Best Ceiling Heaters

Updated April 2020
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

19 Models Considered
7 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
265 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best ceiling heaters

Last Updated April 2020

Whether you’re finishing a renovation project or just trying to think outside the box in terms of heating solutions, a ceiling heater may be the perfect option for you. While some ceiling heaters only offer heat, others incorporate a lighting element or ventilation aspect to perform double or even triple duty in your home. These heaters are widely used in commercial spaces and areas such as garages, and they’re an ideal fix for homeowners with high ceilings who want a heat source that doesn’t consume floor or wall space.

Ceiling heaters vary in size, construction, heating power, and features. All of these factors must be considered when making a purchase. In addition, you need to evaluate the space you plan to install the heater and whether you will need to accommodate for an exhaust fan.

We examined everything from construction and installation specifics to features such as controls, lighting, and duct ports. Continue reading to learn more about ceiling heaters and what you should expect at various price points.

For the best quality and reliability, try to go with a better-known brand when purchasing a ceiling heater.

Considerations

Construction

Sine ceiling heaters will face constant use for much of the year, they should be rugged enough to hold up over time.

The best models feature heavy-gauge steel construction that will protect the heater from accidental contact and are designed to remain cool to the touch when in use.

At the same time, the ceiling heater may not be a focal point of the room, but it should still be attractive. While less this is important in a garage setting, be sure that ceiling heaters for living spaces or bathrooms complement the existing décor.

Size

There are a couple of factors to take into account when considering the physical size of a ceiling heater.

Always consider low a ceiling heater hangs. While it is up on the ceiling and not underfoot, a ceiling heater can still prove to be a hazard, particularly if it hangs low and your ceiling is not high enough. The more flush with the ceiling the heater is, the less likely you will be to hit your head on it.

The larger a heater is, the heavier it will also tend to be, and this can be a real hindrance when you’re trying to safely suspend it from the ceiling in the first place. While you can find ceiling heaters for under 10 pounds, they usually weigh 20 pounds or more.

Heating capacity and power

The more powerful a heater is, the larger a space it can heat up. In general, you’re going to want to go with a more powerful ceiling heater if you plan on placing it in a garage than you would for a bathroom install. Ceiling heaters of this type usually start out around 1,250 watts and can run up to 5,000 watts, with some models reaching 10,000 watts or more.

Installation

The majority of ceiling heaters are electric and must be hardwired into your home’s electrical system. You may also need to do some duct work and build a support gantry for the heater. For all of these reasons, you might be better off going with a professional for installation.

EXPERT TIP

Ceiling heaters may not be the best choice for those homeowners with low ceilings, since most models will protrude several inches and can be hazardous.


Staff  | BestReviews

Features

Lighting

Some ceiling heaters also incorporate a light, so you have heat and illumination in one unit. Occasionally, manufacturers sell two separate models: one with a light and one without. If you decide to buy a model with lighting capabilities, find out what types of bulbs it is compatible with. Also, check whether the heater ships with a bulb. If not, add this to your overall cost.

Exhaust fan

Ceiling heaters that have a built-in exhaust fan are usually designed for bathroom use. This will tend to create a more difficult installation, particularly if you are installing it in a bathroom that has never had an exhaust fan before (add “drilling a hole in your house” to the installation steps).

A couple of other issues to consider when purchasing a ceiling heater with an exhaust fan include:

  • Does the heater include a damper to keep cold air from entering your house when the fan isn’t in use?
  • Can you run both the heater and fan at the same time, or will this just suck the heat back out of the house?

Controls

Know what types of controls your ceiling heater will have before you buy it. Some models have simple knobs or switches — an on/off switch and a temperature setting knob — right on the heater itself, which can be an issue if you plan on installing it higher than you can reach. Other heaters will include wall switches. This is particularly common in models that have lighting or exhaust fan elements built in. While these are usually easier to operate, it will also increase the length and difficulty of the installation.

Duct connectors

If you plan to use the ceiling heater with a duct system, be sure that it has connectors to hook the duct work to and that it is the proper diameter and shape to work with your ducts, or you will need an adapter.

Automatic overheat protection

To maximize your safety, be sure that any ceiling heater you purchase has automatic overheat protection to shut the heater down if it becomes too hot.

EXPERT TIP

A thicker steel housing in a ceiling fan can help to protect it from temperature fluctuations that may occur in rooms with little insulation.


Staff  | BestReviews

Ceiling heater prices

Ceiling heaters start out at under $100 and can reach up to $300 or more. The majority fall in the $150 to $300 range. Warranties for all price points typically run between 1 and 3 years, depending on the manufacturer.

Inexpensive: For $100 to $150, you will usually find less powerful heaters capable of heating smaller living spaces and bathrooms. Some of these have built-in lighting options, but they are usually lightweight and simple heating solutions with few additional features.

Mid-range: In midrange models for $150 to $300, you will find more powerful units capable of heating larger spaces. Some heaters in this range are designed for bathroom installations, with exhaust fan and lighting elements. Others offer rugged builds for garage or shop use.

Expensive: Anything over $300 is typically a high-wattage heater for use in larger retail, industrial, or other spaces.

EXPERT TIP

For the safest ceiling heater possible, seek one out that is UL listed or otherwise certified by another reputable testing lab.


Staff  | BestReviews

Tips

  • You can often find replacement parts for heaters from popular brands far more easily than you can for a lesser-known brand.
  • Before attempting an installation yourself (or having a professional do it), be sure that all hardware and instructions needed to install the ceiling heater are included in the shipping box.
  • If you suffer from allergies or are sensitive to dust, try to find a ceiling heater with a less robust fan. Strong fans can stir up dust, which can trigger allergic reactions.
  • A key determiner in choosing a ceiling heater should be the relationship between heater power and room size. Buy a heater large enough to heat the space it is installed in, but not so large that it overwhelms the space.
  • If your ceiling heater or fan is also vented to the outside (as in a bathroom installation, for example), be sure that it also has a built-in damper to prevent outside air from entering your home.
  • To better control the airflow coming from a ceiling heater, pick up one that either can be mounted in a variety of positions or that allows you to control the heat via vents.
  • Vibrations from a ceiling heater can work to loosen bolts and other connection points between the heater and your ceiling, so be especially careful that the heater is securely mounted to the ceiling.
  • Do some research on how loud a ceiling heater is before purchasing it, particularly if you will be installing it in a living space or bathroom. While some of these are as quiet as a fan, others can be much louder.

Other products we considered

Given the wide variety of ceiling heaters to choose from, we wanted to include a few more that we recommend.

The Dr. Heater Commercial Heater is a heavy-duty heater for garages and shops with an upper limit of 6,000 watts. The 8-inch fan and adjustable louvers provide a strong and customizable airflow.

The Broan-NuTone 2-Bulb Ceiling Heater changes it up a bit by using 2 250-watt infrared bulbs for heat. This is an affordable and decorative option designed for bathroom use.

The NewAir 5,600-Watt Garage Heater is another garage or shop heater that can heat up to 600 square feet. Unlike other ceiling heaters, this one has a plug (requiring a 6-30R receptacle), giving you the option of using it as a portable heater.

Available on some ceiling heaters, a power indicator light allows you to tell at a glance when the heater is on.

FAQ

Q. Should I try to install my own ceiling heater?
A.
Installing a ceiling heater is not an entry-level project. There are a number of different elements involved, depending on the heater you purchase.

If you have some moderate skills home projects and electrical wiring, you should be able to handle the installation, but we recommend reading through the installation instructions carefully and giving some thought to your comfort level with the process. When in doubt, go with a professional. It might cost you a little more, but you’ll know that it will be properly installed.
 

Q. How efficient are these heaters?
A.
The efficiency varies from heater to heater. Some use less energy, allowing them to run less hot and avoid overheating. These will also cost less to run, but they may not heat as large of an area as other heaters.

Measure the square footage of the area you’re trying to heat, and buy a heater that is neither too large nor too small to maximize efficiency. As with all appliances, check for the Energy Star logo to verify that you are buying the most efficient heater possible.
 

Q. Can these be used with a suspended ceiling?
A.
Because of their weight and the vibrations they produce when they are running, it is not recommended that you use these with any kind of a suspended ceiling. They are not strong enough to support the heater over time.

The team that worked on this review
  • Ciera
    Ciera
    Digital Content Producer
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer
  • Rich
    Rich
    Writer

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