Gas Heater vs Electric Heater – Pros and Cons

Looking for the best way to keep your house nice and warm?

Gas heaters are a great option for houses that already have a natural gas line and for the ones located in colder areas. Even though electric heaters are more expensive to run, they can be the right choice for smaller houses located in warmer climates.

Gas Heater vs Electric Heater

Let’s take a closer look at the main advantages and disadvantages of electric and gas heaters.

What Are the Pros and Cons of Electric Heating?

There are different types of electric heaters and all of them have their own pros and cons.

Electric radiators

AdvantagesDisadvantages
Provide comfortable heat Easy installation Practically no maintenance is required Temperature controlled heating No heat leakage No pipework requiredElectricity can be expensive (applies to other types as well) A power cut can leave you without heating (applies to other types as well)

Convection heaters

AdvantagesDisadvantages
Easy installation Practically no maintenance is required No heat leakage Doesn’t require a lot of spacePoor circulation of heated air (you might have to get a ceiling fan)Draws electricity non-stop while in use

Infrared heating panels

AdvantagesDisadvantages
Heats up extremely fast Heats people and objects directly (that’s more efficient) Is silentIn general, is more expensive than the other options There has to be a lot of free space around the panels for them to be efficient (applies to other types as well)

Read: How Much Electricity Space Heaters Use?

What Are the Pros and Cons of Gas Heating?

AdvantagesDisadvantages
In general, it is cheaper to run a gas heater, than an electric one Gas heaters warm up the house quicker and produce warmer heat You can pair a gas heater with a cooling systemNeed special venting to discharge combustion gases Have a shorter lifespan Require a gas line The installation is generally more complex Can cause a carbon monoxide leak

Read: When To Turn Heat On?

What Is Better Gas Heat or Electric Heat?

There is no right answer to that question. Here are a few things that you would have to take into consideration when choosing your ‘side’. 

  • Installation

Electric heaters are much easier to install. Portable ones can be just plugged in and the installation of an electric furnace is easier, faster, and cheaper than that of a gas unit.

There are portable gas heaters available that are also easy to use. However, the installation of a gas furnace would require the assistance of a professional.

Gas units need a flue or a chimney to vent out the emissions and a gas line to your home.

  • Lifespan ; Maintenance

Gas heaters have to be inspected every 2 years to make sure that they are safe to use. Gas furnaces require more maintenance than electric ones, as the system has to get rid of the combustion gases.

All in all, an electric heater will last 20-30 years, while a gas unit – 10-20 years with regular maintenance.

  • Effectiveness ; Efficiency

Gas heaters are able to warm your house faster, while an electric model always takes time to power up the heating element.

Moreover, the heat produced by a gas heater is generally hotter. So, the appliance is going to produce more heat in the same amount of time.

However, do bear in mind that electric heaters have a 100% efficiency rating, while a lot of gas units have a rating between 80% and 90%

  • Safety

Electric heaters do not combust fuel. That means that there will be no risk of a carbon monoxide or gas leak.

Every gas heater, in its turn, can potentially become the cause of a carbon monoxide leak, so you have to make sure that you have got a special alarm installed near the device.

Any unit can catch fire, if not used correctly or if you fail to maintain the heater properly. Always use the heater according to the directions.

  • Environmental friendliness

Unless you are using alternative sources of power to generate electricity for your electric heaters, gas units are considered to be more environmentally friendly.

Even though such heaters produce dangerous combustion gases, this fuel burns cleaner than coal that is used to produce electricity.

To sum up, if your house already has a natural gas line and you live in an area with cold winters, then a gas heater might be a better option for you as it will be more effective at keeping you warm on cold days.

Electric heat is great for those who live in warmer climates, have smaller homes, and/or live in an area where gas is not available.

Read: What Is The Best Way To Heat A Large Space?

Electric Heater vs Gas Heater for Garage

Choosing a heater for your garage is a bit different than choosing a heater for your house, mainly because garages are not constructed the same as the living space.

The first thing that you would have to consider is whether there is an electric or gas supply in your garage.

If you have any of those, then you can opt for an electric or gas heater that will be mounted to the wall or ceiling. This will help you save valuable space.

If you want to be able to use the heater in different locations, then a portable heater can be a great choice. Do bear in mind that even gas heaters are going to need an electric supply, in case they have a fan.

All heaters that have a fan can be quite noisy. So, if you want to be able to work in silence in your garage, then go for a portable gas heater without a fan.

However, a lot of portable gas units come with a tank that fuels the heater. This is something that you should take into consideration if you have limited space.

Read: How Much Does It Cost To Run A Gas Garage Heater?

Electric Heat vs Gas Heat Monthly Cost

In 2021, on average, it cost around $750 to heat a home with natural gas in winter and nearly $1.270 to heat with electricity.

That is 30% and 6% more respectively than the year before.

So, if you decide to heat your home with an electric heater or furnace, be prepared to pay a significantly higher amount.

Are Electric Heaters Cheaper Than Gas Heaters?

Even though electric heaters are more expensive to operate, the units are actually cheaper.

Electric furnaces are going to cost you $800-$2.700, while the price for a gas furnace can go up to $6.200. Moreover, it typically costs a lot more to install a unit that operates on gas as you are going to need a flue or a chimney. 

The price difference in various portable heaters is not as significant

How Much Is Electric Heat Per Month?

To calculate how much it’s going to cost you to run an electric heater, you should know the heater’s wattage and the price of electricity in your area.

If you live in New York, your electricity rate per kWh in December 2021 was $0.20. That means that your electric heat will cost you $48 per month if you leave it on for 8 hours every day.

Read: How Much Does It Cost To Move A Furnace And Water Heater?

How Much Does It Cost to Switch from Gas to Electric Heat?

There are a few things that you would have to pay for if you decide to convert from gas to electric heat.

  • The removal and disposal of your old gas furnace ($150-400)
  • The cost to cap a gas line – this will help avoid gas leaks in the future. Some companies are ready to provide this service for free, others can charge you up to $150.
  • Various electrical upgrades – you might have to upgrade the house’s electric service to 200A or more and add load management devices ($1.300-2.500)
  • The cost of a new unit and the installation cost (up to $5.100)
  • Inspections and permits ($250-1.500)

All in all, it will cost you over $2.900 to switch to electric heat.

Read: How Much Does Forced Air Heating Cost Monthly?