Wondering what types of space heaters are the best for creating extra warmth in your home? And how effectively do they heat the room and at what cost?
There are a number of different types of space heaters that will heat a room in different ways, so it's worth looking at the details of each type. They also differ in efficiency, which has an impact onhow much it costs to run an electric heater, so not only the initial purchase price is crucial for selecting the best buy.
Our guide will examine the pros and cons so you can narrow down the best types of space heaters for your home and the specific space you plan to use them in.
The best types of space heaters for warmth and cost efficiency
There are a number of factors that help determine the best types of space heaters for your space, including the size of the heater (so it fits the space well); how easy it is to move around (which can be important if it is to be used in different rooms at different times); and how much it might cost to buy.
Use our guide to make the right choice for your house or apartment.
Ceramic space heaters
A ceramic space heater runs on electricity and uses a ceramic heating element that conducts heat well. The current heats the ceramic plate, which radiates heat. Ceramic space heaters are available both with and without fans. The former distribute the heat faster in the room.
One of the main advantages of a ceramic space heater is that it heats up a room quickly. Another plus point for these types of heaters is that they are portable, so they can be easily moved to different rooms when needed, and they come in a range of shapes, including neat tower versions that don't take up floor space, as well as compact designs.
Ceramic space heaters are great for spot heating — for example, when a room has a cold corner — but an oscillating design offers wider coverage of the space. Features like digital thermostats are useful, and an auto-off timer might also come in handy.
A ceramic heater can be an efficient solution for a small space, but if you want to heat a larger space for many hours this may not be the best solution as the power needs to stay on.
"Remember that a fan makes noise, so make sure the noise level isn't too disruptive to the activities going on in the spaces you intend to use it in," says Lucy Searle, global editor-in-chief ofHouses & Gardens. "I don't use something like that in my home office when I take calls or attend meetings virtually."
Ceramic heaters are available from around $25 to around $100 and up (around £30 to over £100).
An electric fan heater blows air over a heating element, allowing the heated air to heat a room. One of the biggest advantages of either of these designs is the fact that it's a cheap space heating option, with prices ranging from around $15 for versions suitable for, say, a desk, to around $100 and up (around $25). up to 80 pounds).
Because it's lightweight, a fan heater can easily be carried from room to room - or home to home if you're a renter.
Like a ceramic space heater, the heat is instantaneous, but like ceramic heaters, they have to be left on at all times when you need heat, increasing electricity bills. They also don't heat a large space and are better suited for small enclosed spaces. Also note that careful positioning is required, otherwise objects in the room may block the heat.
Look for a design with a choice of heat settings for better versatility.
Although it uses electricity, an infrared heater works differently than a ceramic fan or heater. Infrared heaters transfer heat to a lower temperature body by electromagnetic radiation - that's you and the objects in the room and not the air. So unlike a fan heater, you don't have to worry about objects in the room blocking the heat.
Another benefit of this type of heater is that the heat will continue even after you turn it off. They are also a good choice for larger rooms and basements.
"Infrared heaters could be a good solution if your house isn't perfectly insulated, as they don't heat the surrounding air, they generate heat that travels in waves," explains Stephen Hankinson, Managing Director ofElectric radiators direct(opens in new tab)
“By doing so, they heat surfaces directly and reduce the likelihood of heat being lost through drafts. They are generally lower wattage than radiators, which means they use less electricity but may need to run longer if your home is very spacious or poorly insulated.”
Keep in mind that you will pay more for an infrared heater than you would for ceramic and fan designs. Expect to pay anywhere from around $70 to over $200 (ranging from £200 to £500) for one of these.
Oil filled space heaters
An oil-filled design might prove to be one of the best types of space heaters for medium to large spaces. Another benefit of one of these is that unlike a fan heater, it doesn't bother you, so it can be used in a bedroom, for example.
One of these looks like the original radiators in some homes in design, but keep in mind that they are not compact and can be heavy. Look for a design with casters to make moving the device easier.
Although filled with oil, the heater is powered by electricity: the oil in the heater is heated by elements and the heater radiates heat from its surface. Due to its construction, it continues to heat for some time even after it has been switched off. This can mean lower running costs as you don't have to keep the electricity on all the time for heating.
On the other hand, one of these will be a larger investment, with prices typically starting around $60 for smaller models and going up to $1,000 and up (£45 to over £250).
"Note that these are not an ideal choice for a home with young children as the surface gets hot and needs time to cool down," warns Lucy Searle, global editor-in-chief ofHouses & Gardens. "Wait until they're older to invest if you don't want to monitor when the heat is on."
Oil-filled space heaters also take time to heat up; They are not instantaneous water heaters unlike some others we have featured.
Panel heaters can be an elegant way to heat a room with electricity, and one of these doesn't take up much floor space or can be wall mounted. There isn't a huge range of these currently, but expect to pay around $120 or more (around £100 and up) if you do decide to buy one.
Which type of space heater is best, infrared or ceramic?
Whether an infrared or a ceramic heater is best depends on your requirements for the noise of the heater, whether it produces a hot surface and how much it costs to buy.
The two heat a room in different ways. Ceramic heaters heat the air in the room. Infrared heaters deliver radiant heat from their hot surface, directly heating objects, including the occupants of a room.
If you need quiet, an infrared heater is better than a ceramic heater that works with a fan. It's also a better choice for a poorly insulated room. These heaters are also very energy efficient and you may end up spending less on electricity.
On the other hand, a ceramic heater can be cheaper to buy, and they are also easy to move around the house if needed. They also provide instant heat.
What type of space heating is the safest?
Electric space heaters avoid the problems associated with combustion small space heaters. However, there are still considerations that must be followed for maximum home safety, including burn and fire hazards.
"Electric heaters should be plugged directly into the socket," warn the expertsEnergy saver(opens in new tab), the US Department of Energy's (DOE) consumer resource on conserving energy and using renewable energy technologies in the home. “If an extension cord is required, use the shortest possible, heavy-duty cord that is 14 gauge or larger. Always check and follow the manufacturer's instructions for using extension cords.”
They also advise, "Buy an appliance with a tip-over safety switch that automatically turns off the heater if the appliance tips over."