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10 best space heaters to shop in 2022, according to experts

From electric heaters for large rooms to energy-efficient space heaters, experts share their picks for the best space heaters.
Space heaters come in many shapes, sizes and prices. We asked experts how to shop for the best space heater for any situation or space, as well as where to find some good options.
Space heaters come in many shapes, sizes and prices. We asked experts how to shop for the best space heater for any situation or space, as well as where to find some good options.Westend61 / Getty Images

Space heaters can be a fast and economical way to warm things up in any room of your house when temperatures dip — and they can be a beneficial tool to keep on hand in case of emergencies. These portable devices allow you to bring an effective boost of heat where you need it — indoors or outdoors.

LEARN MORE What is a space heater? | Types of space heaters | How to buy space heaters

If you’re looking to enjoy the outdoors when temperatures are lower, 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, home care expert at Angi.

To determine the best space heater for you, we spoke to home and safety experts about the benefits of space heaters, what features to look for when shopping for one and how to stay safe when they’re in use. We also listed a combination of expert recommended and highly rated space heaters that are in line with our experts’ shopping guidance.

The best space heaters to shop in 2022

To help give you an idea of the space heater options out there, here are some across various price points held against expert advice on how to shop for them that are either ETL or UL listed. Experts also shared their favorite space heaters from brands like Dyson, Vornado, Lasko and more.

Top radiant space heater: 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 Fahrenheit, Glenn Wiseman, sales manager of Top Hat Home Comfort Services, recommended this portable infrared model. “The space heater is powered through a corded electric with 120 volts, which can evenly heat an entire room,” he added.

Top radiant space heater for big rooms: Lifesmart

Lifesmart 6 Element Heater

For large spaces, Arie Van Tuijl, a licensed home inspector and founder of Home Inspector Secrets, recommended this Lifesmart infrared space heater with a maximum setting of 1500 watts. It includes a remote, a 12-hour timer, three different heat modes and an ”eco setting” that the brand says maintains a constant 68-degree temperature using less power for when you want to bring it into a smaller room.

Top panel radiant 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, according to the brand. This unit “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.

Top convection space heater: KopBeau

KopBeau 1500W Oil Filled Radiator Space Heater

Van Tuijl said this KopBeau indoor space heater is his overall pick for bedrooms. This oil-fueled convection model has four heating modes: low, medium, high and eco mode, the latter of which the brand says cycles between the highest and lowest settings to maintain your room temperature while reducing energy consumption. The heater also features a 24-hour on/off timer with a remote control for ease of use, according to KopBeau.

Top wall-mounted convection space heater: Envi

Envi 120v Plug-in Electric Panel Wall Heater

Van Tuijl recommended this convection, fanless wall-mounted space heater, which features a temperature controlling thermostat, low wattage technology at 500 watts and the brand’s Wall-Sens technology that cuts out the power when the unit is removed from the wall for safety, according to the brand. The unit, which Envi says can heat rooms between 130 and 150 square feet, is just 2 inches thick and can automatically dim the power light in dark rooms.

Top tower convection space heater: Lasko

Lasko Electric Tower Heater

This Lasko space heater features a bladeless design at a more affordable price than other notable brands like Dyson. Lasko says 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, which Wiseman names as a major benefit compared to the other Lasko model above, the sleek tower can evenly distribute heat in rooms up to 300 square feet, according to the brand.

Top combination space heater: Vornado

Vornado AVH10 Vortex Heater

The AVH10 Vortex Heater from Vornado, a brand that Wiseman said has good standard safety features to consider, has two heat settings and a fan-only option, along with an adjustable thermostat that the brand says lets you precisely control the temperature of your room. It can be used for rooms up to 300 square feet and features a hidden cord storage compartment at the bottom of the heater, according to Vornado.

Top energy-efficient combination space heater: Dreo

Dreo Indoor Space Heater

Van Tuijl recommended this convection space heater from Dreo due to its easy-to-use touch screen panel, strong heat output and remote control capabilities. This model has three heating modes and a digital thermostat that ranges from 41 degrees to 95 degrees Fahrenheit. It also features a timer that automatically shuts off after up to 12 hours, and the remote lets you turn the unit off from up to 26 feet away to help save energy, according to the brand.

Top high-end combination space heater: Dyson

Dyson Pure Hot + Cool HP04 Fan

The bladeless Dyson Pure Hot + Cold is a remote-controlled heater, fan and air purifier all in one, according to the brand. The remote-controlled fan can oscillate up to 350 degrees and offers different modes, including a diffused mode that diverts airflow through the back of the machine and a night-time mode that uses a quiet setting with a dimmed display, according to Dyson. Wiseman noted this space heater is “substantially quieter” than many other models and can regulate indoor air quality using its HEPA style filter, which Dyson says can capture 99.97 percent of particles at 0.3 microns. The unit can also connect to Wi-Fi so you can control your machine remotely and create schedules using the Dyson Link app.

Top ceramic combination space heater: Lasko

Lasko Oscillating Ceramic Heater

As the most affordable option on this list, the Lasko Oscillating Ceramic Heater can be a worthwhile option if you’re on a budget. Lasko says this space heater can heat rooms up to 300 square feet and offers two heat levels — low heat and high heat — depending on how warm you want the air to be, along with a cool air fan setting. You can also use the thermostat knob to both turn on the unit and have it shut off automatically once a certain temperature has been reached (though the knob itself doesn’t list actual numbers), according to the brand. It also features a convenient carry handle for portability.

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 Van Tuijl. “The great thing about space heaters is that homeowners can use them on an ‘as-needed’ basis without turning up their HVAC thermostat — homeowners may want to lower the thermostat if [they] only want to heat up a single room and save on energy costs,” he said.

Van Tuijl noted that a drafty house can reduce the effectiveness of space heaters. “If there are bottom gaps in the exterior doors, a door sweep should be installed, [and] windows frequently have small gaps at the top that can be sealed with weather stripping,” he said. Carson also noted that space heaters are predominantly a short-term solution for a specific area. “They aren’t meant to replace a solid heating system — if you find yourself using space heaters to mask uneven heating in your home, bring in a pro to address the root of the problem,” she advised.

Space heater benefits

In addition to heating things up, space heaters have several other potential benefits.

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 maintain a specified temperature in a space for as long as you want.

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 only increase the temperature in the specific area you’re spending time in. If you’re on a budget, Carson noted an electric space heater will likely “give you the extra warmth you need without breaking the bank.”

Types of space heaters

Portable space heaters come in various shapes and sizes and can work in nearly any space, according to Carson. There are a few different types to choose from, and each is designed to heat up your space through a different method. There are three main types of space heaters: radiant, convection and combination.

Radiant heaters

Rather than warming the air in a room, radiant heaters emit infrared radiation to heat objects or the people in front of them (not unlike a campfire). “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] point at,” said Wiseman. One relevant advantage of these heaters for anyone working from home is that they are silent and designed with minimal moving parts.

Convection heaters

While radiant heaters will typically warm an individual spot or group of people, convection heaters warm the actual air in a room. These units rely on hot air rising and cold air falling to silently disperse 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, according to experts we spoke to. Common convection models include baseboard — these are typically more permanent heaters that you can control with a thermostat, but portable options exist too — oil-filled heaters and ceramic heaters. A convection option that can save floor space is a wall heater — some models can be plugged into a wall outlet, but most need to be professionally installed and hardwired inside the wall.

“Convection heaters may not be suitable for homes with small children because they [can] get hot to the touch,” Van Tuijl noted.

Combination heaters

Combination heaters utilize a fan to disperse heat relatively quickly, but they 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, he added these types of heaters can “dry out the skin” and typically make a lot of 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. Van Tuijl generally recommended buying a space heater that is in the 500-1000 watts range for smaller rooms (which are typically considered 120 square feet or less), and between 1000 and 1500 watts for larger rooms. Some other key features to look out for while shopping include:

  • Noise level. Some units are louder than others. If you’re shopping for a bedroom or home office, 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. If you’ve had your space heater for a while, she recommended double-checking for an auto-shut off feature since some older models may not have one.
  • Warranty. Don’t forget to look into warranty options. “This way, you can protect your investment in case anything happens,” Wiseman noted.
  • Energy efficiency. Space heaters are generally more energy efficient than central heating since you’re only heating up the room you’re using, but some models are also more energy efficient than others. Since space heaters don’t have Energy Star ratings — which independently certifies a product’s energy efficiency — the easiest way to determine if your unit conserves energy is by checking whether it features an adjustable thermostat and auto-shut off that can maintain a certain temperature and prevent a room from overheating, according to the Department of Energy.

Space heaters and safety

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates more than 25,000 residential fires are associated with the use of space heaters every year, and an estimated 6,000 people go to the emergency room for burn injuries associated with contacting the hot surfaces of heaters.

To prevent fires and injuries, many experts recommended looking for space heaters that are tested by independent safety laboratories, like Intertek (ETL) and Underwriters Laboratories (UL). Joel Hawk, principal engineering manager for small appliances at UL, told us that these laboratories test space heaters based on nationally recognized safety standards, and added that space heaters can be very safe as long as they’re used per the instructions.

While the features that can certify products as “reasonably safe” vary from one space heater to the other, Hawk said his engineers typically look at whether the product adequately responds to overheating conditions or a malfunction (and if it permanently shuts down in unsafe conditions) and whether there are features that prevent electric shock, like suitable insulation and heat-resistant cords. Another important attribute that’s tested is what Hawk calls “personal injury” — UL tests to ensure the unit won’t catch fire and that there aren’t surfaces hot enough to cause a thermal burn or moving parts that may cause injury if they’re touched.

While independent testing and built-in safety features from the manufacturer can mean a space heater is functionally safe, our experts noted that common sense also plays a big role in safety. The CPSC recommends the following safety tips to minimize the risk of fire:

  • Never leave a heater operating while unattended or while you are sleeping.
  • Keep combustible material like papers, clothes, beds and curtains at least 3 feet from the front, sides and back of the heater.
  • Avoid powering the heater with an extension cord or power strip.
  • Place the heater on a stable, level surface where it won’t be knocked over.
  • To prevent electrical shocks, always keep electric heaters away from water, and never touch an electric heater if you’re wet.

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