Banish the chill of a winter evening by warming up the room you’re spending the most time in. While insulation, draught exclusion and extra layers of clothing are all important ways to stay cosy during the colder months, efficient portable heaters are invaluable for heating small spaces, such as a single bedroom or a study.
A modern interpretation of the classic ‘electric fire’ design, this variety of heater works by producing infra-red light at high intensity using one or more electrically powered elements. The heater directly warms up the people or objects it is pointed at, and not the air in the room, so it maintains its efficiency in badly insulated or draughty spaces.
By contrast, this type of heater uses an electric element to warm the air passing through it. As warm air rises out of the top of the appliance, it draws cool air into the heater from beneath. This is then warmed and rises out of the heater, and the convection cycle continues. As with radiant heaters, this is a very quiet unit to use.
Oil-fin column heater
Also known as portable radiators, these heaters warm a space using both convection and by radiating warmth from their hot fins. An electric element is used to heat oil inside the fins, which heat air passing over them, as with a convection heater, but also emit infra-red energy in a similar way to radiant heaters.
The simplest version of this design uses a fan to push air over an electric heating element or coil, not unlike an oversized hair dryer. This type of heater is also called a space heater, as it swiftly and effectively distributes warm air to every corner of an enclosed space. It’s noisier than radiant and convection heaters, and is most effective in a well-insulated area.
Technically a type of fan heater, this uses a special ceramic compound that warms up to a stable temperature when electricity is passed through it. A fan is used to propel air over the ceramic elements and into the room, as with a fan heater. Because the ceramic material has self-regulating properties and cannot be warmed above about 200*C, it has a safety advantage over fan heaters that use metal coils. If the fan becomes jammed or blocked, or if its motor fails, the metal elements can overheat to the point of melting and shorting out.