What is the best baseboard heater? Choose a product that is easy to maintain without the need for calling a professional. When using a quality baseboard heater, you will only need to regularly dust the unit. Another essential thing to consider is capacity. High-performance units take up little space while being powerful enough to heat large rooms. Electric models are considered to be the most efficient because of their ability to keep the room consistently warm. And last but not the least, purchase only branded baseboard heaters as they are generally safe and contain quality components. We believe that Fahrenheat PLF1004 Hydronic Baseboard Heater fits these criteria best.

What You Will Learn from This Guide:

Choosing your heat type is not only important, but a bit involved. There are umpteen ways to produce heat, and many of these technologies can take a few shapes. It all comes down to what kind of location you have, and how much centralization you want for your climate control.

Baseboard heaters aren’t for every type of heating need. In fact, there are more than a few situations where they’re utterly unideal. The trick is really that when they are ideal, they’re very, very ideal.

I’m getting ahead of myself, though. First, let’s talk about how baseboard heaters work, their basic characteristics, and so on. Then, we’ll talk about where they’re best used and why.

Important Things to Know About Baseboard Heaters

Baseboard heaters are almost always electrically-powered. Now, I say almost because baseboard vents of a similar design do exist for central heat systems as well. We’re not talking about those vents here, but it was worth pointing out.

  • Baseboard heaters are usually elemental, meaning they have tungsten heating elements that get hot when charged. It’s the same technology behind electric stoves, electric ovens and toasters. No joke!

However, there do exist ceramic baseboard heaters, which convert current into heat in a slightly different, safer way. Ceramics are a little slower to get hot, but are more efficient and generally less hazardous as a result.

  • Baseboard heaters are usually skinny, boxy things intended to hug the wall along your baseboard, and not project very far out. They tend to be nondescript in appearance, intended to not be noticed. Some high-end or custom heaters do exist which are made to look decorative, but this isn’t usually a real concern.
  • Installation isn’t difficult, but with some of them, it requires a little know-how. You have to attach it to the wall for one thing, and in many cases, you also have to wire the heater up as well.
  • With these straight-wired ones, you’d also need to install a compatible thermostat or some sort of control system/switch set, while ones that use outlet power may have onboard controls or a remote control.
  • IOT-enabled baseboard heat exists, and will probably become increasingly popular in the near future.

Baseboard heat does use electricity directly for its heat creation, which means there’s a minimum amount of electricity needed for a unit of heat. This varies depending on the quality of heating elements, ceramics or in the rare case, infrared system. Generally speaking, baseboard heaters are fairly economically-friendly in any case, and are passive enough that they just occasionally replace heat, rather than driving to constantly create a heated space.

Best Baseboard Heaters

Now, there are a lot of choices for baseboard heaters out there, so we’re going to look at what I consider two good ones. Do shop around and compare prices, and if you’re doing a commercial job, consider commercial suppliers and installers for this sort of thing.

Fahrenheat PLF1004 Hydronic Baseboard Heater

Fahrenheat Hydronic Baseboard Heater: photoThis is a classier baseboard heater, with a little bit of attention given to coloring it and its exterior design. So, it looks fairly nice, and Fahrenheat offers other colors and some other styles as well.

It’s not cheap, so it’ll cost you a pretty penny to heat lots of spaces with these, but the longevity, power-efficiency and overall quality, it’s worth it if you can afford it.

It’s also worth noting that Fahrenheat is a clever name. But even so, I wish the US would switch over to metric and Celsius.

Features

  • Power: Electric.
  • Heat Source: Electric element.
  • Form Factor: Baseboard.
  • Controls: Thermostat/manual.
  • Material: Metal. Intended to be attractive but understated.

Performance

These will heat a small to medium space in short order, and they can handle the long runtimes through a long, cold winter. They’re durable, pretty easy to install, and you can count on them lasting so long.

This will take some work to install, despite being “easy”, so may be difficult for an inexperienced DIY project. It’s not that bad, though.

Pros Cons
  • Flexible approach.
  • Great for smaller private spaces.
  • Easy to install.
  • Customizable.
  • Requires electricity.
  • Can limit arrangements of furniture etc. in a room.
  • Needs some skill to install, though not severe.
  • A little on the pricey side, which not all baseboard heaters are.

Fahrenheat: Check the current price

Cadet Manufacturing 05532 120-Volt Baseboard Heater

Cadet Manufacturing 120-Volt Baseboard Heater: photoThis is a cheaper approach, not costing you more than a few hundred to heat a couple rooms effectively. If you want to do a house with these, this is probably exactly what you need. However, being a budget heater, it has its downsides.

It’s not very attractive, though it’s not outstandingly ugly. It’s intended to just not draw attention to itself, which is a common thing for baseboard heaters. It’s also a little less rugged, but we’ll get into that in just a moment,

Features

  • Power: Electric.
  • Heat Source: Electric element.
  • Form Factor: Baseboard.
  • Controls: Thermostat/manual.
  • Material: Metal. This one is meant to just not stand out.

Performance

This will not heat space as quickly as the Fahrenheat offering, but it’s not unbearably slow. This is a cheaper, less elegant approach, but it doesn’t make it bad. Just be aware if you move heavy furniture around, this thing could crumple if something gets shoved up against it by mistake.

That aside, these are fine heaters.

Pros Cons
  • Flexible approach.
  • Great for smaller private spaces.
  • Easy to install.
  • Customizable.
  • Requires electricity.
  • Can limit arrangements of furniture etc. in a room.
  • Needs some skill to install, though not severe.
  • A little more fragile due to being a budget heater.
  • Warranty isn’t as solid.

Cadet: Check the current price

10 Best-Selling Baseboard Heaters Comparative Table

Pros & Cons of Baseboard Heaters

Like I said, baseboard heaters aren’t ideal for a lot of circumstances, but are an excellent answer whenever they are ideal. We’re going to talk about when you don’t want to use a baseboard heater first.

  • You’ve got an average family home – In the case of a family home, you’re almost definitely going to have central heat, as allowing each room’s temperature to be controlled heavily could result in problems. Among these are people running your bill up because they think it’s cold in their room. Houses like these are also easier to maintain with a centralized heat system and ventilation/ductwork system. It’s more cost-effective.
  • You’ve got a huge space – If the space is gigantic, like say, a large retail space, large warehouse, auditorium or anything else cavernous, these aren’t going to heat it. Away from the walls by more than a hundred feet and the air is unlikely to reach. Granted, this air will still be a little warmer than outside, but not by enough.
  • Electric is high where you are – The cost of electricity varies from area to area. It sucks, but it’s true. If electricity is especially expensive in your area, or you already have a high bill for other reasons, any kind of electric heat may be impractical for you.
  • Walls are obstructed – If you need to configure a room in such a way that the walls are almost entirely obstructed, you’ll have problems with baseboard heaters. They can’t be obstructed. It’ll make them not work, and in some cases, could damage them or even start a fire. The latter isn’t super likely, but it can and has happened.
  • You want a DIY solution but lack the know-how – This is kind of obvious, but in this case, you’ll be better suited to just put portable heat in there, either ceramic or infrared perhaps. Baseboard heaters aren’t hard to install, but they do have some assembly to do.

These are some of the many instances where they’re not a good idea. But, like I hinted, there are situations where they’re a perfect fit.

  • Hotel Rooms – Hotel rooms, at least nicer ones, will often have a floor unit AC. Sometimes this is also a floor unit heater, but in nicer hotel rooms, heat is in the baseboards, keeping the whole place warm. It’s a small space that needs personal comfort levels.
  • Apartments – Apartments are ideal for the same basic reasons as hotel rooms. They are smaller space, with many independent people occupying these different spaces. You can’t expect tenants to all agree on a temperature, so baseboard heat is perfect in this instance.
  • Detached Garage/Shed/Workshop – This is great for small detached buildings you want to spend a lot of time in during winter. You can use portables for this, but if you use the space for hours on end, baseboard heat is more practical.
  • Offices – Office spaces that aren’t cavernous or a cave of cubicles can benefit from baseboard heating on a per-room basis. Don’t heat the conference room when it’s not going to be used today