Affordable portable heaters for the home include convection-style heaters, fan-style heaters, and radiant heaters. Most are electric-powered although some use LPG or other petroleum-based fuels. Heaters described as "oil heaters" are usually oil-filled for even heating but electrically powered. The right kind of heater to purchase depends on the size of the room, how well insulated it is, whether there are many windows, how the room is used, and whether noise and safety are concerns. With so many kinds of affordable portable heaters available, selecting the right heater for any room is easy.
Three main varieties of portable heaters fit the affordable section of the market: portable convection heaters; portable fan-style heaters; and portable radiant heaters.
These warm the air nearest the heater. Natural air currents circulate the warmed air around the room and then back to be re-warmed. They provide a base level of warmth in a room. Convection heaters include theoil-filled column heater,oil-filled radiators,ceramic heaters, electric "fireplaces", and box heaters with a grille at the top. Convection heaters with fans warm rooms faster and more evenly, according to Consumer magazine. Convection heaters are generally quiet, but those with fans may be more noisy.
Fan-style heaters throw warm air directly at people in front of them. They are relatively noisy and provide heat to a limited section of the room. They warm that section of the room very rapidly, however, making them terrific for a quick warm-up after being outdoors.
Radiant heaters warm electrical elements which radiate warmth to the surrounding air. Heaters that use "infrared technology" are radiant heaters. These electric heaters quickly warm the immediate area and provide some convection heat. Radiant heaters are quiet but only heat a limited area.
The most popular indoor portable heaters are fueled with electricity. Petroleum-fueled models are for well-ventilated areas. They are especially suited to garages, sheds, workshops, and other drafty outbuildings.
Projecting the area a heater can warm is not as easy as a person might think. A room with more windows requires more heat than a room with fewer windows, unless the many windows have very heavy draperies.
Consumer magazine offers a rough guide to calculating the size of heater required for a given room. Begin by calculating the room size in cubic metres, by multiplying length by width by height. The minimum heater size required is 44 watts per cubic metre. So if a bedroom is 3 m by 4 m by 2.5 m high, its volume is 30 cu m and the base requirement is 44 watts times 30 or 1,320 watts. Additional considerations are based on various room features.
For rooms with large or many windows, multiply the watts required by 1.1. If there is inadequate or no insulation, multiply by 1.1 or 1.2 instead. Commonly used rooms such as a lounge or bedroom may require multiplying by as much as 1.5, while other areas may only require a multiplication of 0.8 to be sufficiently heated.
If the bedroom described has few windows but limited insulation, then the initial calculation of 1,320 watts must be multiplied by 1.1 for inadequate insulation and by 1.2 because the room is a bedroom. This yields a heater size of 1,742 watts.
But even when all conditions are equal, the design of different heaters make for variations in heating effectiveness. Some of the variation is related to whether a heater uses fans to blow heat, what kinds of technology convert electricity to heat; and whether the unit is an energy efficient portable heater.
Australian authorities regulate portable heaters to make sure they are safe overall. Still, some safety concerns are specific to certain environments.
Some portable heaters are more likely to tip, making them less appropriate in homes with small children or unsteady older adults. Generally, the safest designs in these settings are most compact, with a low centre of gravity. Look for models with safety switches that automatically turn the heater off if tipped.
Most heaters can burn skin if they are in contact with the body for a sustained period. Heaters filled with oil have the lowest surface temperatures and the lowest risk of burns from surface contact.
Some portable heaters use gases for fuel that require adequate exhaust ventilation. These are typically used in outbuildings, on construction sites, or in similar settings but not inside well-insulated homes where exhaust fumes could built up to toxic levels. Never use gas heaters in closed rooms or in rooms where someone is sleeping. Be sure ventilation is adequate.
Once you've decided to buy a portable heater and what kind you prefer, there are many portable room heaters for sale on eBay. Many sellers offer oil-filled portable heaters for pickup only because of shipping regulations about flammables. If you have chosen this kind of heater, you may wish to Sort by "Distance, Nearest First" to find the heaters that are closest to your location. If you find yourself with questions about the heater, such as how many kW it requires or BTU it provides, turn to the product page and use the Q and A tab to "Ask a question" of the Seller. You can be sure of getting great service by looking for Top-Rated Sellers, who have a proven history of providing good service to many customers. The affordable portable heater you need is only a few clicks away on eBay.