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Home > Projects & DIY Toolkit > Buying Guides > Choosing A Heater For Your Home

Choosing A Heater For Your Home

Is efficiency the major determining factor for you when looking for home heating solutions? Is flexibility a concern? Or, maybe you're looking for a good source of emergency heat when the power goes out. No matter what you're looking for, we have a heating solution for every need. Lowe's is happy to provide this information as a service to you.

What to Look for When Purchasing a Heater

  • British thermal units (Btu) measure of how much heat the unit puts out. The Btu rating determines how much space the unit can heat safely and effectively.
  • Variable settings allow you to set the unit's heat output and its energy/fuel consumption. During warmer periods or in smaller spaces you can turn the heater down and conserve energy/fuel while maintaining a comfortable temperature.
  • Built-in blowers and fans or oscillating units distribute heat more evenly over a greater area thus saving energy/fuel and increasing the overall comfort level in the space being heated.
  • Portability is an important feature when you only want to heat or supplement the heat in specific areas. Having the ability to easily move the heater from one place to another allows you to heat only the area you choose when you choose to heat it.
  • Built-in safety features, such as automatic shutoffs, anti-tipping devices and heat guards make heaters much more user-friendly and give you peace of mind.

Always follow the manufacturers instructions for use and placement of all heating devices.

Electric Heaters

Electric heaters are available as portable or permanently affixed units.

Portable Electric Heaters

In portable heating options, you can find anything from small, personal heaters that will fit on a table to large heaters designed to heat entire rooms. Most small electric heaters have a wire resistance coil or a ribbon strip that provides heat when electricity is supplied to the coil or strip. Some of these models have ceramic casings that hold more heat for longer periods than basic models, making them more efficient. Some personal heaters also come with blowers and/or oscillating features that allow them to project heat over a larger area quickly. Small, personal heaters are a good choice for heating specific areas quickly.

Larger heaters, designed to warm entire rooms, may be permanently filled with oil to allow them to hold and radiate heat for long periods. This design allows the heating element to cycle on fewer times and save energy while heating a larger area. These heaters usually take longer to warm up than personal heaters, but they will heat a much larger area and do it more efficiently.

An oil-filled radiant heater is a good choice for heating an entire room.

An oil-filled radiant heater is a good choice for heating an entire room.

Permanent or Fixed Electric Heaters

When you need a more permanent solution, you can choose from baseboard heating elements, wall-mount units or electric fireplaces. Electric baseboard heaters have a resistance coil that works much like a coil in a personal heater. The differences are that the baseboard units are much larger, heat more efficiently and can be wired to a wall-mounted thermostat.

Fan-forced electric heaters are normally small rectangular boxes that mount directly to the wall. The heater has a built-in fan that moves the heated air throughout the room. This design allows these small heaters to quickly and effectively bring an entire room up to a comfortable temperature.

Electric fireplaces come with hearths and mantles that simulate actual wood-burning fireplaces without the expense of adding a brick and mortar fireplace. These heaters combine the convenience of electric heat with the comfort and ambiance of a traditional wood-burning fireplace.

Electric fireplaces simulate traditional wood-burning units.

Electric fireplaces simulate traditional wood-burning units.

Wood Heaters

Wood heaters are available as either traditional wood-burning stoves or as pellet stoves. Traditional wood stoves burn logs from 18" to 22" long to generate heat. Pellet stoves burn specially manufactured hardwood pellets that produce a lot of heat and very little ash.

Some stoves have glass fronts that allow you to enjoy the dancing flames while taking advantage of superior heating. Look for a stove with an ash drawer to make clean up easier and safer.

A glass- fronted stove allows you to enjoy the dancing flames.

A glass-fronted stove allows you to enjoy the dancing flames.

Shop All Heaters

Tools, products, materials, techniques, building codes and local regulations change; therefore, Lowe's assumes no liability for omissions, errors or the outcome of any project. The reader must always exercise reasonable caution, follow current codes and regulations that may apply, and is urged to consult with a licensed professional if in doubt about any procedures. Please visit our terms of use.

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