Basements tend to run cooler than other parts of the home, which can be extremely frustrating if you plan on using the space as a playroom, home theater, or guest bedroom.
This part of the house tends to have poor airflow and usually require a dehumidifier. Stale air can be a major problem and regular heating is beneficial for the home.
Your home’s cold basement temps could be caused by a number of different things, like poor insulation or too much moisture. If your basement is colder than you’d like, there’s an easy solution.
Investing in the best heater for basement spaces can quickly alleviate the problem, so check out these 9 heating options to turn your basement into a warm and cozy environment.
Quick Guide – Our Top Picks
Types of Basement Heating Options
When deciding on the best way to heat a basement, you have to weigh all the options. There are quite a few to choose from, and the first step is to decide between adding registers vs. installing heaters. If you decide to add registers, you’ll be altering the entire HVAC system, which is likely to cost a lot of money.
Installing a heater is the more affordable and more convenient choice, so once you’ve decided that’s the right option for you, the next step is to choose between a portable and fixed heater. Portable space heaters are popular for basements since they can be moved around the home, but many homeowners say that a fixed solution is the most reliable.
Once you’ve decided on the style, the next step is to focus on the method of heating. There are a few to choose from, like:
- Ceramic Heaters
- Oil-Filled Heaters
- Infrared Heaters
- Baseboard Heaters
Heaters for Basements Compared
Choosing a Quality Basement Heater for the Home
We touched on this a bit already, but the first step in choosing the best heat source for a basement is to decide on the design and style. You’ve got a big decision ahead of yourself between floor heaters, space heaters, wall heaters, and baseboard heating systems. You might even opt for a heated basement floor for toasty warm feet.
Just as there are multiple design styles to choose from, the same goes for fuel type. Electric heaters for basement spaces are very popular since they heat up fast and work well in a sizable space. They’re also very efficient and affordable. If you opt for electricity, you’ll have to decide between infrared and convection heating technology.
Another option is to go with a gas heater for the basement powered by natural gas, kerosene, or propane. Propane gas heaters work best in smaller spaces, so they’re not ideal for high square footage.
Basement Size & Insulation
The average home basement size is about 1,000 square feet, and the best electric heater for large basement spaces will definitely be able to handle that. It’s still a good idea to know your basement’s exact square footage and compare it with heater coverage areas.
The shape of your basement also makes a difference. If the room is a perfect square, heating should be fairly easy. Basements with funky layouts will be a bit trickier to heat, and some homeowners choose to use several small heaters instead of one larger unit.
Heat Output (BTU’s)
Just as portable AC units have BTU ratings, so do portable heaters. BTU, which stands for British thermal unit, is a measurement of energy representing how much energy it takes to raise the temperature of one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit at sea level. The number of BTUs you need depends on the size and shape of the space as well as things like local climate, ceiling height, and home insulation.
Energy Efficiency/Heating Costs
Energy consumption is always something to consider when buying a heating or cooling unit. Most electric heaters run on a 1500-watt system, but energy consumption and heating costs will look entirely different for a gas/propane unit. To determine how much you’ll have to pay in heating costs within a certain period, use this guide to help out.
Owning a portable heater opens a lot of doors, letting you place and use the heater wherever you need it at any given time. However, even if a unit is labeled “portable,” not all portable heaters measure up to the standards of others. Look for a design that’s not too bulky and sits on rolling wheels for easy movement from room to room. A carrying handle is another nice touch, especially if the unit is heavy.
Some heaters, especially portable space heaters, are made to be easily installed – they’re basically ready to be used out of the box with a plug and play design. However, other types of heaters might require the help of an HVAC specialist, especially if the heater is a fixed unit that is meant to work directly with the home’s central heating system.
- Thermostat Options
Look for an adjustable thermostat with easy-to-use controls and a wide temperature range. This will give you complete control of your basement heating needs.
- Fan Speeds & Oscillation
Multiple fan speeds with an oscillating option gives users more control over their heating needs, so look for at least 2 speeds for high and low settings.
- Timers & Modes
Similar to multiple fan speeds, a programmable timer, and several heating modes gives a user more control over comfort. Look for a timer that runs for 24 hours and several settings like Auto Mode, Eco Mode, and Energy Saver mode.
- Remote Control ist_
Whether you go with a space heater for the basement or a heated floor, having a remote control makes things a lot more convenient. Instead of always needing to refer to the unit’s control panel, you can make adjustments from a remote instead.
- Tip-Over Protection
According to Lasko, a unit with tip-over protection “will protect the heater when it suddenly tipped over. The device will shut down automatically.”
- Overheat Protection
Lasko also says that overheat protection is important, saying that “safe heaters usually have an overheat protection that would detect when the internal components are too hot. It will shut down the unit automatically.”
Generally speaking, the higher the cost, the more extended the warranty, but even a “long” warranty doesn’t mean a “good” warranty. Check to see exactly what the warranty covers because sometimes essential parts and pieces are left out of the policy.
- Thermostat Options
You’ll want to consider your budget before investing in the best heater for the basement. The size of a heater, its heating and installation method, and its unique features play a major role in cost.
9 Best Basement Heaters Reviewed
1. Duraflame 3D – Best Space Heater for Basement
|Room Heating Size||1000 sq. ft.|
The Duraflame 3D has been rated as the best electric space heater for basements, especially for homeowners who prefer the classic look of a wood-burning fireplace. Even though this is heated entirely by electricity and infrared technology, this portable heater for a large basement is designed to resemble a stove fireplace – it even has a 3D flame effect to resemble the real deal.
As the best indoor heater for basement spaces, you can expect up to 1000 square feet of coverage from the Duraflame 3D. It’s powered by 5200 BTUs and is an excellent choice if you’re looking for supplemental zone heating to give your HVAC system a break and help save money on heating bills.
The Duraflame uses an infrared quartz heating system to maintain the room’s natural humidity. Other types of heaters tend to draw moisture from the air, eventually drying out the home, but you won’t have to worry about that with the Duraflame. Unless your home is unusually dry in the first place, you’ll have no need to invest in an additional humidifier.
Another cool feature of this space heater is the fact that the flame color can be adjusted (there are 5 colors to choose from). You can easily adjust the brightness and speed settings using the front control panel, and the overheat protection prevents the Duraflame from getting too hot by shutting it off if temperatures creep too high. All in all, this is a solid choice if you’re looking for answers on how to heat up a cold basement.
- Stove style not for everyone
- Cheap remote control
2. Cadet 05534 – Best Baseboard Heater for Basement
|Room Heating Size||Up to 500 sq. ft.|
There are many benefits to using baseboard heating in basements, especially if you’re limited on space and looking for a heating option that’s easy to install. Out of all the baseboard heaters on the market, one of the best for basements is the Cadet 05534. This electric baseboard heater features a practical design that allows you to make the most of your basement space.
According to the Cadet company, you’ll be able to “take the chill out of any room with a Cadet baseboard heater. Enjoy the simple warmth of reliable, quiet convection heat. All Cadet baseboards are designed for easy installation and will keep you warm for years to come.”
The easy installation with 1-inch mounting holes is a major perk, especially if calling an HVAC professional isn’t on your agenda.
For the best results, it’s recommended that you place the Cadet 05534 under a window. This isn’t a necessity, but it will allow this 48-inch heater to perform at its optimal level. One thing to be aware of is that this requires a separate thermostat (it doesn’t include one), so you’ll have to factor in that cost and find a thermostat that’s compatible with this baseboard heater.
- Lacks portability
- Thermostat sold separately
3. Lasko 751320 – Best Space Heater for a Small Basement
|Room Heating Size||Up to 300 sq. ft.|
Lasko is a well-known name in the heating and cooling industry, so it’s no surprise that the company has a heating unit that’s fit for a basement. Although it’s not the best space heater for large basement rooms, the Lasko 751320 is perfect for small basements and a coverage area up to 300 square feet. Since 300 square feet is a standard bedroom size, many homeowners choose this one for basement guestrooms.
The 751320 is a compact tower space heater with features like remote control operation, a built-in programmable timer, and oscillation. The self-regulating ceramic heating element is reliable and efficient, and the automatic overheat protection means that you can rest easy knowing that this unit is safe for home use.
Another nice thing about this Lasko heater is that it comes fully assembled, so just pull it out of the box, plug it in, and it’s ready to start heating. It’s super portable and weighs about 7 pounds, so if you need to move it upstairs, you’ll have no trouble doing that. It offers 3 heating settings – High, Low, and PLUS – and an easy-to-use adjustable thermostat for accurate heat control.
Although the Lasko 751320 has a lot going for it, it does have one major drawback. It’s only rated to handle up to 300 square feet, so don’t expect to get warm and toasty if your basement is larger than this. Most Lasko customers agree that these units are dependable and that the company is reliable, and the 751320 space heater proves that.
- Long 3-year warranty
- Reputable Lasko name
- Stylish tower design
- Best heater for basement bedroom
- Not suitable for large rooms
- Noisy on high setting
4. Mr. Heater MHVFB30NGT – Best Natural Gas Heater for Basement
|Fuel Type||Natural Gas|
|Room Heating Size||1000 sq. ft.|
If you’re looking for the best indoor heater for your basement that runs on natural gas, keep your sights on the MHVFB30NGT by Mr. Heater. The Home-Alone style of this heater isn’t for everyone, but there’s no denying that the Mr. Heater unit is powerful. It runs on 30K BTU, which is much higher than the 5000-or-so BTUs from the other heaters reviewed so far.
Since this heater is entirely gas-powered, you won’t have to worry about placing it near a compatible outlet. It can heat spaces up to 1000 square feet, and it uses the forced air heating method for evenly distributed convection heat. The Mr. Heater has a unique look with its blue flame burner, and you can either wall-mount it with the included hardware or let it stand on its included legs.
The Mr. Heater company says that “this heater is conveniently equipped with a thermostat for superior control of the temperature in your space. Also, with a battery-powered electronic ignition, starting it is a breeze – battery included…”
Just keep in mind, it’s only compatible for use with natural gas, so you don’t have the option to convert to propane.
All in all, the MHVFB30NGT is a great choice if you’re interested in a natural gas heating solution for the basement. However, you won’t be able to use it in bedrooms or bathrooms (or other small rooms), and it’s not for use at 4500 ft above sea level since the high altitudes can cause the pilot light to shut off without warning.
- Can be used without a power source
- Great value for money
- Appealing blue flame
- Effective convection heating
- Auto low-oxygen shutoff system
- Not available in Canada or California
- No converting b/w propane and gas
5. KING PAW2422-W – Best Electric In-Wall Heater for Basement
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|Room Heating Size||Up to 400 sq. ft.|
|Voltage||240 (other options available)|
|Wattage||2250 (other options available)|
So far, we’ve covered a few different electric heaters, but the PAW2422-W is a bit different from the rest. Like all electric heating units, this one by King Electric plugs into a wall power source, but the main difference is that it features in-wall mounting. The wall mounting makes this a great choice for those who are looking for the best electric heater for a finished basement since it doesn’t take up any floor space.
This electric wall heater resembles the best through the wall AC units. It weighs only 9 pounds and sits securely in the wall without disrupting the rest of the room. It has a depth of just 4 inches, a width of 13.5 inches, and a height of 7.5 inches, so it’s super easy to handle while taking up very little space.
The PAW2422-W is built to provide comfort to your specific space, whatever size that may be. It’s not necessarily ideal for large basements, but it works well in rooms between 400 and 500 square feet. There are 3 different wattage and voltage options to choose from, each one tailored to bring comfort to your space.
One thing that some people don’t love is that you will need to cut a hole in the wall for installation, but this is a small price to pay for the vent style grill that blends into the wall decor. Installation is done by one-screw mounting into the included recessed wall can, and there’s no need to call an HVAC professional for help.
- Easy installation
- Multiple sizes available
- Trusted brand since 1958
- Strong 5-year warranty
- Small coverage area
- Must cut into drywall
6. Dr Infrared – Best Portable Heater for Unfinished Basement
|Room Heating Size||~700 sq. ft.|
Infrared heaters are popular for basements since they require minimal maintenance while creating a robust and penetrating heat. The best infrared portable heater for large basement spaces is, without a doubt, the space heater by Dr Infrared. This 1500-watt heater is small yet powerful and features a vintage design that will give your home a cool retro twist.
The manufacturer claims that the Dr Infrared can handle up to 1000 square feet, which is a bit overzealous. It’s better suited for rooms around 600 to 700 square feet, which is still pretty impressive considering the small dimensions of 13” x 11” x 16” and lightweight 24-pound design. Best of all, this heater is virtually silent with a noise level of around 39 decibels.
The electronic thermostat on the front-facing panel is easy to adjust and offers a wide range between 50 and 85 degrees. It comes with other features like tip-over and over-heat protection, 12-hr automatic shutoff timer, remote control operation, and Auto Energy Saving mode for efficient performance.
The long 72-inch power cord is a nice touch, but the real winner of Dr Infrared is its dual heating system, which allows it to average a higher heat transfer rate than other 1500-watt portable heaters. The price is right, and the 3-year warranty exceeds the industry standard, so there’s really nothing to complain about, aside from the fact that the included thermostat could be more accurate.
- Retro design
- Simple control panel
- Caster wheels for easy transport
- Remote control included
- Whisper quiet
- The thermostat could be more accurate
- Struggles with 1000 sq. ft.
7. Fahrenheat FUH – Best Electric Heater for Large Basement
|Room Heating Size||Up to 1000 sq. ft.|
|Voltage||208 or 240|
|Wattage||2500 or 5000|
Cold basements don’t stand a chance against the FUH Electric Heater by Fahrenheat. This unit is more expensive than a lot of other products on this list of best heaters for basements, but its extreme power makes up for the high price tag. It can adjust all the way from 45 to 135 degrees Fahrenheit, allowing you to warm up just about any space, including large drafty basements and chilly garages.
The main reason for the FUH heater’s status as “best for large basements” is its ability to heat up quickly and efficiently and hold on to that heat until you’re ready to turn the unit off. It’s all about providing you with continuous comfort, even when placed in a large drafty space. It can be placed on the floor or mounted from the ceiling, and the adjustable louvers allow you to direct the heat to wherever needs it most.
The Fahrenheat unit is an excellent choice for workspaces and garages as well as unfinished (and finished) basements. It even works well for outdoor patios when the weather starts to get chilly. It’s not the most aesthetically-pleasing unit, but when it comes to heating, it’s a unit you can rely on.
This heater is compatible with either 208 or 240 volts, so you won’t be able to use it with a standard 120-v outlet. It draws a high amperage (22 amps) compared to other portable units, but with high power comes high heat. However, if you’re extremely conservative about energy usage, this may not be the one for you.
- Great for garages and basements
- Optional ceiling mounting
- Wide thermostat adjustment
- Adjustable air louvers
- Design isn’t anything to rave about
- Not compatible with 120V
8. Heat Storm HS-1500-PHX – Best Smart Wall Mounted Basement Heater
|Room Heating Size||Up to 750 sq. ft.|
Similar to the wall-mounted unit by King Electric, the Heat Storm HS-1500-PHX securely mounts onto the wall and takes up absolutely no floor space. This unit is the more high-tech wall-mounted choice since it’s WiFi-enabled and can be controlled remotely via a smartphone.
The space-saving design is sleek and looks good in bedrooms, kitchens, offices, and finished basements. It’s electrically powered, runs on 1500 watts, and is compatible with the standard 110v plugs. It uses infrared radiant technology to heat a room, and all heating features can be controlled from a mobile app. Whether you want to set the temperature, set a timer, or do both, you can do it from your phone.
One really smart design feature from Heat Storm is the cord storage compartment. When installed over the outlet, you can hide the cord inside the heater, giving it a clean, sleek look. The grill is designed to stay cool, even when the heater is working at full capacity, which is an important safety feature if you have kids or pets in the home.
The only recurring complaint about the HS-1500-PHX is that it does not come with feet included, so wall-mounting is really the only option. For electric wall heater, you can see the models in another post.
- WiFi-enabled heating
- Sleek design
- Safe to the touch
- Space-saving heater
- ETL safety certified
- Short 1-year warranty
- Only wall mounting available
9. Dyna-Glo RMC-LPC200DG – Best Propane Heater for Basement
|BTUs||Up to 200K|
|Room Heating Size||Up to 4700 sq. ft.|
Propane heating isn’t the most popular choice for indoor spaces like basements, but it does have the benefit of offering more BTUs. More BTUs equals more power, so if you’re looking for sheer power, you’ll want to go with a propane heater like the Dyna-Glo RMC-LPC200DG. You’ve got a few different BTU options for the Dyna-Glo, ranging from 25000 all the way up to 200K BTUs.
If you opt for the largest 200K unit, you’ll be able to heat a space as large as 4700 square feet. The 25K BTU unit works for 600 square feet, and the 80K BTU unit works for spaces up to 2000 square feet. Needless to say, this propane-powered heater is the most powerful on the list, and it’s definitely the best choice if you have thousands of square feet to cover.
Another benefit of using a propane heater is that you won’t need access to a power source like you will with any of the electric heaters on this list. You can go from using it in the basement to the garage to a weekend camping trip and never have to worry about electricity.
Even the 200K BTU unit is surprisingly affordable, but that’s fairly common for propane heaters. The main disadvantage of going with an LPG is that you will have to refill it, and the more you use the heater, the more often you’ll need to fill the propane tank. But for the power and the price, this is an easy inconvenience to overlook.
- No power source needed
- Massive coverage area
- Multiple BTU options available
- 360-degree heat radius
- Requires propane refills
- Rustic look not for modern homes
How to Size a Basement Heater Effectively
Maybe you’re looking for a small gas heater for basement use, or perhaps you need to go all out with the best heater for large basement areas. Whichever it may be, there’s a foolproof way to determine the perfect size heater based on space and heating needs.
The first step in sizing a heater is to consider the square footage of the basement. The general rule of thumb is that a space heater needs 1 watt for every square foot it’s heating. So a basement that measures 1300 square feet will need a 1300-watt heating unit.
Baseboard heaters are a little bit different. When sizing baseboard heaters for a basement, the rule, according to The Spruce, is to “assume a room requires 10 watts of electric heating per square foot of room. In other words, a 10 x 10 room (100 square feet) will require 1000 watts of electric baseboard heating.”
Setting Up & Positioning Basement Heaters
Every basement heater is set up differently based on the type of heating unit and the manufacturer’s instructions. Our best advice for heater set up is to follow the user manual carefully and don’t assume that every heater uses the same set of installation instructions.
For positioning your heater, Lasko has some great advice. “Once you choose the area that needs heat the most, make sure that the heater is placed a foot or two from the wall. If you need to warm a more confined space, like a hallway, several room heaters are designed to be placed at the wall, with intake and exhaust vents on the front of the unit.”
Basement Heater Safety Tips
Even if you’ve chosen the best type of space heater for the basement that comes with all the necessary safety features, it’s still up to you to follow specific heater safety protocols.
Sylvane says that the first step in staying safe is proper placement, and “it’s generally suggested that space heaters be placed at least 3 feet away from furniture, window treatments, bedding, clothing, rugs, and other combustibles.”
Here are a few more safety tips to follow when using your new heater for the basement:
- Choose a unit with safety features, like overheat protection, tip-over protection, and cool-touch housing.
- Plug the unit directly into a wall outlet with the right power capacity (extension cords aren’t as stable and are more prone to overheating).
- Regularly inspect the heater and clean it from dust and allergens to reduce the risk of fire.
- Whenever not in use or away from home, turn off and unplug the unit.
People Also Ask (FAQ)
Why is there a need to heat basements?
Basements are just known to be colder than the rest of the home in general, and this is mostly because they sit lower than the rest of the house and are surrounded by ground rather than air.
On top of that, MSP Plumbing and Heating says that basements are colder because “warm air goes up and cold air goes down. You can feel the difference in the air temperature moving up and down your stairs by crawling up the stairs.”
How much will it cost to run basement heaters?
This depends on the size of the heater, the type of heating you’re using, and the overall efficiency of the unit. The cost of running a space heater will be completely different than if you were to install heated baseboards or flooring. For space heater costs, the cost per day (16 hours of running) is just under $3 with the average electricity rate, while natural gas heaters cost closer to $5.
What temperatures should I keep my basement in the wintertime?
If you’re wondering how to heat a basement in winter, the first step is to know what temperature you should be aiming for. To be honest, it depends on comfort preferences and what the basement is being used for. If no one goes down there, you could probably get by with keeping it around 60 degrees, but if you spend a lot of time in the basement, you’ll want to keep it warmer.
Should I keep basement vents open in the winter?
Yes, it is a good idea to keep basement vents open during the wintertime.
According to The Simple Dollar, keeping vents open in winter is an easy way to save money because “the furnace in a home is usually designed to blow hot air into every room in the house. By shutting off the vents, you are wasting a lot of hot air that was simply just circulating around and eventually coming out of the other vents.”
What is the safest heater type for a basement?
In terms of safety, you really can’t go wrong with a space heater. Even though they’ve gotten a bad reputation in the past, modern space heaters are built with safety features to prevent overheating, like overheat protection and tip-over protection.
What type of maintenance is needed for basement heaters?
A propane heater for the basement requires different maintenance than a baseboard heater or one that has been installed into the existing HVAC system. But no matter the type of heater you’ve opted for, the best thing to do for maintenance is keeping the heater clean and don’t let dust or debris build-up in the venting – this is one of the most significant fire hazards for basement heaters.
What is the most efficient type of basement heater?
Space heaters are extremely energy-efficient for use in the basement, especially if you opt for an infrared heater since they’re cheaper to run and use less wattage while also providing long-lasting heat.
Where can I buy basement heaters at the best prices?
You’ve always got the option to buy your radiant heat basement floor or natural gas heater for the basement directly from the manufacturer. However, most heating brands are selling their products on Amazon for a more convenient shopping/buying experience, so it’s a good idea to start there before looking elsewhere.
Whatever your reasons for needing more basement heat, raising the temperature is as simple as buying one of the basement heating options listed here. The heater you choose depends on whether you’re into gas, electric, or have baseboard heating on your mind, but if you’re still on the fence, you can’t go wrong with the classic stove-style Duraflame 3D.
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