Electric vs. Gas Portable Heaters

Like if this Guide is helpful
Electric vs. Gas Portable Heaters

Central heating may not always be sufficient to heat up a room, or it may be difficult to use economically. Portable room heaters successfully fulfil the task of heating a room, and they are also perfect when heating up only one room at a time, for example, for people who are sensitive to cold or need extra heat for some other reason.

Space heaters either rely on radiant heating or work on convection, air circulation. Other ways to distinguish different space heaters are by their fuel, as they can run on propane, kerosene, electricity, and natural gas. Many stores, as well as online sites, such as eBay, offer them, especially the most common electric and gas heaters.

Electric Portable Heaters

Electric portable heaters work with electricity. Therefore, they need to be plugged in and located close to a power outlet. Wattage and voltage are important features of any electrical device, and so they also play a role in choosing electric heaters.

Electric Heater Wattage

Watts characterise the power of electric heaters. One watt equals one joule of energy per second. The more watts, the more powerful the heater and the larger the room it can heat up. Generally, electric heaters have a wattage value of 1500 watts, but larger rooms, such as garages, require more, 5000 watts or so.

Electric Heater Voltage

Voltage is an important feature of electric heaters, since they draw their power from the power outlet. The voltage needs to match that of the power outlet, as a mismatch can result in a blackout. The voltage can be either 110 or 230 volts.

Electric Heater Technology

There are two main types of heating technologies for electric portable heaters, namely, convection and radiative heating. A convection heater heats the air that comes in contact with it by using thermal conduction. Hot air that is lighter rises up, while colder air falls down, taking its place. The air moves in a cycle until it is warm. These heaters can contain oil, which then acts as a heat reservoir. Convection heaters, compared to radiant heaters, are safer to use and are ideal for enclosed spaces.

Radiative heaters emit infrared radiation, and thus they directly heat objects and people in the room instead of warming up the air as convection heaters do. The heating element is usually in the shape of a large bulb, and is packed into a glass envelope. Using these heaters can be dangerous because of their intensity.

Gas Portable Heaters

Gas heaters differ from electric heaters by their power source, but ventilation is also an important factor to consider when shopping for a portable heater. Gas heaters may vary in terms of technology as well.

Gas Heater Technology

Gas heaters burn fuel, and the flame heats the air locally, then spreading it by convection. The heater contains a refractory material that can withstand high temperatures. Modern gas heaters can also be radiative, warming objects and people around them. They are thus especially useful outdoors, such as on patios or terraces.

Gas Heater Fuel

Gas heaters run either on propane, natural gas, butane, or liquefied petroleum gas. When the fuel runs out, the heater must be refilled.

Gas Heater Ventilation

Two types of gas heaters exist: vented and unvented, depending on whether or not they have built-in ventilation. Portable gas heaters are more likely to be unvented, because adding ventilation would require building them inside the wall. At home, unvented gas heaters may cause dangerous situations, because the combustion products circulate in the air within the home. These products include nitrogen oxides as well as especially harmful carbon monoxide.

Comparison of Electric and Gas Portable Heaters

Electric and gas portable heaters mainly differ in their power sources, as electric heaters work on electricity and gas heaters require some kind of fuel. There are some other differences when it comes to operating each one of these types of heater. Important factors to consider include price, safety, and efficiency.


Generally, electric portable heaters are more expensive to run than gas heaters. The cost of operating them depends on the electricity price, and this can be rather high. Gas, on the other hand, may be more affordable.


Overall, gas heaters are more dangerous because they burn fuel and thus present a risk of fire. The emissions from gas heaters are rather harmful, and in an unvented room, they may pose a health risk if the combustion is incomplete. As electric heaters use electricity to produce heat, no combustion gases are formed during operation.


All of the electricity that goes into an electric portable heater is transformed into heat, so electric heaters do not waste any energy. On the other hand, a gas heater may not fully burn its fuel, and part of it may go to waste. Therefore, electric heaters are generally more efficient.

How to Buy Electric and Gas Portable Heaters on eBay

You can find both types of portable heaters on eBay, by typing the relevant keywords into the search box at the top of any eBay page. Clicking on similar results can help you, and you should also check for deals. Portable heaters basically differ in terms of their power source, be it either electricity or some kind of fuel. Although both can use convective or radiative heating, electric heaters require matching the wattage and voltage, while gas heaters require a certain kind of fuel. Ventilation is an important factor to consider when it comes to gas heaters, as these can produce harmful gases. Efficiency, price, and safety must all be taken into account when choosing a portable heater.

Have something to share, create your own Guide... Write a Guide
Explore more Guides