Conventional heating devices are for everyone but if you pick a radiant floor heater, then you are a person looking to stand out. Such a heating system will truly set your home apart from everyone else’s and will allow you to have an energy-saving heating solution. Aesthetically the best electric radiant floor heating systems are the finest choice as they are that mysterious, invisible power that warms your home. Since you’ve already chosen to go down this path, you probably already know all that. Our goal is to broaden your spectrum and give you additional info on your soon to be heating system.
In our guide, you will find the best electric radiant floor heating system reviews on the market. We have also highlighted some key features of the floor heater and have prepared an installation guide. Surely, our article will make your life easier so don’t waste any more time and get on with it.
Why You Need an Electric Radiant Floor Heating System
When it comes to radiant floor heating, long-term individual home benefits are hard to beat. This is the section in which we will outline the pros and cons of radiant floor heating. You will see some of the heated tile floor pros and cons and will decide whether to swing one way or another. Here’s a hint: the advantages outnumber the disadvantages.
Benefits of Electric Radiant Floor Heating Systems
Here’s what we have prepared for you in terms of general “thumbs up” points:
You can’t see the heating system. It is under your hardwood/tile floor and is just sitting there functioning and making your feet warm. It is never in the way and you do not need to plan around it. Nobody among your family member will bump into it. Space heaters are generally mobile and you can move them from room to room but here you do not have to do this. Your whole floor is covered and the room is evenly heated.
Arranging furniture is not a problem at all. Pretty much all other main heating and cooling systems remain visible either on the wall or on the floor. You need to keep some minimum distance from them when you put furniture or upholstery. In, this case you have at your disposal the whole square footage of floors and walls. You are free to decorate and paint everywhere you see fit.
There are no rumblings, hissing noises, or anything like it even during the heating-up phase of a radiant floor heater. This type of domestic heating is completely silent and it might often fool you that it isn’t turned on until you actually feel the heat beneath you.
There won’t be any pipes with liquid or fans to wake you up in the morning. Everything is not only invisible but also completely mute. Simply pay attention to what the thermostat on the wall shows in order to know what is happening at any given minute.
Good for Hard Flooring
If you use mainly hard floors and we are sure that your bathroom floor is one, you will see great benefits from having a radiant floor heater. It simply takes the chill off the floor and this is rather important in the morning.
Any type of hard floor feels simply better when it gets warmer. Standing for long periods in front of the bathroom mirror is not an unpleasant thing now. Furthermore, once heated, the hard floor stays warm even after you turn the system off.
This sort of domestic heating is an absolute beast when it comes to durability. The only interaction you have with it is by pressing the buttons on the thermostat. Unlike other devices that heat your home, you can’t bump or touch this one.
Since the whole body of the radiant floor heater is covered and protected by the floor, it is fairly hard to damage physically. This is the main reason why other common heaters break down. People break them – it’s simple.
In this case, the reliability is off the charts and an average floor heating system can last for 35 years with ease. Natural malfunctions, however, can occur but they are rarely subject to human actions.
No category is full unless we mention costs. Radiant floor heaters are a long-term solution and as such will save you money, again, long-term. You might not feel any positive effect on your wallet right off the bat but as time passes by, you will surely notice that you are saving from your monthly bill.
Once you get past the purchase and installation fees and start utilizing the device constantly, you will surely see how efficient and energy-saving it is. The wattage at which most floor heaters work is pretty much two-three times lower than the average space heater.
No Useless Air Circulation
Nothing blows in your face or neck. You won’t feel any air movement but you will definitely feel the temperature rising. This is hard to get from just any form of heating. People do not like having a constant draft in their room be it a warm one.
Also, since the air isn’t circulating, particles are not present in our typical breathing space. People with allergies will immediately benefit from this sort of domestic heating. There won’t be any harmful specks or fragments to infiltrate their nose.
Downsides of Electric Radiant Floor Heating Systems
Nothing is 100% perfect and this is why becoming familiar with some of the hidden disadvantages of radiant floor heating is also very useful when it comes to selecting one.
Not as Straightforward as a Radiator
In short, the floor heating systems need a little bit more time in order for their effect to be felt. The most energy-efficient space heaters and oil-filled radiators will give you some amount of heat almost instantly.
Here you will need to wait about an hour (and sometimes longer) so that you can experience some warming up. Once you begin to understand how much time your device needs, you will definitely get used to having it instead of other heating options.
It is not rocket science but becoming familiar with the thermostat isn’t the same as operating the best electric wall heater. There are more controls to remember and various programs. It is a matter of experience and preference.
Read the manual thoroughly and you will see that controlling your floor heating system can become quite easy. Learn how much time it needs depending on the temperature you want. Also, pay attention to how much residual heat you get after the system has been turned off.
You will need to spend a fair amount of money on some handyman services when looking to have a radiant floor heating system installed. Almost everybody does it during a building phase or a renovation. This way you hit two birds with one stone as you will lay the mortar and the flooring fresh right over the heating wires.
It might not be worth destroying and existing floor just to have the floor heater installed. The initial investment will definitely be visible but the long-term benefits are hard to overlook.
Costly to Repair
In case anything unwanted happens and the system stops working for some reason, it will be tough to repair. Heated tile floor problems are hard to deal with as there’s no easy way around them. In most cases, if the heater malfunctions, the floor might need to be ripped.
It is best if you look for a retailer or manufacturer who gives you either a lifetime warranty or the longest one possible.
Best Electric Radiant Floor Heating Systems Comparison Chart
HeatTech Electric Radiant Floor Heating System
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ThermoSoft Floor Heating Kit
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Warming Systems Electric Floor Heating System
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ThermoSoft In-Floor Heated Underlayment For Laminate
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Happy Man Floors Underfloor Radiant Heating Mat
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Heatwave Electric Floor Heating System
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Electric Radiant Floor Heating System Reviews
1. HeatTech Electric Radiant Floor Heating System
Check out the HeatTech Mat Kit when looking for a convenient radiant floor heating system. The easy installation is perhaps the best feature of this product. It will allow you to save some time and nerves when laying out. The mat has an adhesive back which means that it is not needed to have it stapled to anything. The heating wires are spaced out evenly at 3 inches.
An important safety note is to always cut the mat when needed but never the heating wires. The device works at 120V and the thermostat is built-in. You have a power cord of 10 feet which should be sufficient to hook up to any electrical network. Once you install it, the heating system will bulk up only to about 1/8 inch. It will not raise your floor level at all. The 25-year warranty is simply the best insurance policy and you can’t overlook it.
2. ThermoSoft Floor Heating Kit
Versatility is truly what you get when you opt for the ThermoSoft Tile Floor Heating Kit. First of all, you can select between a 120V and a220V version. This way you will have both voltage options covered. Second of all, you are free to cut the mat in any way you see fit (pun intended). An important addition here is the patented InstAlarm technology.
What it does is prompt you regarding safety hazards during installation. You can also program the 5mA GFCI thermostat however you want. It does include a floor temperature sensor for maximum convenience. Of course, the mesh is self-adhesive but this property is aided by the openings in the mat. Nothing special is required when ceramic or tile is laid on top. The manufacturer also gives you a number of options when it comes to size. You can select anything from 6 to 168 square feet.
3. Warming Systems Electric Floor Heating System
This universal heating element is suitable to pretty much for all types of flooring. You can lay the Warming Systems Electric Floor Heating System under ceramic, stone, or even vinyl floors. The system will supply about 12 watts per square foot. You can go either for a 120V version or a 240V one. The floor sensor wire comes with the mat. Additionally, you also get a thermostat.
It is a digital floor sensing thermostat. The only drawback is that you will need to look for a large enough electrical box for it. One will struggle to find any magnetic fields around this heating system as the cable is of pretty high quality. It is a twisted pair heating cable giving you zero EMF. The product can cover 20 square feet but fortunately, you are free to cut the mat however you wish in order to distribute it evenly.
4. ThermoSoft In-Floor Heated Underlayment For Laminate
This next product is designed to heat your wood floor or laminate. The manufacturer has traditions in the industry and this is why 2 of their products are on our list. The largest piece you can buy at one time is 36 square feet. Of course, a user is free to buy as many mats as they wish in order to fit a room.
The voltage is 120 or 240 and the height is minimal – 1/8 of an inch. The product aids in 4 main aspects. You get heating and insulating. Along with that, the heated underlayment will provide you with some moisture absorption and noise suppression. It is beneficial that mortar isn’t required for installation as we are talking about a wood floor. However, you will need to use duct tape in order to hold the mat down. The sensor comes with it the set but a thermostat isn’t included.
5. Happy Man Floors Underfloor Radiant Heating Mat
You can safely say that the set of this next radiant floor heating product is pretty full. The alarm and the thermostat are included and this is a nice convenience. The red mesh is easy to cut although you still need to be careful with the heating wires. The best part is that the wires are removable and then they can follow the shape of the mat depending on how you have cut it. Handymen experience is a bonus during installation.
The mesh is adhesive so no extra supplies will be needed in order to glue it down. A slight downside is that the heater comes at only 120V. Once you get to the thermostat, bear in mind that it can be a little complicated to program initially. If you want to test the wires during the setup, you will need to use your own circuit tester as there isn’t one in the box.
6. Heatwave Electric Floor Heating System
A number of sizing options will likely make your life easier when selecting the right radiant floor heater. With this Heatwave product, you can go for as little as 10 square feet if you wish. While it is listed as safe for wet locations, installation instructions should be followed to the fullest, and safety measures need to be taken.
This product requires mortar to be used and only then you can think about laying the tiles. Speaking of safety, the GFCI thermostat comes with the product. The buildup is pretty minimal as it is less than half an inch. In terms of wattage, you get 360W and 120V. The amps stand at 3. Per square foot, you get 12 watts.
The product also has a limited lifetime warranty. It is important to note that this item should not be installed outside or in concrete meaning that heated concrete floors aren’t an option. The radiant heater covers all UL and CSA standards of the USA.=
Features to Look For In Electric Radiant Floor Heating Systems
There are several things that make heated floors cost worth it. Most of them are related to:
There might be other aspects to look for but most of them are common for all manufacturers of floor heating systems. Here are the optimal qualities you want to look for.
No, this is not a joke and it is not an oxymoron. We understand that the unit is built-in your floor and that it is, of course, immovable. As explained in our electric floor heating reviews above, however, some models feature mats that can be cut.
This is done before you cover the heater with mortar. What this property allows you to do is to cut the mat or the foam in any way you wish so that you can fir your room. No two rooms have the same shape and users have different space requirements.
Follow “the curves” of your premises by shaping the mesh that holds the heat wires together in any way you wish. It can be cut with any sort of model knife of scissors. You simply need to watch for the heating wires. They can be bend in any way you wish and then you can stick them back to the mesh.
Floor heating systems will give you cheaper heat than others. It is the initial investment which is a little bit intimidating. Your monthly bill will not be monstrous although it might be a better idea to use floor heating as a secondary source of heat during the winter. This is because of how radiant floor heating works.
The average wattage per square foot is 12 which can be considered decent. Additionally, once the floor absorbs some heat, it will keep it there. Your tiles and hardwood will retain the temperature and the room will be warm without the need to keep the heater turned on.
The whole device’s power output varies between 300W and 500W. This is fairly good considering the fact that typical space heaters have a maximum power output of 1500W. However, the radiant floor heater will require more time before raising the temperature of the room evenly.
Ease of Installation
Look for a product that isn’t so hard to install. The whole procedure should perhaps be handled by a professional but that doesn’t mean that we should buy the most complicated product for them to install. We should point out that the installation can also be carried out by yourself.
Stapling the mesh to the ground takes time and needs to be done slowly and carefully. If you get a product with an adhesive mat, you will not have to think about stapling. Ease of installation is aided by the possibility to cut and model the mat in any way you want.
Look for a heater with a relatively long power cord (at least 10 feet). This will allow you to freely place it wherever you wish and to have the thermostat located on any wall at any height. Radiant floor heaters which are designed to be laid under a vinyl floor, do not need to be covered in a mortar first.
We already talked about installing radiant floor heating but what about maintaining it? You can’t dust it off, you cannot take it apart, there’s nothing you can physically do in order to keep it in order. This is why warranty matters a lot.
A probable malfunction of your floor heater means that you are likely going to have to take the floor apart. 2-3 year warranty isn’t going to be sufficient because it is not worth the risk. Get a product which comes with an at least 20-year warranty or maybe a limited lifetime warranty. Anything worse would be a bad deal.
Step By Step Installation of Electric Radiant Floor Heating Systems
Well, a radiant floor heating buying guide is nothing if we do not also assist you in installing yours, right? Follow this section below and you will notice just how easy it is to install your system. Here are some of the tools you will need.
- A plastic trowel
- Knee pads (optional)
- Wire strippers
Start by measuring the total square footage of the floor. Do a sketch in order to have a better idea of the area to be heated. It is useful to exclude the zones over which you will have built-in cabinets, appliances such as a fridge or a stove, a toilet, or a sink.
You don’t need to cover your whole home. Think about the areas in which you stand the most. The corridor might not require any floor heating as you pass through it quickly. But a bathroom in which people shave or simply spend some time in front of a mirror would greatly benefit from having some tile heating.
The same goes for rooms in which kids play on the floor and where you watch TV and have feet on the ground. Outdoor areas are generally not suitable for such a system.
Making Sure You Are Ready To Go
Once you have the size, you will know just how many mats you will need to buy. Speaking of the floor, you have to make sure it is structurally sound. No debris such as nails or little chipped rocks must be present. Otherwise, you are risking the integrity of the heating wires.
Remember the “map” of the floor you created earlier? Well, feel free to lay it out right on the floor using chalk. You will be soon covering the whole thing with mortar and tiles so nothing stops you from drawing on it now.
This is a crucial aspect and part of it goes on even during and after the installation of the radiant floor heating system is complete. Checking the resistance using the multimeter is the action you need to perform. Failing to do so might result in your heater being unusable or not properly connected which holds safety hazards.
Measure the resistance between the insulated lead wires. Then do the same between each wire and the ground wire. The label on the package of the product has a little factory recording about the suggested resistance. Match it with it. The same needs to be done in the middle and after the installation.
Next, a double gang electrical box is what we recommend to be used for housing the thermostat. It should be installed about 5 feet up the wall. Such a box will give you enough room for connecting the lead wires from a number of mats at the same time. Separate conduits should be used.
Getting to the Thick of Things
Safety must be your number one priority when dealing with heat wires and this is why you should follow these fairly easy steps:
- Do not overlap wires – this will lead to too much tension and friction between them. You risk having your system malfunctioning early on.
- Do not cut the heating wire – this is a fatal action for the whole system. Your floor heater will not turn on at all if you damage the wires
- Leave a minimum of 2 inches between the heating wires – most sets come with a factory distance of 3 inches.
The finest radiant floor heaters come with an InstAlarm included. Keep it plugged in during the whole installation process as it will prompt you if you damage anything in the circuit.
Roll out the mat making sure you leave at least 3 inches between it and the wall. Cut the mat using the scissors wherever you wish in order to fit any corners of your room. You can even free wire from the mesh in order to start a new row but you need to glue it down to the floor. Most mats come with an adhesive substance on them so that no stapling will be required.
Check the spacing again and tuck in the sensor wire. This part needs to be done impeccably so that the thermostat can always receive up to date and accurate information about the temperature of the heater. The sensor wire is to be weaved through the mesh at an equal distance between two heating wires.
Laying The Floor and Finishing the Installation
While keeping the IntaAlarm connected start applying the mortar using the plastic trowel. Spread it evenly and lay the tiles on it as if there isn’t anything underneath the mortar. Making electrical connections is the final step of the process.
The mats and the sensor wires are to be connected to the thermostat. This part should be handled by a certified electrician as mistakes are not easily fixable. And that’s it, there goes the installation guide and now you are ready to enjoy heated floors at home.
This is where our complete guide to buy the best electric radiant floor heating systems ends and we hope that we have answered any questions you might have had by reading our electric radiant floor heating system reviews.
This is why our specialists composed a comprehensive piece highlighting other crucial aspects such as installation and comparisons. In case you would like to have something added to the article, please feel free to share it with us. If you liked it leave a comment and share the guide. Thanks for reading and as always – stay put!