Electric baseboards are gaining in popularity each year, and they’re one of the most effective ways to heat your home.
But did you know that using baseboard heaters can also lower your bills?
Read the following article to find out which is the best electric baseboard heater in 2017, and how to install it in your home.
Our short buying guide will explain how to use baseboard heaters efficiently, and our electric baseboard heater reviews will show you the pros and cons of the best selling models in 2017.
Most people don’t buy a baseboard heater because they don’t know what model is good for them, and how to install the heater in their homes. Our buying guide will clarify just that in a matter of minutes.
Every electric household appliance has its hazards, especially heaters. Check out our electric baseboard safety tips to make sure you use them safely and efficiently at all times.
- Marley HBB1254
- Type: Electric/Hydronic
- Watts: 1250
- Volt: 240
- Dimensions: 58 x 2.9 x 8.4
- UL listed
- Other features: Built-in wire way, lead wires, and knockouts, High temperature safety limit
- CADET 9954
- Type: electric
- Watts: 1000
- Volt: 240
- Dimensions: 48 x 4 x 7
- UL listed
- Other features: 25 Gauge Steel, 20 Gauge Junction Box
- King 4K1210BW
- Type: electric
- Watts: 1000
- Volt: 120
- Dimensions: 48 x 3.2 x 6.8
- UL listed
- Other features: Wall Mounting, Built in Cable Clamp, Crushproof Element, Full Length Safety Cutout, New Quick Wire Design, 3413 BTUs
- Cadet Manufacturing 09952
- Type: electric
- Watts: 750
- Volt: 240
- Dimensions: 36 x 4 x 7
- UL listed
- Other features: 25 Gauge Steel, 20 Gauge Junction Box
- Fahrenheat PLF1004
- Type: hydronic
- Watts: 1000
- Volt: 240
- Dimensions: 3 x 8 x 46
- UL listed
- Other features: Thermal cutout, 3413 BTUs
- Fahrenheat PLF1504
- Type: hydronic
- Watts: 1500
- Volt: 240
- Dimensions: 70 x 2.9 x 8.4
- UL listed
- Other features: Thermal cutout
Top 6 Electric Baseboard Heaters
King 4K1210BW Baseboard Heater
This baseboard heater has the capacity of producing 1,000 Watts of heat and needs a 120-volt power source.
This heater is listed for commercial or apartment use, but you can even run it in a single room without having to worry about the sound levels. It runs quietly, and you won’t be able to tell it’s working most of the times.
The casing is made out of a durable material, and its enamel finish will keep the heater looking as good as new for a very long time. This finish also helps with cleaning the product, ensuring that the heater won’t rust when you clean it, or when you mop around it.
This heater is made out of high-quality parts, and it won’t make any pinging sounds, allowing you to benefit from a good night’s sleep.
- Quiet – This unit really runs without making sounds. This is not mandatory for energy efficient electric baseboard heaters, but it’s certainly a plus.
- Great Heating Capacity – This unit is very efficient for its heating Wattage, exceeding expectations. It is capable of heating a larger surface than other models with the same listed capacity.
- Difficult Installation – The manufacturer didn’t pay as much attention as he should to the installation diagram. The diagram is not very clear and is sometimes hard to follow. If you don’t have any kind of experience with installing baseboard heaters, it might prove to be difficult.
- Hardwired – This is a hardwired unit, so you cannot plug it into a power outlet. You need to connect it directly to the electric circuit, so you might need to call a professional.
Marley HBB1254 Electric/Hydronic Baseboard Heater
Marley’s hydronic baseboard heater is capable of producing 1,250 Watts of heat, and it needs a 220-volt electric circuit.
This is a hydronic heater, so it’s filled with liquid. The liquid might take longer to warm up than the regular electric heating elements, but once it does it stays warm for a long period of time with minimal energy consumption. The liquid also remains warm for a long time after the unit it turned off, without using any power.
This unit uses a strong convection flow to deliver the heat all around the room, making sure the room’s temperature stays even throughout the day.
The heater is compact and durable. It’s able to heat a large space, and it runs quietly.
- Delivers Heat A Long Time – This unit will deliver heat a long time after you turn it off. It is typical of hydronic baseboard heaters to do this, but this model keeps delivering warm air for a long period.
- Long Warranty – This baseboard heater is covered by a 10-year warranty. This is a very large period of time and makes it a great addition to every home.
- Hard Installation – This unit is hard to install. First of all, you need to put the heater on a wall and measure where you want to drill the screw points, as they are not pre-drilled. Then you have to buy the screws yourself because the manufacturer does not deliver any with the unit. All of this means a lot of unnecessary work.
- No Thermostat – You have to buy a thermostat separately because this unit does not have one. Luckily, there are many models that work well with this heater.
CADET 9954 Baseboard Heater
This model is capable of producing 1,000 Watts of heating and it requires a 240-Volt power source.
This unit is very durable. The whole construction is made out of 25-gauge steel, and the junction box is made out of 20-gauge metal. All the construction is powder coated, so you don’t have to worry about the paint degrading over the years, or about rust.
The baseboard heater will heat up nicely very fast, and it will deliver warmth in a medium room.
A nice thing about this model is the fact that its color is not stringent. It will blend in with most environments, and because the heater runs silently, most people won’t even notice it’s there.
- Durable Construction – This unit is made out of durable materials, so you’ll be able to enjoy it for a very long time.
- Good Heating Capacity – This model will turn a cold room into a pleasant environment in a matter of minutes. It is one of the most efficient baseboard models available on the market.
- No Thermostat – This model does not come with a thermostat, so you’ll have to buy one individually, raising the overall installing cost.
- No Wiring Holes – Keep in mind that this model does not come with pre-drilled holes for the wiring to pass through. You will have to decide where you want the wiring to pass, and then you need to make a hole in the metal casing.
Cadet 09952 Baseboard Heater
This model is capable of producing 750-Watts of heat, and it needs a 240-Volt power source. It is one of the best rated baseboard heaters available on the market today.
Cadet’s space heater produces a good amount of heat, enough for delivering all the necessary warmth for a small room by itself.
The baseboard heater’s casing is a thing of beauty. It’s made out of durable 25 gauge steel, and the junction box is made out of 20 gauge thick metal. All the construction is powder coated, so the paint will last for many years, no matter the environment in which you place the unit.
This unit is great for a small or crowded room because it has a small footprint. You can place it under a window and it will never interfere with your regular activities.
- Easy To Clean – The powder coated finish allows you to use almost all the products you want when cleaning the unit, without having to worry about damaging the paint.
- Very Quiet – This model makes little to no noise. You’ll have no problem sleeping with a working unit in the same room.
- No Thermostat – This unit does not come with a thermostat, but you have to buy one if you want to use it. Without a thermostat, the heater will produce heat continuously, without stopping.
- Small – This unit is small and has a limited heating capacity. It should be used only in small rooms, or in well-insulated medium rooms.
Fahrenheat PLF1004 Hydronic Baseboard Heater
Fahrenheat’s hydronic heater is capable of producing 1,000 Watts of heating and it requires a 240-Volt power source.
This model is filled with a specially formulated liquid, specially designed for quick heat transfer. This allows the heater to have a greater heating capacity than other models with the same wattage.
The heater can be mounted directly in the floor, or even directly on carpets, thanks to its special design.
Once the heater starts working, it delivers a lot of heat evenly on the whole surface of the working elements, and it will warm up a medium or even a well-insulated large room in no time whatsoever.
- Great Heating Capacity – This model’s specially formulated immersion liquid is better than the water other hydronic heaters use at heat transfer, so it will provide more heat than the other baseboard heaters with the same Wattage.
- Thermal Cut-off Feature – This model has a special safety feature which will cut the heater’s power if the airflow is blocked. A baseboard heater is very easily covered by mistake, so this is a good feature, as it minimizes the baseboard heater’s fire hazard. Once the airflow is not blocked any longer, the heater will automatically turn back on.
- No Thermostat – This baseboard heater does not come with a thermostat, so you’ll have to buy your own.
- Gets Hot – This unit goes beyond just warm when it’s working, so make sure you keep your children and pets away from it to avoid accidents.
Fahrenheat PLF1504 Hydronic Baseboard Heater
This baseboard heater is capable of producing 1,500 Watts of heating and requires a 240-Volt electric circuit.
The heater is one of the best models in our top baseboard heaters, and it will provide enough heat for a large room. If the heater is used alongside the central heating system, it may keep the temperature constant for an entire floor, depending on the surface.
This baseboard heater uses a specially formulated liquid for transferring warmth from the heating elements to the air. This liquid is better at transferring heat than water, making this model better at distributing warm air around a room than the rest of the models with the same wattage.
- Safety Feature – This heater uses a thermal cutout feature, which will cut the unit’s power as soon as the airflow is blocked. This is a great safety feature because baseboard heaters are prone to airflow blocks due to their low position, just over the ground. This feature eliminates the fire hazard, making the heater safer to use. As soon as the airflow is back to normal, the unit will automatically start again.
- Extraordinary Heating Capacity – This model’s design and the unique formulated heat transfer liquid make it one of the most efficient heaters out there.
- No Thermostat – This unit does not come with a thermostat, so you’ll have to buy one separately.
- Bad Customer Service – Every mass-produced product can be faulty. But when customer service refuses to help you with a faulty product, it’s a big minus.
What Is a Baseboard Heater and How Does It Work?
An electric baseboard heater provides enough heat to warm an individual room. Thermostats can be used to control the temperature in each room individually. Using a baseboard heater will help you save money by turning them on only in the rooms you use.
What Is A Baseboard Heater?
These units are convection heaters capable of drawing cool air, move it over the heating element, and then releasing it back into the room as warm air.
How Does It Work?
There is a metal tube inside every baseboard heater. Each metal tube contains a heating element. Each heater is also full of water. When the unit starts working, electricity passes through the heating element increasing its temperature. This high temperature is then transferred to the metal tube, and finally to the surrounding water.
When it reaches boiling temperatures, the water turns to steam heating the air in a room. The air circulates around the room, and them it’s sucked back into the heater to restart the process. This whole process is controlled by a thermostat.
Why Should You Use a Baseboard Heater?
Each baseboard heater has water running its entire length, so the heat is transferred to a large surface, increasing the rate of the heat distribution. The heat is also distributed evenly, and there are fewer fluctuations between sudden rises and drops in temperatures because the water retains heat better than air.
Baseboard Heater vs Classic Convection Heater
Classic convection heaters have a heating element that warms the air directly and pushes it into the room. The heating element gets hot quickly but cools quickly as well. The warm air is produced and distributed through a small space, and it takes a long time for it to fill the whole room.
Baseboard heaters are filled with water. The heating element is submerged in water, heating it to boiling temperatures. The warm air is produced and distributed over a large surface, raising the temperature evenly around the room. The heating element gets hot quickly, but boiling the water can take some time. After the water boils, though, it takes a long time to cool back down, so a baseboard heater will still produce warm air after the unit is turned off.
Types of Baseboard Heaters
There are two main categories of baseboard heaters, hydronic and electric. Both of them have advantages and disadvantages, as shown below.
Hydronic Baseboard Heaters
These heaters are less popular than electric ones, but they still offer some advantages.
The main disadvantage of old hydronic heaters is that they are hard to install. You won’t be able to do the installation by yourself, and you’ll have to contact a professional, which will cost you extra. Old hydronic baseboard heaters need to be connected to a hydronic heating source like a boiler so that it has a source of hot water.
However, newer hydronic units use a better heating system and require an easier installation. They contain a liquid, usually water but sometimes oil, that is heated up with the help of electricity, and then the liquid is recirculated within the baseboard heater, without needing a connection with hydronic heating sources. Installing them is easy, you just plug them into a wall socket and screw them in your wall.
The good thing about using this type of heating is the fact that the air stays comfortably humid, a great feature for people who suffer from allergies, or who have a cold.
A hydronic baseboard heater can take longer to heat up than an electrical one, but once it’s heated, it will maintain that heat without using a lot of electricity and will retain heat and maintain the room’s temperature high even after you turn the unit off.
Hydronic baseboard heaters will keep the temperature high in a room long after they are turned off, but they are also warm, sometimes even hot to the touch. They tend to remain warm to the touch long after they are turned off, as well. This might make them less suited for households with children, elderly, or pets.
Electric Baseboard Heaters
Installing an electric baseboard heater is easy. You just screw the unit into the wall and plug it into a wall socket. Some electric units have to be hardwired into your electrical circuit, so you might once again need a professional to do it, increasing the overall installation price.
These units heat up quickly and use a fan to distribute the warm air further into the room. The room’s temperature will rise quickly, but if you use this type of heaters for a longer period of time, they can dry the moisture out of the air, resulting in an uncomfortable environment. This can be bad especially for people who suffer from allergies, sinusitis or bronchitis.
The main advantage of using an electric unit is that they keep the room’s temperature high while they stay cool to the touch. This makes them great for people who have children, elderly, or pets in their household.
How to Choose the Best Electric Baseboard Heater?
Choosing the best baseboard heater for your home depends on a lot of factors, but here is a list of the most common ones.
How Do You Intend To Use It?
There are two ways you can use a baseboard heater. You can either opt to use it as a single heating source or as an additional heating source for the colder parts of your home.
Single Heating Source – If you intend to rely only on the baseboard heating system in the cold season, you need to calculate the size of the units you need around the house with accuracy. If your heating system is undersized, you won’t be comfortable during the coldest part of the winter. On the other hand, if your system is too large for your room, you might waste some money on energy, and the warmest parts of your house might get uncomfortably warm. Electric baseboard heating cost can be low or high, depending on how many units you need, and how expensive electricity is in your area.
Additional Heating – Using electric baseboard units as an additional heating source is a great way to lower your heating bills. You can use them independently when the weather is mild, and you can use them with great results alongside the central heating system. When the temperatures drop so low that you have to turn the central heating system on, don’t set the thermostat as high as you used to. Lower the thermostat’s temperature setting by up to 15 degrees F, and use the baseboard units to provide the rest of the heat. This can lower your overall heating bills by a surprising amount.
Choose The Right Size
Choosing the right size of a baseboard heater is more difficult than you might think, and we laid down some instructions further in our buying guide.
You should keep in mind that an electric hydronic baseboard heater will reach the temperature you want slower than a simple electric one, but that it will maintain the temperature for longer after it’s turned off, without drying out the moisture in the air.
On the other hand, an electric baseboard heater will warm a room quickly, maintain the temperature a reasonable amount of time, but will dry the moisture in the room. However, they are better for households with children, elderly, or pets because they stay cool to the touch.
Placing The Baseboard Heater Is Very Important
Placing the unit just right is very important, and it might make the difference between decent baseboard heaters and the most efficient baseboard heaters.
Under The Window – Placing the baseboard heater under the window will dramatically decrease the heat loss in a room, especially if the window is old. When you place the heater under the window and it starts working, the heat rises and acts like a curtain of warm air. This curtain will not stop the cold air from entering the room, but it will warm it as soon as it gets into the room, keeping the temperature at a higher level.
On Exterior Walls – Exterior walls have a constant heat exchange with the environment outside. Placing a baseboard heater on an exterior wall will increase the wall’s temperature constantly, so even if the wall keeps exchanging heat with the outside environment, the room’s temperature won’t drop.
Buy More Units When Necessary
If your heating baseline is of 2,000 Watts, but you have two exterior walls and a window, it will be more efficient to buy three units with a total output of 2,000 Watts than buying a single 2,000 Watt unit. This way, you will place the baseboard heaters exactly where the heat losses are greater, minimizing them.
Electric Baseboard Heating Efficiency
Electric baseboard heaters work as zone heaters and use thermostats to control the temperatures in each room.
Each heater contains an electric heating element encased in a metal pipe. The pipes are surrounded by aluminum threads to increase the heat transfer, and they run the entire length of the heater’s housing.
The heater draws cool air from the room through its bottom part. The air is then heated and rises back in the room, sometimes helped by a small metal fan. Some of the produced heat accumulates in the pipe, thread, and housing, and then radiates in the room for a longer time.
The most common spot to place a baseboard heater is underneath a window. This is usually done for two reasons. The first reason is that windows are placed on an exterior wall, which is colder than an interior one. The second reason is that the warm air rising from the heater will counteract the cold air coming from the window glass. Baseboard heaters are rarely placed on interior walls because they have to neutralize the greatest heat losses.
Even a high efficiency electric baseboard heater can seem to work badly if you don’t install it properly. Keep in mind that the heaters suck the cold air in a room through their bottom part, so make sure you place them at least 1.9 cm (3/4 of an inch) above the floor. That way the cold air will reach the heating element without any kind of problems.
If you want to make sure you receive all the hot air the electric baseboard heater is producing, make sure your drapes are not covering it. The bottom part of your drapes should end at 4 inches above the heaters if you want them to be efficient. The drapes should also be placed at least two inches in front of the heaters. Baseboard heaters rely on a good airflow in order to be efficient, so don’t let drapes impede the airflow from reaching the unit.
Heat rises, so make sure you don’t place anything over the baseboard heater. Clothes, toys, and papers will keep part of the warm air from exiting the heater, reducing its efficiency. Some people even try to cover the heaters by placing small tables or other pieces of furniture in front of the unit. This will only block the airflow from reaching the rest of the room.
Benefits of Electric Baseboard Heaters
- Energy Efficient – Baseboard heaters convert almost all the energy they use into heat. A tiny fraction of that energy is used to rotate the fan if the unit has one. If it doesn’t, all the energy is converted into heat, making them one of the most efficient heating systems available on the market.
- Easy Installation – When comparing its installation with that of a central air heating system, even a hydronic baseboard heating system seems very easy. There are no ducts involved, and no breaches in the walls that need to be made. You just screw the unit into a wall, plug it into a power outlet, and you can run it. Simple as that. Keep in mind, however, that some baseboard heaters need to be hardwired into your electrical circuit, which means you’ll need to hire a professional.
- Good Value – Baseboard heaters are less expensive than central air heating, and installing them is cheaper, sometimes even free. The ductwork for central air heating alone surpasses all the expenses you will need to make to have a highly functional heating system using only baseboard heaters.
- Low Maintenance – Unlike central air heating, which has a lot of components, each of them prone to fail, especially the ductwork, baseboard heaters need little maintenance. All you need to do is clean them before the cold season starts, and once every month while you’re using them.
- Environmentally Friendly – Baseboard heaters don’t produce toxic by-products when they work, and they don’t use an open flame. They don’t use any carbon while they’re working. They don’t need fuel lines, so they won’t leak into the environment. They don’t take anything from the surrounding air, and they don’t add anything to it, making them environmentally friendly.
- Lower The Heating Bills – Unlike a central air heating system, baseboard heaters can be used to heat only the rooms you actually use. Instead of using the central air system to heat up the entire house, you can save a lot of money by using baseboard units where they’re needed. You can also lower your heating bills by using the baseboard units as a secondary heating source, using the combined effects of both central heating and the baseboard system. Lowering the central air heating thermostat by 10 – 15 degrees F, and using baseboard heaters in the colder parts of the house can lower your bills by up to 30%.
Electric Baseboard Safety Tips
Electrical baseboard heating systems aren’t the most popular types of heating systems around, but they can be very efficient when they’re used tight. Here are some safety tips you should follow to make sure your heater works perfectly.
- Don’t Block The Heater – Baseboard heaters work by drawing cold air through the bottom, heating it and then pushing it back into the room from the top of the unit. Blocking the lower part of the heater by placing a carpet over it will make it ineffective. Blocking the rising warm air will also make it less efficient.
- Keep The Top Clear – Keeping the top of the baseboard heater clear is important. The first thing you should be concerned about is blocking the airflow, thus lowering the heater’s efficiency. But if you block the top of the heater with flammable objects, they can become hot over time, and they could even catch fire. So keep in mind that blocking the top of the heater might represent a fire hazard.
- Use A Thermostat – You should use a thermostat for controlling your heaters at all times. If you use more than one baseboard heater in a single room, it’s better to have them all controlled by a single thermostat, instead of having multiple thermostats that turn the units on and off unpredictably.
- Keep The Thermostat At Low Values – When you come home and you find it colder than you expect, you might be tempted to crack the temperature up in order to heat the room more quickly. Baseboard heaters don’t work like that. They might take longer to heat a room, but they maintain that temperature longer than other space heaters, so setting a high temperature will only make the room less comfortable for a long time. If you want to raise the room’s temperature, do it gradually.
- Careful Around Children – First of all, you should be careful if children get close to the baseboard heaters. Their small hands and arms can reach inside some baseboard heaters, touching the heating elements directly. This might lead to serious burns and injuries. Second, you need to be careful that the children won’t place their toys or other household objects inside the heater. Any object that comes in contact with the heating element represents a fire hazard. Some models can also have slightly sharp edges, so it might be best to keep the children away from them.
Baseboard Heater Installation
Installing a baseboard heater is usually pretty simple and straightforward. This installation is usually easier than that of other heating systems. Here are the steps you should follow to install your baseboard unit properly.
- Measure The Room’s Size – The first thing you should do is make sure you buy the right model. Multiply the room’s length with its width in feet to find out the square footage.
- Count The Windows – Count the total number of windows in the room. Keep in mind that older single pane windows lose more heat than double or triple glazed ones.
- Find Out How Many Exterior Walls Are There – The number of exterior walls will help you determine how much of the warmth is transferred outside.
- Find Out If The Room Is Insulated – A well-insulated room will have fewer heat leaks.
- Calculate A Baseline – Most spaces need 10 Watts of heating per square foot of space. So a room which is 12 foot by 12 foot has 144 sq/ft. If the ceiling is 8 feet high, the room should be comfortably heated with a unit producing 1,500 Watts of heat.
- Determine The Heating Necessities Above The Baseline – All the information you found out before comes into play here. If your room doesn’t have insulation, you need to increase the wattage. If the room has a lot of exterior walls, if there are a lot of windows, especially old windows, if it’s not insulated, you need to increase the wattage. If your room has all the previous conditions, you might need to double the wattage to make sure your room will stay warm during the colder days.
- Decide How Many Heaters You Need – Sizing electric baseboard heaters is not enough, you need to determine how many to place in a room. You can buy a small baseboard heater and two larger ones, or you can buy a single very large unit to cover the necessary wattage. For example, 1,500 Watts can be reached by installing three 500-Watt heaters, or a single larger unit of 1,500 Watts.
- Determine The Thermostat’s Location – Placing your thermostat right is essential for having the right temperature in a room. If you place the thermostat over a heater, it will always record a higher temperature than the real one. You should never place the thermostat on an exterior wall, as it will record a lower temperature than what’s real. You should also avoid placing the thermostat behind doors, where the airflow reaches harder.
- Follow The Instructions – Once you bought the right sized unit and placed the thermostat, follow the manufacturer’s installing instructions manual closely.
Electric baseboard heaters are versatile, so you can use them with great results in places like attics, bedrooms, living rooms, and offices.
They are small and effective, and they’re usually so quiet people don’t even notice them in a room.
Our electric baseboard heater reviews showed you the pros and cons of the best selling models available on the market, but keep in mind that they are not the only ones out there.
If you think you didn’t find the right match for you in our list, read our comprehensive buying guide and be sure you make an informed decision when you decide to buy one.
Finding the best electric baseboard heater for home depends on where you want to use it, how you want to use it, and how efficient your house is at keeping warmth inside.
Remember that this is not the only heating system we reviewed on the website, so feel free to explore more if you don’t think this system is the one for you.