Bathroom Heaters and Installation Cost
$300 – $595, Installed
How Much Does it Cost to Install a Bathroom Heater?
$35 – $295
$300 – $595
$600 – 1,000+
|Heater Cost||$35 – $295||$80 – $400||$275 – $750+|
|DIY||Yes or No||No||No|
|Installation Cost||$0 to $215||$220 – $300||$225 – $350|
|Quality||Cheap to Average||Average to Good||Good to Excellent|
|Ceiling Heater Extras||None or Lighting||Lighting or Exhaust||Lighting & Exhaust|
|Complexity||Moderate||Moderate to Difficult||Moderate to Difficult|
Overview and Types of Bathroom Heaters
Many homeowners install and electric bathroom heater to ward off the chill of stepping out of the shower on a cool morning or raising a child from the tub. There are several bathroom heater types to consider with pros and cons of each. Prices are listed later.
Plug-in Space Heaters
Also known as portable heaters, are the cheapest and can be moved from room to room. Their disadvantages are taking up floor or countertop space and being a potential trip, and or electric hazard.
One option for saving space and reducing hazards is a plug-in, wall-mounted heater with a flat profile.
Wall Mounted Electric Bathroom Heaters
Wall mounted heaters are the most popular hardwired type. Some have a single heat setting, such as 1,500 watts. Others have two settings, with 750 and 1,500 watts being a popular combination.
These units are easier to install than ceiling models. Most have integrated controls rather than a separate wall-mounted control, so installation cost is lower if you hire an electrician during a bathroom remodeling project or when other updates are being done to your electrical system.
Another advantage is emitting heat 3-5 feet above the ground rather than at the ceiling and having to force it down.
The potential for burns is greater than with ceiling fans, one of the few downsides to wall mounted bath heaters. Some 500-watt wall heaters are quite warm but have a lower risk of causing burns, and they’re a good choice where kids will use them.
Electric Resistance Ceiling Heaters
These ceiling bathroom heaters are like space heaters permanently installed in the ceiling. They include a heating element, and most have a down-force fan, earning them the name fan-forced heaters. Heating elements range from 750w to 1,500w on popular models. Some have integrated lighting of up to 100 watts and/or an exhaust fan instead of a heater fan.
Advantages include being up and out of the way, so there is little risk of getting burned. Some have extras such as lighting or and an exhaust fan. The disadvantage is the higher installation cost because a wall switch must be installed in addition to the heater.
Infrared Bulb Ceiling Heaters
These bathroom heaters use one or two infrared heating bulbs most commonly 250 watts each. Broan and other brands make models that can be fitted with one heat bulb and one illumination bulb.
Another advantage is that some of these units have integrated bathroom exhaust fans, an essential in a humid bathroom.
The disadvantage of these units are that they don’t have fans to push heat downward. Secondly, they require a wall switch (heat only) or two wall switches (heat plus light). That adds some material cost, but mostly higher installation cost, or it makes the project more complex for DIYers.
Some towel heaters, both electric and hydronic, produce enough radiant heat to double as bathroom heaters. Another type not discussed here is a radiant floor heater that can be installed beneath many types of bathroom flooring.
In general, most bathroom heaters are 120V units. However, to avoid overload on an existing circuit, your electrician will probably recommend a separate, dedicated circuit for permanently installed bathroom heaters. A 240V heater will definitely require a dedicated circuit.
Below, you’ll find cost factors and retail prices for each type of bathroom heater, installation costs, costs gathered from reliable estimating sites and prices submitted by homeowners. Plus, whether this is DIY job is discussed.
Project Cost Details
Heating Unit Price Factors
The cost of a bathroom heater is dependent on these issues.
- Type of Heater – Obviously, a space heater is the most affordable choice. The unit costs less, and there are no installation charges. Those with a heating element cost less than infrared space heaters. Wall-mounted hardwired heaters cost less than most ceiling heaters for the unit, and installation costs are lower because wall heaters have controls on the heater and don’t require a wall switch.
- Heating Capacity & Voltage – When other factors are equal, cost goes up with the amount of heat the unit supplies. A 240V, 3,000 watt wall heater costs more than a 120V, 1,500 watt heater, which in turn costs more than a 1,000 watt model. A ceiling heater with two infrared bulbs costs more than a heater with one bulb.
- Features – If an exhaust fan or illumination is included on a ceiling heater, cost will be higher. The most expensive combine heat, exhaust and light. For space heaters, those with a fan, oscillation or remote, or safety features like IP construction (moisture Ingress Protection) and bathroom-safe ALCI plugs, cost more. We recommend only considering models with safety features for use in the bathroom.
- Quality – You generally get what you pay for. There are plenty of cheap, low-rated bathroom heaters, especially space heaters and wall-mounted units.
- Who Installs the Heater – DIY costs nothing but tools you might need. See pro installation costs below and our recommendation for whether this is a do-it-yourself job.
Cost of Heater and Installation Supplies for DIY’ers
Retail Cost of Bathroom Heaters
Here is a breakdown of the most popular bathroom heaters and their retail prices.
- $35 – $150 | Portable Space Heaters, for the most popular models. Waterproof space heaters start below $100 but many are priced at $500+.
- $60 – $200 | Electric Wall Heaters, for the most 120V and 240V models The best value – reasonable cost plus good quality – is in the range of $125 – $175. High-end models exceed $400.
- $65 – $400 | Bathroom Ceiling Heaters with a range of features. There are several good options for electric resistance heaters with no extra features for under $100. The best value in ceiling heaters with exhaust fans and/or illumination is the $175 – $250 range. Pro
Tip: Some ceiling heaters do not have ingress protection (IP) against moisture, so are not suitable for bathroom installation. Read the product page or packaging to make sure the unit you’re considering has an IP rating.
Cost of Installation Supplies
- $15 – $40 | Wall Switches, Controls and Count-down Timers. Ceiling heaters are operated with wall controls. You have options from simple on/off switches to timers, depending on the ceiling heater’s functionality. Pro Tip: Each function requires separate wiring and its own switch, and multi-switch controls are available. For example, a heater with an exhaust fan needs two switches. One with heat, exhaust and illumination needs three.
- $25 – $80 | Circuit Breaker, Romex Wire and Installation Supplies for any hardwired heater.
Permits, Inspection, Related Costs and Heater Installation Time
Permits and Inspection Cost
- $50 – $125 | Electrical Permit for a Small Project. A dedicated circuit and wiring is recommended for a hardwired bath heater. A permit is required for the project.
Related Costs and Installation Time
Hardwired units require installation, of course, so here is a list of potential labor costs.
- $125 – $275 plus the permit | Wiring and Installing a Wall-mounted Bathroom Heater
- $200 – $350 plus the permit | Wiring and Installing a Ceiling-mounted Bathroom Heater plus the Wall Switch
Cost is on the low end of the range when replacing an existing heater. A new installation costs more. Specific cost is determined by the complexity of the installation and how much wire is needed to reach the electrical panel.
Installing a bathroom heater can take less than an hour or more than 4.
- Up to 1 Hour | Direct replacement of an existing heater
- 1.5 to 3 Hours | New installation of a bathroom wall heater
- 2.5 to 4 Hours | New installation of a bathroom ceiling heater and wall switch
DIY or Hire a Pro?
A direct replacement of an old unit is as easy as replacing a light fixture and certainly a DIY project.
Turn off the power at the electrical box, remove fasteners, separate wires and remove the old unit. Connect the wires of the new unit to the wiring in the wall or ceiling, mount the unit and turn on the power.
Complete installation directions including a wiring diagram are included with most bathroom heaters.
When it’s a new installation, hiring an electrician makes sense unless you have experience with electrical work and a healthy respect for the potential danger. Complexity goes up with a second-floor installation and with the installation of a wall switch, especially for a multi-function heater.
We enlisted the help of a friend with broad electrical experience to assist in the installation of a first-floor bathroom wall heater plus wiring and a circuit breaker. If I install another in the wall on the first floor, it will probably be DIY having done it once with experienced help.
We later put one in the ceiling of a second-floor kids’ bathroom, and hired a pro. Fishing wire from the attic to the basement and getting the wall switch properly wired seemed more of a hassle than I preferred to undertake. It was done right the first time, so the $300 installation was money well spent.