This article has multiple issues. Please help improve it or discuss these issues on the talk page. (Learn how and when to remove these template messages) This article possibly contains original research. Please improve it by verifying the claims made and adding inline citations. Statements consisting only of original research should be removed. (January 2019) (Learn how and when to remove this message)This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed.Find sources: "Fan heater" – news · newspapers · books · scholar · JSTOR (September 2023) (Learn how and when to remove this message) (Learn how and when to remove this message)
Portable fan heater
A Japanese kerosene fan heater that burns kerosene for fuel. It contains an electric fan and computer controls.
Electric fan heater

A fan heater, also called a blow heater, is a heater that works by using a fan to pass air over a heat source (e.g. a heating element).[1] This heats up the air, which then leaves the heater, warming up the surrounding room. They can heat an enclosed space such as a room faster than a heater without a fan,[2] but like any fan, create a degree of noise.

Cost and efficiency

Electric fan heaters can be cheaper than other heaters due to simple construction.[3] The fan carries heat away from the device, which can be made smaller without overheating. The relatively small amount of electricity used to operate the fan is converted to additional heat, so that efficiency remains at 100%.

Electric fan heaters can be more expensive to run than fuel powered heaters due to the cost of electricity.[3] This makes them best suited to occasional use rather than as regularly used heat sources.

Residential electric fan heaters are limited in capacity by the voltage of the electrical system. In 110/120 V countries, 15 A is a typical maximum, which results in many models being 1.5 kW. In 220/230 V countries, 3 kW is a maximum, however 2 kW is commonly used as it is adequate for most cases. Industrial fan heaters can draw more power than smaller commercial models.


Most modern fan heaters have a power setting to determine power output. Some also have a thermostat which switches off heating when the desired ambient temperature is reached. They do not maintain perfect room temperature control, since:

Heat sources

While the fans in fan heaters are electrically powered, various heat sources may be used:


Electric fan heaters are unsealed appliances with live electric parts inside, so they are not safe to use in wet environments because of the risk of electrical injury if moisture provides a conductive path to electrically-live parts. Electric fan heaters usually have a thermal fuse close to the heating element(s) to prevent overheating damage in the event of fan failure or air intakes becoming blocked, and a tip-over switch to shut the heater off when the fan outlet is not in the required orientation. Metal-cased heaters may perform better in the case of possible fire-causing faults than plastic-cased ones, since the case will stay intact and is not flammable, but the metal case presents a higher risk of electric shock if a heater malfunctions.

Portable fuel-powered fan heaters release all the fumes of combustion into the room, creating a risk of poisoning by carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide. Most installed fuel fan heaters in the first world use a heat exchanger and external ventilation, avoiding that risk by venting the combustion gases to the outdoors.

Internal parts

Residential model

Typical fan heater's internal parts

The picture immediately to the right (the top on the mobile site) shows most of the component parts of a typical plug-in electric fan heater.

Overheat cutouts

The next picture shows the two overheat cutouts. The bimetal cutout (left) operates if the device overheats because the intake is blocked or the fan fails, and resets automatically or manually depending on specification, once the heater cools after the operational fault is corrected. The thermal fuse (right) is a failsafe backup device that will blow and disconnect the heating element permanently should the bimetal cutout fail to operate (e.g. due to its contacts welding together) and in so doing prevent extreme overheating which could result in a fire.

Industrial model

Industrial fan heaters use high-output finned heating elements in front of a fan to provide a larger airflow and higher kilowatt rating than many smaller residential fan heaters. Industrial fan heaters can be used in warehouses, shipping containers, clean rooms, shops and other general purpose heating applications. They can also be used as dryers or dehumidifiers with modified attachments or mountings. Portable industrial fan heaters tend to range from around 1.5 kW up to about 45 kW with either axial or centrifugal fans and various staged controls and over-temperature safety limit controls.

See also


  1. ^ "How Electric Blower Heaters Work - HSS Blog". HSS Hire. Retrieved 2023-09-20.
  2. ^ "Convection Heaters vs. Fan-Forced Heaters – Which is right for you?". Dimplex. Retrieved 2023-09-20.
  3. ^ a b Ruth Emery (2023-01-25). "Fan heater vs oil heater – which is cheaper?". moneyweekuk. Retrieved 2023-09-20.