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Whether fixed or portable, an electric heater creates a more comfortable climate in any living space.
We researched electric heaters from the top appliance and home brands, assessing heat output, safety features, temperature control, and ease of use. Our best overall pick, the Duraflame Infrared Quartz Fireplace Stove, looks like a real fireplace, can be controlled remotely, and provides supplemental heat for an area measuring up to 1,000 square feet.
Here are the best electric heaters.
Best Overall: Duraflame DFI-5010-01 Infrared Quartz Fireplace Stove
If you’re looking for an electric heater with the look and feel of a fireplace, check out this model from DuraFlame. Available in five different finishes (including on-trend colors like French gray, navy, and cinnamon), this metal body electric fireplace is complete with logs and 3D flames that look more realistic than many other models.
The heater itself puts out 5,200 BTUs of heat—plenty to heat a medium-to-large room and spaces up to 1,000 square feet, according to the manufacturer. Concealed beneath the beveled glass door is a digital temperature display, along with the controls for the flame and heat settings, along with a timer. You can also adjust this electric fireplace heater using the included remote control.
Runner-Up, Best Overall: NewAir DiamondHeat 1,500-watt Wall Heater
The DiamondHeat electric heater from NewAir stands out for its versatile design and efficient heating capacity. The slim profile means it can be mounted on the wall to radiate heat into a room, or you can use the included wheels to make this electric heater portable and easy to move from room to room. It offers the option of 750-watt or 1,500-watt operation and a dial that allows you to adjust the temperature setting.
Using micathermic heating technology, which involves the use of a mica stone, this heater combines the best of both radiant and convection heater principles. As a result, the DiamondHeat panel of this electric heater radiates heat into the room while operating nearly silently, thanks to the fact that no blower fan is required. Keep in mind that this electric heater is rated for rooms up to 160 square feet in size, though some users find that it's capable of warming up bedrooms and other spaces that are slightly larger.
Best Panel: De'Longhi HMP1500 Mica Panel Heater
A panel electric heater takes up minimal space, while putting out heat you’ll appreciate in any living space. The DeLonghi HMP1500 Mica Panel Heater is no exception. Without a blower fan, the DeLonghi HMP1500 is notably quieter than some other types of heaters, but still provides multi-directional warmth with mica-thermic heating technology.
This panel heater has 1,500 watts of power on high and 750 watts on low. It can be mounted on the wall but includes caster wheels if you want to use this as a freestanding electric heater. To ensure peace of mind when using this electric heater, the DeLonghi HMP1500 includes sensors that will shut off the unit if it’s in danger of overheating or tips over.
Best Baseboard: Cadet 48 in. 1,000-Watt Electric Baseboard Heater
This 48-inch baseboard heater from Cadet offers simple, straightforward operation and uses 1,000 watts of heating power to warm your living room, bedroom, or other indoor space. This convection baseboard heater needs to be hardwired to a 240V electrical connection, so it's intended for more permanent installation, rather than as a temporary solution.
Pre-punched holes for mounting and universal wiring allows you to connect either end of this baseboard heater to a power supply, making it easier to install. Keep in mind that a thermostat is required for use with this heater, and you’ll need to buy and install it separately.
Best Wall-Mounted: Stiebel Eltron Wall Mounted Electric Fan Heater
Choose the Stiebel Eltron Wall-Mounted Electric Heater if you’re looking for a heater that is quiet and out of the way. Mounted on the wall of your home, office, basement, or RV, this 1,500-watt unit uses convection heating to quickly and efficiently raise the ambient temperature of any space.
A 60-minute timer enables you to set the heater for maximum power to quickly raise room temperatures, before cycling on and off to maintain the set temperature of the thermostat. While some electric heaters draw criticism for having inaccurate or finicky thermometers, this model is thoroughly reliable.
Best in-Wall: Cadet Com-Pak 1,500-Watt Fan-Forced In-Wall Electric Heater
For a more permanent source of heat in any room, consider an in-wall electric heater. This type of heater resembles a wall vent, but once installed, provides fan-forced heat to rooms such as the bathroom, bedroom, or living room. Keep in mind that in-wall electric heaters will require more installation; not only do they need to be mounted inside the wall, they require hardwiring and a 240V connection (depending on heater wattage). However, this type of electric heater provides efficient, focused heat in the rooms where you need it most.
This model from Cadet Com-Pak is a complete unit—it includes the wall can, heater, grill, and thermostat. It’s available in 1,000 watts, 1,500 watts, or 2,000 watts of power, depending on your heating needs.
What to Look for in an Electric Heater
While all electric heaters rely on being plugged into a power source to generate heat, the type of heating element can vary. Ceramic heaters have a heated ceramic plate that warms the air inside the unit before it’s blown out into the room by means of a fan. There are also infrared heaters that use quartz heating elements to warm air that is most readily absorbed by objects in the room. Standard electric heaters convert electricity into radiant heat by passing the current across coils or strips of metal before it is directed into the room as warm air, usually via a fan or reflectors.
Consider whether you’re looking for an electric heater for a small personal space or to warm a large room. Not all electric heaters are up to the challenge of heating a big area and trying to use an underpowered electric heater will prove to be inefficient and ineffective. In general, the more square footage you have to heat, the more watts you want in an electric heater. For a 10’ x 10’ room or smaller (assuming the home has average insulation), an electric heater with up to 750 watts of power should be sufficient. For larger rooms of 20’ x 20’, look for a unit with 1,500 watts or more.
Some electric heaters only have an “on” or “off” mode, without the ability to set a specific temperature. Other electric heaters are equipped with a dial thermostat setting or a digital thermostat that makes setting your target temperature super simple. Electric heaters with a thermostat may be more efficient in the long run since they can turn on and off to maintain the right temperature without wasting energy.
Do electric heaters use a lot of electricity?
Electric heaters generally use 1,000 to 1,500 watts of energy per hour, though you'll find less powerful models (750 watts or so) and more powerful options (2,000 watts) if that is what you're looking for. Once you know how much electricity a space heater uses, you can determine how much it will cost you to run the heater. Multiply the wattage per hour by how many hours each day you plan to operate it. Then, multiply this number by 30, then divide by 1,000. Now you know how many kilowatt-hours of energy the electric heater will use in a month. On your utility bill, check the cost per kilowatt-hour to estimate the cost of using the heater.
What are the benefits of using an electric heater?
The biggest benefit to using an electric heater is the ability to heat the space you are in, without wasting energy costs on heating other unoccupied areas of the home. While keeping the thermostat for your home's heating system set low, you can use a space heater to bring a specific area of your home (for example, your office or living room) to a comfortable temperature. In addition, electric heaters are generally portable and can be moved from room to room as needed. Plus, if you lack a central heating system and only need supplementary heat for a short period during the year, an electric heater may be a less costly alternative to installing a whole-home heating system.
How long can electric heaters be left on?
Today's electric heaters can often be left on for hours at a time, as long as you keep it a safe distance from furniture, blankets, and other items prone to melting or burning. Knowing that many people will want to use an electric heater for several hours at a time, most models feature an automatic shut-off that prevents the unit from overheating if it's used for an extended period. In addition, you can also look for an electric heater with a timer. Most timers can be set for between one to seven hours, after which the heater will shut off. Be sure to adhere to the manufacturer's instructions for use to minimize safety risks.