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The 11 Best Space Heaters to Keep You Warm and Toasty

Reader's Digest logo Reader's Digest 1/27/2022 Elizabeth Heath
The 11 Best Space Heaters To Keep You Warm And Toasty © rd.com, via amazon.com (3) The 11 Best Space Heaters To Keep You Warm And Toasty

Space heater 411

No matter how efficient your home heating system is, there's often one room or area of your home that just doesn't get as warm as the rest of the house. Extra layers, like comfy bathrobes, warm socks, and cozy slippers for men and women are fine when you're snuggling under a throw blanket and watching TV. But you can't spend every moment of winter bundled up or under flannel sheets, electric blankets, and down comforters. That's where the best space heaters come in. They're an easy, affordable solution for warming up a drafty office, family room, or bedroom—and a great way to reduce your bills by heating only the rooms you regularly use.

What to look for when buying a space heater

If you're shopping for a space heater, know that those intended for residential use are electric. (Propane and kerosene heaters exist, but they're only safe in outdoor or very well-ventilated areas.) According to Randy Light, senior merchant for heaters at The Home Depot, units are made and sold in the following four categories:

  • Infrared heaters, which use infrared bulbs that heat the people and objects around them, rather than the air. "They're generally more effective to warm a person up," says Light, "and could be used in a bedroom or even under your desk if you tend to be chilly in your office."
  • Forced-air heaters, which are equipped with a fan that circulates hot air in the room. "They distribute heat quickly, making them a popular addition to offices or small workspaces in the winter," says Light.
  • Ceramic heaters, which have internal ceramic plates and circulate their generated heat with a fan. Light explains that "ceramic heaters are best to use in homes with kids or pets because they warm the air while still staying cool to the touch."
  • Radiant heaters, which contain a static oil that, when heated, warms the space around them. "They are ideal for living rooms, bedrooms, or dens, since they can retain heat for longer," says Light.

How we chose the best space heaters

To help you choose the best space heater for your needs, we pored over user reviews and recommendations from trusted consumer agencies, as well as looked at the pros and cons of top-rated models at a variety of budgets. All of our picks also have a few key safety features, which Light says are essential:

  • Tip-over switches that automatically shut off the unit if it's knocked over by accident
  • Overheat protection, which shuts off the heater when a sensor detects a predetermined temperature
  • Flame-resistant cases and thermally protected motors that provide fire protection

An important note about space heaters and fire safety

Despite the stellar safety features on the models we've chosen, it's still essential to follow some space heater safety tips. The biggies? "No matter what space heater you choose," Light says, "always place it on a hard, level surface at least three feet away from flammable items. And remember to never leave a space heater unattended."

Also, always plug a space heater directly into the wall; space heaters can cause power strips and extension cords to overheat and potentially cause a fire. It's also a big no-no to put cords underneath rugs or furniture. Beyond that, if you notice that your space heater or power cord is hot to the touch, turn it off and either get it checked out or replace it.

Dr. Infrared Heater Portable Space Heater © Via Amazon.com Dr. Infrared Heater Portable Space Heater

Dr. Infrared Heater Portable Space Heater

Best infrared space heater

With more than 12,000 five-star reviews on Amazon, this is one of the highest-rated space heaters on our list. If you don't like the feeling of heat blasting from a space heater or don't want to be in an overly warm room, this portable model might be the solution for you. As mentioned earlier, infrared heat is known for warming up objects (and people and pets), rather than the air, so it minimizes heat and energy waste. This model also features a PTC (positive temperature coefficient) heating element, which means the power consumption of this Amazon best seller goes down as the heater heats up.

Pros:

  • Large, easy-to-use display screen
  • Remote control
  • Programmable timer

Cons:

  • Boxy design means it might not blend in with room decor
  • Some reviewers say it heats a smaller area than claimed

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Vornado Mvh Vortex Heater © Via Amazon.com Vornado Mvh Vortex Heater

Vornado MVH Vortex Heater

Best overall value

Vornado space heaters rank high on many a best-of list, thanks to their mid-range pricing and dependable, what-you-see-is-what-you-get performance. While the Vornado AVH10 has a stronger fan and the VHM600 is beloved by various publications including Consumer Reports, the MVH is a solid choice if you don't want to spend a whole lot of money and only have to heat a small to medium-sized room. Priced just under $70 and an Amazon's Choice product with more than 3,700 five-star reviews, this small forced-air heater is highly portable and comes with a five-year warranty.

Pros:

  • Shuts off and restarts as needed, without overheating a room
  • Exterior stays cool to the touch
  • Quiet

Cons:

  • Doesn't heat a big area

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Dyson Hp01 Pure Hot Cool © Via Amazon.com Dyson Hp01 Pure Hot Cool

Dyson HP01 Pure Hot + Cool

Best multitasking space heater

Dysons aren't known for being budget purchases, but the HP01 Pure Hot + Cool is no ordinary space heater. It's also an air purifier with a serious HEPA filter, so it can clean, heat, or even cool the air in your home, depending on what you need. Plus, it's a top pick from Consumer Reports. Several Amazon buyers note that they used theirs during the wildfires in the western United States, writing that it really did help clear the air—as well as heat or cool it—on smoky days. Consider this a stop-gap solution for when you need more than just a space heater but aren't ready to upgrade your central heating system.

Pros:

  • The sealed HEPA filter captures 99.97 percent of allergens as small as 0.3 microns
  • Oscillating design projects 53 gallons per second of warm or cool air
  • Great for purifying air in apartments with shared central heating/cooling systems

Cons:

  • Pricey
  • Some reviewers say it raised their energy bills

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Amazon Basics Portable Eco Smart Space Heater © Via Amazon.com Amazon Basics Portable Eco Smart Space Heater

Amazon Basics Portable Eco-Smart Space Heater

Best space heater for a large room

If you've got a large space to heat up, you need a heater that can handle the square footage. This affordable model from Amazon Basics can heat up to 1,000 square feet—that's a really big great room. And reviewers attest that it is, in fact, great at heating a large space. One five-star reviewer says this under-$90 option offers "big heat in a small, affordable, lightweight package"—and that about sums it up! Others rave that it heats up quickly and is great for households with pets and boisterous kids because it's "very stable" and "almost impossible to tip without really trying."

Pros:

  • Remote control
  • Hidden casters make it easy to move
  • Weighs less than 15 pounds

Cons:

  • Some reviewers say it emits a plastic smell when in use
  • Available only in dark colors

Video: The risks of indoor space heaters (WCNC-TV Charlotte)

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Comfort Zone Electric Convection Baseboard Heater © Via Amazon.com Comfort Zone Electric Convection Baseboard Heater

Comfort Zone Electric Convection Baseboard Heater

Best baseboard-style space heater

If you want to keep a medium-sized room warm and not worry about tripping over a space heater that's sitting in the middle of the floor, a baseboard heater is the answer. From trusted brand Comfort Zone, this model's slim design (it's only five inches deep) keeps it out of the way, yet unlike traditional baseboard heaters, it doesn't have to be installed. Plus, it's priced at under $50, so you can buy more than one instead of having to move it from room to room. Thinking ahead to the warmer months? These portable air conditioners will keep you cool.

Pros:

  • Super-slim design
  • Quiet
  • White color blends into most settings

Cons:

  • No remote control means lots of bending down
  • Not recommended for carpeted surfaces

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Comfort Zone Ceiling Mounted Radiant Quartz Heater © Via Amazon.com Comfort Zone Ceiling Mounted Radiant Quartz Heater

Comfort Zone Ceiling-Mounted Radiant Quartz Heater

Best space heater for a workshop

If you've got a workshop, craft or sewing room, or other space where you need heat and light, consider this wall- or ceiling-mountable model from Comfort Zone. Since it's an infrared heater, it will heat you while you're hard at work on your favorite hobby. We chose this model specifically with a hobby area in mind, since you don't need to waste money heating a whole room when only your work area needs to feel warm and toasty.

Pros:

  • Halogen light to illuminate a workspace
  • When mounted, it can be angled 90 degrees
  • No fan, so it's quiet

Cons:

  • Works best when mounted, which makes it less portable
  • The cord is short (six feet), and the manufacturer recommends against using an extension cord

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De'longhi Convection Panel Heater © Via Amazon.com De'longhi Convection Panel Heater

De'Longhi Convection Panel Heater

Best panel-style space heater

We like the slim look of this panel space heater from De'Longhi, with dual fans for forced-air heat. It blends with any decor and warms up to 300 square feet of room, so it's suitable for a 15- by 20-foot living room. "My wife and I LOVE this heater," writes verified Amazon reviewer Chris. "It is very much like a radiator in that the heat just kind of permeates the entire room while just being on and silent in the background." Another clever Amazon reviewer says that by heating the air closer to the ground, the De'Longhi allows his central heating system (where the heat comes from overhead) to work faster.

Pros:

  • Can be mounted on the floor or wall
  • Only three inches deep
  • Sleek profile, with digital controls

Cons:

  • No remote control
  • The LED lights may be too bright for bedrooms

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Lasko Myheat Personal Ceramic Space Heater © Via Amazon.com Lasko Myheat Personal Ceramic Space Heater

Lasko MyHeat Personal Ceramic Space Heater

Best mini space heater

For a nice dose of cozy heat while you're working at a desk or table, this cute, compact space heater from Lasko is a simple, inexpensive solution. Don't expect it to heat more than its immediate area—remember, it's a personal space heater—but for the $26 price tag, it's a simple, solid option for warming cold hands or feet quickly. Satisfied reviewers call it "small but mighty." If you're always cold, you may also want to pick up a pair of these heated gloves for when you need to venture outside.

Pros:

  • Just 200 watts, so it consumes very little electricity
  • Small enough to tuck under a desk in a chilly office
  • Fun color options

Cons:

  • Some reviewers say that heat doesn't radiate far enough
  • No auto-shut-off safety features

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Pelonis Digital Electric Oil Filled Radiant Space Heater © Via Homedepot.com Pelonis Digital Electric Oil Filled Radiant Space Heater

Pelonis Digital Electric Oil-Filled Radiant Space Heater

Best radiant space heater

The term "oil-filled heater" might be a little misleading, since this efficient radiant space heater from Pelonis doesn't actually burn oil for fuel. Rather, it heats oil that remains inside the heater and never dissipates or needs to be refilled. Because it warms a space with radiant heat, there's no potentially noisy fan to contend with. A Home Depot customer favorite, reviewers rave about its "even and constant" temperature, as well as its durability. While we're on the subject, let's end the debate once and for all: This is the best temperature for a house in winter.

Pros:

  • Loads of safety features, including for if the device overheats or tips over
  • Quality casters make the heater easily portable
  • Users say it heats up a room very quickly

Cons:

  • Some users say the thermostat isn't very accurate
  • Only suitable for small to medium-sized rooms

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Lasko Bathroom Space Heater © Via Walmart.com Lasko Bathroom Space Heater

Lasko Bathroom Space Heater

Best bathroom space heater

No one wants to step out of a hot shower and into a chilly bathroom. But many portable space heaters aren't designed to run safely in a wet, humid bathroom. Enter the Lasko 1500W Bathroom Space Heater, specifically designed for use in bathrooms. It heats for up to one hour before automatically shutting off—time enough to enjoy a nice long bath! Lasko has been making heaters, fans, and air purifiers in the USA for more than 100 years, so our list wouldn't be complete without them!

Pros:

  • ACLI safety plug and automatic overheat protection
  • Can heat up to 225 square feet—or one immense bathroom!
  • Value priced

Cons:

  • Some users say it vibrates when placed on a bathroom counter
  • The fan can get a little noisy

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Honeywell Slim Ceramic Tower Heater © Via Amazon.com Honeywell Slim Ceramic Tower Heater

Honeywell Slim Ceramic Tower Heater

Best tower-style space heater

A tower heater is a smart solution when you don't want a space heater that takes up a lot of, well, space. Tower heaters, like this highly-rated model from Honeywell, project heat higher than boxy models, meaning they can help raise room temperature faster. Many reviewers said that this heater works so efficiently, they could actually use a lower temperature than they'd previously thought. If you're also looking for a humidifier to combat winter's dry air, we have plenty of suggestions in that category, too.

Pros:

  • Loads of safety features
  • Oscillating feature helps distribute warm air
  • Slim design means it's not in the way

Cons:

  • Can be noisy, especially at auto restart
  • Some reviewers say the thermostat may misread room temperature, causing the heater to overheat the room

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Source: Randy Light, senior merchant for heaters at The Home Depot

The post The 11 Best Space Heaters to Keep You Warm and Toasty appeared first on Reader's Digest.

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