Understanding and Optimizing Space Heater Usage

How Many Watts Does A Space Heater Use


As winter sets in, the warmth provided by a space heater becomes a comforting respite, especially in smaller areas of your home. A common question that arises is, “How many watts does a space heater use?” Let’s delve into this inquiry and explore the intricacies of space heaters, from their power consumption to their benefits, drawbacks, and safety measures.

Power Consumption of Space Heaters

Space heaters typically consume around 1500 watts at their highest setting during peak winter conditions. However, they often have lower settings, operating at 750 watts for more moderate heating needs. Understanding the power consumption is essential for estimating the running cost and optimizing energy usage.

How Space Heaters Function

Space heaters are commonly used when the primary central heating system is insufficient, unavailable, or economically impractical. They employ convection or radiant heat mechanisms to warm up specific areas, making them ideal for short-term use or when centralized heating is not viable.

Most electric space heaters are plug-and-play devices, requiring simple setup. Following the instructions on the packaging ensures safe and effective usage.

Running Costs of Space Heaters

Estimating the cost of running a space heater involves considering the power consumption and the duration of use. A 1500-watt space heater typically costs around $0.20 per hour to operate. For instance, running it for 10 hours a day would result in an estimated daily electricity cost of $2.00. Preferences for low-heat settings, at 750 watts, can reduce the cost by half.

Pros and Cons of Using Space Heaters


1. Cost-Effective:

Space heaters are generally more affordable than other heating options.

2. Energy Efficiency:

They consume less energy than central heating systems, leading to lower utility bills.

3. Targeted Heating:

Effective at heating specific areas and are often compact and portable.

4. Ease of Use:

Modern space heaters are user-friendly and operate seamlessly.


1. Safety Concerns:

There is a risk of overheating and fire hazards if not monitored closely.

2. Limited Coverage:

Space heaters can only warm a small area, making them unsuitable for larger spaces.

3. Burn Risks:

If placed too close, there is a potential for burns.

4. Constant Monitoring:

Older models may require continuous supervision to prevent fire hazards.

Types of Space Heaters

Understanding the different types of space heaters helps in choosing the most suitable model for your needs:

1. Ceramic Space Heater:

Generates heat with ceramic plates connected to metal coils, heating up quickly.

2. Fan Space Heater:

Uses a fan to blow heat into the room, providing a cost-effective and portable option.

3. Infrared Space Heater:

Emits electromagnetic waves to heat objects in the room rather than the air.

4. Oil-Filled Space Heater:

Utilizes oil as a heat reservoir, providing consistent warmth even when turned off.

5. Panel Space Heater:

Emits hot air and comes in wall-mounted or floor-standing models, combining modern design with functionality.

Space Heaters vs. Central Heating Systems

While central heating systems are more efficient for larger spaces, space heaters serve as a cost-effective alternative, especially when central heating is unavailable or expensive to operate. Space heaters are energy-efficient and can be strategically used to reduce electricity costs per square foot compared to central heating.

Recommendations for Purchasing Space Heaters

When considering the purchase of a space heater, follow these guidelines for safety and efficiency:

1. Safety Features:

Opt for newer models with enhanced safety features and check for the Underwriters Laboratory (UL) label.

2. Thermostat-Controlled Heating:

Choose models with thermostat controls to prevent energy waste caused by overheating.

3. Appropriate Size:

Select a heater of the right size for the space you intend to heat.

4. Placement:

Position the heater horizontally on a stable surface, away from flammable substances.

Most Effective Space Heaters

Here are five recommended space heaters based on functionality and design:

1. Lasko FH500:

Tower design with optimal airflow and a small footprint.

2. VMH500:

Emits a constant heat stream with Vornado’s signature eddy heat circulation.

3. DR-998 Dr. Infrared Heater:

Portable infrared space heater with dual heating technology.

4. Amazon Basics Miniature Space Heater:

Personal small space heater suitable for tabletop or desk placement.

5. Honeywell 360° Encircling Heater:

360-degree portable heater ideal for small to medium-sized spaces.

Space Heater Safety Tips

To mitigate potential risks, adhere to these safety tips when using space heaters:

1. Certifications:

Check for safety certifications on the heater.

2. Safety Features:

Verify the presence of safety features in the heater.

3. Avoid Extension Cords:

Refrain from using extension cords or power strips.

4. Secure Placement:

Position the heater in a secure location, away from children and pets.

5. Horizontal Surface:

Place the heater on a stable, horizontal surface.

6. Monitoring:

Turn off the heater if not monitored closely.

7. Regular Inspection:

Conduct regular inspections of your heating system.

8. Keep Clear:

Maintain a clearance of at least 3 feet from flammable materials.

9. Functional Detectors:

Ensure operational smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.

10. Observe for Issues:

Watch for indicators of potential problems.

Final Thoughts

Space heaters offer an excellent solution, particularly when central heating systems face issues. With power consumption ranging from 750 to 1500 watts, their efficiency is most notable in smaller areas. However, vigilance is crucial to prevent safety hazards, as these heaters can pose risks if not used and monitored carefully.


1. Can a 2000-watt generator run an electric space heater?

A 2000-watt generator can power various small household appliances, including a 500-watt portable light source.

2. What is the running cost of a 1500-watt heater for one day?

The running cost of a 1500-watt heater for 24 hours is approximately $4.80.

3. Do 1500 watts consume a great deal of energy?

The energy consumption of a 1500-watt space heater is reasonable compared to many household items using as much or more energy.

4. How much will it cost to run a 1500-watt heater for a month?

Running a 1500-watt heater for a month, at 5 hours per day, would cost around $22.25.

5. Can I use my space heater throughout the night?

It is not recommended to run a space heater overnight, as even modern heaters can pose fire hazards if not monitored closely. Turning it off during sleep hours is a safer practice.

Disclosure: We may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.


About the author


I am Ben , a seasoned HVAC specialist with over 6 of experience in the HVAC industry. I holds HVAC Certification and has a proven track record in providing expert advice on HVAC systems.