As efficient as many HVAC systems are, they can leave bonus rooms, bedrooms, and other places in the home uncomfortably cool. Boosting the heat in the entire home isn’t an efficient or economical way of solving this issue. With its ability to warm a room without spiking the electricity bill, a ceramic space heater is a good solution.
Ceramic heaters put out up to 5,100 BTUs of heat and come in compact box shapes and tall tower shapes. More portable than wall-mounted and other electric heaters, space heaters typically are easy to carry from room to room. They feature controls so users can regulate the temperature and safety features that prevent them from creating fire hazards.
This guide will explore the crucial attributes to look for when shopping for the best ceramic space heater. It also lists some top models to consider, depending on your needs.
- BEST OVERALL: Lasko 5775 Electric 1500W Ceramic Space Heater
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: GiveBest Portable Electric Space Heater
- UPGRADE PICK: TaoTronics Space Heater, 1500W
- BEST DESIGN: Lasko Designer Series Ceramic Space Heater
- BEST OSCILLATING: PELONIS PH-19J 1500W
- BEST COMPACT: Black+Decker Desktop Heater
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Ceramic Heater
All ceramic space heaters put out similar amounts of heat, but they vary in size, shape, and the type of thermostat and control options they offer. Ahead, learn more about the crucial features to consider when shopping for one of these heaters.
Ceramic heaters come in box or tower shapes. Box-shaped models measure about 1 foot tall, 6 inches deep, and 8 inches wide. The small size is easy to carry from room to room and perfect for resting on the floor or on top of furniture, such as a table or nightstand.
Tower models are taller and slimmer, measuring about 2 feet high, 8 inches wide, and 7 inches deep. While their size makes them less portable, their tall profile helps circulate air more effectively than smaller, box-shaped models. The larger tower models typically cost more than box-shaped heaters.
Convective vs. Radiant
All ceramic space heaters function as convective heaters. Though the differences may be subtle to someone standing near one, convective and radiant heaters work in very different ways. Convective types heat the air around them, which then circulates through the room to warm the space. Most convective heaters have a fan that helps circulate the warm air around the room, not unlike a standard forced-air furnace in a central HVAC system.
Radiant heaters heat by releasing electromagnetic waves that warm objects in the room such as people or furniture. Radiant heaters feel significantly warmer near the source of the heat.
In addition, convective heaters can heat up in seconds, but radiant heaters can take several minutes to heat up to their full power. This can make a difference, depending on the heater’s intended use.
Electric space heaters generally max out at 1,500 watts. This isn’t because of a limitation in the heater but rather the limitation of the power output of a standard 110-volt outlet, which maxes out at 1,725 watts.
At 1,500 watts, a ceramic space heater can put out 5,100 BTUs. That is powerful enough to sufficiently heat a room of about 150 square feet. Most ceramic space heaters also have energy-efficient settings that allow the heater to operate at lower power, around 900 watts.
Thermostat and Timer
Ceramic heaters have thermostats that users can operate to control the temperature settings, so the heater automatically turns off when the room reaches a certain temperature. Heaters have manual and digital thermostats. Manual heaters have a dial with + and – sides that control the thermostat temperature but do not support dialing in specific temperature settings.
Digital thermostats allow the user to set the unit to a specific temperature. Some models offer five or six preset temperatures in increments that range from about 60 degrees to 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Others let the user set the unit to a specific temperature, similar to a home’s HVAC thermostat.
Some models have timers that users can set to turn off the heater after a certain time, typically ranging from 1 to 8 hours. This feature helps prevent accidentally leaving the space heater on for long periods and possibly overheating.
Some space heaters have remote controls so the user can conveniently control the heater’s operation from anywhere in the room. This eliminates the need to get up off the couch or out of bed to change the temperature or to turn the space heater on or off. Keep in mind that models with remote controls typically cost more than those with manual controls only.
Space heaters, by their nature, present fire hazards. As such, they have safety features to prevent the heater from starting a fire. A ceramic heater should have a pressure sensor on the bottom of the unit that automatically shuts the heater off in the event that it tips over. A heater also should have an auto-shutoff feature that automatically turns the unit off if it begins to overheat.
Most space heaters also have housings that protect the hotter internal parts while remaining cool to the touch. This feature helps prevent the heater from catching fire if an errant blanket or cushion falls on top of it.
The design of box-shaped ceramic space heaters facilitates easy transport from room to room. Portable models are lightweight at just a few pounds, and they feature handles that make them easy to carry from room to room. They are also smaller, typically measuring less than 10 inches tall and about 7 inches wide.
Our Top Picks
The list below narrows the field to some of the best ceramic space heaters for warming cooler rooms in the home. These space heaters come in several shapes and sizes, and many include helpful safety or convenience features.
With its tower shape and built-in controls that allow for more precise heating, this Lasko 5775 ceramic space heater is a versatile top pick. While other space heaters use a dial with inexact temperatures, this 1,500-watt model includes five specific temperature settings ranging from 65 degrees to 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Although a tower model, the unit only weighs about 7 pounds and has a built-in carry handle.
Other features include a timer that automatically turns off the unit after 1, 2, or 4 hours of use and an oscillation option. The heater also has safety features such as overheat protection, auto-shutoff if the heater gets knocked over, and a housing that stays cool to the touch. This model’s tower design, which measures 22.5 inches high, enables it to better circulate air around the room than smaller, box-shaped models.
When more than one room in a home doesn’t heat well, a space heater like the GiveBest Portable can come in handy. The light 3.5-pound heater can transport easily from room to room. The heater’s design supports easy repositioning within a room. A large curved handle at the top of the unit provides a good place to pick up and tote the unit.
As with other space heaters, this portable one features three settings—1,500 watts, 750 watts, and a fan-only option. Safety features include an automatic shutoff if any of the parts begin to overheat and a tip-over shutoff if the unit falls over. At 7 inches wide, 6 inches deep, and 9 inches tall, this model can go where a boost of heat is needed most.
Loaded with features, this 1,500-watt model from TaoTronics costs a little more, but it includes plenty of comfort and safety features in a ceramic space heater. Most space heaters limit their thermostat controls to a plus-or-minus knob, but the TaoTronics heater boasts a digital thermostat that maintains users’ set specific temperatures and shows the settings on an LED display.
Other features include 70-degree side-to-side oscillation for better airflow, a 7-degree tilted fan that improves the heater’s ability to circulate air, and a remote control so the user can operate the fan without having to get up and walk to it. An optional ECO mode can save energy, and multiple protection features, including overheat protection and a tip-over safety switch, keep it safe. At 24 inches tall and 7 inches around, this heater is larger than many other space heaters.
Most ceramic heaters have a utilitarian look that can detract from the aesthetics of a room. This Designer Series model from Lasko is a great option for a space heater that blends with a home’s decor. It features an urn shape in a tan ceramic look and a wrought-iron stand so it looks less like an electric space heater.
That doesn’t mean this heater is all form and no function. It features a thermostat with the choice of high or low heat settings and six specific temperature settings ranging from 60 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit. A programmable shutoff stops the unit after 1, 2, or 4 hours, and an oscillating option will rotate the heater from side to side to better circulate warm air throughout the room. The heater and stand are about 16 inches high and 8.25 inches around.
Most ceramic heaters put out a similar maximum of 5,100 BTUs, but that’s not the only factor that determines how well they can heat a room. Airflow matters too, and the oscillating function and tower design of this PELONIS PH-19J ceramic heater combine for excellent circulation of warm air to more evenly heat a room. When set to oscillate, this model will rotate 83 degrees from side to side, giving it up to 20 percent better airflow than similar models.
Control knobs on the top of the unit include settings for 750 watts and 1,500 watts and a thermostat dial. This ceramic space heater also includes standard safety features such as a tip-over switch that shuts the unit off should someone knock it over and an overheat auto-shutoff switch. The unit measures about 18 inches tall and 8 inches wide.
A good space heater doesn’t need to take up a lot of space, and this compact model from Black & Decker is ideal for small spaces such as a nursery, bedroom, or home office. It measures just 7.5 inches wide, 6.3 inches deep, and less than 10 inches high, so it can fit on a nightstand, end table, or desk. With a handle molded into the top of the unit and a weight of about 3 pounds, this little heater transports easily and takes up little space.
This model also includes standard safety features that shut off the heater if it tips over or begins to overheat. The desktop heater has three modes—900 watts, 1,500 watts, and fan. Two knobs on top of the unit allow the user to change between modes and adjust the temperature setting. This heater comes in black or white.
FAQs About Ceramic Heaters
If you have questions about the energy efficiency of ceramic space heaters, then read on for answers to this and other commonly asked questions.
Q. What is the advantage of a ceramic heater?
A ceramic heater allows you to heat up rooms up to 150 square feet in size to efficiently warm up rooms that might be underserved by a home’s HVAC system.
Q. Are ceramic heaters more energy efficient?
Ceramic heaters take less electricity to run than other heaters, and they produce a significant amount of heat, making them energy efficient. They also can help take pressure off of an HVAC system by allowing the user to keep the entire home at a lower temperature while warming up just rooms that are in use.
Q. Can I leave my ceramic heater on all night?
When operated and positioned properly, a ceramic heater is safe for overnight use. Make sure the space heater is not located near any flammable objects or materials, and only purchase a ceramic heater that has standard safety features.
Q. How long do ceramic heaters last?
A ceramic space heater can last for 10 years or more depending on how often it is used.