Indoor portable heaters are appliances that are used to provide heat and warmth inside your home. They are perfect for rooms that are always cold as a result of insufficient heating or rooms where the central heater may not be installed like in garages. They provide a solution to individuals who are susceptible to cold through providing warmth in precise places without overheating. Additionally, they make your home calm and enhance energy effectiveness by allowing you to sustain a low heat in your entire home.
If you are looking the market for a portable heater (also called a space heater), you may be bewildered with all of the options available. This buyer guide will attempt to explain the different heater types, advantages, disadvantages and more so you can make a more educated decision. Additionally, we have product reviews of some of the top selling heaters, comparison charts and more.
When selecting an indoor heater, several questions need answering:
- What type? There are two types – electric and gas.
- What style? Baseboard, tower, radiator, panel.
- What power? Measure the carefully room you wish to heat and make sure the heater is not too large or too small for the area.
- Operational cost – calculate the cost of operating the heater to guarantee it will be economical.
- Safety features – what safety features are important to you.
Electric powered portable heaters
They are deemed to be very energy proficient as they do not lose heat via the combustion. They produce warmth that radiates within the particular room. This keeps a room comfortable and warmer for long.
Types of portable electric heaters include Ceramic heaters: these are convection heaters designed with a ceramic disc heating element and a fan that dispenses heated air efficiently and evenly. The ceramic disc is usually concealed inside the heater’s body to minimize the risk of a fire in case the heater tips over.
Most ceramic heaters remain cool even when on to reduce the danger of getting burned. Therefore, they are deemed safe and are the ideal choice for a children’s room or a place where pets move around.
These are very energy efficient and are ideal for heating large rooms like living rooms for a shorter period. Convection heaters use permanently sealed heat transfer liquids like oil with an electric heating component.
These liquids are safe from leakages, store and distribute heat using natural air circulation within the room and rarely require refilling. Some heaters are designed with fans for better air circulation.
These types of portable indoor heaters are ideal for sealed off rooms without open doors.
These are also referred to as reflective heaters that produce immediate heat through directing infrared heat rays to warm up room objects. They are ideal for individuals who seek heat for a short period of time.
They offer a number of advantages as compared to the convection heaters that include: silent operations, moving parts, reduced energy costs and non-dependency on air motion.
Benefits of electric portable indoor heaters:
- They have higher energy efficiency
- Can be used in enclosed rooms
- Venting is not a necessity when using electric heaters
- They are the safest type of portable indoor heaters
Drawbacks to electric portable indoor heaters:
- They are more expensive to maintain and run
- Cannot be used during power outages
- Require an electrical outlet
- Can take longer to warm up
Gas portable indoor heaters
Portable gas heaters are ideal for large rooms that are properly ventilated like garages. There are two main types of gas portable heaters; vented and unvented gas heaters.Vented portable gas heaters: they should be located next to a wall and a vent should be installed near the wall or ceiling to direct the exhaust gases outside the room.
Unvented portable heaters: though they are sometimes used indoors, they are designed for outdoor use. This is because, they produce harmful gases like the nitrogen oxide and carbon monoxide.
Benefits of portable gas heaters
- They are significantly more affordable to operate as compared to electric heaters.
- They offer greater portability.
- Can function even during power outages.
- They heat up much faster than electric heaters.
Drawbacks of portable gas heaters
- Some produce harmful gases.
- Higher initial cost.
- Must have adequate ventilation.
There are a number of heater designs depending on how you intend to use the heater:Baseboard – low profile that usually are placed along the baseboard in the room.
- Tower – these are encased in a tall narrow design.
- Radiator – these have the look of the old style heaters of yesteryear. The do not dry out the air like fan forced heaters.
- Panel – these are smaller rectangular shaped heaters. Many can be mounted on a wall and do not glow orange.
The cost of operating your indoor heater depends on a number of factors: home insulation, the efficiency of the central furnace and size of room to be heated. The manufacturer will most likely include ratings of the unit you are considering. You definitely don’t want to buy a heater that is too big for the room as it can over heat.
You can use this formula to estimate the cost of operating the unit:
Cost = (Wattage divided by 1000) X Average cost of electricity per kilowatt-hour X Hours used.
Choose only newer models that have been approved by Underwriters Laboratory (UL). Avoid using extension cords since most do not handle the power of the heater. If possible, choose a thermostatically controlled heater since they do not waste energy by overheating a room.
A tip over switch is recommended because this feature turns the unit off if turned over. Another safety feature is overheat protection which turns the unit off when the temperature is too high.