Space Heater Pricing
Many factors play a role in the ultimate price of a space heater. These factors include the price of the heater itself, operating costs, matching the size of the heater to the area you want to heat, and safety considerations. Space heaters can be electric or powered by a fuel such as kerosene or propane.
Types of Space Heaters and Cost
Sealed combustion (gas) heaters are more efficient to operate than non-sealed heaters; the sealed version uses outdoor air, while the non-sealed heater uses the room air. Non-sealed combustion space heaters are less expensive in price, but more expensive to operate.
A spokesperson from Bionaire, a heater manufacturer, says an oil-filled heater in their line costs less to produce than a particular ceramic heater, even thought the oil-filled heater is larger. And though it costs less, the oil-filled heater can heat more space than the ceramic heater. Customers must look at all the features of the heater, as cost does not necessarily determine the best heater for the particular area.
Electric space heaters are another choice that is widely available for purchase, and the most common of the space heaters. The spokesperson from Bionaire says that electric heaters are cheaper to produce than gas heaters due to simplicity in design; therefore, electric space heaters are usually cheaper. Consumers may want to compare fuel costs with electricity rates in their area. The manufacturer believes that the costs of electricity and fuel usually equal one another.
A search of gas space heaters turns up an array of prices, ranging from $125 to more than $1000. The more expensive units heat a larger area in your home. Electric heaters vary in price from less than $10 to $400. The price variations occur due to the size of the heaters and the features included. Most electric space heaters seem to work in the same manner when it comes to heating a defined space.
Underwriters Laboratories (UL) Consumer Safety Director John Drengenberg recommends that homeowners be especially cautious about buying inexpensive space heaters, as they may not contain all the safety features of an independently-tested space heater. Consumers can look for the UL tag on all space heaters to make sure basic safety regulations are met.
From online customer reviews and from the Good Housekeeping Research Institute (GHRI), consumers can look for the features they desire in an acceptable price range. Price does not seem to necessarily affect quality in electric space heaters. GHRI rated an electric space heater as a best value at $40. Buyers can look for particularly handy features such as remote controls, digital thermostats, and cool-touch handles. Such added features may increase the price somewhat, but may ultimately cause the customer to be more pleased with his or her purchase.
Electric Space Heater Operating Costs
Operating costs for an electric space heater depend on the size of the room being heated and how long the heater is run. By multiplying the kilowatts of the heater by the time and by the local kilowatt rate, a consumer can determine the cost of operating the space heater. A 1200 kilowatt heater (1200w/1000) at a local rate of $.15 for 5 hours of operation would cost $ .90. Customers can get in touch with their utility company to learn their kilowatt rate and calculate usage based on the unit they own.