The winter season is a time when we all have to make that choice of which is the best space heater for our homes.
For some reason, the central heating isn’t getting to some parts of the house, or you need to save energy bills by using a supplementary heater that you can focus in a particular space when heat is not required in every part of the house; making that choice can be a very tough call.
In the course of your inquiry, you must’ve come across torpedo heaters and convection heaters, and you may be wondering which is better.
What Is a Torpedo Heater? What Is a Convection Heater?
A torpedo heater is a forced-air heating appliance that pulls in air from behind, heats up the air using elements in the tube and pushes the heated air out through the front towards a particular direction before it quickly circulates in the room.
They are great for outdoor and certain indoor applications and can be very effective as a direct open-flame heating source.
On the other hand, a convection heater is a type of heater that uses the principle of convection to heat up spaces. Here, heat is transferred through the movement of air or water.
Clearly, the heating methods of the two heaters are different, but does this also translate to differences in application, usage, efficiency, effectiveness, and performance?
What should you look out for when choosing between a torpedo heater and a convection heater? Which should you select for what situation and in what circumstance? These are the questions we’ll attempt to answer here as we go along.
Torpedo Heater Vs Convection Heater
Let’s now consider the differences between torpedo heaters and convection heaters using the following pointers.
1. Heating Method
The two heating appliances have different heating methods. While a torpedo heater pulls air in, warms it up and pushes it out using powerful fans, a convection heater heats by convection.
That is, it passes on the heat to air or liquid passing through, from whence it is distributed in the room. The major difference here is that the convection heater requires a medium for heat to travel while the torpedo heater does not.
2. Heating Capacity
A torpedo heater is renowned for heating up spaces quickly. They are able to circulate air in the room more quickly because they produce short blasts of air concurrently, using powerful fans to push the warm air out.
As for convection heaters, they do not heat up as fast as torpedo heaters, but certainly, pack a lot of heating power. Just like torpedo heaters, many convection heaters, like the Dyna-Glo Liquid Propane Convection Heater, have a BTU of between 40,000 to 120,000 BTU.
Due to the presence of a fan, a torpedo heater is understandably noisier than a convection heater. The fan motor tends to give off some noise and the more powerful the motor, the more likely it is to produce a louder sound.
This makes convection heaters better as far as quietness is concerned. Hence, torpedo heaters will be better suited to primary applications in outdoor, patio settings, while the convection heater is best applied indoors.
Torpedo heaters are really efficient in terms of electricity consumption. For those that are powered by kerosene or gas, the ability to manage the draft determines how much heat is retained in the room.
On the other hand, convection heaters are also efficient, but they use up a lot of electricity, often between 1,000 and 3,000 watts, on average. Also, they tend to heat up slowly and may need to be run for hours before an entire room is heated up.
Performance for these two types of heaters is actually dependent on the quality of the brand.
Overall, we’d like to give this category to torpedo heaters because of the heating power and force with which heat is dispersed, but performance also has to do with heat retention and location.
So, you’d find that convection heaters, when left to run for a long period, tend to perform very well too.
Both convection and torpedo heaters are suitable for residential, industrial and commercial applications, depending on the size of the space.
However, torpedo heaters are better suited for outdoor spaces and well-ventilated rooms. They can also do better in larger rooms and spaces than convection heaters because of their quick heat distribution and fan power.
Torpedo heaters are generally more expensive than convection heaters. The average torpedo heater goes for between $200 and $250, while a convection heater (within the same range) sells for between $150 and $200.
This could be a factor for many buyers, but it is important to realize that a torpedo heater within the same range as a convection heater should perform better than the latter.
Which Is Better? Torpedo Heater Or Convection?
If we’re to speak generally, we’d say a torpedo heater is better because of its superior and faster heating power. Whether it’s for your garage or work environment, a torpedo heater will heat up the space really fast and provide you with the warmth you deserve.
While a kerosene torpedo heater burns faster and quicker, it doesn’t burn so clean, so you’d need to ventilate the space for better and safer results. However, there are some situations and environments where a convection heater is the best choice for you.
Furthermore, if cost is a concern for you, you may choose a convection heater instead, but be mindful that an electric option can take up a lot of wattage and attract huge energy bills.
For instance, the Stiebel Eltron Wall-Mounted Convection Heater takes up 1500 Watts of electricity and that can be a burden at the end of each month. There are also convection heating units with larger wattage needs.
When Should You Use a Torpedo Heater & When Should You Use a Convection Heater?
If you’re out for a kerosene torpedo heater, we’d advise you to use it outdoors and in well-ventilated indoor spaces. Garages, patios, camping, etc are other spaces where torpedo heaters are best suited for.
There are propane and electric options which you can use indoors too because they burn cleaner than the kerosene option.
Their quick blast of constant heated airflow makes them very effective for heating because the fan blows them towards specific directions, from where they’re circulated.
On the other hand, a convection heater should be used indoors for best results. In the first place, they are mostly electric (except for the few propane options out there), so you’d need a power source for it to work.
Also, using a convection heater outdoors will be a total waste of energy as the heat will simply dissipate into the atmosphere. Besides, it’ll be difficult to feel any warmth from an appliance that heats up pretty slowly when deployed outdoors.
Whether it’s a torpedo heater or a convection heater, you can get the space heating you desire by investing in a good quality product. You’d need to make the right choice between both types of heaters based on what your needs are and what you intend to get out of a unit.
Remember, you should choose a torpedo heater if you want fast, forced heating. On the other hand, a convection heater will offer slow, clean heating in your space.