Best radiant/oil heater?
December 3, 2013 6:18 PM   Subscribe

My apartment doesn't have central heating, and space heaters aren't doing the job. It never gets below freezing here, but does get pretty chilly (maybe 40ish at the lowest) after dark. I have a couple of space heaters, but they don't really heat the full space (two rooms, about 300 sq. feet each), and so I'm left with just sitting right in front of the heater, so there's hot air blowing right on me, which is uncomfortable and dries out my skin like crazy. A friend recommended a radiant or oil heater, but didn't know a lot of specifics. Has anyone used these? Are they better than the type of space heater that just blows out hot air? And, do you have any recommendations for specific brands?
posted by rainbowbrite to Shopping (11 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
My furnace was out this weekend, and I bought one of these at Target. It did a fine job of heating a somewhat larger room than yours in similar climate, silently and without hot blowing air.
posted by bac at 6:33 PM on December 3, 2013 [2 favorites]

Yes, those heaters will warm up a room the same way normal radiators do, as opposed to other kinds of space heaters that are essentially designed to warm up just you, rather than your whole room.
posted by beagle at 6:49 PM on December 3, 2013 [1 favorite]

I concur that the radiant heaters feel more comfortable or warmer for a given wattage. What I like to do is put a fan on low gently blowing across the radiator. It seems to make the heating of the room a little more even. (When the heat was out, I liked to put mine in the bathroom. It's the one place where one can't remain bundled up.)

Also, get an electric blanket or throw. A 180 watt one on low will sweat me out if I have blankets on. By doing this, my room doesn't need to be nearly as warm.
posted by gjc at 6:59 PM on December 3, 2013

I have an oil radiant heater. We have a bedroom that's usually much colder than the room with the thermostat, in a colder climate than you. Normally, on really cold nights, we turn the central heat very low and use the radiant heater in the bedroom. It produces a very natural-feeling, comfortable heat; but you may want to use a humidifier as well.
posted by sonic meat machine at 7:55 PM on December 3, 2013

A parabolic heater is a delight to sit near; it's like being next to a fireplace instead of a heater. I have a "Presto HeatDish." Costco sells them, among other places. It doesn't quite answer your question as it just heats what it's pointed at for the most part; it takes hours to raise the overall temperature. But it is very cheap to operate compared to most electric heaters, and I throw it out as a suggestion for an adjunct to whatever serious-heating heater you get.

Have you done the basics to insulate a bit? Caulking, plastic over windows, and heavy curtains can make an enormous difference.
posted by kmennie at 8:01 PM on December 3, 2013

We have two DeLonghi oil-filed radiators similar to this one in our bedrooms and they do a great job maintaining temperature, heat silently, and are programmable. I love them and feel they would have been a bargain at twice the price.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 9:40 PM on December 3, 2013

Confusingly, "radiators" are actually convective heaters, not radiant heaters. The parabolic heater endorsed by kmennie is a radiant heater.

Christopher Alexander on the feeling of radiant heat.
posted by nixt at 10:50 PM on December 3, 2013

Ah-ha! This is the exact model we have: DeLonghi EW7507EB Oil Filled Radiator Heater Black 1500W LOVE IT. (I wanted to update since it seems like my other link doesn't work, sorry about that!) Also link to the review I wrote about it last year.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 7:33 AM on December 4, 2013

You can also put a pan filled with water on top of a oil-filed radiator to get some moisture in the air.
posted by futz at 7:56 AM on December 4, 2013

I have the exact same one as rabbitrabbit and highly recommend it...our house is 58 degrees (45 in the bathroom!) and I keep my bedroom quite comfortable with it. Plus I can program it to come on in the morning and take the chill off before I have to get out of bed.
posted by kattyann at 11:01 PM on December 4, 2013

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