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When the cold weather comes, we pull out the blankets, socks, and sweaters. But what if we didn’t have to? Space heaters have made it easier to be comfortable and warm in your home even when it’s twenty below outside. But to reap the benefits of these miracle appliances, you need to buy the ideal model and size for your space. But this can be concerning when thinking about your electric bill and you need to know how many watts to run a space heater you need.

Well, we’re here to answer all your questions about space heater wattage and size and so much more. Keep reading to become an expert on space heaters!

Short Answer

The short answer is 1,500 watts.

This is the most common size for space heaters, but there is a range of different sizes to choose from. We will discuss the other size options, both big and small, so you have a better idea of what wattage your space heater will use.

How Do Space Heaters Work?

There are one of three ways that space heaters can heat your space to make it more comfortable for you and your family.

Space heaters that use the convection heating method work by pulling air into the unit and running it over a warm plate. When the air passes over the heating plate, it picks up heat molecules it then pushes out into your space to raise the temperature. Convection heaters are very effective but because they have a hot plate, they pose potential hazards. They also can take a while to warm up the room because the hot plate needs to heat up first. This is also sometimes called Joule heating.

Heaters that use infrared technology use radiation to send heat directly toward objects. So these aren’t designed to heat an entire space but instead direct heat to objects or bodies directly in its path. These are ideal for offices or garages where people are either sitting right next to the heater or walking past it often. These are the safest kinds of heaters because there is no hot element you can burn yourself on.

And the final method space heaters can use is gas to heat a space. These are combustion-style heaters and use flammable fuel such as kerosene, propane, or natural gas to heat a space. Because these are flammable elements, these kinds of heaters are the least used and pose the most threat of fire or injury.

Space Heater Sizing

A general rule of thumb is for every 10 watts the heater can warm 1 square foot.

If you are looking for a space heater, the best way to go about it is to determine the square footage of the space you want to heat.

The following is a short guide to what size space heaters will work in what size rooms.

  • 500 watts – 50 square feet
  • 1,000 watts – 100 square feet
  • 2,000 watts – 200 square feet

Types of Space Heaters

A list of the most common space heaters used in the US:

  • Oil-filled space heaters
  • Infrared space heaters
  • Fan space heaters
  • Electric space heaters
  • Ceramic space heater
  • Propane space heaters
  • Panel space heaters

Who Should Get a Space Heater?

People that feel like they are constantly hoarding blankets and putting on layers in the winter, even in their home with the heat on, may find space heaters to be a blessing.

Many people like to use space heaters in their bathroom, so they don’t have to be cold when they get out of the shower or in their bedrooms to get a toasty night’s sleep. If you have an unheated garage that you or someone else spends a lot of time in, this is a great space to implement a space heater and make it more comfortable.

Another use for space heaters is for those adventurous folks that love to go camping. Using a generator, you can run your space heater outside and stay warm whether you got a campfire going or not.

Bottom Line

How many watts to run a space heater
Image Source: Shutterstock

If you have a chilly home and hope to warm it up with a handy space heater, this guide should help you decide what the best unit is for you.

If you’ve been wearing those fuzzy socks and your blanket hoodie around the house from September to March, it might be time to invest in an appliance that would make you and your home more comfortable in the winter months.

Space heaters are known to use a lot of energy and electricity, but now you should have an idea about the wattage of the average heater and how much space they can affect.

We hope you find the perfect space heater for your home so you can enjoy your space without shivering.


What’s the most common size space heater?

The most common-sized space heater is 1500 watts and can warm a space between 100 and 200 square feet. This is considered a small-sized space heater but is the most commonly used because they effectively heat compact spaces without using an excessive amount of electricity.

Are space heaters expensive to buy?

Space heaters can range from small $15 units to $250 units. It completely depends on the brand and size of the space heater. You can really spend whatever you want to spend on a space heater, but you may have to sacrifice some quality and effectiveness.

Are space heaters expensive to run?

Space heaters can cost anywhere between $20 and $150 a month. Once again, it depends on the size and quality of the space heater. Some brands will be more expensive because they use high-quality materials and patent designs.