How to Choose an Efficient Portable Heater for your Space

Wed, 06/03/2020 - 09:39
Jetfire Diesel Heater in Warehouse

Winter is fast approaching, with temperatures dropping in the last few weeks. Whether you are wanting to provide comfortable working environment for your employees or to provide heat to dry and cure materials, it is worth the investment into an industrial or commercial space heater to supply an instant, effective and reliable source of heat.


Portable Industrial and commercial heaters provide a wide range of applications though different industries including the heating of warehouses, workshops, garages, factories, transport terminals, breeding sheds and greenhouses, as well as drying and curing materials in the building, agricultural and other industries.


When purchasing a portable space heater, there are a few questions you must ask yourself first:


  • Type of Fuel – Do you require your heater to run on diesel, kerosene or LPG?


  • Type of Space Heater - Are you heating an enclosed room or an open space? 


  • Type of Heat – Do you require the heat to be pushed into a large area or radiant?


  • Size of Space – What in square metres is the size of your area? Each portable space heater has heat output measured in kW and it must match the space.


  • Purpose for Heater – What is the purpose of your new heater? Is it to create a comfortable environment or for drying products or materials?

Type of Fuel

  • Diesel
  • LPG


Jetfire DC30 Direct Fired Diesel Space Heater

Diesel space heaters draw air from an external intake pip and is passed into the combustion chamber. The air is then mixed with atomised diesel for an internal combustion process which ignites the diesel and heats up the heat exchangers surface.


Diesel Space heaters provide efficient source of heat to the industrial, commercial and construction industries. For example, the Jetfire DC30 Direct Fired Diesel Space Heater can put out 765 m³ of hot air an hour and produces a heat output of 30 kilowatts, which makes it ideal for medium to large heating applications.


Advantages of Diesel Space Heaters

  • Produce a dry heat
  • Superior heating performance
  • Better temperature control
  • Diesel is readily available


Disadvantages of Diesel Space Heaters

  • More expensive than LPG fuelled space heaters
  • Generally noisier than LPG space heater
  • Adequate ventilation is required to run


J20A and J45A LPG DIrect Fired Heaters in Greenhouse

LPG (or liquefied petroleum gas) is a versatile fuel used in many industries and applications around Australia, from heating to cooking and even fuel for cars. LP gas heaters work very similarly to Diesel heaters, where the LPG is compressed in the gas bottle & is forced through a gas regulator to get the right amount & atomised through a special nozzle & burner head, whilst the fan provides a strong force of airflow pushing the combustion outwards & directing the flame towards  the surface area of the heat exchanger.


LPG space heaters have a large range of applications in industrial and commercial businesses. In agriculture, it can be used for heating greenhouses, nurseries and poultry sheds and livestock as well as drying produce such as grains, nuts, and cotton. LPG space heaters can be a great fuel substitute as it can cut costs and emissions.


Advantages of LPG Space Heaters

  • LPG space heaters are less expensive to purchase than diesel space heaters
  • Reliable and quiet
  • Uses less power than a diesel heater
  • LPG gas is readily available


Disadvantages of LPG Space Heaters

  • Can produce wet heat creating unwanted humidity and condensation

Type of Space Heater

  • Direct Fired
  • Indirect Fired

The type area you are heating will need to be factored in when choosing a space heater. Depending on whether it is enclosed or open will determine whether your space heater must be direct fired or indirect fired.


Direct fired can be used to heat large open areas that have limited insulations such as construction sites or warehouses.


Indirect fired heaters can heat large spaces such as large glass houses, large mining workshops, even event marquees but also enclosed spaces as they produce clean air.

Read below for more information on direct fired and indirect fired.  

Direct Fired

Jetfire DP105 Direct Pump-Fed Fired Diesel Area Heater

Direct Fired heat is produced when air passes through an open flame. An everyday example of Direct Fired heater would be a barbeque grill or a gas stovetop, where there is an open flame. Internal components within the space heater control the heated air and directly pushed out the heater without restrictions.


Direct Fired Space Heaters are a great solution to heat spaces with limited insulation or that need large volumes of warm air such as construction sites or warehouses.


Depending on the size of the unit, Direct Fired Space Heaters can be used in a large range of applications and spaces. For example, the Jetfire DP105 Direct Fired Diesel Space Heater has an extremely large capacity and is ideal for very large applications such as on mine sites.


Advantages of Direct fired space heaters

  • Good for temporary applications
  • Can use ducts to carry hot air through a large space without worrying about fumes or exhaust
  • They are generally less expensive to purchase or maintain than indirect fired heaters
  • Most models have built in thermostats


Disadvantages of Direct fired space heaters

  • Not for use in tightly sealed spaces or near flammable materials due to exhaust and fumes produced
  • Must have some air exchange or exterior opening
  • Warm air is not always dry
  • Not used where there are combustible materials

Indirect Fired

Jetfire IP32 Indirect Pump-Fed Fired Diesel Area Heater

Indirect fired heat is produced when a flame in a burn chamber warms a heat exchanger. Cool air is drawn into the unit and is then heated when it passes over the heat exchanger and directly pushed out the heater without restrictions. An everyday example of indirect fired heat is like oil or gas burning furnaces in a chimney.


The air produced from an indirect fired heater is clean and is best for applications that require sanitary conditions. For example: the Jetfire IP32 Indirect Fired Diesel Space Heater is of medium capacity and is ideal for small to medium heating applications where clean hot air without fumes is required such as food processing plants, health care facilities and spaces with chemically sensitive products.


Indirect fired heaters can heat large spaces such as large glass houses, large mining workshops, even event marquees.


Advantages of Indirect fired space heaters

  • Can recirculates air which saves fuel
  • Does not produce harmful gases
  • Clean and dry air
  • Circulated air does not meet an open flame
  • Can be used in tightly sealed spaces
  • Built in thermometer for temperature control
  • Good for frost protection and accelerating drying processes


Disadvantages of Indirect fired space heaters

  • Lower efficiency
  • Equipment cost are higher than direct fired due to heat exchanger
  • Larger units than direct fired heaters that produce the same BTU output
  • To run uses Diesel as well as electricity
  • While indirect fired heaters produce clean air, they still require exhaust ventilation that vents the fumes outside

Type of Heat

  • Fan Forced
  • Radiant

Fan Forced

Jetfire DP65 Direct Pump-Fed Fired Diesel Area Heater

Fan Forced space heaters supply a continuous flow of warm air. They are a great source of instant heat and are useful for drying spaces such as dry-wall and paint. These units are tubular with an attached fuel tank and a burner at the back. A fan from behind the burner blows the heat though the tube.


Fan forced heaters are more common than radial heaters and is a more direct style of heating than radiant. For example, the Jetfire DP65 Direct Fired Diesel Area Heater has an extremely large capacity and is ideal for very large heating applications and has a heat output of 69 kilowatts.


Advantages of Fan forced space heaters

  • Features temperature limit controls
  • Flame out sensor
  • Electrical system protection
  • Cost effective


Disadvantage of fan forced space heaters

  • Can be noisier than radiant heaters
  • Heat distribution can be uneven
  • Regular maintenance is required


Jetfire DI16 Radiant Heat Diesel Area Heater

Radiant heat is produced by infrared rays of heat emitted from the heater. Through this method, the air itself is not being heated. By heating a large plate in front of the machine, a small fan behind the place then blows the radiant heat outwards.


Using shortwave technology, Radiant heaters provide immediate heat directly in front of the heat source and only on surfaces in the direct line of sight to the heater. The heat intensity increases as surfaces get closer.


Radiant space heaters are useful for smaller heating applications such as a small warehouse and for open spaces and outdoors. For example, the Jetfire DI16 Radiant Heat Diesel Area Heater can produce a heat output of 16 kilowatts.


Advantages of radiant space heaters

  • Lightweight and portable
  • Provide instantaneous heat
  • Ideal for impossible-to-heat spaces
  • Quiet to operate
  • Keep a constant temperature
  • Highly efficient


Disadvantages of radiant space heaters

  • Higher risk
  • Can only heat in direct line of sight which can create cold spots

Other Terms



Compressor fed refers to how the unit gives itself fuel. It is an efficient choice for larger units as it does not consume a lot of fuel. It is a cheaper method for manufacturing and replacement parts.



Pump-fed units consume more fuel than compressor fed units. Even so it is used on larger units as it is cheaper to run a large unit on a pump than a compressor. It is also more reliable and more easily regulated.

Final Thoughts

With the space heater for your warehouses, workshops, garages, factories, transport terminals, breeding sheds or greenhouses, OEM Group offers a large range of portable and efficient space heaters. 


Our sales team are here to answer your questions.

We look forward to your next visit with us here at OEM Group.


Ph: (08) 9468 6872