As the weather begins to cool down, our home heating systems start to turn on. As American homes are getting larger, many people have turned to supplemental heating or portable heaters to help target specific areas of their homes.
This helps keep your home’s furnace lower and can also decrease overall energy costs. According to Energy.gov, though, space heaters cause over 25,000 residential fires each year. That’s where electric wall heaters come in.
An electric wall heater is much like a space heater in that it is targeted to a specific area of your home as supplemental heating. The difference is that electric heaters are wall-mounted and designed as a permanent, hardwired fixture to your home. This article takes a look at the best electric wall heaters on the market today so that you can have a warmer tomorrow.
An electric wall heater is a room heater that is installed within the wall of your desired location. These heaters work by heating up an internal electric element and blowing it out into your room with a reflector and a fan. The heated air will rise into the room (which is why these heaters are usually installed at the baseboard level). The cooler air in the room will then be pulled into the room, making these heaters efficient for both heating your space and circulating air.
Types of Electric Wall Heaters
There are three basic types of electric wall heaters. Below is a brief description of how each type produces heat.
A fan forced electric heater pushes air over a warmed heating element, and the result is that you feel the warm air. This type of heater is also known as a blow heater.
Most space heaters are considered to be convection heaters. These heaters rely on the circulation of air within a room to work properly. Cool air is pulled into the heater and moved over a heating element. It is then recirculated back into the room.
Micathermic wall heaters are extremely energy efficient, and they create heat in two different ways. When turned on, electricity is turned into heat through an electric resistor. As it heats up more, the heat is then absorbed by mica in the coils. Mica is a silicate mineral (rock) that is excellent in transferring and holding heat.
Advantages of Having Electric Wall Heaters
There are several benefits to owning an electric wall heater in your home. We’ll give you four reasons you need one of these additions this winter.
- The use of supplemental heat. Wall heaters are great for rooms in which you will spend a lot of time, such as a living room, garage or home office. The best electric wall heaters will supply heat where you need it, without having to provide extra heat to your entire house.
- Lower energy costs. Keeping your home heated during the winter can come at quite the cost. People who use electric heaters such as the ones in this review can keep their energy bills lower because they are taking advantage of zonal heating.
- Electric wall heaters are safe to use. Unlike many of the space heaters on the market today that are somewhat unregulated, electric wall heaters are built with permanence in mind. Although it is not recommended that you run these units while sleeping or away from home. They often have special safety features built-in that will ensure the proper functioning and automatically turn the unit off if they get too hot.
- Electric wall heaters are energy-efficient and eco-friendly. Unlike other types of fuel (natural gas, propane), electric heaters are 100% energy efficient. They don’t give off any emissions or carbon monoxide, and they help save our valuable natural resources.
Considerations Before Buying Electric Wall Heaters
The first factor in choosing your electric wall heater is how you will use the heater. Will it be an independent heater or supplemental heating? Additionally, you will need to find the right size of electric heating for the size of your room. You can measure the size of your room by multiplying the length times the width of the room. For example, a room that is 10 feet wide by 17 feet long would be 170 square feet.
Wall heaters are generally much quieter than your average portable space heater, and this has a lot to do with the insulation within your wall. Most heater companies will tell you how noisy you can expect your wall heater to be, but in general, they fall between 45-50 decibels (or dB). On a sound chart, this level can be compared to the running of a refrigerator or light rain.
As we mentioned above, electric heaters are 100% energy efficient. When you use an electric wall heater within your home as either zonal heating or supplemental heating, it allows you to lower the thermostat for the rest of your home. This not only will save you money in the long run, but it will allow you optimal comfort where you need it and when you need it.
Wattage and Power
Every electric wall heater will come with a wattage rating, and will tell you how much space it will cover. In general, the higher the wattage, the more area the unit can cover. For example, the King Paw model we reviewed at 1,500 watts will cover rooms about 250 square feet, and the 2,250-watt model will cover rooms up to 400 square feet. In addition to wattage, you will also need to consider power. A standard house circuit in the US can handle up to 120 volts. If the voltage of your electric wall heater is higher than this, you will need to have a new circuit put in that is large enough to handle the load.
Style & Aesthetics
Beyond the actual function of your electric wall heater, you will also want to consider how it looks within your space and if it matches your home décor. Most of the heaters we looked at in this review represent your standard wall vent, and won’t be an eyesore to passers-by. Some even come with the option to install them either horizontally or vertically for the best fit. Unlike space heaters, these wall units also take up much less space.
Thermostat and Timer
Some electric wall heaters come with a built-in thermostat, and others need to be hardwired to a wall thermostat (usually sold separately). One nice feature to seek out is a timer. Electric wall heaters such as the Stiebel Eltron 074057 have a feature called Timer Controlled Boost that enables the unit to heat the room at maximum output for 60 minutes. This is a great feature that helps get rooms heated up quickly and allows you to walk away without overusing your unit.
Safety features will definitely be on your mind, especially if you have young children or pets that will be around your new wall heater. Some features to look for include overheating protection, automatic turn-off features, and cool-to-touch exteriors.
Price & Warranty
Price is always a factor when purchasing something, and we get that you want to have a quality product when it comes to permanent installation within your wall. Fortunately, you can get a great space heater for an affordable price. In fact, all of the heaters we’ve reviewed here are under $200. Warranty is another consideration, and you shouldn’t be expected to turn around and purchase a new heater if something goes wrong. I would be wary of buying a heater than didn’t come with at least a one-year warranty from the manufacturer.
5 Best Electric Wall Heaters Reviewed
1. KING PAW2422-W
Best Electric Wall Heater for Large Room
|Area Heated||400 Square Feet|
|Wattage||1,500 or 2,250 Available|
|Thermostat Temperature Range||41 – 90F|
|Voltage||120V, 208V, or 240V Available|
|Warranty||Yes – 5 Year Warranty from King Electric|
The PAW2422-W by King Electric is the best electric wall heater for large rooms within your home. Known as the “Original Pic-A-Watt” wall heater, this design is made especially so that you can tailor it to your room’s needs. You simply select your wattage during installation, and you’re good to go! The PAW is ideal for rooms up to 400 square feet, such as a family room or finished basement.
Visitors to your home will have no idea that this is an independent wall heater. With a small size of just 13.5 x 7.5 x 4 in and installed 4 inches above your floorboards, this unit looks just like a wall register for a home HVAC system.
To control the temperature, you will need to hook-up the PAW electric heater to a thermostat, which is sold separately. King has many options available, from the very basic dial thermostat to this fully loaded thermostat that is Wi-Fi enabled and can be controlled through a smartphone app.
King products have been proudly made in the United States since their inception in 1958, and are widely known as a trustworthy brand. We know that installing an electric wall heater can be a daunting task, as you want what is best (and safest) for your family. The PAW2422-W has built-in thermal overload protection that will completely shut down the unit and force you to restart it manually in the case of overheating.
- Whisper quiet electric wall heater
- Customize the heat settings for your room
- Great for larger rooms
- Thermal overload protection
- Thermostat sold separately
- Only available in white or almond color
2. Stiebel Eltron 074057
Best Electric Wall Heater for Bathroom
|Area Heated||215 Square Feet|
|Wattage||1,500 or 2,000 Available|
|Thermostat Temperature Range||41 – 86F|
|Voltage||120W or 240V Available|
|Warranty||Yes – 3 Year Limited Warranty|
Nothing seems worse than getting out of bed on a frosty winter day and trying to get ready in a freezing cold bathroom. Thanks to the Stiebel Eltron 074057, that no longer has to be an issue, as this electric wall heater can heat small rooms up to 215 square feet all by itself. It can also be paired with a wall thermostat to help supplement heating within rooms larger than 215 square feet.
We at Air Conditioner Lab really like the Stiebel Eltron brand because it is quality engineered in Germany, and they have continued to be a top performer in the market since 1924. The European design of this model will be hardwired into your wall but is surface mounted, so make sure you have enough room for installation.
One of my favorite features of the Stiebel Eltron 074057 is the Timer Controlled Boost. This function allows you to turn on the timer (which is 60 minutes), and it will automatically start heating the room with maximum heat output. For me, that’s just enough time to go get my coffee started and come back to a nice warm bathroom to get ready in. This feature alone makes it the best electric wall heater for bathroom, but we think you’ll enjoy this one anywhere that you need heat quickly.
- Can independently heat small rooms or work with home HVAC system in larger rooms
- Electric wall heater under $200
- 3-year limited warranty from Stiebel Eltron
- Timer Controlled Boost heats room fast
- Surface mount heater takes up slightly more room space
- Must be hooked up to GFI circuit
3. Cadet 67507 Com-Pak Plus
Best Electric Wall Heater with Thermostat
|Area Heated||200 Square Feet|
|Wattage||1,500, 2,000, 3,000 or 4,000 Available|
|Thermostat Temperature Range||40 – 85F|
|Voltage||120V or 240V Available|
|Warranty||Yed – Limited 5 Year Warranty|
The Cadet Com-Pak Plus is a nifty little wall heater that is great for any room. They have several options available, ranging from 1,500 watts to 4,000 watts and heating rooms from 200 square feet to 600 square feet, so you should have no problem finding the right fit for your space. The lowest wattage model (1,500) can even be installed in the ceiling if you wish, which makes it excellent supplemental heating for a finished basement or workshop.
The Cadet Com-Pak Plus is the best electric wall heater with thermostat on our list. The thermostat is a convenient dial directly on the unit, but if you prefer, you can purchase a separate wall unit for a more accurate temperature reading.
What Cadet’s customers seem to love the most about this unit is that given its small size, it creates some serious warmth – and quickly too. In many older homes, smaller rooms like bathrooms are not typically connected to the central HVAC system. On their website, one customer writes,
“I had a small bathroom that had no direct heat from the house furnace and ducting would have been a challenge. Therefore, I needed something to heat the room with that was simple and cost effective. The 120v wall unit worked very well. It was easy to install and puts off good heat.”
We believe that you’ll appreciate this Cadet wall heater as much as we do right off the bat, but if you need more convincing, then let their 5-year warranty speak for itself.
- Built-in thermostat
- Different units for heating rooms up to 600 square feet
- 5-year warranty
- Can be installed horizontally or vertically based on your needs
- Not great for places with high elevation
4. Broan-NuTone 170
Best Value for Money
|Area Heated||100 Square Feet|
|Wattage||500/1,000-Watt Combo (you choose)|
|Thermostat Temperature Range||Not specified – Supplemental Heat Only|
|Voltage||120V or 240V Available|
|Warranty||Yes – 1 Year Limited Warranty|
Just because you’re on a tight budget doesn’t mean that supplemental zonal heating is out of reach. In fact, you will likely save more money in the long run when you invest in a Broan-NuTone 170, our best value for the money heater. Coming in at just over $80 on average, this horizontally mounted electric space heater can help heat any small room up to 100 square feet.
The heater also comes with options. When hardwiring the unit, you can choose between 500 watts or 1,000 watts. Keep in mind that the 1,000-watt option will require a higher voltage (240V). You also have the option to use recessed mounting or surface mounting, depending on your space and preferences. If you decide to use the surface mounting, you will need to purchase this additional kit.
Unlike some of the other units we’ve reviewed, the Broan-NuTone 170 is not designed to be an independent heater, even for your smallest of rooms. It is meant to help supplement your home’s HVAC system for optimal comfort.
If you’re planning to DIY your electric wall heater, we’ve found that the Broan-NuTone 170 is one of the easiest to install. The company also offers all of the parts separately for a very affordable price, should you ever need to replace a single component.
- Easy to install
- Affordable option for any budget
- Choose your wattage and voltage
- Can be recessed or surface-mounted
- Easy to find replacement parts
- Supplemental heat only
- Surface mounting requires additional kit
5. DeLonghi HMP1500
Best Electric Wall Panel Heater
|Area Heated||300 Square Feet|
|Wattage||750 or 1,500 Watts|
|Thermostat Temperature Range||Low, High|
|Warranty||Yes – 1 Year Warranty|
The DeLonghi HMP1500 is slightly different from the other wall heaters on our list, in that you don’t need to hardwire it to your wall. It can also be used as a stand-alone portable heater with the stand, carrying handle, and wheels that are included with your purchase.
This unit uses mica thermic technology to create heat with near-silent operation. Whether you choose to wall mount it or use it as a portable heater, you are able to plug the DeLonghi HMP1500 into a standard 120V wall outlet for fast and convenient heat. This means you can have heat just minutes after taking the unit out of the box.
Built-in thermal overload cut-off is included, as well as a tip-over feature that will automatically shut down the unit. I would especially recommend this best electric wall panel heater for people who live in an apartment or who rent a house and are not able to make permanent changes, such as cutting into a wall. The wall mounting option only takes 2 screws, and a standard wall outlet.
The only downside to this product is that you won’t find the temperature as customizable as other heater options. The built-in thermostat on the DeLonghi HMP1500 only has two settings: low and high. As supplemental heat, though, we find this to be a perfect match.
- Can be wall-mounted or placed on stand
- Does not require hardwiring
- Nearly silent mica thermic operation
- Heats up to 300 square feet
- Only 2 temperature settings (low and high)
Wall Mounted vs Portable Heaters
The main difference between wall mounted heaters and portable heaters is that wall mounted heaters are often considered a permanent fixture that is hardwired into your wall (sometimes requiring higher voltage), whereas portable heaters are more of a plug-and-go option.
Products like the DeLonghi electric wall panel heater give you the best of both worlds. You can still wall mount the product, but you won’t need to cut a hole in your wall or hardwire anything.
Wall Mounted vs Central Heating
Wall-mounted electric heaters can provide great zonal heating, meaning they can provide the sole source of heat for specific rooms. Oftentimes when people renovate their homes and choose to add on a room, it becomes much easier to install an electric wall heater than to extend the home’s HVAC system.
Central heating refers to the whole-home heating that is usually built into a home with ductwork. Using the two products together can give you optimal comfort and help you lower your energy bills as well.
Finding the Right Size Wall Heater
To find the right size electric wall heater, you will first need to measure the space that you expect to heat. To find the square footage of a room, take the room’s width and multiply it by the length. For example, a room that is 10 feet wide and 19 feet long will have a square footage of 190 square feet. You will also need to consider if the room is closed off by walls and doors, or if it is open to the rest of the home.
Most electric wall heaters will specify the room size that they are intended for. In general, the larger the room, the higher the wattage you will require. This helpful guide from Cadet can help show you the right size heater for your space.
Where to Place Electric Wall Heaters
The placement of your electric wall heater will depend on several factors. This includes the layout and size of the room, whether it will be the sole heating source or supplemental heat, the clearance requirements of the specific brand of wall heater you purchase, and even the average humidity levels. The task might seem daunting, but there is usually an obvious place in each room. This video from Cadet Electric can help you pinpoint the perfect location for your electric heater:
Installing Wall Heaters
As you can see from our reviews, wall heaters come as either recessed (in the wall) or surface mounted (against the wall). Both types will require that you cut a hole in your drywall so that you can hardwire the heater. Below are the basic steps required:
- Check your user manual for installation requirements (i.e., how far from baseboards, etc.)
- Cut power to the area.
- Measure your space, and cut an appropriately sized hole next to a stud.
- Either locate or run electrical wires. (You may need an electrician to help with this part.)
- Connect the wires from the wall heater to the matching electrical components in the wall.
- Install the grille to the front of the heater.
- Turn the breaker back on and test your unit.
Electric Wall Heater Safety Tips
Following a few basic guidelines will keep your family and home safe when it comes to electric wall heaters.
- Make sure there are 3 feet of open space in front of the space heater grille, and at least 12 inches clearance at either side. This is especially important when it comes to curtains, paper, and other highly flammable items.
- Make sure that the heater is not in an area where an open door would block it.
- Follow your user manual to clean out your electric wall at least once every six months, even during times when it has not been running.
- Turn off your electric wall heater before going to sleep or leaving your home.
- If at any time you suspect that your electric wall heater is malfunctioning, cut power to the unit and call a professional for assistance.
Common Electric Wall Heater Issues
If you’re reading this because your wall heater is on the fritz, perhaps we can point you in the right direction. Below are a few of the most common problems people face with their electric wall heaters, and steps to fix them.
The fan doesn’t work
If the fan in your electric wall heater isn’t working, the first thing you need to do is check to see if the circuit was tripped. If that is not the problem, then shut down power to the unit, remove the grille, and see if anything is obstructing the fan, such as a small object or dust/debris.
Lastly, check the wiring to see if anything has come loose. If your fan still fails to work, you may have a motor failure. Since these units are relatively inexpensive, it may be best to purchase a new unit rather than have an electrician come out to repair it.
The fan works, but no heat
Similarly, to the fan not working, you might find that dust and debris mucking up your heating coil can stop the unit from producing heat. Sometimes, this is a safety measure. Try cleaning out your wall heater and restarting the unit. If the fan is working, but you still don’t feel the heat, then you may need to purchase a new heating coil. You can usually get this small part directly from the manufacturer.
Doesn’t turn off
If your electric wall heater just keeps running, even as you adjust the thermostat, then there is likely something on the inside, sending it mixed signals. Sometimes cutting power to the entire unit, waiting a few minutes, and resetting is all that you need to do. Other times, the heating coil may need to be cleared from dust and debris.
Heater smells like something’s burning
Most people are familiar with the “dust-burning” smell that a furnace makes after a long summer of not being turned on. Electric wall units function the same way, and the dust accumulated on the heating coil will essentially burn off within a few hours.
This is totally normal. However, if you smell burning rubber or plastic coming from your heater, then it is imperative that you shut off the unit immediately. Consult your user manual and the company’s customer service line for the next steps.
Frequently Asked Questions
What does zonal heating refer to?
Zonal heating simply refers to heat that is zone-specific in your home. For example, if you have an electric wall heater installed in your living room, it is providing zonal heating that is targeted to that room.
Are electric heaters environmentally friendly?
Yes, electric heaters are considered to be more environmentally friendly than other heat sources (namely gas-powered heat). Electric heaters do not produce any emissions and do not have a build-up of debris that gas heaters do, which means that the indoor and outdoor air quality surrounding it will be cleaner. Additionally, you do not need to worry about your electric heater creating carbon monoxide.
Do you need an electrician to install these heaters?
Although it is possible to install an electric heater without the help of an electrician, we recommend hiring a qualified professional. An electrician can help you find the best placement for your wall heater and run the wiring to your home thermostat. For some wall units, you may need to have a separate electrical circuit installed.
Is it safe to leave them on overnight or when not at home?
Even though wall heaters are considered a permanent fixture within your home, they are still only mostly supplemental heating. A wall heater should be kept at least 3 feet away from any furniture or objects, and should not be used unattended (while you’re sleeping) or when you are not at home. Hardwired options may be safe for sleeping, but make sure to check with your user manual first.
What is the expected cost to my energy bill?
The added cost to your energy bill for running an electric heater will depend on the wattage of the heater, how long you use it, and your local price for kWh (kilowatt-hour). This online calculator can help you determine your average cost.
An electric wall heater can be a great addition to any home. Many people choose to use an electric heater when adding a room onto their home, to save from tampering with the existing HVAC system. Or perhaps your large family room just doesn’t get as warm as you’d like during those long winter months.
All of the heaters on our list are of top quality, but if we have to pick a favorite, it would be the PAW2242-W by King Electric. With such a small footprint and powerful output, no one will ever know that it’s not your central HVAC running.
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