4 Different Types of Space Heaters (with Pictures)

Last Updated on December 11, 2021

4 types of space heaters

A space heater can make all the difference during the harsh winter months. They’re a great tool for the home, the garage, the workshop, the campsite. But there is a catch. Not every space heater is going to be right for you.

There’s a wide market for this product, and every option is a little bit different. If you’re going to be making this investment, you want to make it the right way. Bearing that in mind, we’ll be taking a look at four different space heaters—each one suited for a different type of buyer.

Read on to find out which option is right for you.

The 4 Different Types of Space Heaters:

1. Convection Space Heaters

a convector space heater

The convection heater is what many people think of when they think “space heater.” This tool is valued for its ability to easily heat larger spaces, making it an asset for home or workshop use.

The convection heater is also prized for its low maintenance upkeep. These units use oil to create surface heat, which is then dispersed through the general proximity by the room’s natural airflow.

Some convection heaters will also include a fan for more controlled heat dispersion.

That said, there are some cons with this tool as well. The convection heater will be extremely hot to the touch which means that if you have a child, or even a pet, it may be dangerous to bring into your home.

However, if you’re looking for something that will run silently, and create heat slowly but consistently over time, there’s no beating the convection space heater.

2. Radiant Space Heaters

a radiant space heater

Radiant heaters are a little bit different than convection heaters, but the difference is not necessarily immediately perceptible to the naked eye.

The real difference lies in how the heat dispersed by the unit is used throughout the room. Radiant heaters use photons to generate warmth, which is an energy source that is more easily absorbed by objects and people in the room.

Everything else about the radiant heater is ostensibly the same as its convection counterpart. Hot to the touch. Heat circulated by the airflow of a room.

The devil, in this case, is in the details. Because the warmth of a radiant heater is more easily absorbed by the skin, you might use it to seek relief from arthritic pains.

Radiant heaters also get going a little bit quicker than convection units, which will be handy for people who need heat instantaneously.

3. Micathermic Panel Space Heaters

a micathermic heater

This unit is much like a convection heater in that it is hot to the touch and it will radiate heat throughout the room using natural air circulation.

However, the volume is a little bit smaller, making it a good tool for heating cozier spaces. You might put this in an office rather than a family room.

As an added benefit, many of them are easily mounted on the wall, which frees up space, and mitigates the risk of unintentional contact.

The method of heat dispersion is actually a hybrid. It uses both photons and oil generated heating elements to create heat.

4. Fan Forced Space Heaters

Forced fan space heater

The fan-forced space heater uses pretty simple and straightforward technology similar to that of a hairdryer. You have a heating element, and a fan that disperses its output. Fan forced heaters are usually more basic than the others that we’ve looked at, but they come in all shapes and sizes, and they’re usually more affordable than the other options.

The variation among fan forced heaters is truly enormous. Some units operate via a timer, while others feature a variety of settings, or even a digital control panel.

There is, however, a built-in set of cons. For one thing, fan-forced units are going to be noisier than the other options, which many people may find irritating.

There are other concerns as well. All fans produce allergens which may be a problem for people with health concerns.

Still, the variety of options makes this a good tool for heating small- to moderate-sized spaces.

As always, of course, you’ll need to be mindful of pets and children, as this heater is also hot to the touch.


Which of these space heaters is going to be right for you? All four of these options are great at what they do. It’s all a matter of inventorying your personal needs.

Do you have a large space that needs heating? Consider a radiant or convection heater.

Smaller space? You might make do with a fan-forced or a micathermic option.

The right space heater is a great way to keep yourself nice and cozy this winter. So choose wisely and bundle up.

Here are some other types of heaters we have reviewed:

Header image credit: Your Best Digs, Flickr