Types of Space Heaters

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Home heating systems are flooding the market every year. Research shows that people need extra warmth during winter to cope with the harsh climate. However, when it comes to low-cost heating, you need to understand various types of space heaters.

Everyone runs for the cheapest types of heaters for home. And as far as cost is concerned, there are other factors you should consider like reliability. What of the safety? Space heaters are the best to serve all the purposes you need at home.

Here’s a sneak peek at these space heaters.

How Space Heaters Work

A space heater is a home or office heating device that aims at heating a single room or a small area. A space heater does the opposite if you’re used to central heating systems that heat many connected rooms.

It heats a single room or a smaller area. As such, you may use the device to warm your feet or around your seat.

Most space heaters are portable, and moving around with them is easier. More importantly, they are flexible when it comes to choosing your device. They have various fuel options like;

  • Electricity
  • Oil
  • Natural gas
  • Propane

Space heaters are more beneficial when it comes to cost-cutting. It costs a homeowner very little by heating a small area compared to central heating. Thanks to modern technology.

Categories of Space Heaters

There are three main space heater categories. Take a look for better decision-making when choosing your device;

  • Convection Space Heaters

A convection space heater uses convection currents to heat the surrounding air. Air circulates through the heater, and in the process, the elements heat the surrounding air by thermal conduction.

Naturally, cold air is dense; that’s the reason it settles around the floor. Once heated, it becomes less dense therefore floating over the dense air. After rising, it circulates the room to distribute the heat.

When heated air molecules rise, they force the dense air molecules down. In the process, they pass through the heater and get heated. This creates a cycle that maintains the temperature.

  • Radiant Space Heaters

The radiant space heaters work by emitting electromagnetic waves.  Usually, a surface acts as a shield between the air and the heating elements or the fluid. As that’s the case, heat is first released into the objects like furniture or humans that pass it to the air.

Once electromagnetic waves are released, they carry radiant energy converted to heat energy once it collides with objects. After hitting the objects, heat is absorbed circulated within the room.

The heaters work best in crowded rooms because air circulation is not essential to get the job done.

  • Combination Space Heaters

Combination space heaters are the most efficient method to heat a room. They use radiant or convection mechanisms combined with a fan to fasten the heat circulation.

Usually, when air is blown, it circulates more quickly than when it naturally rises when heated. With that said, choosing combination heaters will save you time and fuel costs.

Read: Hot water recirculation system problems

Which are the Best Types of Space Heaters?

By understanding the categories, you can comfortably choose the best space heater for your home. Take a look at the most common types of heaters for home you may choose;

1. Fan Space Heaters

A fan space heater has a coil that uses electricity. The coil heats dense air around by convection mechanism and rises to circulate the room.

The heaters have a fan that blows air over the coil to fasten the process. The heater is very efficient due to this feature.

                                                The Pros and Cons of Fan Space Heaters
Cheap to purchaseCoils don’t retain heat after turning off
Small and compactRely on electricity only as fuel
Light in weightHeats only a small area
Safe to touch housing 
Fast heating 

Read: High efficiency hydronic baseboard heaters

2. Ceramic Space Heaters

A ceramic space heater uses electricity to heat it metal coils. On the metal coils, ceramic plates are mounted to receive the heat.

Due to the ceramic plates’ wider surface, heat is easily transferred to the surrounding air. The heater is proven to be very efficient and fast by many homeowners. Further, they are the safest types of space heaters because of their non-conductor housing.

The device comes in two options;

  • With fan – the fan blow air therefore faster heating.
  • Without fan – air rises naturally for circulation hence delayed heating compare to the first option.

Additionally, the device has regulatory sensors that turn off the power once the ceramic plate’s heat exceeds the set limit. This mechanism reduces fire risks and enhances power efficiency.

                                    The Pros and Cons of Ceramic Space Heaters
Small and compactUses only electricity as fuel method
Light in weightIt heats a small area
Instant heatingModels without fans are slow.
Ceramic plates retain heat after turning off 
Safe to touch housing 
Digital thermostat 
It’s portable 

3. Oil Filled Space Heaters

Oil filled space heaters are also known as radiator heaters. They use electricity to heat oil by element. The oil circulates the tubes to distribute heat. On the metal tubes, small fins are attached to absorb heat and transfer it to the surrounding air.

The heaters are fully radiant since they don’t have a fan. However, they have wheels therefore easy to move them around the rooms during use.

                                    The Pros and Cons of Oil Filled Space Heaters
Oils retains heat for extended time after turning offIt heats a limited space
Digital thermostatThe housing can get hot
It has wheels hence easily movedIt’s heavy

Read: Billy bookcase over baseboard heater

4. Infrared Space Heaters

The infrared space heaters are electrically powered. They use a radiant mechanism to release electromagnetic waves later converted to heat energy. As such, your room should have objects placed around the heater to have a warm breeze.

The infrared space heaters are available in two options;

  • With fan – they circulate hot air faster.
  • Without fan – they are slower compared to the first option.
                                     The Pros and Cons of Infrared Space Heaters
Heat transfer is not affected by furnitureExpensive than ceramic heater
It retains heat after turning offHeats on one direction
Some types have appealing wood designHeats a small area
Safe to touch housingRequires objects to efficiently transfer heat
Digital thermostat 
Has handles and wheels to move around 

5. Propane Space Heaters

The heaters are liquid propane fuelled; therefore, they aren’t limited to electricity. They are easily portable since no electric cords are plugging into the power outlets.

Propane space heaters are considered the hottest and the cheapest for home use. They work by a radiant mechanism since they emit electromagnetic waves to the nearby object, circulating them as heat.

The propane fuelled devices are available in two options;

  • With fan – faster heating.
  • Without fan – slower than the first. 
                                    The Pros and Cons of Propane Space Heaters
PortableProne to explosion
Not limited to electricitySome types are not safe for indoor use
HottestSome types emit carbon monoxide
Cheap to useThe need to refill propane gas
Propane is cheaper than electricity 
  • Panel Space Heaters

Panel space heaters are turning popular every day because they are the best heaters for bedrooms. They can easily sit on the floor by the support of their stands or easily mounted on the wall. This makes them best for kids’ bedrooms because it isn’t easy to reach them when mounted.

The devices use electricity to heat the coil, which later radiates heat to the surrounding objects. The panel space heaters may not be portable once you mount them on the wall.

On the other hand, they are proven to slow in heating and have fewer controls for the user.

                                    The Pros and Cons of Panel Space Heaters
Modern stylingLess heat
Mounted on wall for safetyFewer controls
Firm stands for floor heatingNot all types have fans
Easy to useOnce fixed on the wall it’s less portable
Reduced fire risks 

Factors to Consider When Purchasing a Space Heater for Your Home

Although it might be the best idea to shift from central heating to space heaters, there are several factors you should first consider. Take a look;

  • Space

Some space heaters are hotter than the others. In simple, there are space heaters that heat a wide area than others.

Before purchasing your heater, it’s good to analyse and know what you need from the market. For instance, you may choose a hotter space heater with a small room and end up wasting fuel every time you run it. On the other hand, you may choose a less hot space heater for a larger room and suffer cold during winter nights.

  • Fuel Cost

Depending on your country, you may find electricity is cheaper than propane or natural gas. In other cases, it may be vice versa.

To save some money, analyse and determine the best space heater for your home in terms of fuel cost.

  • Safety

Although modern technology has equipped nearly all devices with safety; some models have more safety features. You wouldn’t want to burn your home or put your kids or pets at fire risk.

Gas-powered heaters are more prone to explosion if mishandled. The same goes for electric-powered heaters with hot elements.  They can quickly burn your carpet and sofas if they contact the fabric material.

  • Reliability

Some heaters produce heat faster than others. Secondly, some fuel refilling stations are far more located than others. It’s essential to consider reliability since you wouldn’t want to spend your winter night shivering.

  • Efficiency

Some space heaters are more efficient than others. You would like to keep your room warm during winter and still save some money.

Radiant space heaters, for example, can retain heat for long after being turned off. As such, it’s good to choose them if you intend to save some money over the winter.

  • Availability

It’s wise to choose the most common and available space heater at your local dealer. By choosing the most common, you’re sure of getting a repair specialist or spares if the heater fails.

Secondly, if your local dealer stocks the space heaters, there is a possibility of refilling stations nearby if you purchase a gas-fuelled device.

FAQs on Space Heaters

What Type of Heater is best for Indoors?

Radiant space heaters are the best option for indoor heating. However, they are suitable for outdoor heating too. They are usually recommended for indoor heating because they don’t require insulation. The device’s hot oil or elements are already insulated for heat radiation. This mechanism makes them less fire hazardous.

Which is Better Infrared or Space Heaters?

There are infrared space heaters in the market as well. Infrared space heaters are more efficient than other heaters because they release 100 % of the heat they produce. By releasing all the heat to the zone, rooms are faster heated and reduced fuel costs. Additionally, their heating coils don’t overheat, therefore reducing fire risks.

What’s the Difference Between Ceramic and Infrared Heaters?

Infrared heaters produce thermal energy, which turns to heat once it comes into contact with objects. The objects then transfer heat to each other. On the other hand, ceramic heaters produce heat through a coil which is then transferred to the ceramic plates. The plates heat the surrounding air by convection mechanism, and the air rises to circulate the room.

Do Space Heaters Increase Electric Bill?

Electric space heaters heat faster. Since they run on household electricity, you should be ready for an increased energy bill. More so, if you regularly run them. Especially during winter, your energy bill may be higher than average. However, there are types of space heaters that retain heat for an extended period after you turn them off. They can be the best option if you intend to reduce your energy bills.

Read: Electric baseboard heat cost per month