Many convection heater models are equipped with fans, which makes them efficient at spreading warmth throughout a room. The downside, however, is that they tend to be somewhat noisy. They can supply heat nearly as fast as a radiant heater and are the quickest way to heat a whole room. Many of these heaters can also be used as fans in hot weather.
Tower-style space heaters are tall and narrow, taking up less floor space than baseboard-style heaters. The Lasko 755320 Ceramic Tower Heater (*Est. $75) is one of the most popular space heaters available, earning high ratings in more than 500 reviews at Amazon.com, Walmart.com and Target.com. This space heater has two heat settings (1,500 watts for high, 900 watts for low), and it oscillates to disperse heat through a room. Its features include a digital display, eight-hour timer, programmable thermostat and a remote control -- an unusual feature in this price range. The Lasko 755320 Ceramic Tower Heater also has overheat protection, a carrying handle and a three-year warranty.
While convection heaters with fans are often criticized for being too noisy, most reviewers say the Lasko 755320 Ceramic Tower Heater is quieter than most. "We have tried many heaters in our RV and house over the years and they tend to be so noisy," says one owner at Amazon.com. "This Lasko seems to be about as quiet as a fan could be." The programmable thermostat is a big hit among owners, as it helps keep the room temperature consistent. The remote control is also convenient. Most importantly, the Lasko 755320 Ceramic Tower Heater is powerful and heats up a room quickly. "I just flip on the heater with a remote, without even leaving my bed," says one owner. "Within 10 minutes, my bedroom is 5 degrees warmer."
One common complaint about the Lasko 755320 tower heater is that it beeps loudly when the controls are set (although a few users find this handy when using the remote, as it lets them know that the machine got the message). There are also a number of disturbing reports that the power cord and electrical plug get hot very easily; one user says it melted her outlet. Nonetheless, most users say the Lasko 755320 heater is a good value for a tower-style space heater with a remote.
Lasko also gets high marks from owners for the Lasko 751320 Ceramic Tower Heater with Remote Control (*Est. $45) . This tower heater is pretty similar to the Lasko 755320 Ceramic Tower Heater except it has a seven-hour timer and the thermostat can only be set in 5-degree increments. Other features are the same, including a 900- or 1,500-watt setting, remote control, programmable thermostat and automatic overheat protection. Interestingly, the Lasko 751320 tower heater with remote does not appear to have a problem with the cord or plug overheating, according to reviewers. However, the unit still beeps loudly when the controls are set, and some users exchange this model for the Lasko 755320 Ceramic Tower Heater because they are annoyed that the thermostat can only be set in 5-degree increments.
Another tower heater, the Honeywell HZ-385BP (*Est. $90) , is the top pick in a comparison review done by the Good Housekeeping Research Institute, earning high marks for features, safety and ease of use. In addition to all the usual safety features (tip-over switch, overheat protection and a cool-touch housing), this space heater has a motion sensor that detects when an object comes too close and shuts the heater off until the object is moved. There's also a warning tag that turns red when the grill gets hot. The Honeywell HZ-385BP has convenience features, too -- including a programmable thermostat, digital controls and a timer you can set to turn the heater off after a certain period of time -- and it carries a three-year warranty. This space heater, like the Lasko 755320 Ceramic Tower Heater, can oscillate to help distribute heat quickly.
Dan Crane of Slate.com is impressed with the Honeywell HZ-385BP space heater's features and performance. In another comparison test, the Honeywell HZ-385BP scores well for safety and ease of use, but its noise level and temperature control are below average. It also earns mixed ratings at Amazon.com, where the heater currently has a 3-star rating after nearly 20 reviews. Some owners say the heater is a good value and does a nice job overall. "The noise is minimal, and it warms a room pretty quickly," says one owner.
However, the bright blue light on the front of the heater is annoying, according to some reviewers, and a number of owners say the heater shuts off after only being on for a minute or two. Several reviewers dislike the way it beeps loudly when you adjust the settings. (However, all these complaints date from 2008 or earlier; newer models, according to the manufacturer, no longer have this feature.)
Other fan-type space heaters have a short, squat design. One example is the Vornado Vortex Touchstone TVH500 (*Est. $150) . Tests by a leading consumer publication indicate that this heater lives up to its claims, as it gets top marks for temperature control and very good ratings for noise, safety and ease of use. It is loaded with safety and convenience features as well: a tip-over switch, overheat protection, temperature display, timer and remote control. It also carries a five-year warranty, which is longer than most space heaters. However, customer reviews for the Vornado Vortex Touchstone TVH500 at Amazon.com are mixed. Most users say it is quiet and heats a room well, but others say its heat output is insufficient. Also, there are several complaints about this space heater's cost and durability, and several users complain about the brightness of the LCD display.
The Vornado Digital Vortex Heater EH1-0028-06 (*Est. $100) also performs well in a comparison test. The Good Housekeeping Research Institute says the Vornado Digital Vortex Heater does a great job of warming a room quickly, and it's named the Best Overall space heater. "The state-of-the-art Vornado EH1-0028-06 warmed rooms better and faster than other heaters in our evaluation," the editors write. The intuitive control panel and programmable thermostat are additional benefits.
Overall, however, Vornado space heaters get slightly lower ratings in user reviews than similar Lasko models. The Vornado Digital Vortex Heater EH1-0028-06 attracts more than 250 reviews at Amazon.com, where it currently has a 3.5-star rating. This heater does have its fans, who say the heater is fast with a very precise thermostat. "It is able to just put out enough heat to keep the room very comfortable," says one owner. The fan also circulates heat well around a room. However, a number of owners say the Vornado space heater stopped working after a short while (or didn't work out of the box). Given the price of the Vornado heater, these owners say it should be more durable. A number of users are also frustrated with the heat output, saying they expected it to be hotter.
Users are generally more satisfied with the inexpensive, compact Lasko 754200 Ceramic Heater with Adjustable Thermostat (*Est. $30) . This model has overheat protection, two power settings (1,500 and 900 watts), a fan-only option for summer use and an adjustable thermostat. In nearly 700 reviews at Amazon.com, this model earns an average of 4 stars out of 5. Owners love the compact design, especially for small spaces like offices and bedrooms. The Lasko 754200 Ceramic Heater with Adjustable Thermostat is also a terrific value, according to reviewers. "[It] can't be beat for this price," says one owner.
However, the Lasko 754200 heater is quite noisy by all accounts. Many owners say the heater rattles loudly, which can be annoying if it's used in a bedroom. Several reviewers also note that this heater is best for a small space, as its heat output may be insufficient for a large room. It's also lacking some convenience features like a timer.
If you love how quickly a space heater with a fan can heat up your room -- but hate the noise -- there is one alternative, albeit a high-priced one. The new Dyson Hot is a favorite among technology reviewers, but it will cost you a pretty penny. Dyson, which is most well known for its vacuum cleaners and most recently a line of high-tech fans, created this heater using its patented "air multiplier" technology, which draws in room air and then pushes it out quickly without using typical fan blades. The Dyson Hot has a digital thermostat, remote control and a tip-over safety feature. It can also tilt on its base and oscillate to direct heat to different parts of the room.
The Dyson Hot does get high ratings from technology sources like Popular Science and PCMag.com. John Mahoney tests the Dyson Hot for Popular Science, saying "it warmed [his] chilly office quickly, although the thermostat didn't always maintain a consistent temperature." Pocket-lint.com, another technology site, also loves the Dyson Hot, praising the heat output and intuitive controls. "Put simply, the Dyson Hot will be the best heater you've ever owned," says Stuart Miles. "It doesn't smell, it's easy to control, and it made our office toasty warm quickly." However, all of these reviewers acknowledge that price will be an issue for most people. "With Dyson you're spending more on style and the brand than practical benefits, but there's no question those benefits are there," says Peter Pachal at PCMag.com.