ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Which Is The Most Energy-Efficient Space Heater? Six Reviews and Some Tips

Updated on December 29, 2016
Source

Finding an Energy-Saving Space Heater in 2017: Keep Warm on a Budget

Winter is on approach, and it's getting colder. I live in a part of the world where heaters are a necessity, and it can get pretty expensive burning natural gas all winter. Sometimes central air heating isn't practical. A small, energy-efficient space heater can be the perfect thing.

That said, not all space heaters are the same. Some make use of ceramics and others make use of other technology. They're all different shapes and sizes, and some of them are a huge drain on your electrical bill each month. Some are even fire hazards!

Because it can be tough to narrow down a heater that combines good energy efficiency, low price, safe operation and small size, I'm writing an article to showcase a few good ones. We'll look at six (plus a bonus one) of the best energy saving space heaters and give a run-down of their specs and how well they operate. I'll also briefly touch on a couple of the popular technologies these days, so you'll understand what you're looking at! Let's begin.

Different Types of Space Heaters

There are many different types of energy efficient space heaters, and they're all subtly different. Here's a brief description of a few of the popular styles:

Convection Style

These are built to gradually increase the air temperature of the whole room, by directing warm air upwards. They work slowly, but they can fill a whole room with warmth. Some examples of this include baseboard heaters and oil and water radiators1 (despite the name, a radiator heater uses convection, not radiant heat).

Radiant Style

Radiant style heaters2 work more quickly, but they direct their temperature in a single direction. They're useful for heating up a single person or single area of a room. Most ceramic and infrared style heaters are radiant style. They're quicker, but typically use a bit more electricity.

There are also some hybrid style space heaters that are very energy efficient. They make use of a combination of the two styles I just covered.

Lasko Designer Oscillating, Energy-Saving Space Heater

If you're after a relatively inexpensive space heater that's energy efficient and looks great, this product by Lasko might be right up your alley. It has a wide range of features and it's really user-friendly.

With up to 1500 watts of heat, this is a powerful heater in a small package. It oscillates widely on its base and has a bunch of different temperature presets on the top, as well as various fan outputs that let you control how much heat is produced and how widely it's distributed in the room. That makes it wonderful for just a single person, but it's also useful for a larger space too.

It even has a timer with settings for as long as seven hours of use.

The housing is unique among space heaters in that it looks sort of like an urn or decorative vase, definitely nothing like the sterile gray that space heaters usually come in.

The heater unit is ceramic, so this should be considered a radiant heater. With that said, it's actually pretty good at warming up a pretty big room in short order. Because it relies on ceramic elements, it warms very quickly, but it won't maintain that warmth as long. It's good for heating up a well-insulated space quickly, but it becomes less efficient if it has to run constantly.

It is sturdy, very quiet, attractive, and doesn't tip over easily. Beyond that, it's a pretty efficient electric space heater that will last.

Dyson Hot + Cool: A Versatile and Powerful Heater / Fan Combination

You may have seen the advertisements lately extolling the virtues of the new Dyson vacuum and fan products. I've checked them out and I have to say they're living up to the hype.

They may be on the expensive side, but all Dyson products are very intelligently designed and built to be not only powerful but beautiful too.

This particular space heater and fan is efficient, energy saving, and versatile. You can use it as a heater in the cold months, and then switch it to a fan to blow cool air during the summer. No more storing it in the basement for half the year!

Their "air multiplier" technology means that the air is drawn in from around the device rather than pushed through. That results in a "buffet-less" airflow that's far more relaxing than a conventional fan.

That same air multiplier means that heat is pushed efficiently through the room, so you don't have to sit directly in front of it to gain the benefits, and it's good for heating up a decent-sized space.

It tilts and oscillates, and it's capable of projecting a huge volume of air, so it can really warm up a big space quickly. Surprisingly enough, it doesn't draw a huge amount of juice either, so your electricity bill isn't going to expand too much. It even avoids that typical space heater "burning smell" generated by dust on the elements!

Overall this is a pricey but full-featured and powerful space heater that offers energy savings to boot!

DeLonghi Safeheat Oil Radiator: Inexpensive and Powerful

I usually recommend an oil radiator for anyone who needs consistent heat in a small space, because they're among the most energy efficient space heaters on the market today. This example by DeLonghi shows you just how much you can get for well under $100.

The advantage of oil radiators is that the oil inside retains heat really well. Once it's heated up, you can actually turn it off or lower the heat, and it will continue to provide convection warmth throughout the space for a long time afterward.

This particular radiator has fins that never need to be refilled or topped up with oil. The unit can be set to automatically turn on when the room drops below 44 degrees Fahrenheit, and it will also automatically shut off when the heat gets too high.

It's also virtually silent; the only thing you'll hear is the occasional "ticking" of metal expanding and contracting. I had one of these operating in my bedroom for years, and they're wonderful!

They do take a bit of time to warm up, and likewise if it gets too hot they take some time to cool as well, but it's an extremely safe and very energy-efficient space heat option that won't break the bank.

Dr Infrared Quartz Space Heater: Attractive and Potent

You might have seen infrared heaters like this one advertised on late night television. They're pretty popular and gaining fans every day. They're a bit larger in size than your conventional space heater, but they provide a huge amount of heat without drawing a ton of power.

They're big, but not huge, at around 13 x 11 x 16 inches in dimension. They're definitely what I'd consider portable, because you can tote them around easily enough.

The technology incorporates typical element heating with infrared heat, which is where the 'quartz' in the name comes from (infrared heaters typically use a quartz tube of some kind). That means that it heats up extremely quickly and will start projecting almost the moment you switch it on.

These heaters make claims of heating up to 1000 square feet. In my experience, that's not realistic. However, they're pretty good at heating up spaces of up to 500 square feet quickly, and they have the capability to fill the room with warmth rather than just blasting it in a single direction.

Feature-wise, it has a 12-hour timer, a fairly quiet fan, front panel push-button controls that are simple to use, and a very precise thermostat to regulate the temperature. It has a three-year warranty too.

It's a very energy-efficient infrared space heater that happens to look great too! Worth taking a look at for sure.

Delonghi Panel: A Low-Profile, Energy-Saving Space Heater With Great Reviews

If you're after a heater that's pretty low-profile and doesn't get in the way, or if you just want something that's powerful enough to heat a room without being the center of attention, you might be interested in this panel heater by Delonghi.

These heaters take advantage of 'micathermic technology', which allows heat elements to be arrayed in extremely thin panels. That means that this is the only space heater reviewed here that can be mounted on the wall safely.

I'd definitely classify it largely as a convection heater, meaning that it won't "spot heat" as well as some of the others I've listed, but it will quickly warm up a whole room and make everyone toasty.

Being this thin, it obviously doesn't have a fan, so it can't project the heat outward, but that means it's totally silent while it operates (apart from the odd metal "tick").

It has a high and a low setting (1500 and 750 watts, respectively), and it comes with an internal tip sensor that will shut it off it, even if it's not using the included wheeled base.

Simple controls, light weight, and the ability to mount it on the wall make it a strong candidate, and it's definitely one of the most energy-efficient space heaters for sale these days. Read the reviews and you'll see what I mean!

Bonus Review: A "Stealthy," Wall-Mounted, Energy-Saving Space Heater

OK, so I recently ran across another fantastic heater, and I've decided to add a bonus review, because this is an exciting product. The Cozy-Heater is a fantastic and well-designed heater that solves the problem of "it's effective, but ugly." These heaters look great!

They have the look of a modern art panel on your wall, and best of all they're not underfoot, so there's no risk of tipping over. Most visitors won't even realize they are heaters at all.

These heaters are similar to mica panel heaters in that they don't include a fan, instead relying on convection to gradually heat up a room. They're a little bit unorthodox in that they are available in both 400 and 600 watts, quite a bit less energy than a lot of other heaters on full blast. One 600-watt model is rated to heat a 100 square foot room on its own.

The advantage here is clear: they are extremely energy efficient. You can run two Cozy-Heater wall panels at once, using less energy than a 1500 Watt heater on full blast.

As for safety, these heaters have no exposed elements, so they're child-safe and very durable. With no fan, they don't kick up dust, so they're hypoallergenic.

The idea here is to use consistent convection to maintain a uniform room temperature. They take a long time to heat up, but you'll notice a difference in your heating bill over time.

A few notes: if you do have a larger room to heat, you'll want to pick up several (perhaps a 600 and a 400). If you don't want to be constantly plugging and unplugging, you can pick up a programmable thermostat outlet for your heaters to click them on at a set time.

All in all the Cozy-Heater is on of the most energy-efficient space heaters that I've come across, and worth your time to investigate.

Poll:

How many months per year do you require auxiliary heat?

See results

What's the Best Heating Technology?

Micathermic, infrared, radiant: there's a lot of jargon in this field. It's not always easy to isolate the type of heater you want for your purposes.

To narrow it down, I'd encourage you not to worry so much about the jargon and focus more on the individual heaters themselves.

As yourself a few questions: is it a heater for just one person, or for many? If it's for one person, go for a "spot heater" like the Dyson or the Lasko. If it's for many people, opt for a convection heater like the radiator or the micathermic panel heater. If you prefer instant heat, remember that infrared converts 86% of electrical energy into instantaneous heat3 without the need for a fan.

Another good cue is to read customer reviews closely. Find out what the customers' experiences were, and if your needs match up with what they tell you. The companies will only lay out the good info, whereas customers give it to you straight.

If you have any questions regarding the technology involved, the terminology, or any of the products I've listed, please feel free to comment in the forum below! Thanks for reading!

References:

1) Oil heater, Wikipedia.org

2) Radiant heating, Wikipedia.org

3) Energy Efficient Infrared Heaters, The Home Gadget Pro

Questions / Comments on these or other heat units?

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image

      Roman H 3 years ago

      Great site, and info. Thanks.

    • profile image

      carmen milito 3 years ago

      I have the dyson that you describe above...it works fine, but I paid so much for it that I was thinking of returning it and getting the lasko that oscillates as well. I Use the heater in my family room only....Don't use heat during the night while sleeping...So my question is am I making a mistake by sending the dyson back and getting the lasko. I'm also worried about cost of running...is the dyson cheaper or is the lasko cheaper to run or are they the same? which one would you get of the two?

      Thank you, C

    • Gadget Boy profile image
      Author

      Will Henry 3 years ago from British Columbia

      Hi Carmen, the Dyson is definitely the superior product. It heats more quickly, the air doesn't 'buffet' you, and it's a lot more energy efficient than most other fan heaters, around 30% more efficient or so. The Lasko's are great too, but keep in mind the Dyson doubles as an effective cooling fan during the summer, so it's dual purpose. I'd hang onto the Dyson, just my opinion!

    • profile image

      carmen milito 3 years ago

      Thank you so much....one more question if I may...do you know how much power consumption it is? For example...if I ran the Dyson heater at 70 degrees - 10 hours a day - any idea what the kilowatt usage would be? (Cost factor?) I tried to get it from Dyson, but they didn't know..Thank you and I think I will keep it...;)...

      p.s. i bought my daughter in law the The tower Lasko for her small office in the factory that she works in...will that be efficient for her?

    • Gadget Boy profile image
      Author

      Will Henry 3 years ago from British Columbia

      My experience is only anecdotal, but a prominent blog by Paul Anthony Wilson ran the Dyson side-by-side with another heater. Over 90 minutes, the Dyson heated the room to 70 degrees, and consumed 2.927 kWh, while the conventional heater used 3.188 kWh in the same period of time, and only reached 66 degrees. Not a huge separation, but over many hours it adds up. And the Dyson just heats faster, which is a big deal for me.

      As for the Lasko (ceramic?), they are usually quite good. I'd need the model to look up usage numbers.

    • profile image

      Marie 3 years ago

      I live in a 35 foot very drafty trailer (from the 1970s) in a cold mountain town that snows most of the winter & the lasko fan I have now (its 3 years old) causes my power to go out. I cannot run it on high (1500 watts) & on the low or medium setting just is not enough heat. It has melted 2 outlets already & the cord gets very hot.

      I need a new heater but finding one that is safe around pets, carpeted areas, doesn't over-heat, use high wattage & is eco sized, under $100 & safe is very difficult. Do you have any ideas for me ?

      Thank you.

    • Gadget Boy profile image
      Author

      Will Henry 3 years ago from British Columbia

      Marie: That's tricky. Most heaters with decent output need 1500 watts. Due to your safety requirements, I'm thinking an oil radiator like the Delonghi might be a good option. They're nice because they switch off once the oil is hot, and only switch on again when it drops below a certain temperature. They're pet safe too, but they take a while to heat a space up, so patience is required.

      The Dr. Infrared quartz heater would be ideal because it produces a lot of heat and has overheat shutoff built in, but it's well above $100. It probably wouldn't trip your breakers at the low (1000 watts) setting, but I can't say for certain that'd be enough to heat your space. Still, that'd probably be the ideal choice for you.

      I am concerned about the melted outlets. It might be a good idea to get an electrician in to inspect the electrical systems; melting is not normal.

      Hope that helps!

    • profile image

      William 3 years ago

      Would have been helpful if you actually spoke to the energy efficiency of each type as the article title implied.

    • Gadget Boy profile image
      Author

      Will Henry 3 years ago from British Columbia

      Hi William, that's actually tricker than you might think. I can easily give the kW/h for each heater based on the wattage, but that doesn't actually tell you much, and can actually obscure things. The real story is in how quickly a heater raises the temperature. The longer it has to run at full blast per hour, the more it costs, and heater companies are loath to offer out a real-world 'cost to run' estimate, since it depends on so many variables.

      Each heater here is great at filling up a room with heat efficiently, though in different ways. The radiator, for example, takes a long time to get up and running, but when it's going it maintains the heat really well. A forced air heater, like the Lasko, heats very quickly, but may have to turn on more frequently because its ceramic elements lose their heat more rapidly than the radiator's oil does. Both are technically 1500 watts and rate at 1.5 kW/h. But over the course of an hour, their actual costs might be quite different, especially in different settings. See what I mean?

    • profile image

      johnpah 3 years ago

      Hi,

      I'm not sure I agree with your above statements. Electric heat is 100% efficient, regardless of the type of element, radiator, convection, etc. Watts in (as electricity), watts out (as heat).

      The only really choices that you need to consider are the total watts, aesthetics, and any safety/thermostat options as required.

    • Gadget Boy profile image
      Author

      Will Henry 3 years ago from British Columbia

      Hi johnpah,

      I think you missed my point. You are right in one respect, all 1500 watt heaters will use the same amount of electricity — while they are running. But if one warms you up more quickly than another, you can switch it off sooner. The efficiency is based on how infrequently they have to cycle.

      There are factors that affect this. How is the heat distributed? How is it retained? What's the build quality of the heater? Things like that.

    • profile image

      Meg R 3 years ago

      I am looking for a good space heater for my husband's office. The current heating system is gas and the monthly bill is ridiculous. The office space is 400 square feet and for the most part square and open. I am looking for a space heater that can heat the entire space throughout the winter (we live in New England) so we don't have to turn on the gas. A unit that is energy efficient, can heat a 400 sq. foot space and something that can heat a room constantly for up to 8 hours. What would you recommend? Thanks so much!

    • profile image

      Diane N 3 years ago

      Hi. My plumber suggested I run a space heater in the basement near the water system on days the temp drops below -10 C to stop the pipes from freezing. He recommended a 240v construction heater, but I don't have the right kind of plug. What would be the best option in a 110v heater? The basement is very drafty and it will likely run most of the time on those cold days. I can hang a curtain between the 2 sides of the basement to try to contain some heat, but that's the best I can do. It is really a stone cellar more than a basement. Thanks for any help you can offer.

    • Gadget Boy profile image
      Author

      Will Henry 3 years ago from British Columbia

      Hi Diane,

      I'd suggest the Dr. Infrared Quartz style heater. Hanging a curtain or adding insulation is a good idea, since it will be expensive to run in the basement.

      The Dr. Infrared on low might be enough to keep things from freezing up. It's a good choice because it projects the heat nicely in a larger space. However, as you mentioned, it will likely have to cycle pretty frequently in a basement.

    • Gadget Boy profile image
      Author

      Will Henry 3 years ago from British Columbia

      Hi Meg R,

      How well insulated is the space, and how high is the ceiling? If you want the heater to run constantly, I might recommend picking up 2 - 3 of the Cozy-Heater wall panels. They're safe, efficient, and of the 6 heaters I've listed, they are the least expensive to run constantly.

      If the office is not well insulated, or if the ceiling is really high, a Dr. Infrared quartz heater might be a more affordable choice, but I'd run it only while someone is using the office.

    • profile image

      Chedro 3 years ago

      Very drafty apartment in Brooklyn, with small children and a dog. The windows are the culprits. We have ductless electric heat that is really expensive and seems to not heat very well. What would you recommend?

    • Gadget Boy profile image
      Author

      Will Henry 3 years ago from British Columbia

      Hi Chedro, what's the square footage? High ceilings? Drafty windows can be difficult, you'll probably have to cycle the heat pretty frequently. I'd say a quartz heater like the Dr. Infrared would be a solid, economical choice, since it heats up a big room in short order.

    • profile image

      mary1221ski 2 years ago

      Thanks for such an informative overview. I live in a condo in New England with oil heat that is outrageously expensive. Our association would like to begin to keep the baseline heat at about 60/day, 55/night, so units will need supplemental heat. Most owners are interested in heating the rooms they use or a few rooms at a time. We have high ceilings and do lose some heat through windows, so the insulation is only average.

      We need heat sources that are safe and can comfortably add about 10 degrees of heat per room or area. They need to be safe enough to run while residents are at work and where there are pets and children. A combination of solutions (e.g., different solutions for different areas) is fine.

      I appreciate any advice!

    • Gadget Boy profile image
      Author

      Will Henry 2 years ago from British Columbia

      Hi Mary, based on your requirements, I would highly recommend the Cozy Heater wall mounted panel heater, or something similar. They're extremely safe, and very effective at maintaining a temperature baseline as you need.

      I would suggest pairing it with a wall plug programmable thermostat (which will only switch on the power when the temperature falls below a certain baseline), to save power and money.

    • casquid profile image

      casquid 2 years ago

      The article is very informative and holds my interest to the end. Great job of investigative work here. Keep up the good work.

    Click to Rate This Article