heaters have a gloss polish finish, on commercial grade the finish is brushed stainless steel - much easier to keep clean. Power coated commercial patio heaters will have a harden tough finish to resist scratching and stay looking good for longer. Although the commercial patio heaters are more substantial on the outside it's also the workings beneath the skin that highlight the many reasons for different grades. For light use in the garden, our domestic patio heaters will not disappoint but for heavy duty use within a commercial environment a commercial appliance is the only real option. Typically they endure far more abuse within a commercial setting than your back garden, they get shunted about with rough handling, left running continuously for 12 hours at a time over many weeks and expected to take these hard knocks as standard. Whilst your cherished domestic patio heater in a back garden setting will get light use and looked after carefully. A good way to view the difference between domestic and commercial grade is to imagine using a domestic gas cooker in a busy restaurant, give it 6 months and it will be wrecked but placed in a home environment it would be fine with many years of service.
For this reason it is critical that all patio heaters are correctly labelled according to the build, components fitted and intended use.
Q. What about the stainless steel?
Always check the burner on the heater is stainless steel and not steel plated or chrome finish. It's best to ask the question since many of the 16kw patio heaters are using up old stocks of tin burners that are polished to resemble stainless steel. These tin plated burners bend easily, small knocks or dings take their toll and of course they will corrode, the closer you are to the sea the quicker they will rust. Many of the discount traders offering 65% off exclude warranty for costal areas which is a sure sign they are made of tin. Compare the burners on the left fitted to a budget unbranded stainless steel patio heater against our own domestic branded patio heater model number BFX750 both have been used in the UK for 18 months.
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