Small electric heaters are inexpensive and easy to install - even when mounted in walls or ceilings; and they do not pose combustion-safety problems. On the other hand, gas is a lot cheaper than electricity, per unit of heat; for the same heat output, it can cost half or one-third of the price of electricity.
And this raises a few questions: Why not use small gas heaters instead of small electric portable and fixed heaters; Or, in other words: When should we consider small and medium gas heaters instead of electric heaters?
This page intends to answer these questions. It describes the different types of small gas and electric heaters and their advantages, disadvantages, features and uses...
Small Radiant Electric Heaters Types and advantages
They are intended to heat people in their line of sight and close enough to them, and they are inexpensive to buy and install. They are not intended to heat an entire room.
They are a good option for occasional heating and for the uses they are designed for: personal, spot heating; they can be controlled by thermostats and occupancy sensors to provide higher electricity savings.
Advantages and disadvantages of radiant heaters over small gas heaters: electric radiant heaters are cheaper and easier to install; and much safer than gas ventless heaters; but, on the other hand, they do not provide the same capacity of gas heaters, and - contrary to small gas heaters - they are not designed to heat entire rooms.
Small Convective Electric Heaters Types and advantages
Small convective electric heaters are designed to heat an entire room. They heat by circulating the air. They comprise baseboard electric heaters and oil-filled heaters.
These heaters are relatively inexpensive to buy, and also safe and easy to use and install. They aren't a good option for extended use. Only for occasional heating and to supplement other heating systems…
They can be a good choice in very well insulated homes, in climates with low heating requirements. They aren't a good choice as a primary source of heat in climates and homes with moderate or high heating needs.
Advantages and disadvantages of convective heaters over small gas heaters: electric baseboard heaters and oil filled heaters can be relatively cheap and the oil-filled electric heaters do not pose the installation issues of ventless gas heaters. And they are also safer than ventless gas heaters; but unlike gas heaters they do not provide a quick heating, and they haven't the heating capacity and flexibility of gas heaters,
Vent-Less Gas Units: types and The Safety issue
The newest gas room heaters incorporate a variety of improvements when compared to older gas units (freestanding room heaters, floor gas furnaces, recessed wall furnaces, kerosene heaters…).
They are more energy-efficient (80% or more, instead of 60%) and safer than older units; but ventless gas units are inherently unsafe.
Manufacturers like to point out the safety features of their modern gas ventless units, and the new safety controls. But they aren't safe enough. Only vented gas units, with sealed combustion chambers are safe.
New lines of portable ventless gas heaters are mainly focused on outdoor uses (recreation areas, sheds, barns, construction sites, etc.) where venting isn't an issue. Some of these heaters, though small, are very powerful (125,000 BTU/per hour, or even 200,000 BTU/ per hour).
They are an expensive and unsafe type of heating.
Air Sealed Wall Gas Heaters advantages and disadvantages
New wall-mounted gas heaters are quiet, compact and with a cool-to-the-touch cabinet (to avoid burn injuries). They are very safe; they do not carry the risks of ventless gas heaters: they care vented directly through their back...
They are much more powerful units than common electric portable space heaters, and they can be used as a primary source of heating in energy efficient homes, even in cold climates.
They are intended for moderate and small-moderate heating requirements. They can meet the heating needs of most homes in moderate climates. They can also be an alternative to central heating systems and common heat pumps and ductless furnaces in homes with very high levels of insulation and sealing, even in cold climates..