The patio heater industry has seen a surge in demand over the last ten years and even more so recently, with the Corona Virus making outdoor socializing the safer option. In the past, outdoor heaters were only bought for commercial use, such as in restaurants and bars. Now, there has been a massive shift in providing patio heaters suitable for home use. According to industry experts, the demand for residential orders has now surpassed commercial needs. The increased products available for home use have resulted in developments that help with the effectiveness and longevity of these heaters. One such item is the fasten-on reflector.
Fasten-on patio heater reflectors work to direct and extend the heater’s range for better heat utilization. They direct heat by reflecting it toward specific areas such as seating. They also protect exterior walls like vinyl siding and plant foliage from heat damage.
Essentially a reflector is just a shiny sheet of metal that reflects heat, so are they all made equal, or are there essential aspects to consider when choosing your add-on reflector?
What Are The Advantages Of An Add On Reflector Shield?
You may wonder if a curved sheet of metal is really worth your investment, but don’t let their simplicity of design fool you. Although a fundamental concept, the efficiency of these add-on reflectors makes them a necessary consideration for your patio heater.
The primary purpose and advantage of these reflectors is their ability to redirect the heat distribution of your patio heater. All good-quality patio heaters should come with a built-in reflector placed above the heating drum, which works to reflect the heat downwards onto your outdoor space. This prevents the heat from merely rising and dispersing into the cold alfresco air.
However, these round reflectors are pushing the heat into a 360-degree circle. Due to safety concerns, it’s unlikely that your heater is placed in the center of your patio, where it could be in the walkway or the middle of your seating area. You probably have it on one side of your deck up against a wall or may be exposed to your garden. If this is the case and you are not sitting in a circle around the heater, half your heat is wasted as it radiates on areas with no humans to warm up.
Main Advantage Gained by Using Add-on Patio Heater Reflectors
Fasten-on reflectors eliminate this problem by reflecting the heat from escaping out the back to the areas where there are no people and instead push all the heat in a more focused direction. This decreases the heat circle from 360 degrees to more of a 180-degree spread. All the heat then becomes concentrated on your guests and the area you want warm instead of losing half the heat into your patio’s garden or unoccupied space.
With all the heat focused in one area, you can turn down the gas or propane you are pushing through the heater. Because the reflector prevents you from losing heat out the back portion of your heater, all of that extra warmth is being dedicated to one area. This is likely to be quite intense, and you and your guests may even start to feel overheated. Therefore, you can turn down your heater’s power, which subsequently means you’ll be using less gas as your heater doesn’t need to work as hard.
Using less gas is a significant advantage and a win for you, not only in terms of saving you money but also in terms of your environmental impact. The add-on reflector makes it possible to use less gas/propane, which means they are better for the environment than a patio heater without one. Save gas, save money, save the world.
Save money is probably the first thing you’ll notice. Let’s say you can turn down the heat intensity on your patio heater to about 75% to radiate the actual 100% heat output to the usable area. You get roughly 3 hours more heat time per tank.
Check out our propane calculator in this article.
Damage Prevention Advantage with Bolt-on Heater Reflector
Another advantage of these fasten-on reflectors is that they can protect your walls or trees from unwanted heat. If your patio heater sits close to a wall or your garden foliage, the continuous heat may cause damage. Adding the reflector to your patio heater will deflect heat away from these unwanted places and protect these areas of your home from heat damage.
Some fasten on reflector manufacturers claim that they can assist in strong winds, but this is improbable. Most outdoor heaters become relatively useless in very windy conditions. Suppose you position your reflector in the direction of a breeze, mild wind, or even a draft. In that case, it might assist in reducing the wind carrying away some of the heat.
It is inadvisable to use your patio heater in very windy conditions for safety concerns anyway.
There is this one brand add-on patio heater reflector that does not matter what wind condition there is out. It is held in place by a 3 point system and it is adjustable for different heating needs which is very awesome feature to have.
Check the Heat Director out if you do live in areas that have evening breezes. Thinking off hand that would be in coastal communities for sure would benefit from this reflector add-on kit. Check it out here on Amazon.
The typical fasten-on reflector won’t provide any assistance against a stronger wind. It will almost certainly begin to swing or flex up and not stop the wind from reaching the heat and blowing it away. It may even be a risk, as it will act as wind resistance, essentially creating a sail. If your heater is not secured, the added reflector is likely to cause it to blow over.
Learn more about patio heater safety tips here
What Aspects Make The Best Fasten On Reflector?
A few elements make for the best reflectors when considering purchasing a fasten-on reflector for your patio heater.
The shape of the reflector will determine the heat pattern it forms. You should look for a reflector with a broader profile and gradual bends. The reflector should be curved in a half-moon shape to direct the heat.
The best fasten-on reflectors are made from aluminum. Not only is aluminum weather resistant and very durable metal, but it is also highly reflective. The ability for reflectiveness is the most crucial aspect of a fasten-on reflector.
The main heat source is in the infrared, and it is more light than anything. So, just like visible light, the infrared spectrum of light reflects off of shiny surfaces too. Although, the surfaces could get hot as it absorbs some of the heat.
The best add-on reflectors are also those that are easy to secure to your heater without any complicated installation or alterations.
What Are The Type Of Heaters That Can Fit Aftermarket Reflectors?
Most reflectors are designed with clips or clamps to secure them to your patio heater. They will fit best and be most effective on any mushroom heater. A mushroom heater comes with a wide-brimmed round reflector, and it is easy to secure any add-on reflector. Most brands should be compatible with each other.
Some companies indicate that their reflectors are also suitable for pyramid heaters that have a top plate reflector. While you’ll have no problem connecting the add-on reflector to your pyramid heater, it will be reasonably ineffectual. The heating column of a pyramid heater runs the full height of the heaters flame column.
Placing a reflector near the top means only a small amount of the heat is being reflected. While the heat generating from the bottom column of the heater is still being lost.
Our Top Picks On Patio Heater Reflector Shields
There are a few reflector shields that outshine the rest. Top of the list is the reflector from Sweet Heat. Although one of the more expensive reflectors on the market, Sweet Heat’s superior quality makes it worth the splurge. The reflector is made from high-quality, durable aluminum. This reflector will do everything you need it to do, effectively directing the heat to one area and protecting surfaces behind it. In no time at all, it will pay for itself with your gas savings.
It is super quick and easy to install with screw clamps and shouldn’t take you longer than 5 minutes to have it up and running. The best part of the Sweet Heat is that it is made in the USA and has good recall and excellent customer support.
The Moaron heat-focusing reflector is a great budget buy. Similar in design to the Sweet Heat, it yields similar results but at half the cost. Despite its lower price point, it is still made from high-quality aluminum. It also uses the screw clamp system making it simple to install.
The Smokitcen also has a lower price point and makes use of a paneled design. The added bonus of this design is that it can fold up and be easily stored when not in service during the summer months. It works effectively at directing heat, but be aware it is not as large as the reference pictures indicate, so some heat might be lost out the bottom.
Never the less it is still effective and does the job it is designed for. The Smokitcen is made from aluminum alloy (aluminum mixed with other metals) and is possibly a bit more flimsy than the others. However, it is still decent quality for what it costs. It has a straightforward clipping system and can be added to your heater in a jiffy.
Typical Tools Needed To Attach a Patio Heater Reflector Shield
- Typically no tools are required! All the units we tested are clamped on, or use thumb screws. A light tweak with pliers on the thumb screws can help fasten the reflector. However, technically it is not needed unless you have Arthritis or similar gripping problems.
Despite the simple design of these metal sheets, fasten-on reflectors for patio heaters are highly effective. They can achieve their job efficiently by directing heat towards a more desired specific area and eradicating heat waste. These simple additions will save you gas and save you a guilty conscience of harming the environment. It’s a shoo-in buy that needs no further reflection.
Yep, This Is Our Best Fasten On Patio Heater Reflector Pick: SWEET HEAT – Heat Focusing Reflector for Round Natural Gas and Propane Patio Heaters
The Runner up, Best Pick Alternative: Smokitcen Adjustable Heat Focusing Reflector for Round Natural Gas and Propane Patio Heaters
Best All Around in breezy conditions and the ability to redirect your heating pattern: THE HEAT DIRECTOR – The Only True Adjustable Heat Reflector (Adjusts Up & Down – Patented Adjustment System) for Round Patio Heaters