The 10 Best Baseboard Heaters
This wiki has been updated 25 times since it was first published in January of 2017. Whether they're used to warm up a drafty room or avoid high energy bills in the winter, baseboard heaters can be an efficient way to control the temperature of your home. They can make any area cozier without crowding it with bulky or noisy equipment, thanks to their low-profile, quiet designs. Note that for safety’s sake, any work involving live wires should be left to a licensed electrician. When users buy our independently chosen editorial recommendations, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
October 15, 2020:
Rounding out the list today is the newly added Lasko 1500-Watt Portable, which plugs right into a standard wall outlet, making it a good choice for apartment dwellers or anyone who moves on a somewhat regular basis. Adding to its portability are handles on both ends that make it a cinch to carry, as needed. Unlike some others, this one comes with a built-in, adjustable thermostat, as well as a user-friendly digital display. For safety’s sake, it shuts of automatically if it’s tipped over. To make room for the new addition, we say goodbye to the Cadet Manufacturing 05532, which is highly similar to the larger Cadet Manufacturing 05534, other than being different in size. In this update, we also added in the Dimplex 60-inch, which is a larger version of the departing 40-inch model from the manufacturer, which is unavailable at this time. This longer version features a 2,500-watt output and a high-efficiency built-in thermostat, as well as a specially formulated coating that makes it resistant to fading.
We’re still partial to the Fahrenheat PLF1004, the liquid heating element of which keeps its surface cooler than that of many other alternatives. Unlike many others, this one also starts up and stops without annoying popping or clicking sounds, making it a good choice for anyone who prefers complete silence for work, studying, or sleep. For a sturdy design that’s sure to hold up well, check out the King 4K1210BW, which offers a crush-proof element and a die form cover that resists impacts. It’s made with a baked enamel finish, and conveniently can be wired at either end. As mentioned in our last update, the installation of these is best left to a licensed electrician when there are live wires involved. In addition, be sure to keep kids and pets safely away from any of these devices when they are hot.
October 11, 2019:
Like space heaters, baseboard heaters are an efficient, often inexpensive, means of maintaining a comfortable temperature in rooms where you spend a lot of your time. Joining our selection today is the Fahrenheat PLF1004, a hydronic model that uses water to heat your room. These can be more efficient than electric systems, since the heated water takes longer to cool, giving your room a warm, stable climate that doesn’t require large temperature spikes to keep it comfortable. Unlike many of its counterparts, it operates quietly, without any popping or pinging sounds, so you won’t be distracted, whether you’re resting, studying, or watching TV.
Also coming on board is the Cadet Manufacturing 05532, which conveniently can be wired at either end and features pre-punched holes for easy installation. This durable choice is made of 25-gauge steel, with a protective powder coating. Note that this model requires a thermostat.
The Fahrenheat FBE15002 leaves the list in today’s update, amidst reports of it being too loud for many users’ liking, as well as complaints that it’s not as effective as others at heating up a small room. Also making its departure is the Lasko 5624, which features a control panel that’s rather difficult to use, and is known to suffer a shorter lifespan than many others.
For safety’s sake, always rely on a professional electrician for any project that requires working with live wires. If a baseboard heater becomes hot to the touch, it is important to keep children and pets away from it to prevent serious burns. In addition, be sure not to place anything inside the heater that could come in contact with the heating element, as this poses a fire hazard.
October 17, 2018:
Re-evaluated all items for value and quality, and replaced products whose availability looked questionable. Added an item in the top 3 that provides exceptional value for the price.
Stelpro Bella The sturdy extruded aluminum facade of the Stelpro Bella makes it resistant to rust and impacts, so it’s well suited for both residential and commercial applications. It runs completely silent, and air enters through its front and exits from its top. It’s made with safety in mind, with thermal protection and an automatic reset feature. It’s easy to install in a surface-mounted orientation, and offers wiring compartments on both ends. It carries a lifetime warranty on the heating element, and is available in every color of the rainbow, as well as white, almond, gray, and black. stelpro.com
The Base Beats The Space
By contrast, most baseboard heaters run extraordinarily quietly.
If you’re looking for ways to try to add a little bit of warmth to your space throughout the cold winter months, there’s a good chance that, in addition to the baseboard heaters you see here today, you’ve come across space heaters, as well. And it would be understandable if some of those space heaters looked rather tempting to you, with their apparent portability and ubiquity in so many homes.
But a baseboard heater deserves a more honest chance to prove to you its superiority over its space heater cousins. Baseboard heaters are designed to nestle unobtrusively against the baseboard molding around the rooms in your home. Their long, flat design provides a radiant heat surface with greater area than most space heaters offer, giving you more warmth in less time. To offset this difference, many space heaters rely too heavily on internal fans that add a significant amount of noise to their operation. By contrast, most baseboard heaters run extraordinarily quietly.
As far as portability is concerned, it is true that space heaters are designed, for the most part, to allow you to pick them up and take them with you to the next room where you may want to settle down to watch a movie after a nice meal. It’s also true that most baseboard heaters intend for you to set them up in a single place and leave them there. But that doesn’t mean that they can’t also be portable. All you have to do to ensure their portability is have a length of baseboard available for them in any given room, and to make sure that the heater itself has cool zones or dedicated handles on it that will allow you to move it from place to place safely. Once it’s in a new room, just like a space heater, you simply plug it in and let it do its thing.
One of the other problems with most space heaters is that they have a tendency to sit out in the middle of rooms, causing both an eyesore and a tripping and potential fire hazard. The vast majority of space heater manufacturers have incorporated mechanisms that automatically shut the unit off when they’re tipped over, but if such a mechanism were to fail, that space heater could start a blaze quickly. And either way, stubbing your toe on a hot little robot sitting in the middle of your room is not fun. A baseboard heater, on the other hand, poses no tipping risk, nor does it obstruct your path from any one part of your home to another.
Perhaps, in the end, these two devices shouldn’t be at odds. It may be wise to set up a baseboard heater in a small bedroom where you want to be able to ensure thorough heating throughout the night, and grab a space heater to take with you throughout the house and your other rooms.
Choosing Your Baseboard Heater
Generally speaking, the majority of baseboard heaters on the market are pretty unattractive. You shouldn’t go into this purchase thinking you’re going to find a particularly futuristic or elegant model, and it would be foolhardy to invest in a baseboard heater for its aesthetics alone. Beyond their immediate appearance, however, there are some significant features worth investigating that will help you make your decision.
It would be smart of you to overshoot here a little bit to make sure you’re never left in the cold.
When you set out to purchase your baseboard heater, you would do well to take into account the size of the space you want to heat. Many of these devices are categorized based on their ability to heat a certain area measured in square feet. It would be smart of you to overshoot here a little bit to make sure you’re never left in the cold.
The interface of a given baseboard heater is of vital importance. Some utilize dials that affect the degree of heat a model puts out, while others rely on more advanced digital interfaces. If you’re someone that is very particular about the temperature in your home, you may want to invest in a model that has a more thorough interface, perhaps including a thermostat or a timer function.
Another excellent feature to look out for that is a little bit rare on the baseboard heater market, but that ties in with our conversation about interfaces, is a wireless remote control. If you or whomever is going to be using your new baseboard heater suffers from back problems or mobility issues, bending down and reaching toward the floor every time they want to adjust the temperature can be a pain, and a comfortable temperature may play a big role in managing those very ailments. With a simple wireless remote, these users can dial in their comfort level from the safety and security of their favorite armchair.
Other Ways To Keep Warm All Winter
Baseboard heaters and space heaters are great ways to ramp up the heat inside your home, but they’re far from the only ways of doing so. Here are a couple additional investment you can make in your warmth and coziness this winter.
To help your new baseboard heater do its job most effectively, you would do well to cut down on any drafts that could be stealing warmth from your house.
Any kind of thermal clothing you can invest in is a great way to keep your body heat where it belongs, and you can double down on this with a simple sherpa throw blanket that, if the image suits you, you can wear around the house like a king's robes.
To help your new baseboard heater do its job most effectively, you would do well to cut down on any drafts that could be stealing warmth from your house. Things like cellophane window insulation, expanding foam gap filler, under door draft stoppers and even thermal blackout curtains can help keep the cold air out where it belongs.
Of course, if after all of these tricks you still find yourself shivering, it might be a good excuse to eat some carbohydrate-heavy foods and pack on a few insulating pounds.