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Heater Buying Guide

By UJJBARAN October 13, 2021

Choose the best heater for your home, shop or garage. From space heaters and electric fireplaces to wood stoves and gas fireplaces, you have several options to consider.

What to Look for When Purchasing a Heater

Bromic Heaters Tungsten Electric Heater 300/500 - NG/LP + BH808000 Bracket BH021000

British Thermal Units (BTU) — Measure how much heat the unit puts out. The BTU rating determines how much space the unit can heat safely and effectively.

Variable Settings — Allow you to set the unit's heat output and its energy/fuel consumption. During warmer periods or in smaller spaces, you can turn the heater down and conserve energy/fuel.

Built-In Blowers — Fans or oscillating units distribute heat more evenly over a greater area. This will save energy/fuel and increase the overall comfort level in the space being heated.

Portability — Allows users to heat or supplement the heat in specific areas.

Built-In Safety Features — Automatic shutoffs, anti-tipping devices and heat guards that make heaters more user-friendly and safe.

Electric Space Heaters


In electric heating, options range from small personal heaters that will fit on a table to large heaters designed to heat entire rooms. Most small electric heaters have a wire-resistance coil or a ribbon strip that provides heat when electricity is supplied. Some of these models have ceramic casings that hold more heat for longer periods than basic models, making them more efficient. Some personal heaters also come with blowers or oscillating features that allow them to project heat over a larger area quickly. Small personal heaters are a good choice for heating specific spaces quickly.

Larger electric heaters, like those designed to warm entire rooms, may be permanently filled with oil to allow them to hold and radiate heat for long periods. This design allows the heating element to cycle on fewer times and save energy while heating a larger area. These heaters usually take longer to warm up than personal heaters, but they'll heat a much larger area and do it more efficiently.

Baseboard Elements, Wall-Mount Heaters and Electric Fireplaces

Costway 26 inch Fireless and Wall Mounted Electric Fireplace with Romote Control 60459213


When you need a more permanent solution, you can choose from baseboard heating elements, wall-mount units or electric fireplaces.

Electric baseboard heaters have a resistance coil that works much like a coil in a personal heater. The differences are that the baseboard units are much larger, heat more efficiently and can be wired to a wall-mounted thermostat.

Fan-forced electric heaters are normally small rectangular boxes that mount directly to the wall. The heater has a built-in fan that moves the heated air throughout the room. This design allows these small heaters to quickly and effectively bring an entire room up to a comfortable temperature.

Electric fireplaces come with hearths and mantels that simulate actual wood-burning fireplaces without the expense of adding a brick-and-mortar fireplace. These heaters combine the convenience of electric heat with the comfort of a traditional wood-burning fireplace. In warm months, the heating element in some electric fireplaces may be turned off to create an ambient fire without the heat.

Wood Heaters

Buck Stove Model 91 Catalytic Wood Burning Stove with Door FP 91 / FP 91G / FP 91P

Wood heaters are available as either traditional wood-burning stoves or as pellet stoves. Traditional wood stoves burn logs from 18 inches to 22 inches long to generate heat. Pellet stoves burn specially manufactured hardwood pellets that produce a lot of heat and very little ash.

Some stoves have glass fronts that allow you to enjoy the dancing flames, while taking advantage of superior heating. Look for a stove with an ash drawer to make cleanup easier and safer.

Gas Heaters

Buck Stove Hepplewhite Series Steel Stove NV S-HPPLEWHT


Gas heaters are available as either natural gas or liquid propane (LP) burning units. The type of fuel you use will largely be determined by availability in your area. You'll also be able to choose between freestanding gas heaters, wall-mounted gas heaters, gas logs and freestanding units that resemble wood stoves. Some gas heaters require a vent stack to the outside of the home; these units are commonly called vented logs. Vent-free heaters can be installed anywhere in the home without the need to vent or exhaust gasses to the homes' exterior.

The availability and cost of fuels and energy sources varies by location. When choosing your heater, be sure to consider both of these elements before making your selection.

Construction, Garage and Shop Heaters

Bromic Heaters Tungsten Heater Portable 500 LPG, Box 1 of 2 +BH8280001/BH8280005


These heaters are portable to provide heat to a construction site (often without electricity), garage or shop space where HVAC systems may be limited. The larger units are often called torpedo or salamander heaters. They’re powered by natural gas/propane, kerosene or electricity. The heating element combines with fan-forced air to heat the desired space.

Heating, Venting and Cooling (HVAC)

If you're looking for a larger heating solution, upgrade from your home's current HVAC system to a new energy-efficient system.

Storage Tips

A woman collecting firewood with a dog outside of a white house with snow on the ground.

In order to keep your firewood fresh, your propane safe and your wood pellets dry in the offseason, you'll need to store it properly. Follow these tips for safe storage.


  • Select a dry area that’s about 20 feet away from an exterior door of your home. You want it to be close enough so that it’s not inconvenient on cold days, but far enough away that spiders, bugs and pests aren’t nearby.
  • Firewood needs to be stored off the ground. Stack the wood in an open-ended shed or log rack. If your firewood holder is close to the house, ensure that it’s set several inches away from the wall to allow proper airflow.
  • Ensure that the area around your firewood is always free from weeds, grass and foliage because it can cause moisture and critter problems.
  • If you’re storing on an open rack, add a cover to protect the wood from the elements. Dry wood is safer and burns better.


  • Propane tanks should always be stored outside and in a cool place. Don't place a propane tank in a shed or garage.
  • Temperatures shouldn’t exceed 120 degrees Fahrenheit. High temperatures can cause a tank to combust or leak.
  • Always keep propane tanks away from flames and smoke.

Wood Pellets

  • In order to get the most optimal performance from your wood pellets, they’ll need to be stored in a dry, well-ventilated area. We recommend storing them in a large bucket with a sealable lid and keeping the bucket in the garage or basement.
  • If they have to be stored outside, the bags need to be kept off the ground and covered with a tarp to protect them from the elements.

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