How many watts does a space heater use?

Updated

A space heater heated to 72 degrees inside a home

Space heaters are essential for heating cold, drafty rooms in the wintertime. Even if you have a central heating system, electric space heaters can help you better target a specific area to heat in your home.

But, could space heaters cost you on your electric bill? Let's figure out how many watts of electricity you can expect a space heater to use, what size space heater you require, and our top three recommendations for the best space heaters on the market.

Find out how much you can save on your electric bill with solar panels

Key takeaways

  • To heat a room, space heaters use 1,500 watts on average.
  • Space heaters can be expensive to run, about $5 for 24 hours based on the average electricity price.
  • Using solar panels to power your home can help you reach a $0 bill balance.

On this page

    How much electricity does a space heater use?

    Like most things, the amount of electricity a space heater needs to run depends on the size of the appliance and its energy efficiency. You can find the exact amount of electricity needed by searching for the power and energy efficiency ratings on the product label.

    On average, a 1,500-watt space heater is the most common and they will need at least a 100-volt outlet. Luckily, most homes have 110-volt outlets throughout.

    Tip! Watts, kilowatt-hours, voltage: what do they all mean? There are a few key terms that you need an understanding of to fully grasp how electricity works and what watts have to do with your appliances. The basics - one kilowatt (kW) equals 1,000 watts and one megawatt (MW) equals 1,000 kilowatts. Voltage, or volts, is essentially the speed at which electricity passes through a circuit. You might be familiar with kilowatt-hours (kWh) from your electric bill because kWh is the measure of electricity use over time. Altogether, the voltage your outlet can handle dictates how many watts your space heater can be and your bill will show how much electricity is used via the total kWh usage.

    The top 3 space heaters to use in your home

    Below, you’ll find three of the most popular types of space heaters to use in your home. Ranging from small to large, these are some of the best space heaters on the market.

    Best small space heater - Vornado ACH10

    Vornado AVH10

    The Vornado AVH10 is a great space heater for small and medium-sized rooms. Image source: Amazon

    Cost as of July 2022: $99

    The Vornado AVH10 space heater has two heat settings. Low, which uses 750 W, and high, which uses 1,500 W of power.

    This space heater can heat a single room with forced air and is equipped to heat a small-to-medium-sized room. While the Vornado’s price tag might be off-putting, it’s built to be a safe and effective option.

    Best large space heater - Lasko Model FH500

    Lasko Model FH500

    Perfect for a larger room, the Lasko FH500 will quietly heat your home. Image source: Lasko

    Cost as of July 2022: $128.99

    The Lasko FH500 is a great option for a large room such as a living room and can also operate as a fan in hotter months. It offers 3 heating speeds from low to high and needs 1,500 watts to run with a 120-volt outlet.

    Best compromise space heater - Lasko ceramic adjustable space heater

    Lasko Ceramic

    A compact, quiet space heater is great for smaller rooms. Image source: Lasko

    Cost as of July 2022: $31.95

    The Lasko ceramic heater runs on 1,500 watts at the high setting and uses 750 watts for lower heat. It is a quiet, unobtrusive space heater that works great in smaller settings. Don’t use this for your entire living room, but it can keep your office or small bedroom warm.

    All of these options are lightweight and can act like portable heaters throughout your home. These heat your space up in a matter of minutes, so keep one handy for those extra cold winter days.

    How much does it cost to run a 1,500-watt heater for 24 hours?

    Many of life's decisions boil down to cost, so let's break down how much you can expect to pay to run your space heaters based on the wattage needed.

    Across the United States, the average cost of electricity is 13.7 cents per kWh, so we can use that metric to make a few assumptions.

    We would not recommend running a space heater for 24 hours a day as it is unsafe and uses a lot of electricity. This chart can help you gauge and budget costs.

    Watt usage

    Time use

    kWh used 

    Average cost

    750 W

    24 hour 

    18 kWh

    $2.52

    1,000 W

    24 hour

    24 kWh

    $3.36

    1,500 W

    24 hour

    36 kWh

    $5.04

    What size room can a space heater heat?

    The answer to that question, like most things, is: it depends. How well a space heater heats your home also depends on how well insulated it is as well as the temperature outside. If the temperature is below freezing and your insulation is lacking, a space heater won’t effectively heat your home.

    You can use the metric of 10 watts for every square foot of space. If you have a room that is 100 square feet, the space heater would need 1,000 watts of power. All three recommended space heaters can accommodate that much space. The average 1,500 kWh space heater is ideal for a 150-square foot room.

    Will a larger space heater consume more energy?

    The size of the space heater does not necessarily dictate the electricity consumption. Factors outside of your control, such as the temperature of the room your space heater is warming as well as the size of the room, factor into its power consumption.

    A larger space heater can warm larger spaces, such as a living room. Unfortunately, a large space heater will use more electricity than a smaller one.

    Watt will your space heater cost you?

    If the cost of running a space heater is unappealing to you, solar panels can keep your monthly electric bill costs down. While installing solar panels is more expensive than buying a space heater, they can make your electric heating bill next to nothing. With solar, you can run a space heater for any amount of time for practically no electricity cost.

    Using space heaters is an efficient way to keep warm even if you have a thermostat-controlled central heating system or baseboard heaters in your home. They can give more drafty rooms an extra warm boost or provide a heating element in your bathroom during cold winter months. You can expect most space heaters to need 1,500 kWh to run, and most average home outlets can provide that power with no issue.

    Do solar panels make sense for your home?
     - Author of Solar Reviews

    Ana Almerini

    Web Content Specialist

    Ana is a content specialist at SolarReviews. She uses her experience in marketing and knowledge from her master's in climate communications to research and review the solar industry.

    Related solar news