Which ceiling heater is best?
When it comes to keeping a space warm, efficiency and effectiveness are paramount. Ceiling heaters offer a chance to evenly heat an area while saving space on the ground. They come in a variety of sizes and power levels in order to spread warmth throughout different spaces at home and work, and some may offer lighting and cooling options as well.
Our buying guide can help you determine if one is right for you and how you should go about shopping for one. We’ve also included a few recommendations at the end, such as our top choice, the Panasonic WhisperWarm FV-0511VH1 Bathroom Fan and Heater, a well-designed ceiling heater that operates quietly and is easy to install.
Considerations when choosing a ceiling heater
Assess how often the ceiling heater will be used throughout the year and how it will look in the room. For those in colder climates where you’ll use it frequently, you need a ceiling heater that’s durably constructed to withstand wear and tear. However, depending on where it’s located, you may want one that looks attractive as well. Some ceiling fans may jut out, while others are able to be installed within the ceiling seamlessly.
How much space the heater takes up and how heavy it is are important defining factors. If it can’t fit into the ceiling and instead has to hang below, consider how low it has to hang and whether that may be a nuisance physically or visually. The smaller the heater, however, the less heat it disperses.
Power and capacity
Take note of the space that needs heating. Bathrooms naturally require less heat than a garage, for instance. Smaller ceiling heaters offer around 1,200 watts, while more heavy-duty models can run up to 5,000 and even 10,000 watts.
You need a professional to install the ceiling heater. It requires integration with your home’s electrical and possibly duct system, and may involve additional work, especially if you want a discreet ceiling heater. If you plan on doing it yourself, consider the work hours and materials involved, and the research and careful execution it takes to install.
Ceiling heater features
Some ceiling heaters double as lights. Some may be more industrial in look, though there are more aesthetically pleasing options available. Be sure to check the light bulb required and whether it’s included in the purchase.
Those ceiling heaters designed for bathroom use likely include an exhaust fan. These heaters have an extra level of difficulty in installation. Check its effectiveness: you don’t want hot air being pumped in through the heater that just goes back out through the exhaust.
Controls and indicators
Some ceiling fans may be easier to operate than others. Think about ease of running it, especially if the fan is too high to reach the toggle buttons or switches. You may be able to connect to a wall switch, but that adds to the workload when installing. Some models also have light indicators that let you know they’re in use.
How much you can expect to spend on a ceiling heater
Quality ceiling heaters capable of heating medium to large spaces run between $150-$300. These may come with exhaust fans for bathroom use, or be rugged and heavy-duty for garages. Inexpensive options are available for small spaces.
Ceiling heater FAQ
Q. How efficient are ceiling heaters?
A. Ceiling heater efficiency varies from model to model, but there are things you can do to maximize it. Measure the space you need to heat and buy a ceiling heater that matches that size. If the heater overwhelms the space, you’re spending too much energy (and money), but if the heater isn’t strong enough, then it’s running without serving a purpose.
Q. Should I install the ceiling heater myself?
A. Installing a ceiling heater is not a job for beginners, though those with experience working with electrical and duct systems may prove worthy. There are safety concerns in addition to the installation being an intensive task. Be sure you have all the tools and materials needed. If you’re seeking a professional, factor in the extra cost.
Best ceiling heaters
Best of the best
Panasonic WhisperWarm FV-0511VH1 Bathroom Fan and Heater
Our take: Designed for use in bathrooms, this high-end unit balances output with aesthetics and acts as both a fan and a ceiling heater.
What we like: It works as an extractor fan to avoid mold and mildew building up in your bathroom. It heats up spaces instantly, so there’s no need to wait around for your space to get warm. It works well for small to medium spaces and runs quietly during use.
What we dislike: Installation is a little tricky, so you may need to hire a professional, unless you’re experienced in DIY.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Best bang for the buck
Broan-NuTone 157 Radiant Fan-Forced Ceiling Heater
Our take: Inexpensive option with a low profile that mounts easily.
What we like: Small, effective, unobtrusive ceiling heater at a great cost. 1,250 watt output great for bedrooms and small spaces. Boasts automatic overheating protection.
What we dislike: Utilitarian look. Not effective for medium or large spaces.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
Broan-NuTone 9093WH Deluxe Heater/Exhaust Fan
Our take: Gorgeous dual lighting fixture and ceiling heater.
What we like: Unit features heater, incandescent light, and air ventilator. Small size fits into a lot of spaces; sits flush in the ceiling.
What we dislike: Heavier that it looks. Moderately expensive.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Anthony Marcusa writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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