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Are you shopping for a space heater that will keep your home warm and your energy bills low? The first question you need to ask yourself is whether you’re trying to raise the overall temperature of the room or keep yourself feeling toasty.
Convection space heaters use warm air to raise the ambient air temperature of a room, while radiant space heaters use infrared heat that will be felt right away by people and objects in the room. Both types of space heaters can help ward off winter’s chill, so it's all about whether you prefer the air to be warmed up first, or if you'd like to feel warm immediately after turning the heater on.
Here, the best radiant and convection space heaters on the market:
Radiant heaters use electromagnetic energy to warm up the people and objects that are within range of the heater. Similar to the sun’s rays, you’ll feel this type of heat nearly instantly and it makes for a quick fix when you feel chilled. The Lasko Cool Touch Infrared Heater is a great option for a radiant heater, since it features 6 quartz elements and produces up to 5,118 BTU per hour.
This radiant heater has high, low, and auto modes, which enable to select the heater’s operation or leave up to the unit to modify energy usage to maintain a comfortable temperature. The Lasko Cool Touch Infrared heater is intended for use in rooms up to 300 square feet in size, and it includes an easy to read and use digital control pad.
The housing of this radiant heater stays cool to the touch, as the name implies, and makes it a good option if you have children or pets in the home that may bump into the heater. In addition, overheating protection and a tip-over shutoff sensor enhance the safety of this space heater.
A convection heater intakes cool air and puts out warm air, using the natural law of convection. In addition, a blower fan is often used to enhance air circulation. The Lasko Bladeless Ceramic Heater is a great option for a convection heater to provide additional warmth to any room in your house.
This tower-style heater is just over two feet tall and has a top blower with a bladeless design that is both quiet and efficient. In addition, this heater has an oscillation option to help better distribute heat. This model is an impressive 1,500-watts, so the heat can be felt across the room right away, with the overall temperature of the room rising in just a few minutes. Sized right for rooms of about 300 square feet, this is a great heater for medium or large-sized rooms.
Typically, convection heaters are the go-to choice for large rooms, since they quickly change the air temperature in the room, rather than just warming objects close by. The downside is that it takes longer to feel the temperature rise, leaving you with a chill for a longer period of time. On the other hand, radiant heaters put out energy that warms people and objects right away, but won't change the air temperature as efficiently. Taking the best of both approaches, the Dr. Infrared Original Heater is a capable choice for large rooms up to 1,000 square feet.
This heater uses dual heating technologies with both a PTC convection heating element to raise the ambient air temperature of the room and a quartz element to produce infrared heat that you’ll feel right away. The Dr. Infrared Original Heater has 1,500 watts of power and produces up to 5,200 BTU of heat each hour—making it one of the more powerful portable heaters on the market.
The digital control pad on the front of the unit makes it easy to adjust the mode, target temperature, or set a timer. In addition, you’ll appreciate the convenience of the included remote control—especially if you’re using this heater for large rooms and the control pad isn’t within arm’s reach.
Keep your costs low and your comfort high with an energy-efficient space heater, like this DeLonghi ComforTemp model. An oil-filled radiant heater, the ComforTemp utilizes a sealed system to warm and circulate oil that in turn transmits heat into the room. Since the oil is such a good conductor of heat, the unit continues to radiate warmth for some time, even after the unit has been shut off.
You can also appreciate the energy savings of the ComforTemp button. In this mode, the heater cycles between its three power modes (700, 850, and 1,500 watts) to maintain a temperature of 68 to 70 degrees. As a bonus, this radiator-style heater has attached wheels to make it easy to position the heater in any room where extra warmth is needed.
A wall-mounted heater is a good option for providing heat to a room without sacrificing floor space. The NewAir DiamondHeat is a radiant-style wall heater that uses micathermic technology to warm rooms up to 160 square feet in size. With a depth of less than 5 inches, it’s easy to hang this radiant heater on the wall—although feet are included if you have the space to use it as a freestanding unit.
You can select from two heating modes, using 750 watts or 1,500 watts of power. The lack of a fan means that this heater won’t blow dust or allergens around the room, and also means the heater is incredibly quiet when it's working.
This radiant fireplace heater from Duraflame provides both ambiance and heat, thanks to the quartz elements inside that produce infrared energy to warm people and objects. Along with the adjustable heat offered by this fireplace, you can also enjoy a realistic flame display or customize the appearance with varying color and brightness settings.
The metal body and beveled glass doors complete the look of this fireplace, and users frequently mention how much they appreciate that the radiant heater stays cool to the touch. It’s a good option for heating medium to large rooms, as long as you remember that infrared heat is most quickly absorbed by objects rather than felt in the air.
"This heater did a remarkable job warming up smaller cold rooms in our Rocky Mountain home and added a nice ambiance for visitors in our guest room." —Justin Park, Product Tester
Allergy-sufferers will find this versatile heater to be a worthwhile splurge, thanks to the multifunctional design and built in air purifier. The Dyson Pure Hot + Cool includes a sealed filtration system that traps allergens as small as 0.3 microns and includes both a carbon filter and HEPA filtration system. This is of real benefit if you’re sensitive to airborne allergens, which may be blown around the room by other convection heaters.
Aside from its air purification abilities, the Dyson Pure Hot + Cool is a good source of supplemental heat and can help heat or cool bedrooms, basements, home offices, and more. The air multiplier technology that Dyson includes in heaters like the Pure Hot + Cool helps to better distribute both warm air and cool air within the room, depending on what season it is. In addition, the Wi-Fi capabilities and app control offered by this model make it one of the smartest heaters on the market.
"We love that the cooling and heating buttons allow us to switch between fan mode and heating mode with the touch of a finger." —Kelly Hodgkins, Product Tester
This ceramic convection heater offers dual wattage modes (750 or 1,500 watts) and variable temperature control at a very reasonable price. With such a budget-friendly price tag, you can use this small, portable heater in any room in the house and it can heat up to 500 square feet.
If you only need a space heater occasionally, the basic but efficient performance of this budget convection heater is for you. There are few frills, but it does include safety features like an automatic shut-off if the unit tips over or is in danger of overheating.