Tabletop Flowerpot Convection Heater

tabletop heater

I’m not writing about anything that hasn’t been out there for a while but because it’s a new discovery for me. I thought it was easy enough to do and too cool not to try. I love experiments! I will provide the link to the original video in the post but there are a bunch based on the same theme. Who knew! Well I didn’t and since this weeks deep freeze across the country hit–I couldn’t wait to build one. The most difficult thing, this time of year (dead of winter as I write this), was finding the flower pots. I found them, however, in the Depot’s wet snowy garden center.


190 degrees Fahrenheit

fp heater therm

I’ll call it the flower-pot convection heater for my purposes although it has a few other names. According to the video this will heat (a relative term, certainly) a small room. My smaller experiment set up cranked the temperature up to 190 degrees F. which was measured from inside of the outside pot. This did, indeed, heat my immediate space comfortably. I was impressed enough to make a second one and placed them on either side of my chair while I watched TV during the Polar Vortex. A creative way of saying it was just freakin’ cold!



It takes two

Basically it takes 2 clay tapered flower pots with a drain hole in 2 different sizes, a few candles and a container (loaf pan) for the upside down pots to sit on and to house the tea lights. Off hand I don’t know what the planter measurements are (don’t know where you’d measure it), but the pots need to be 1 size larger than the  other. Not 2 sizes bigger but the next size up. So a 6″ and an 8″ would work and an 8″ and 10″ but not a 6″ and a 10″ together. I’m going to take a wild guess and assume the larger the pots you use, the more candles you should use to heat the bigger surface.

The smaller set up uses 4 tea light candles. I experimented with bigger candles but it’s the number of flames, not the size of the candle that makes more heat. Tea lights work best because they’re small and easily fit under the smaller inside pot. The inner pot gets really hot. Air from outside the pots runs up, and in between the two pots, and carries warmed air up to the hole of the outside clay pot. It acts like a chimney delivering warmer air back into the room. Additionally the hot surface of the outside pot radiates warmth into the room too.



heater CollageThis was fun to do and fairly practical given the extremely low temps we were all experiencing. I deviated from the design a bit on the second unit because the pot got so hot that I couldn’t lift the pots to change out the lights.

with borders

I reasoned that the flower-pots could sit on  a brick, as long as there was enough ledge opening for air to get underneath. Using 2 bricks allowed me to slide an aluminum foil pan in and out without touching the hot surfaces of the clay pots. This set up works well but of course is not portable. The loaf pan unit can be carried to another space if you are careful.

I am so pleased with my bad self!





One thought on “Tabletop Flowerpot Convection Heater

  1. Mary Deeny

    Wow! Terrific. I’m going to remember this one :)

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