Portable Electric Heaters

Types of Portable Electric Space Heaters and the Pros and Cons of Each

By Mark J. Donovan

Portable electric heaters are excellent for heating single rooms that lack sufficient heating from a main heating system. For example, I use a portable electric heater in areas of my basement to take the chill out of the air during winter months. Portable electric heaters are also quite safe, with features such as built in turn-off timers, adjustable temperature settings, and rugged and stable enclosures. They are also one of the few types of portable heating systems that can be used in the home without needing to be vented to the outside.

Portable electric heaters are also very energy efficient compared to their predecessors of years past. In many cases it makes more sense to only use a portable electric heater if you need to heat only one or two rooms of a home versus turning on the main heating system.

There are a variety of portable electric heaters to choose from. There are convection electric space heaters, fan forced convection electric heaters, radiant heaters, and oil filled heaters. Each has their pros and cons. All, however, are reasonably affordable and are quite energy efficient.

A convection portable electric heater is very quiet, however it is a little slow to heat up a room. This said, once the room has reached the desired temperature, a convection heater can maintain the temperature in the room quite well. Convection portable electric heaters are warm to the touch.

A fan forced convection electrical heater, as the name suggests, includes a fan to pump out and disperse the heat a little faster. The down side with these type of portable electric heaters is that they are a little noisy, compared to the traditional convection heater. Like the standard convection portable electric heater, a fan forced convection heater is also warm to the touch.

Radiant heaters are designed to heat a room up fast by heating the objects in the room, versus heating the air itself. Radiant electric space heaters are ideal for heating surfaces directly in the line of view of the heater. They are not very useful or efficient for general heating of a room.

They are also quite hot to the touch and therefore no hands or other objects should be placed close to them.

The most efficient type of portable electric heater is the oil-filled space heater. Electricity is used to heat the oil that circulates through the portable heater. Once the oil reaches a pre-determined temperature the oil circulates through the space heater to maintain the room temperature. They do heat quickly and are hot to the touch, so like a radiant space heater they should be placed in an open area where they cannot come in direct contact with people and objects.

Portable Electric Heater

So if you want to take the chill out of a room this winter that is hard to keep warm with your main heating system, consider a portable electric heater. They are relatively inexpensive to purchase, relatively efficient to operate, and quite safe to use when operated properly.

For information on how to maximize a wood stove’s heating efficiency, see HomeAdditionPlus.com’s Installation of Hood over Wood Stove eBook

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