Space heaters are great for anyone wanting a little warmth in a small area or to take along in an RV for a quick boost of warmth. The most common types you’ll find are ceramic heaters, yet there isn’t much to say they are the best for your needs.
It can be challenging to pick a winner out of ceramic heater vs. oil heater because it depends on your specific needs. In our guide, we go through both heaters and compare the instant heating you get from a radiant heater such as a ceramic heater to an oil space heater with fantastic heat retention.
By the end, you’ll see all the ceramic heater pros and cons to compare and see if these settle the debate of which room heaters are best for you. (Read What Heaters Are Safe To Leave On Overnight)
What Is Better an Oil Filled Heater Or Ceramic Heater?
The fundamental difference between them is how ceramic and oil-filled heaters deliver heat they produce into your space. They both use energy to power the internal heating element, but the rest of the process differs.
Radiant Heating from Oil heaters
An oil-filled space heater resembles a radiator from your central heating. The fins are filled with oil heated by the heating element therefore, their shape reflects their function.
When the heater reaches a sufficient temperature, it heats the metal fins that make contact with the air. This is a crucial advantages of this central heating style fin structure: it allows for maximum surface area contact with the air.
The larger the heater and the fins, the more surface area they have to heat the surrounding air.
Because the oil inside is heated rather than as a fuel, it is only heated inside the oil-filled radiator and never needs replacing.
Oil Filled Heater Pros
- Safe to use
- Great heat output
- Quiet in operation
Oil Heater Cons
- Dimensions and Weight
- Heats up slowly
Convection Heating from Ceramic Heaters.
In the ceramic heater and oil-filled heater debate, you’ll find that convection heaters (or fan heaters) as they use convection heat from a fan to move warm air from the ceramic heating element into the space.
Warm air rises, so warmed air is spread and mixes with cooler air to raise the total room temperature, while low-lying cool air will suck into the heater and be warmed.
Some convection heaters use radiant heat but don’t use a fan and rely on a ceramic element, which then transfers heat to the air. (Learn How To Heat A Hot Tub Without A Heater)
The biggest downside is they lack surface area such as that on an oil-filled radiator.
Ceramic Heater Pros
- Heats quickly
- Light and compact
- You can control heat direction
Ceramic Space Heater Cons
- Unsafe to leave on without supervision
- Can be noisy
- Low heat output
- No heat retention
Do Oil-Filled Heaters Use A Lot Of Electricity?
The heating element has a higher energy capacity than any resistive heating element. So, under normal working conditions, oil heaters use less power and are more energy-efficient than exposed-air heaters.
Oil-filled radiators use radiant heat work to heat the space around them using a hot surface. The heat generated by oil-filled radiators is a prime example of radiant heat in action from the large heating surface area.
Oil has a high boiling point; thus, heated oil will retain heat and keep your electric radiator heater warm to emit heat for ages after heating. With the use of a thermostat, you only have to top up the heat in a room rather than generate heat all the time, thus using less electricity.
Ceramic heaters work differently as the heating element in the convection heater will disperse heat evenly as the fan pushes warm air into the room.
Unlike an oil electric heater, most ceramic space heaters offer instant heat from a smaller-sized appliance.
The downside of these kinds of heaters is that most of the heat is felt in the stream of air rather than the entire heated space. Besides this, as they are not safe to use overnight, the room cools quickly once you turn off the heater. (Read 100 Amp Service Wire Guide)
Are Oil Filled Heaters More Efficient?
Electric heaters are less energy-efficient than oil heaters. An oil heater is an efficient room heater as they hold heat efficiently and turn off automatically as you reach the desired temperature.
A ceramic space heater vs. oil filled isn’t an effective room heater in comparison as there is nothing to retain heat as air only passes over an electrical heating element to create heated air.
Energy-efficient heating is a huge plus as the hot oil keeping warm is that your room heater can cycle on and off as required. Electric heaters like this don’t run continuously, and the thermostat only kicks back in to keep hot oil staying warm will keep your radiator warm and your room warm.
The less electricity you consume using these oil-filled electric heaters, the less money you’ll spend on operating your space heater.
The metal surface of oil-filled space heaters can get hot when exposed to high surface temperatures, as with hot water radiators seen in older homes. As a result, when the heater is turned on, families with little children must guarantee that they are supervised.
They may, however, be safer than ceramic space heaters with rotating fans and an exposed rapid heat element. (Learn About Testing Water Heater Element)
There aren’t many sorts of space heaters that can heat a huge room, such as ceramic vs. oil-filled. Oil-filled heaters will perform a better job of heating a room by producing heated air. Radiant heaters do not cool when heat rises, therefore they can keep a room warmer for longer.
Which Type of Heater is Cheapest To Run?
What is the size of the space you wish to heat? Before you choose a space heater for yourself, you should know the answer to this question.
If you want to spend some time in a large room, oil-filled heaters are the most acceptable option. You can use a ceramic space heater to warm your room quickly, but it does not heat the surrounding area efficiently in a large room.
Oil filled heaters work well to swiftly heat a big area, whereas ceramic heaters tend to quickly heat small areas.
Oil-filled space heaters are heavier than so-called fan heaters, so you can’t move them as quickly. Ceramic space heaters are best if you wish to use your heater in multiple areas and move it around frequently.
Once the oil is hot, it stays warm for a long time; thus, you can turn the heater off but feel warm for a while afterward.
Oil-filled radiators are rather large and might be heavy. They often come with wheels to help carry them around, but these are not the most portable space heaters available.
Radiant heat is a fantastic alternative for anyone suffering from air-borne allergies caused by dust, dander, and pollen. With no fan to blow particles around your room, you’ll breathe easier if you suffer from allergens.
You can use an oil-filled heater to maintain a specific temperature in your room, as thermostatic control is not possible with ceramic space heaters.
Although contemporary heaters include a safety cutoff if the heat increases to a hazardous level or the heater fall over, oil-filled heaters are safer than ceramic space heaters. Furthermore, the electric heating elements are contained within the electric heater, ensuring that nothing catches fire.
On average, a 1500 watt heater will comfortably warm a modest space of 150 to 250 square feet.
However, as a safety precaution, ensure your electric heater can be plugged directly into a wall outlet rather than using an extension cable. These can overheat from the power flowing to your space heater and constitute a fire hazard.
Because oil-filled radiators do not have a fan attached, they are almost silent while in use. However, the oil can make cracking sounds when it first heats up. This makes them an excellent choice for bedrooms or anywhere you want to have a calm, uninterrupted discussion.
Oil-filled space heaters are generally more expensive than other types of heaters. This is because a high-quality model will be tightly sealed and built with anti-tip, auto-shut-off technology.
Repairs will necessitate opening up the device, which can also be expensive.
However, immediate heat is possible from ceramic vs. oil-filled radiator thanks to a smaller ceramic plate heating and the fan pushing the air into the room.
A ceramic heater produces instant hot airflow, which can warm an area, yet as the air cools, it can heat anything over a small room effectively.
If you stand right in front of it, you’ll feel the warmth immediately away; however, to the side of airflow from a ceramic space heater, it can feel cold, unlike oil heaters that spread heat all around them.
A radiator is quieter than an electric space heater with a fan. However, certain versions are quieter than others. If noise is a concern, examine the decibel level and seek for changeable fan settings that provide you greater control.
Ceramic heaters, compared to oil-filled heaters, are harder to Clean. It’s crucial to keep fan blades and heating elements dust-free to avoid spreading particles through the air, but also, it can lead to overheating from dust accumulation. (Read Pellet Stove Vs Propane Stove)
Ceramic heaters can also smell compared to oil-filled heaters. Dirt and dust settle with every use and are heated each time you use ceramic heaters.
Ceramic heaters are also more challenging to maintain steady temperatures. Because they offer instant heat, they also offer instant cold once you turn off the heater; thus, it’s more challenging for convection heaters to heat rooms evenly for a long time.
Whether you need to heat your bedroom at night to produce energy savings by turning down your central air conditioning, or you want to add a little more warmth to a cold corner, choosing the correct space heater can help.