Small bathroom heaters are increasingly trendy as more people recognize that they’re a fast and cost-effective way to keep these oft-used rooms at optimal temperatures when in use.
With this growing popularity in mind, I present you with best bathroom heaters for what I consider to be the top 10 models on the market. All of these products provide excellent heating as well as superior total cost of ownership when used in an ideal scenario and a safe manner.
1. Simply the Best: Lasko 5409 Ceramic Heater
It is durable, compact and loaded with attractive features at a really affordable price.
This is a 1500-watt unit, which is more than enough for all but the largest bathrooms. It also features a 900-watt mode, which is better suited to most washrooms. There’s also a fan-only mode, which can help to minimize usage. Turn the unit at the start of a shower, for instance, and then, switch to fan-only when you’ve dried.
The 5409 offers quiet operation. It’s ETL listed, and a built-in adjustable thermostat not only ensure the temperature is just right but is a great safety feature as well. There’s also overheat protection, and the ceramic element is self-regulating.
2. Best Bathroom Wall Heater: Stiebel Eltron CK 15E
This electric wall mounted fan heater by Stiebel Eltron is the best on the market. That assessments holds true for the entire line. The CK 15E is the base model, but there are upgraded versions as well, such as the CK 20E and CK 200-2 Trend.
This model provides 1500 watts and operates at a noise level of 49.7 dB, which is quite low. It requires 120 volts and must be hardwired, but since it can be installed near the baseboard, it can be wired into an existing wall outlet.
Note that these Stiebel Eltron units can range from 41 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit and are only ever warm to the touch. That means that they are safe for children and can either supplement your home heating or provide all heating for a bathroom.
3. Best Recessed Heater: Panasonic WhisperWarm FV-11VH2
It includes a 1400-watt heating element that is sheathed with stainless steel. The condenser motor is rated for 30,000 hours of operation. Once installed, it sits flush against the ceiling and only the intake and exhaust vents are exposed. The unit is very energy-efficient and coupled with long-life, that means reduced costs.
The warm-up period is under one minute, which is quite fast. It also features separate a fan control so that you can, for instance, use the fan during the warmer months without it blowing warmed air.
Note that this requires about an eight-foot or less distance to the floor. This is a non-issue in most bathrooms but not suited to those with vaulted ceilings.
4. Runner-Up to the Lasko: Holmes Digital Bathroom Heater
It features a digital clock and LED digital controls, which is a nice touch. It also has a preheat timer system. That means that you can set it to warm up, and it will beep when you can take a shower or bath without worrying about an uncomfortable chill. A built-in programmable thermostat ensures an ideal temperature at all times.
This model is wall-mountable, but it can stand on its own and has tip-over protection. Another nice safety feature is a bathroom-safe ALCI plug. If you choose to it as a wall mounted bathroom heater, this plug neatly tucks in behind the unit.
5. Bathroom Wall Heater Runner-Up: Broan 174
Broan 174 bathroom wall heater is an energy-efficient model that provides all the heat a bathroom requires. It requires 120 or 240-volt AC and can be configured for either 750 or 1500 watts. This is a nice touch since 750 watts is more than enough for the average bathroom and allows operation to be even that much more efficient.
The 174 is UL listed. A thermal overload protector with manual reset is included. The powerful motor is lubricated. The heating element is made from nickel-chrome alloy, and the surface mounting is simple enough for even the most novice do-it-yourselfer.
6. Sleekest Option: NuTone Deluxe Heat-A-Ventlite
What distinguishes the NuTone 9093WH Deluxe Heat-A-Ventlite heater is the attractive, high-quality finish. This product won’t only heat your bathroom but will add to it with an attractive design element.
It features a 70 CFM ventilation fan and operates at 1500 watts. The manufacturer promises coverage for bathrooms up to 100 square feet, but that estimate is likely a bit conservative. The heater not only looks great but features the material and design quality expected at this price point.
The fan operates at 3.5 sone sound level, so it’s quiet. The light bulb at the center of the design is 7 watts and functions as the nightlight for the bathroom. It provides a nice soft glow. It can also operate as a standard light during the day.
7. Directionally Adjustable: Broan 100HL
This is one of those design enhancements that comes along, and you wonder why no one thought about doing this before. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if we started seeing this on more models. Basically, it provides a strong jet of warmed air that you can target toward your shower, bath, sink or wherever you are for added comfort.
That feature aside, this is a really nice wall heater in its own right. The heater is 1500 watts. It includes fans and operates at just a 2.0 sone level. There’s also a fluorescent light at the center, which is perfect as a nightlight or for mood lighting when bathing.
8. Lasko Does It Again: Lasko CD08200 Bathroom Heater
Choosing between the CD08200 and the 754200 wasn’t simple. In the end, I chose the 754200 as my top heater because the balance between price, performance and feature set are tough to beat.
That said, if you are willing to pay a bit more, then this model is definitely worth your attention. It has a better visual design arguably, so it’s perhaps better when you have quests over to the home. It’s a bit more compact as well.
It is a 1500-watt heater but can be set to two lower levels. The exterior remains completely cool to the touch. It is ETL listed. Comes with a three-year warranty. It features an ALCI safety plug and comes fully assembled.
9. Best Panel Heater: New Age Living Phantom Wall Panel Heater
Although I prefer the wall heaters listed above, this is the best traditional panel heater. After all, the thickness with the bracket is just 3 1/4 inches!
This can be mounted anywhere: low, high or somewhere in between. It comes in an off-white color that should blend in with almost any bathroom decor. Since it uses radiant and convection heat, it doesn’t have moving parts and thus doesn’t create any sound at all.
This is a 400-watt unit so very specific to bathroom and other small room applications. Used in rooms of 120 square feet or less, and the manufacturer promises saving of up to 50 percent over traditional heating. No special wiring is required, and the provided cord tucks in neatly behind the unit.
10. Best Infrared Bathroom Heater: Broan 164 Type IC
This unit is ceiling-mounted, which means that you’ll need to cut a rectangle if one is not already in place. The heater will then sit flush against the ceiling with only the two infrared bulbs exposed. Note that the bulbs can be wired together or independently and so can the fan, and since this is IC, insulation wires can lie against the ceiling.
The wattage is 250, and one of the best uses for such heaters is to tie them in with the exhaust fan switch. When you prepare to take a shower or bath, the exhaust comes on along with the heating lamps and fans.
Buying Guide: How to Buy a Bathroom Heater?
Selecting the perfect heater for your home generally comes down to three crucial factors.
- Square Footage: Bathroom heaters are measured based on wattage. The industry rule of thumb is 10 watts per square foot. A typical bathroom is about 40 square feet, and you’d need at least four watts in that case. Most heaters provide more watts than that. The important factor here is the minimum.
- Placement: A portable unit can be moved as needed but takes up valuable space. Wall mounted electric bathroom heaters are an option as are ceiling-mounted units, which are often referred to as recessed heaters.
- Power Requirements: Portable solutions require a wall outlet, and OSHA and most manufacturers recommend a GFCI plug. Mounted and recessed units may be hardwired and may require installation from an electrician.
How to Install a Bathroom Heater?
A portable bathroom heater is relatively simple to install. You just need to find a location that is out of the way and affords the device enough clearance according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. You can then connect the attached plug to a GCFI wall outlet.
Wall mounted solutions, such as panel heaters, which are often called bathroom safe heaters, stay cool to the touch so can be mounted up high, down low or wherever. Down low can be convenient if a wall plug is an option. Otherwise, it may be necessary to tap into the behind-the-wall wiring. Recessed units will almost always require connection to the wires for the exhaust fan or similar.
Types of Bathroom Heaters
Portable and compact bathroom heaters can be moved and used as needed. They are very convenient but generally not regarded as a permanent solution due to the downsides.
A bathroom ceiling heater is the traditional permanent option. These are typically electric-based and an excellent option when a bathroom may be inconvenient to connect to the whole-home heating.
Wall mounted bathroom heaters are superb for that situation as well. They’ve become much more prevalent as technology has allowed them to be safe to the touch and thus around children.
Safety Tips for Bathroom Heaters
- Bathroom space heaters should generally not run overnight or otherwise unattended.
- Consider using a timer or a thermostat to ensure that your heater turns off.
- Employ cable management techniques to avoid trip hazards.
- Equipment should be positioned a safe distance from showers, baths and sinks.
- Seek products that meet high safety standards, such as UL or NRTL.
- Perform any and all manufacturer-recommended maintenance on schedule.
- Visually inspect your equipment regularly to notice signs of wear and tear.
Is It Expensive to Run a Bathroom Heater?
No. In fact, bathroom electric heaters are generally considered quite cost-effective. Even if a bathroom has access to whole-home heat, achieving the desired temperature in a bathroom can be inefficient unless that heating solution for multiple zones.
To calculate cost, divide wattage by 1,000 and multiply by your local kilowatt-hour rate. If you have a 1500-watt bathroom space heater and your rate is $0.15, then your cost per hour would be about $0.23. Since bathrooms tend to heat fast, using your heater only when needed can curb total costs considerably.
The best bathroom heater for you will depend on your bathroom and preferences. There are many different configurations available. Be mindful that price doesn’t always correlate to quality. If you have any concerns, consider consulting with an electrician or HVAC technician before buying.