You have more choices than the ones we listed on our site but they are not all as easy to install or use. Common space heater options are:

  • Ceramic heater
  • Column oil heater
  • Fan heater
  • Quartz heater
  • Convection heater

All of these technologies are small portable electric heaters so they will all generally use the same amount of power to provide the same amount of heat. Their differences are in how they go about doing it.

Small heaters, especially ones with fans, get very hot so they have the risk of igniting fires if they get tipped over or something combustible (dust bunnies) get sucked into them. They are small, cheap, very portable and the exhaust from a fan unit (like an over-sized hair dryer) can be focused in a particular area for more comfort. Some can be a little loud.

Larger units like the oil heater don’t get as hot on the surface so they won’t start a fire even if curtains brush up against them. They are safer for unattended operation and almost completely silent. They work better for heating the entire room rather than a tiny little spot like your feet under a desk. The room should have a ceiling fan to mix the air as the hot air will tend to collect at the ceiling and cold air at the floor.

Radiant heaters like the quartz are line of sight things so they only really heat up whatever is in view of them. That means you’ll get warm on the side facing them and can remain cold on the side away from them. These have the advantage that they do put out radiant heat which is useful if you cant afford to heat the air up in the room. But you don’t want to move around too much.

That said, there are other alternatives. One method might be to look into a solar heater. They can be made easily out of common materials available at almost any building supply store. There are many examples and plans available on the net and you can build one to insert into a window opening so it would not require permanent installation.

You can substitute less expensive materials, like plastic greenhouse film in place of glass, with the understanding that they may only last a few years in service.

The other alternatives basically boil down to burning something, gas, wood, pellets, corn, oil, coal, charcoal and the like. These would be much less portable and would likely need semi-professional installation. Since you already have gas service to the building adding another gas space heater would likely be your cheapest alternative.

Your best choice is the oil filled heater that looks like a steam radiator. These devices are thermostatically controlled, and do not get hot enough to burn paper or clothing, but instead rely on a lower heat and a larger surface area. They would also help keep the ongoing bills down!

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