Last updated: August 9, 2021

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Fan heaters are a sensible alternative for anyone who wants to generate heat in the short term. They come in different sizes and power ratings. Depending on whether you want to use them for private or commercial purposes, you should choose the right fan heater for your needs. Small models are now available for small rooms or for holidays.

Furthermore, you should only use a fan for a short time, as they consume a lot of energy. In the following, we will explain everything you need to know about fan heaters. Especially with regard to safety, you should inform yourself carefully and only buy a device that has a quality seal and protection against overheating.




Summary

  • Fan heaters provide short-term and efficient heating for rooms when a heating system fails or there is no central heating in the building.
  • Fan heaters are not a substitute for heating and should only be used for a short time, as they have a high energy consumption and additionally pollute the environment.
  • Fan heaters are particularly suitable for hobbyists and campers because they are light and therefore easy to transport.

The Best Fan Heater: Our Picks

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying a fan heater

How much does a fan heater cost?

How much does a fan heater cost? There is no general answer to this question, as there are different price ranges depending on the area of application and features. For private use, the prices are relatively affordable and you can get a good quality device for as little as 30 €. Ceramic fan heaters are somewhat more expensive due to the long-lasting heating elements, but the investment is worth it if you want to use the device for a longer period of time. Furthermore, the price depends on the respective heating power.

The larger the room, the higher the wattage of the fan must be. The higher the wattage, the higher the price. If you want to position the fan heater outside, for example on the terrace or balcony, you will unfortunately have to dig a little deeper into your pocket, as they have to heat a relatively large area and therefore have a high heating output. Powerful fan heaters for commercial use, on the other hand, cost at least 200 euros.

Type price range
Fan heater with bare wire approx. 20 - 50 €
Ceramic fan heater approx. 30 - 100 €

How does a fan heater work?

A fan heater draws in the air in the room with the help of a built-in fan and passes it through the heating elements or heating coil. The fan heater then releases the heated air back into the environment.
Many devices contain a thermostat for precise regulation of the room temperature.

The thermostat measures the temperature continuously and when the desired heat level is reached, the heating elements switch off automatically.

In summer, a fan heater works like an air conditioner because you can set a temperature between 0 - 30° degrees depending on the season. Furthermore, some fan heaters have timers, timers and quiet fans that make them more comfortable to use indoors. The housings are usually made of metal or plastic. Fan heaters are suitable for everyone because they do not require complicated handling and can be used immediately. If the heating at home should ever fail, they are a good solution to heat the room.

However, they should only be a short-term replacement, as they are only suitable for smaller rooms and the power consumption is relatively high.

What are the differences between fan heaters?

Conventional fan heaters usually have heating elements made of bare wire. Craftsmen or construction companies use industrial fan heaters specially designed for the building trade, which have a tubular heating element. The industrial fan heater is more robust than conventional fan heaters and offers protection against insects, dust and all other types of foreign bodies.

Another difference is the different energy consumption, as some units have a built-in power-saving mode. Other features include dust filters that remove dust from the room air and the swivel function. Another aspect that should not be neglected is the overheating protection.

We recommend that you find out which fan heater is the right one for your needs, because you need different conditions when camping than in the garage or in the children's room.

Which fan heater for which size?

Now we would like to take a closer look at what power your fan heater should have so that you can use it optimally. Not every fan heater has the same heat output. If you want to set it up indoors, be sure to consider the size of the room. 2000 watts are sufficient for a maximum of 75 square metres. For a room of 35 square metres, 1500 watts is sufficient.

If you like to sit on the terrace in cold temperatures and still don't want to freeze, you should plan for 100 to 150 watts in wind-protected areas and 150 to 200 watts per square metre in open areas.

Overall, it is important that you choose the right ratio between the size of the room and the heat output. In this way, you avoid unnecessary power consumption and also reduce the burden on the environment.

When do I use a fan heater?

In the following, we will discuss the different areas of application for fan heaters. As already mentioned, a fan heater quickly provides warm air and heat. If there are no or too few radiators in a room, you can use a fan heater to generate additional heat.

Another frequently used application is the bathroom. Babies, small children and older people in particular freeze more easily. The cosy warm air that flows out feels pleasant and prevents the ambient temperature from dropping. Since central heating systems are rarely available in basement rooms, you can use a fan heater for selective and short-term heating without having to wait a long time for the right temperature to be reached.

The same applies to garages or other rooms that do not have their own heating system. Hobby gardeners can use a fan heater in the greenhouse when the temperature is below freezing. The fan heater ensures that the plants can survive the frost.

Many campers take advantage of a fan heater to enjoy their holiday even in bad weather. Fan heaters are suitable for motorhomes / caravans, but smaller versions are usually used here. Here we recommend the ceramic fan heaters, as these are more robust. A low output of up to 500 watts is definitely sufficient for camping.

Which is the best fan heater?

If you have read the previous sections thoroughly, you will now realise that there is no one best fan heater. There are some important requirements that should be in place, but it mainly depends on where you want to use it. The most important factor is the power consumption and, of course, the overheating protection, which should be found in almost every device by now.

Especially if you or a family member is allergic to dust, a dust filter is very useful. Because the fans dry out the air and because of the high energy consumption, you should only use the device for a short time. In summary, the ceramic fan heater makes more sense for frequent use because the ceramic elements are of higher quality and last longer.

Decision: What types of fan heaters are there and which one is right for you?

If you want to buy a fan heater, there are two different alternatives you can choose between.

  • Electric fan heaters
  • Ceramic fan heaters

What distinguishes an electric fan heater and what are its advantages and disadvantages? Electric fan heaters offer you a quick and easy way to heat a room when your heating fails. They provide immediate and effective heat and are also quite affordable.

Electric fan heaters are equipped with overheating protection, so they automatically switch off if they get too hot. In addition, almost all devices have a thermostat so that you can set the desired temperature. In closed rooms, another advantage is that the fan heaters do not extract oxygen from the air like other heat generators. A disadvantage is the high energy consumption, so they are not suitable for permanent use. Flammable materials must not be placed near fan heaters.

If you are drying your laundry, you can hang it near, but not on top of the unit.

Advantages
  • Short-term heat generation
  • Inexpensive to buy
  • Mobile use possible
Disadvantages
  • High energy consumption
  • Noise and odour
  • Simple design

What distinguishes a ceramic fan heater and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

Ceramic fan heaters work similarly to other fan heaters, produce hardly any emissions, are very quiet and odourless. Ceramic is also a heavy material, so they stand more firmly and securely than other fan heaters. Radiant heaters that hang on the wall are particularly suitable for allergy sufferers.

They do not stir up dust and do not make any noise at all. All ceramic fan heaters have a high proportion of radiation, which is another advantage for allergy sufferers.

Advantages
  • Suitable for allergy sufferers
  • Attractive design
  • Higher stability
Disadvantages
  • High energy consumption
  • More expensive to buy
  • Ceramic is heavier

The disadvantages are the same as for conventional fan heaters. They should only be used for a short time because they consume a lot of energy. They are slightly more expensive than the other variant and somewhat heavier due to the processing.

Buying and evaluation criteria for fan heaters

Housing finish

Simple and cheap devices usually have a plastic casing, while more expensive and better models have a metal casing. Both variants have their own advantages and disadvantages, which you can familiarise yourself with below.

Type of housing Advantages Disadvantages
Plastic housing - Low price - Small weight - Can melt at high heat output - sometimes unpleasant smell - not robust
Metal enclosures - are very robust - allow higher heat output - expensive price - heavier weight - sometimes need more space

Safety

If you want to install a fan heater, it is important that you place it in a safe place. Otherwise, it may cause a power failure or even a fire. Read the instructions carefully to avoid mistakes.

There must be a sufficient safety distance from curtains, furniture and other flammable materials.

Never place a fan heater under a socket or connect it to a multiple socket with other appliances.

They can get up to 400 degrees and should not be placed on long pile carpets. Never touch a fan heater with wet hands, as this can be dangerous. It is best to use the fan only when someone is in the room and then switch it off again. If you follow these tips, you can buy a fan heater without hesitation.

  • Overheating protection: For fire protection, most fan heaters are equipped with an auto shut-off system in case of overheating. We recommend positioning fan heaters so that they have enough free space and are not too close to easily flammable objects.
  • Splash protection: Splash protection is especially important for fan heaters in damp rooms. If you want to use your fan heater in a laundry room or bathroom, this should be a decisive function for you. In this case, however, we would choose a special infrared fan heater for bathrooms. The great advantage of such devices is that they emit heat only to the body and objects in the bathroom.
  • Tip-over protection: If you or your children or pets should involuntarily tip over the fan heater, the device switches off automatically. It is important to know that fan heaters with an integrated tip-over protection should always be placed on a solid surface, such as laminate, parquet, concrete or linoleum floors.

Performance

There is no such thing as a fan heater with an A+++ energy efficiency rating, because all models have a power consumption that corresponds to their performance

Almost all fan heaters have 1 to 4 programmable heat settings, with power levels from 500 watts to a maximum of 2200 watts. We recommend choosing a model that can guarantee a power development of 1200 watts to 2000 watts.

You don't really need more than that, because in that case electricity costs fly up quickly. We recommend buying a fan heater with adjustable power so that you can adjust the power consumption. Below you will find a clear table with a comparison of the room area and the power required for the fan heater.

Power rating room area
500-800 watts 4-8 m²
800-1200 watts 8-12 m²
1200-1800 watts 12-20 m²
1800-2200 watts 20-25 m²

Heating elements

Generally, a distinction is made between fan heaters with heating coils and ceramic fan heaters. Fan heaters with heating coils

Advantages
  • Inexpensive
Disadvantages
  • High power consumption
  • Unpleasant odour
  • Increased fire hazard

Ceramic fan heater

Advantages
  • Low power consumption
  • No smell
  • Better fire protection
Disadvantages
  • Higher price

Power consumption

Power consumption is an important factor if you want to buy a fan heater. Basically, the consumption is rather high and therefore you should only use it when necessary.

On the highest setting, it consumes an average of 2 kW/h. At an average value of 0.26 € per minute, the costs amount to 0.52 € per hour.The formula for this is: power consumption x electricity price per kilowatt hour x operating time = cost

However, buying a fan heater with a lower power consumption does not mean that it consumes less electricity. It takes a longer time to heat the room. Therefore, these fans are not really more economical.

Facts worth knowing about fan heaters

Where do I set up the fan heater?

Fan heaters only heat the area around the unit and are sufficient for rooms up to 12 sqm. Allotment gardeners take advantage of it for their greenhouses and use it to heat the plants when there is frost in winter. Campers can take their mobile heater with them on holiday.

Many like to use the fan heater in the bathroom in the morning so that they don't freeze as soon as they get up. You should make sure to place it in a safe place. You can find more information on this under the Safety section. In old buildings there is often no central heating.

Some people fire their wood stove every morning. This is not only tedious and time-consuming, but it also takes time to warm up the individual rooms. In such a case, you should consider whether it might make sense to buy a fan heater.

How many watts should a fan heater have?

The devices for domestic use usually have an output of between 500 and 1500 watts. How many watts your fan heater should have depends, among other things, on how large the rooms are that you want to supply with warm air. The higher the wattage, the higher the output. Industrial fan heaters heat with up to 15000 watts or even more.

Campers usually use small fans with 500 watts because they only want to heat their awning or caravan. You can easily place the camping heaters on a table. They are also often used in hobby rooms, garages or cellars. However, the room should not be larger than 10 square metres.

For a large living room of more than 25 square metres, you should definitely use a fan with a higher wattage. We recommend a power of at least 2,500 watts to ensure that the room is sufficiently warm.

Image source: Ronstik/ 123rf.com

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