How to choose a convector heater: a comparative review and recommendations before buying

Alexey Dedyulin
Checked by a specialist: Alexey Dedyulin
Author: Ekaterina Shpak
Last update: July 2019

Convectors are safe, durable and reliable heaters. Due to the wide range, usability and diverse design, their popularity is growing steadily. But not all units are equally good and functional.

We will tell you how to choose a convector heater that fully meets your needs. The article presented for familiarization describes all types of devices, the principles of their action and design features. Their weaknesses and strengths are analyzed, recommendations for operation are given.

The device and principle of operation of the equipment

Possessing all the necessary information about appliances with convection heating principle, it will be much easier to make a purchase.

The main structural elements of the device are the body, the heating element (heat exchanger) and the thermostat with the controller displayed on the external panel. Many convectors are “equipped” with various additional features to increase the comfort and safety of operation of the device.

Advantages of convector heaters
Convector heater - a practical device for heating an apartment, private house or cottage, with high efficiency and reliability

The functioning of the instruments is based on the process of natural air circulation - convection. Cold air enters the convector body, where when in contact with the heating element it quickly heats up and rushes up.

Elementary physics: warm air is lighter than cold. Cooling down, it goes down and enters the heater again - and the cycle repeats.

Thus, due to convection in the rooms, there is a constant circulation of warm air masses and a comfortable temperature is maintained. This principle of operation allows the equipment to heat the air not only efficiently, but also as evenly as possible.

Operation of electric convectors
The claim that convectors dry air is a common misconception. Devices heat the air, but the amount of moisture in it does not change too much.

What types of convectors are there?

Depending on the energy source, there are:

  • electric;
  • water;
  • gas convectors.

The most practical gas appliances, but the most popular electric convectors. Even the most advanced equipment models, endowed with a maximum of additional functions, are usually cheaper than water and gas heaters.

By the method of installation of the device are:

From the point of view of ease of use, wall mounted units are the best. Connoisseurs of modern design solutions should pay attention to built-in and skirting heaters. Electric floor convectors are good for their mobility.

Castor floor heater
The floor convector can not only be moved from room to room, but also taken with you, for example, from an apartment to a country house

By type of convection:

  • with natural convection;
  • with forced convection.

Forced convection is provided by a built-in fan. The advantage of its presence in the design of the convector is faster heating of the air, the disadvantage is noise during operation.

By type of temperature control:

  • with mechanical control;
  • electronically controlled.

Devices with mechanical control are more familiar and easier to use, while electronic devices are more convenient, but more expensive.

Electroconvector and its features

Electric convectors are the easiest way to heat an apartment or house. These devices are compact, have a reasonable price, and demonstrate high efficiency. Well established both as an additional, and the main heating of a small house.

Modern devices do not even closely resemble their predecessors with a red-hot spiral placed in front of the reflector - they are perfect and safe.

In addition, among the advantages of equipment:

  • ease of maintenance;
  • ease of use;
  • environmentally friendly heating (do not burn oxygen);
  • attractive appearance.
  • lack of need for preparatory work. No projects, permissions, special conditions are needed.

It is enough to calculate the required number of electrical appliances, buy a convector, install it on a wall or floor and plug it into a power outlet.

Convector with heated towel rail function
Although electroconvectors are not intended for drying clothes, among the assortment of stores you can find units with a special bracket for a towel or other “small things”

Types of heating elements

The heating element of most electric convectors on the market is tubular. It is a steel tube filled with heat-resistant ceramics or quartz, in which a nichrome thread passes.

Aluminum fins are fixed to the surface of the heating element, providing good heat transfer and enhancing convection.

In general, such heating elements are quite good and reliable. But there are also disadvantages. The expansion during heating of aluminum is greater than that of steel: thus, expanding differently, the structural components rub against each other during operation and gradually wear out. The process of heating the convector begins to be accompanied by crackles.

Due to the violation of tight contact between the steel tube and aluminum fins, heat transfer is difficult, which can lead to local overheating and burnout of the heater.

In the most advanced heaters, low-temperature monolithic heating elements are used. The incandescent thread in them is tightly pressed with ceramic insulators into a cast aluminum (or silumin) case with fins.

All materials for such a heating element are selected so that their coefficient of thermal expansion is almost the same. This ensures complete noiselessness and maximum durability of the device. The service life of such heating elements can reach 20 years.

As for efficiency, it is approximately the same for convectors with both one and the other type of heating element, therefore, from this point of view, you can choose any.

Convector heater safety
Electric convector heaters are insensitive to periodic voltage drops - the "weak" spot of domestic electricity networks. The well-designed multi-stage protection system is on guard for the device’s performance.

Attention to the body of the device

Choosing a convector heater, you must definitely pay attention to the aesthetics of the case - this can say a lot about the quality of the device as a whole. Damage to the paintwork is unacceptable; all corners and seams should be even and accurate. Poor-quality appliances can almost always be distinguished from “standing” ones in appearance.

An important characteristic of electric convectors is the height of the casing - the speed of the air flow passing through the heating element depends on it.Convectors with a height of 40-60 cm and more are characterized by a high flow rate due to good traction (as in a chimney: the higher, the stronger).

When the height of the device is 20-40 cm, its length is increased to maintain thermal efficiency. Skirting convectors have a minimum air flow rate, so their length can be very large - up to 2-2.5 m.

There is no particular difference in the efficiency of “high” and “low” electroconvectors, since it depends not on the size of the device, but on its power. Various equipment form factors are necessary, first of all, in order to maximally successfully and effectively introduce devices into any interiors.

All electric heaters have a certain class of protection (International Protection). It indicates the degree of resistance of the interface to particulate matter and moisture.

In general, convectors have a protection class of IP 20 (there is no protection against moisture), IP 21 (there is protection against drops), IP 24 (splash-proof models). Only appliances with IP 24 or higher are suitable for the bathroom.

Range of electric convectors
The most relevant news on the convector market: appliances with the function of integrated air purification, as well as with a built-in ionizer that kills fungus, bacteria, viruses

Calculation of the required power

The average power selection of a convector heater is made according to the following formula: 1 kW of heat per 10 square meters. m of room area with a ceiling height of 2.7 m. For higher ceilings, it is recommended that for every 10 cm above the indicated figure add 10% of the power.

It is desirable to block each window opening with heat flow, i.e. convectors should ideally be as many as there are windows in the room. Optimal, from a practical point of view, is a heater having the same length as the width of the window. A wide heat flow with good speed is a reliable "curtain" that effectively maintains the temperature balance in the room.

Calculation of convector heaters
When choosing a convector heater, it is important to consider not only the cost of the equipment itself, but also how much it will cost to operate it - energy consumption and maintenance

To determine the required power of the convector more accurately, you need to calculate according to the volume of the room - 35-40 watts of heat per 1 cubic meter. m. In this case, heat losses must be taken into account.

For corner rooms, rooms with panoramic windows, rooms "adjacent" to the basement or attic, it is highly desirable to select equipment with a good supply of power. This will help to accelerate the heating of air to a predetermined temperature.

The danger of buying a device with insufficient power is that it will not be able to reach the desired temperature and will work non-stop.

Criteria choosing an electric convector The article is devoted to the content of which we recommend that you familiarize yourself.

Where to place the electric convector?

Depending on the installation method, wall, floor and baseboard electroconvectors are distinguished. Devices for stationary wall mounting can be hung on brackets in any convenient place (optimally - under the window), they are compact and aesthetic, do not create obstacles when moving around the room.

Thanks to the “legs” (with or without castors), outdoor appliances are mobile; they can be freely moved around the room within the radius of the power cord, as well as transferred to other rooms.

It should be noted that almost all models of electric convectors are universal, i.e.You can install them on the floor and on the wall, if desired, periodically changing the location. Even if there are no legs in the kit, you can always buy them separately.

Skirting heaters are installed near the floor along the walls. Due to their compact size and special placement, they are successfully implemented in any interior and do not create obstacles for the installation of furniture.

Installation of an electric baseboard convector
Skirting convectors are not the best choice for basic room heating, but in tandem with underfloor heating they can be very effective

Important operational nuances

Along with an impressive list of advantages of electric convectors, they also have certain disadvantages. The first and main minus of the equipment is the absolute dependence on the availability of electricity in the network. As soon as there is an abyss of tension, the convector becomes an absolutely useless piece of iron.

Due to the fact that in many regions power outages remain commonplace, it is not always convenient to use them as the main heating system. But as an additional source of heating, they are very good - they are appreciated both by residents of high-rise buildings, and owners of country houses.

Despite the continuous improvement of the design of convectors, their energy consumption is still very high. When heating a large apartment or house, electricity bills can be intimidating.

Installation electric heaters makes certain demands on the quality of wiring. It is naive to believe that “Soviet communications” will withstand the “appetites” of modern equipment.

To create an autonomous heating system based on convectors, it is necessary to lay a separate power line. With apparent difficulties, it is always cheaper and easier than installing a boiler and laying pipes.

The rational solution: gas convector

Gas convectors operate on natural (main) or liquefied (balloon) gas. They do not need a current source, except for those models that are equipped with a fan to improve air circulation.

But even without electricity, such devices work quietly - just the fan does not spin. Units are usually used as the main heating devices, but can also play an auxiliary role.

Gas convector in the country
Gas convectors are usually chosen for private homes or farm buildings with a small total area. This is the best solution for giving

Advantages and disadvantages of equipment

Among the important advantages of gas convector heaters, in addition to "electrical independence", it is worth highlighting the following points:

  • these devices are not afraid of frost, they can be safely left in unheated houses;
  • products are safe: the gas supply in a critical situation automatically stops.

A significant advantage lies in the simplicity of the device, due to which the devices are quite reliable and pleasing with high efficiency.

The equipment also has disadvantages:

  • Despite the small dimensions, gas convectors are usually difficult to successfully fit into the interior;
  • you need to "hollow" the wall for coaxial gas venting.

A significant minus is that the gas unit cannot just be taken and the device “moved” to another place.

Gas convector design

The gas heater consists of the following nodes:

  1. Metal case. It is covered with heat resistant paint. The bottom and top of the structure is open for air circulation.
  2. Ribbed heat exchanger. Heats the air. The larger it is, the faster the room temperature rises.
  3. Burner. Here is the burning of gas.
  4. Combined valve. Responsible for regulating the flow of gas into the burner.
  5. Chimney. It removes smoke from the device. Not all manufacturing plants include a chimney in the delivery kit - this should be considered when choosing equipment.
  6. Thermostat. Element for controlling the operation of the combined valve.
  7. Automation. Shut off the gas supply in emergency situations.

Also, the gas convector can be equipped with a fan, remote control (expensive models).

Wall mounted gas convector in the bedroom
We can talk about the economics of gas convectors only if we are talking about installing one or two appliances in the house. Installation of equipment in every room is a real ruin

Device Recommendations

The product must be adapted to the pressure in your gas system. The required power of the gas convector is calculated according to the well-known formula - for every 10 square meters. m of the site requires 1 kW of heat. It will not be superfluous to add 1 kW to the obtained value for poor-quality insulation or old windows.

By the method of fastening devices can be wall and floor. The first ones are lighter and more compact, have sufficient power; it is usually recommended to opt for them.

A very important parameter when choosing a gas heater is the material from which its heat exchanger is made, it can be:

  • cast iron;
  • aluminum;
  • steel.

The cast-iron heat exchanger warms up evenly, has a sufficiently high efficiency, is able to work for half a century. But since cast iron is a brittle material, under certain conditions (for example, a large temperature difference) it can burst. In addition, this design has a large weight.

Aluminum heat exchangers have excellent thermal conductivity, but their heat resistance is low. Equipped with them devices are of high cost.

Steel heat exchanger is the best option. According to a number of characteristics, it is certainly inferior to "competitors". But it is durable, lightweight and cheap.

A good bonus in the design of a gas convector is the presence of a fan. It reduces the heating time of the room and reduces the risk of burnout of the heat exchanger, but increases the cost of equipment.

Convector with fan
The fan significantly increases the heat dissipation of the heater due to more intensive air supply to and from the heat exchanger

Water convectors: efficient and effective

Water-type convectors are modern appliances that are a great alternative to standard radiators. Devices are successfully used in autonomous heating systems of private houses and apartments, as well as in centralized heating networks. Water convectors reliable, economical and durable, their efficiency is about 95%.

Varieties of water devices

Water convector devices are an ideal solution for rooms with a large glazing area. Depending on the model, a water convector can be either an independent heating unit or a source of additional heating.

Thanks to the various form factors of the equipment, it is possible to solve the heating issue not only efficiently, but also effectively.

Water convectors are:

  • outdoor;
  • wall mounted;
  • baseboards;
  • in-floor;
  • recessed.

All of them occupy a minimum of space, and in the case of a hidden installation, they even save usable space. Installation in the wall, floor, steps, under the furniture allows you to save such valuable square meters and provide comfortable heating.Floor-mounted devices with drainage can be successfully used in rooms with pools, greenhouses, winter gardens, etc.

Wall mounted water convector heating
At the individual request of the customer, the body of the water convector can be painted in almost any color, as well as decorated with wood or other materials.

A diverse design - from laconic-classic to bright-modern - makes it easy to fit units into any interior.

Features of various equipment modifications

Water wall convectors are a steel casing with a perforated grill located on top, in which a copper-aluminum heat exchanger is placed. Instruments are mounted using a special mounting kit, which is necessarily included in their factory equipment.

Wall convectors are an excellent choice for rooms that need fast and efficient heating and have enough free space for wall mounting. This is the most successful solution for children's rooms and bedrooms. For heating continuous, floor-to-floor glazing is not suitable.

Floor water convectors are usually installed in rooms with low window-sill space. They can also be installed near panoramic windows, if due to the low height of the screed it is not possible to mount the floor unit. In addition to the case with the heat exchanger, such devices are structurally supplemented by a steel supporting base.

Floor convector for water heating
Some manufacturers offer water convectors with air conditioning. Thanks to such 2 in 1 equipment, it is possible to heat the room during the cold season, and in the summer - to cool

Such convectors are somewhat cluttered with space, however, they fit perfectly into rooms with a modern interior in the style of loft, modern, high-tech, avant-garde.

Plinth water heaters are practical and compact. The low thermal stress of such convectors allows you to mount them right next to the furniture and various decorative elements. This gives a huge advantage in the organization of space.

Floor-mounted structures are used to cut off cold air flows from windows. Units can effectively solve the problem of condensation formation on large window glazings (“crying windows”).Built into the floor level, they do not take up space at all and do not interfere with enjoying the panoramic view.

How to choose a floor convector heater
After installation, floor convectors are covered with a special grill, performing a protective and decorative role

Ways to control air temperature

Any modern convector allows you to set the desired temperature in the room. To do this, thermostats are provided in their design. They are mechanical and electronic, plug-in devices and built-in equipment.

A mechanical thermostat is simple and cheap, it can have characteristic clicks during operation, but it ensures stable operation of the device in the conditions of voltage drops. Adjustment and temperature control must be done manually.

An electronic thermostat provides temperature control using sensors, reacting to its change in automatic mode. He is absolutely silent. It can be built-in and remote. The most “smart” regulators can be controlled remotely.

Programmable thermostat for convector
The programmable thermostat can maintain the required air temperature depending on the time of day and day of the week. Touch control makes the operation of the device as comfortable as possible.

Get a full picture of the pros and cons of convectors will help next article, illuminating the advantages and disadvantages of convection devices in comparison with fan heaters.

Conclusions and useful video on the topic

Video # 1. Tips for choosing an electric convector:

Video # 2. Overview of one of the simple models of gas convectors:

Deciding which one is better to buy a convector heater is certainly not easy. Especially when the choice is so great. For additional temporary heating of rooms, the simplest and most convenient solution is electric models. If gas is supplied to the room and you need constant heating, it is better to stop at the gas unit.

Water convectors are notable for their high price and laborious installation - it makes sense to buy them if you are set up to install a full-fledged heating system and are ready to fork out. And remember: the most important thing is that the selected device is powerful enough.

Please write comments in the block form below. Tell us about your experience in choosing a convector, tell what kind you prefer and why. Ask questions, share opinions and useful information, post a photo on the topic of the article.

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Visitors Comments
  1. Leonid

    Next-generation electric convectors are safe, practical and economical heaters. Based on our realities of life, they should be in every apartment. Wall-mounted appliances are ideally suited for any interior and take up almost no space. Unlike its predecessors, the air is not dried, they give uniform, comfortable warmth. I installed skirting equipment on the loggia - an ideal alternative to a warm floor, but it warms not only the floor, but the entire space.

  2. Water convectors, as for me, will be much safer and harmless. Therefore, I recommend choosing them.