Artificial heat generation is needed for the home, for commercial properties and for various industrial processes, and many types of heater exist to service this need. These heaters have a variety of power sources, a variety of methods of output, and a variety of applications.

Electric Heaters

Electric heaters are a key source of heat for homes, commercial properties and various other buildings. They are usually small and portable (though some can be wall mounted), and are relatively cheap to run. The main types of electric heater used in the home for heating rooms are electric fires and electric radiators. For heating water, electric storage heaters can be used (often in conjunction with a central heating system to provide warmth for the building), though businesses that only wish to provide hot water for washing hands or cooking tend to favour electric water heaters. Swimming pools are heated by various electric pool heaters.

A number of specialist electric heaters are available depending on what type of room or space is to be heated. Electric bathroom heaters and electric towel rails are used in bathrooms, while horticulturalists and gardeners use electric greenhouse heaters to ensure greenhouses and glasshouses are kept to a required temperature all year round. Many businesses that involve entertaining people in open areas – such as pubs and restaurants – use electric patio heaters to keep clients warm. In addition, both homeowners and commercial users are able to make use of portable electric heaters to supplement their heating needs due to their efficiency and convenience.

Aside from this, electric heaters may be divided into the method of providing heat (electric fan heaters, electric convector heaters, electric radiant heaters and electric tubular heaters) and where they may be installed (electric wall heaterselectric panel heaters and electric plinth heaters).

Other important electric appliances are electric boilers and electric cookers.

Gas Heaters

Another popular type of heater is powered by gas. Gas heaters are used in a variety of domestic and business settings, and come in a variety of sizes. Gas fires are perhaps more appropriate for home use, while industrial gas heaters (as the name suggests) are large heaters best suited for industrial use. Gas space heaters and gas wall heaters are more often used indoors, while gas patio heaters are more often used outdoors. Gas water heaters, on the other hand, are specifically used to provide hot water. Caravan gas heaters and gas camping heaters may be used for leisure purposes, while gas greenhouse heaters are used by amateur and commercial gardeners and horticulturalists to provide heat for delicate plants. Other gas heaters and appliances include table top gas heaters, portable gas heaters, gas cabinet heaters, gas boilers and gas cookers.

Oil Heaters

For places with unreliable mains gas or electricity supplies, or for those with access to cheap heating oil, oil heaters are an excellent way of providing heat. Indeed, oil stoves are a traditional way of providing heat for warmth and cooking in many areas. Though not using oil as a fuel, oil filled radiators use it to generate heat, and are becoming more popular. So are waste oil heaters, which allow companies to improve recycling by generating heat from burning waste oil. For those wishing to heat large areas, oil space heaters are an increasingly attractive option, while portable oil heaters are effective at heating smaller rooms. For those living in remote areas without mains gas or electricity, oil boilers and oil cookers are excellent at heating water and at providing heat for cooking.

Solid Fuel Stoves

Solid fuel stoves are another traditional method of providing heat. Wood burning stoves are perhaps one of the oldest types of heater, with coal stoves also being long used in areas with coal deposits. Modern multi fuel stoves are able to use both of these fuels, and also can use modern fuels like wood pellets, fuel tablets and the like. If water heating is required using solid fuel sources, wood boilers, coal boilers and multi-fuel boilers are available. For campers, solid fuel camping stoves are a lightweight, effective way to heat water and cook food.

Paraffin Heaters

Though not as common as other heater types, paraffin heaters are becoming more popular. Paraffin heaters for the home are now being bought to serve as a back-up for traditional methods of heating, while paraffin space heaters are beginning to be used by businesses to heat both indoor and outdoor areas. Paraffin greenhouse heaters have been used for many years by gardeners and horticultural businesses.

Other Heater Types

There are many other types of heater that may efficiently heat air, water or food. Solar heaters, for instance, use the power of the sun as fuel, while water heaters are specifically intended to provide hot water, often for catering. Other types of water heater are pond heaters, pool heaters and aquarium heaters.

Heaters with different methods of delivering heat include halogen heaters, infrared heaters, tubular heaters, ceramic heaters, radiant heaters and convector heaters. Storage heaters and immersion heaters use different methods to heat water for homes and businesses, while 12v heaters are distinguished from other types of heater by their power rating.

Heaters may also be classified by function rather than fuel or heat delivery type: indeed heaters in these classes may use many types of fuel. Examples of this are patio heaters, space heaters, portable heaters, greenhouse heaters, plinth heaters, fan heaters, bathroom heaters, panel heaters , conservatory heaters, car heaters, wall heaters, industrial heaters and workshop heaters.

Some heaters are designed primarily for outdoor activities. These include camping heaters and of course general outdoor heaters.