Space Heater Reviews

Space heaters are useful for warming individual rooms or small areas. While they aren't a good replacement for central heating, they can help raise the temperature a few degrees in a cold or drafty room, and can even lower your heating bill by a few dollars in some situations. Chosen wisely and used properly, space heaters are also safe. In this report we present the best performing space heaters as identified by expert reviews and user feedback, as well as what you need to be aware of to find the perfect space heater for your not-so-perfectly warm space.
 
Lasko 754200
Best Reviewed
Best ceramic space heater
Lasko 754200

The diminutive Lasko 754200 delivers big-time performance, warming up a small room or office in no time flat. Value is appreciated by owners and experts, and helps the Lasko 754200 edge out other, pricier and more feature-rich ceramic space heaters in reviews. The lack of a tip-over sensor is a concern, but this space heater has other crucial safety features including an overheat cut-off and a case that stays cool to the touch.
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Lasko 754200 Ceramic Heater with Adjustable Thermostat
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New: $35.99 $24.74   
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Average Customer Review:  
Lasko 6462
Best Reviewed
Oscillating ceramic space heater
Lasko 6462

The Lasko 6462 is packed with features, including oscillation, which some experts hold is most effective in uniformly distributing heat. Controls are simple and intuitive, and a remote control lets you operate this space heater from your easy chair. The 6462 has a tower design, making tip-over a concern in light of the lack of a tip-over sensor, but other safety features, including overheat cut off, are present and accounted for.
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Crane Mini Fireplace Heater
Runner Up
Decorative ceramic space heater
Crane Mini Fireplace Heater

No one will confuse the Crane Mini Fireplace Heater with a real fireplace, not even if they squint real hard, but that doesn't mean that it doesn't impart a nice aesthetic anyway. Users appreciate the warm glow that the mini ceramic fireplace gives off. Some like that you can use the fireplace effect without also bringing up the heat. Aesthetics aside, it's an impressive performer heating-wise according to tests and user reviews.

DeLonghi EW7507EB
Best Reviewed
Best oil-filled radiator space heater
DeLonghi EW7507EB

If you want heat that lasts, even hours after the space heater is turned off, the DeLonghi EW7507EB oil-filled radiator is your best bet. It's a great choice for a bedroom, where experts recommend against having an operating space heater while you sleep. The dual-event 24-hour timer will let you warm things up well before bedtime and again before  your alarm goes off in the morning. The design keeps the sides cool, and a remote control adds convenience.
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DeLonghi EW7507EB Oil Filled Radiator Heater Black 1500W
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Vornado AVH2
Runner Up
Forced-air space heater
Vornado AVH2

The Vornado AVH2 is forced-air space heater that can warm large or small rooms, and it does a good job at spot warming -- when you want to warm an individual person rather than a larger space. It lacks much in the way of extras, but it's judged to be easy to use. It's also relatively safe around kids and pets with a cool case and exhaust outlet during operation. It can double as a cool-air fan in warmer months.

Dyson AM09 Fan Heater
Runner Up
Designer space heater
Dyson AM09 Fan Heater

If style is more important than price, no space heater makes more of a statement than the Dyson AM09. Reviews reveal that it's also among the most effective space heaters for the cold months, and an outstanding fan for the cool ones. The bladeless design and cool case are pluses if young ones are around. But look elsewhere if value is a concern as you can find space heaters that are nearly as good for hundreds less.

Honeywell HZ-980
Best Reviewed
Best infrared space heater
Honeywell HZ-980

Most space heaters work by heating up the air, but infrared space heaters like the Honeywell HZ-980 work by heating up people and objects in the room. Many infrared heaters are cheap, lower power affairs, but the HZ-980 is quite different. With a rated power of 1,500 watts, and aided by a powerful fan, this Honeywell infrared heater is judged by reviewers to do a great job of heating up a person, and a very good job in heating up a standard room.
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Convection space heaters versus radiant space heaters

When the weather outside is frightful, a fire certainly would be delightful -- but not everyone is lucky enough to have a fireplace. Instead, a space heater can offer a supplemental heat source in your home or office. It's important to note that space heaters aren't recommended as your only heat source, but they can be a great way to increase a room's temperature a few degrees or provide warmth in a drafty space without overheating the entire home. Some owners say they also use portable heaters to lower utility bills, but this depends on many factors, like your fuel costs, insulation, how often your space heater is used and more.

Note that this report covers electric space heaters intended for use inside the home. You can also find space heaters fueled by kerosene, natural gas and other combustible fuels. However, those are generally not recommended for use inside the home unless some type of venting to the outside is provided, and many states have banned unvented kerosene heaters for indoor use. For more information, see the section on space heater safety.

Types of space heaters

There are two basic types of electric space heaters: radiant and convection. Convection heaters -- like convection ovens -- move hot air around to create warmth. A fan blows air across internal heating elements and out into the room. This makes convection units especially effective for warming entire rooms or many people.

Ceramic space heaters are the most popular type of convection space heater. Electricity flowing through wires heats a ceramic element, which in turn heats the air. Almost all ceramic heaters include a fan to distribute the warmed air most effectively.

Some forced air heaters use a non-ceramic heating element to warm the air, and then use a larger, more powerful fan to spread that warmed air over a large area. Their fans can also pull double-duty to help cool rooms in the warmer months.

Convection also comes into play when liquid moves across a heating element. That's why, while it might seem counter-intuitive, oil-filled radiator style space heaters are considered to be convection heaters, even though they lack a fan. Oil filled radiators are slow to warm up, but they keep giving off heat long after they are turned off, making them a good choice for sleeping areas. Some radiator-style heaters use mica panels instead of heated oil to produce heat. These warm up faster than oil-filled designs, are lighter, and are flat enough to mount on a wall. However, they also cool down quickly, losing one of the key advantages of oil-filled radiators.

Radiant heaters, on the other hand, warm people or objects, not the air around them. The heat from these heaters doesn't circulate well and can't be used to warm a whole room, but for fast heat for a short time, they're more efficient than convection heaters. Traditional radiant space heaters are a bit more "old-school" than convection heaters and seem to be falling out of vogue. However, infrared space heaters with quartz elements still have a place where the primary goal is heating a person or a smaller area, and some can do a lot more.

Finding the best space heaters

To find the best space heaters, editors considered professional tests, expert reviews and user feedback. ConsumerReports.org has the most comprehensive coverage. Though not completely up-to-date, most of the space heaters covered there remain either current or available at retail. TheSweethome.com's coverage is a little more limited, but it looks at popular and well-reviewed space heaters, then tests to find a couple of top choices. We also rely heavily on user reviews, looking at feedback posted at Amazon.com, HomeDepot.com, Lowes.com, Walmart.com and elsewhere. These reviews provide an up-to-date snapshot of how space heaters perform, and touch on long-term factors, such as the reliability of a specific model, that are beyond the scope of most expert testing. Using this feedback, we consider performance, safety and reliability to name the very best space heaters, along with some choices that could be worth considering for some buyers.