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Space Heater Buying Guide

Find out how you can keep your home warm and save money during the winter with the use of a Space Heater. Learn about the different types of Space Heaters available and which size is right for your home with Abt's Space Heater Buying Guide.
Space Heater Buying GuideSpace Heater Buying Guide

Getting Started

During the winter months, cold air always seems to find a way into your home, and with it comes the inevitable increase in your energy bills. If you have an area of your home that tends to be colder than the rest, whether this is caused by a drafty window, or due to a lack of central heating returns, enlisting the help of a space heater this winter, can help you save energy and money.

Space Heater Size & Coverage

As you being to decide which type of space heater is right for you, take into consideration what size will suit your needs best. Consider if you are going to be using the space heater to heat an office or bedroom, a large family room or great room, or just your feet warm at night. This will give you an idea of what space heater will be ideal for your needs. Be careful to take into consideration that if you buy one that is too large it may waste energy and in turn unnecessarily raise your electric bill.
The standard form of measurement for gas heaters is British Thermal units or (BTUs). When selecting a space heater, look for the wattage necessary to heat your specific area, then simply multiply that number by 3.41 to convert it to BTUs (1 watt X 3.41= BTUs). For Example: If you have an enclosed outdoor patio that measures 15' X 10' the Square Footage would be 150 sq ft. An area that is 150 sq ft would require 1250 watts to heat. So take 1250 and multiply it by 3.41 and you will need a heater that provides 4262 BTU's.
Room Size
Square Feet
Electric Heater
Gas Heater
50 500 1705
100 750 2557
125 1000 3410
150 1250 4262
175 1500 5115
200 1600 5456
250 2000 6820
300 2500 8525
350 3000 10230
400 3000 10230
450 4000 13640
500 4000 13640
Keep in mind that your geographical location will play a big role in how much energy your heater will consume. For instance, say you live in the most northern states of America, then your heater will need to consume more energy in order to properly heat, than if the heater was being used in the southern most states.


Personal Heaters

Personal Heaters
Compact and portable, portable heaters are the best way to warm quickly warm up one or two people in a small space. In as little as 10 minutes these heaters will make a small space warm and comfortable. These heaters are designed to sit on the floor, table or nightstand to keep you warm and comfortable.

Room Heaters

Room Heaters
Room heaters are often a space-saving box shape that adequately heats up an entire room. Room heaters can be placed in the corner of a room and typically come with a fan to spread a warm blanket of air throughout.

Portable Space Heaters

Portable Heaters
Take the warmth with you this winter with a heater specifically designed to be moved from room to room. Most portable heaters are small and electric which come in handy when you need to add a little heat to a small room. To heat an ice fishing hut, or the inside of an igloo; When there isn't an outlet to plug into then a gas models is the way to go. These totable heaters will warm your heart.

Outdoor Heaters

Outdoor Heaters
Outdoor heaters are typically gas heater that will be able to keep the party outside going all winter long. There are two options when it comes to outdoor heaters. The first being a portable propane heater which will be ideal to cover a small group of people. Portable heaters are perfect for keeping a patio warm during dinner. The second option is a wall mounted heater. Wall mounted heaters require a gas line connection and will most likely require a professional installation.

Fuel Types

Electric Space Heaters

There are three types of Electric Heaters: Convection, Infrared, and Panel. Electric space heaters convert your electricity into heat, so before buying a space heater, make sure that you have an outlet accessible. If you are looking for a heater that is cost effective keep in mind the wattage consumed. Wattage will indicate the size of the room the heater will be able to effectively heat. Consider the square footage of the room you will be heating, and use our chart above to find the right sized heater for you.

Infrared Space Heaters

Infrared Space Heaters
Infrared Space Heaters provide direct heat to specific objects or people that they are pointing at making them ideal for small spaces or for individual use. Infrared heaters rapidly warm up the objects or people, however, they do not warm the air as well as other types of space heaters. This means that once the heater shuts off the warmth will quickly disappear.

Convection Space Heaters

Convection Space Heaters
Convection Space Heaters are the most energy efficient and are the most common way of heating an enclosed space. Convection heaters work by using a fan to circulate the heated air within the room. One thing to keep in mind when looking at a convection space heater is that the fan can be a bit noisy. Models without fans will be quieter than models with fans, however, they rely on natural air flow which will take longer to warm up the room.

Panel Space Heaters

Panel Space Heaters
Panel Space Heaters combine the best attributes of convection and infrared heaters. With a quick startup and the ability to evenly distribute the warm air throughout the whole room, Panel Space Heaters offer the best of both worlds.

Radiator Space Heaters

Radiator Space Heaters
Hot to the touch these portable electric heaters use oils that are sealed inside to produce heat. The fuels aren't burned so you won't need to refill any flammable liquids. Their slim portable design makes them great for space saving while also producing enough heat to warm an entire room over time. These heaters are best for leaving in a room for a long time since they sure natural air circulation to spread the warmth. When turned off after running they will retain their heat for some time.

Gas Space Heaters

Consider a Gas Space Heaters, which will require a gas hookup and an ignition source (for example a match or an electrical starter). By heating the air around the area, gas space heaters ensure warm air lingers longer than an electric heater. Gas heaters are primarily for outdoor use so when the sun sets you can keep the party going outside all night long. If you are looking for the ideal way to keep your patio warm a gas wall mounted heaters are perfect when the leaves begin to fall from the trees. Available in portable versions as well, these mobile heaters let you take the warmth with you and to anywhere where the party goes.

Liquid Propane Space Heaters

Liquid Propane Space Heaters
When using Liquid Propane, most often it will come in a standard propane tank. Which allows for the burner to be portable and not needing to be connected to a gas line, so you can burn for several hours without being connected to a supply source. Also will be able to function during a power outage.

Natural Gas Space Heaters

Natural Gas Space Heaters
Natural gas space heaters do require a professional installation of a dedicated gas line. While they are more expensive to install, natural gas tends to have a lower fuel cost over time and does not require any replacing / refueling of a tank. Keep in mind, natural gas space heaters do require adequate ventilation in case of poor air quality, as well as for health and safety reasons.


Auto Shut Off

An Auto Shut-Off is a safety feature that most space heaters come with. The Auto Shut-Off feature helps prevent overheating, and fires caused by improper use. They also help shut down the space heater if it gets knocked over or if something is blocking the vent.

Power Cord Length

Depending on how far you would like to be able to move your heater, the length of the power cord is an important consideration. The advantage of a longer cord is they provide the ability to be used in rooms lacking available outlets. They also allow the heater to be easily moved around a room. Never use an extension cord with a space heater.


Thermostats, though not common on most space heaters, allow the unit to maintain the set temperature.


Timers are a common feature that will let you place your heater on for a specified amount of time. This comes in handy when you crawl into bed with your heater running and have it shut off when you fall asleep, so you stay warm under your blankets all night long.


Like all remotes, a space heater remote allows you to control the heater without walking over to it. Are you using the heater to keep you warm at night? Now you don't have to get out of bed and get cold. Stay snuggled under your blankets and control your heater from the convenience of your bed.


Wheels or a handle will make it easy to move your heater. This comes in handy if you want to keep your heater on while moving it about.


When using a space heater it is imperative to not overlook safety. It is reported that on average 40% of home fires are the result of the misuse of a space heater. The most frequent accidents transpire when flammable materials come in contact with the space heater. Before use, we advise that you take the following preventative measures to ensure that a disaster doesn't befall you and your loved ones:
  • Never operate around flammable liquids such as gasoline, paint, alcohol. Kindling such and newspapers or magazines are also very dangerous to leave around a heater.
  • Do not leave the heater unattended for long periods of time because if knocked over a fire can occur.
  • Do not place heater near curtains because the fabric can be sucked in through the fan and cause a fire.
  • Never use an extension cord to connect a heater.
  • Damaged heaters with missing parts need to be replaced or serviced before use.
  • Keep doors and windows closed during use. Rain and moisture can cause the unit to break or cause a fire.
  • Maintain a 3-foot safety zone for children, so they do not come within 3 feet of the heater. Do not leave children unattended during use.
  • Please make sure to consult your space heaters manual before use.

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