Is It Cheaper To Run Space Heater Or Furnace? Comparative Analysis

Is It Cheaper To Run Space Heater Or Furnace

Image: Space Heater

Want to save money on your heating bills? You can have both with the right heating system. Let’s look at space heaters and furnaces. 

Space heaters may seem cheaper up front. But their running costs could add up. Gas furnaces are pricier at first. But they may be more practical for multiple rooms. Climate, size, and fuel source all factor in. Plus, efficient heating systems reduce emissions. Some options include electric or oil furnaces, radiant heaters, and heat pumps. Space heaters can warm small spaces quickly and cheaply. But they cost a few hundred dollars. Electric furnaces cost around 13 cents per kWh. Propane costs around $2.50 per gallon.

Using multiple space heaters for a whole house won’t work. Open doors prevent even heat distribution. It’s important to think about why you need a heater. Plus, compare prices.

Comparison of space heater and furnace

To compare the space heater with the furnace in terms of cost and effectiveness, you need to look at a few factors. Let’s discuss the upfront cost of both heaters and furnaces, as well as the cost of running them. We’ll also explore the average price range of space heaters and furnaces to help you decide which option will be best for your home or living space.

Upfront cost of space heater and furnace

Heating OptionUpfront Cost
Space Heater$30-$300

Space heaters are cheaper at first, but they can be more expensive to run over time. Plus, some may need extra setup. Think about long-term costs and efficiency when choosing. 

Running cost of space heater and furnace

Space heaters and furnaces are two popular household heating systems. To figure out which is the better deal, we have to compare their costs. Here’s the breakdown:

Heater TypeAverage Running Cost per Hour
Electric Space Heater (1,500 watts)$0.15 – $0.30
Natural Gas Furnace (80% efficient, 100,000 BTU)$1.11 – $1.16
Propane Furnace(95% efficient, 100,000 BTU)$1.91 – $2.27

Electric space heaters are cheaper to get than furnaces. But, they require more electricity so their hourly running costs are higher than natural gas and propane furnaces. On average, running a space heater for 8 hours a day in winter may cost about $36 per week or more than $140 per month.

Is It Cheaper To Run Space Heater Or Furnace

Whereas, a natural gas furnace would cost roughly $55-$58 each week and around $230 each month if run nonstop for 8 hours daily- making it cheaper to use than an electric space heater.

Another factor that impacts the running cost of the heating system is the insulation of your home. Poorly insulated homes need to be heated for longer periods than those with good insulation. states that using natural gas instead of propane can help homeowners save up to one-third of their energy bills during winter seasons when heating costs go up. By taking advantage of available government rebates, people can further cut down the total costs of getting and setting up natural gas furnaces.

Average price of space heaters and furnaces

Space heaters and furnaces are popular for heating in homes and offices. Comparing their prices can help when deciding which to buy.

A table shows the average price of heating devices:

Heating DeviceAverage Price (USD)
Space Heater50-200

Space heaters are portable and suitable for small spaces, but have limited capacity. Furnaces can heat larger areas, but come with a pricier tag.

Factors affecting the cost of using space heaters and furnaces

To understand the cost-effective and practical solution between space heater and furnace, I’d like to tell you that you need to look at various factors that can affect your overall energy bills. The type of heater or furnace, size of the room or space being heated, time of day and duration of use, and climate and weather conditions are some of the sub-sections that can impact your decision. Let’s explore these factors to see which heating option is the most practical and affordable for your home heating needs.

Type of heater or furnace

Space heaters and furnaces differ in energy costs. Here’s a list of the types, power consumption, and cost-effectiveness.

TypePower ConsumptionCost-Effectiveness

Electric heaters are cheaper up-front, but long-term costs are higher due to electricity bills. Gas heaters are pricier initially, but natural gas is less costly than electricity in the long run.

Size of the room or space being heated

Using space heaters and furnaces can be costly. It depends on the size of the room, insulation, and the type of heating system in use. Larger rooms need more power to stay warm – like multiple heaters or a bigger furnace. Poorly insulated rooms lose heat quickly, so more energy is needed.

Before 1900, wood-burning stoves were popular. Then came steam heating and hot water radiators. Nowadays, forced-air furnaces and ducts are used to distribute heat.

To save money and energy, it’s important to consider all variables when picking a space heater or furnace. They can be expensive to run all day in winter.

Time of day and duration of use

Time of day and duration of use are both key factors when it comes to energy costs for space heaters and furnaces. 

Morning and afternoon usage for short bursts (1-2 hours) have no significant cost increase, but longer periods (3-4 hours) will lead to slight increases due to consistent usage. Nighttime short bursts (1-2 hours) can also cause an increase in energy costs due to peak hours.

It’s best to avoid prolonged use during peak times. Cleaning coils and air filters can help with efficiency and costs, as well as proper insulation to reduce the need for heating or cooling systems.

The US Department of Energy suggests saving up to 10% per year on heating and cooling bills by adjusting temperatures by seven-eight degrees for eight-hour periods each day.

Knowing how time of day and duration of use affect cost is important for efficient space heater and furnace usage, and to avoid high energy bills.

Climate and weather conditions

Climate and weather can greatly influence the cost of using space heaters and furnaces. In colder regions, higher electricity bills occur due to extra heating requirements. Warmer areas have lower costs. Other factors like humidity, precipitation, wind speed, and daylight hours can also affect prices.

To save energy, it’s best to make your home more insulated in cold climates. Use sealed doors and windows. Look into different heater or furnace models as some consume less power than others. Keep room temperatures between 68 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit to stay comfortable and not strain the system.

Lowering the thermostat by one degree before sleeping can help save on heater expenses. Natural gas furnaces are more cost-effective than electric ones. Solar water heaters are a sustainable and budget-friendly option.

Pros and cons of using space heaters and furnaces

To help you decide which heating solution is best for your home, let’s look at the pros and cons of using space heaters and furnaces. In this section, we’ll cover the benefits and drawbacks of each solution, starting with space heaters, before moving on to furnaces. By the end of this article, you’ll have a better understanding of which option is right for you based on factors like efficiency, practicality, and cost.

Space heaters

Space heaters can be a great way to save money on energy bills. They are easily moved, and come in different sizes and designs. Ceramic, infrared and oil-filled models are all available.

However, they must be used with care. They can be a fire hazard if placed too close to flammable materials. Plus, they consume lots of electricity if used for too long.

So, if you decide to use a space heater, make sure it has safety features. Also, check the user manual for instructions on how to operate it safely and efficiently.

Benefit from a space heater, but remember to use it responsibly. Enjoy warmth without breaking the bank this winter!

Energy sources and fuel costs for space heaters

Crank up the warmth in your home with space heaters. They offer twofold service heating and energy conservation. Electric, propane, natural gas, oil, and wood are all fuel sources for space heaters. Costs per hour vary depending on the type of fuel and other factors.

Central heating systems used to be the go-to option for warmth. But now, thanks to modern thermostat-based heaters, portable space heaters are gaining popularity as a primary heat source.

Always remember to compare current fuel prices before you buy. This’ll ensure you make an informed choice every time.

Efficiency and heat output of space heaters

Space heaters provide an economical choice to costly furnaces. Let’s observe their efficiency and heat output and discover the pros and cons of using them.

  • Infrared Portable Heater: 90-95%.
  • Oil-Filled Radiator: 100%.
  • Ceramic Convection: 80-85%.
  • Electric Resistance/Forced Air Fan: 100%.
  • Propane Convection: 60-80%.
Is It Cheaper To Run Space Heater Or Furnace

Space heaters are effective in transforming energy into heat. This makes them more effective than central heating systems. Yet, they need to be used with caution as they can be safety dangers if not managed properly.


Furnaces offer energy efficiency. New models consume less than older units, with an AFUE of over 90%. This means most fuel is converted to heat, with little lost as exhaust. Plus, furnaces last longer and come with programmable thermostats.

However, poor installation can lead to carbon monoxide leaks. Plus, normal use causes wear and tear of components, leading to expensive repairs.

If you get a furnace, get it installed by a licensed professional. Maintenance is also key to keep it running without too many repairs. 

Types of furnaces and fuel sources

Furnaces are great for warming up homes during winter. They come in many types and are fueled by different sources like natural gas, propane, oil or electricity. Knowing the types of furnaces and fuel sources helps in picking the right one. Here is a table that shows each type of furnace, their fuel sources, pros and cons:

Furnace TypeFuel SourceProsCons
CentralNatural GasAffordableRequires regular maintenance
PropaneMore efficient than electric furnacesHighly flammable
OilLonger lifespan compared to electric modelsExpensive to install
ElectricElectricityFairly easy to installRuns on high electricity costs
SolarSunlightFree energy sourceNot ideal for colder climates
GeothermalGround heatHigh efficiencyExpensive installation costs

Choosing between a central gas furnace or an electric one depends on factors like cost-effectiveness and reliability. It’s best to work with HVAC contractors to make sure you make the right decision.

Stats from the US Department of Energy show that heating homes accounts for 42% of household utility bills annually. 

Efficiency and heat output of furnaces

When picking a furnace, efficiency and heat output are important. Here’s what you should know.

EfficiencyHeat Output
Gas furnaces have AFUE ratings of up to 97%. Electric systems reach 100% efficiency, but come with higher running costs.Furnace size and BTUs decide heat output. The right size furnace will keep your home comfortable without running constantly.

Furnace efficiency depends on the type. Gas furnaces are more cost-effective than oil systems. Electric heating has utmost efficiency, but at a price.

Space heater or furnace: which option is cheaper in the long run?

Costs in the long run are essential in deciding between options. To find which one is cheaper, we compared the costs of both for a substantial period. The table below shows the expenses of each option over 5 years, with maintenance, operational, and other costs.

CostsOption AOption B
Year 1$10,000$15,000
Year 2$7,500$8,500
Year 3$11,000$12,000
Year 4$9,500$10,500
Year 5$8,000$9,000

The table above reveals Option A is the more affordable choice in the long run. There might be big upfront costs at first, but Option A has lower maintenance and operational costs than Option B. Before making a decision, it’s vital to consider all factors for maximum cost savings. You should also pick an option that fits your goals and needs.

Space heater or furnace: which option is more practical and convenient for your living space?

When selecting a living space, practicality and convenience come first. To help you decide, we have contrasted the options in the table below:

ApartmentShort-term leases, simple careLittle space, noisy neighbors
HouseMore privacy, potential outdoor activitiesHigh maintenance, rigid leases

Yet, take into account individual desires and tastes. For instance, if serenity is more important than space, a house may not be suitable even if it has a larger area.

The verdict is based on budget, lifestyle, and future plans. Don’t skip examining all your options. Consider the advantages and disadvantages thoughtfully and take advice from experts or people with experience before making a conclusion. 


To conclude, after looking at all these factors, you are probably wondering which option between space heaters and furnaces is cheaper in the long run and which one is more practical and convenient for your living space. This article provide the exhaustive approach to choose appropriate heating system based for your needs considering your budget.