Space Heater Buying Guide
Winter is coming, and many people are looking for a convenient way how to add extra warmth to a chilly room without turning up the central heating and seeing the monthly utility bill skyrocket. Space heaters are perfect for warming up individual rooms when needed, and there’s wide variety of sizes and styles to choose from. This guide will help you find the best space heater for your needs so you can stay nice and warm no matter how cold it gets outside.
All types of space heaters rely on one or more of the following heating technologies:
- Convection heating circulates convection currents across a heating element to produce heat, which is then typically distributed across the entire room using a fan. They provide quick, focused heating by directing warmth to where it’s needed most.
- Radiant heating relies on invisible infrared waves to transfer radiant energy from an emitting heat source to an object. A radiant heater provides warmth that is similar to the sun’s rays and uses very little energy.
- Micathermic heating relies on a heating element covered in thin sheets of mica, a group of sheet silicate minerals. This heating technology combines convection and radiant heating.
Different Types of Space Heaters
Ceramic Space Heaters
Ceramic space heaters are among the most popular and most commonly purchased space heaters out there. They have an internal ceramic heating element and aluminum baffles. Electricity passes through the ceramic heating element and generates heat. This heat is then absorbed by the aluminum baffles and usually distributed across the entire room using a fan.
Ceramic space heaters are available in many shapes and sizes, and they are perfect for quickly warming up small rooms. Ceramic heaters are the inexpensive yet energy efficient space heaters that you should consider for your home. With hard-wearing and durable ceramic heating elements, these heaters produce comfortable and warming heat for your room as well as being safe to use.
Oil-Filled Radiator Heaters
Oil-filled radiator heaters strongly resemble the old-fashioned radiators that are still found in many older homes. They are filled with a special type of oil, called diathermic oil. This oil has a very high boiling point, and it never needs to be refilled, making it perfect as a heat carrier in heat transfer systems.
Unlike ceramic space heaters, oil-filled radiator heaters take some time to heat up, but they can then stay warm for a long time without using much electricity, making them very economical to use. Because they distribute heat using natural convection, there’s no fan to make noise, so they are especially suitable for bedrooms and all-night use.
Micathermic Space Heaters
Micathermic space heaters combine convection and radiant heating to produce heat where it’s needed the most instantly. They weigh only half as much as oil-filled radiator heaters but heat up twice as fast without the use of a fan.
Because micathermic space heaters operate without a fan, they ensure equal moisture levels throughout the whole area, and they don’t recirculate dust. This makes them excellent for people with dry skin, asthma, and allergies. Their high efficiency comes at a price, however, but the benefits far outweigh the higher cost.
Infrared Space Heaters
Relying on the radiant heating process, infrared space heaters heat up objects and people rather than the air. They are a great choice when you need instant, highly focused heat. Infrared space heaters have either a Quartz tube with a Nichrome heating wire or a tubular heating element similar to the one inside your oven or stove.
Because infrared space heaters emit reddish light, they are typically not recommended for bedrooms and other rooms where the light would be distracting.
Factors to Consider
When selecting a space heater, consider the following factors:
- Heater type: As we’ve already explained, each type of space heater has different pros and cons, and you need to keep them in mind when deciding which space heater is most suitable for your needs.
- Heater size: Space heaters come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. Small personal space heaters allow you to warm up your cubicle without turning the entire office into an inferno, but they are not as efficient as large space heaters.
- Power consumption: Space heaters can range anywhere from 1,000 watts to 5,000 watts, and more watts doesn’t necessarily mean greater efficiency. For all-day use, choose a low-wattage model with excellent efficiency.
- Safety: When purchasing, pay special attention to safety inspection labels as well as the overall design of the space heater. For example, oil-filled radiator heaters don’t get very hot, so they are suitable for rooms with small children.
- Extra features: The most useful extra features space heaters have include a thermostat, timer, remote control, handle, wheels, and auto shut-off switch for extra safety.
The space heater is a great way to stay warm this winter. With a wide variety of sizes and styles to choose from, you should have no problem finding the right space heater for your needs. We’ve put together a selection of the best space heaters that are currently on the market, and we encourage you to take a look at what we’ve picked so you can add warmth to your home without any delay.