This is the time of year that people start to think about investing in heating solutions for their homes. Whether you are hoping to make your living room nice and toasty or add extra warmth to your baby’s room, a portable heater is the perfect solution.
The British winter can be very cold, as the nights draw in and the thermometer drops below zero, it can get very chilly inside your home. While most of us have reliable gas or electric heating in our homes, energy costs across the UK are on the rise. Turning up your thermostat even a few degrees can add a lot to your monthly energy bill. A portable heater is an ideal solution, helping you to keep your family nice and warm at a fraction of the cost.
The Benefits Of Using A Portable Heater
There are distinct benefits to using a portable heater in your home or office. Many people use these heaters in retail spaces, sheds, children’s bedrooms… pretty much anywhere! Why? The most common reason for using a portable heater is that it is a lot more efficient – and often a lot cheaper – than turning on a more comprehensive heating system. You can keep a small space warm and cosy without spending a fortune heating up the entire house.
Here are just a few of the most common benefits associated with using a portable heater in your home:
- It will save you money – It is amazing how much money you can save by choosing to just heat the room you are in, rather than the whole house. By turning off the central heating while you sleep, or if you’re just using one or two rooms, you can save hundreds of pounds on your heating bill every year. Saving money without having to shiver through the cold winter nights!
- They don’t take up much room – Bringing a new, bulky appliance into your home just might not be possible. Many people have space restrictions or don’t want an intrusive heating solution. Portable heaters come in a variety of shapes and sizes, meaning that you can bring affordable heat into your home no matter how small your space.
- They are portable, and can be used throughout the house – Portable heaters are ideal for most people’s homes and needs, as they are portable and can be moved into any room in your home. Need it in the bedroom tonight but the lounge tomorrow, and then the office next week? No problem – just unplug and pack it with you no matter where you need to go. Many heaters also come equipped with wheels, making it even easier to tote from room to room.
- They are a small initial investment – For less than the price of a few drinks and a burger at the pub you can buy a mini ceramic fan heater than will keep you toasty and warm. Very few household appliances offer as big a value as an affordable and effective mini space heater – they can change your entire winter experience.
How To Choose The Best Space Heater For Your Home
The most important factor in determining the best portable heater for your home is the size of the space that you want to heat. The larger the room, the larger the unit you will need. To aid in this decision, most space heaters come with a sizing chart that can help you calculate the right model for you.
Remember, a portable heater might not need to heat the entire space; a lot of people enjoy having a portable heater in a draughty corner to counter cold spots. Ideally, you can use your unit to create a comfortable and balanced home that doesn’t have super-hot and cold pockets.
Here are some of the things you should consider when choosing the best portable heater for your needs.
- Do you want to heat a whole room, or just a specific area? If you want to heat an entire room, you should opt for an oil-filled radiator as they warm the air near them and then circulate it evenly throughout the space. They can take a little longer to get warmed up than the others, but they often come with a timer, so you can set them to start working a few hours before you need the heat. However, if you are planning to heat just one section of a room (maybe pointed at your feet), a ceramic fan heater might make more sense.
- Do you want a programmable timer? You might not want to have your heater running all night, but you also want to be able to drift away knowing that it will automatically turn off. Similarly, you can program certain heaters to click on a short time before you wake in the morning, always keeping your room comfortable during waking hours.
- Is energy efficiency important to you? If energy efficiency is important to you, you will likely want a heater that comes with two to three temperature settings, including an economical setting that is designed to conserve energy and limit the amount of electricity that the unit uses.
- Do you want a remote control? A remote control can be a very convenient accessory that allows you to modify the heat output and fan settings from across the room.
- Do you need the space heater to be silent? If your heater is going to go in a bedroom (and especially in an infant’s room), you will likely want it to be as quiet as possible. However, if it is going in a noisy, communal area, the sound factor will be less important.
- Do you plan to move the heater from room to room? If you plan to move your heater around easily, it should come equipped with wheels and handles. You may also want a lighter weight model, so it is easier to lift and carry.
- Do you want it to oscillate? Just like a cooling fan, many portable heaters come with an oscillation function. This is beneficial if you want to heat a large room evenly.
- Do you want a built-in adjustable thermostat? A built-in adjustable thermostat allows you to keep your room at an optimal temperature. It works by cutting or reducing the power once the desired temperature has been reached. It will then turn back on once the ambient temperature dips below the set level, this in turn also saves energy as well.
The Different Types Of Portable Heaters
Maybe you’re after a blast of heat meant to perk up a chilly room, or you might be looking for an efficient and more permanent heating solution. There are plenty of options out there – here are some of the different kinds of space heaters on the market.
- Convector heaters: Average prices range from £19.99 - £99.99 – Convector heaters, also known as convection heaters work by circulating air through the appliance and across its heating element. Warm air rises from the appliance and is replaced by cooler air, the heating process continues repeatedly in this fashion. While they can take a few hours to reach their hottest temperatures, they are ideal for larger rooms and long periods of use.
- Fan heaters: (Ceramic: Average prices range from £19.99 - £69.99 vs Non-ceramic: Average prices range from £14.99 - £49.99) Fan heaters use a fan to suck in, rapidly heat over a heating element, and blow hot air out into a room. You can get fan heaters made with either ceramic or metal coil heating elements. Ceramic is used as a safety measure, as it remains below 200 degrees celsius whereas metal coil heating elements are red hot. This reduces the risk of burns and fire. The size and power of the fan will dictate how much of the room it can heat, and how quickly.
- Halogen heaters: Average prices range from £9.99 - £49.99 - Halogen heaters use halogen light bulbs (instead of coils or heat conductors) plugged into an electric current. They then use fans to blow the heated air out into the room. As with any fan heater, do not leave these unattended.
- Oil filled radiators: Average prices range from £19.99 - £199.99 - Despite what the name may make you think, you don’t fill these heaters with oil to make them work! They actually utilise electricity to heat oil sealed in the radiator’s columns. These are a good choice to heat a room for a prolonged period of time, or if you plan to leave them unattended.
- Panel heaters: Average prices range from £39.99 > £199.99 - Panel heaters are a type of convection heater that has been designed to adhere to a wall, saving space and replicating the effects of a radiator.
Can Buying A Heater Save You Money On Your Heating Bills?
While some of us have thermostats that allow desired heating settings to be set on a room by room basis, many of us have a home heating system that is more ‘all or nothing.’ That means that you have to heat your entire home even if you are using just one room. When you are sleeping at night, you only need to heat the bedrooms in your home – and that is when a space heater comes in.
You can utilise an electric or oil filled space heater in the room you are spending your time, and keep the rest of your home at a lower (and cheaper) temperature. A space heater uses a lot less energy – and costs a lot less to use – than central heating.
It’s also important to note that none of these types are much more energy-efficient than the others. However, fan heaters heat up and cool down more quickly with the added advantage that they blow the heat to where it is needed. Oil-filled radiators heat up slowly but stay warm even when turned off.
Safety Is Key
Whenever you bring a new appliance into your home, the most important consideration must be safety. Many portable heaters have tip over sensors, automatic thermostats, and guards protecting little fingers from the heating coils. Any heater you bring into your home needs to have features that are specifically designed to prevent overheating. Never hesitate to do a little bit of extra research when it comes to this topic.
If you are planning to heat your room for short periods, and you want a short blast of intense heat, we recommend a ceramic fan heater. If you are planning to use a portable heater for a prolonged period of time, your best choice is an oil filled radiator. A timer is always a good function to have, as you can start the heater an hour before you wake or arrive home, and use it to turn your heater off after you fall asleep.