Home Space Heaters Is It Cheaper To Run A Space Heater Or Furnace?

Is It Cheaper To Run A Space Heater Or Furnace?

The argument about whether to use a space heater or a central heating furnace is not a new one. Many homeowners often wonder which of these two will be cheaper to run to save cost. Both types of heating systems are effective and have become even better over the years. But is it more affordable to run a space heater or furnace? 

The answer to this question is not an entirely straightforward one. The answer depends on several factors, including where you live and your home heating needs. Read on to find out if it is cheaper to use central heating or just get a portable space heater.

Is It Cheaper To Run A Space Heater Or Furnace: Which Is More Cheap To Run

Space heater vs. Furnace, which is more effective

A furnace-powered central heater is a part of your general HVAC system. It can be used to heat up your entire home or a room in your home, depending on how it is designed. On the other hand, a space heater is a mobile and portable unit used for heating localized areas. Both of these options are effective depending on your heating needs. Generally, while a furnace is effective for heating up your entire home, you can take a space heater with you anywhere, and it is effective for spot heating. However, a space heater may also be used for whole-room heating in small spaces like hostel dorms or small apartments.

Space heater vs. furnace, which is cheaper to run

The consensus is that using a furnace to heat your home is more energy-efficient than running a space heater for the same amount of space. According to estimates from the Energy Department, warming your entire home with an electric space heater will cost you up to 43% more than using a gas-powered furnace.

By some calculations, the cost of running a space heater at 100% efficiency is about $58 per million BTUs of heat produced. But it’ll only cost about $12.2 per million BTUs to use a furnace in the same location. This further confirms the assertion that using a furnace is cheaper when comparing spaces of the same size.

But which should you go for?  

Although using a furnace is a generally more efficient way to heat your home, there are instances where using a space heater is better. Which of these two options to go for depends on the area of your home you intend to heat. If you only need to heat a room or two, a space heater would be more efficient. However, you’ll need several space heaters for an entire home heating to achieve the same result as a central heating system. In this case, a furnace will be an ideal choice.


So is it cheaper to run a space heater or furnace? In general, a modern furnace system is typically more energy efficient than a space heater. But there are special situations where using a space heater will save you more cost. If you need something to heat a single room or even a corner of your room like your bed area or work desk, then you’ll find a space heater more efficient. Otherwise, whole-house heating with a furnace would be better.