There are two basic types of room heaters: radiant and convection. Since knowing how you want to heat your space is a deciding factor, we'll cover each room heater by form, the area covered, and specific designs.
Room Heater by Form
Radiant: This type of room heater is one of the most common. Today's models are safe and effective. Most have been updated with temperature control and automatic shut-off devises, making these room heaters a safe choice.
Radiant room heaters use glowing quartz or some kind of metal element and reflector to provide heat to a specific area. Radiant room heaters warm personal spaces quickly. The drawback - this type of room heater doesn't heat the entire room as quickly. It provides instant warmth to the immediate area.
If you're looking for a bedside room heater to keep you warm while you sleep, this is a great choice. Place it on the nightstand; it'll keep you feeling warm and cozy all night long.
Convection: Convection room heaters are designed to warm an entire room. Some are fan assisted and some aren't. Convection room heaters are a quick, efficient source of heat.
The design pulls room-temperature air over the heating element, warming it, before using a fan to evenly distribute the hot air around the room. Although not as powerful as a radiant room heater, you will enjoy better coverage with minimal cold spots. This kind of room heater can be a great year round option. Turn the heater off and use it as a fan in the summer months.
Unassisted convection room heaters heat spaces through conduction. Like an electric range or oven, energy flows through a resistor. The resistor turns electric energy into heat. Heat is then spread through a molecular structure until the room is sufficiently warmed. This type of room heater is ideal for people with Asthma or allergies since it won't disturb dust and pet dander
Once you decide on a form of heating, consider the size of the room you want to heat.
Room Heater by Coverage Area
Imagine the room you want to heat and why. How large is the room and what type of heater is most effective? While you ask yourself these questions lets discuss watts and square footage.
The amount of watts produced by the room heater determines the coverage area. For example, if you purchase a 1500 watt room heater, you can expect it to warm a 150 sq. ft. area. There are manufacturer variations; however, typically measuring watts to sq. ft. determines the outcome. Measuring watts to sq. ft. is done by dividing 10 into the number of watts the room heater offers (1500/10=150 sq. ft.). Measure the room you want to heat and make a room heater purchase accordingly.
The power determines the effectiveness. Once you know the size of the room, you can choose a room heater.
For example, the New Air AH-450 oil-filled radiator heater features 1500 watts of heating power, so it will heat 150 sq. ft. of space. This is a convection room heater so it will heat an entire room effectively.
The Soleus MS-09 space heater offers an adjustable 400-800 power range, so it heats up to 80 sq. ft. of space. This is a radiant room heater so it will heat the immediate area before it heats the entire room.
Once you've determined the coverage area, it's time to choose a design that fits your lifestyle.
Choosing a Room Heater by Design
There are several types of room heaters to consider before you make up your mind.
Baseboard heater: Baseboard room heaters are a modern way to keep an area warm without taking up any space. They're low-profile and can be installed in the corner of the room away from furnishings. They operate like the old cast iron radiator, but they're not as bulky.
This type of room heater is a form of convection heat. It pulls cold air in and pushes warm air out. Many are oil or water filled. Warmth might take longer to spread, but eventually, the convection current will heat the entire room.
Freestanding portable heater: Oil-filled radiator heaters and ceramic heaters are the most common portable space heater. Like the baseboard heater, these are convection heaters too. This room heater is the most popular.
Oil-filled radiators are not fan-assisted. This kind of room heater takes a little bit longer to warm a space but once it's warm it'll stay that way longer, even when the heater's turned off.
Ceramic room heaters are fan-assisted. These room heaters use a blower fan to spread heat. Cold air is pulled in and warmed over ceramic plates and then released to the air. This type of room heater will warm an area quickly.
Wall heater: Wall heaters are typically fan-forced convection heaters. They're great space savers and because they're a low watt option, they cost only pennies to operate. If you have pets or children this is a great choice. You can install it well out of their reach, an added benefit that anyone can appreciate.
Electric fireplace heater: This kind of room heater is a great source of warmth for a family room, bedroom, or dining area. Many varieties warm up to 400 sq. ft. of space and offer a visually appealing alternative to traditional room heating.
These room heaters give off radiant and convection heat. Many varieties include a fan to circulate the warmth. This kind of room heater works like an electric appliance. It requires no major renovations for installation. Simply plug it in and enjoy.
So if you're shopping for a room heater to warm larger spaces for everyone to enjoy, a convection room heater's probably the best bet. If you're looking to keep your personal space warm then try a radiant heater. Hopefully, the information here is helpful, making it easier to choose a room heater to best meet your needs.