Space Heaters: on the horns of a dilemma

I am in a real quandary, and searching the internet has been no help. I’m looking for the best space heater for our basement, (about 1500 ft2) which tends to be a bit chilly in the winter. There are a lot of options out there, and I’m unable to find a comprehensive and unbiased review site for different heaters and types out there – there are too many sock puppets and shill sites to be able to get an accurate picture.

The three models below are representative of the types of heaters I’m looking at – not these specific brands or models, necessarily, but rather by  style. Note that each of these heaters is rated at 1500 watts, which means 5120 BTUs – according to the math, each one should provide exactly the same amount of heat.


Honeywell HZ-03604U Mini Tower Heater – $40.00 (this is an older model, but it’s the one I have)

• 360-degree space heater
• SafetyTip tip-over switch shuts heater down if it’s knocked over
• 2 heat settings
• Adjustable thermostat
• Includes overheat protection
• Model: HZ-0364u-WMT
• 1500 Watts
• 5,120 BTU

Feel warm and cozy with the Honeywell HZ-03604U Mini Tower Heater. Designed to provide all-around warmth, this 360 Degree Space Heater is perfect for small to mid-sized rooms. Since, heat is distributed evenly in a 360 degree range, every nook and corner of the area warms up in a matter of minutes. With two different heat setting modes and an adjustable thermostat, you have complete control over the heating process. Made of flame-resistant plastic, this overheat protection heater is absolutely safe for any room in your home. An additional protective tip-over switch safeguards your family from accidental topples. A portable room heater, it is perfect for the coldest of winters and comes with a convenient handle that helps you carry it around from one place to other with ease.

Note: I have one of these – it does a really good job keeping my office toasty in the winter.


Lifesmart LS1003HH13 1,800 SQ FT – $171.99

• Heats a Room Up to 1800 Square Feet
• 1500 Watt
• Injection Molded Plastic Cabinet; User-Friendly Controls with Large LED Display
• Built-in Fan Circulates Air through the Heater and Into the Area Being Heated
• Infrared Technology Effectively Uses Less Energy to Produce Even Heat from Floor to Ceiling
• Programmable Temperature and Timer Feature






DuraFlame (Twin-Star) Electric Fireplace – $269.00

• Uses 3 InfraRed Quartz Heating Elements
• 5,200 BTUs. 1500 Watts, 12.5 Amps
• InfraRed Heating Elements Lifetime is Over 20K Hours
• Infrared Heating Technology
• Quickly and evenly distributes heat throughout the room

Healthy heat – Produces a moist heat that does not dry out the air and lower oxygen levels in the body and the room
Safe for kids and pets – Stays cool to the touch
Excellent zone heating source – Can help save on energy costs

I’ve seen one of these work – they’re very pretty, and the one I experienced did a good job heating the main living area of an 800 ft2 cabin.

Still, this last one is quite confusing; the manufacturer, Twin-Star (these are OEM’d by DuraFlame) claims that this unit will heat 1,000  ft2. However, I asked Home Depot, who carries the same model, what it was rated for, and this was the answer from their customer service department:

Upon reviewing the fireplace I was able to find the model number 23if1714-c247 which is the product on we do carry the exact one on I have researched this product and the square feet it will heat at a consistent temperature is 144 sq. ft. This fire place will heat a supplemental area of 1000 square feet meaning it will be warm but not at the consistent heat of the 144 square feet area.

Duraflame Spec Sheet
Intertek Test Report

According to this calculator, each one of these heaters would cost about .1692¢ per hour, or $25.00 per month if they were run for 5 hours per day, but the specs on each one differ significantly, and websites don’t help because they’re busy trying to sell them.

My challenge is that each one has the same heat rating – heat output is a factor of resistance, and if each one is 1500 watts, then the BTU rating is 3.4 times that. So is one better than another?  (I’m ignoring the visual fireplace part of the DuraFlame – that’s just there for pretty. I’m just comparing the heating ability and technology. The prices are obviously way different, and if a small one will do just as well as a large one, I can’t see shelling out for a larger unit.

I cannot comprehend it; to me it is a mass of confusion.  I need to do more research, but for now my head hurts.

If anyone who happens to read this has any insights for me, I’d be grateful for your input.

2 responses to “Space Heaters: on the horns of a dilemma

  1. You could get six of the cheapest ones for what the most expensive one costs, and you could get four of the cheapest ones for what the mid-price one costs. My solution: get one of the cheapest ones. If that isn’t enough, buy another. You can get four of them before paying as much as you would for the mid-range one, and you’ll probably be just as warm.

    • That’s my thought, but I’m trying to suss out whether there is a true advantage to the touted “quartz infrared” technology, or perhaps the fact that the larger ones have a more powerful fan for getting more of that heat out into the room, etc. Still digging.

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