What to Buy? Gas Heater Vs Electric Heater

When summer turns to fall and fall turns to winter, we all know that it gets a bit chillier than usual. The leaves change colors; the sun sets earlier, and the temperatures drop. And when your cold weather clothes just aren’t enough, do you have what you need to keep warm wherever you may be?

Whether you’re cozied up on the couch at home, putting in time at the office, working in your garage, or sleeping comfortably in your bed, investing in a portable space heater can warm things up so you’re even more comfortable during the cooler months. And who doesn’t want that?

Using space heaters to generate supplemental warmth is not only comforting; it’s also a smart decision as a consumer! An energy efficient space heater lets you lower the heat setting indoors, which is good for the environment, and for your wallet.

Space Heater Efficiency

Buying a space heater that’s energy efficient is an option that’s worth considering. There are many types of heaters out there sold by many different manufacturers via multiple websites. Before making a purchasing decision, it’s important to remember that your ultimate goal is to invest in one of the safe space heaters on the market while getting the most for your money. You want to be warm; you want to be safe, and you want to be satisfied with your purchase.

That’s why One Hour Heat and Air created this space heater buying guide to help you make the most informed decision possible.

In this in-depth guide, we’ll take a close look at the various space heaters on the market. We’ll examine how this portable warming technology works, so you’re an empowered consumer. Our goal is to help you bring home the best portable heater based on your individual needs and budget.

Let’s start by taking a look at the kinds of space heaters you have to choose from when you’re shopping around. It comes down to two different types: gas vs. electric.

Portable Heaters Buying Guide – Electrical vs. Gas Heaters

Here are a few points to remember about portable electric heaters:

  • Electric heaters are ideal for indoor use; they typically use approximately 1,500 watts and convert electrical energy into heat.
  • These types of space heaters provide focused warmth, without heating an entire room.
  • They’re broken down into types – convection vs. radiant.

Portable Convection Space Heaters


Image courtesy of Lowes

When you’re deciding between an electric convection heater and a radiant electric heater, keep this in mind: Convection heaters are designed to warm the air in a particular space. They pull in outside air through an internal fan, blow this air across the heating element inside the heater and then expel warmer air that then circulates.

It’s best to use these portable convection space heaters in small, enclosed rooms that feel cold or drafty and have doors and windows that remain closed.

Price Range: $30 to $200

Pros of Using Portable Convection Space Heaters

  • They’re energy efficient – they’ll deliver a lower heating bill since they heat only select areas where warmth is needed, which is also better for the environment.
  • Since these heaters use a permanently sealed transfer liquid (like oil) and electrical heating, there’s no need for refills.
  • Some models come with fans that help circulate the air in the room, which distributes even more heat in a concentrated area.
  • The part of the heater that is hot is covered, so you don’t have to worry about getting burned if you touch it.

Cons of Using Portable Convection Space Heaters

  • If there are objects in the room positioned near or above the portable convection heater, the air flow will be blocked, and the room won’t heat up as quickly.
  • These types of heaters use fans, so if the fan stops working for any reason, the heater can overheat, which can also melt any plastic if your model contains this material.
  • If any cold air draft enters the room through a door or window that’s opened and is picked up by the heater, this cold air will be heated and recirculated, but it will definitely take longer to heat up the room as a result.

Portable Radiant Space Heaters

Radiant heaters are slightly different than portable convection heaters in that they’re designed to warm objects and people more directly, versus an entire room. They’re great for warming up when you feel a draft and can’t or don’t want to adjust the central air conditioning thermostat.

Using this type of portable heater mirrors the experience you have sitting around a campfire – radiant heaters radiate heat via infrared rays to nearby objects and people to keep them warm.


Image courtesy of Amazon

Price Range: $20 to $70


It’s best to use radiant heaters when one or two people need to warm up for a shorter period through direct exposure to the heat it emits.

Pros of Using Portable Radiant Space Heaters

  • You can quickly warm up if you’re feeling chilly, as heat is very focused and directed.
  • They’re great for just a few hours if you’re looking for a short term supply of heat.
  • If you need a quiet heater, this is your best bet, as they’re virtually silent while operating.
  • You’ll enjoy lower energy costs with these types of space heaters as well.

Cons of Using Portable Radiant Space Heaters

  • Their heat disappears quickly once you turn them off.
  • If you touch certain models, you can potentially burn yourself – so be careful!

What’s the Deal with Gas Space Heaters?

Here are a few key things to note about portable gas heaters:

  • Gas heaters are best for using in the garage or in large outdoor spaces that are well-ventilated.
  • These types of heaters come in two forms – vented (for indoor use) and unvented (for outdoor use only). It’s essential for health that unvented gas heaters are not used indoors, as they can reduce the amount of oxygen in the room and can emit harmful gasses in an enclosed space.
  • They use two types of gas: propane vs. natural gas.

Propane Gas Space Heaters

Propane gas space heaters are ideal for outdoor use.

Lowes 2

Image courtesy of Lowes

If you use a propane gas heater, some models feature an ignition that require electricity to get them started, while others will start simply with the help of a lit match. If you’re heating a large area, consider investing in a large propane heater that contains a fan so heat can be dispersed.

Pros of Using Propane Gas Space Heaters

  • Propane space heaters are energy efficient.
  • If there’s any leak, you’ll notice right away due to propane’s strong odor.
  • They provide consistent heating that limits temperature fluctuations.

Cons of Using Propane Gas Heaters

  • These types of space heaters are not safe to use indoors.
  • They can deplete the amount of oxygen in the air, so if you go camping, never use them in a tent either.

Price Range: $40 to $500

Natural Gas Space Heaters

Natural gas space heaters are usually compact in size and provide heat in smaller area – and the difference is that they require a gas hookup to function. This can be disconnected when you’re not using the space heater.

natural gas

Pros of Using Natural Gas Space Heaters

  • You’ll feel instantaneous warmth being emitted from this type of space heater – no waiting!
  • Some have thermostats and timers built in that you can program based on your desired temperature.
  • If your home experienced an unexpected power outage, these types of space heaters can often operate without electricity.

Cons of Using Natural Gas Space Heaters

  • If there’s a leak in your natural gas space heater, it’s impossible to detect unless some odorant has been added to the gas.
  • If inhaled, natural gas is highly toxic.

Price Range: $150 to $400

How Much Do the Best Space Heaters Cost?

Now that we’ve reviewed the difference between electric and gas space heaters, as well as pros and cons the various kinds, let’s take a look at what you can expect in terms of pricing.

The best space heaters will cost you anywhere from $29 up to $400 for the top of the line models. Depending on the size and type of heater, the cost will vary. Be sure to shop around to make sure you get the best deal!

A Few Tips on Why the Best Electric Heaters May be Better than Gas Heaters

When it comes to electric vs. propane heat, here are some things to consider:

  • When looking at electric space heaters, keep in mind that they’re typically more expensive to run; however, gas heaters will cost more to purchase up front.
  • Electric heaters can be used in enclosed areas, whereas gas heaters should only be used outdoors.
  • Gas heaters are typically noisier than electric heaters.
  • Electric heaters are the safest option on the market for portable space heaters.

The best portable heater is the model that fits your individual needs and your individual budget, so choose what’s right for you. You have to think about how often you’ll use the heater, where you’ll use the heater and how much you want to invest based on those factors.

The space heater that’s best for someone who loves going camping will be different than the space heater for someone who wants to warm up in a drafty office building. And the best space heater for your garage is different than the best space heater for the coldest room in your basement.

When you do make a decision, it’s extremely important to keep safety at the top of mind. Be sure to read the safety instructions for the heater you purchase and always use it responsibly in the areas the manufacturer advises.

With many different types of heaters to choose from, we hope this space heater buying guide has been helpful to you!