Electric Baseboard Heaters Vs. Space Heaters: Which Is Best?

The cold weather is here, and many homeowners are in the market for a supplemental heating source to go with their main heating system. Today, KB Electric LLC will talk about electric baseboard heaters vs. space heaters so you can make the best choice when it comes to supplemental heating for your home.


electric baseboard heaters vs space heaters


What is Supplemental Heating?

Let’s first define supplemental heat.

A supplemental heating source is exactly how it sounds: it’s another other type of heating system that can be used in conjunction with your main central furnace that runs on either electric, natural gas, or oil (the most common, main heating system in most homes today.)

Why would someone want another heating source? For starters, supplemental heating can save on energy costs. Instead of cranking your thermostat up to keep warm throughout the entire house, you might turn it down on your main heating system, and use another type of heating source in a room-to-room basis. This would be ideal when you are only in a certain area of the home for a good portion of the day. 

Secondly, all homes aren’t created equal. You may have a house with an addition built on that just doesn’t get warm like the rest of the rooms in your home. Some of the rooms in your home may feel draftier than others. You may even have an older home that doesn’t use a central furnace that needs additional baseboard heaters, space heaters, etc. 

There are MANY different types of supplemental heating sources that one can choose from. Let’s explore two options that work well: electric baseboard heaters and space heaters.

Electric Baseboard Heaters vs. Space Heaters

Both baseboard heaters and space heaters are great for lowering your energy costs when implementing the units and turning down the thermostat on your main heating source. To really know which type of supplemental heating source is best for you, ask yourself two simple questions:

  1. Are you trying to heat an entire room, or a smaller area?
  2. Are you trying to heat multiple rooms, or just one room?


Electric Baseboard Heaters

If your main goal is to heat a larger room, like a living room or basement, it’s definitely best to go with an electric baseboard heater. Like mentioned in our previous blog, the two types of electric baseboard heaters (convection and hydronic) use the convection method for heating. This means that cool air flows through the baseboard heater, and pumps out as warm air either solely by electric elements heating the air (convection baseboard heater), or by electric elements heating water or oil (hydronic baseboard heater).

Electric baseboard heaters are the better option for:

  • Heating an entire, larger room
  • Heating multiple rooms like additions, basements, draftier bedrooms, etc.
  • Maintaining different temperatures in multiple rooms while lowering the temperature on your main heating source (central furnace, etc.)


Space Heaters

If you are looking to heat a smaller room, or a small area of a room, the best option is to go for a space heater rather than an electric baseboard heater. Most space heaters are portable, so they can be plugged in pretty much anywhere. Even though they are portable, a space heater should be on its own dedicated circuit because they consume a lot of power. Having a space heater plugged into its own dedicated line will prevent loss of power, and tripping breakers. 

There are many different types of space heaters on the market. While most work with the convection method by blowing warm air with a fan, some use radiant heat. Radiant space heaters heat a person rather than the air in a room. 

Space heaters are the better option for:

  • Heating a small room, or small area of a room
  • Infrequent use


Electric baseboard heaters and space heaters both need special attention when in operation. If not used properly, you could be at risk for certain fire hazards. Specifically for space heaters, according to energy.gov, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that every year, more than 25,000 house fires and more than 300 deaths occur when using space heaters.

Click the links below for our blogs about the safety tips for each:

For proper installation/set-up for your safety, both require a licensed electrician:

  • Electric baseboard heaters need to be hardwired into your main electrical panel
  • Space heaters need to be on their own dedicated circuits