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Baseboard Heater vs. Wall Heater: Which is Better?

Baseboard heaters and wall heaters are both heating solutions that are energy efficient and ideal for small spaces. What option best suits the needs for your home? 

If you have a small space and are looking for a heating solution that provides heat quickly and is most compact, a wall heater will be your best option. If you need to heat a larger area with ample wall and floor space, a baseboard heater will likely make the most sense.

In this article, you will learn how baseboard heaters and wall heaters both operate. You will also discover the benefits that make each of those units unique. Finally, a few more considerations to take when selecting the best heating solution for your space will be shared.

Baseboard Heater  vs. Wall Heater:  Which is Better?

Electric heating: What unit is the best option?

Before discussing the ways these units operate and the benefits of the two options, here is a preview that may help you start to determine which heating source is best for your space:

  • Both baseboard and wall heaters rely on a convection current process to generate heat. However, a wall heater uses a fan to disperse air after the current has taken place while the baseboard relies solely on the current. With this being said, wall heaters are able to heat a room more quickly.
  • Baseboard heaters are ideal for rooms that are drafty or have windows. There also must be areas where the wall is long enough to accommodate the heating unit, like in a living room or on a sun porch.
  • Wall heaters are more compact so are ideal for smaller rooms. If you are needing to heat an office, bathroom, or small bedroom, a wall heater will likely be your best option.
  • Without any moving parts, baseboard heaters are essentially silent.

With these considerations, let’s dive into how these units work and some more detailed benefits of each.

Baseboard Heater vs. Wall Heater: How do they work?

Both baseboard and wall heaters operate using electricity and convection currents to generate heat. Convection currents are defined as the process that involves the movement of energy from one place to another. However, the physical units themselves are quite different. Read on to learn more about the differences between these two heating solutions

Baseboard Heaters

Baseboard heaters are easy-to-install units that are often found in older apartments and old homes. They are not commonly used today, but still have many benefits and are great to heat small spaces or when used as a supplemental heating system. 

The metal baseboard units are normally six to eight feet long and less than twelve inches tall. The units are most effective when installed in a drafty area like under a window. This is because they generate heat when cold air falls into the baseboard through a vent. The air is warmed by metal heating elements inside the baseboard that are powered through electricity. The warm air generated in the heating elements then rises out of the unit.

Baseboard Heater vs. Wall Heater: Which is Better?

The process continuously repeats itself, creating the convection current. It is important to note there are two types of baseboard heaters. Most comparable to the wall heater is the electric baseboard heater, but there are also hydronic baseboard heaters that generate heat by boiling water.

Wall Heaters

Similarly to baseboard heaters, wall heaters are easy to install and ideal for small spaces. As air circulates through a room, it enters the wall heating unit that then uses a process similar to the baseboard heater. The inside of a wall heater contained metal heating elements powered by electricity coming from the outlet the wall heater is plugged in to. A fan from within the unit then circulates warm air out of the unit. 

Baseboard Heater vs. Wall Heater: Which is Better?

As the name suggests, these units are installed directly into the wall. The units vary in size but most are around 12 to 16 inches in both length and height. These units are easy to install in just about any space. The fan is a benefit not present in the baseboard heating units. As the fan is able to push air out more quickly and farther into a room, the wall heater ultimately provides quicker and more efficient heating.

Baseboard Heater vs. Wall Heater: What are the benefits?

The main benefits of both of these types of heating solutions are ease of installation and cost-effectiveness. As both operate strictly off of electricity and are so small in size, installation requires no additional ductwork. These units can be bought at home improvement stores like Lowe’s or Home Depot and often can be installed by the homeowner.

Another benefit of these units is that they are extremely quiet. As these units are most effective in small spaces, the low volume is often appreciated by people who choose these heating options. 

A distinguishable difference is the typical life span of these units. Wall heaters are typically advertised to last eight to ten years where baseboard heating may be a more permanent solution as they often operate effectively for more than twenty years. 

Another distinguishable difference is that wall heaters undoubtedly take up less square footage in a room. There are hardly any rooms a wall heater couldn’t be installed in, besides perhaps a sun porch. Cadet Heat, a leading manufacturer of both baseboard and wall heaters, actually encourages customers to switch out old baseboard heaters for wall heaters. Watch their YouTube video to learn more.


There are many benefits to electric heating and both baseboard and wall heaters are good options for different reasons. Picking the best option for your space may just come down to personal preference, however certain room sizes and features will certainly help you make your decision.

Considering things like wall and floor space, the efficiency of heating and the volume of your heating solution will help you make your decision. Also, like with any appliance in your home, it is important to understand the ways the units work. Fortunately, both baseboard and wall heaters have some undeniable benefits and can be a great option for heating your small space or home.


  • Vincent Steele

    Vincent is a freelance writer based in Santa Ana, California. When he isn't writing articles for Temperature Master, he can be found biking or hanging out with his cat, Shelly.

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