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Difference Between Commercial & Domestic Mid Range and Budget Market 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 even budget market 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 budget market patio heaters that are a long way short of commercial grade. Their method is to sell budget market 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 market patio heaters ship with steel nuts and bolts with fittings which corrode and weaken the supports over time. Every piece of the heater from the grade of stainless steel used on the pole, housing and support to the thermocouple is much higher grade on a commercial model. The difference in the components is not just slightly better but well over double the specification of a domestic patio heater. Commercial models are fitted with 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 market 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. Mid range versus budget market patio heaters?

This is the area that confuses most people, just what is going on between these different types. Well a good way to explain the difference is by visiting your local pound shop, they stock and sell garden trowels. If you've every purchased one and left it outside or tried to use it in anything but the finest of soil you'll know what the difference is. Left outside they rust, use to break up soil and they break themselves and bend with ease. Budget market products are in abundance and there to fulfill a market, it' not for everyone and most will agree they are false economy - you do get what you pay for! The same is true of budget market patio heaters. Leave them outside and they rust, knock them and they bend with ease, lighting is a major issue and you'll see them leaning as the supports just can't take the weight. Each is a small niggle but add it up and you end up with a leaning rusty heater that doesn't light.
Mid range offer value, a quality product that is built to last. Strong support, modern technology and advance production techniques are made a far superior product. Ultimately they will last longer, easier to maintain and cost less to run.
Q. Both patio heaters look the similar?
Take a look at the Heateray Pro commercial patio heater and a budget market one 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 mid range 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 budget market 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 mid range branded patio heater model number BFX750 both have been used in the UK for 18 months.

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