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Heater Buying Guide

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First, a word about wattage:
Confused about how to pick a heater best suited for your room? You can figure it out following these easy steps: The first step is calculating the British Thermal Units (BTU's) the heater generates. You'll need to know the wattage of the heater (all heaters on our site specify wattage) and multiply the wattage by 3.41. This will give you the number of BTU's. Incidentally, almost all heaters have a maximum wattage of 1500, usually resulting in 5120 BTU's. The next step is determining the number of BTU's you will need to actually do the job you want. This can be done by multiplying the square footage of the room by the difference in the beginning and desired temperatures. This will give you the BTU's needed to heat the room to your desired temperature.

BTU=(Desired Temp - Starting Temp) x Square Footage of Room

If this number is lower than the BTU rating of the heater, then the heater will do the job just fine. But if the number you calculate is higher than the rating of the heater then you may need an additional heater. It is also important to keep in mind that this is based on a perfect environment, and does not take variables into consideration like insulation, outside temp, windows, drafts, ceiling height, etc.

Heater Features:
There are many different models of space heaters from which to choose, with varying features for your needs. See the following list of features to better help you choose the space heater best suited for your needs:

  • Oscillation is a common feature that makes the heater rotate gently from side to side. It aids in widespread circulation of the heat, for greater coverage.
  • Many heaters also feature a remote control for added convenience, which allows you to control and adjust the functions of the heater from across the room. Some models also have a convenient hutch in which to store the remote when you're not using it, so you always know where it is.
  • An ionizer feature can help keep the air smelling fresh and clean as your heater keeps you comfortable and warm.
  • Many space heaters also feature easy to use digital displays and control panels. Large characters and a backlit LCD display make for user-friendly operation with digital accuracy.
  • Lastly, another popular feature some models offer is a timer function. This lets you set a specific time for which you can leave your heater running. If you want to leave it on while you go to sleep, you can set the timer to automatically turn off once you are sleeping, to save energy costs.

Safety Features:
When considering a heater, safety concerns are paramount. Space heaters, while extremely practical and useful, can be dangerous when not used properly. Some heaters contain a tip-over switch, which automatically shuts the heater off when tipped over, either forwards or backwards. Another common safety feature is overheat protection, which prevents the unit from overheating and doing damage to itself or the surrounding environment. A "cool to the touch" option is also a fairly common and useful safety feature which ensures that the outer casing of the heater remains cool even when the unit is running.

Convection vs. Radiant:
There are two main types of space heaters: Convection and Radiant. Radiant heaters provide quick and focused heating. A radiant heater is more of a personal heater than a convection heater because it heats you directly, as opposed to indirectly heating the air around you. Because of this, radiant heaters are much more energy efficient, running at a lower wattage than traditional heaters.

Most space heaters on the market today use convection heat. Convection heaters function by pulling air over a heated surface. The heat that convection heaters generate is non-directional, which makes them a good choice for whole-room heating, or for rooms with multiple people. Convection heaters are ideal for quickly warming and maintaining warmth within a room or area. The heating coils running through the heater draw cool air into the unit through natural convection. Most models have two heat settings (low/high), and some models also have small built-in fans which aid in the circulation of the warm air. Convection heaters come in many different styles, including ceramic, fan-forced, and oil-filled radiators:

  • Ceramic Heaters give off a powerful heat in small and easily portable units. These heaters have ceramic plates and aluminum baffles, so when electricity passes through, the ceramic plates are heated. The aluminum baffles absorb the heat, and a small, quiet fan blows the heated air out into the room. Ideal for small-medium sized rooms or tabletop use, these energy efficient heaters may heat up quickly, but their casing will always remain cool and safe to the touch.
  • Fan-Forced Heaters are similar to ceramic models, although their fans are capable of forcing heat out into the room faster.
  • Oil-Filled Radiators are a classic and efficient method of heating. They work silently by heating oil inside of sealed tubes, which then radiates heat evenly in all directions. They are popular models because they are very energy efficient, and they simulate traditional home radiators. Most oil filled radiators can be rolled on casters, for easy portability.

    Now you're ready to start shopping for a Portable Space Heater!

  

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