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Shopping Guide for Best Space Heaters

The best space heaters deliver top-notch performance and comfort, while keeping your safety a top priority. If you’re in the market for a space heater, we’re here to help you. BestReviews has chosen five top picks for space heaters, after performing extensive research. We test products in our labs, and analyze customer feedback, bringing you the best information for making your product selection. You can count on our reviews to be unbiased, because we never accept manufacturer samples – we purchase the products we test, from the same stores where you shop.

The BestReviews team has also put together the following buying guide, filled with handy tips to assist your search for the right space heater.

You'll find information on various types of heaters on the market, a list of important considerations when making a choice between models, along with a handy FAQ section to answer the questions that might be on your mind as you consider purchasing a space heater for your home.

Consider a space heater to warm your outdoor space, so you can enjoy your patio even as the leaves change colors.

Why Use a Space Heater?

Why use space heaters

Some rooms in the home or workplace aren’t adequately covered by the central heating system

If you have a pesky room in your home that doesn't seem to get or stay warm, you may want to consider a space heater. It can help you to efficiently warm up the space without having to turn your thermostat way up, or overheat other areas.

Product in Depth

Product in Depth

Mr. Heater Buddy

Features

The Mr. Heater Buddy is a great option for campers who want guaranteed warmth should the temperatures go down at night. It can be used inside and out, and features an easy grip handle for transport. For your safety, this unit shuts itself off when low oxygen in detected, or if it’s toppled over. It’s fuelled via propane tank and can deliver up to three hours of warmth when turned up to its highest heat setting. Since it’s powered by gas, it can be used in case of emergency when the power has been cut. Standard safety precautions should be taken with this type of device to reduce the chance of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Why use space heaters

Prolong the use of covered outdoor spaces

If you have an outdoor space you frequently use even in the cooler fall months, a space heater may be a good choice to help you get the most out of that area of your home.

Some heaters are specially designed for this type of outdoor use, and will allow you to take advantage of your covered patio long after the summer is over.

DID YOU KNOW?

Some space heaters include a remote control, allowing you to adjust the temperature from afar.

Why use space heaters

Camping can be cold

Sure, you can build a fire, but that requires wood fuel, and some people don't enjoy the smoke that comes with real flames.

A compact space heater is a good choice for campers who want to keep warm without relying on a fire.

CAUTION

Proper venting is extremely important when it comes to models that require gas as fuel. Using this kind of space heater without adequate venting and air circulation can be very dangerous.

Types of Space Heaters

Types

Gas or Oil

These types of space heaters require some kind of fossil fuel (propane, natural gas, or kerosene) for power. There's no need to plug the unit in, but you'll need to pay attention to placement, since these models need to to ventilate.

They are a good option for when the power goes out.

EXPERT TIP

Clutterbugs, be sure to place your space heater far from your flammable items. Fires can start quickly and spread beyond your control in minutes.


Staff  | BestReviews
Types

Indoor vs. Outdoor

There are great options for heating both indoor and outdoor spaces. Indoor space heaters tend to be larger, and sometimes allow the user the option to mount the unit somewhere in the home.

Outdoor models are usually more compact and can easily be moved around; some are even small enough to fit on a patio table.

Product in Depth

Product in Depth

Lasko Adjustable Thermostat

Design

The Lasko Adjustable Thermostat unit is a ceramic heater that has a fan setting, in addition to high- and low-heat options. It’s a great budget choice for those who need to infuse some warmth into a workspace or den area. The heater features an auto shut-off mechanism should it get too hot. Its small and compact size make it great for the office. Just plug it in and set it down by your feet to keep warm. One reviewer commented on the device’s ability to heat up quite quickly despite its smaller footprint. One drawback is that the unit lacks a tip-over shutoff switch, so if you have small children or pets roaming around it may not be a suitable option.

Types

Electric

You'll need to make sure that the location where you plan to use this type of heater has a conveniently placed outlet.

Another consideration is that these types of heaters may increase your electricity bills.

Electric models do tend to be quite safe, though.

FOR YOUR SAFETY

An auto shut-off switch is a great safety feature to have in a space heater. If the heater reaches a preset maximum temperature, it will turn itself off.

Other Space Heater Considerations

Considerations

Energy Efficiency

More efficient space heaters will work to quickly and evenly distribute heat in whatever space they're placed.

Heaters with fans or forced-air construction are among the most efficient.

Units that require some sort of fuel (like oil or gas) take a lot longer to produce and distribute heat, but the warmth resulting from these models tends to be longer lasting.

DID YOU KNOW?

Used properly, a space heater can save you money! Turn the thermostat down and warm the immediate vicinity to help reduce heating costs.

Considerations

Safety

This is one of the most important considerations to keep in mind when deciding on the right space heater.

Find out whether the models you're looking at have modern safety features that work to protect you, like automatic shut-off in the event of overheating, or tip-over sensors should the unit topple over when you're not around.

CAUTION

Carbon monoxide poisoning is difficult to detect. Make sure you have a proper detector set up in your home when using a gas-powered space heater.

Considerations

Footprint

Consider the space you'd like to use a space heater for, and where you're likely to put it.

Accounting for a heater’s size is important if you only have limited room, or, in the case of an electric heater, limited outlets.

Product in Depth

Product in Depth

Holmes Digital

Ease of Use

The Holmes Digital electric heater is mountable, and is suitable for small- to medium-sized rooms. Some reviewers chose to use the unit to heat colder basement bathrooms and found it was compact and versatile. The Holmes space heater even features a dehumidifier option, which is great for bathrooms without an installed ventilation fan. The unit also safely shuts off when it gets too hot, and can even be programmed to start and stop heating as you desire. Owners love that they can choose to start heating their bathroom prior to jumping in the shower during particularly chilly months.

Space Heater Safety Tips

Space heaters are a great way to warm up a room without having to crank up the thermostat and waste energy heating the rest of your home. Unfortunately, fire is a potential hazard if you act carelessly, or don't handle your heating unit with care. As with any kind of appliance, especially one that emits heat, you should take precautions when using one in your home or workplace.

  • Be careful when placing electric heaters. Keep them away from anything that might be easily flammable, like curtains.

  • If you're leaving the house and have pets, unplug the heater, or situate it such that it cannot be knocked over while running. Most modern options feature safety shut-offs to eliminate this kind of danger, but better safe than sorry.

  • Don't turn it on and leave it to run. You're not doing yourself any favors since you'll be heating an unused space!

  • Buying a heater second-hand is generally unadvised. Avoid older models that lack safety features.

  • If you're going to use a fuel-burning heater, make sure you have a carbon monoxide detector installed. Check it frequently to ensure it's functional.

FOR YOUR SAFETY

Don’t get lazy when it comes to safety! Did you know the winter months are the most common months for home fires?

Space Heater Pricing

Most basic personal heaters start at $40, but the price can quickly climb when you factor in construction quality, features, and aesthetics.

Don't forget to take operating costs into consideration when choosing a model; these costs vary depending on the type of heater you buy and how often you use it.

DID YOU KNOW?

A space heater is a great option for office workers who constantly feel like they’re in a war with co-workers over the thermostat.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Space Heaters

Space heater pros and cons

Advantages

  • Efficient and Cost Effective

A space heater allows you to warm up a room fast, and it’s generally more cost effective than trying to heat up that smaller space by cranking up your thermostat.

  • Quiet Operation

Most space heaters won’t emit much noise, so you won’t need to worry about being bothered by loud whirring or buzzes while you work or enjoy your favorite show.

  • Portability

Many of these types of devices can be moved easily from room to room, thanks to their compact size. Some units even come with easy-to-grip handles to help with transport.

Product in Depth

Product in Depth

Vornado AVH2 Plus

Performance

The Vornado AVH2 Plus is capable of heating larger rooms, but can just as easily work for smaller spaces. This smart device can sense when your desired temperature is reached, and will adjust its settings to ensure you stay comfortable. Owners also enjoy the Vornado’s cool-touch case, auto safety shut-off and tip-over protection. Reviewers loved that the device was so quiet and preferred it to similar units for bedroom use. Unfortunately, the unit doesn’t have a power switch so to turn it off, you need to unplug it.

Space heater pros and cons

Disadvantages

  • Inefficient for Large Homes

A space heater probably isn’t suitable for warming a very large room in a bigger house, and definitely isn’t for use as a whole-house heater.

  • Can Increase Electric Bills

If you don’t use the space heater efficiently, you might inadvertently spike your power bill.

  • Proximity

Smaller heaters, and those that use technology like infrared heating, require you to get up close to really feel any kind of warmth.

  • Suitability for Children or Animals

Some space heaters do not have a cool-touch exterior, which means they can get really hot. These are not ideal for homes with youngsters or pets.

Warm your toes up while you watch TV with a compact, affordable, mini space heater.

FAQ

Q. Is a space heater really a safe choice for heating?

A. Yes! As long as you take the appropriate precautions when placing it, and you don’t leave it turned on without supervision. Make sure the heater has a wide berth, and is far away from potential flammable materials.

Q. Where should I put my new space heater?

A. If you have chosen a space heater that requires ventilation, make sure you do not block its vents. Check the instruction manual for your new heater for manufacturer suggestions.

Q. Can I use a space heater as my only source of heating?

A. A space heater is meant to supplement heating in a home. It’s not likely to produce enough warmth to ensure comfort throughout a house, especially in the winter months.

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