As we’re into the last part of winter, some people are using portable heaters for localized warmth. There are a few different types of electric heaters for different purposes. Two popular types are convection heaters and radiant heaters. The difference? Radiant heaters warm objects and surfaces without heating the air in between. Those objects warm up directly and radiate back. Convection heaters warm the air.

For intermittent heating, radiant heaters are more energy efficient. They require less time or energy to achieve desired temperatures. The “warmth” from radiant heaters travels out in waves that are absorbed by objects. Radiant heaters are directional, covering less area but providing more targeted heat.

Convection heaters are designed to warm things and people close to the heater. Most don’t use a fan and will heat a room, but more slowly. A convection heater performs best when providing heating over a long period of time. It takes more time and energy for a convection heater to achieve target temperature than for a radiant heater to do so. However, once the heat is achieved it’s easy to maintain it.

Portable heaters have been updated over the years to use less electricity… and provide more heat. When comparing models, look for safety features like an automatic shut-off switch – for when a pet tips-over the heater.

Which is the most energy efficient electric heater?
Infrared Heaters – the lowest wattage per heat-provided makes these the least expensive to run. Infrared heaters heat the objects in a room without heating the air in between.
Oil-Filled Heaters – Once the radiator is warmed, it continues to heat a room even after the electricity is off. Oil-filled electric radiators are great for smaller rooms and enclosed spaces.
Ceramic Heaters – Low up-front cost, but higher cost to run. They’re small and use a fan to distribute warm air. They’re a good option for intermittent use.

Safety Tip
If you need an extension cord, use only high-amperage cords designed for space-heaters or air conditioners. The high amount of current required could melt ordinary extension cords, causing a fire