Let’s say you want to heat up your apartment living room, but you don’t want to spend a fortune in a built-in heater. What do you use?
For us, the best hydronic baseboard heaters are the ideal product for that. They can warm up entire bedrooms for a very reasonable price, both at first and over the long term.
If you want to enjoy high efficiency and still heat up entire rooms super-fast and effectively, then you will love these baseboard heaters.
Want to know more about them? Then read up!
3 Best Hydronic Baseboard Heaters Review
We had to pick some of the best models in the market – so we decided to stick with only three. These are the most efficient, well-made, and robust models out there. Here’s what we found out about them:
Number #1: Fahrenheat PLF1004 Hydronic Baseboard Heater
The first model comes from one of the most popular brands in the baseboard heater market; Fahrenheat. As the PLF1004 is a hydronic model, this heater can heat up a huge space without trying too hard.
And it is ultra-efficient as well, providing a radiant heat capacity that ensures little electricity consumption even throughout extended operations.
Something else you will find interesting is its liquid-element technology. It allows the machine to stay cool on the outside while it provides warm air. You won’t have to worry about touching it with your bare hands – it’s totally harmless.
At the same time, it offers a total of 1,000 watts at 240-volts. That’s enough to warm up an entire 100 sq. ft. room without problems. It will work wonders for small and studio apartments, especially those with little furniture.
The installation is also a piece of cake thanks to the direct installation system in a 46-inches design. It fits almost anywhere.
And with the quiet performance plus beep-free sound system, you won’t have any problem turning it on or off late at night.
Last but not least, it is totally safe to use with its overheating protection. It will automatically turn off when the air intake gets blocked.
Number #2: Marley HBB504 Baseboard Heaters
The Marley HBB504 is yet another quality baseboard heater for those who want maximum efficiency and results. Coming with an effective hydronic system, it will surpass your expectations in terms of electricity used and warming capacity.
You can get it in any of its 5 versions. It offers a small 4-feet design with a minimal 20-inches fan. The slightly bigger version has a 28-inches design that can handle up to 500 watts. And you’ll find the 34-inches, 46-inches, and the 58-inches models with 500 watts, 750 watts, and 1,000 watts accordingly.
For those who want maximum results depending on the size, the Marley HBB504 heater will not let them down.
It still manages to be super low-profile, producing little to no noise and delivering decent efficiency. This goes well with the allergen-free performance. Thanks to its hydronic system, there’s no chance for dust, dirt, and other elements to travel through – it is totally safe for people with allergies.
The warming system is also worth considering, delivering consistent heat for several hours even after the thermostat turns off.
And lastly, you can enjoy a practical operation that makes little to no noise. Turning it on and off will produce no annoying beep, so you can use it at night without problems.
Number #3: Cadet EBHN1000WLH Softheat Hydronic Baseboard Heater
If someone asks you, “what is the best hydronic baseboard heater?” You answer, “the Cadet EBHN1000WLH Softheat.”
What makes it the best among all the different models available out there? Easy – the superb power capacity at 1,000 watts plus the highly efficient performance.
You can heat up rooms of up to 100 sq. ft. without making much of an effort. And if you hook it up with a 240v connection, it will offer up to 150 sq. ft. of total warming capacity. That’s enough for small apartments and big living rooms.
Another exciting feature is the low-surface temperature system it offers. Instead of getting all hot in the exterior, the machine only delivers soft, warm air, and that’s it. You won’t have to worry about it making the entire room hot and difficult to enjoy.
At the same time, it is super quiet. The whisper-quiet system ensures maximum warming capacity without being annoying.
You can add the allergen-free performance, which prevents dust and other particles from traveling on your living space.
If all that wasn’t enough, you can still enjoy its highly efficient performance. Without sucking up too much power, it can stay warm and keep entire rooms cozy for hours. Even after the thermostat turns off, it will keep working softly.
There’s nothing to hate about this hydronic baseboard heater.
How Does the Hydronic Baseboard Heating Work?
The process of a hydronic baseboard heater is not as simple as it seems, but it is not as complicated as you may think.
It all starts with a heating element submerged in heat-transfer liquid. Both the heating element and liquid are inside a metal tube. The heating element heats up the liquid, which eventually warms up the metal tube. Once the metal tube is hot enough, it is exposed to water that turns into steam.
Once the water turns into steam, the heater sucks air from outside and then uses the steam to heat it up according to the temperature in the thermostat.
In short, it heats up water to warm up the air. This process is counterintuitively super-efficient and produces the air that eventually heats up rooms.
It’s mostly because the heating element turns off by itself after some time, but without stopping to heat water. At the same time, the liquid runs all across the width of the heater, which makes it possible to create enough steam and heat up enough air at once.
When it comes to efficiency without losing effectiveness, hydronic baseboard heaters are among the best options out there.
How to Choose the Ideal Baseboard Heater?
While browsing through the best electric hydronic baseboard heaters, you’ll find how they all differ in most aspects. So we decided to explain what these aspects are and how you can choose the right heater accordingly. Take a look:
Every heater has a specific power capacity. That means how much power it can produce to heat up a room. Sure enough, the more power it offers, the more effective and faster it will work.
A hydronic baseboard heater, for example, can go anywhere from 500 watts up to 1,500 watts for the largest models.
It’s safe to say that a 500-watts model can heat up an area of about 100 square feet. If you pick a 1,500-watts heater, then you can get up to 250 square feet of total heating capacity.
The power will give you an idea of how well the baseboard heater produces warmth. But it won’t be enough unless you have a decently-sized design.
Here, you will find that baseboard heaters go from around 40 to 60 inches in total width size. Some models can be as small as 28 inches, while the largest ones can meet 70 inches of width with ease.
You should go for whatever fits in the room you want to install the heater in. At the same time, be aware that the smaller the heater, the less power it will offer.
After considering power and size, be sure to think about how much noise it produces.
You may don’t think it is necessary, but it is. These massive machines can be pretty noisy and annoying, so if you can go for a low-profile model that doesn’t make much noise – that would be an excellent idea.
Similar to the total noise it produces, you also want a baseboard heater that doesn’t use much energy. Not only will it make the machine more environmentally-friendly, but it will also lower down your electrical bills exponentially.
Still, going for a model that’s too energy efficient can be a little disconcerting – especially if it doesn’t heat up fast. So be careful, you want efficiency but not that much.
Last but not least, consider how much it takes to install the piece. Some models will take a few hours to install by one person. But others can take even more time between two people.
Luckily, baseboard heaters are a piece of cake to install most of the time. But still, be sure it is not harder to set up than it should.
Electric vs Hydronic Heater
We want you to understand the difference between an electric baseboard heater and a hydronic one. Here, we go over some of the features that differ from one to the other. This will give you a better idea of how they work:
An electric heater starts warming up really fast, which is an excellent advantage in places with severe temperature changes. But they tend to have limited reach.
In contrast, hydronic models tend to heat up really slow, but they heat up for a long time and don’t have a reach limit.
Most baseboard heaters can go anywhere from 24-inches (2 feet) in total size up to industrial size at about 120 inches (10 feet). This makes them ideal for both super small as well as decently large operations. So, it doesn’t matter what you pick, they both offer the same size options.
When it comes to energy use, you will find that hydronic heaters perform a lot better. While they tend to warm up slower than electric systems, they can function for long without using much energy. Even when the thermostat turns off, the machine will still heat up the environment.
An electric heater can’t do that. It will need to stay working for hours and use energy accordingly. This eventually increases its energy use and makes it less efficient.
The installation of both electric and hydronic baseboard heaters can be pretty messy. It requires electrical knowledge and experience, so it may not be safe to do without expert help.
We can safely say that electric baseboard heaters are cheap at first. They cost about 20% less than their hydronic cousins. However, they consume a lot more energy over time. So, while they’re cheaper initially, they may end up costing a lot more in the long run.
There’s no difference here either. An electric heater has only a few moving parts that make it last a long time. But its heating elements tend to wear down in about a decade or so.
Hydronic models have a few more moving parts, but they heat up more efficiently, so they don’t wear down that much. You can expect them to last a decade or more without issues.
As you can see, there’s not much of a difference between these two – so don’t hesitate and take a look at our best electric baseboard heaters for more info.
Unique Features of Hydronic Heater
Want to know what makes the best hydronic baseboard heaters such excellent models? Here’s a small set of features to think about:
There’s no mistake when it comes to quietness – hydronic systems produce little to no noise. Thanks to a super-efficient hot-water heating process, you won’t have to worry about loud motors or compressors sucking or pushing air around.
The best of all is that they turn off over time while still delivering some of the warmth. This eliminates the little noise they were making, so they end up even quieter than before.
Do you live with allergies and need something that doesn’t move dust or harmful particles around? Then you’ll love a hydronic baseboard heater.
Because it uses hot water instead of air to produce warmth, you can be sure there won’t be a single allergen to worry about. A hydronic system provides the cleanest heating you need.
Safe and Cool
Because they don’t use heating elements as electric heaters do, they’re a lot safer. The risk of electrocution and overheating are super low. At the same time, there’s no way something gets inside the air-suctioning system like in an electric model – because there’s none in a hydronic heater.
Last but not least, you will get the chance to enjoy exceptional efficiency from the piece. Without having to worry about huge monthly bills or over-consumption that makes you worry about the environment.
Instead, a hydronic electric heater uses the hot-water heating process that reduces the amount of electricity you use. At the same time, they turn off after some time (shutting down the electricity use) while still delivering warm air – and that’s something no other type of heater can do.
Advantages of Having a Hydronic Baseboard Heater
When it comes to a hydronic baseboard heater, initially you may think that it costs more to install it compared to other types of heaters. But the truth is the hydronic system will save your money when you use it for a long time.
After passing the active heating phase, the heating effect won’t stop and you’ll feel it for a long time. If you compare hydronic heaters with the electric heaters, the first thing you’ll notice is hydronic systems are highly energy efficient.
Given that the whole hydronic heating system runs by using a boiler, they will save a good amount of energy. However, the installation of the boiler is quite costly. Any professional person can easily install this kind of heater as the installation process is quite simple.
Especially, when you need to install only a single unit, the installation process becomes more simplified. They will occupy only a small space in the baseboard. So, you don’t need to worry if you have a space limitation.
Still, you must make sure that you have selected the correct location for installing the hydronic heater so that you don’t face any problems with placing any furniture in the future. Another great advantage of these heaters is that they are not toxic in any means.
Even they will never emit any types of harmful fumes. You’ll see some kind of heaters that build up to toxic gases like Carbon Monoxide which is not in the case of hydronic heaters. So, you can consider them as one of the safest heaters for you.
With that said, the overall safety and longevity of the heater will depend on the quality of the components, pipes, and boiler. You should always go for the best hydronic baseboard heater to get the maximum benefits from this heater.
The Drawback of Hydronic Baseboard Heater
There is no denying that hydronic baseboard heaters come with so many advantages and offer a lot of benefits to you. But, there are not without disadvantages as well. Below we will discuss the disadvantages of the hydronic baseboard heaters.
The first problem is it takes a longer time to heat the entire system mainly because the time required for heated liquids to travel into the whole system is longer. Besides, the heat produced from a hydronic heater is typically a little bit less effective than the heat of an electric heater.
Another disadvantage of this heater is when water enters the system the efficiency of the heater will be reduced and there will be some noise. However, to rectify the problem, you must go for bleeding the pipelines. If you don’t know how to do that, you must consult with the professionals.
Sometimes, you will need more spaces near the convectors which may create some problems when you need to arrange your furniture in the same small space. On top of that, the expansion tank of this heater should be drained occasionally so that it can operate efficiently.
There are some more disadvantages of this type of heater. Especially, if you need to repair something, you will face challenges to access the pipelines.
Not to mention, the costly installation process of this heater makes it difficult to afford for many people. However, its operating cost is quite lower comparing to other types of heaters.
You’ll not get any kind of ductwork if you need air conditioning from this heater. So, in that case, you may need to get another A/C system for cooling purposes.
Although you may face some disadvantages, the advantages you’ll get from this heater will outperform them. That’s why you should go for a hydronic baseboard heater to make your room warm in a smart way.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Are hydronic baseboard heaters more efficient?
Answer: Yes, hydronic baseboard heaters are more efficient if you comparing them with other kinds of heaters, especially electric units. To understand the difference between these two types of heaters, first of all, you must know how they operate.
Unlike an electric heater, hydronic heaters usually operate in a slightly different way. In this case, the electricity warms up an enclosed fluid in the first place. After that, it will radiate into the whole room where the heater is installed.
When the fluid of a hydronic heater warms, it will take a much longer time to cool down. On the other hand, when it comes to an electric heater, after warming up, the metal fins will quickly cool down. That’s why you’ll get a more efficient user experience from a hydronic heater.
What is a hydronic baseboard heater?
Answer: Hydronic baseboard heater is a type of heater that enables the heating system and makes your room warm. In this type of heater basically, an enclosed fluid is being heated at first. Then the fluid starts to radiate heat around the room especially where the system is installed.
There are many advantages of having a hydronic baseboard heater in your home. The main benefit is these heaters are more energy-efficient than electric heaters. On the downside, they may take a longer time to start heating the room.
How hot do hydronic baseboard heaters get?
Answer: When it comes to a typical hydronic baseboard heater, the standard temperatures of the water supply system is 180 degrees Fahrenheit for the radiation purpose. This hot water is circulated through the tube of copper and aluminum so that the entire space can be heated. After heating the entire space the hot water will return to the boiler at a reduced temperature.
Are hydronic baseboard heaters safe?
Answer: In a general sense, hydronic baseboard heaters are safe given that their functioning mechanism is based on heating up and circulating hot water in a safe method. These types of heaters usually operate at lower temperatures.
First of all, the water gets heated to 180 F in the boiler. Then the hot water circulates through copper pipes and it should be moved through a series of convectors. When the water gets back to the boiler, its temperature is reduced in a safe range. That’s why it’s quite safe to use in your home.
Does hydronic heating use electricity?
Answer: Yes, a hydronic heating system requires electricity for powering up the whole system. If you install it in a highly insulated home, the heater becomes more efficient. However, they are quite noisy and creates sound just like an air conditioner.
Do baseboard heaters use a lot of electricity?
Answer: You already know that there are mainly two types of baseboard heaters-electric and hydronic. Generally, hydronic heaters are more energy efficient. But, when it comes to electric baseboard heaters, they use a lot of energy.
Especially in the winter season, your aggregated electricity bill can be increased due to the baseboard electric heaters. The reason behind this is most of the electric baseboard heaters are 100% percent efficient, so they will consume more energy.
After reading through this short yet comprehensive guide, you are probably totally sold on the best hydronic baseboard heaters.
If so, then what are you waiting for? It’s time to get your favorite room to feel warm and cozy. Get one of these now – you won’t regret it!