Illumination from Various Outdoor Patio Heaters ... What's the Difference?

When it comes to illumination from heaters, the type and intensity of light emanating from a heater depends on a number of factors - gas/electric, open flame, medium or long wave, type of emitter, etc. Overall appearance of the heat source will play a role in a buyers decision, and of course the enjoyment of the heater(s) once in place and heating your oasis! Without getting into fancy details re. the science or actual ratings of light, aka luminous flux incident per unit area, expressed in lumens per unit of area, etc., rather, I'll simply give a quick overview of some observations that pertain to various heaters sold herein. 

Outdoor patio heaters typically come to life in the evening and after-dark, or at least those that involve some form of illumination. So overall, evening and night pictures are helpful. But lower light exposure does create some challenges. Hence you'll notice that most of the industry shows heaters in full light, but often photo-shop evening/night time shots of the actual heat source, or edit the photo to make the flame/heat look more vibrant. I'm not suggesting this is to trick shoppers or falsely advertise the product. It's really to help depict what you'll see in darker settings, but also show the details of the appliance in full light (best of both lighting situations, if you will). 

Our 'open flame' evenGLO (the mushroom top style, or umbrella heat shield; NG or propane; fixed post mount or portable), units provide a beautifully vibrant and colorful flame, along with the reflective header-unit and top heat shield that combine to create a very sophisticated and mesmerizing illumination. It's a gorgeous appliance all around (on and off), but the evenGLO really comes to life as the sun sets and into night time lighting. On the evenGLO product pages, there's a video that shows the flame; these are a must see if you're considering making a purchase. This is not your typical heater, and compared to others in the market, this product is a stand-out particularly when it comes to overall appearance, and the 'look' of the heat source/flame. In my opinion, some of the tube flame heaters look incredible and very stylish ... but the heat they emit is much lower, so hands down I prefer the evenGLO, all things considered. Here's a few pics of the evenGLO, one as the sun is setting, and one after dark: 


In the first pic, you can start to see the blue'ish flame rolling up and the glowing red ring, together emitting an evenly distributed heat. The heat shield up top, and the reflective metal below the red ring and flame, combine to direct the heat in all directions, but also create reflective surfaces that bounce colors and light in such a way that is quite unique. No two pics are the same and surroundings will influence the appearance given those reflective qualities.

In the picture right above, you'll see the evenGLO in dark setting. Also notice in the background, on the right side, the other heater ... that is 'The Habanero' (HAB50), also 50k btu, but a very different style and type of heat (and illumination). 

When I first installed the HAB in my cabana, it wasn't the flame or overall look that captivated me (as was the case with the evenGLO). With the HAB, it's the heat!! One neighbor said, and I quote: "that heater is a game changer". In one line, that is precisely the right description for the HAB, it's a game changer for any outdoor environment. We want to heat our outdoor oasis and do our best to be comfortable in an otherwise cold environment ... so my thinking is that we really want to consider all variables: price + look + efficiency + heat strength + quality, etc. But in the end, the #1 factor is heat!!! The Habanero won't work in every setting given it requires piped-in Nat Gas, the size, wall or ceiling mount, and it might even be 'overkill' depending on the square footage of your patio. But if you can make it work, the Habanero Series is incredible. As far as the look of the heat source, which is the focus of this blog entry, the HAB is not an open flame heater like the evenGLO, but the HI setting particularly (50,000 btu for the HAB50 on high), yields an intense amber that is actually very charming. I did somewhat of an unusual install, underneath a bulk head beam in the cabana, with Home Depot aluminum tracks, so that I could hang and swivel the heater 'out' to face an 8-person table area, OR swivel into the cabana, to warm the bar area. Here's a day time shot, yet notice you can still see the vibrant amber heat emitter: 

Right after install of the HAB50, I had a few buddies over, cigars and cognac ... a very cold evening ... this heater was incredible! Some even took their coats off, and I actually noticed folks gazing into the heater as if it was a real wood fire!! It's nice to look at, and the amber glow is intense, warm, and very calming. 

Below is a night shot of the HAB50 swivelled inward toward the cabana bar. You can see a pretty intense light/glow gleaming off the heater. When it's cold, people appreciate the warmth, and so that amber glow becomes a huge asset, and never goes unnoticed or under appreciated. Also in the pic below, you'll notice the eWAVE electric heaters inside the bar area including a Medium Wave eWAVE (EW18M12) on far side above the door, which does illuminate a mild reddish glow from the heat lamp(s), and also the Long Wave eWAVE (EW15L12) heaters on the left and far side of bar, which do not emit any light. 

The medium wave eWAVE electric unit (EW18M12), compared to the HAB, ... it's not really a fair contest given fundamentally very different. Electric eWAVE units do deliver a very nice warming sensation, but different and much less intense than a high power gas unit. Your skin, your clothing, the top layer of your flesh, proximal surfaces that are hit by the infrared waves ... it digs in and the longer you sit there the more you'll feel it, albeit subtle. Through the tinted glass, you can see the red glowing heat lamps, that would damage the eye if exposed, but with the glass protection, yield a mild degree of red illumination. That red hugh is no where near what you get off something like an open flame evenGLO or the HAB, but for electric heater shoppers, it might be a consideration; some will want that look for ambience while others might prefer a long wave unit, in part to avoid the illumination altogether. 

Long wave vs. Medium wave is an interesting topic, that I'll spend time on in another blog entry. Please call me to discuss if you have any question. Thank you Dave 

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