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Buying a Space Heater

Choosing the Best Space Heater for You

Space heaters, especially portable heaters, can provide a practical heating solution for your home or business, especially if you have small areas with inadequate central heating, like basements or three-season porches. They may also help to reduce your heating bill, since you can target small, chilly areas instead of increasing the heat in your entire home.

The best space heater for you provides heat without ballooning your energy costs. There are two primary types of electric space heaters: radiant and ceramic. Radiant space heaters warm up its surrounding area, like a desk or nook. These heaters are a good choice for allergy sufferers since they don't blow around hot air. An energy efficient space heater like this has no moving parts, making it both quiet and low-maintenance. A ceramic space heater uses a convection process to forcefully blow air across a heating element to heat an entire room quickly. These convection-style room heaters are best for heating an entire room quickly. Choose your type first, then select the style — floor heater, wall heater, baseboard heater, patio heater or tower heater — to suit your needs.

To choose the right small space heater, assess the size of the area you want to heat then look at the heater's wattage rating. Guidelines suggest that a portable electric heater uses 10 watts of heating power for each square foot, so a heater with 1,500 watts will heat a 150-sq. ft. room. Ensure you're selecting the safest space heater for you and your family by checking each safety features: auto-shut-off, tip-over safety switch, overheat protection, and cool-to-the-touch design. Check out models with a programmable thermostat and timer, oscillating design, sleep mode, app-control or a remote control. (Make sure you stock up on extra alkaline batteries for the remote.)

Getting the Most from Your Electric Space Heater

Heating winter's already dry air makes it even drier, sometimes triggering allergies. During colder months, you might want to use an air purifier to boost the purity of your indoor air.

Consider pairing your space heater with a humidifier in the winter to help keep healthy levels of moisture in the air and assist with eye, nose, throat and skin irritations. You can also use a ceiling fan to help warm up a room. During the summer, fans run counter-clockwise to provide a cooling wind-chill effect, but try reversing the fan's direction to help push the warmer air at the ceiling down into the room.