The Most Energy Efficient Space Heater 2017
Heating on a Budget: Know the Most Efficient Space Heaters
Nowadays with energy prices fluctuating all the time you want to be able to heat your home in as efficient a manner as possible. This is especially important as the winter draws in and temperatures everywhere begin to drop.
Central heating systems are great for warming your home, but sometimes you may not want to heat the whole home using your central heating system. This would be costly and inefficient, especially for families on a budget.
Often you just want to heat the rooms you are using, and you want to do so using the most energy efficient method possible. In fact a good quality efficient space heater used effectively can lower energy costs in the home significantly as well as reducing CO2 emissions.
Modern space heating units are built these days with energy efficiency in mind. But not all energy efficient heaters are alike. We have examined many of the models available to provide in this review the best energy efficient space heater for your needs.
Most Energy Efficient Space Heater Comparison Table
Lasko 6435 Designer Series Ceramic Oscillating Heater
Dr Infrared Heater 1500 Watt Portable Space Heater
Lasko 754200 Ceramic Heater
Dyson AM09 Fan Heater
The DeLonghi EW7707CB Portable Oil-Filled Radiator
Best Energy Efficient Space Heater Reviews
Lasko 6435 Designer Series Ceramic Oscillating Heater with Remote Control
The Lasko 6435 Ceramic Space Heater combines an individual design with great energy efficiency. The stated wattage is 1,500, however in use it uses slightly less, coming around 1,260 watts. This means that if you intend to heat a typical 12’ square room to normal room temperature then the cost of heating during the day is as low as $8 per month. This is impressive coming from a heating unit measuring only 16 inches high and 8¼ inches in diameter.
From a distance the unit looks very much like a planter which means it blends into most household environments without fuss. Total weight is just over 8 pounds.
It is an oscillating ceramic heater meaning the ceramic element rotates inside the heater to heat the air surrounding the heater to a consistently warm level.
It is very quiet, emitting almost no noise and includes a thermostatic control emphasising the energy efficiency of this little heater.
The Lasko 6435 comes with a remote control making operation very straight forward. It also has a timer to ensure that it can be operated at whatever times suit you.
The Lasko 6435 Ceramic Heater is a high quality heater providing reliable heat for many years, it is not burning hot to the touch when in operation and has a stable decorative metalwork base. The unit also incorporates an automatic overheat cut-out for protection.
Dr Infrared Heater 1500 Watt Portable Space Heater
The Dr Infrared Heater Portable Space Heater is an increasingly popular option for many homeowners looking for an energy efficient space heater. The heater came to prominence due to a television advertising campaign, but it is a highly efficient good quality portable unit and as a result is an excellent choice.
It is slightly larger than some of the other room heaters reviewed here, but with dimensions of 13 x 11 x 16 inches and weighing in at 23.5 pounds it would still not be described as big.
The manufacturers claim to be able to heat up to 1000 square feet with this highly efficient room heater, however, it is likely to be used optimally in the home in average sized rooms.
The unit is presented in an attractive polished wood box. It is an infrared heater which means that it is a radiative heater, heating objects in the room rather than the air. This means that soon after switching on users will notice the room getting warmer.
The device has three power settings. It can be operated at low power or 1000W, high power being 1500W and an auto setting which allows you to set your own desired temperature between 50-86F. The thermostatic control ensures the correct temperature is achieved and maintained.
The unit includes a timer and a quiet operation fan. Front panel controls are well laid out and easy to use.
Although this Dr Infrared Heater has a visible element at the front, together with controls on a digital control panel it does not actually get hot when in use.
Coupled with tip-over protection and auto shut-off in case of overheating this is one of the safest portable heaters available today.
Lasko 754200 Ceramic Heater
A bestselling ceramic space heater the Lasko 754200 is an inexpensive, versatile yet surprisingly energy efficient unit perfect for heating small rooms or offices quickly.
The dimensions of the Lasko 754200 are not large, it measures a mere 5¾ x 7 x 9.2 inches and weighs just 4 pounds. However despite its small size it still has an output of up to 1500W.
The Lasko 754200 Ceramic Heater has a fairly utility design, essentially a silver colored box with a grill effect over the front. However, the small size of this model means that it is very unobtrusive and can be situated in reasonably small spaces, for instance it is even considered safe under a desk.
There are three modes of operation. A 1500 watt setting, a 900 watt setting and the option to run it using only the built in fan. This ensures that it can heat a room quickly and then maintain the room temperature effectively and efficiently.
The unit makes a very quiet sound in operation, but this is not in the least enough to be disturbing.
The unit incorporates thermostatic control meaning that it will cut out once a pre-set temperature has been achieved in the room. The controls are relatively simple in design, being two dials, and there is no LED display, however the very affordable price of this highly efficient space heater means this is not a particular issue.
It does not have a timer and if you require this function then you can incorporate the heater with a separate plugin timer.
Lasko 754200 Heater does incorporate an auto cut-out in the event that the unit overheats significantly reducing the potential fire-hazard. It does not have a tip-over shut off function however. When in use the heater does tend to get hot to the touch and this should be borne in mind when positioning it in your room.
Dyson AM09 Fan Heater
Dyson have successfully made a name for themselves by creating extremely innovative solutions to everyday household appliances. The Dyson AM09 Fan Heater is no exception to this. This efficient space heater has the added advantage of being able to provide cooling as well as warming ensuring its usefulness in the home all year around.
It is an oscillating fan heater and as such is able to heat a room very quickly. The accurate thermostatic control ensures that the room temperature is maintained with the minimum of fuss and the maximum energy efficiency.
It has a reassuringly high price.
As with many of the Dyson products the design of the Dyson AM09 Fan Heater is distinctive, contemporary and stylish and is sure to generate comment from all who visit. It seems very well made and has a high quality feel and finish.
It is quite a tall unit, being 23.4 inches high with a circumference of 8 inches. It weighs just under 6 pounds.
Color options of black / nickel, iron / blue or white / silver.
The operation of the fan is silent, however it does emit a constant wind noise which some may find irritating at high speeds.
The unit is operated via a remote control and is very easy to operate. As previously noted the unit incorporates an accurate thermostatic control and a timer which allows you to start and stop the heater / cooler at times of your choosing.
The unit oscillates if required and is also able to be tilted forward and back.
The unit has a tip-over automatic cut-out and has no visible heating elements or rotating blades.
The DeLonghi EW7707CB Portable Oil-Filled Radiator
The DeLonghi EW7707CB is a very popular 1500 watt portable radiator type heater. It is oil-filled and as a result works on a convection heating basis, warming circulating air around it. The clever design of the radiator fins means that it is able to heat faster than conventional oil-filled radiators and has a lower surface temperature meaning that it is safer to touch.
As the heat is provided through heated oil the DeLonghi EW7707CB has silent operation.
This energy efficient space heater weighs a little over 24 pounds and has dimensions of approximately 14 x 25 x 11 inches.
This oil filled radiator comes in an attractive matt black finish. The unit is housed on wheels for easy mobility. The materials used are durable and rust-resistant.
The DeLonghi EW7707CB was awarded HFN Magazine’s 2009 Award of Excellence, offering maximum heat while maintaining a low surface temperature.
The DeLonghi EW7707CB ComforTemp Radiator has easy to use controls, allowing thermostatic control with three temperature settings. It also incorporates an anti-freeze function resulting in the unit remaining passive until the temperature drops below 42 degrees at which point it automatically switches on.
The unit does not incorporate a timer.
Although the manufacturers claim that the DeLonghi EW7707CB operates at a lower temperature than other oil-filled radiators this does not in fact mean that it does not get hot when in use. Care should be taken when positioning the radiator in a room to ensure there is no potential for damage to the near environment.
The unit does incorporate an automatic shut-off in case it is tipped over.
How to Compare Energy Efficient Space Heaters
The specific type of heater you require will be largely dependent upon the size of the room you wish to heat and the type of heating you wish to receive.
Before making a firm decision it is worth estimating the cost of running your unit to ensure that it is as efficient as claimed. Don’t worry the calculation is relatively straightforward and only needs to be done approximately.
Each heater will provide the wattage of the heater you are considering. In order to calculate the kilowatt figure take the stated wattage and divide by 1,000. For example the Dr Infrared Heater Portable Space Heater states that it is a 1500-watt heater which means 1.5 kilowatts (1,500 / 1,000).
Your household cost per kilowatt hour of electricity would be located either on a recent electricity bill or by contacting your local electricity provider directly.
This will give you the cost of operating your device for one hour and allow you to make direct comparisons across the model ranges in order to determine your own view of the most efficient space heater.
It is easy to be distracted by the figures provided by the manufacturers of so-called energy efficient heaters. All 1500-watt space heaters utilize 1500 watts of electricity per hour. The higher the number, the more electricity is used. So cost efficiency is really only obtained by reducing the cost of your electricity rather than changing your room heater.
No, the most efficient space heaters aren’t the ones that have the lowest quoted wattages. Instead the most energy efficient space heater is the heater that manages to convert as much as possible of the electricity input into heat output.
Remember the most cost efficient space heater is not necessarily the most energy efficient space heater. A low cost energy efficient heater is the best of both worlds, and there is a definite overlap between the two even if they are not quite the same thing.
What are the Key Criteria for the Most Energy Efficient Heater
In short, the most efficient heater converts electricity into heat most effectively. Any other by-product, other than heat, from your unit is wasted energy.
For example, if your room heater makes a rattling noise, or a hum when in use, then that is using up energy, and that energy is not heating the room. Silent heating is therefore desirable when looking for the best energy efficient space heaters.
A more complete list of factors that improve energy efficiency is as follows:
- Room size
- Room insulation
- Thermostatic control
- The use of timers
Room Size Can Affect the Efficiency of Your Heating Device
Another factor to consider is the size of the space you wish to heat. Clearly the lower the output of the heater the less able it will be to heat the space required. One possible result of using an inadequate space heater is that it is left on longer with the result that a less efficient utilization of electrical power is used.
To get the most efficient use out of your unit it makes sense therefore to minimize the size of the space you wish to heat. This may mean moving to another room, or it may mean attempting to limit the space you wish to heat within a room. This can be done using a radiant heating model which is more direct than the more common convection space heaters which heat the air circulating within the room.
Room Insulation Can Lead To Heating Inefficiency
Clearly, energy spent heating a room is wasted if that heat is then allowed to leak into areas of your home or outside that you do not wish to heat. The most efficient heating is therefore when you heat the space you are using and nowhere else. This can be hard to achieve in most homes, especially with the more open plan designs that are popular these days.
Room ventilation is also important and a poorly ventilated room can have adverse effects on anyone in the room. This brings us back to the point made above that the smaller the area you wish to heat the more energy efficient that heating is likely to be.
Other Factors Which Affect the Efficiency of Your Space Heater
Make sure your heater has thermostatic control. In order to get the most efficient performance from your space heater you want to make sure it heats the area in which you are located, but you are unlikely to want it so that it becomes too warm. By incorporating a thermostat many space heaters are able to automatically switch off when the air temperature in the space reaches a pre-set level. The thermostat will also automatically turn the space heater back on when the temperature falls back.
This means that energy is not wasted heating the room beyond the temperature required. A significant factor in achieving the most energy efficient method of heating. Of course some thermostatic control devices are more accurate than others. Some models will have high quality digital displays to allow an accurate temperature setting, some others will have only three setting options to choose from. The particular space heater type of thermostatic control you desire will have a direct impact on your choice of energy efficient space heater.
The Use of Timers with Your Unit
Another important way to enhance energy efficiency is through the use of timers. Timers will ensure that your heater is used when you want it to be used and will not end up heating a space when you are not present or do not require it heated.
Many energy efficient electric heaters incorporate timers into their design and this is definitely the best option. Not only will you not have to purchase a separate solution in order to maximize your energy efficient heating and save cost, but you will also have the comfort of knowing that the in-built timer is properly tested and rating approved.
Fortunately even if your choice of heater does not incorporate a timer function you can still achieve this outcome by using a plugin timer (preferably heavy duty grounded devices) such as the Intermatic TN311C 120 Volt Heavy Duty Grounded Timer (see on Amazon).
A noisy space heater is an inefficient space heater. Not only do most people not want to be disturbed by sounds emanating from their device, creating noise requires energy and therefore the most energy efficient space heaters should not make unnecessary noise when operating.
Many space heaters that are advertised as energy efficient room heaters make a noise when in use. This is especially true when considering fan forced heaters. It is difficult to operate a fan without generating some form of noise output. The noise comes from both the air as it passes through the fan, but also the various components of the fan moving in contact with each other.
In a similar way an oscillating model can also make a noise as it moves. We have included both fan forced space heaters and oscillating heaters in our list of most efficient electric heaters because in our opinion the noise that these units make is very minor and does not affect the overall efficiency considerably.
Nevertheless, noise is a factor when considering efficient electric heaters and you should always attempt to try out an electric heater before purchase to check the noise levels of operation.
Of course noise is not always about energy efficiency. Noise can often be a considerable distraction, especially if it is in close proximity to a place you may be trying to concentrate. Generally speaking therefore it is probably safe to say that a quiet model is better than a noisy one, all else being equal.
No discussion of energy efficient electric heaters would be complete without a discussion of light. Many portable heaters create light. The light can come from two principal sources. The main source of light is a heating element. The secondary source of light are operating lights such as on / off lights and digital LED displays.
It is quite likely that significantly in excess of 90% of the energy used by your model will be emitted as heat. However, the more light your heater generates, the more energy is likely to be leaked (to the outside through windows and other exit routes). Thus, energy efficiency will always be improved if the heating element does not become very bright when in use, or the heating element can be contained within the space heater casing safely and therefore leaks as little light as possible to the outside world.
This brings us on to a very relevant part of any balanced discussion, whether energy efficient or not. That of safety.
Space Heater Safety
No discussion of any heating devices should take place without mentioning safe use. The heating elements of space heaters are obviously very high. Anything which has either a very hot element or a direct flame needs to be treated with caution. Too many people are killed in residential fires each year to make safety considerations surrounding your space heater anything other than a top priority.
As a general rule you incorporate at the very least the following safety precautions when using your heater.
- Always follow the manufacturers’ recommendations for safe use.
- Always position your device on a sound base out of the way of passing traffic to ensure it does not accidentally fall over.
- Make sure that only the recommended fuel type for your heating unit is used. This is particularly relevant when your space heater uses gas fuel.
- Avoid using extension cables which can both overload and create unnecessary trip hazards.
- Do not position the heater too close to items which may well be damaged or be flammable.
- Try to match the power output of the space heater to the space requiring heating. Too little power output can result in overuse increasing the risk of component damage.
- Never attempt to repair a space heater yourself. Always use an approved repair shop.