Portable outdoor gas heaters; Investment analysis of patio, pyramid, ceramic infrared

Seeking to warm up your café or restaurant outdoors? Or just looking for a good patio heater for your backyard or veranda? Our advice is aimed to help you get the best value for money.

The popular options of portable heaters to choose from are:

  •         • Floor standing mushroom style gas heaters
  •         • Pyramid flame glass gas heaters
  •         • Ceramic infrared gas heaters
  Mushroom Style gas heater Pyramid flame gas heater Ceramic infrared gas heater
Initial cost Low






On-going cost (for every hour of use) High






Cost after 1100 hours of use $2,000 $2,000 $900
The area covered 9-17 sq. m 16-30 sq. m 25-40 sq. m
Chosen for Initial cheap investment aesthetics Efficiency, flexibility, and durability


Mushroom style gas heaters are known for its initial cheap investment of $100 – $500. However, it is one of the costly long-term investments.

One mushroom gas heater consumes one gas cylinder (9kg) in 11 hours (1.5- 3 days). Assuming your bottle swap costs $20, and you run the mushroom gas heater for 6-7 hours daily, that’s around 200 hours per month which would mean a running time of 800 hours per winter season. That’s going to cost around $1,500 per winter season.

What if you just use it occasionally like an hour or 2 every other night? That’s around 130 to 220 hours for one winter season. This would still cost you approximately $400 for every winter season.

Looking at the total long-term cost of 5 years including the initial investment of the mushroom heaters and 220 hours consumption per year (if used only during winter and not autumn) and no repair cost (assuming your heater never breaks down), it will cost you a minimum of $ 2,500 (that is only for 1100 hours of use).

The next concern you would be how effective are these mushroom style gas heaters. Most of the heat is directed up towards the metal reflector mushroom cover which absorbs some of the heat; losing a considerable amount of heat.

Mushroom style gas heaters are also stylishly designed to be near the users. So it would need to be 9-17 square meters near where you, your visitors or your customers sit.

The mushroom heaters usually take around 2 minutes to turn on.

Top range mushroom style heaters are heavier and harder to move around. Cheaper options are available. They are usually lighter, and easier to move but potentially unsafe during windy days.

Made of these cheap models would offer only 3 months warranty for commercial use.

So basically, if you barely use your heater this could be an option you might opt for.


Pyramid flame glass gas heaters look more aesthetically pleasing.  For an initial investment price of $300 – $1500, this heater can cover up to 6 meters or 16-30 square meters.

A top range pyramid flame glass gas heater consumes one gas cylinder (9kg) in 10 hours (1.5- 3 days). That’s a similar consumption rate as the mushroom style heater. However, pyramid gas heaters are easier to switch on.

Pyramid gas heaters are designed to look good and be on the floor. However, they seem to take up a lot of floor space which takes away table allocation, and fewer tables mean fewer revenues for the restaurant owner. For a big venue, you would need quite a few of these heaters to heat the floor area effectively.

Heaters, available in Australia, are manufactured in China.

Looking at the total long-term cost of 5 years, it will cost you a minimum of $3,000 (that is only for 1100 hours of use).


Ceramic gas heaters, or infrared heaters, are known for its silent and low heating loss. For an initial investment price of $300 – $1500, this heater can last for 20 years.

One ceramic gas heater consumes one gas cylinder (9kg) in 25 hours (4.5 – 6) days. This means for 220 hours of use, it would only cost $180 dollars. That’s a total savings of $220 dollars every 220 hours of use compared to both mushroom gas heaters and pyramid gas heaters.

What about the efficiency? The heater is angled directly towards the area you want to heat up. This type of heater can be hanged or placed in the corner. You can still feel the warmth sitting several meters away from it. This could also save up floor space which means lower investment per square meter

Additionally, it is easier to use. It takes only a few seconds to switch on the heater, and it a gentle shake would turn out the flame.

High-quality product, manufactured in France, is available in Australia and New Zealand, with the heater operating on average for 20 years and requiring little or no maintenance.

So, for a long-term investment, it would cost around $2,000 (if the heater is only used for 1100 hours). And it’s only the beginning. While other heaters may not leave that long, the good quality infrared heater may last 30 years and will only require a couple of clean-ups.

To conclude, always make your research and calculations to get the best value for money when investing in outdoor heating solutions. As the attached table shows, for the period of 10 years, you’ll spend two times less money with the most expensive heater.



  1. Prices in Australian Dollars. Information is taken from the websites selling portable gas heaters in Australia and is accurate at the moment of publishing.
  2. With a greater focus on our HVAC business, HNW is updating and developing new micro-sites focusing our radiant heater (radiantheater.com.au) and HVLS fans (skybladefans.com.au)

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