Which Energy-Efficient Room Heaters Are Best for You?
When exploring options for room heaters to enhance the warmth in your home, it's essential to consider the various types available and their energy efficiency. Different heaters operate using distinct mechanisms, impacting their effectiveness in heating space and the associated running costs.
It's not just the upfront cost of the heater that matters but also its efficiency, which affects long-term expenses. This guide explores the pros and cons of various energy-efficient room heaters, helping you select the most suitable option for your home and the specific room you intend to use.
What Should You Look For In Energy-Efficient Room Heaters?
Experts recommend the following key considerations before buying the best energy-saving heaters for your home:
Wattage Rating: Focusing on the wattage rating of a heater is crucial. Higher-wattage heaters use more electricity or energy, especially those with fans, which are generally more energy-consuming than models without fans.
Settings: Selecting a space heater with multiple heat settings, including an energy-saving or ECO mode, is recommended by Cate Walter, director at Rhino Safety. This feature reduces energy usage by heating the room only to the required temperature.
Features: According to John Smith, a home fire safety expert and director of the Fire Risk Assessment Network, opting for heaters with safety features like overheat protection and an adjustable thermostat is beneficial. These features ensure safe heating and conserve energy by maintaining the desired room temperature.
Size: Choosing a space heater appropriate for the size of the room you intend to use it in is essential. This ensures efficient heating tailored to your specific needs, which is particularly important for energy-saving heaters in the UK.
The Best Room Heaters That Are Energy And Cost-Efficient
1: Ceramic Space Heaters: Quick Heating and Portability
Ceramic space heaters use electricity to warm a ceramic plate, effectively radiating heat. Available in fan-assisted and non-fan designs, the fan-assisted models distribute heat more swiftly throughout the room.
Key Advantages of Ceramic Heaters
The primary benefit of ceramic space heaters is their ability to rapidly warm a room. Their portability makes them convenient for use in various rooms, and they come in diverse shapes, including space-saving tower styles and compact models.
Ideal for Spot Heating
These heaters excel in spot heating, like warming up a cold corner in a room. For broader coverage, models with oscillation features are preferable. Additional functionalities like digital thermostats and timers with auto shut-off are also advantageous for enhanced usability.
Efficiency and Cost Considerations
While ceramic space heaters are efficient for small rooms, their suitability decreases for larger spaces or prolonged heating, as they require continuous electricity. In terms of cost, ceramic heaters range from approximately $25 to over $100 (about £30 to more than £100), catering to various budgets and emphasising energy efficiency.
2: Electric Fan Heaters: Affordable and Portable
Electric fan heaters blow air across a heating element, dispersing warmed air throughout the room. These heaters are a budget-friendly heating solution, with prices starting at $15 for small desk versions and going up to $100 and more (approximately £25 to £80).
Benefits of Fan Heaters
A notable advantage of fan heaters is their lightweight design, making them highly portable. This feature is especially beneficial for apartment renters who may need to move the heater between rooms or different homes.
Heating Efficiency and Limitations
Like ceramic space heaters, electric fan heaters provide instant heat. However, they need to remain on to maintain warmth, impacting electricity bills. They are more suitable for smaller, enclosed spaces rather than large rooms. It's essential to position them carefully to avoid obstruction by room objects, which can block the heat distribution.
3: Infrared Space Heaters: Efficient and Long-Lasting Heat
Infrared heaters operate differently from ceramic or fan heaters. They use electricity to emit electromagnetic radiation, directly heating bodies and objects in the room rather than the air. This method prevents heat blockage by room items.
Advantages and Considerations
The heat from an infrared heater lingers even after it's turned off, making it practical for larger rooms and basements. Stephen Hankinson, managing director at Electric Radiators Direct, notes that infrared heaters are particularly beneficial in homes with imperfect insulation.
They directly heat surfaces, reducing heat loss to drafts, and generally consume less electricity due to their lower wattage. However, they may need to run longer in spacious or poorly insulated homes.
However, infrared space heaters are costlier than ceramic and fan designs, with prices ranging from around $70 to over $200 (approximately £200 to £500).
4: Oil-Filled Space Heaters: Quiet and Effective for Larger Rooms
Oil-filled heaters are suitable for medium to large rooms. Their quiet operation makes them ideal for bedrooms. These heaters resemble traditional radiators but are bulkier and heavier. Models with castors are recommended for easier mobility.
Functionality and Cost Efficiency
These heaters use electricity to heat the oil inside, which then radiates warmth from its surface. The design allows the heater to continue emitting heat even after being turned off, potentially reducing running costs as continuous electricity is not required for sustained warmth.
However, oil-filled heaters represent a significant investment, with prices starting from around $60 for smaller models and reaching over $1,000 (£45 to more than £250), making them a considerable purchase in energy-saving heaters in the UK.
5: Panel Space Heaters
Panel space heaters offer an elegant and space-efficient solution for electric heating. These slim heaters require minimal floor space and can be mounted on the wall. While the variety of these heaters on the market is somewhat limited, their prices typically start at around $120 and above (approximately £100 and more).
Infrared vs Ceramic Space Heaters: Choosing the Best Energy-Efficient Room Heater
Deciding whether an infrared or ceramic space heater is the best choice depends on several factors, including the noise level of the heater, the presence of a hot surface, and the initial purchase cost.
Ceramic heaters warm the room's air, while infrared heaters emit radiant heat from a hot surface, directly heating objects and people in the room.
Infrared heaters are superior for quiet operation, especially since ceramic heaters with fans can be noisier. Infrared heaters are also more suited for rooms with poor insulation. They are highly energy-efficient, potentially leading to lower electricity costs.
Conversely, ceramic heaters are generally more affordable to purchase. They are portable and provide immediate heat, making them convenient for moving around the home as needed.
In conclusion, choosing the best space heater depends on needs such as room size, insulation, noise preferences, and energy efficiency. Infrared heaters excel in energy efficiency and quiet operation, ideal for poorly insulated spaces, while ceramic heaters offer immediate warmth and portability, suitable for smaller, well-insulated areas.