When it comes to heating your home, the decision between an electric baseboard heater vs. space heater can be challenging.
Both options have their advantages and best-use scenarios, making it essential to understand their unique features and capabilities.
Electric baseboard heaters are effective for heating larger rooms and maintaining different temperatures in multiple rooms, while space heaters are more suitable for heating a small area or a specific part of a larger room due to their portability.
Keep in mind that, generally, space heaters tend to be more expensive to operate and less efficient at distributing heat evenly.
What are Electric Baseboard Heaters?
Electric baseboard heaters are permanent fixtures installed along the base of a wall that provides steady and even heat in a room.
They work by using electricity to heat up metal fins, which then warm the air as it passes through the heater.
What are Electric Space Heaters?
Electric space heaters are portable devices that can be moved from room to room, adding extra warmth wherever needed.
They are smaller, more compact, and usually less expensive than baseboard heaters, which makes them great for smaller homes and apartments.
Baseboard Heater vs. Space Heater
Efficiency and Energy Consumption
Generally, though, when you turn down your home’s thermostat and implement either type of heater, you can benefit from lower energy costs.
But in comparing both, baseboard heaters use less energy in the long run, possibly reducing your monthly bills.
In contrast, space heaters work better for heating just one room, making them more energy-efficient in that situation.
Space heaters use less energy than central heating, but using multiple space heaters at once can lead to higher costs.
Heating Performance and Comfort
The heating performance of electric baseboard heaters and space heaters is quite different. Baseboard heaters produce gentle, steady warmth, relying on convection to heat the room.
On the other hand, space heaters often provide instant, directional heat, making them ideal for spot heating.
One thing I have noticed personally when with baseboard heaters is their ability to maintain a consistent temperature in the room.
However, it takes a bit longer to feel the warm air compared to space heaters, which provide noticeable heat immediately.
Regarding comfort, baseboard heaters tend to be quieter, whereas some space heaters can create noise depending on their type.
It may be difficult to choose, but as a consolation, both electric heaters are 100% efficient in turning all their energy into heat.
When using electric heaters, safety is important. If used improperly, baseboard heaters and space heaters can be fire risks, as any other appliance.
For baseboard heaters, keep at least 12 inches of space in front of them. Furniture should never be closer than a foot away.
Placing furniture too close to heaters can create fire hazards and limit their performance. Always ensure proper airflow around heaters.
On the other hand, space heaters need about 3 feet of clearance from any object. This prevents burns and fire risks.
Both heaters need your attention when in use. Make sure to follow safety instructions to avoid accidents!
Installation and Maintenance Requirements
From my experience, installing baseboard heaters is not as easy and straightforward compared to installing a space heater.
It often requires adding a 20-amp circuit and running a 12-2 non-metallic sheathed cable to the heater location.
On the other hand, electric space heaters usually just need to be plugged into a standard wall outlet.
Baseboard Heater Installation:
- Add a 20-amp circuit
- Run 12-2 non-metallic sheathed cable
- Ensure a safe distance from furniture
Space Heater Installation:
- Find a suitable location
- Plug into a wall outlet
- Check safety features
Even though baseboard heaters require a bit more work to install, they don’t need much maintenance at all.
While on the other hand, space heaters may need minor maintenance, like cleaning filters and checking for loose parts occasionally.
Costs and Budget
When comparing electric baseboard heaters and space heaters, we should consider the initial costs and the ongoing energy expenses.
Baseboard heaters can cost between $60 and $300, making them more expensive than space heaters upfront.
Energy consumption is another important factor to consider for your budget. The cost to run these heaters largely depends on the wattage they consume.
For instance, if your baseboard heater and space heater both draw 1500 watts, then they will have the same operating costs.
But, certain space heater models may boast energy efficiency claims, so make sure to check their specifications.
Let’s break down some energy cost estimates for a better understanding:
- A 1500-watt baseboard heater or space heater uses 1.5 kWh of electricity per hour of usage.
- If the cost of electricity is $0.13 per kWh, then each hour of heater usage costs around $0.20.
- Using the heater for 4 hours a day could result in a monthly cost of approximately $24.
Your personal experience with heating costs may vary based on heater usage and local energy rates.
Make sure to weigh these factors when choosing between a baseboard heater vs. space heater to fit your budget.
Baseboard Heater vs. Space Heater: Choosing the Right One for Your Needs
As someone who has spent time comparing heaters, I’ve come up with some tips on making the right choice.
First, consider your room size. Choose the heater size based on how much space you want to heat.
Baseboard heaters use electric coils to warm the air, which can be great for larger rooms.
They’re often more energy-efficient because they heat the room using convection currents rather than using a fan.
Space heaters can be more versatile, as they’re easily portable and can quickly heat a smaller area.
However, they tend to consume more energy in the process.
When deciding, it’s important to take into account factors like placement, energy efficiency, and safety features.
For example, baseboard heaters should be installed by a professional, with one or two heaters per room.
Space heaters should be kept away from flammable materials and may need regular supervision.
By keeping these aspects in mind, you’ll find the right heater for your specific needs and enjoy a cozy, warm space!
FAQs on Baseboard Heater vs. Space Heater
What is the disadvantage of baseboard heating?
Baseboard heaters are the best way to heat a large room evenly. However, they could still be expensive to run, too!
And when not used or placed properly, baseboard heaters are potential fire hazards.
Which type of heater is the cheapest to run?
Halogen heaters are the cheapest heater to run because of their lower-power output. However, they’re more effective in heating a particular spot than a whole room.
And according to Halogen Hub, prolonged use of halogen heaters might dry your skin, trigger allergies, and put you at risk of respiratory problems.
Do you need a baseboard heater in every room?
This really depends on your preference!
You can definitely put a baseboard heater in every room in the house. But, you can also just select rooms you think needs heating to put it.
How long do baseboard heaters last?
On average, your baseboard heater can function and last for up to 20 years.
But with proper care and maintenance, it can last much longer than that!
Is it safe to run a space heater all night?
Just like you would put out a fire on a candle before sleeping, space heaters shouldn’t also be left running all night at all.
Most modern electric heaters can run for 10+ hours, though.
But we recommend you check the manual that comes along with your appliance to know the manufacturer’s recommended operating time.
Baseboard Heater vs. Space Heater: Final Thoughts
So, is a baseboard heater or a space heater better? It depends on your needs! Space heaters heat rooms faster, making them a great choice for quick warmth.
On the other hand, baseboard heaters can provide even, comfortable heat throughout your space, which can be perfect for larger areas.
Both options are energy-efficient and can help lower your heating costs when used with a smart thermostat.
Think about your room size, how long you need heat, and your budget to help determine which heater is the best fit for you.