Are Baseboard Heaters Better Than Space Heaters? (It Depends..)

A warm, perfectly heated, and cozy room is one of the top necessities you need in the winter.

Many homeowners find themselves compelled to choose between several heating options around this time.

Most homes feature a central heating installation that uses a furnace to distribute heat evenly to all rooms.

This method, however, is quite expensive and wasteful.

There are other far better types of heating solutions at your disposal, they include zonal heating options such as electric baseboard heaters which permit you to make adjustments to the temperature in one room without impacting the rest of the home.

Baseboard and electric wall heaters, along with fireplaces and gas stoves, can be utilized in creating location-specific temperature control.

So, Are Baseboard Heaters Better Than Space Heaters?

Both of these heaters have their strengths and setbacks. Space heaters (also referred to as wall heaters) are more compact. While some baseboard heaters can occupy virtually the whole length of your wall, all you need is a single unit of a small wall-mounted space heater to heat the whole room. So, if you are after a compact heating solution, and you don’t want the heat to emanate from the floor level (for some reasons), a space heater would be more advantageous. Otherwise, you’d be better off with a baseboard heater.

Baseboard Heaters Vs Space Heaters: Nine Comparisons

Here are comparisons between baseboard heaters and space heaters, side by side:

1. Positioning flexibility: Space heaters are better

Furniture position is normally limited. Because baseboard heaters demand extended spaces of wall length, you won’t have a lot of options when it comes to the placement of home décor and furniture.

The fact that baseboard heaters are always on the base of the wall further adds a complication in positioning plans for your bed and large chairs such as sofa sets.

Space heaters, on another hand, can be positioned conveniently relative to your furniture and vice versa.

If you have a portable electric space heater, for example, you can choose to hang it on the ceiling, place it on a table in a corner, or even hang it on a wall.

2. Rate Of Cleaning And Maintenance: Space Heaters Are More Efficient

The mere fact that electric baseboard heaters are installed close to the ground makes them maintenance-inefficient.

If you want them to remain efficient, you need to clean and maintain them more regularly. When dust and debris settle on their fins, they can restrict or block airflow.

For that reason, you will find yourself cleaning them more often than you would with a regular space heater.

Space heaters are installed far above the ground, mostly high up on the wall. Less dust and debris gets to stick on them. As such, they don’t require frequent cleaning.

3. Safety Factor: Baseboard Heaters Are Safer

Space heaters, especially the electric wall type, comes with an orange/red-hot metal heating element.

Though this element tends to be recessed slightly onto the unit, it is still close to the surface enough that it can easily ignite close-by flammable items.

Manufacturers normally recommend a buffer zone in areas between your heater and the floor.

Related: Is It Safe to Leave Baseboard Heaters On Overnight and Unattended?

4. Diverse Heating Beds: Both Heaters Score Highly Here

Both the baseboard heater and the space heater are flexible when meeting diverse heating needs.

Baseboard heaters are perfect for warming those “hard to keep warm” spaces – all you need is an electrical socket.

Any typical has one or a few areas that are hard to keep warm.

Such areas include the basement and the interiors of the garage.

Any area that is normally drafty can be hard to keep warm and may necessitate specialized heating. The cold air would get in and the temperatures drop dramatically as a result.

Such areas would be easier to keep warm with a baseboard heater than a regular space heater. Why?

Baseboard heaters are designed to heat rooms using convection heat which spreads efficiently throughout the closed area.

This permits you to remove the possibility of opting for a costly heating system.

Better yet, the cost of running the energy-efficient baseboard heaters is considerably low, especially if you turn off all the heating devices in spaces that you don’t use.

5. Source of energy and its efficiency: Space Heaters Are Better

The best thing about space heaters is that they are designed to use one of the two commonly used sources of energy in American homes: electricity and gas/propane.

This design gives the user freedom to choose between the two based on which is readily available.

But because electricity is seldom a smart option when it comes to warming, gas-powered space heaters are more popular than their electrical counterparts especially if you are after the portable type.

Virtually all the baseboard heaters you will find out there are electrical.

This means a baseboard heater may not be the best choice for you if you have cheap access to gas (which is the case most of the time)

Another problem – when electrical heaters turn off, you will keep receiving radiate heat for a few more minutes. That’s wasteful.

6. Cost-effectiveness: both are baseboard and space heaters come with similar price tags

In terms of the cost of acquisition, it’s hard to tell which among these two would be a great choice for your space.

The price tag of an average baseboard heater falls in the brackets of $25 and $200 while that of a space heater is somewhere between $60 and $120.

However, the cost of space heaters can increase significantly if you are thinking of the whole home instead of a single space.

Another difference concerns fuel – as mentioned earlier, electricity is a bit costlier than gas/propane when used for heating.

With this in mind, you stand to part with more when running a baseboard heater compared to a space heater because the latter has two fuel options.

7. The Noise Factor: Baseboard Heaters Are Silent, Hence Better

Baseboard heaters use electricity and are designed to disperse heatwaves through convection heat. This mode of operation makes permits them to run silently, unlike space heaters.

Space heaters, especially the gas-powered type, are notorious for their hissing noise.

Still, for the electricity-powered space heaters, heat is dispersed using a system of fans rather than conventional heat.

These fans normally switch turn on/off automatically to keep the heat at the required level. That’s why even electricity-powered space heaters produce noise.

8. Complete Warming: Space Heaters Are Better

Which heater would be perfect for thorough heating to fill the room with warmth in all corners? A space heater, obviously!

The biggest flaw of the baseboard heater is its tendency to only warm the areas close to the floor (we should blame the positioning, but it’s normally fixed).

The areas close to the ceiling remain largely cold. Things are slightly different with space heaters – if you place one space heater on a wall, the whole room will be warmed evenly.

9. Adaptability: Space Heaters Are More Adaptable

With space heaters, you don’t need to worry about improperly placed systems because they will keep delivering perfectly even after you have made changes to the room.

If a situation ever arises requiring you to make some radical changes to the floor of a room serviced by a baseboard, you might be compelled to need to revisit your placement of the heating unit.

Note that cold air enters your baseboard from beneath, so clearance of about 1” between the bottom part of the heater and the topmost part of your carpet is a must-have for good airflow.

Summary

Are baseboard heaters better than space heaters?

It depends on the area of your interest.

What are your heating needs?

If you are looking for a heater that utilizes several sources of energy, then a space heater would be perfect for your home.

  • Space heaters are designed to use one of the two sources of energy in households: electricity and gas/propane; baseboard heaters can only use electricity
  • If cost-effectiveness is your area of interest, both baseboard and space heaters comes with similar price tags although space heaters can be a little cheap because they support more than sources of energy
  • If the noise factor is on your list, baseboard heaters would be great for you because they are mostly silent
  • Baseboard heaters use electricity and are designed to disperse heatwaves through convection heat – this mode of operation makes permits them to run silently, unlike space heaters.
  • Space heaters, on another hand, especially the gas-powered type, are notorious for their hissing noise.
  • If you are looking for a heater capable of heating your whole room perfectly without leaving pockets of cold air on the ceiling and corners, space heaters would be great for you.
  • The biggest flaw of the baseboard heater is its tendency to only warm the areas close to the floor; the areas close to the ceiling remains largely cold.
  • If adaptability is factor of your interest, space heaters would perfect for your home because they are more adaptable

With space heaters, you don’t need to worry about improperly placed systems because they will keep delivering perfectly even after you have made changes to the room.

If a situation ever arises requiring you to make some radical changes to the floor of a room serviced by a baseboard, you might be compelled to need to revisit your placement of the heating unit.

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