Electric heaters are cheaper, easier to install and do not need a chimney like gas heaters do. However, gas heating has lower operational costs because gas is usually cheaper than electricity and gas heaters are better at warming up larger spaces. Electric heaters may be more economical when used in small rooms.

The first part of this comparison focuses on heating living spaces. For heating water, see Gas vs. Electric Water Heaters.

Comparison chart

Electric Heating versus Gas Heating comparison chart
Edit this comparison chartElectric HeatingGas Heating
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Operation Electrical resistance to heat a heating element Combustion of gas
Area of heating Zonal heating possible Centralized furnace
Installation cost $900-$1,200 $4,800-$5,200
Efficiency 100% 80-90%
Cost per 1,000,000 BTU $32 $18

HVAC and Home Heating

Types of heaters

Types of electric heaters

There are two kinds of electric heaters:

This video talks about the different types of electric space heaters, theirs pros and cons:

Types of gas heaters

Gas heating is of two types:


A gas heater or furnace needs a chimney to send out the emissions due to the burning of gases. Installation generally requires air ducts and vents throughout the house. The heater itself is quite large and needs professional installation.

Portable electric heaters do not need installation. Wall-mounted electric heaters do need to be installed but the installation is much easier than gas heaters and can be done yourself.


The cost of installation of gas heaters is more as they need a centralized furnace with flue outlets to be installed. Electric heaters are comparatively cheaper.

Operating Cost

Gas heaters produce more heat when compared to electric heaters in the same amount of time. Since gas is generally cheaper than electricity, a gas heater has lower operating cost. Electric space heaters are cheaper only when a small space is to be heated at lower temperature settings.

Safety hazards


In much of the Northeast, gas heating is ubiquitous. However, in places like North Carolina, electric heating is more popular because the heater does not need to be running 24/7.[1]

Gas vs. Electric Water Heaters

When it comes to water heaters, some of the same considerations apply. Gas water heaters are not 100% efficient and need to vent out gas via a chimney. There are some high-efficiency gas water heaters that do not require a chimney but use a fan and pipe to vent out via the side of the house. Electric water

Storage water heaters use a tank to store the hot water. These are different from point-of-use water heaters, which are smaller and installed in bathrooms where the hot water is needed. POU heaters are almost always electric while heaters with water storage tanks can be both gas and electric. Gas heaters are much more popular than electric water heaters in the United States and most European countries because gas is often conveniently piped throughout cities and towns and currently is the cheaper to use than electricity.

For a more detailed comparison, see Electric vs. Gas Water Heaters.


Gas heating is more suitable for larger households because the heating is faster than electric heaters. For households with only a couple of members, the storage tank capacity is usually enough to not require quick re-heating. So electric heaters can work for them. Electric heating may be the only available option if a chimney or another outlet is not available for venting.


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