Space Heaters

Space heaters are designed to provide heat to specific areas or objects. There are many different types, ranging from small portable heaters that use varying methods of heat distribution to permanently installed heaters that are surface-mounted to a ceiling or wall. Depending on their design, space heaters can operate on electricity, natural gas, wood, or liquid fuel, though they most often use either electricity or natural gas.

Space heaters won't be the right choice for every application, but they can save energy and money in some cases, such as:

  • When using only part of a facility that has a central heating system that cannot isolate the area in use
  • When only a small fraction of a large facility is occupied, such as a shipping desk in an unheated warehouse
  • When specific tasks of limited duration must be performed in an otherwise unheated space

Typically, portable electric heaters are used in residential applications, leaving the permanently installed ceiling- or wall-mounted heaters for commercial and industrial applications. There are of course exceptions to this, with surface-mounted radiant heating panels sometimes used in residential applications and portable electric heaters sometimes used in commercial or industrial spaces.

The efficiency of a specific space heater is not necessarily important; what matters is its intended use—what type of heating the consumer wants from it. Using a space heater in a manner for which it was not intended can drive up energy costs and fail to provide occupant comfort. But in the right applications, space heaters can maintain comfort and lower overall energy costs.

What are the options?
How to make the best choice
What’s on the horizon?
Who are the manufacturers?