Space heaters are convenient to have around on cold days and nights. They warm up your space and help you stay comfortable. But this comes at a cost. The answer to the question “Do space heaters use a lot of electricity” is subjective.

Whether or not you will spend a lot of money on keeping your space heater running depends on the type and size of the space heater you buy. Also, the use condition, such as how often you use it and the cost of electricity in your area, will impact how much you’ll spend to keep your space heater running. In this article, we explore the question of whether or not space heaters use a lot of electricity and how to minimize costs on space heater usage.

Do Space Heaters Use A Lot Of Electricity? What's The Truth About It?

How space heater works

Most electric space heaters rely on the principles of electrical resistance. According to this principle, an electrical conductor will become hotter when a current is passed through it. Some units have conductive coils wrapped around a core. The coils heat up when connected to an electrical source. They also have a reflector for transmitting the heat through radiation.  

Other units have a bulb that produces heat in the form of infrared radiation. Units like this typically have a copper exchanger and a fan for distributing the heat produced by the IR bulb. Generally, Infrared heaters are considered eco-friendlier and economical than conventional alternatives.

Do space heaters use a lot of electricity?

No matter the type of electric space heater you buy or how it works, your space heater will surely drive up your energy bill to some extent. But whether or not you’ll use a lot of electricity depends primarily on the wattage of your space heater and how long you run it for. The wattage of your electric space heater is the measure of how much electricity is needed to run it. Most units use 1,500 watts. But it can be more or less depending on the size of your space. The product of the wattage and the number of hours you run your space heater per day will give you how much electricity you need to keep your space heater running.

How to identify a space heater that will save energy when buying one?

Some space heaters are more energy-efficient than others. To choose a unit that will help you save on energy, there are some features to look out for. Some of these energy-saving features include:

  • Programmable thermostat: this automatically shuts down the heater when the room temperature is at an optimal level and powers it up again when the temperature drops too low.
  • Eco-mode: in eco-mode, your space heater will operate at the most appropriate heat level to warm up your home without wasting energy.
  • Programmable timer: this allows you to set your unit to power on and off at a particular time. You can program the heater to come on shortly before you return home from work or shut down after you have fallen asleep.

Tips to saving energy when using a space heater

Although the type of space heater you buy is important, a major factor determining how much you’ll get to save on energy is how you use the unit. Follow these tips to save cost on energy when you’re using a space heater:

  • Make sure your space heater is appropriately sized for your space
  • Only power on your space heater when there are people in the room
  • It would help if you kept your doors and windows shut when your space heater is on
  • Use a timer to regulate when the heater comes on and off
  • Set the thermostat to an optimal temperature to conserve energy


At the end of the day, whether or not space heaters use a lot of electricity will depend on the specific type of unit you buy. But more importantly, pay attention to how you use your heater and try to save costs by following these tips to conserve energy.