Does Higher Wattage Make a Space Heater Better?

When it comes to space heaters, the wattage is often seen as a key indicator of its heating performance. However, the reality is that higher wattage does not necessarily make a space heater better. The effectiveness of a space heater depends on several factors, including the size of the room, insulation, and the type of heater.

Understanding Wattage

Wattage is a measure of power consumption, not heating capacity. A higher wattage heater will consume more electricity and cost more to operate, but it does not guarantee better heating performance. In fact, using a higher wattage heater than necessary can lead to energy waste and higher utility bills.

Determining the Right Wattage

does higher wattage make a space heater better

To determine the right wattage for a space heater, you need to consider the size of the room you want to heat. As a general rule of thumb, you’ll need 10 watts of heating power for every square foot of floor area in a room. For example, a 1,500-watt heater can be the primary heat source for an area measuring up to 150 square feet.

However, this rule of thumb assumes a space with typical 8-foot ceilings and good insulation. If your ceilings are higher or your space has poor insulation, you’ll need to slightly overestimate your wattage needs. Here’s a more detailed breakdown:

Room Size (sq ft) Recommended Wattage
Up to 100 sq ft 1,000 – 1,500 watts
101 – 150 sq ft 1,500 – 2,000 watts
151 – 250 sq ft 2,000 – 2,500 watts
251 – 400 sq ft 2,500 – 3,000 watts

Types of Space Heaters

It’s also important to choose the right type of space heater for your needs. There are two main types of space heaters:

  1. Convection Heaters: These work by heating coils that help to heat the air and spread it through the room with a fan. Convection heaters provide more even heat throughout an area.

  2. Radiant Heaters: These emit infrared radiation to help heat an area. Radiant heaters are faster but more focused, providing a more direct and targeted heating solution.

The type of heater you choose will depend on your specific needs and the layout of the room. Radiant heaters may be more suitable for smaller, enclosed spaces, while convection heaters can be better for larger, open areas.

Additional Factors to Consider

When choosing a space heater, there are a few other factors to consider:

  1. Energy Efficiency: Look for space heaters with high energy efficiency ratings, as this can help reduce your energy costs.

  2. Safety Features: Choose a space heater with safety features like automatic shut-off, tip-over protection, and cool-to-the-touch exteriors.

  3. Noise Level: Consider the noise level of the space heater, especially if you plan to use it in a bedroom or office.

  4. Portability: If you need to move the heater around, look for models with wheels or handles for easy transport.


In summary, while higher wattage can lead to higher heating costs, it does not necessarily mean better heating performance. When choosing a space heater, consider the size of the room, insulation, and the type of heater to ensure you’re getting the right heater for your needs. By taking the time to understand these factors, you can find the most effective and efficient space heater for your home or office.


  1. Reddit – Does the size of a space heater matter if they have the same output?
  2. Sylvane – Space Heater Buying Guide (2023)
  3. CNET – Yes, using a space heater could save you hundreds on heating costs this winter