11 best space heaters you can get for under $100
With chillier temperatures on the horizon (hello, winter coats and snow boots), a space heater would be a welcome addition to any home.
To learn more about space heaters — and get recommendations for the best models for every home —we turned to Lou Manfredini, host of “HouseSmarts,” and Randy Light and Chad Hyland, portable heating merchants at Home Depot.
What is a space heater?
"A space heater is an appliance used for heating an enclosed place. There are many styles and types of portable space heaters to choose from including floor heaters, personal space heaters, baseboard heaters and wall heaters," Hyland told TODAY.
What does a space heater do?
At a base level, all space heaters heat the space they are placed in. However, each type will help heat the space in a different way, Hyland said. He broke down the four different types and how they work.
- Ceramic space heaters: "A type of convection heater, ceramic space heaters warm the air as it blows over a hot ceramic plate or coils inside the unit. The body of the heater stays cool to the touch, which makes it popular for homes with kids and pets," said Hyland.
- Forced-air heaters: "Also called fan-forced heaters, these convection heaters warm the air and circulate it around the room by fan. The fan allows the heat to be distributed quickly. Forced-air heaters are popular in offices or small workspaces," said Hyland.
- Radiant heaters: "Radiant heaters are directional and heat the objects near it or in its path. These are ideal for a living room, bedroom or den and tend to retain heat for longer, even when the power is turned off," said Hyland.
- Infrared heaters: "A type of radiant heater, infrared space heaters are generally more effective in warming a person or a small area, rather than a larger space. You might see these in a bedroom or even under your desk, if you’re always cold in the office," said Hyland.
What are the benefits of a space heater?
Hyland shared that "a space heater can save you money and energy, because it heats only the room or the space that is being used."
How do you choose a safe space heater?
Now that you know all about what space heaters are and what they do, how do you pick a safe yet powerful space heater? Manfredini, Light and Hyland outlined a few of the most important things to look for when picking a space heater.
- Think about what type of room you're trying to heat. Light and Hyland explained that space heaters come in a variety of sizes for different spaces — including large room heaters, desk heaters and outdoor heaters. Narrow your options down for the space you're looking to heat to find a product specifically for your needs.
- Consider the amount of energy it uses. Look for a heater that uses 750 to 1,000 watts. “All heaters claim to be the most efficient, but most all use the same amount of energy,” Manfredini cautioned.
- Settle on a style for your heater. Do you want the heater to fit in nicely with the room's decor, or are you buying it purely as a functional appliance? Light said style has become more important as a decision-making factor in the past few years and many heater brands have updated their looks.
- Choose which extra features you must have. Certain units come with remote controls, thermostats and the ability to oscillate, Hyland said.
- Keep fire safety in mind. If used incorrectly, heaters can pose a fire-safety risk. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission advises to always keep heaters at least three feet away from flammable objects such as curtains or bedding. You should also refrain from plugging portable heaters into an extension cord or power strip to reduce fire risks. Also, make sure units have either a safety rating from UL or ETL, Manfredini said.
Here are a few of the best indoor and outdoor space heaters, according to the experts.
Best small space heater
Lasko Ceramic Heater with Adjustable Thermostat
With self-regulating thermostat controls, three settings (high heat, low heat and fan) and safety features such as automatic overheat protection, Light and Hyland suggested this nine-inch-tall heater for small rooms or a desk area.
Best baseboard heater
Lasko Low Profile Silent Room Heater
“Electric baseboard heaters are great supplemental units that can be placed under windows where the heat loss is the highest,” Manfredini said.
Best propane heater
Mr. Heater Buddy Portable Propane Heater
Although mostpropane heaters are made to be used outside, this is one of the only gas heaters that is safe to use indoors, Hyland and Light said.
It doesn't require electricity because it runs on a one-pound propane tank, so it's ideal for someone who has an indoor area to heat that doesn't have electricity. It can also serve as personal heating during outdoor fall and winter activities.
Best designed space heater
Lasko Bladeless Electric Tower Space Heater with Remote
“I actually have (this heater) in my master bedroom. I think it’s the best-looking heater that we carry,” Hyland said. Not only is this heater stylish, it also oscillates to evenly distribute heat throughout the room.
Best electric fireplace heater
Crane Fireplace Heater
“Crane Fireplace Heater offers electric space heat but with the realistic look of a small fireplace. [It's] the best of both worlds and can take the chill out of a living room, bedroom or family room,” Manfredini said.
Editor's note: This model is currently out of stock, though a similar version from Hampton Bay is currently available for $59.
Best oil-filled space heater
PELONIS Electric 1500W Oil Filled Radiator Heater
“Oil-filled space heaters offer residual heat and can actually cost less to run. They use the same wattage as most other heaters, but once the oil heats up and the temperature is reached, the unit shuts down but the heater oil in the unit continues to give off heat,” Manfredini said.
Best value heater
Hunter Home Comfort 18-Inch Ceramic Tower Heater
This tower heater may not look as pretty as some others, but it easily heats medium-to-large rooms for a fraction of the cost, Light and Hyland said.
Best heater for larger rooms
Lasko Cyclonic Digital Ceramic Heater
This heater uses cyclonic heat to warm up large rooms quickly. The heater first pulls cooler air in through the bottom of the device and distributes heat further into the room from the top. Its functionality is also improved thanks to its touch-sensing controls and an easy-to-clean filter.
Bestselling affordable space heaters
1. Honeywell UberHeat Ceramic Heater
With a modern, mid-century design, this ceramic floor heater from Honeywell delivers style, functionality and energy efficiency. While it produces plenty of heat, its exterior remains cool to the touch.
2. GiveBest Portable Electric Space Heater
Amazon reviewers love this bestselling portable heater for its lightweight design and high-speed fan capable of heating a 200-square-foot room in minutes. It's also built with tip-over protection that shuts off the appliance if it's accidentally knocked over.
3. NewAir Whole Room Heater
While this model looks more like a speaker than a space heater, it produces quiet warmth and comfort, registering at just under 45 decibels. It also includes an easy-to-read LCD display, a remote control that allows you to set your home's temperature to your ideal warmth and built-in safety features like overheating protection.
This article was originally published on Oct. 16, 2018.
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To offset the chill in a drafty room or to give your home’s heating system a little boost, you may need a space heater. We’ve researched more than 100 models and tested 67 since 2011, and the Vornado VH200 is the best space heater for most people. A lot of space heaters can make you feel like you’re sitting in front of a hair dryer, but our pick (and other Vornado heaters we tried) warmed an entire room faster and more comfortably than everything else we’ve tested.
In our tests, the Vornado VH200 surpassed almost every other space heater in speed and total power, delivering an immediate temperature increase that built steadily and evenly across the room over the course of an hour. The VH200 is also quieter than most other ceramic heaters we’ve tried, emitting only a soft, fanlike whir, and it’s compact enough to tuck away in a corner. It’s also one of the safest heaters we tested, featuring overheating and tip-over protection, and a plastic exterior that stays relatively cool to the touch—so you can warm yourself without having to worry. The VH200 does get mixed reviews from some owners who find it slow to heat a particularly cold space or have problems with the airflow from the fan (the heat only blasts in one direction, and while the fan should help to circulate the air around the room, the heat blast can be a little overwhelming). Fortunately, Vornado tends to respond to these critical reviews more reliably than other manufacturers do.
The Vornado AVH10 is a lot like the VH200, with a few added features, such as a digital display, a convenient cord-wrapping post for easy storage, and a countdown clock when you turn it off, for added safety. In our tests, the AVH10 was the absolute hottest room heater model we tested, warming the room more quickly and to a higher temperature than the VH200. However, the AVH10 didn’t distribute its hot air as evenly throughout the space as the VH200, and it also tends to cost between $30 and $50 more. Still, it’s a great alternative to our top pick if you find it for a good price, or if you prefer its extra features.
We’ve recommended the Lasko 754200 Ceramic Heater since 2013, and it’s still one of the cheapest and most reliable space heaters you can find. It warms up faster than most fan heaters we tested, and it has a compact, lightweight body that’s about the size of a loaf of bread. The heat is a focused stream of hot air, which warms the area directly in front of the space heater. But it isn’t as comfortable as the broad, room-filling heat we preferred from the Vornado models. The Lasko struggles in larger spaces as a result, but it’s perfect for warming a home office or for quickly heating up a small bedroom. The 754200 has had consistently positive owner reviews for years, and many Wirecutter staff members have owned one for multiple winters with few complaints. It lacks an automatic tip-over kill switch, a safety feature included in our top pick, and it’s not the best-looking option, but it does feature overheat protection.
Most space heaters can deliver quick heat to a single person, but oil-filled radiators are better for heating a whole room for a longer duration, and the De’Longhi TRD40615T is the best of its kind. Like most oil-filled radiators, the TRD40615T warms up much more slowly than a ceramic heater, but it also retains its heat for longer, making it more energy-efficient. With a burly, all-metal construction that’s more durable than the builds of our other, plastic-clad picks, this De’Longhi model is sturdier and more attractive than any other oil-filled radiator we tested, and it’s also cooler to the touch.
The Vornado OSCTH1 stands out not only for its stylish appearance, but also because it’s the rare Vornado that oscillates instead of blasting the heat straight ahead and hoping the airflow fills the room eventually. While it won’t warm you up quite as quickly as our other Vornado picks, the steady arc of motion means a more comfortable and uniform heating throughout your space. It also just looks great, in a subtly sci-fi sort of way, with easy-to-use digital touch screen controls and all the same safety features we usually look for, like a tip-over switch and overheat protection.
The 3½-foot-tall Lasko FH500 All Season Comfort Control Tower Fan & Heater in One is easily the tallest space heater we tested—but it doesn’t actually take up that much floor space for a room heater. In our tests, it warmed the room swiftly and consistently to the temperature we dialed in on its digital display, and then it steadily held that temperature until the end of the hour. The FH500 is full of thoughtful details, including an easy-to-navigate control panel and a matching remote control. It also has a medium heating option (in addition to the standard high and low settings found on most other space heaters), as well as a timer and an “auto eco” setting for better energy efficiency. While we’ve had concerns about the longevity of tower fans in the past, the Lasko has held up well after a year of continuous use (though we’ll continue to keep an eye out). Speaking of fans—the Lasko also has a built-in cooling feature, which is a nice bonus.
The Vornado VHEAT Vintage Heater heats well enough and looks good doing it. With a solid metal construction and wonderfully retro knobs, it’s simply the best-looking electric space heater we’ve found that doesn’t sacrifice (too much) functionality. Though the VHEAT delivers a steady stream of air that quickly heats whatever’s right in front of it, it wasn’t as good at spreading that heat around the room, resulting in a 10-degree difference in the temperature measurements we took from different parts of the room during our tests. The fact that it was able to heat part of the room enough to create a 10-degree difference was still pretty remarkable, however. Some space heaters we tested couldn’t even warm a room by 5 degrees. Overall, we think the VHEAT is a great choice for anyone interested in aesthetics as well as comfort.
The Lasko CD08200 Bathroom Heater is the most effective and—more importantly—safe way to bring some infrared warmth to your bathroom. Generally speaking, you should try to keep electricity (especially something as powerful as a space heater) far, far away from any situation where it might get wet. Though you might be tempted to bring our other picks into the bathroom with you, the Lasko is only one equipped with the proper safety features to mitigate the risk of electrocution (though you should still try to keep it far away from the water). It’s also quick to warm the room and incredibly easy to use, with one large button (on the top) that automatically defaults to a one-hour heating timer. That should give you enough time to shower and build up the courage to leave the comfort of the warm rushing water. But even if it doesn’t, the Lasko has the normal high and low heating settings as well.
Whichever space heater you choose, there are some common safety concerns that many people overlook: You can’t use any space heater with an extension cord, and you shouldn’t leave a heater unattended. And most heaters can’t be used in a bathroom, unless they’re specifically designed for it. We go over these and other considerations in detail in our section on space-heater care, maintenance, and safety.
Everything we recommend
Why you should trust us
We’ve been covering space heaters since 2011, and in that time we’ve considered more than 150 different models and tested more than 60 of them. We’ve interviewed experts on heating, including Joel Hawk, principal engineer manager at the global safety certification company UL; Linda Hotz, category director, and John Mayer, associate category manager, for the Home Comfort team at De’Longhi; a team of representatives from Vornado; and Gary McCall, former fire adviser to the Office of the Fire Commissioner for British Columbia’s Vancouver Island Region.
In the earliest versions of this guide, we relied on the testing expertise of physicist Jim Shapiro, who tested heaters at his home in the high desert of Colorado and also served as an expert source during our research. Since 2017, we’ve focused more on real-world testing, running the heaters under controlled conditions in cramped apartments in Boston and New York.
The current version of this guide was written by Thom Dunn, who has written Wirecutter guides on portable and window air conditioners, as well as on emergency weather radios, Bluetooth car kits, hose-end sprinklers, and more. He also learned the hard way that plugging a space heater and a half-stack Marshall guitar amp into the same power strip can cause some pyrotechnics (and not the cool, rock ’n’ roll kind). His work on space heaters builds on previous research and writing by Sabrina Imbler, who wrote the 2018 update; Tyler Wells Lynch, who wrote the 2017 update; and Séamus Bellamy, who wrote this guide from 2011 through 2016.
Who needs a space heater
Although space heaters generally shouldn’t be used to heat an entire building, they are a great way to supplement the warmth in specific rooms. Perhaps there’s an area of your home that has noticeably poorer heat distribution. Or maybe you want to save money by spot-heating a room (or yourself!) instead of wasting energy by filling the entire space with hot air or pumping heat into a room with no one in it. Maybe your office is too cold and you want a small, personal heater to keep at your desk. Generating heat can require significant wattage, though, and there are a few situations space heaters are not suited for—we cover those in our section on space-heater care, maintenance, and safety.
If you do think you may need a new heater, don’t wait for the cold weather to hit. Retailers usually stock space heaters seasonally, so prices and availability can fluctuate over the colder months.
How we picked the best space heaters
We’ve updated this guide every year since 2011, building on our knowledge of and experience with the features that set a great space heater apart from the rest. We start by researching all of the new space heaters released in a given year, along with popular competitors, whether or not we’ve previously tested them. Our research has led us to focus on two prominent types: compact electric heaters with fans and oil-filled radiators.
Most portable heaters we’ve tested in the past do a fine job of emitting heat, but after living with and using these heaters over time, we’ve discovered some very specific differences. Some heaters that heat well are infuriatingly difficult to clean, have nonsensical interfaces, or sound like wasps. Others are easy to clean, intuitive to use, and silent, in addition to being effective heaters. So we took careful notes on what it was like to rely on and work alongside these heaters. We also factored in customer reviews, especially those from people who’ve owned a particular space heater for an extended period of time. We pored over space heater reviews on Amazon, Walmart, and Home Depot, hunting for any patterns of defects or longevity issues.
With all this in mind, we prioritized the following features and performance criteria:
- Adequate safety features: Space heaters can be dangerous—according to the National Fire Protection Association, space heaters accounted for 44% of home-heating fires from 2012 to 2016, and home-heating equipment (which also includes things like water heaters and fireplaces) accounted for 15% of all total house fires in that period. When space heaters are the cause of those heating equipment fires, the fires are likely to result in death (86% of the time) or injury (76% of the time). One caveat: The NFPA’s definition of “space heater” also includes wood stoves. All this led us to look for models that offered significant safety features, such as overheat protection (which automatically shuts the unit off if it begins to overheat) or tip-over kill switches (which automatically power down the heater if it tips over). To confirm the reliability of these claims, we focused our search on products from companies that had been recognized by an independent safety testing laboratory, such as Intertek (whose seal often appears as “ETL”) or UL (Underwriters Laboratories).
- A 1,500-watt output: Most space heaters meet this requirement, regardless of size or type. Since watts measure power, a higher wattage results in a higher heat output. Lower-wattage models—typically maxing out at 750 watts—have become increasingly popular in recent years as more people rely on them for personal portable heating in places like offices and shared housing, according to John Mayer, associate category manager for the Home Comfort team at De’Longhi. While we’ve looked into these lower-wattage models before, we never found one that actually looked efficient and affordable enough for us to test until 2020.
- Ability to heat up quickly: The sooner a space heater can warm a room, the better. Oil-filled radiators take more than an hour to reach maximum temperatures, whereas most ceramic room heaters start pumping out hot air almost immediately.
- Quiet operation: Some of these portable heaters make enough noise that we’ve found ourselves talking over the heater, which is unpleasant. And any noise a space heater does emit, no matter how quietly, will ideally be a steady hum—no clicking or erratic whirrs. We specifically searched for models rated under 60 decibels, or about the same volume as a normal conversation.
- A (relatively) cool exterior: Any space heater that is too hot to the touch is a safety risk, and that risk increases with the temperature. Most have plastic housings that won’t even reach 90 degrees Fahrenheit, but their front grilles can get hotter. We docked any model whose grille got consistently hotter than 160 degrees Fahrenheit, the point at which one second of contact burns skin.
- Intuitive controls: Most heaters have a thermostat and at least two heat settings, generally marked as high (1,500 watts) and low (750 watts). The thermostat manages the heat output, allowing you to find a middle ground between the heat settings. After years of testing analog controls, we have found they are more durable and intuitive on average, although digital controls are catching up.
- Compact size: An electric heater should be small enough to work well without taking up too much space, as well as to store easily in a closet in the off-season.
- Not ugly: While most people aren’t buying space heaters strictly as aesthetic decor for their homes, we still considered their appearance. Few of them are truly beautiful, but many are outright hideous. You’ll be living with them for months at a time in highly visible parts of your home, and we think you may as well have something nice to look at.
- A carrying handle: You need to be able to move an in-use or recently turned-off heater without burning your hands.
- A fan-only option: A heater with a fan-only option can conveniently double as a fan in warmer months.
How we tested space heaters
We follow a similar testing procedure for space heaters every year: placing each space heater in the same location in a 200-square-foot bedroom, with the doors and windows closed. Since 2019, we’ve tested 20 different models in a Boston apartment. In order to track the conditions in the room, we placed a Lascar data logger directly in front of the heater at a distance of 3 feet and placed another diagonally, at a distance of 6 feet, to see how well the heat moved around the room. We ran each heater for an hour; the Lascar logger measured the temperature and humidity every five minutes. We focused our data on the overall changes in our measurements, rather than specific temperatures—noting that a model raised the temperature by 15 degrees, for example, instead of noting that the room reached a temperature of 95 degrees Fahrenheit (it was difficult to perfectly control the conditions in our test room in the middle of August).
After running each space heater for an hour on its hottest setting, we used an infrared thermometer gun to measure (on ceramic heaters) both the plastic casing and the grille covering the main heating element, to see how hot they got. With radiators, we took readings of the radiator fins and the plastic control panels. We also measured the noises that the heaters emitted, taking readings with a decibel meter from distances of 3 feet and 6 feet. We noted both dBA and dBC weightings—the former cuts off the lower and higher frequencies that most people can’t hear, and the latter picks up higher frequencies. In addition to this objective data, we took extensive subjective notes on how warm each electric heater made us feel. Even the most perfect, lablike conditions can’t reveal what it’s like to operate the knobs on a heater, how its heat feels, or what it would be like to live with a particular heater over the winter.
Our pick for the best space heater: Vornado VH200
Out of all the space heaters we’ve tested, the Vornado VH200 offers the best overall combination of heating speed and distribution, safety features, easy operation, and affordability. Plus, it’s just generally pleasant to live with. The VH200 was also quieter than every other fan-based heater we tested, emitting a soft whir that was barely noticeable—even on high—and generating a comfortably focused blast of heat that evenly dissipated into a room-filling, ambient warmth. It’s simply the best space heater we tested. We found the VH200’s analog dials easy to handle and intuitive to master, and we appreciate that it has a medium heat setting, whereas most heaters have only low and high settings. And although the VH200 is not particularly attractive, it’s definitely not ugly—a big win in a crowded field of unappealing design. Even its negative owner reviews are less of a red flag than those of some competitors, with reports of responsive customer service from the manufacturer that you rarely see among reviews of other brands.
The Vornado VH200, as well as other Vornado models we tested, proved significantly more effective than most other space heaters in our evaluation. After running on high for 15 minutes, the VH200 raised the temperature by 6 degrees Fahrenheit at 3 feet away, and by 3 degrees at a 6-foot diagonal; after an hour, the VH200 had increased the temperature by 17 degrees at 3 feet away, and by 11 degrees at a 6-foot diagonal. This resulted in a 6-degree difference across the room. Other Vornado models we tested (including our runner-up pick, the Vornado AVH10, and the also-great Vornado VHEAT) produced more heat more quickly, but none of them distributed the hot air as evenly as the VH200, with differences of 8 to 10 degrees throughout the room. Other models, including the Lasko 754200 and the Vornado OSCTH1, warmed the room more evenly than the VH200, but they didn’t get nearly as hot in the same amount of time.
In spite of the hotter temperature readings, the heat billowing from the VH200 also felt significantly more comfortable to sit beside than that of the other heaters we tested. That’s because its fan design—what Vornado calls a “circulator”—distributed a gentle, even heat to every corner of the room, similar to what we observed in our testing of Vornado room fans. The result: an all-encompassing and diffuse heat that felt natural, not forced. By contrast, the ceramic-plate models we tested (such as our budget pick from Lasko) delivered a narrow beam of heated air that made sweat trickle down our necks when we sat directly in the line of fire.
The Vornado VH200 has every safety feature we look for in a space heater, including overheat protection, a tip-over switch, and UL certification. Though the tip-over switch on the VH200 might seem overly aggressive to some people, it’s ultimately for the best—that mild inconvenience will help remind you that there’s only one safe place for your space heater, and that’s with all 4 corners touching the floor. Other electric heater models, like the De’Longhi TCH7915ER, had tip-over switches that activated only when they were perfectly horizontal, which means they could possibly fall or lean over and continue running. Some less expensive heaters, including our budget pick, the Lasko 754200 don’t have a tip-over switch at all. Every model we tested had overheat protection built in, but some of them, like the Vornado Glide and the Vornado MVH, were too aggressive, shutting down for hours on end when they reached temperatures in the mid-80s. The VH200’s plastic casing also remained relatively cool, measuring around 95 degrees Fahrenheit, with the grille over the heating element topping out at around 140 degrees, making it one of the coolest models we tested. Although space-heater safety largely depends on using the heater correctly, all of these features are still reassuring.
Despite its abundant heating ability, the VH200 operated with a quiet murmur that we didn’t find distracting or unpleasant. We recorded a decibel level of 45 dBA at a distance of 3 feet and 44 dBA at 6 feet at the heater’s highest setting, levels that are quieter than a fan on its lowest setting. And if you use the VH200 at any fan setting below 4, the fan switches off and the machine emits a near-silent heat. But even on high, the Vornado VH200 is significantly quieter than the Lasko 754200, which recorded decibel measurements of 52 dBA at a distance of 3 feet and 51 dBA at 6 feet. This Vornado model is not as quiet as a radiator, but no other kind of space heater is, and it’s still quieter than a household refrigerator.
The VH200 has a slim, lightweight design that’s easy to tuck under a desk or in a corner. It’s also pleasantly pear-shaped (bottom-heavy heaters are harder to tip over). It’s certainly bigger than most of the personal heaters we tested, but it’s dwarfed by any radiator. Weighing about 3½ pounds, it’s about the size of a coffee maker.
We found the controls on the VH200 simple, straightforward, and durable. The space heater offers three power settings—one more than the usual low and high—and a thermostat dial with seven settings. It has a red LED indicator that remains on when the heater is on and turns off when the heater is powered down but still plugged in, such as when the heater is automatically maintaining the desired temperature of a room. This can be a little confusing, leading you to wonder whether your heater has stopped working. But we still preferred it to the Lasko 754200’s crimson indicator light, which blared bright even when the plugged-in heater was turned off. The VH200 also has an internal thermostat that can automatically turn on and off to maintain temperature. To activate it, simply turn the knob past your ideal temperature setting and then turn it back until you hear a click, and the VH200 will self-regulate to maintain the room temperature where you want it, within about one degree. This feature worked successfully in our testing, keeping the temperature steady within about one degree from 3 feet away for more than 6 hours. You might find the results disappointing, however, if you’re hoping to keep the room at a specific temperature; you can set the knob to “4” because it’s comfortable, for example, but you can’t make that translate directly to 72 degrees. But overall, it’s still a nice feature to have.
The VH200 comes with an impressive five-year warranty, two more years of coverage than the Lasko. In our research into owner reviews of the VH200, we noticed that Vornado representatives responded to most of the negative Amazon reviews of the VH200 and offered to replace broken or malfunctioning fans; reviews were also updated to reflect positive experiences with Vornado customer service.
Flaws but not dealbreakers
The VH200 is more than twice as expensive as other portable ceramic heating options, such as the Lasko—but it tends to cost less than other comparable Vornado models. We believe the VH200 is worth the price due to its pleasant, even heating and the fact that it can raise the temperature of a room so much more effectively than the other models we tested. It also lacks a fan-only mode (which is really only a bummer because room fans are Vornado’s primary area of expertise).
One minor complaint: The grip on the back of the VH200 is a bit shallow and has neither a lip nor a grippy texture, and the heater itself tends to tip forward in a front-heavy imbalance when you pick it up. This means it’s pretty easy to lift the heater up and immediately drop it—maybe on your foot. You can work around that by hooking your thumb around the front side of the heater or supporting it from below with a second hand.
And (though this doesn’t affect our pick) we think it’s important to note that Vornado recalled a similar model in 2018, in response to more than a dozen reports of that model overheating and catching fire. The VH101, the model affected by the recall, is about 7.2 inches deep, 7.8 inches wide, and 7.10 inches high. Our pick is a bit bigger, at about 10.4 inches deep, 9.2 inches wide, and 10.6 inches high. If you have a small Vornado heater, check the model number, and if you have the VH101, Vornado will give you a full refund or replace the product—possibly with that model’s replacement, the VH202. According to a Vornado spokesperson, the larger Vornado we recommend has improved safety features that the recalled VH101 lacked: a flame-retardant resin; UL 3122 wire jacketing, a high-temperature, high-voltage silicone/fiberglass jacketing; and a change in the soldering of the heater’s electronics.
Runner-up space heater: Vornado AVH10
The Vornado AVH10 has a digital display, which will delight some people and frustrate others, because you have to manually tap a button numerous times to reach your desired temperature, up to 90 degrees Fahrenheit. (On the VH200, all you have to do is turn a knob, which is convenient, even if there’s no way to know the exact temperature.) Luckily, the buttons on the AVH10 are large and easy to locate, even in the dark. It also comes with a convenient cord-wrapping post for tidier storage. When you turn off the AVH10, there’s a countdown on the digital screen, reminding you to wait 10 seconds for it to cool down before you unplug or move it.
In our portable heater tests, the AVH10 actually provided more heat more quickly than the VH200, but the heat wasn’t distributed very evenly. After just 15 minutes, the AVH10 increased the room temperature by a whopping 18 degrees from 3 feet away, with a total improvement of 24 degrees after an hour. However, the difference between our measurements was noticeable—the temperature from 6 feet away on a diagonal increased by only 3 degrees after 15 minutes, and by 7 degrees total after an hour, resulting in a temperature range of 16 degrees across just a few feet of the room.
The other big difference between the VH200 and the AVH10 is the price: The digital display and the cord-wrapping feature add a premium of about $30. Still, if you’re willing to pay that much for a similar (albeit less even) heating performance, the AVH10 is a fine alternative.
Budget space heater pick: Lasko 754200 Ceramic Heater
The Lasko 754200 Ceramic Heater is a small, budget option if you’re looking to warm just your body—not the room as a whole—while you’re sitting on the couch, say, or in the office. It was our top pick for years, and although we’ve now found other space heater models that are more powerful, or quieter, or just more comfortable, the Lasko remains a steadfast competitor and a solid choice. However, this Lasko model lacks a tip-over switch, a reassuring and basic safety feature that automatically powers down the machine if it falls over. Also, unlike the Vornado VH200’s soothing, ambient heat, the 754200’s heat feels more like that of a supersize hair dryer—and if you sit close enough, it sounds like one, too. But the 754200 is smaller than the VH200 and therefore easier to store or tuck away. It’s not much to look at, unless you’re really into fencing masks, but it is powerful and affordable, and that’s really all you need.
As is the case with all ceramic heaters, the 754200 creates a concentrated jet of warm air that you can feel almost immediately, especially if you’re sitting right in front of it. After running on high for an hour, the Lasko raised the temperature of our room from 6 feet away by 10 degrees Fahrenheit, a performance close to that of the Vornado VH200. Though the Lasko raised the temperature by only about 7 degrees when measured from 3 feet away, the overall temperature in the room remained fairly consistent across both measurements, fluctuating within about 2 to 3 degrees. This actually came as a surprise when we looked at the data, as our initial gut-check left us feeling like the heat had not been evenly distributed. Your best bet is to place the Lasko space heater right in front of you and to enjoy the direct blast of hot air, then be pleasantly surprised when you find that heat fills the rest of the air around you.
The Lasko is also appealingly simple to use. In addition to its molded-plastic carrying handle, it has intuitive controls consisting of two physical dials that are easy to grasp and manipulate. One dial controls the power output, the two heat settings (high and low), and the fan-only option, while the other controls the thermostat. Weighing a little over 3 pounds and measuring about the size of a loaf of bread, it can stash pretty much anywhere, too.
The Lasko 754200’s biggest failing is its lack of a tip-over kill switch, which is a pretty standard safety feature for portable space heaters. (The model is ETL certified.) Tipped-over heaters tend to overheat, and this Lasko model’s upright stance is not the most stable. In contrast, we found the squat, pyramidal Vornado heaters much harder to knock over. Although we recommend that you don’t leave any space heaters unattended in a room at any time, especially with pets or small children, we stress that even more when living with the Lasko. It does come with overheat protection, which cuts power to certain areas of the heating element if they get too hot.
Despite these safety concerns, the Lasko space heater is relatively cool to the touch—or at least not as hot—topping out at around 100 degrees Fahrenheit on the plastic casing after running for an hour. The grille directly in front of the ceramic plate reached about 160 degrees, which is still hot enough to burn your skin, but cooler than some of the other ceramic models we tested (and many that we didn’t test). Fortunately, the molded-plastic carrying handle is built in to the backside of the Lasko, far away from the grille, so you can transport it without the risk of getting burned.
The Lasko 754200 was one of the loudest electric heaters we tested—about 7 dBA louder than the Vornado VH200, but still quieter than the Vornado VHEAT or our previous pick, the Honeywell UberHeat HCE200W. The sound it emits is not unpleasant, per se, but it is gravelly enough that you might find it irritating after a while.
The Lasko 754200’s biggest selling point is that it’s frequently one of the cheapest space heaters you can find. Prices for space heaters can shift dramatically from season to season, but at Amazon, Walmart, or Home Depot, the 754200 rarely exceeds $30—about half the price of the VH200. The 754200 is consistently one of the most popular space heaters on Amazon, with largely positive user reviews. We found similar, if not better, levels of satisfaction at the Walmart, Home Depot, and Best Buy sites. But a quick dive into the negative owner reviews reveals a number of incidents where the heater overheated even when plugged directly into a wall outlet.
We’ve been recommending the Lasko as a pick since 2013—first as our top pick, and later as a runner-up—and we have extensive notes that can attest to its long-term durability. Several Wirecutter staff members have owned the Lasko 754200 for a few winters now and have next to no complaints about its long-term operation.
The best oil-filled radiator heater: De’Longhi TRD40615T
Although oil-filled radiators look classic, they are not as effective as ceramic and open-element heaters at distributing heat throughout a room. They’re bigger, more expensive, and slower to heat up, and most of them are bracingly hot to the touch. But they are better at holding heat than ceramic models, their heat can feel more comfortable than heat directed out by a fan, and some people prefer their all-metal construction to plastic, since they are small machines reaching high temperatures. If this kind of room heater sounds like something you might prefer, our favorite oil-filled heater is the De’Longhi TRD40615T. It’s sturdier and easier to clean than any other radiator we tested, with a shell-like exterior that remains relatively cool to the touch (for a radiator) and is easier to wipe down than those of most radiators (which typically feature bare fins that gather dust in hard-to-reach depths). We also love its simple, manual controls.
Like any oil-filled radiator, the De’Longhi TRD40615T does not produce instantaneous heat. It takes about half an hour to heat up at all, and even after running on high for an hour, the TRD40615T raised the temperature of our test room by only 2 degrees Fahrenheit from 3 feet away and 3 degrees from 6 feet away—significantly less than the Lasko and Vornado models. But unlike ceramic heaters, which cool off immediately after powering down, oil-filled radiators like the TRD40615T are designed to retain enough thermal mass that they keep emitting heat even after you turn them off. In our tests the TRD40615T did this well—starting at 80 degrees Fahrenheit, then building up to 89 degrees over two and a half hours, without dropping back down to 80 for almost four hours after that. Though these exact measurements shouldn’t be taken as gospel—we were testing in a cool basement room, but it was the middle of August, when it’s already hot and humid outside—they do demonstrate the value and function of an oil-filled radiator.
Another benefit of oil-filled radiators is that they make absolutely no noise, unlike ceramic, open-element, or micathermic heaters. If, like me, you ever find yourself needing a space heater in a music recording studio, this is the one to go with—although you shouldn’t plug it into the same outlet as your Marshall half-stack, unless you really want to see that outlet explode. (You don’t.)
Like any radiator, the De’Longhi TRD40615T is larger than our other picks. It occupies 16 by 6.6 by 25 inches of space, about the same size as a full-size suitcase. If you live in a cramped space, this heater may take up room you can’t spare.
All radiators are hot to the touch, and this De’Longhi model is no exception. However, its flat, articulated exoskeleton helps ensure that the exterior is much cooler to the touch than the exposed fins inside. It still gets to about 180 degrees Fahrenheit on the outside, but that’s much cooler than the 230 degrees we measured on the inside. That doesn’t mean the TRD40615T is safe to touch—any temperature above 160 degrees Fahrenheit will burn skin upon contact, so you still need to be careful. But at least it’s moderately safer than traditionally designed radiators like the Pelonis NY1507-14A and the De’Longhi EW7707CM, which reached exterior temperatures of 225 degrees Fahrenheit when we’ve tested them in previous years.
The TRD40615T has manual controls that are intuitive to use, as well as a 24-hour programmable timer, which comes in handy. The electric heater has three different heat options and a thermostat dial that ranges from 1 to 6. This model is also easy to move, since you can roll it around on four retractable wheels. We liked that we didn’t have to install or screw in the wheels on the De’Longhi, unlike on the Pelonis NY1507-14A. The wheels on the TRD40615T can also be moved underneath the unit to prevent it from rolling. Though this does make the TRD40615T a little top heavy, it was much more stable than other radiators we tested, including the KH390715CB, also from De’Longhi.
Some Amazon customers have complained about the radiator giving off an unpleasant smell upon initial use, and the company acknowledges this, too. We recommend running it outside to let it off-gas before taking it inside (keep it dry and away from dirt or grass while you do this). Most other oil-filled radiators initially emit this noxious stench because some of the oil remains on the surface of the heater after manufacturing. Once the oil has evaporated, the smell disappears. A few space heater reviews have complained that the timer makes an audible ticking noise, but we did not encounter this issue in our testing. If you encounter this issue, we recommend that you contact the manufacturer. The De’Longhi TRD40615T has a warranty of one year, so it should be covered if the ticking emerges early on.
Also great for more even heating: Vornado OSCTH11
If you want a heater with the power of a Vornado that also oscillates to spread the heat evenly around the room, get the Vornado OSCTH1. It’s comparable to the VH200 in a lot of ways, and we think it’s a good alternative overall for smooth, gradual whole-room heating. It also has a nice digital touch screen, with simple controls and an easy-to-read temperature display. In addition to the standard safety features that we look for, such as overheat protection and a tip-over switch, the OSCTH1 also has a Cool Down feature that counts down from 8 when you turn it off, to make sure you don’t touch it while it’s still hot (it was one of the cooler-to-touch models we tested in 2020, but you can never be too careful).
The OSCTH1 is a sleek tower fan about a foot and a half tall that looks kind of like a miniature (and much less ominous) version of the Monoliths from 2001: A Space Odyssey, with a clear plastic touchscreen display on the top. The digital thermometer only goes up to 90, like on the Lasko FH500 tower heater, but we don’t think you’ll need any more heat than that. In our tests, it was surprisingly good at maintaining this temperature, too. Within 20 minutes, the room had jumped from the 70s up to 85 degrees Fahrenheit (about 8 degrees measured from 6 feet away, or 5 degrees from 3 feet) and slowly crept up toward 90 from there over the rest of the hour.
During that time, we only measured an average of less than 1 degree difference in room temperature from our two temperature monitors at 3 feet in front of the heater and 6 feet diagonal from it—some of the most uniform heat distribution we’ve seen. And although it doesn’t have a cooling feature like the Lasko FH500, the OSCTH1 does have a fan-only mode, which is great for air circulation.
That circulation comes with a catch, however: Because the OSCTH1 moves the air around the room so well, it doesn’t raise the overall temperature quite as quickly as the VH200 does. We think this is a fair trade-off if you’re looking to warm a space instead of a single person, but it might not be ideal in every situation. Wirecutter editor Joshua Lyons, who has been long-term testing this model in a room with no other heat source, finds the effect frustrating at times. “With other space heaters, I get the immediate blast of hot air that I want in a freezing room,” he said. Despite that caveat, he still finds much to love: “Once the OSCTH1 is up and running, the temperature remains consistent. I’ve never had this happen with a space heater before. I usually find myself constantly fiddling with the temperature dial to adjust the heat up or down.”
The OSCTH1 is also about 4 decibels louder than the VH200, although it still rates below “conversation level.” We think the white noise it emits should be easy enough for most people to ignore (we found it rather pleasant ourselves). Because it is technically a tower heater, you will need to occasionally vacuum up or blow out the dust that gathers in the OSCTH1’s filter over time, as well. Such filters are a large part of why we don’t recommend tower fans for cooling; although we’ve found the experience less frustrating with heaters, it’s still not ideal. If you let the dust build up, it can interfere with the touchscreen mechanism—and you need to turn the heater off in order to clean it, or else risk messing with the touchscreen even more.
Fortunately, if the filters do get blocked, the OSCTH1 has a built-in automatic shut-off system, so the hot air and dust don’t combust into bigger problems. And if anything does go wrong, the OSCTH1 is backed by an impressive five-year warranty like all the other Vornado models we recommend. Overall, the OSCTH11 is a great choice if you want to share the warmth with other people in the same room, or just want a steady, balanced control of heat across a space. Also, it just looks great as it subtly oscillates back and forth in the corner of the room like an extraterrestrial portent.
Long-term test notes
We continue to be impressed with the OSCTH1’s circulation and its even (albeit gradual) heating. However, we have noticed that it occasionally makes a loud grinding sound while oscillating—something that a few other
The 8 Best Baseboard Heaters of 2021
With its quiet operation and even heating, the Cadet 48 in. Electric Baseboard Heater is a go-to choice (view at Home Depot). This model is backed by a lifetime warranty to ensure years of reliable use. If energy efficiency is a top priority, consider the Cadet SoftHeat Hydronic Electric Baseboard Heater (view at Home Depot). Even after shutting off, this unit will continue to radiate warmth while conserving energy.
Convection vs. Hydronic
When compared to a convection model, a hydronic baseboard heater will be slower to heat up a room. Convection baseboard heaters take less time to reach their target temperature, but they’re not as effective or energy-efficient on the whole. While the upfront cost of a hydronic heater is more than a convection heater, you will likely save more on energy bills in the long run.
Once the thermostat kicks off, convection baseboard heaters don’t stay warm for very long. The internal heating elements and the outer steel casing cool down very quickly. For that reason, a convection heater will likely use more energy to maintain a comfortable temperature. In a hydronic baseboard heater, the heating element will continue to radiate warmth even after shutting off, and therefore provides longer-lasting heat.
To find a baseboard heater that will adequately heat your space, wattage is an important factor to consider. Wattage is a unit for measuring electricity and it determines two things: how much energy a heater will consume, and how much heat it will put out. As a general rule of thumb, you can estimate 10 watts of electric heating per square foot. For example, a 10 x 10 room (100 square feet) will require 1,000 watts of heating power.
To choose the right wattage size for a baseboard heater, you can do the following calculations.
- Measure the length and width of the room (in feet).
- Multiply the length x the width of the room to get the square footage.
- Multiply the square footage x 10. The end result will give you the estimated wattage required to sufficiently heat a room.
Wattage goes hand in hand with the length of a heater, which is measured in inches. The longer the length of the heater, the higher the number of watts. Of course there are exceptions, but here are common lengths and wattages of baseboard heaters that you’ll find at big-box home improvement stores.
- 24-inch 240-volt heater: 350 watts
- 36-inch 240-volt heater: 750 watts
- 48-inch 240-volt heater: 1000 watts
- 60-inch 240-volt heater: 1250 watts
- 72-inch 240-volt heater: 1500 watts
- 96-inch 240-volt heater: 2000 or 2500 watts
There are two main types of convection heaters: convection and hydronic. Although they look pretty much the same from the outside, there are some fundamental differences between the two. The convection process draws cool air into the bottom of the heater. The hater warms up that air and then releases it into a room. Hydronic heaters, on the other hand, contain water or oil within the unit itself. The heating warms that liquid and in turn, heats the air.
Baseboard heaters should be cleaned at least once a year to keep them running smoothly. Before you begin cleaning, be sure to shut off the power and wait until the unit has cooled down. To remove dirt, dust, and other debris from the vents, you can use your vacuum's crevice tool or dusting brush attachments.
Since convection heaters don’t contain any moving parts that will wear out, they could potentially last for decades. Hydronic heaters may last just as long, but they require yearly maintenance to prevent corrosion, rust, or calcium deposits. Although you’ll probably pay a little more for the energy a convection heater consumes, it will likely last a bit longer and give you fewer worries than a hydronic heater.
This article was written by Sage McHugh, a freelance writer who covers home appliances for The Spruce. For this roundup, Sage considered dozens of baseboard heaters, evaluating each model’s features, functionality, and heating power. To find the top-rated products on the market, she consulted hundreds of reviews from users and third parties. All of the models featured are either 120-volt or 240-volt baseboard heating units.
11 best space heaters of 2021, according to experts
As temperatures begin to dip across America, space heaters could be a helpful home appliance, a fast and economical way to warm things up. These portable devices allow you to bring an effective boost of heat to any room in your house, or even outdoors. Plus, as the Delta variant continues to spread nationwide, people may want to spend more time indoors this cold season.
LEARN MOREHow to buy space heaters
If you’re looking to enjoy the outdoors before the cold really sets in, space heaters can make gathering outside more comfortable. “Outdoor space heaters are a great way to warm up areas of your yard or patio so that you can still get together with friends and family even as the days get cooler,” said Bailey Carson, head of cleaning and home improvement at Handy.
Best space heaters to shop
To help give you an idea of the best space heater options, here are some of the best ones across price points, according to the expert guidance below, which we held against some top-rated models at various major retailers.
Best combination space heater: Vornado
Vornado VH200 Portable Heater
The Vornado VH200 is a relatively affordable space heater that delivers near-instant desired temperatures capable of evenly distributing warmth within a room. “It also offers overheating safety features, tip-over protection and the exterior plastic cover stays cool,” said Glenn Wiseman, sales manager of Top Hat Home Comfort Services. Plus, it’s compact so it can easily be tucked away when you’re not using it.
Best infrared space heater for families: Dr. Infrared Heater
Dr. Infrared Heater Portable Space Heater
Noting its energy-saving option, dual heating system and built-in thermostat that ranges from 50 to 85 degrees, Wiseman recommended this portable model. “The space heater is powered through a corded electric with 120 Volts, which can evenly heat an entire room,” he added.
Best budget-friendly space heater: Lasko
Lasko Ceramic Portable Space Heater
Ideal for the bedroom or other small spaces, this space heater has three quiet options — high, low and fan mode. “There are 11 different temperature settings and a convenient carry handle,” Barrett added. “The safety features are also great.” Lasko's newer Electric Cyclonic Ceramic Console Heater includes a multi-function remote and two different quiet heat settings, as well as a sleep timer and other notable features.
Best high-end space heater: Dyson
Dyson Pure Hot + Cool HP01 Fan
The Dyson Pure Hot + Cold is a remote-controlled heater, fan and air purifier all in one. You can switch between full room, long-range heating and direct, personal heating modes, and the fan oscillates up to 70 degrees. Included is a HEPA filter, which can capture 99.97 percent of particles at 0.3 microns.
Best space heater for indoor/outdoor use: Mr. Heater
Mr. Heater MH9BX Buddy Indoor-Safe Portable Propane Radiant Heater
Convenient for both outdoor and indoor use, this radiant option has an auto shut-off when tipped and can heat spaces as large as 225 square feet. “It’s completely efficient and clean-burning, has an auto shut-off option — and is portable,” Barrett said
Best space heater for bedrooms: KopBeau
KopBeau 1500W Oil Filled Radiator Space Heater
Van Tuijl’s overall top pick for bedrooms goes to the KopBeau indoor propane space heater. This oil-fueled convection model has four heating modes, a remote and modern safety features. To help minimize your utility costs, it also has a smart eco mode that cycles between the highest and lowest setting to maintain your room temperature while lowering energy consumption.
Best space heater for big rooms: Lifesmart
Lifesmart 6 Element Heater
For large spaces, Van Tuijl recommends the Lifesmart infrared space heater with a maximum 1500-watts high setting. It includes a remote, a 12-hour timer, three different heat modes and even an 'eco setting' that maintains a constant 68-degree temperature using less power for when you want to bring it into a smaller room.
Best compact space heat: Andily
Andily Electric Space Heater
The Andily ceramic heater is a budget-friendly model that’s ideal for home or office use. “It is nice and compact, but can deliver a whopping 1500 watts on its highest setting,” Van Tuijl said.
Best panel space heater: De'Longhi
De'Longhi Mica Thermic Panel Heater
Don’t let the sleek design fool you — this lightweight space heater packs a powerful punch with 1500 watts of heat. “This space heater can easily mount on any wall, providing an adjustable thermostat with multiple heating control options that allows you to adjust to the suitable heat,” Wiseman said.
Other space heaters to consider
Lasko Electric Tower Heater
Rather than a traditional fan design used in many of the options above, this Lasko space heater features a bladeless design like that of Dyson models. It's equipped with a slew of safety features, including a safe touch surface and an automatic shut-off switch. With its quiet oscillating mode, the sleek tower can evenly distribute heat in rooms up to 300 square feet.
TaoTronics PTC 1500W Space Heater
If speed is the name of the game, TaoTronics has got you covered. This space heater can reach up to 70 degrees Fahrenheit in three seconds and features side to side oscillation for increased heat distribution. Additionally, it comes with three heating modes and includes overheating protection sensors, as well as an automatic off switch.
What is a space heater and do you need one?
Space heaters are portable devices designed to heat single rooms rather than entire houses, explained Arie Van Tuijl, a licensed home inspector and founder of Home Inspector Secrets. “The great thing about space heaters is that homeowners can use them on an ‘as-needed’ basis without turning up their HVAC thermostat,” he said. “In fact, homeowners may want to lower the thermostat if you only want to heat up a single room and save on energy costs.”
Space heater benefits
In addition to their main function of heating things up, space heaters could prove their value in a variety of other ways.
Space heaters work faster. A space heater takes less time to distribute heat and warmth within an area compared to an HVAC system, explained Wiseman. “Central heating often takes some time to reach a set temperature,” he said. “It's a convenient way that you can quickly raise the room temperature and add warmth to any space needed.”
Space heaters are consistent. Space heaters can also maintain the same temperature in a space for as long as you want, allowing you to easily and quickly turn it off and cut off the heat.
They come in many options to answer many needs. From indoor and outdoor space heaters to a range of available sizes and styles available, myriad space heater models can allow you to keep warm in different ways — and at different price points.
Space heaters might save you money. Instead of paying to heat up an entire house and keep it warm, space heaters act as a supplement to your main HVAC system to increase the temperature in the specific area you’re spending time in.
“The main advantages of a space heater are that it will cut down your utility expenses and provide you with the right room temperature when you need it,” said Natalie Barrett, service quality supervisor at Nifty Cleaning Services.
Types of space heaters
There are three main types of space heaters, each designed to heat up your space through a different method. Radiant heaters are usually used to warm up people, convection heaters warm the actual air in a room and a combination heater gives you a bit of both options, explained Carson.
Radiant. Rather than warming the air in an entire room, radiant heaters quickly turn electricity into radiant energy to heat objects or people in front of it. “They are best if you want to heat an area very quickly, and are usually used as ‘spot heaters,’ meaning they would only heat a specific area [they] pointed at,” said Wiseman.
One relevant advantage of these heaters for anyone working from home is that they are silent, designed with minimal moving parts . That also means they are less likely to break down. Having said that, they can also be a fire hazard as they get hot — and they might not be the best for your sleeping situation. “Unfortunately, they usually have an orange glow and may not work well in bedrooms,” added Van Tuijl.
Convection heaters. Convection units rely on hot air rising and cold air falling to silently disperse the heat without a fan. Although these space heaters take the longest to warm a room, they are ideal if your goal is even heat distribution. Common convection models include baseboard and oil-filled heaters. “However, convection heaters may not be suitable for homes with small children because they get hot to the touch,” Van Tuijl noted. “These units also usually come with remotes and can oscillate direction.”
Combination heaters. These heaters utilize a fan to disperse heat so they work on the faster side but aren’t silent. “The nice thing about these heaters is that they don't get hot enough to become a fire or burn risk and there is no annoying orange glow,” said Van Tuijl. “ However, a big negative of fan-based space heaters is that they can dry out the skin while making a background noise.”
How to shop for a space heater
The first step when shopping for a space heater is figuring out the size of the area you plan to warm. For smaller rooms (which are typically considered 120 square feet or less), Van Tuijl generally recommends buying a space heater that is in the 500-1000 watts range, and between 1000 and 1500 watts for larger rooms. Some other key features to look out for while shopping include:
- Energy efficiency. You’ll want to compare efficiency between models to help ensure you don’t increase your electricity bill too much.
- Noise level. Some units are louder than others. If you’re shopping for a bedroom or where you’ll be working during the day, that’s something to keep in mind. One resource for finding devices that are especially quiet is Quiet Mark, which tests and awards products based on their noise output.
- Safety features. Space heaters can be potential fire hazards so don’t overlook any built-in features designed to lessen that chance. “Make sure to buy one that has protective grills as well as auto-shut off capabilities [in case] the heater tips over or overheats,” said Carson.
- Warranty. Don’t forget to look into warranty options. “This way, you can protect your investment in case anything happens,” added Wiseman.
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Lauren Levy is a contributor with work published on The Knot, PopSugar, CafeMom, Mom.com, Bridal Guide and Care.com.
Justin Redman is a reporter for Select on NBC News
Home depot heaters floor
Winter doesn’t seem so long and dark when you’re comfortable at your desk, workbench, or on the couch. A portable heater can go a long way to ensuring that. However, heaters go about their work in different ways, and an appliance that’s suited to the living room may not serve you well in the garage.
We’ve done two things to help you find an appliance. First, we’ve tested heaters, and you’ll find reviews of those below after an explanation of how we evaluated them. But first, read our primer on how heaters work so you know what to look for and take into account when you’re navigating the buying process. The combination of this background and our reviews will not only help you find an appliance but select the right one.
Heat Storm HS-1500-TT
Flip it on and heat your work area, indoors or out.
Small but mighty, it’s powerful enough to heat a small room.
Best For Large Rooms
Height and powerful air movement give the AW300 good distribution.
Best For A Cabin
Mr. Heater F232000 MH9BX
How Space Heaters Heat
Heat is transmitted one of three ways, and almost all portable heaters make use of all of these or two out of the three. Knowing how they do it is more than an exercise in physics; it can help you select the right appliance to suit your needs.
Radiation: A ray in the infrared (electromagnetic) spectrum travels through space, creating heat energy when it passes through a solid, such as you, furnishings, objects and equipment, or a structure (such as your home).
Convection: Movement of heat energy through a fluid, either a gas such as air or a liquid such as oil or water.
Conduction: Movement of heat energy through a solid, by means of direct physical contact.
And most heaters make use of all of them, to one extent or another.
Electric-coil fan heaters: The simplest and least expensive space heaters blow air over an electrical heating element.
Ideal use: Good for quickly producing heat in a small area, such as a shed or office, so that occupants can move about in a small zone of warm air.
Ceramic heaters: Simple, inexpensive, and versatile, these use an electrical resistance element encased in a ceramic block or a ceramic element that is itself semi-electrically conductive and generates heat. The block stores heat and radiates it out as infrared energy. Most of these space heaters have a fan, but a few primitive ones do not.
Ideal use: A better and quieter alternative to an electric coil fan heater. These are great for shared offices or wherever quiet heat is needed
Oil-filled radiators: These wheeled appliances are filled with oil heated by a resistance element. They slowly and noiselessly raise the air temperature within the area.
Ideal use: Best for a central location, especially where noiseless (not necessarily quick) heating is the priority, such as a home office or library.
Gas and liquid-fuel heaters: These appliances burn propane or kerosene to warm an infrared emitter that projects the energy.
Ideal use: Construction sites, garages, or work areas are the best places to use these heaters, since you want to place one at a comfortable distance and keep the work area unobstructed.
How We Test
We began our test with a Fluke 345—a clamp-on amp meter and a power-quality test instrument—to check whether the appliances drew more than their rated amperage. And using the meter’s oscilloscope, we examined each space heater’s energy use on the high setting to see whether a heating element, switch, or fan motor is misbehaving. Next, we used a thermocouple on a Fluke 233 meter to measure temperature on the heater’s front to gauge whether it’s a burn hazard should you accidentally graze it. After that, we checked whether the appliance would shut off if it tipped over. Many are equipped with a switch on the bottom of their case that will cut the power if the space heater should fall. Finally, we shot a thermographic picture of each heater using a Flir C3 camera to search for unusually hot areas or any other anomaly that escaped our other tests. After all that, these heaters came out on top.
Heat Storm HS-1500-TT
Watts: 1,500 | Type: Carbon-filament infrared | Highest grill temperature: 323 degrees | Highest recorded amps: 12.2 | Weight: 11.6 lb
HS-1500-TT Infrared Heater
- Cord is stiff and unwieldy
This no-frills space heater has precisely one control: the on/off switch. Flip it, and the 16-inch carbon-fiber heating element glows cherry red in seconds. Its parabolic reflector bounces the infrared ray quite effectively. Don’t stand too close; optimal distance is several feet and we could feel the warmth out to 12 feet. This Heat Storm is rated for outdoor and indoor use, for a construction site, a patio, and in a workshop. Its tripod allows you to adjust the height from three feet to a bit higher than six feet. It could use a cord wrap. The heavy 13-foot cord is fairly stiff and flops around without some means to keep it under control.
Vornado MVH Vortex
Watts: 1,500 | Type: Electrical resistance | Highest grill temperature: 163 degrees | Highest recorded amps: 11.4 | Weight: 4 lb
MVH Vortex Heater
- Heats a surprisingly large area
The MVH is a simple space heater with a circular resistance coil and a three-blade fan that blows through a spiral grill. The result is surprisingly quiet and evenly-distributed heat output adjustable to three settings: low (750 watts), medium (1,125 watts), and high (1,500 watts). The grill temperature we recorded is high but not objectionable. The appliance’s case stays cool to the touch, and a hand hold is molded into the back so you can comfortably reposition it. Sitting at floor level, and moving as much air as it does, the MVH is bound to pull in dust. We think it needs an air filter, to avoid a fire hazard. Lacking that, vacuum the MVH regularly.
―BEST FOR LARGE ROOMS―
Lasko AW300 Tower
Watts: 1,500 | Type: Electrical ceramic | Highest grill temperature: 161 degrees | Highest recorded amps: 12.2 | Weight: 9.4 lb
AW300 Tower Heater
- Heats a large area quickly
- Battery hatch on the remote is difficult to open
Lasko calls the AW300 “bladeless,” as if it lacked a fan. It uses a multi-vane impeller instead. This fanless design (to call it that) does contribute to the appliance’s quiet operation, as it pulls in air through its base and into its tower. It’s equipped with a cleanable air filter, right outside the impeller, which you can access through a tool-free hatch. We also like the sleek touch pad on the front for controlling the wattage setting for the heating element, tower oscillation, and the eight-hour timer. The large amount of air flow and the appliance’s even heat distribution helps it bring a room up to a comfortable temperature faster than other space heaters. One gripe: The battery hatch cover on the remote is difficult to remove.
―BEST BUDGET OPTION―
Watts: 1,500 | Type: Ceramic with fan | Highest grill temp: 302 degrees | Highest recorded amps: 11.92 | Weight: 2.4 lb
FH105A Space Heater
When we saw that this had more than 4,000 Amazon customer reviews to its credit, we had to test it. And we were pleasantly surprised by its performance. Its two ceramic elements bring up the heat quickly. On the low setting, it’s a 750-watt space heater; on the high setting, it’s 1,500 watts. It can also be used as a single-speed fan (without heat). A thermostat control knob on its left is dialed until the appliance shuts off. The thermostat turns the heater back on automatically when it senses that the surrounding air has fallen below the set temperature. Other than the fact that it’s a bit louder than other heaters, there’s not much more to say about it. It throws the heat—cheap. However, the Flir found that its heat pattern is oddly skewed to the left.
―BEST FOR SILENT HEAT―
Watts: 1,500 | Type: Electrical, oil-filled radiator | Highest surface temperature: 162 degrees | Highest recorded amps: 11.9 | Weight: 21.8 lb
TRSLS0715EL Space Heater
- Takes a long time to heat up
The DeLonghi has a thermostatic control, three heat settings, and a timer. But there’s no denying that it has a simple old-school look and feel. Nearly the entire surface of this grill-less appliance gets piping hot—the thermographic view through the Flir showed a large, bright yellow, box-shaped hunk of heat. Like a stove, it will set up a convection current, with hot air rising up from it to the ceiling, sinking back down along the walls, toward the heater, and up again. Like all space heaters of this type, it’s most effective when in the center of a room. If that doesn’t describe what you have in mind, look elsewhere.
―BEST FOR DESK TOPS―
Honeywell HCE100B Heat Bud
Watts: 250 | Type: Ceramic with fan | Highest grill temp: 250 degrees | Highest recorded amps: 2.1 | Weight: 1.4 lb
HCE100B Heat Bud
Honeywell named this appliance the Heat Bud; the name suits it. The little low-wattage heater is meant to sit on your desk (a safe distance from papers and your computer, naturally) and gently blow warm air across one or both of its ceramic heating elements. On its low setting (170 watts), you barely know that it’s on. On high, it projects a substantial amount of warmth, relative to its small size and modest wattage. The Heat Bud is a cute little thing, but keep in mind that its grill gets hot.
―BEST FOR A CABIN―
Mr. Heater F232000 MH9BX
BTUs: 4,000 (low) or 9,000 (high) | Type: Propane-fueled | Highest grill temperature: 360 degrees | Highest recorded amps: N.A. | Weight (with propane cylinder): 9.4 lb
F232000 MH9BX Space Heater
- Small but extremely effective
- Light and compact
- Slight breeze can blow it out
Twist on a propane cylinder and turn the ignition knob to light: that’s all there is to warming up a frosty space using this little gas-fired dynamo. It’s noiseless and, according to our Flir camera, produces a well-heated circle with a four-foot diameter. Mr. Heater estimates that, when placed in an enclosed space, the MH9BX’s infrared output can heat up to 225 square feet. That’s a lot of firepower in an appliance about the size of a toolbox. If you need a longer run time than its estimated three hours on high, you can buy a kit that enables you to hook it up to a 20-pound propane cylinder. As for its safety, it’s equipped with both an oxygen-depletion sensor, for operating in enclosed areas, and a tip-over switch that shuts it off. Be warned: It doesn’t take much of a breeze to blow it out.
Wattage: 1,500 watts | Type: Ceramic with fan | Highest grill temp: 178 degrees | Highest recorded amps: 12.21 | Weight: 3.8 lb
5409 Top Handle Heater
Look at it this way, for less than the cost of a bag of groceries, you get a pleasant little space heater with two settings, 12 thermostat set points, oscillation, and ceramic heating elements. High heat is the typical 1,500 watts, which (unless you happen to be heating an igloo) is more than enough for what this appliance is intended for on a desk top or countertop or at floor level. Really, for those applications, we’d recommend the low setting. The owner’s manual doesn’t say what that is but our clamp-on Fluke meter gave us a reading of 7.6 amps/912 watts. All of those features, and you get one of the better handles we’ve seen in this class of products. The fan has an unintended white noise quality to it; it could be a bit quieter.
―BEST AT FLOOR LEVEL―
Honeywell HCE840B HeatGenius
Watts: 1,500 | Type: Electrical ceramic | Highest grill temperature: 252 degrees | Highest recorded amps: 12.5 | Weight: 4.8 lb
The aptly named HeatGenius employs two vertical heating elements, two fans, and a thermostat. You can set the fan speed and temperature to heat a room, or you can set it to heat just at floor level, mid-height, or in the head and chest area. It’s also equipped with a timer that adjusts the heat down over two hours, dropping its output every 30 minutes. After two hours, the heater turns off. One other feature that we really like is the appliance’s Quiet Mode. It shuts off the lower fan and runs the upper fan on low speed for almost noiseless heat. We wish Honeywell equipped this with a cord wrap for better storage. But that’s a design deficiency shared by most small space heaters.
―BEST FOR LIVING ROOMS―
Honeywell HCE 323V
Wattage: 1,500 | Type: Ceramic with fan | Highest grill temp: 217 degrees | Highest recorded amps: 12.67 | Weight: 4.4 lb
HCE 323V Space Heater
- Virtually noiseless, yet still moves a fair bit of heat
- Proximity sensor
This is a well-designed and well-made little space heater, a nearly flawless execution of what a small heater can be. First, it’s almost noiseless, yet it moves a fair amount of air and quickly heats up a large area around it. That’s also due to a very even heating pattern, based both on our perception of what the heater is putting out and confirmed with our Flir camera and the Fluke thermocouple. Its noiselessness, adjustability, output, and thermostatic control make it perfect for unobtrusive heating in a small home office or even a living room. And in terms of safety, its proximity sensor worked very well in shutting down the heater when something is positioned right in front of it.
―BEST FOR OUTDOORS―
DeWalt DXH 140KTHCF
BTUs: 140,000 | Type: Kerosene-fueled | Highest grill temperature: N.A. | Weight (without fuel): 47 lb
DXH 140KTHCF Space Heater
The DeWalt is a robust heater designed for drafty areas, like construction sites and buildings under renovation. If your garage qualifies as something close to that, so be it. We found that it requires a minimum of two gallons to fire reliably. Yet the fuel cap is in an inconvenient place below the combustion chamber barrel, mystifying on an otherwise well-engineered appliance. (We recommend you get a long-neck flexible spout to fill the tank.) But once it’s loaded, press the on switch, dial the thermostat to the desired temperature, and watch it fire right up. We were pleasantly surprised by several things: its copious heat output, how little current it draws, and how its outside surface doesn’t get hot. Even after a half hour of operation, the barrel surface was only warm, thanks to an insulating air chamber between the barrel’s cover and its inner surface.
Roy BerendsohnSenior Home EditorRoy Berendsohn has worked for more than 25 years at Popular Mechanics, where he has written on carpentry, masonry, painting, plumbing, electrical, woodworking, blacksmithing, welding, lawn care, chainsaw use, and outdoor power equipment.
Looked after, she began to wipe the chest, stomach and the entire groin area herself. Along the way, examining the fallen member. - He was apparently tired, I smiled, but said nothing. After the procedures, she kissed me on the lips and went to the side room to her room.
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To them was only two days later. The day before, I thought about what to occupy these days and decided to definitely go fishing, especially since I had not been for a long time, and. The weather was good. Going over the places in my head, I remembered one wonderful place in a small clearing surrounded by bushes and trees in a quiet bay with water lilies and a sandy.
Shore, although it was located on the territory of a nudist beach.