Ever-rising utility costs can make heating an entire house prohibitively pricey. To save money but still keep occupied areas comfortable—say, the living room during a movie marathon—many renters and homeowners take advantage of space heaters.
Today’s models offer basic heating features at more affordable prices, newer bells and whistles, and all-important, upgraded safety features. The best space heater for any particular area will depend on the room’s size, the type of heater, and whether it will be used in a home with children and/or pets. Ahead, learn how to navigate all of the market options, and find out why the models below are among the best space heaters available.
We put these space heaters to the test in a hands-on review process. Testing took place in the home, in real-life scenarios to put performance and safety features on the spot. It also gave us an inside look at how their features function over time.
- BEST OVERALL: GiveBest Portable Electric Space Heater
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Amazon Basics 1500-Watt Oscillating Ceramic Heater
- UPGRADE PICK: AirNmore Comfort Deluxe Infrared Space Heater
- DESIGN PICK: Lasko Designer Series Electric Ceramic Space Heater
- BEST FOR TEMP CONSISTENCY: De’Longhi Dragon Oil-Filled Digital Space Heater
- BEST FOR LARGE ROOMS: Dr. Infrared Heater 1500- Watt Portable Space Heater
- BEST FOR BATHROOMS: Vornado VH10 Vortex Heater with Adjustable Thermostat
Before You Buy a Space Heater
A space heater can be a welcome source of supplemental warmth in a chilly room, especially if it also saves money on utility costs by allowing the user to turn the HVAC thermostat down a few degrees. Keep in mind that space heaters get very hot and, if used carelessly, they can lead to a house fire. Before shopping for a space heater, it’s a good idea for shoppers to call their homeowners insurance agent, as some insurance policies will not cover damages from a fire caused by a space heater.
How We Tested the Best Space Heaters
We tested these space heaters in person, in real-world situations. They were all tested in a home office setting where the office was 150 to 200 square feet in size. One of the test offices also had large windows, so the room temperature fluctuated more often. We also tried them on different surfaces, from plush carpet to bare floors.
For models with a digital display, we set the thermostat between 70 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit to see how well the space heater kept a consistent room temperature. From there, we made adjustments to settings (low and high), timers, and safety features. For example, we tipped over every single space heater to make sure it turned off.
Models designed to turn on and off based on the thermostat were left running to see how they performed over time. Some stayed in standby mode for hours without turning on because a furnace kept the room at temperature. We wanted to make sure they wouldn’t turn on if it wasn’t necessary. Ease of use was also a consideration, and models with remote controls or intuitive designs got higher marks from us.
Our Top Picks
To qualify as a top pick, a space heater needed to be powerful enough to heat the intended room and include safety features that would turn the unit off if it falls over. The following models are suited to various heating needs, and any one of them might well serve a variety of situations.
Quiet operation and the ability to quickly heat rooms as large as 200 square feet make this electric heater from GiveBest a wise choice for warming up. The ceramic space heater has an adjustable thermostat as well as both overheat shutoff and tip-over shutoff for safety. It runs quietly so as not to distract from activities like reading, watching TV, and conversation. It’s 10.2 inches tall, weighs 3.2 pounds, and features an easy-carry handle for moving from room to room as needed.
The GiveBest was an unassuming space heater during testing, and it doesn’t have the flashiest design or features. However, there are a few extra settings like the two heat settings and a fan and the built-in thermostat that made it a pleasure to use. We tested it in an approximately 200-square-foot home office, and it heated the room without a problem. When temps were cold, we bumped it up to the high-heat setting, but most of the time, the low setting kept it comfortable when temps were around 50 degrees Fahrenheit to 60 degrees Fahrenheit in the rest of the home.
The only thing we would have liked to see was a display that showed the exact setting of the thermostat. We pretty much guessed at the temperature setting, but if the air temperature went above the mystery temperature, the GiveBest turned itself off. It also turns off if kicked over, which is a bonus for homes with kids or pets. However, the tilt safety feature did not allow the heater to turn on when placed in plush carpet. It needed a flatter surface, or the trigger mechanism wasn’t depressed enough to allow the heater to turn on.
Overall, this model balances design, heating efficiency, and price for a portable heater that will work in most small spaces plus provide portability if it’s needed elsewhere.
- Watts: 1,500
- Weight: 3.2 pounds
- Dimensions: 10.2 inches tall by 7.9 inches wide by 6.2 inches deep
- This model features an automatic shutoff for overheating and tilt
- Lightweight and simple to use; highly portable and easy to store
- Versatile pick, with 2 heat settings and a fan setting for ventilation
- Does not include a display to show exact thermostat temperature
- Safety feature prevented it from turning on while on plush carpet
Get the GiveBest space heater at Amazon.
For a reasonable price, this oscillating heater provides 1,500 watts of heat, enough to keep a 150-square-foot room warm and cozy. It features three power outputs (low, high, and fan only), plus tip-over shutoff for safety should it inadvertently get knocked over. There’s a simple on/off switch for easy operation and a thermostat dial that allows the user to select the desired temperature. After the user sets the thermostat, the heater will turn itself on and off to maintain the selected temperature. It weighs a mere 3.2 pounds and boasts a handle on the back for easy toting from room to room.
While this simple heater did well during testing, it doesn’t have any features that make it stand out. The basic heat functions worked well, and the adjustable thermostat triggered an automatic shutoff. However, it could use a display to show the exact temperature setting. The current variable thermostat leaves the user guessing as to the temperature they’re choosing. Overall, it’s lightweight, portable, and made quick work of heating a 150-square-foot office.
- Watts: 1,500
- Weight: 3.2 pounds
- Dimensions: 10.04 inches tall by 6.34 inches wide by 7.52 inches deep
- Lightweight and easy to set up and adjust; controls are simple and intuitive
- This space heater’s oscillating feature does a good job distributing heat throughout the room
- Small and compact design makes it easy to store when not in use
- Does not include a display to show exact thermostat setting
Get the Amazon Basics space heater at Amazon.
For warmth and peace of mind, consider the ample safety features of the AirNmore Comfort Deluxe infrared space heater. Though it will heat a room up to 150 square feet, its outer casing will remain cool to the touch, which is crucial for homes with kids and pets. The tip-over safety function shuts the unit off if it gets knocked over, but since it weighs 22 pounds, this is a less likely scenario than with some smaller models. A 14-gauge cord with a three-prong heater plug reduces the risk of the cord melting from overheating.
The power level is adjustable, and the heater has a built-in thermostat to maintain a consistent temperature. A removable, washable filter prevents dust from recirculating in the air. Users might mistake this space heater for an old-time radio; it definitely looks more design-friendly than some other more utilitarian models. We loved this heater in testing, although with infrared heaters, users have to direct the heat toward themselves. It’s a penetrating heat, but only if it hits the body.
A tiny remote control let us change modes (low or high) and temperatures while working at a desk, and we liked that we could precisely adjust the temperature setting and see it on the display. The downside with this AirNmore space heater is its size. It’s big and takes up a lot of room while heating up a relatively small 150-square-foot space. However, the casters make moving this behemoth out of the way when not in use fairly easy.
- Watts: 1,500
- Weight: 22 pounds
- Dimensions: 16.75 inches tall by 13 inches wide by 16.5 inches deep
- Onboard cord storage and four casters; maneuverable and allows for neat storage
- Comfortable penetrating heat; great for heating rooms during cold winter months
- Includes particle filter for cleaner air; ideal for sensitive users
- Large size makes this less of an inconspicuous space heater
Get the AirNMore space heater at Amazon.
This electric ceramic space heater from Lasko’s designer series has smooth contours and rests on an attractive base, making it look more like a work of art than a space heater. Appearance aside, it effectively heats rooms up to 150 square feet by oscillating smoothly from side to side for uniform heat distribution. Switch between its adjustable heat settings via the remote; the Lasko can even be programmed in advance to turn on and off when desired. This handsome space heater also features a safety shutoff in case the unit tips over.
This beauty was a pleasant surprise during testing because it cranks out the heat. It may be designed to heat 150-square-foot spaces, but it can do more than that with the heat it puts out. The oscillating setting spread the heat far and wide, quickly heating our 200-square-foot test space (another office) to perfection. We liked that we could pick the temperature setting, though it only goes in 5-degree increments. Plus, it comes with a timer that automatically turns the unit off after 1, 2, or 4 hours. With that set, we didn’t worry about leaving it on while we were away.
Once the room reaches the set temperature, this space heater automatically shuts off. However, we noticed that if the temperature began to fall, it didn’t automatically turn back on. But we could turn it back on using the remote, so no one actually had to get out of their chair. This model might have made us a little lazy.
- Watts: 1,500
- Weight: 6.89 pounds
- Dimensions: 16 inches tall by 11 inches wide by 11 inches deep
- Attractive design that doesn’t look like a heater; blends in well
- 3 automatic timer settings and automatic shutoff for added peace of mind
- Comes with a handy remote control to adjust any of the settings
- Warms a room fairly quickly; ideal for medium-size rooms
- Shuts off when desired temp is reached; has to be turned on again
Get the Lasko space heater at Amazon, The Home Depot, Best Buy, Staples, or Lasko.
The permanently sealed oil reservoir of the De’Longhi Dragon digital space heater comes filled with oil and never needs refilling, as the oil level is never reduced and never runs out. At 1,500 watts, this radiator provides soothing warmth in rooms up to 150 square feet. An adjustable thermostat keeps the room at a consistent temperature, and users can select an efficient eco mode to optimize energy consumption.
A safety shut-off feature keeps the unit from overheating, while insulated wiring and reinforced connections offer additional safety. Its low-surface-temperature case reduces the risk of accidental burns. Weighing a substantial 26.6 pounds, it comes with wheels to make relocation easier.
This large heater doesn’t blow heat at users like many of the other models. Radiant heat permeates the room, slowly raising the temperature. The De’Longhi kept a 150-square-foot office comfortable and was easy to leave on all day because it turned on and off as the temperature fluctuated. The controls took a little more work to understand, but it was a set-it-and-forget-it space heater once we figured it out. It’s quiet and only reminds users it’s there with the clicks and pops of its normal operation.
Overall, this model’s slow, quiet heat was comfortable and less noticeable than that of models with a fan. The downside was that its tall, narrow design can make it more susceptible to tipping over.
- Watts: 1,500
- Weight: 26.6 pounds
- Dimensions: 26.1 inches tall by 16.4 inches wide by 10.3 inches deep
- Quiet operation with no distracting, loud fans blowing during use
- Automatically turned on and off based on the thermostat setting
- Makes room temperature feel comfortable without the need to have a fan blowing
- Can be quite slow to heat the space; needs to be turned on in advance
- Heavy and difficult to move around despite being on wheels
- Tall, narrow design makes it more susceptible to tipping over
Get the De’Longhi space heater at Lowe’s.
This 1,500-watt portable space heater from Dr. Infrared Heater looks like a classic radio but runs like the high-tech space heater that it is. Emitting only 39 decibels, this infrared heater features quiet air circulation that moves the heat through large spaces. We tested it in a 200-square-foot office, and this space heater made quick work of warming it. Infrared heaters don’t heat the air; instead, they heat objects. This heater’s quiet fan made it feel like the heat permeated farther and made a difference in overall room temperature.
It’s also packed with features including standby, eco, low, and high power modes. The digital display shows the thermostat’s setting, which makes it easy to make adjustments based on comfort levels.
We’re big fans of remote controls. This model’s remote control allowed us to make comfort adjustments without getting out of our office chair. We appreciated that we could leave it on all day while we worked, and it would turn on and off as needed. There’s also an adjustable timer, which can go up to 12 hours before automatically shutting off the heater.
Overall, it’s a nice-looking heater that can handle spaces up to about 850 square feet. It’s not the most mobile unit, weighing 24 pounds, but it does have casters for easier mobility.
- Watts: 1,500
- Weight: 24 pounds
- Dimensions: 15 inches tall by 13 inches wide by 12 inches deep
- Puts out fast, infrared heat; ideal for a quick blast of heat
- Quiet fan helps circulate heat without too much noise disturbance
- Control panel features thermostat adjustability and setting options
- Remote control lets users fine-tune without getting out of chair
- At 24 pounds, this unit is quite heavy and cumbersome to move around
Get the Dr. Infrared Heater space heater at Amazon, Lowe’s, The Home Depot, or Dr. Heater.
A set of three safety features provides extra security in a bathroom setting. The Vornado’s cool-touch exterior, heat detection, and tilt shutoff create a safer heater for a room where it could easily get knocked over. The heat detection feature turns the heater off if a towel or clothing falls on top of the heater. Among its other features, it has an adjustable thermostat, though there’s no display to show users the exact temperature and two heat settings—low or high.
The Vornado’s wide base made it more stable than similar space heaters we tested. When that’s coupled with the three safety features, it’s made for places (or homes) where blankets, towels, and clothes could end up on top of the heater, or pets and kids might knock it over. This model moved air beautifully and heated our office space quickly.
The only thing we felt was missing was a display so we could have seen the precise temperature setting rather than guessing with the adjustable thermostat.
- Watts: 1,500
- Weight: 5.08 pounds
- Dimensions: 12 inches tall by 9.25 inches wide by 11.63 inches deep
- Built with 3 safety features for added peace of mind and safe usage
- Wide base provides more stability; less likely to tip over
- Vortex action moves a lot of air through the room; good for larger rooms
- Cannot see the precise temperature setting; can be a bit of guesswork to begin with
Get the Vornado space heater at Amazon, The Home Depot, or Target.
The Lasko Ceramic Adjustable Thermostat Space Heaters performed well in many respects. It has an adjustable thermostat, 11 heat settings, a cool-touch exterior, and a compact design. What it doesn’t have is an automatic tilt shut-off feature. That means if it gets knocked over, it keeps running. In a home with pets, kids, and, honestly, most adults, it could keep running face down, posing a fire hazard. For that reason, it didn’t make our list of top picks.
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Space Heater
A small space heater might be suitable under a desk or next to a lounge chair, but it likely won’t make a dent in a sizable chilly room. A space heater’s size should suit the room that it will warm and should, of course, be as safe as possible.
Types of Space Heaters
For those just starting to shop for a space heater, it might come as a surprise to find so many different types from which to choose. Each type has its pros and cons, and not all space heaters are suitable for all rooms and situations.
Fan Space Heaters
Fan space heaters function by heating the air around an electric coil or wire elements and then dispersing the heat with a fan. They are among the least expensive models but do not offer the same efficiency as other types. Therefore, fan heaters are best suited to rooms without drafts or for warming a small space quickly.
Convection Space Heaters
Convection space heaters warm air over ceramic plates or disks and allow it to radiate warmth into the room. Some models do include fans for quicker heat dispersal and, like conventional fan heaters, they work best in rooms without drafts. Convection heaters come in compact or tower models, often with exterior cases that are cooler to the touch. Prices vary depending on wattage and added features.
Infrared Space Heaters
Infrared space heaters are among the quietest options for the home. They generate heat quickly by radiating heat to the objects—including people—in front of them. As opposed to heating the air in the room, this type of heater heats the user, making it a good choice for use in drafty rooms. All that’s needed is for the user to aim it directly at where they’re sitting.
Oil-Filled Space Heaters
Oil-filled space heaters (another type of radiant heater) are also a quiet option. Because they are capable of putting off an abundance of heat while using less electricity than fan-type models, these heaters are well suited to larger rooms. Due to the weight of the oil and the steel casing, these heaters are relatively heavy, but many come with wheels to make relocating easier. Oil-filled space heaters take a while to heat up, but they radiate continuously once they do.
Micathermic Space Heaters
Micathermic space heaters combine convection and radiant heating processes. Designed as a panel to stand or hang on a wall like a piece of artwork, they create a welcoming ambience for the senses by mimicking the look of a real fire and radiating heat. Some models include fans for greater efficiency and remote controls for extra convenience. These advanced heaters vary widely in price.
Space heaters are a leading cause of house fires, so it’s smart to pick one that boasts additional safety features to reduce risk. Manufacturers have introduced automatic shutoffs that kick in when a unit overheats or gets inadvertently knocked over. In addition, many have exterior cases that keep units cool to the touch at all times. Some models even come equipped with motion sensors that automatically turn the heater off when a pet or child comes too close. For extra peace of mind when purchasing, look for the letters NRTL on the space heater packaging, which indicates that the model has been tested for safety by the Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory.
Your Heating Needs
As a general rule of thumb, select a space heater that will produce 10 watts of power for every square foot. For instance, to heat a 10-by-12-foot room, a shopper would need to purchase a 1,200-watt space heater. A very large room may require more than one space heater to maintain a comfortable temperature throughout.
Other factors that affect a space heater’s efficiency include ceiling height, the insulating factor of the exterior walls, the number of windows, and the available outlets. While high-wattage heaters offer more heat than lower-wattage models, they’re limited to the capacity of the electrical outlet; a home’s standard 110-volt electrical outlet can only provide 1,500 watts of power, so that must be the wattage cap for any machine plugged into it.
One of the main reasons for using a space heater is to save on energy costs. But unlike many other appliances, space heaters do not require energy testing by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), nor does the agency issue Energy Star ratings for them, so those who are serious about saving should opt for the most efficient type.
Oil-filled space heaters are among the most efficient because they heat the oil and the metal casing, gradually dispersing radiant warmth into the room. Once the oil reaches the desired temperature, less energy is needed to maintain that temperature. Even after an oil-filled heater is turned off, it will continue to radiate heat for up to 30 minutes or more. Next in energy efficiency are infrared space heaters, which use up to 10 percent less energy than space heaters with coils and fans.
For the most part, space heaters are among the quietest of all small appliances. Space heaters that use radiant heat, either infrared or oil-filled, make virtually no noise. Traditional space heaters with fans will emit an average of 35 to 45 decibels of sound, approximately the same as soft indoor conversation (which could be suitable as a white noise machine).
The Advantages of Owning the Best Space Heater
- A good space heater will keep a room’s occupants warm and comfortable, even if the rest of the house is chilly.
- Homeowners and renters can save on heating costs by using a space heater in one room and lowering the thermostat for the rest of the house.
- Many of today’s space heaters come with built-in thermostats, enabling them to keep the room at a consistent and cozy temp.
- Space heaters are portable and can be moved from room to room as necessary.
Tips for Using a Space Heater
Homeowners and renters can save on utility costs by using a space heater in one or more rooms rather than heating the entire home. For the toastiest—and safest—results, check out these useful tips.
- Maintain a 3-foot safety area around the space heater, and do not allow blankets, furniture, draperies, children, or pets within this zone.
- Install both carbon monoxide detectors and smoke alarms in the home when using space heaters, and test them monthly to ensure the batteries and the detectors are working.
- For safety’s sake, it’s important for users to turn off the space heater when leaving the room or going to bed. The exception to this rule is an oil-filled radiant heater, which may be left running. However, consult the owner’s manual, and follow all other safety precautions.
- Never use an extension cord with a space heater. Household extension cords are often not heavy-duty enough to handle the amount of electricity a space heater draws during operation.
- Remember to close the door in the room being heated to keep that toastiness from escaping to hallways and unoccupied areas.
The best space heater will keep folks warm and safe when manufacturer’s guidelines are followed. For more information on space heaters, see the answers to these common questions.
Q. Is it OK to have a space heater on all night?
Most space heaters should be turned off at night and when you leave a room. The exception is an oil-filled radiating space heater, which can be left on. However, make certain not to leave anything flammable within 3 feet of the radiator.
Q. What space heaters use the least electricity?
Oil-filled radiant heaters use the least amount of electricity because once they heat up, it takes very little energy to keep them warm. Plus, they will radiate heat for up to 30 minutes or more after they’ve been turned off.
Q. What is the safest type of space heater?
The safest space heater is one that will automatically shut off if it overheats or if it accidentally tips over.
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Meet the Tester
Stacey L. Nash is a writer and product tester with a background in home and garden products. She’s researched and tested home products for over 5 years. That research is coupled with the practical experience that comes from living life with four kids and a DIY husband on 12 acres that require clearing and upkeep. Now she tests and writes about home appliances, kitchen tools, lighting, cleaning products, and garden tools.
Additional research provided by Glenda Taylor.