Patio Heater Top Ten Buying Tips
No. 1. Stainless Steel Burner.
Not all stainless steel patio heaters have a stainless steel burner supplied as standard. Budget market patio heaters have chrome burners polished to look similar to stainless steel but of course will rust quickly in our maritime climate. Always ask the question, "Is the actual burner stainless steel or just chrome"?
No. 2. Latest Technology
EU regulations changed in 2009 requiring improved energy efficiencies. The latest patio heaters will have the new updated technology factory fitted. Older patio heaters may still fit 16kw chrome burners to use up old stocks. Worth noting that Europe's largest patio heater spare parts supplier discontinued spares for 16kw type back in 2009.
NO. 3. Patio Heater Spares, Support & Back Up.
This is a service industry, to keep patio heaters working in tip top condition requires back up and support. Most traders do not keep any records of spares or hold service information. When the time comes to service make sure you have access to a full list of spare parts and expert advice.
No.4. Full Sized Reflector.
Undersized reflectors is a big issue. There are patio heaters with small burners paired with cut down reflectors and heaters with 16kw burners paired with undersized reflectors. Always go for the optimum balance of a full sized normal reflector with latest technology burner - paired together this combination gives maximum heat reflection without costing a fortune to run.
No. 5. Patio Heater Warranty
Factory direct gives the best warranty, normally 2 years. Traders struggle to match. Many void warranty (read their terms) if close to costal areas which is a sure sign they are made of tin!
No. 6. Budget, mid range or professional?
Budget patio heaters are great for a 'one off' use and throw away, read up reviews on firing issues, poor build quality and rust problems before buying a budget heater. Mid range will save time, they light quickly, don't rust and with sturdy build quality. Ultimately you do get what you pay for, if it seems to good to be true, well you know the rest!
No. 7. Safety Feature
Most now fit a tilt switch, some fit a flame failure device but few if any have triple safety feature, for best protection make sure the patio heater also has a thermal fuse. Only the latest and most advanced patio heaters will have all three as standard.
No. 8. Design & Construction
Quality patio heaters will be designed for safety and strength. One area that many budget patio heaters miss is the tiny grommets that protect small fingers from harm. Check the base has rubber protective grommets, budget models leave these out as they are not a legal requirement but vital for the safety of little fingers.
Traders come and go in this market - over 130 in 3 years and still counting! Many operate fake sale tickets using made up RSP with 50% off, 75% off and free extra's - check back a few weeks later and the same fake sales run all year long. Already illegal in the EU, these traders operate below the radar and quickly change trading names when the law catches up with them. To avoid getting duped on a budget market patio heater from fake sales sites it's best to use an old established company that has continually developed its patio heaters than take a chance with a gas appliance.
No. 10. Pricing
Surprisingly pricing is last, the rule with all gas appliances is never ever buy any gas appliance solely on price. That 'once in a lifetime' patio heater deal is also a gas appliance that needs to be up to the job, safe for you and your family to use. Check mark all above first, pricing really is the last issue.
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