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How to Choose a Space Heater

Posted by Diamond on December 2nd, 2011

Vornado TVH600Are you searching for the perfect space heater but feel a little lost in the superabundance of styles, sizes, and heating technologies? We get it. Shopping’s no fun when you can’t find what you’re looking for.

That’s why I’ve compiled a short list of helpful tips on choosing a portable heater. Take a minute to check out the basic things you should consider when looking for the best space heater for your needs.

Before we begin, let’s talk heater types. This essentially refers to the heating technology the heater uses to heat your space. I won’t get into all the details, but here’s the skinny: radiant heaters are best for quick, spot heating in small spaces; convection heaters are your best solution for even, whole-room heating; and micathermic heaters offer fast, widespread heat while saving space.

After tackling the daunting task of deciding what type of heater you want, it may seem that the options are still endless. Many electric heaters are equipped with electronic display panels, deluxe remote controls, and attractive paint finishes. Some heaters oscillate and others offer fan-only operation. While these are all great features, today we’ll just focus on the basics.

No matter what special features are included with your purchase, there are 3 distinctive factors to consider when choosing a heater:

Style – Once you determine what kind of heating technology will adequately heat your space, it’s time to move on to heater styles. There is an almost overwhelming variety of personal heater styles – including heater fans, tower heaters, wall heaters, baseboard heaters, and oil-filled radiators. Here’s a brief breakdown: oscillating tower heaters are great for moving from space to space and heating multiple people in one room; compact fan heaters are great for, well, any space, but they are especially ideal for bedrooms, office cubicles, and dorm rooms; baseboard heaters perform well in old houses, homes with hardwood floors or tile, and rooms that get frequent cold drafts from a window or door; and oil-filled radiator heaters excel at heating bedrooms due to their exceptionally quiet operation and energy-efficient heating. (The Sylvane Heater Buying Guide provides an in-depth explanation on each style.)

Size – When it comes to portable heaters, more important than the actual size of the heater is how large of a space it will cover. A general rule of thumb is that space heaters use 10 watts of heating power for every square foot of your room. So an average 1,500-watt heater will heat up to 150 square feet, or an average size bedroom. If you’re using your room heater to supplement your central system, then you can count on it to cover even more square footage.

Safety – Above all else, you want to ensure that your heater will operate safely in your home and around your family. One standard safety feature you should look for in a heater is overheat protection. The overheat protection switch shuts the heater off if the internal heating elements reach an unsafe temperature, preventing electrical circuit damage and preserving the heater. Another safety feature, tip-over protection, reduces the risks of fires by automatically turning the heater off when it is accidentally tipped over or knocked down. Additionally, parents should always aim for heaters that remain cool to the touch to protect those precious, yet curious, little hands that love to explore. Read our Portable Heater Safety Tips article for more information on heater safety features.

Now that you’ve been prepped and primed on the basics of choosing a space heater, there’s nothing left to do but choose. Sylvane carries a wide selection of popular and affordable space heaters. From infrared heaters to electric baseboard heaters, we have just the right model for every heating need.

Looking for a different type of heater? We also carry electric fireplaces, stoves, and outdoor patio heaters. And if you happen to get a little confused, our product experts are always available at 1-800-934-9194 to help guide you in the right direction.

One Response to “How to Choose a Space Heater”

  1. Bree Hen Says:

    This was very informative. Now I think I’m ready to purchase an oscillating tower heater with the overheat protection feature.

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