Baseboards and radiators are two of the most popular heating solutions in the US and in most other parts of the world. We all know how important thorough and efficient heating is, especially if you live in extremely cold regions.
Baseboard heaters are popular for their efficiency, in that they convert 100% of all electricity they receive into heat, space-saving design, sleek and neat profile, as well as their ability to cover large spaces.
On the other hand, radiator heaters are quite different in mode of operation, in the sense that they heat up objects and humans rather than the air.
But, along with baseboard heaters, they also use convection and radiation heating methods. However, picking between the two types of heater can be quite a tall order.
You need to know the size of the room that needs heating, the capacity and the cost-effectiveness of the appliance before you go ahead to pick one type over the other.
Are Radiators or Baseboard Heaters Better?
It all depends on what you really need. We’ve heard a lot of people say they feel warmer and cozier with a radiator heater running in their home than when it’s a baseboard heater.
This may be due to the fact that you’re likely to feel the warmth better with radiant heating than with baseboard heating that’s mostly convection.
Some others have implied that baseboard heaters may be more energy-efficient overall and that is a great selling point for the product.
But it all comes down to needs. How much heating do you really need? What is your budget? What appliance do you have room for? What is the square footage of your room?
These are very important questions that can help you decide what heating appliance you should pick.
It is, therefore, impossible to say baseboard heaters are better than radiators- or vice versa- without doing a quick analysis of what they both offer and how they solve your temperature problems.
Baseboard Heater Vs Radiator
1. Heating Method
Baseboard heaters use mostly convection heating methods, where the heat is released into the air to provide warmth for residents.
On the other hand, radiator heaters are, as the name implies, radiant in nature. They radiate heat in a manner that it attaches to objects and humans, rather than just going into the air.
In terms of initial cost, baseboard heaters tend to be generally less expensive to buy. On average, you’ll get a unit for $35-$100. Some high-end brands may sell for up to $150 or more.
On the flip side, the average cost of a simple indoor radiator heater is between $60 and $150. You may also find high-end products for a higher price.
But, baseboard heaters tend to require some level of installation and some accessories and skillsets are often required.
3. Energy Efficiency
Generally, baseboard heaters are considered more energy efficient than radiators, but it’s best to consider this on the basis of heating output as well.
In this case, we have to specifically mention hydronic baseboards as the more energy-efficient between baseboards and radiator heaters.
We’ll have to give this category to radiator heaters. To get the amount of heating you desire, you may need to combine two or more baseboard heaters. This is not necessarily the case with radiator heaters which tend to perform better overall.
In terms of coverage, baseboard heaters and radiators have very similar ranges, meaning the average $50 base heater is very likely to cover the same area that a $50 radiator heater would.
Does Baseboard Heat Use a Lot of Electricity?
Compared to a lot of other heating sources, baseboard heaters tend to use a lot of electricity. A single baseboard heater run for 24 hours will use up around 335 kWh of electricity.
This means that if you run that unit for a month, you’d be spending between $33 and $37 on electricity, depending on which city you’re in.
Although modern smaller units will naturally use less energy, this is still quite high when compared to other heat sources like gas or space heaters, and electric heat pumps.
However, the good thing about baseboard heaters is their efficiency. They are known to convert almost 100% of their electricity output to heat, much better than gas or coal fireplaces, which tend to keep only about 20% to 45% of the heat they produce indoors.
When Is It Best to Use a Baseboard And When To Use A Radiator?
A baseboard heater is a pretty good secondary heat source. On their own, they may not provide all the heating you need in your home, but they can be a formidable supplementary heat source to your main central heaters.
A baseboard heater should be considered when you need a reliable backup heater that offers simple installation, zone heating and quiet operation without taking up any considerable space in your home.
However, you should know that a baseboard heater is not one you can easily move from one room to another.
On the other hand, a radiator heater, especially a portable space heater, is what you should get if you need a good secondary heating source that heats you up quickly.
A radiator is also preferred if you need a heater you can easily move from room to room without any sort of installation required.
Whether it’s a baseboard heater or radiator heater you decide to pick, one thing to know is that these appliances are not designed to be your primary heating source for your entire home.
They’ll do pretty well in specific spaces and single rooms, but don’t expect more than that. Many modern homes may already have space heaters installed and connected to the home’s main electricity network.
But if yours doesn’t, you should get an electrician to help with the installation. A space radiator heater is one appliance you can handle on your own.