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Energy-Efficient Space Heaters – Convenience And Performance For Supplemental Heating

When the temperature outside drops some degrees, there is nothing better than a warm spot as a refuge. It doesn’t have to be the middle of the winter for a cold day to make you want to snuggle under a blanket. For these days or for when you need a heating source for just one room, space heaters are the answer.

Perfect as a supplemental source of heat, a space heater can provide just the right amount of warmth. You don’t have to turn on the main heating system and have your energy bills drain your budget. Relying on a portable unit means you get the comfy, warm air, where and when you need it. And to optimize the heating costs here’s today’s proposal. Energy efficient space heaters are the latest trend among homeowners. They ensure adequate heating for your space, but reduce the energy waste to a minimum. This is how you know you won’t have to break your piggy bank to enjoy a few hours (or more) of cozy, warm relaxation in your home.

We’ll tell you all about energy-efficient space heaters in today’s article. From how they work, what technology they use to provide heat, what features to look for when buying one. We’ll drop a list of the seven most impressive models that caught our attention. And of course, we couldn’t end without giving you some tips and tricks. We’ll share some ideas on how to care for your future energy-efficient space heater. We are sure you will never again get cold feet when it comes to investing in this type of heater. You’ll get to know all about it and make the best decision. So, let’s get you heated up with new information!

ProductTypeBTUsSize

(inches)
Safety FeaturesWarrantyBest Feature
Lasko Ceramic Space Heaterelectric5,1188.5 x 7.25 x 23thermostat;

built-in timer;

overheat protection
3 yearsefficient and silent performance


Dr Infrared Heater Portable Space Heater, 1500-Watt
electric5,11813 x 12.5 x 17thermostat;

built-in timer;

overheat & tip over protection
3 yearsdual heating (infrared quartz tube + PTC)


1,500 Watt Electric Infrared Wall Mounted Heater
electric5,11819.21 x 17.32 x 4.49thermostat;

built-in timer;

overheat & protection; panel lock
1 years energy saving setting, extra-safety features


Remote Control Portable LED Fan Space
electric5,11812.1 x 11.6 x 9.7thermostat;

built-in timer;

overheat & protection; child lock
1 yearschild protection, stable, sturdy design


Stiebel Eltron 1500-Watts Wall Mounted Electric Fan Heater
electric5,1184.75 x 13.25 x 18.14integral thermostat3 years frost protection; down-draft design for even heating


Honeywell Ceramic Surround Heat Whole Room Heater with Remote Control
electric5,11817.2 x 8.89 x 8.89built-in thermostat, timer, tip protection3 yearsuniform 360 degrees heating


Propane Infrared Wall Mounted Heater
propane combustion30,00026.18 x 29.02 x 11.22 built-in thermostat, vent-free1 years high performance, great for power outages

How Does Space Heater Work?

Before we dive into the specs, let’s clarify how a space heater functions. Compact, effective and portable, these appliances work best in small areas. You can rely on them to warm up the rooms where your central heating system doesn’t reach that well.

Space heaters are usually powered by electricity or burning of flammable fuels. Combustion models function with propane, natural gas, wood or pellets. The heat resulted is then distributed through convection or radiation.

As you can expect, the modern electric models are among the most energy efficient. Thanks to the latest technological innovations, these heaters can adjust the energy consumption. And save you plenty of time, energy and money by doing this.

Let’s take a closer look at the different types of electric space heaters and how they work. There are four main categories, each performing at its best, if used in the right conditions:

  • convection heaters
  • infrared heaters
  • ceramic space heaters
  • oil-filled space heaters.

Below, you can find a more comprehensive description of each type. Also, we thought to share some of the benefits associated with each kind of electric heater.

Benefits Of Electric Space Heaters

Convection Space Heaters

Easy on your energy bills, these heaters offer generous heat in a short time. Convection involves getting the air warm by transferring heat. Electricity passes through a component of the heater, making it get hot. This raises the temperature of the surrounding air. They may not leave room for any residual heating, but they do their job pretty well. Not to mention, these heaters do not contribute to allergic reaction, since they don’t have a fan. As the dust doesn’t get moved through the air, convection heating is better for your health.

Skin dehydration is also prevented. Simply said, by not having excessive hot air forced through your room, your body suffers less. However, it doesn’t mean that this type of heater doesn’t influence humid spots. Convective units may not provide fan-assisted heating, but they can help you fight mold. Some homeowners prefer using them in spaces like bathrooms, where humidity is higher.

Related: Warm-Up Any Space With One Of Our Top-Choice Kerosene Heaters

Infrared Space Heaters

These units focus on heating surfaces first, rather than air. Also known as spot heaters, they radiate warmth in a straight line. The warmth stops as soon as it lands on any obstacle. Though these models don’t work for several rooms at a time, they are perfect if you want instant focused heat. For garages, shops, in the bedroom, they work great in keeping your feet (and body) safe from the cold.

The science behind involves combustion taking place inside a coil or a tube. Tiny sparks are constantly produced in there. Compared to typical convection heaters, the quartz units are among the most economical. They save up to 20% of the energy.

Keep in mind, however, that these heaters will not ensure a high temperature in the air of your home. And as soon as you switch them off, you may feel the cold settling in pretty fast. Also, if you need complete darkness to fall asleep, avoid leaving such a heater on in your bedroom.

Ceramic Space Heaters

Efficient and budget friendly, ceramic space heaters are among the most popular choices. Available in a plethora of sizes and designs, they can satisfy even the most exigent demands.

They rely on a ceramic element that gets heated by electricity. An aluminum component is responsible for absorbing and distributing the heat. Most models feature a fan that increases the hot air circulation across any space. Ceramic heaters are also considered among the safest. That is because this material has a very high resistance to rising temperatures.

One important aspect is that, since they have a fan that directs the hot air wherever you want it, you must keep it clean. Dusting often reduces the amount of airborne particles that might pile up on the fan blades. This is, by far, essential for those with allergies or respiratory issues.

Oil-Filled Radiator Heaters

If you are a fan of old-fashioned design, this type of heater can win you over instantly. Yet you should know that energy efficiency comes from the inside, not the exterior. Literally speaking, these heaters can surprise you with their performance.

Filled with a liquid that heats up, warming the fins of the radiator, these appliances are 100% safe. You don’t need to refill or drain this liquid, so such a heater requires minimum maintenance. The heat spreads slowly from the metal body of the heater towards the air in your room. The best thing about these units is that they provide plenty of residual heat. That means you can turn off the device and still enjoy warm air for a while. Not to mention, they are perfect for your bedroom, as they emit no noise.

What Makes A Space Heater Energy-Efficient?

We cleared out some of the mystery surrounding space heaters. Yet this one question might still be bugging you. To distinguish the energy efficient space heaters, here are some indicators.

Energy Star Rated heaters are units officially recognized as efficient in reducing waste. Their consumption rate is often optimized and they feature modern options for fine-tuning. They can identify the conditions existent in the room and adjust their performance. With the help of a thermostat, self-shut off and more, these units won’t be burning gas in vain. Heating is no longer vaguely controlled and even the smallest amount of warmth produced is, this way, put to good use.

For electric heaters, energy efficiency is often a synonym with low wattage. A low wattage means the heater needs less energy to give a specific amount of heat. Accordingly, less energy consumed, less costs involved, so bills stop being a nightmare. How does the wattage reflect the heating performance of such a unit, though?

There is an equation that can help you calculate an approximate value for a heater’s BTU. Now, if you’re on the lookout for such a device, you should know by now that BTU stands for British Thermal Unit. It is the most common indicator for appliances used to warm up a space. This number gives you a rough idea of the heating capacity. The higher the BTU, the more powerful your heater is.

To find the equivalent BTU for an electric heater, remember that 1 Watt is equal to 3.413 BTUs. So, if you multiply these two numbers, you can estimate how much heat a specific model can produce.

Electric Heater BTU Output = 3.413 X Heater’s Wattage Rating

Keep in mind, when you try to determine the BTUs needed to properly warm up a room, there are some factors to consider. The size of the room (height, width and length) give you an idea of the surface. You can calculate or use online tools to find the BTU needed for your area. As an example, a room with up to 300 square feet requires around 7000 BTUs.

The characteristics of the climate in the area where you live also take a toll on the amount of heat necessary. If you live in an area where temperatures drop drastically in winter, you need a more powerful unit. If your room is, for example, oriented towards the south and you get more sunlight, things change. Other relevant agents influencing the BTU are the level of insulation and the age of a building. The number of windows, the type of construction materials play a role in this equation too.

Coming up next, the most relevant characteristics of an energy efficient heater. Discover what hides behind the intricate specs you often read in the description. Use them in your advantage, to make the best choice when you decide to get a better space heater.

What Features Should You Look For In An Electric Space Heater?

To ensure you make a well informed decision, we’ve prepared a quick guide, to help you navigate the sea of options. Therefore, when you want to invest in an energy efficient space heater, here’s a good checklist.

  • Size

Depending on how much available space you have in your room, you can opt for a suitable device. After all, it would be rather unpleasant to keep bumping into it.

  • Performance

As we mentioned before, the heating capacity of an energy-efficient heater is essential. Once you know the surface measurements, you can calculate (or search online) the ideal BTU. In case you are looking for an electric space heater, the low wattage is preferable.

  • Thermostat & Automatic Features

Space heaters that feature a thermostat let you set a temperature for the room. Then, the unit works on adjusting the energy consumption, based on the real conditions. That means the unit can stop burning fuel or consuming electricity. Of course, that is only after it detects the room reached your desired temperature.

In case the automatic shut down is not part of the menu, a thermostat can still help you reduce costs. By setting a specific temperature, you can keep an eye and adjust the intensity of heat. After all, you want to have a cozy atmosphere, not to sweat while your heater is on.

  • Ease Of Transportation

Any built in wheels or handles make moving your space heater a lot easier. This comes in handy, especially if you don’t plan to use it in only one room.

  • Safety Features

For the extra-cautious ones, these options can weigh more than the size, for example. If you have children or pets wandering around the house, a cool touch protection will mean the world to you. Overheat protection is another recommended option to look for. Anything that increases your comfort and leaves you worry-free is more than welcome.

  • Noise Level

For space heaters that include a fan, the level of noise associated matters. If you plan to install this in your bedroom, you don’t want your sleep to be in any way disturbed by a haunting buzz. Of course, there are electric models that don’t require a fan for heat distribution. It is up to you to decide how important is a completely silent operation for you.

  • Warranty

From a couple of months to a few years, warranty is the promise of quality. Depending on how often you plan to use a space heater, having a longer warranty period can come in handy. If you only use your heater for a few weeks a year, you may face malfunctions a lot later than someone who uses it more. In such cases, a warranty valid for several years saves you the trouble of repair costs.

Our 2020 Top 7 Best Energy Efficient Space Heater

If all this technical talk is giving you cold feet, it’s time to get you warmed up with what’s on the market. Here comes our selection of seven top-notch, energy efficient space heaters.

The table below gives you a quick view on their main characteristics. A more detailed insight for each model is also included. Keep reading, to find an energy efficient heater perfect for your home.

Lasko Ceramic Space Heater

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Silent performance for up to 8 hours is what the Lasko 755320 Ceramic Space Heater promises. Use it in your office or home and enjoy extra comfort. The unit’s wide oscillation angle allows distributing warm air efficiently all over. It features two quiet settings and an easy-to-read thermostat display. Take control over the operating functions with no extra effort. The remote control and built-in timer let you adjust every heating setting. And with the help of the built-in handle, you can take this space heater anywhere you need to add some extra degrees.

Pros:

  • quiet operation for up to 8 hours
  • adjustable oscillation
  • thermostat
  • remote control
  • built-in timer
  • fully assembled
  • 3 years warranty
  • cool touch exterior.

Cons:

  • no safety shut-off feature
  • some customers accused poor quality of the front cover (melting plastic).

Dr Infrared Heater Portable Space Heater, 1500-Watt

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Compact and easy to transport, the Dr Infrared Space Heater really stands out. It’s capable of heating up even large rooms, thanks to its energy-saving features. Use the high or low setting, according to your needs. The dual heating combines an infrared quartz tube with a PTC system. You can trust the unit to safely function up to 12 hours or use the automatic shut-off timer to reduce the time.

Comfort and safety are both covered by the top-notch features. This heater comes with a remote control, electronic thermostat, tip-over and overheat protection.

Pros:

  • dual heating (infrared quartz tube + PTC)
  • energy saving mode
  • tip-over & overheat protection
  • automatic shut off
  • remote control
  • low noise blowing fan.

Cons:

  • no handle
  • frequent complaints about the plug overheating.

1,500 Watt Electric Infrared Wall Mounted Heater

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Warm-up to 1000 square feet with the Comfort Glow Electric Infrared Wall Mounted Heater. Save precious floor space and enjoy the energy-efficient performance this unit offers. Installation is a breeze thanks to the wall mounting kit included. Place it on a drywall or plaster wall and enjoy maximum comfort with minimum energy use.

This space heater comes with a built-in thermostat, two power settings and a cool touch cover. Slim and practical, this unit can blend in easily in any space. The indicator lights, LED display and remote control make using this heater easier.

Pros:

  • easy to install
  • energy saving (eco) mode
  • remote control
  • LED display (panel lock feature)
  • 12h programmable timer
  • high output fan
  • moisture resistant case.

Cons:

  • limited warranty (one year)
  • not portable.

Remote Control Portable LED Fan Space

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For a house where children or pets run around a lot, consider the Ktaxon Electric Infrared Heater. Its four quartz heating elements make it a reliable warmth source. Programmable for up to 12 hours, this unit comes with three heat settings. It features several safety options, for your peace of mind. Overheat protection, tip-over automatic shut off, cool touch case and child lock are only a few.

Ready to use as soon as you take it out of the box, it is also easy to adjust thanks to the remote control. Stable, durable construction combines with portability for added comfort.

Pros:

  • ECO heating mode
  • powerful heating
  • programmable timer
  • safety features (overheat, tip-over protection, cool touch)
  • no installation required
  • built in thermostat
  • LED display
  • remote control.

Cons:

  • only one year of warranty.

Stiebel Eltron 1500-Watts Wall Mounted Electric Fan Heater

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German quality is the promise of performance brought by the Stiebel Eltron CK 15 Heater. Silent, energy efficient and with an elegant design, they are a great investment. For daily comfort or when during a renovation, this wall-mounted heater can warm you up fast. Use it as a supplemental heat source in any space, it will impress you with what it can do. Easy to install and use, this space heater features a on/off switch for extra-convenience. At the press of a button, you can stop the energy consumption, if you’re on the run.

The built-in thermostat allows you to control the desired room temperature. The frost protection keeps the room temperature at a value above freezing. So your goods and home are safe from the cold, even when the main heating system is off. The electric fan is powerful enough to help distribute evenly the hot air across the room. Yet it is silent as well, making this wall-mounted heater a good option for light sleepers.

Pros:

  • elegant, sleek design
  • German quality manufacturing
  • silent operation
  • built-in thermostat
  • frost protection setting
  • 3 years of warranty.

Cons:

  • not supplied with a cord (must be hard-wired)
  • no remote control.

Honeywell Ceramic Surround Heat Whole Room Heater with Remote Control

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Get your room properly heated, from any angle, with the Honeywell HZ-445R Tower Heater. This portable, electric space heater has a unique 360° design, adjustable to your needs. Heat up to 300 square feet in about 2 hours, for extra comfort.

With its top-notch design, this Honeywell tower helps you get warm and cozy, in an energy efficient way. Use the built-in thermostat, timer and dual heat settings, for more control. The tip-over protection and cool touch carry handle prove safety comes first.

Related: Stay Cozy This Winter With Best Honeywell Space Heater

Pros:

  • 360° design for even heating
  • adjustable thermostat
  • cool touch handle
  • tip-over protection
  • remote control
  • 3-year warranty.

Cons:

  • some units had a defective thermostat (according to buyers).

Propane Infrared Wall Mounted Heater

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Standing out of the crowd, the Dyna-Glo Propane Infrared Heater promises 99% efficiency. With an outstanding performance and safe to use, this heater is ideal for your home, garage and more. It can provide up to 30,000 BTUs per hour, more than enough to warm up your room and keep you comfortable. Use the built-in thermostat to adjust the desired temperature.

Vent-free, this propane heater requires manual adjustments and delivers great results. Having such an appliance in your home proves very useful when there is a power outage. Based only on liquid propane combustion, this energy-efficient heater doesn’t need electricity.

Pros:

  • highly efficient
  • built-in thermostat
  • vent-free
  • electricity-independent (great for power outages).

Cons:

  • no remote control
  • one year warranty
  • no overheat protection.

Quick Safety Tips For Space Heaters Users

Faulty units or improper use of heating equipment are one of the main causes behind home fires. To avoid any damage or injuries fire could bring, here are some tips to ensure safety while using a space heater.

  • Check for the label that proves your space heater’s listed by a recognized authority.
  • Read and apply all the recommendations from the manufacturer.
  • Pay attention to the warning labels.
  • Before each use, check your heater’s integrity (plugs, connection wires).
  • Repair or replace any broken, cracked or melted components before use.
  • Keep your space heater in a clean space and try to remove dust or dirt whenever needed.
  • If you have an electric space heater, avoid leaving it in humid places for long periods of time.
  • Do not leave your space heater unattended for long.
  • Opt for models that feature a cool touch surface, if you use the heater near your children or pets.
  • Install the space heater as advised by the manufacturer.
  • Keep the area clear around the heater (at least three feet of space).
  • Avoid having any flammable materials near the heater.
  • Do not place the heater by the doorway (or any place where it can become a tripping hazard).
  • Plug space heaters only into a wall outlet (no extension cord), to avoid overheating.
  • Turn off the heater when you go to sleep or leave the house (or whenever you don’t use it).
  • For extra safety, install smoke alarms in your home.
  • Do not use space heaters to dry clothes or cook food.
  • Do a thorough check of your unit’s performance and integrity every season (cables, plug, fan etc).

Final Thoughts

That would be all for today. Hope you got rid of the cold feet when thinking about energy-efficient space heaters. Our comprehensive article aimed to give you a clearer image on what to look for. Now, it’s time for you to go out there and get the space heater you think is best for your needs. Keep posted, we’ll come soon with more ideas on what you can do to make your own home more energy-efficient.

Until then, let us know in the comments what features matter most for you when choosing a heating device. Here’s to getting the cold season warmer!