If you’re feeling chilly, one of the best space heaters can help. These appliances are brilliant for heating up individual rooms and can help save money on your energy bills too. But, how can you know if you’re buying the right model for your home? That’s where we can help. We’ve tested a range of space heaters to find those that perform the best.
First, we assessed the core function — its effectiveness at heating a room. We considered how quickly it made an impact on the ambient temperature, as well as its evenness and consistency from every angle. We even checked to see whether any heat was lost on heating the floor. Once we’d finished that test, we considered the noise it was making in use — if you need to focus on reading or working, a noisy space heater wouldn’t be ideal. We also factored in the energy consumption. This was a vital test considering that saving on energy can be a fundamental reason for its purchase.
We took safety into account too. For instance, does it have tip-over protection and how hot does the surface get to the touch? The design itself didn’t escape our attention either. We checked how compact it would be to store as well as how easy it was to operate. Finally, we compiled our results to form a list of the best space heaters. We’ve got a recommendation whether you’re shopping on a budget, or need a space heater which can fit on a desk.
The best space heaters you can buy today
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Although it’s over three feet tall, the Lasko FH500 is slim and has a clean, uncluttered design. In a 15 x 10 foot test room, at its highest setting, it surpassed every other heater we tested, and raised the temperature perfectly evenly by 10 degrees Fahrenheit. It was also quick to heat up; within 12 seconds, we felt warmer. In spite of its great heat output, it drew an average amount of energy in relation to the other heaters. However, there is an eco mode if you want to save on your bills; after you set a precise temperature, the power cycles on and off to reduce energy consumption. The fan can be set to oscillate for even distribution of heat. And you can also set a timer to shut the unit off automatically after up to 8 hours.
None of the surfaces on the Lasko itself present a burn hazard if you’ve got children running around, and it’s not too loud either. Inside the Lasko there’s a permanent filter which needs to be popped in before first use and then vacuumed every two weeks to keep it in top condition. This heater can be controlled by its panel or by a remote control, which you can store in a pocket on the back of the tower. With all of this in mind, it's easily the best space heater. It's also why it took home the Tom's Guide 2022 Award for Best space heater.
Read our full Lasko FH500 review.
With its small size, silver-toned casing, and trapezoid shape, the Vornado VH200 Heater is unassuming. However, it was still able to increase the temperature of a small room by about 6 degrees Fahrenheit in just 20 minutes and provide even heating across the room. If you place it right in front of you, you’ll feel warmer in as little as 30 seconds. The Vornado uses an average amount of energy in relation to other space heaters; about 0.26 kWh. However, once the room warms up, you can use the numbered thermostat dial to turn down the temperature and save energy.
As it's operating, all of the Vornado’s surfaces stay cool to the touch, so you don’t need to worry about accidentally burning yourself. Plus, at 45.5 decibels on high, this was the quietest space heater we tested; it sounds more or less like a humming refrigerator so it shouldn’t interfere with a phone call or a TV show. We think the Vornado VH200 is a great choice if you’re looking for a small and unobtrusive space heater that still has the power to heat up a room. On top of that, it’s great value for the money at less than $100, which is why it’s one of the best space heaters.
Read our full Vornado VH200 Heater review.
With its wooden casing and rectangular shape, The Dr. Infrared Heater DR-998 could be mistaken for a sub woofer speaker. It’s well constructed and looks substantial. While it would fit in well in a room with a lot of wood furniture and a warm color scheme, it might seem out of place in a home with a gray and white palette that’s currently in fashion. When running on a high heat setting in our 15 x 10-foot test room, it was able to increase the temperature by about 4 degrees Fahrenheit and this heat was distributed fairly evenly with just a 2 degree difference around the room, similar to most of the heaters we tested. When placed close to where we were sitting, it was able to warm us up in under 30 seconds. This heater uses an average amount of energy compared to the other space heaters we tested.
Right on the front, it has large, well-marked control buttons and an LED display that shows the settings with easy-to-read numbers. This heater can also be used as a humidifier as well as a fan for cooling, and you can set it to oscillate up to 360 degrees for a more even distribution of air. At 25 pounds, this is a heavy and hard-to-lift space heater. However, it has wheels that make it easy to roll across the floor or into a closet for storage.
A timer allows you to set the heater to automatically turn off up to 12 hours later. To control it from across the room, a remote is included with the unit as well. The exterior surfaces of this heater won't burn you and when it’s on its highest setting, it sounds about as noisy as a running dishwasher at 51.7 decibels, which is average for a space heater. About once a month, you’ll need to remove the filter and clean it with a vacuum and wash out the water tank.
Read our full Dr. Infrared Heater DR-998 review.
The Dyson Purifier Hot + Cool HP07 is way more expensive than just about any space heater on the market, but it has a lot going for it, making it one of the best space heaters. For starters, it’s beautifully designed, though its modern look may not appeal to everyone. In addition to heating, it can cool off a room and purify the air, so you are essentially getting three appliances in one. In a 15 x 10-foot room, the Dyson Purifier Hot + Cool HP07 raised the temperature very evenly on its highest setting, increasing the temperature by 7 to 8 degrees Fahrenheit in 20 minutes. However, it used more energy than any other model we tested, an average of 0.34 kWh.
In spite of the fact that the Dyson has many functions, it's intuitive to program with the remote. In addition to changing the heat level, you can set the unit to oscillate, adjust the air flow speed and direction, set a timer, and turn on a night mode to dim the display and slow down the fan speed. You can only operate the heating element of this appliance with the remote and if you lose it, it will cost $30 to replace. All of the surfaces on the heater stay totally cool, so there’s no chance whatsoever that anyone will get burned from touching it. There are also no fan blades, which makes it very safe in cooling mode as well as very easy to clean. When it’s heating on high, the Dyson reaches a sound level of 55.8 decibels, which is about as loud as a coffee maker — it’s roughly the same as most of the heaters we tested.
The Dyson uses a 2-piece HEPA and carbon filter to trap gasses and particles, which the company claims includes allergens, bacteria, mold, VOCs, formaldehyde, and cooking smoke and odors. But because it’s an air purifier, you will have to replace the filter once a year at a cost of $80. By connecting the Dyson to its app, you can control the fan speed , monitor air quality, and receive alerts on your mobile device. You can also control it with Alexa, Google Assistant, or Siri.
Read our full Dyson Purifier Hot + Cool HP07 review.
The Amazon Basics Small Space Heater is exactly what it claims to be — a compact heater for warming up the air immediately where you’re sitting or lounging. It’s perfect if you don’t want to spend a bundle and don’t need to warm up a whole room, but feel chilly when you’re working at your desk or reading a book.The Amazon Basics Small Space Heater is a little box that at 5.9 X 3.2 x 6 inches is almost pocket size. In our tests, it was able to raise the temperature in our 15 x 10 foot test room evenly by only about 2.5 degrees Fahrenheit. However, when it was sitting right in front of us, it was able to warm us up by 4 degrees. Because of its low wattage, it has the lowest energy consumption of all the other heaters we reviewed — only 0.12 kWh.
This heater couldn’t be easier to use as it has just one heat setting. However, when it’s heating, the Amazon Basics Small Space Heater does get warm to the touch, particularly on the front where we recorded a temperature of 123°F. We measured a sound level of 51.4 decibels, which is a tad loud for an object that will be quite close to you. At less than a pound and a half in weight, it’s easy to tote from room to room and it’s so small that it won’t take up much room in a closet when it’s not being used — it could even be stashed in an office desk drawer.
Read our full Amazon Basics Small Space Heater review.
The Honeywell 360 Degree Surround Heater is a no-nonsense model for heating a small area. It’s perfect if you’re looking to take the chill off when you’re working at a desk or hunkered down on the couch. On its high heat setting, the Honeywell 360 Degree Surround Heater was only able to get a 15 x 10-foot room 2 to 5 degrees Fahrenheit warmer (depending on where you stood) and didn’t heat particularly evenly. However, when it’s right beside you, it will heat you up in 10 seconds. It uses an average amount of energy when heating, 0.25 kWh.
With only two buttons and two heat settings, the Honeywell is easy to set. Once it heats up, there’s a variable thermostat that you can use to stabilize the temperature. As it operates, the surfaces of the unit heat up by about 10 degrees above room temperature, but it’s nowhere near enough to be a burn hazard. At 59.9 decibels, this was the loudest space heater we tested, so it’s not ideal if you’re trying to watch TV while it’s running. On top of the unit there’s a handle that makes it very convenient to move around, and at 5.4 pounds it’s pretty lightweight. Priced at around $40, this heater is a good value for what it brings to the table, which is why it makes the list as one of the best space heaters, but you should only use it in smaller rooms.
Read our full Honeywell 360 Degree Surround Heater review.
The Heat Storm Phoenix Infrared Space Heater can be mounted on the wall so it’s out of the way, or it can sit on a set of attachable feet. With its slim profile and glossy gray or white plastic finish, the Heat Storm Phoenix resembles an air conditioner. In a 15 x 10-foot room, it evenly raised the temperature by 5 degrees Fahrenheit on its highest setting, which was similar to the other space heaters we tested. Its energy use is average for a space heater too, at 0.27 kWh.
The Phoenix has a touch screen to control and display the settings. It required a few readings of the manual to get the hang of programming it. The display is extremely sensitive; you have to merely touch it, not press too hard or it won’t activate. The brightness of the screen can be adjusted, which is useful. You can set a timer to automatically turn it on or off. A remote is included with the unit so you don’t have to get up to control it.. However, as the remote is tiny, it could easily get lost in the crevices of the sofa. While it’s operating, the surfaces of the heater become slightly warmer than room temperature, but are still comfortable to touch. However we did notice that it heated the floor by about six degrees, which is a waste of energy.
When it was running on its highest setting, we measured a noise level of 52.1 decibels; that’s similar to the loudness of other space heaters we reviewed. In addition to the tip over and overheat protection found on other heaters, this one has a child lock to prevent little fingers from accidentally turning it on or fiddling with the settings. If you’re tight for space, and or don’t want your heater underfoot, this could be the best space heater for you.
Read our full Heat Storm Phoenix Infrared Space Heater review.
If you like to be surrounded by beautiful things and you’re partial to the mid-twentieth century aesthetic, you’ll love the retro-designed Vornado VHEAT Vintage Whole Room Heater. Of course, it wouldn’t be one of our best space heaters unless it also lived up to its promise to heat a whole room. The Vornado was able to raise the temperature evenly in a 15 x 10-foot room by about 4 degrees Fahrenheit at its highest heat setting; this is a fairly average performance compared to the others we tested. As the head pivots, you can direct the hot air towards your preferred area. It uses less energy than most of the other heaters that we tested, at just 0.26 kWh.
With just low and high heat settings that are controlled by a simple toggle switch, the VHEAT is extremely easy to use. There’s also a numbered thermostat that you can lower once the room heats up to save energy. It’s admittedly noisy — when it’s operating on high, this is one of the loudest space heaters we tested, with a noise level of 59.6 decibels. Its surfaces also get hotter than room temperature, but nowhere high enough to be a burn hazard or even uncomfortable to touch. Its biggest downside is that it’s far more expensive than other space heaters that offer a similar performance. But, if looks mean a lot, this could be the one for you.
Read our full Vornado VHEAT Whole Room Vintage Heater review.
How we tested the best space heaters
To test heating performance, we timed how quickly each space heater could heat up the air directly in front of it. We also measured the temperatures at each side within a 15 x 10 foot room after each heater had operated for 20 minutes on its highest heat setting — this was to check for evenness and consistency.
Using an energy meter, we also tracked the energy used on the minimum and maximum heat levels to determine the energy efficiency. We then measured five different surface temperatures on each heater as well as the floor in front of it to see if there was a burning hazard, or if the appliance was wasting energy heating the floor. To rate the ease of use, we considered how convenient it was to use the controls and to move each heater around.
|Row 0 - Cell 0||Hottest surface temperature (°F)||Average energy use (kWh)||Sound output (dB)||Average room temp increase (°F)|
|Vornado VHEAT Vintage Heater||90||0.256||59.6||3.8|
|Dyson Purifier Hot+Cool HP07||73||0.34||55.8||7.8|
|DeLonghi Ceramic Tower Heater||246||0.282||51.2||3.8|
|Amazon Basics Small Space Heater||123||0.122||51.4||2.5|
|Honeywell 360 Degree Surround Heater||82||0.249||59.9||4|
|Dr Infrared Heater DR998||74||0.277||51.7||3.5|
|Heat Storm Phoenix Infrared Space Heater||82||0.266||52.1||5|
How to choose the best space heater for you
Space heaters vary in size, heating ability, features, and price. The most expensive ones look better and can do more than just heat — they can also cool off a room and may even be able to humidify or purify the air. However, they’re also larger and less portable.
Here are the 5 things to consider when shopping for a space heater:
Safety Features: When you buy a space heater, start by checking that it bears the UL, ETL, or CSA International insignia which tells you that it has been tested and certified by a third party organization. In addition, make sure it will shut off automatically if it tilts, tips, or overheats. One heater we tested — the Lasko 754200 - lacks this feature, which is why it didn’t make the list of the best space heaters. Any heater that you consider purchasing should have a sturdy cord that is at least six feet long.
Heating Capacity: The wattage of a space heater is an important factor in determining how large an area it will warm up. Generally, a heater needs 10 watts of power to heat each square foot of space. That means to heat up an average-sized room, you’ll want at least a 1,500-watt heater.
Fan: To distribute heat quickly, look for a model with a fan. An oscillating fan helps disperse heat more evenly.
Thermostat: A space heater that has a thermostat allows you to fine tune the temperature and keep it at a level you find comfortable. An electronic thermostat with precise temperature settings will give you the best control. Often manufacturers refer to the thermostat as an eco setting as it saves energy by only using as much power as needed to keep a steady temperature.
Other features to consider: A timer that will automatically shut the heater off is handy as you won’t have to worry about whether or not you remembered to do it. Remote controls are also useful. With a remote controlled model, you can turn the heater on and off without putting your book down or tearing yourself away from the TV. If you plan to use the heater in various rooms, you’ll find a handle makes it easy to carry.
Still unsure if a space heater is right for you? Check out should you buy a space heater? Here are the pros and cons.
Tips for using a space heater safely
- Place your space heater on a flat stable surface like a hardwood floor. Do not use it on carpeting.
- Never use an extension cord or power strip with a space heater. They’re not designed to accommodate the power needs of a space heater and can overheat, leading to a fire.
- Inspect the cord regularly to make sure it isn’t damaged or frayed in any way. If it is, stop using it immediately.
- When you’re not using a space heater, unplug it.
- Don’t go to sleep with a space heater switched on.
- Never, ever leave a space heater unattended while it’s operating. If you leave the room, turn the heater off.
- Don’t cover a space heater with clothing or a blanket and keep it away from curtains, beddings, and papers.
- Be vigilant about keeping children and pets away from the unit and its power cord at all times.
When to replace your space heater
While there are estimates that a space heater can last anywhere from 16 to 20 years, how long one actually stays in good working order depends on how much it’s used. If you see the cord is damaged or fraying or notice sparks or odd smells from the heater or the outlet, stop using it immediately and replace it with a new one. Other signs that it’s time to buy a new model include ceramic panels that are cracked, broken or have eroding finishes.
When you shop for a new space heater, you’ll find the latest models are more attractive so they will look less obtrusive sitting in your family or guest room. Many space heaters now have electronic controls and some even come with a remote so that you can turn them on and off without leaving your desk or the sofa. You can now also find space heaters that double up as fans, humidifiers, or air purifiers so that you get more for your money.
How much should you spend on a space heater?
Depending on the size and functionality, space heaters can cost anywhere from $20 up to $700, so you really should have a budget in mind before you start browsing. Generally speaking, the more versatile the machine is, the more it will cost. So any additional functions, such as humidifiers or air purifiers, will only add to the price tag, although you do technically get two appliances in one here.
With that in mind, only invest in multifunctional devices if you intend to use the extra features. Some models can function as fans as well as space heaters, which makes them useful throughout the year, for example. Make sure you check the energy consumption as well — otherwise your space heater can cost you an arm and a leg to run over time.
We recommend considering your budget before shopping as well as what you need from your space heater in terms of size and functionality. That way, you can prevent overspending.