Discover Electric Heaters Definition, Working, Diagram, 10 Types Applications, Pros & Cons [PDF]

In this article, we shall learn about Electric Heaters their definition, working, diagram, application, advantages, and disadvantages. We have provided a PDF for the same.

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Definition of Electric Heaters

Electric heating is achieved through the utilization of a known resistance within an electric circuit. This specific resistance contains a limited number of free electrons, impeding the easy flow of electric current. As electrons encounter this resistance, heat is generated as a result. The generated heat serves as the necessary energy to power electric devices.

Due to the significant electrical energy consumed by electric heaters, they can be costly even though they are highly efficient in output. Similarly, when we compare the prices of other alternative sources of energy like water, gas, fossil fuel, etc. the price of electricity is substantially higher. The only factor that makes them appealing to potential consumers is the advantages they possess like lower purchasing and installation expenses. When employed for domestic purposes, these heaters are typically insulated with plastic materials to safeguard residents from electric shocks and minimize energy loss.

Design Of Electric Heaters

The design of an electric heater involves the inclusion of a heating core radiator, which becomes hot upon the passage of electric current through the device. Two types of cores are commonly utilized in heaters and radiators: oil-filled cores and dry cores. The dry core is composed of lightweight and leak-proof ceramic material. Ceramic or dry core radiators are known for their energy efficiency and excellent heat retention, contributing to their overall effectiveness. The body of the radiator is typically constructed using aluminum or steel, facilitating the dissipation of energy.

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The core is submerged in oil in the case of oil-filled radiators which makes the need for refilling oil in the radiators nonexistent. this helps the thermal liquids in the reservoir last for a lifetime. The resistor coils can be either exposed and mounted on insulators or embedded within refractory insulation with a protective metal enclosure or a glass case in the case of printed circuit designs. Additionally, the electric heater incorporates fins that enhance the surface area for heat dissipation.

All electric heaters are equipped with a heating element, which functions as an electrical resistor, operating based on Joule’s law. These resistors efficiently convert electrical energy into heat energy, emitting radiant energy in the process. They can be composed of metal alloy wires, non-metallic materials like carbon compounds, or printed circuits. The heating elements in modern electric devices often utilize nichrome metal, paired with ceramic insulation, to ensure safe and effective operation.

Components of Electric Heater

The general working diagram for electric heaters involves several key components which operate as follows

  • Power source: These heaters are connected to a power outlet in some cases can be battery operated
  • Control Panel: This allows for features like adjusting the timer or adjusting the temperature or other features. This Panel Consists of Knobs, Buttons, Digital displays, etc.
  • Thermostat: This is a temperature-sensing device that reads the ambient temperature it maintains the desired room conditions by switching the heating element On/Off as per requirements
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  • Heating Element: The heating element is the heart of the electric heater. It is typically made of nichrome wire, which has a high resistance to electrical current. When electricity passes through the heating element, the resistance causes it to heat up, generating thermal energy.
  • Airflow: Electric heaters often have a fan or other means of circulating air. This helps distribute the heat throughout the room, improving efficiency and providing more even heating.
  • Safety Features: Electric heaters may incorporate safety features such as overheat protection and tip-over switches. These mechanisms help prevent overheating or accidents if the heater is accidentally knocked over.

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Modes of Heat Transfer in Heaters

In theory and practice the heat transfer from the heater takes place in three modes like conduction, convection, and radiation.

Conduction: This is the mode of heat transfer where the heat is transferred from one molecule to another by direct contact. It is the most common mode of heat transfer found in electrical devices. The rate of transfer is dependent on the temperature difference between the substances where the one with a higher temperature leads to faster conduction

This is the mode of heat transfer that is employed for low-temperature heating operations like immersing water in heaters. In this mode, Air expands and rises when it comes in contact with the heating element. This process facilitates the heating of air or water. Factors such as the temperature above the heated element, the size of the heater surface, and the heater’s positioning influence the rate of convection.

Radiation involves the transfer of heat through the emission of electromagnetic waves from a heated medium. In electric heaters, radiation is a prominent mode of heat transfer. The heat energy is radiated to the surroundings without directly heating the medium or any intervening materials. This process effectively warms up the surrounding area.

Types of Electric heaters

The Different types of electric heaters are as follows

Electric Fan Heaters: Electric fan heaters utilize a combination of heating elements and a fan to quickly distribute warm air throughout a space, providing instant warmth and comfort.

Electric Infrared Heaters: Electric infrared heaters emit infrared radiation, which directly heats objects and people in their vicinity, creating a cozy and focused warmth without heating the entire room.

Electric Baseboard Heaters: Electric baseboard heaters are installed along the baseboard of a room, utilizing convection to circulate warm air throughout the space, offering efficient and silent heating.

Kickspace Heaters: Kickspace heaters are compact units designed to fit under cabinets or in small spaces, supplying supplemental heat while saving valuable floor space.

Mica Heaters: Mica heaters feature thin sheets of mica that surround heating elements, efficiently producing radiant heat and distributing it evenly, making them energy-efficient heating solutions.

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Ceramic Heaters: Ceramic heaters employ ceramic heating elements that heat up quickly and provide consistent warmth. They are known for their safety features and quiet operation.

Electric Fireplaces: Electric fireplaces combine the ambiance of a traditional fireplace with the convenience of electricity, offering realistic flame effects and adjustable heat settings for a cozy atmosphere.

Electric Floor Heaters: Electric floor heaters are installed beneath the flooring material, providing radiant heat that warms the floor and effectively heats the room from the bottom up.

Electric Heat Pumps: Electric heat pumps extract heat from the outside air or ground and transfer it indoors, providing both heating and cooling capabilities for efficient temperature control.

Electric Water Heaters: Electric water heaters use electrical energy to heat water, supplying hot water for various purposes, such as bathing, washing, and cooking, making them essential for daily comfort and convenience.

Advantages of Electric heaters

  • Electric heaters have high energy efficiency as they are capable of converting most electricity to heat minimizing loss which helps to provide the instant heating ability
  • Electric heaters have a user-friendly design offering compactness and portability, simple controls, and easy implementation.
  • They offer zonal heating flexibility which allows us to heat spaces as per needs saving us energy and bill expenses
  • Electric heaters operate without burning fuel, resulting in clean and odorless heat production. There are no fumes or emissions associated with electric heaters.
  • Electric heaters often come with built-in safety features such as overheating protection and tip-over switches, ensuring safe operation and reducing the risk of accidents.
  • They work silently and do not create any disturbance and the absence of complex components and fuel storage require minimum maintenance.
  • Electric heaters are helping to provide a cleaner environment due to reduced direct emission
  • Electric heaters are highly versatile as they can be used as baseboard heaters or infrared heaters and are cost-effective due lower charges involved.
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Disadvantages of Electric Heaters

  • Electric Heaters involve higher expenses when they are employed for larger area heating. These electric heaters are advised to use for small to medium-sized spaces for the best savings and performance
  • Electricity is the sole power source for these electric heaters so when the user faces power shedding it cant be functional if needed.
  • Electric heaters are slow in heating larger spaces which leads to improper heat distribution and reduced efficiency.
  • Electric heaters tend to dry out the air in a room, which can cause discomfort, dry skin, and respiratory issues. Using a humidifier alongside an electric heater can help alleviate this drawback.
  • Electric heaters do not retain heat once turned off, unlike certain heating systems. This means that the warmth dissipates relatively quickly after the heater is no longer in use.
  • Noise from Fan Heaters: Fan-based electric heaters can generate noise due to the operation of the fan, which may cause disturbances, especially in quiet environments or during sleep.
  • They pose the risk of getting burns or starting a fire due to malfunctioning. Always remember to keep flammable objects away from them. Buy electric heaters from well-trusted manufacturers to find out more read our article on the best electric heaters in 2023

Applications of Electric heaters

  • Electric Heaters are used for Residential Heating and For Commerical or Office Space
  • They are used for some industrial processes like chemical production, food processing, and manufacturing where controlled heating is important.
  • Electric heaters are used in the hospitality sector in Hotels or restaurants to warm the lobbies, common areas, outdoor seating during winter, etc.
  • The Health sector like nursing homes or hospitals uses electric heaters to maintain a suitable temperature for patient rooms, waiting areas etc.
  • Electric Heaters are used for agricultural and greenhouse environments to provide heating conditions during winter for optimal plant growth and crop yield.
  • They are used in construction sites to provide heating in work areas and portable cabins.
  • Electric heaters, especially infrared patio heaters, are used in outdoor events, restaurants, and cafes to create comfortable outdoor seating areas, allowing patrons to enjoy open-air settings even in cooler temperatures.
  • Electric heaters are utilized in automotive applications for heating vehicle interiors, including car seats, steering wheels, and mirrors, enhancing passenger comfort during cold weather.
  • Electric heaters are installed in sports facilities and stadiums to provide warmth in spectator areas, locker rooms, and other spaces to ensure a pleasant experience for attendees during sporting events.


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Which are the best electric heaters for water

  • Rheem Performance Platinum Electric Water Heater
  • AO Smith Signature Premier Electric Water Heater
  • Bradford White AeroTherm Heat Pump Water Heater
  • EcoSmart ECO 27 Electric Tankless Water Heater
  • Stiebel Eltron Tempra Plus Electric Tankless Water Heater
  • Rheem RTEX-13 Electric Tankless Water Heater
  • Westinghouse Electric Water Heater
  • Reliance 6-50-EORT Electric Water Heater

Which electric heaters are the cheapest to operate

The cheapest electric heaters to operate are generally heat pumps, electric baseboard heaters, electric radiant heaters, and electric space heaters with thermostats. Energy efficiency, proper insulation, and temperature control are key factors to consider for cost-effective operation.


In conclusion, electric heaters offer numerous advantages as a reliable and convenient heating solution. They provide instant warmth, are easy to use, and offer portability options. They offer Zone heating and high energy efficiency which makes them cost-effective and the preferred choice for heating residential or commercial even industrial applications. But like two sides of a coin, they also offer disadvantages like limited heating range, high operating costs, etc. Overall electric heaters strive to provide comfort and warmth for all settings to create a cozy welcoming environment and enhance the quality of life.


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