Space heaters, not to be confused with propane heaters, ever, are handy devices that help assist in keeping portions of a home or office warm in winters. There are small, countertop space heaters that can aid in taking the chill off of the bathroom in the morning, space heaters that can add comfort to a small bedroom, and larger space heaters that will help add a few degrees of heat to a larger room. Knowing the environment you wish to heat is one of the pillars of choosing the best space heater for you.
There are also different types of heaters in terms of how they generate the heat. Some make you feel warm like the sun is shining on your body. Other space heaters blow warm air on you with a fan. Other space heaters are in a radiator style that heat oil and have the warmth radiate through the room. There are also some newer types of space heaters coming on the market that are in a panel form.
The best space heater really depends upon where you want the heating to go and upon your budget. Space heaters can range in price from around $20 to $500. The most common space heaters with high reviews tend to run in the $20 to $100 range.
This article will look at the very best space heaters in a variety of types.
How to Choose the Type of Space Heater You Need
If you have places in your home or office that are cold and uncomfortable, you need the best space heater for your particular situation. Examples of places that may need a space heater include:
- In the office, where the main heating system fails to warm your cubicle
- A chilly bathroom
- In a bedroom with no vents or registers
- In a living room, where the heating system struggles to keep the room warm
Another great use for space heaters is to turn down the central heating and have the space heater, or a few space heaters, in different rooms. This may save on heating costs, but it is dependent upon the wattage used by the space heater and the costs of electricity where you live. Electricity costs vary by state.
Types of Space Heaters
There are several types of space heaters. The difference is in how the heat is generated and how it is emitted. One of the ways in which people can best choose the right space heater to solve their particular heating issue is to understand the best uses for each type of heater. One important issue about space heaters is that no space heater will replace one’s home heating system. Space heaters just don’t generate enough power for that because the vast majority of space heaters on the market are electric. Their maximum wattage output is 1,500.
The different types of space heaters on the market are:
These either have a ceramic plate or an electric coil and have a fan to send the warmth generated by the heater out into the room or space to be heated. Most of the modern convection heaters today use a ceramic plate.
The pros of convection heaters are that the air blows on you as soon as you turn them on, so they supply instant warmth. They are usually small or medium-sized. The small models are designed to sit on a countertop. The medium-sized models are designed to sit in the middle of a room. They are great for heating a small bathroom or small bedroom. The cons of convection heaters are that their fans may be a bit noisy, and the air they blow may not be uniformly warm. Many are undersized to warm a larger room, but there are notable exceptions.
These heaters warm like the sun. Electricity is passed over wires. The wires radiate their heat out to the objects surrounding the heater. Convection heaters warm the air, which may dry it out. Infrared heaters heat the objects in the room. Smaller infrared heaters have a parabolic dish or are in a small, metal box. They can heat a person in an office cubicle or a small area in a room.
The larger infrared heaters use quartz tubes, often come in an attractive wooden box and can heat larger rooms. The pro is their warm, uniform heat that will not dry out the air. The con is that one has to take care about what is in the room near the heater in order to not start a fire.
These often are in the shape of a radiator, with fins. The heaters are filled with an oil that the heater maintains at a certain temperature. Oil-filled heaters are one of the safest types of space heaters, since the oil that is being heated is contained in the steel radiator. They send a uniform warmth out into a room and smell pleasant as they heat. They are capable of warming medium- to large-sized rooms.
Pros are their safety, the amount of heat they generate and the uniformity of the heat. The only con may be their size. They are the largest form of space heater but often have wheels to move around the room.
These are somewhat newer on the market. They radiate and emit warmth by convection, so there is both heat that radiates from them and warm air blown out of them. They work by mica sheets being warmed by electricity. They are flat panels and can often be mounted on wheels or to a wall. They are more frequently used to heat medium- to large-sized rooms. Pros are that these units are quiet, space saving and heat up more quickly than oil-filled heaters. The major con is that micathermic heaters are limited in their coverage. They will heat a room up to around 150 square feet.
Features of Space Heaters
Some of the common features of space heaters include:
Thermostats – Many space heaters have thermostats that allow one to maintain the area at a certain temperature. The most reliable space heater thermostats tend to be those that use a simple rotary dial. Digital thermostats that one can set to a specific temperature may not be reliable or can malfunction.
If you want a digital thermostat to add to your space heater, and it does not come with one, Amazon sells the popular Lux Win100 Programmable Outlet thermostat. It will turn your space heater on and off in order to maintain a desired temperature.
Timers – Some space heaters have timers that turn the unit on and off at a desired time.
Automatic Shut-Off – Many space heaters on the market today come equipped with automatic shut-off systems. These shut the heater off in the event the unit tips over.
Best Usage Practices
The main advice for space heaters is to use them safely. They need to be placed away from clothing, curtains or anything that they could get so hot as to ignite. Some space heaters may not be placed on a carpeted floor, while others have a pedestal that allows for safe use on any type of flooring. It is also important to not allow the cord to be in the path of the heat output, so it does not melt or catch on fire.
Best Space Heater Reviews
The following are reviews of ten of the very best space heaters on the market today. They are organized by heater type.
Best Convection Heaters
The best convection heaters today use ceramic plates, so they are better able to maintain an even temperature. The ceramic plate heaters are also safer than the older convection heaters that heated an electrical coil.
The little Lasko is a countertop heater that is great for heating a chilly bathroom in the morning or will work very well to heat an office cubicle area. It is a little powerhouse of a heater. It has three settings – high heat, low heat, and fan only. It has 11 thermostat settings. A great safety feature shuts the unit off it overheats. Also, the unit stays cool on its grill, even on the high heat setting. Pros – The unit is very inexpensive, generates a lot of warmth quickly and is cool to the touch. Con – It cannot heat a larger room, and it does not have tip-over protection.
The Honeywell is a desktop ceramic heater that generates quite a bit of heat for its small size. It has a thermostat and is quite stylish. It has a 900 watt and a 1500 watt setting. Safety features include a tip-over shut-off device, overheat protection and a grill that is cool to the touch. Pros – It can generate a lot of heat for a small heater. It also has good safety features. Con – It will not heat anything larger than a small room.
Ceramic tower heaters are often used in living rooms and bedrooms to distribute more warmth. Pelonis has a ceramic tower heater that gets mostly great reviews. A fan blows the warm air as the unit can oscillate and distribute the heat. This unit has some great bells and whistles, like an 8-hour programmable timer, a remote control and a digital thermostat. Pros – Good heat distribution and oscillation. The digital thermostat works well. Cons – Although the Amazon states that there is tip-over protection and overheat protection, one of the Amazon reviews states that the tip-over protection is non-existent.
This is unique in the convection heater field today because it has an electrical coil, not a ceramic heating system. The Vornado gets its name from the cyclonic action of its fan. This is one of the versions of the whole-room model of the Vornado heaters. The fan is large and does project the air through the room efficiently. It has a 750- and a 1500-watt heat setting.
This model does not have the digital thermostat. The model with the digital thermostat has been known to fail. Safety features include a grill that is cool to the touch and overheat and tip-over protection. Pros – It does a good job of projecting heat through a room and the rotary thermostat is accurate. Con – The unit has the tendency for a part to fail, but the manufacturer will send you a new unit if the failure is any time within the 5 year warranty. Also, this space heater is a bit pricey.
The Dyson is the only space heater on this list that will set you back a few hundred dollars. It can warm an entire room, but it also can switch the fan to concentrate on a smaller area. The fan is powerful but quiet. The thermostat is reviewed as working very effectively It has a sleep timer and a remote. It is really safe. It has no fan blades or heating elements that can cause accidents with children or pets. It has automatic tip-over shut-off device. Pros – The power of the heat output, the ability to concentrate the output, an effective digital thermostat and the safety features. Con – The price.
Best Infrared Heaters
This is one of those countertop, parabolic heaters that radiates warmth like the sun at you. You might feel like you are at a tanning booth. It operates on 400 and 800 watts, so it uses less electricity – almost half the amount – than the other space heaters in this review. This is great if you live in a state that suffers from higher electric bills. It has a timer along with the two heat settings.
You can tilt the head of the unit or oscillate it, if you desire. Reviewers are pleased with how much heat that this desktop heater was generating. Safety features include automatic tip-over shut-off and overheat protection. Pros – The amount of heat generated, even heating and lower power consumption. Con – Even though it has a grill and safety features, this is a unit to be kept away from the kids and pets because they could get burned.
If you like the idea of having the infrared heater and feel like the sun is shining on your body, you might want the room-sized tower version. Since infrared quartz heaters need less electricity to project the same amount of heat, this one only draws 1200 watts. There are two heat settings and a thermostat. Safety features include overheat protection and tip-over protection.
Pros – Reviewers praised the heat output and the thermostat. Cons – Two reviewers spoke of the tip-over protection not working, but one of them informed the company and got a replacement. Also, reviewers mentioned that the unit is a bit noisy when it first cycles on.
This is one of the infrared heaters that sit on the floor in a big wooden box. They are quite stylish. These heaters generate warmth through a series of infrared quartz tubes inside of the wooden box. The tubes are mounted inside of the heater, so the heater is safe around pets and children.
It can be used for large rooms. There is a blower that is quiet as it blows the warm air throughout the room. It has a remote control. Safety features include tip-over and overheat protection.
The advanced version of the Dr.Infrared heater includes a humidifier that adds some mist in the air, and the fan oscillates. Pros – The heat output is strong, aided by the 7-inch blower in the unit. It is safe for children and pets, but the grate where the air blows out does get hot to the touch. The heat output is even. Con – These type of units run around the $100 mark.
Best Oil-Filled Heaters
Oil-filled heaters are best utilized in medium to large rooms.
DeLonghi has been producing oil-filled space heaters for many years. There is a thermostat and three heat settings. The thermostat accurately works turn on and off the heating of the oil in the radiator in order to maintain an even room temperature. When these units are working, there is a pleasant smell in the room, and the heat is evenly distributed.
There is a setting that allows you to just keep the room from freezing, if you are away and want to ensure your water pipes don’t freeze. Oil-filled heaters are the safest type of space heater on the market. The brand is known for dependability. Other DeLonghi oil-filled heater models have a digital thermostat. Pros – Even heat for bigger rooms and a dependable thermostat. Con – This unit is overkill for a smaller usage, like an office cubicle.
One interesting review suggested that someone place a fan behind the unit to spread the heat out in the room.
Best Micathermic Heaters
This “console” heater is constructed much like an oil-filled heater, with a set of wheels on one end to ease movement through the house. It is capable of warming larger rooms. It has two heat settings and a thermostat. Reviewers like the warm, even heat and the heating power of the unit Safety features are tip-over protection and overheat protection. Pros – Capable of heating larger rooms, easy to move from room to room and even heat. Con – A picture or two on Amazon showed a slightly burned electrical plug.