How much electricity does a space heater useAs the colder temperatures are settling in, you’re probably wondering how to warm your house up best.

While a blanket, slippers, and a cup of hot cocoa sound nice, they may not be enough for you to survive through the autumn and winter seasons.

One of the most common ideas on how to deal with the cold is to use a space heater.

It’s a very useful device since it doesn’t need an entire heating installation to work.

But how much electricity does a space heater use?

And how much energy does a space heater use to keep you warm and comfortable?

Those are the exact topics you’ll discover on this page.

The overall cost may be dependent on multiple factors (such as the size, power consumption, shape, or output), so it’s worth learning more about these devices.

Generally, heaters can be powered by fuel oil, natural gas, pellets, propane, and electricity.

However, only the last option (electricity) does not need a permanent exhaust, which makes it the best choice for a home—in this way, it’s portable and can be moved from one room to another depending on the current needs.

Nevertheless, keep in mind that if you decide to get yourself an electric space heater, it will affect your electricity bill to some point but hopefully for the better.

So if you’re wondering,  “Do space heaters use a lot of electricity?”, then keep reading.

This page has the answers you’re looking for.

How Do Space Heaters Work?

It happens that a space heater produces heat from electricity on the basis of electrical resistance.

Apart from that, there are devices that heat up every time a current is passed through them.

Typically, a less expensive space heater contains one or two coils wrapped around a core made of ceramic and a reflector radiating the heat that the coils generate. 

On the other hand, there are also more advanced devices with bulbs emitting infrared radiation.

Normally, they have a copper heat exchanger able to receive the radiation.

In this case, the heat generated by the copper is blown out into the room with a fan.

Some experts say that it’s more economical to run a space heater with an infrared bulb than the conventional coil models because the infrared units heat up objects in the room as opposed to the air.

Warming up objects produces longer-lasting heat than the air. In fact, the air is a poor conductor of heat because its molecules are not in continuous contact with one like is the case in solid objects.

However, there are still good electric heaters of all kinds that use very little electricity.

Check out our guides on the best ceramic space heaters and best infrared heaters to find out more about how each unit works.

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How to Count the Energy That Electric Space Heaters Use

How much energy does a space heater useIf you want to find out how much electricity a space heater uses (and what might be the cost to run it per day or per month), you need to do some simple calculations.

First, you need to check what the wattage is. Such information is usually placed in the owner’s manual or even on a space heater itself.

The wattage of a space heater allows you to know how much energy needs to be used to power it.

In most cases, a relatively small electric space heater requires 1,500 watts (1.5 kilowatts), but there are also models that use a bit more or a bit less.

As an example calculation for how much energy does a space heater use, we’ll assume you’re using the average 1,500-watt heater.

Typically, an electric bill is presented in kilowatt-hours (kWh), and this value shows how much electricity is utilized to use a 1-kilowatt device for an hour.

Using the formula presented below, you can find out what is the cost to run a 1,500-watt or 1.5-kilowatt space heater.The first step is to multiply the wattage for your heater by the number of hours you intend to be using it.

For instance, let’s assume you have invited some guests to your home, and you want to make sure they’ll not feel any unpleasant cold.

For this reason, you have decided to have the space heater running in your living room for 6 hours.

1,500 watts x 6 hours = 9,000 watts

Next, you need to divide this number by 1,000.

9,000 watts / 1,000 = 9

Then, this number should be multiplied by the rate applied by your utility to charge for power use.

(If you’re using solar energy, you can skip the last part, as you generate electricity by yourself with solar panels, and you do not cover such costs. Nonetheless, thanks to the calculations above, you’ll know how much energy will be necessary to use your heater, depending on the number of running hours per day.)

In this example, let’s assume the utility company sets the electricity cost at $0.13 per kWh. Then, the final calculation will look like this:

9 x 0.13 = 1.17

And that’s it. Now you know how much energy does a space heater use.

Using a space heater for 6 hours per day may cost you around $1.17.

And for anyone asking, “Do space heaters use a lot of electricity?”, you also know that the amount of electricity these units use is dependent upon your use of the device.

They can use a little or a lot based on how many hours you run the space heater per day.

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Can Space Heaters Help to Save Money?

Using an electric heater can save money if you do it the right way.

This is true whether you live in an apartment or a house and we have an entire article on the topic: do space heaters save money.

Space heaters have been created to warm up a single room at your residence or even just a selected area for a few hours a day—it’s supposed to supplement the central heating system.

In this case, it’s undoubtedly cheaper to use an electric heater in your home.

On the other hand, if you have your central heating system running at the same time, it’s normal that a space heater uses additional power, making the electricity cost higher.

What is more, if you want to warm up a big area, such a device will not be as effective as your central heating system.

An electric space heater is designed for portable use, so you can place it in the spot you’re planning to be at for a particular time and have it running instead of the central system.

In this way, you’ll not double the power use and, therefore, the cost.

Bear in mind that you do not have to buy an average model that uses 1,500 watts—take into consideration its size.

A small, economical space heater uses 30 percent less electric power because it only needs as little as 400-500 watts.

It’s an excellent option for people who want to save a few more cents per month.

Some of the best oil filled space heaters are small in size and use low wattage for the most savings.

What are the Benefits of Using an Electric Heater?

An electric heater combines a few significant advantages that may convince you to purchase it.

They are as follows:

  • Mobility: A space heater has been designed as a portable appliance. Its whole point is that you can move it from one place to another without too much effort. It’s a really convenient solution at this rate!
  • Versatility: Whenever you need more heat, you can have it thanks to an electric heater. If there is a spot at your home or office that needs to be warmed more intensely for a certain time at an affordable cost, it’s undoubtedly a great idea to use this appliance.
  • Low cost per hour: If you just need to heat a small area, it’s more reasonable to use a space heater than the whole central system, to have a lower heating cost per hour.
  • Economical: A space heater uses less energy than the whole central system if you just intend to heat a chosen room. For this reason, electric heaters can be considered as an environment-friendly solution.

Summary of How Much Electricity and Energy Space Heaters Use

Some people are afraid to get a space heater because they have heard it consumes too much electricity.

However, it’s worth checking how much it costs per kilowatt-hour when you just heat a selected room, not the whole house, and not 24 hours a day.

As you learned, you can do that with simple calculations, requiring only the number of kWh your heater needs, the time you plan to use it, and your energy cost rate.

Moreover, keep in mind that you do not have to buy an advanced infrared heater.

If you choose one of a smaller size and reduced wattage (like 400 or 500 watts), it will also provide you with some warmth, but its cost per hour will be lower, and you’ll be able to save up some cents.

The fact of how much electricity does a space heater use is not the only reason why it’s worth buying.

Apart from saving energy, space heaters are also very convenient to use, as they can be used in various places.

They can always be easily moved to another place, where you need it the most at a particular moment.

There are many heaters at the present market to select from and if you find it hard to choose the best one for yourself, then we can help.

A good place to start is our page on the most energy efficient space heaters. It offers the top choices for keeping any room warm on a budget.

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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)