Indoor Portable Heaters
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 rooms without overheating. Additionally, they make your home calm and enhance energy effectiveness by allowing you to sustain a low heat settling in your entire home.
If you are in 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 that you can make a more informed decision. Additionally, we have product reviews of some of the top selling heaters, comparison charts and more.
When selecting an indoor heater, there are several questions that need answering:
What type? Basically there are two types – electric and gas.
What style? Baseboard, tower, radiator, panel.
What power? Measure the 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 insure 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 electric portable 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 risk 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.
Convection heaters: these are very energy efficient and are ideal for heating large rooms like living rooms for a shorter period of time. 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 indoor portable heaters are ideal for sealed off rooms without open doors.
Radiant heaters: 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.
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:
Radiator – these have the look of the old style heaters of yesteryear. The do not dry out the air like fan forced heaters.
The cost of operating your indoor heater depends on a number of factors: home insulation, efficiency of the main 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 over heating a room.
A tip over switch is recommended because this feature turns the unit off if turned over. Another safety feature is over heat protection which turns the unit off when temperature is too high.