When it comes to ceramic space heaters, one manufacturer rises to the top in expert and user reviews: Lasko. Not every space heater the company makes is well-reviewed, but several are very well-liked.
Leading the list is the Lasko 754200 (Est. $25). It's named the best space heater by TheSweetHome.com and draws favorable feedback across the board at user-review sites, including Amazon.com, where it receives a solid 4.3-star rating after more than 6,600 reviews. It lacks a tip-over sensor, which could be a major no-no, however it does have an overheating sensor that fulfills much of the same function. "That'd be a real issue if it weren't for the fact that tipped-over heaters tend to overheat, so the hardware should switch off if it tips over anyway (but even still, never turn your back on a space heater)," says Seamus Bellamy at TheSweethome.com. Another safety concern, high case temperatures, are no concern at all with the Lasko 754200; at just over 81 degrees Fahrenheit after four hours of continuous operation, it had the lowest maximum surface temperature of any space heater TheSweethome.com tested. One large independent tester rates the heater as only fair at heating an individual seated in a room but notes that it did an excellent job in heating up a "standard sized room." If keeping an individual person warm is your concern, infrared heaters (covered elsewhere in this report) might be a better option than any ceramic model.
Given the Lasko 754200's price, it's no surprise that this ceramic convection heater isn't especially well equipped. In addition to the overheat sensor, you'll find two power settings (1,500 and 900 watts), a fan-only option for summer use and an adjustable thermostat. There's no automatic shut-off timer, something that a few owners grouse about. Still, users are generally more than satisfied with the Lasko 754200. We see lots of compliments for its compact size and its value.
There are some complaints, of course. The fan can get loud, especially at high speed, but that bothers some people more than others. TheSweethome.com says that noise is comparable to similar fan-equipped space heaters. Some durability complaints are lodged, but the pattern doesn't seem out of line with what we see for other space heaters. At HomeDepot.com, where the Lasko ceramic heater earns a 4.5-star score after more than 250 reviews, 91 percent of users say that they would recommend the space heater to a friend.
The Lasko 6462 (Est. $60) is another top ceramic space heater according to reviews. It gets a top rating in one independent test, and good feedback from users. Where the Lasko 754200 is pretty bereft of features, the 6462 is feature packed. It is an oscillating heater with the ability to send its warmth over a full 360-degree arc. The sweep can be adjusted to either a 90-degree arc or a 170-degree arc -- ideal for setting up the heater in a corner or against a wall, as would be typical. Like the 754200, the maximum output is 1,500 watts (and that's the maximum output you will find with any electric space heater). Settings include low heat, high heat and auto, with the last shutting off the heater when the room gets to the desired warmth. A multi-function remote control lets you operate the space heater from across the room. Again, there's an overheat shutdown feature, but no tip-over sensor.
TheSweethome.com rates the Lasko 754200 higher than the Lasko 6462, saying that the latter's thermostat was inaccurate in testing and that the 754200 actually warmed up their test space faster. Still, users seem plenty pleased. The Lasko 6462 gets very slightly higher scores than the Lasko 754200 from users at Amazon.com, albeit based on fewer reviews. Feedback is slimmer still at HomeDepot.com, but even more impressive. The Lasko 6462 earns a 4.7 rating after more than 135 reviews, with 96 percent saying that they would recommend it to a friend.
The bottom line? Whether you want a cheap, simple space heater or a more upscale model with lots of bells and whistles, one of these Lasko ceramic space heaters could be just what you are looking for.
Ceramic space heaters are primarily designed to be functional, but that doesn't mean they need to be unattractive. We saw some good feedback for the Crane Mini Fireplace Heater (Est. $85). This is a ceramic heater with fan that's styled to resemble a mini-fireplace (measuring 15-inches high and 7 inches across). Users rate the simulated fire and glowing embers as being "realistic" -- or at least as realistic as electric fireplaces ever get. User feedback is pretty positive, with 90 percent of the roughly 60 owners posting at BestBuy.com saying that they would recommend the Crane Mini Fireplace to a friend. It also garners 4.5 stars following more than 130 reviews at Amazon.com
Professional reviews are not extensive, but the Crane Mini Fireplace does well in one independent test, and that's without considering its aesthetics. For those that consider aesthetics first, they are nice enough to earn a spot in People Magazine's list of "6 Sexy Space Heaters to Help You Ride Out Winter.", The Crane Mini Fireplace Heater is available in orange, red, white and black, to better fit any room's décor and style.
Testing reveals that the Crane Mini Fireplace can warm a room quickly, and it is described as relatively quiet. Despite the lack of a tip-over sensor, fire safety is considered to be excellent as its case and exhaust outlet stay cool to the touch during use. There is an overheat sensor as well. For times that you just want the ambiance of a simulated fire, a glow setting gives you that without the heat. For warmth, heat is selectable at either 750 watts or 1,500 watts. Some users complain, however, that there's no way to turn off the fireplace effect if you just want heat. Controls also come in for some criticism. There's no thermostat, timer or remote control, so once the room gets warm enough, your only option is to get up and turn off the space heater.