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If your home has a basement, what do you use that space for? A lot of homeowners, sadly, underutilize this valuable space, typically keeping it as just storage. Basements can be great as a rec room, a studio, a gym, a work area or a guest bedroom.
The first question in turning your basement into valuable functional space is how do you heat it? Keeping your functional basement warm especially during cold seasons is important. You don’t want your pipes to burst and don’t want your fingers and toes to feel nearly frostbitten every time you head downstairs!
Quick Comparison Chart of the Best Basement Space Heaters
Dr Infrared Heater Portable
DeLonghi TRD40615E Radiant Heater
LifeSmart 6 Element Infrared Heater
Homegear Infrared Heater
Lasko 754200 Ceramic Heater
Read on for more ideas on ways to keep your basement area useful and comfortable!
What Are Your Goals?
There are many ways to utilize valuable basement space. However, most basements are not insulated originally. This results in exceptionally lower temperatures than the rest of the house, especially in cold weather. How do you warm your basement enough to keep it comfortable and useful?
If what you have in mind for your basement is a rec room or a home “bar”, you can create a cozy atmosphere with an electric wall-mounted fireplace heater. These will give you easy, instant heat for areas with limited space.
Fitness buffs may want to use their basement space as a home gym. A great way to heat a workout space is by using a garage heater. Garage heaters are durable and may be mounted to the ceiling, leaving you with more space for your gym equipment. Garage heaters offer high heat output, energy-efficient high-voltage options, and wider room coverage. Take note that electric garage heaters are safer bets than propane or kerosene heat.
Basements are also great as workshops or hobby rooms. Utility heaters will keep workshop basements comfortably warm during the winter months. Portable electric heaters are inexpensive investments and come in a variety of styles, sizes, and heating capacities. Again, unlike propane heaters, electric heaters remove the risks of carbon monoxide poisoning and fire or burn injuries.
You can also turn your basement into a library if what you need is a quiet place to work or if you need a home office. A great way to heat space like this is with a traditional electric fireplace. This adds to the beauty and ambience of your personal home office space without the soot, ash and smoke from wood fireplaces. Fireplace electric heaters are easy to install and can warm areas up to 400 sq. ft.
A more sophisticated recreational space for the family will most ideally have an electric fireplace built with a media console. Not only will these warm areas of up to 400 sq. ft., but they can hold a television, a media player, speakers and the like easily.
Another great idea for basement space is a spare or guest bedroom. Electric fireplace stove heaters are perfect for basement bedrooms and these combine the safety and convenience of a modern space heater with the traditional charm of a vintage cast iron stove.
If you have a forced-air heating system, you may want to consider making your basement a new “zone” for heating. This could require adding some additional ductwork to direct heat to the parts of the basement where you need it, especially if you’ve divided the area into rooms.
Of course, you have to keep in mind the capacity of your furnace. Generally an HVAC system is sized appropriately for the space it’s intended to heat. So if there were no plans to heat the basement when the system was first installed, it might put a strain on the furnace to try to add the basement. Of course, hot air rises, so the effect is mainly going to be felt in the basement itself.
Some Other Options
Whether or not your basement is “finished”, this space will always be a few degrees colder than the rest of the house. The reason for this is because it is underground – there is not much natural light coming in and it is enclosed in a cement foundation. And of course, as we mentioned above, heat rises. Supplemental heat for the basement keeps it warm, comfortable, and most importantly, functional all year long.
For any basement, the best supplemental heating option is an electric floor-heating system. A layer of cork, real or synthetic, is attached to the concrete slab to prevent absorption of radiant floor heat. Special electric floor-heating installation goes on top of that. Finally, the flooring material is put in place. Floor-heating systems can be easy to install and can complement a forced air system.
Other options include space heaters or installing a hydronic floor-heating system. A hydronic floor-heating system involves plastic tubing with hot water running through it to heat the room. These systems are effective but expensive to install. They require a boiler and pumps to operate. Also, the tubing is thicker and so will likewise raise the floor more substantially than an electric floor-heating system. That can be a major concern since most basements aren’t that high to begin with.
Space heaters are generally easy to use and inexpensive. They are not as capable of evenly warming an entire basement, especially those with larger areas. But they offer a great alternative for smaller areas. It’s important to take proper safety precautions, of course.
The Best Basement Space Heaters
When used safely (ie, directly plugged into a power outlet and not to an extension cord and kept at least 3 ft. away from combustible drapes, bedding, or furniture), a space heater will keep this space of your home comfortably warm. Here are some of the best space heater models perfect for any type of basement.
Delonghi’s Radiant heater has a revolutionary design that efficiently heats cold rooms with 25% more radiant surface heat. It circulates warmed air throughout the room, producing maximum heat with a low surface temperature. It has 1500 watts of heating power and silent operation.
The Eco-Plus function selects the ideal power level based on the current room temperature, resulting in 20% - 40% energy savings. The heater is best for medium to large rooms (up to 250 sq feet).
Along with the high-quality steel assembly and permanently sealed oil reservoir, this heater has an adjustable thermostat, a timer, and multiple heat settings. The smart-snap wheels make it easy to move from room to room.
This is a well-designed and efficient heater for medium to large rooms, with plenty of bells and whistles for feature loving users. It is portable and the oil in the sealed reservoir doesn’t need to be refilled.
This Lifesmart Infrared heater is ultra-efficient and suitable for a large room. It has six quartz infrared elements, three energy savings settings, a remote control, and dual timer settings that can be used to turn the unit turn on or off up to 12 hours ahead.
The heater has an eco setting for energy efficient heating and E Z glide casters for moving the heater from room to room easily. This heater also has a revolutionary new design that effectively and efficiently heats room air with convection and also has 25% more radiant surface to quickly warm people in the room. The thermal chimneys provide maximum heating while ensuring a low surface temperature.
The anti-freeze setting allows the unit to automatically turn on when the temperature drops below 44 degrees Fahrenheit. Safety features include rust-resistant, durable metal construction and overheat protection. The best part is that all electrical components are warrantied for one year.
With plenty of great features like a remote control, efficient design, and safe to touch surface, this heater is a fine choice if you have pets or children in the house. It combines both radiant and convective heat to keep the room warm and does it while keeping your bills low.
This heater packs has a surprising amount of heating power for its size; 1500W / 5100 BTU, which is sufficient for heating up rooms up to 1500 square feet. It comes with a digital thermostat that can also be used via the remote control. The dual heating system, containing both Mica and Quartz Infrared heating tubes, and a quiet, but efficient blower fan, produces and circulates heat very quickly. It is ETL certified and has overheat protection for safety.
While this heater has great features like a remote control, dual heating, and plenty of heating power, the main reason to opt for it is the compact size and speed with which it warms up rooms.
Dr. Infrared Heater’s advanced heating system delivers great heat production. It manages to do so without drawing more energy than the competition and spreads the heat with a high-efficiency blower.
Dr. Infrared Heater can deliver an average of 250°F at a heat transfer rate of 3.5m/s to your space versus the competition that can do typically 155°F at 2.2m/s. Of course, that doesn’t mean your room gets to that temperature - that’s the amount that will be spread throughout the room. So don’t worry that you’ll be creating a sauna or frying egg on the basement floor!
The company claims that this is the first unit to feature a dual-heating system to maximize the heat-transfer rate. It combines the energy efficiency of infrared heat with the comfort of convection heat. This helps heat your room fast and comfortably without leaving hot spots and cold spots.
The Dyna-Glo RMC-95C6 Indoor Wick Kerosene Heater generates 360º of convection heat. It’s perfect for home spaces like garages, workshops, enclosed porches, basements, warehouses and enclosed porches.
Rated at 23,000-BTUs, the RMC-95C6 can heat an area up to 1,000 sq. ft. for 8-12 hours, depending on the kerosene grade used and the quality of the wick. The RMC-95C6 includes a manual shut-off knob and a safety tip switch that automatically shuts off the heater if it is bumped or knocked over.
Find out more about kerosene heaters here.
The Lasko 754200 delivers 900-watts to 1500-watts of comforting warmth, this small-but-mighty heater will take the chill out of your room -- quietly.
The 754200 features manual (adjustable thermostat) controls and a self-regulating ceramic element. It has three Quiet Settings (High Heat, Low Heat, Fan Only) and is built with automatic overheat protection for safety.
The Best Heaters for your Finished Basement
A finished basement is likely already fitted with supplemental heating. Here, let us take a look at some great heater models as the perfect final touch for any finished basement.
Comfortbilt Pellet Stove HP22
The Comfortbilt Pellet Stove is EPA Certified and has a 50,000 BTU rating guaranteed to heat an area of up to 2,000 sq. ft. It has auto ignition, a programmable thermostat and a powerful blower with 86% burn efficiency.
This pellet stove works best when vented, which can of course be complicated from the basement. Preferably, you’ll want to install a vent pipe or chimney that runs from the unit up through the ceiling and rafters to the roof line - but of course you can tie it into an existing system. Most pellet stoves are vented horizontally directly through the wall to the outdoors.
Cartwright Convertible Electric Fireplace
The Cartwright Convertible Electric Fireplace is a very elegant Mission Oak-finished space heater. It produces and distributes radiant heat quickly, quietly and efficiently for areas up to 400 sq. ft.
It comes with a remote control that separately adjusts the thermostat, timer, logs and life-like flames to create a warm and cozy ambiance. The remote control comes equipped a child safety lock
The corner convertible design saves you space and you can even place a flat panel TV up to 43.5 inches wide above the mantel for cozy viewing.
The Cartwright Convertible runs on 1500-watt, 120v energy and features a protective glass that remains cool to the touch.
Cadet Manufacturing 05534
The 05534 120-Volt White Baseboard Hardwire Electric Zone Heater is Cadet’s most popular baseboard heater. It provides reliable and quiet convection heat. That heat is transmitted continuously and evenly.
Stiebel Eltron CNS 100-1 E Wall Mounted Convection Heater
The Stiebel Eltron CNS 100-1 E is a stylish 1000-watt wall-mounted convection heater. Its built-in thermostat makes it a perfect stand-alone heating unit in bathrooms or small-sized bedrooms. The CNS 100-1 E comes with a built-in overheat protection for every user’s peace of mind.
This unit works through natural convection, so there’s no warm breeze blowing across the room. The CNS 100-1 E allows for cool air to flow through the bottom, warm it with its heating element and silently release it as it rises out of the top.
Favorite features are its quiet warmth and ease of use, though its compact size doesn’t help instant or quick heating. Overall, the CN 100-1 E has excellent reviews.
Yosemite Home Decor DF-EFP400 Fantasy Electric Fireplace
The Yosemite Home Decor DF-EFP400 Fantasy Electric Fireplace gives you a multi-colored flame display. It can heat or be run simply as a decorative display. You can have all the beauty of a fireplace without the fuel combustion and carbon monoxide emissions.
The DF-EFP400 can easily heat areas up to 220 sq. ft. It features selectable high (1500W) and low (750W) settings.
It includes a remote control for variable heat and variable flame. The Fantasy Electric Fireplace is a great choice for an electric fireplace hat’s useful and aesthetic.
Review of Other Basement Heaters
Delonghi TRH0715CA 1500W Safe Heat Portable Oil-Filled Radiator
The DeLonghi TRH0715 Radiant Heater offers radiant, room-filling heat. At the same time, it maintains a low surface temperature that is safe to the touch.
User-friendly controls allow users to customize heat output with an adjustable thermostat and temperature settings. The TRH0715 is equipped with a thermal cutoff as a safety feature to prevent overheating.
Measuring 13.78” x 5.9” x 24.8” (L x W x H), the TRH0715 has seven permanently sealed, oil-filled channels with pure diathermic oil. This allows for years of efficient heating without ever needing a refill.
The TRH0715 features an anti-freeze technology automatically switches the unit on when the temperature drops below 42º. This is a great feature for a basement where temperatures might plummet and helps prevent your pipes from freezing.
The unit has no moving parts, giving you consistent, silent warmth.
Lastly, the TRH0715 is built for easy assembly, mobility, and storage.
The unit receives high marks for efficiency and effectivity. Some people say they detect a “plastic smell” given off by the unit, which apparently comes from small paint bubbles in the nooks that perhaps didn’t cure thoroughly on the assembly line. It’s a minor issue, although something that stricter quality control shouldn’t fix.
Find out more about oil-filled heaters here.
Profusion Heat HQ1500
The Profusion Heat Ceiling-Mounted Workshop and Garage Heater with Halogen Light HQ1500 has two heat settings that enable intense and efficient heating with up to 5200 BTU.
The high-efficiency quartz heating element and 25-watt halogen lamp are controlled with an easy-to-use pull string. The ceiling-mountable heater is held by a 90º vertical tilting arm.
Its durable metal housing makes it perfect for heating workshops and garages.It’s great if you just want heat in a small section of your basement, like around a workbench.
Perhaps all it’s missing is a wider range of heating distribution, but overall, it’s great because of its easy installation and efficient heating at an affordable cost.
Find out more about the best garage-type heaters here.
Basement heaters are among the first things you need if you plan to turn your valuable basement into a functional and comfortable space. Before the best basement heater is decided on, one needs to seriously consider the size of the area, whether or not the basement is “finished”, the intended use of the space and, as always, safety controls of any heating unit.
Hopefully, this review has been helpful to everyone who is seriously looking into adding more depth, space and function to their homes.