Types of Space Heaters: Pros and Cons for Gas, Oil, Coal, and Electric Heaters

Types of Space Heaters: Pros and Cons for Gas, Oil, Coal and Electric Heaters

Space heaters are a great way of getting instant heat when it is cold outside or if you don’t have any heating system installed in your room. They are also energy efficient since you only turn them on when they are absolutely necessary (when it’s cold). Here is an overview of different types of space heaters currently available on the market along with their advantages and disadvantages. Some products offer more than one type of heater (eg. electric & fan-forced) so make sure to check this information against the product description before making your final purchase.

Gas Heaters

Pros: They come in different sizes and shapes which means you can easily choose one that will fit your room.

Cons: Uses flammable gas (oxygen-containing hydrocarbon) so they need careful handling. Gas heaters also require a venting pipe to expel exhaust fumes outside of the building, which adds installation costs if you don’t have this feature already installed in your home. This is a very important safety requirement for any heater or cooking appliances, especially when there are kids around the house. Most modern homes have this feature already installed from previous heating systems so it’s just a matter of choosing what type of gas-based heater you want to install into your home without worrying about having no place for the fumes to escape.

Electric Heaters

Pros: They are extremely safe to use because they do not produce any flames or sparks (except for halogen heaters). The only thing that can go wrong is having an electric current passing through your body, which can be fatal if the conditions are right. However, this kind of accident is highly unlikely with modern-day appliances because it has multiple protection layers.

Cons: They need power, obviously. If you live in a home without electricity (or there’s some problem with the wiring) then these types of heaters won’t work for you at all, unless you have another source of energy that will power them up.

Oil-Filled Radiators

Oil-filled radiators are probably the most common type of space heater around. They work by having the oil heat up and slowly transfer this heat to the air inside the room through convection, which is a natural form of transferring heat.

Pros: Oil-filled radiators are extremely safe to use because you can run them without any airflow (ie. with all doors/windows closed). This way they will not cause any carbon monoxide poisoning or other hazards that come with running gas or electric-based appliances indoors. Another advantage of oil-filled radiators is that since they have no flames, there’s no risk of starting a fire if one of your kids decides it would be fun to play with the appliance!

Cons: Since these types of heaters need some airflow to work. Parents should always check that the windows/doors are open when using these appliances. This is especially important if you live in a home with small kids. Who might get curious and “play” with the heater while your back is turned for a few seconds.

Coal-Fired Radiators

If you don’t mind smelling like smoke or steam all day long. Then these types of heaters will be great for your home. Because they do not require electricity and usually have very little maintenance costs associated with them (as long as they’re running). The biggest downside is that they fill up rooms with fumes from burning coal. But once again this depends on how well-ventilated the room already is. Also, there’s always a risk of fire if the coal is not burned properly. But people using these types of heaters for many years say that they’ve never had any safety issues or problems with their equipment.

Pros: Cheap to buy and run (requires no electricity), simple design makes it easy to maintain/repair.

Cons: Using coal-fired heaters means having a black smoke mark on your wall. From where the fumes are exhausted out of the building along with another odor that might be unpleasant. Especially if you have neighbors living close by. Also, there’s always a risk of burning down your house because you might forget something important. While leaving the room unattended for just a few seconds.


While modern technology has made space heaters much safer to use, it still all depends on the user’s own responsibility. Since no heater is 100% safe for young kids. Every parent should always supervise their children around appliances like this and teach them not to play with fire/electricity. Also, it might be a good idea to install an emergency cut-off feature in your home. Just in case something goes wrong while using any of these heating units.