Are you wondering how do ceramic heaters work and how they may be able to help you conserve energy?

Then this article is for you.

Below, you’ll find out everything you need to know about the function of ceramic heaters.

As you’ll discover, there are several types of ceramic space heaters and each one heats the air in a different way.

Since not every ceramic space heater has the same features, you’ll want to pay close attention to the type that better fits your needs.

It’s also important to calculate the energy usage of your ceramic space heater to get the full energy-savings of this type of heating unit.

We’ll discuss all of that below as well as how to use your ceramic heater in the most efficient way.

And if you’re looking for a good ceramic heater, then check out our guide on the best ceramic heater reviews to find a good deal.

What is a Ceramic Heater?

How do ceramic heaters work

A ceramic heater is a space heater that produces heat by heating the ceramic part of the heater.

The ceramic is the heating element that is made of Positive Temperature Coefficient (PTC) ceramic which heats the air that passes over it.

These heaters are portable and best used to heat a small room or an office.

However, ceramic heaters are not entirely made of ceramic. A majority of their components are made from plastic and metal.

The heating element is what is made from ceramic and heats the air in a room

And because an electric ceramic heater is extremely durable, it can last for years as long as you keep it clean and wipe the dust off it regularly.

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How Do Ceramic Heaters Work?

A ceramic heater works by using electricity to warm a ceramic plate. A radiant ceramic heater only uses the heating element to heat up the room. A convection ceramic heater works by using a fan to blow air across the ceramic parts to heat the air more quickly. There are advantages and disadvantages for each.

The ceramic plates in ceramic room heaters are attached to metal coils that heat up just like a coil heater.

The plates absorb the heat and release it to the air.

Unlike coil heaters, ceramic heaters take less time to heat up and also take a shorter time to cool down which makes them some of the most efficient electric heaters available.

That’s the basics of answering the question, “How do ceramic heaters work?”

As mentioned, there are two types of ceramic heaters: convection ceramic heaters and radiant ceramic heaters, which we’ll cover next.

Convection Ceramic Heaters

Ceramic heaters mostly appear in the convective form.

That means that this type of ceramic heater uses electricity to heat the aluminum parts that transfer heat to a ceramic heating element.

The heater gets the cool air from the base and passes it over the metal parts and ceramic elements, thus heating the air and transferring it to the room.

These ceramic space heaters also work by using a fan to blow the warm air into the room.

The advantage of the fan is that the heat is transferred to the rest of the room at a quicker pace.

As you may know, hot air rises and cool air sinks.

Therefore, cooler air is taken through the intake slot of the heater where it’ll be heated up and emerges from the top part of the unit as warm air.

Radiant Ceramic Heaters

Radiant ceramic heaters use electricity to heat the ceramic plate but don’t use a fan to blow out the air.

This type of ceramic space heater radiates heat to objects in its path.

The generated heat is higher than the surrounding objects making them absorb more heat and increase their own temperatures naturally.

Radiant ceramic heaters are not designed to warm up the air in the room but heat the objects in the room to generate long-lasting heat.

This makes radiant ceramic heaters more effective in warming up the room by transferring the heat where it’s needed the most.

However, they’re not very effective if you prefer moving the unit from one room to another because the heat will not travel with you.

The heat resides within objects rather than in the air.

Therefore, it can take a while to heat up another room when you transfer a radiant ceramic heater into it.

Ceramic Heater Advantages

Ceramic heaters offer a lot of advantages for people who want a good supplemental heating unit.

Here are the most common ceramic heater advantages:

  1. Small ceramic heaters are portable. Most of them are compact and can be shifted from one room to another. You just need a space of two-foot radius for ventilation reasons.
  2. Convection ceramic heaters can be used in larger areas than radiant heaters. If you want to use them for larger areas you need to opt for those with a fan. Models without a fan are useful in smaller areas.
  3. Ceramic heaters come with a safety feature. The overall temperature of the heater is very low. They have an inbuilt mechanism that reduces the flow of electric charge hence reducing the risk of fire.
  4. The cost of ceramic space heaters is relatively low. These heaters are much more cost-effective than central heating or other space heaters. Ceramic heaters do not use as much electricity compared to other types of heaters. They’re more energy-efficient and heat up more quickly.
  5. Inbuilt safety features. Ceramic heaters come with inbuilt safety features like cool-touch housing, timer, overheat sensor, manual heat adjustment, thermostat, digital display, fan adjustment, and remote control, making them far more advantageous than other types of space heaters.
  6. Cleaner heat. Ceramic heaters generate cleaner heat as compared to other space heaters that use kerosene. It eliminates the smell generated by fuel heaters hence producing clean air. They’re suitably used in laboratories.
  7. Flexibility. Ceramic heaters are highly flexible and can be used in offices and homes where certain rooms are not heated. They also come with automatic timers that enable you to set up a time that you want the heater to turn on or shut off. This feature is perfect for homes where you want the heater to generate less heat during the night when asleep and to automatically increase heat when you wake up in the morning.

Ceramic Heater Disadvantages

Despite the numerous merits, ceramic heaters do come with their own disadvantages.

Here are the most common ceramic heater disadvantages:

  1. Ceramic space heaters are best suited to heat smaller areas. If you’re thinking of heating a big room over 300 square feet, then this heater is not for you. Most ceramic space heaters only heat a small section of the room or between 150-300 square feet.
  2. It can be slow to heat a room when lacking a fan. There are ceramic heaters that come with a fan while others do not include it. If you want the room to warm up faster, a ceramic heater with a fan is the best option.
  3. Many ceramic heaters are required to run for longer periods of time to generate heat. This can increase electricity bills if you don’t monitor their usage. The air is not a very good conductor of heat. Therefore, heating a room through convection can take longer.
  4. The heat transfer can be blocked by objects. This hinders the proper warming up of the room. This particularly happens with radiant ceramic heaters.

Ceramic Heaters Running Costs

Most ceramic space heaters work effectively in small areas between 150-300 square feet.

But how much does it cost to run a ceramic space heater?

The formula below can be used to calculate the running costs of ceramic space heaters:

  • Watts x Hours Per Day x kWh Rate ÷ 1,000 = Average Daily Cost

Let’s assume your ceramic space heater uses 1,500 watts and you intend to use it for 5 hours per day.

To perform the calculation, you’ll first need to multiply the wattage of the ceramic heater by the number of hours of use per day:

1,500 x 5 = 7,500

Next, multiply this number (7,500) by the electric company’s utility rate, such as $0.12 kWh:

7,500 x 0.12 = 900

Now, divide this number (900) by 1,000:

900 ÷ 1,000 = 0.90

Therefore, your daily cost of using a ceramic heater for 5 hours per day is estimated to be $0.90.

Are Ceramic Heaters Safe?

Yes, a ceramic heater is safe to use. Ceramic heaters are generally safer to use than other types of heaters. For extra safety, ensure that it has been certified by an organization like Underwriters Laboratories (UL). And that it has safety features like tip-over protection, automatic shut off, and an adjustable thermostat.

How Hot Do Ceramic Heaters Get?

Ceramic heaters get as hot as 120° degrees Celsius (248° degrees Fahrenheit) and maintain this temperature below 200° degrees Celsius (392° degrees Fahrenheit). The advantage of the heating element behind a grate makes it safe to use. Even though it gets so hot to heat the air in a room.

Ceramic heaters are faster to warm up and to cool down than most other types of heaters and are the plastic housing is cool to the touch.

Choosing a Ceramic Heater

Ceramic space heaters come in different shapes and sizes and are equipped with different features.

There are a lot of options to choose from when you’re purchasing a ceramic space heater.

For more in-depth information, make sure to check our guide on the best ceramic heater reviews.

While you won’t find one space heater with all of the features discussed below, it’s still worth considering the following options when buying one:

  • Heat settings: Most ceramic heaters have settings that dictate how fast the fan blows out the hot air. The thermostat dial also ensures that you set the right temperature for the room.
  • Fan-only option: Some ceramic space heaters shut down the heat and only rotate the fan. This is a good feature to have during hot weather. The fan will operate as a cooling element to cool down the room instead of heating it.
  • Dimensions: Make sure that the ceramic space heater is small enough to fit in the spot of a room you intend to use it in. Also, make sure that it has some room on all sides so that airflow is not obstructed and close objects don’t get too hot.
  • Handle: The handle might not be a priority in your list but it’s important as well. Some handles are great for lifting the heater but some are not. Some ceramic heaters do not come with a handle.
  • Weight: The weight varies between models but if you want to move it from room to room then make sure that it’s light enough to carry without difficulty.

How Do Ceramic Space Heaters Work Summary

We hope that this article provided you with solid answers to your question of “How do ceramic heaters work?”

We’ve seen how ceramic space heaters work, including their advantages and disadvantages.

We also provided insight into how energy efficient they can be when used during the cold season.

It should be understood that the energy efficiency of ceramic space heaters depends highly on how you use them and how often.

When looking for ceramic heaters, always make sure that they come with energy-saving and safety features to get the most value out of your investment.

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About David Morrison

David is an Air Quality & Comfort Technician. He has expert knowledge on the technology and design of air purification, air conditioning, and heating systems. His main role is to write content that helps people get the most value out of their air purifiers, air conditioners, and heating units. (See Full Bio)