A top-notch space heater won’t just help you stay toasty and cozy on chilly days—it will also have handy safety features and an energy-efficient design that can spare you from a high heating bill.
According to Deane Biermeier, a member of The Spruce Home Improvement Review Board, you should “always keep safety at the top of the list when purchasing and using a space heater. After that, the size of the room you're heating and the power consumption of the heater are the next most important factors. A heater that's too small is a waste of money, and one that is too large may trip circuit breakers or cycle too often, which shortens its lifespan and reduces efficiency.”
We tested 31 space heaters in the Lab, where we methodically evaluated their heating performance, design, safety features, noise levels, portability, and value. To test heating performance, we relied on readings from two in-room thermometers, placed at different distances from the heater, in order to properly quantify our evaluations of how quickly and effectively each heater could warm up the room on its various settings.
The Better Homes & Gardens Freestanding Fan Forced 1500W Portable Fireplace is our favorite space heater, thanks to its ability to efficiently and quickly warm up a room, its exterior that stayed cool after operating for half an hour, and its attractive design.
Here are the best space heaters based on our testing.
Best Overall: Better Homes & Gardens Freestanding Fan Forced 1500W Portable Fireplace
Quick to heat up
Not best for larger spaces
With its ability to quickly start heating up a room, stylish appearance, and cool-touch exterior, the Better Homes & Gardens Freestanding Fan Forced 1500W Portable Fireplace is our top space heater pick. It also has an array of handy features that we love, such as a temperature-regulating function that lets you set the temperature you want your space to reach. Once the heater warms your space up to that temperature, it will automatically shut off. Then once the room temperature starts to cool down again and falls below your set temperature, the heater will automatically turn on again.
This heater comfortably, efficiently, and quietly warmed up the room, with our tester claiming that “it began to heat immediately upon powering up.” While using the highest setting, our room base temperature of approximately 70 degrees on each thermometer increased to 71.4 degrees after five minutes, and then to 73 degrees after 30 minutes. The heater also increased our body temperature from its base temperature of 82.6 degrees to 83.3 degrees after just five minutes. It didn’t greatly increase the humidity of the room. We had a base reading of 50 percent humidity, and the biggest increase came while using the low heat/high blower setting, which led to a 52 percent humidity reading on one of our thermometers. After 30 minutes of operation, we recorded a lower humidity rating of 48 percent. Keep in mind that while our tester said the unit “seems great for a small office or bedroom,” they are not sure it is well suited for heating large spaces.
After operating on the highest mode for half an hour, this unit’s front grill temperature was 71.6 degrees, which was the lowest recorded grill temperature among all of the other heaters in this roundup. Its back and top housing didn’t get too hot either, with recorded temperatures of 71.4 and 71.6 degrees, respectively. We also found its tip-over auto-shutoff to be an efficient safety feature. While our tester does say they tipped over the heater all the way for the test, the heater shut off automatically before even falling all the way down. In terms of design, the unit is lightweight and has an easy-to-grip handle that makes it easy to carry. We also appreciate its retro aesthetic, availability in different finishes, and "fireplace look" option. Please note that the manual notes that the cord is UL- and ETL-compliant since this is information we could not easily find on the tag.
Price at time of publish: $47
Best Splurge: Duraflame 3D Infrared Electric Fireplace Stove
Great warming on all settings
Instructions could be clearer
Front grill gets hot
The Duraflame 3D Infrared Electric Fireplace Stove heater packs a lot of heating power into a compact, energy efficient design. While operating the unit and using our P3 Kill a Watt monitor, we measured this unit to only use 0.48 kilowatt per hour, which was the third lowest KWH measurement among all the space heaters on this roundup. (Translation: This is one of the most energy efficient options on this list.) The assembly was easy, only requiring us to attach the legs, and, once it was up and running, this UL-tested unit performed well on each of its settings. Note that this is an infrared heater, which Deane Biermeier, a member of The Spruce Home Improvement Review Board, tells us means it heats objects and people in a given room rather than the air in that room. This is why we didn’t record a change in the room temperature when using this heater. However, we did appreciate the overall feeling of warmth it provided.
The front grill of this unit got quite hot, which is something to keep in mind, since you will want to be especially careful to make sure it is out of reach of children or pets. The top and side of the heater, however, did not get too hot. We wish the remote had a better design and that the instructions were more clear, but we really appreciated this unit’s aesthetic value. There’s a flame feature that allows the heater to visually emulate flames, and our tester liked how realistic it looks, noting, “The logs glow to look like a real fire box.” Our favorite thing about this heater was its quiet operation, as we measured it to have a noise rating of 56 decibels, and that it lets you use the visual flame feature and heating feature separately.
Price at time of publish: $300
Best Oscillating: Better Homes & Gardens 23" Electric Ceramic Tower Heater
Generates a lot of warmth
Great features and heating modes
Efficient tip-over safety feature
Instructions could be clearer
The Better Homes & Gardens 23" Electric Ceramic Tower Heater has a smooth oscillation feature and provides a great amount of warmth. It’s ETL-tested and has a low, medium, and high setting, as well as an eco-mode. Our tester appreciated how the unit got their “body temperature up” and made them feel “warm and toasty,” also noting that if it had been a colder day they “would really have appreciated the heat it was pumping out.” We liked the expansive 41-degree to 95-degree temperature settings range, as well the convenient timer, night settings, and included remote control. The tip-over safety feature also worked well for us, as the heater turned off about five seconds after we tipped it over.
Before using the heater, the base reading of our surface body temperature was 81.1 degrees, and the base reading for the room temperature was 70 degrees on both thermometers. After running on its highest mode for 5 minutes, our surface body temperature increased to an impressive 91.1 degrees and the room temperature increased to 72 degrees. Needless to say, we were able to feel the warmth the heater was generating. As for how the unit performed in terms of ease of use, the controls functioned well, but it took us some time to figure out how to properly use the display. We wish the instructions were clearer and had better explanations for each setting. However, we did like the lightweight aspect of its design, since it made it easy to carry, as well as its quiet operation, even while on its highest setting.
Price at time of publish: $67
Best Tower: Pelonis Ceramic Tower Space Heater
Warms up surrounding area
Good oscillation feature
Remote and digital display controls
Instructions could be better
The PELONIS PTH15A4BGB Ceramic Tower is a space-conscious tower option that warmed us up quickly and operates smoothly. The unit has a well-functioning oscillation feature, and it operates quietly, as we measured it to have a noise rating of just 65 decibels while on its highest setting. As for controls, the space heater comes with a remote for convenient operation, but you can opt to use the user-friendly digital display to adjust the heat settings as well. It has a high and low mode, with the max temperature being 92 degrees. We wish the instructions were clearer and explained the different settings better, but our tester’s verdict on this unit is that it has “great safety features and good value.”
The base temperature of the room where we conducted our test of this heater measured 71 degrees on one thermometer and 70 degrees on the other. After operating on the highest setting for thirty minutes, the thermometers’ readings jumped up to 73 degrees and 71 degrees, respectively. Our base body surface temperature was 79.7 degrees, and both the low and high settings made us feel warmer after five minutes. Our body temperature increased to 87.1 degrees after running the heater on its highest setting for five minutes and to 81.3 degrees after running it on its lowest setting for five minutes. We noticed warmth all around the heater, not just in front of the grill, though the actual housing of the heater remained pretty cool. Our tester said they are “always afraid of the heater being hot to the touch” since they have children and pets, but that “this unit is not hot” and that its safety features, such as overheating and tip-over protection, bring them peace of mind. Our tester also recommends this unit for RV campers, since they “prefer to use the electricity over [their] propane heater” and because they think it “would heat the area nice and it really is cool to touch.”
Price at time of publish: $80
Best Eco Friendly: andily Space Heater Electric Heater for Home and Office
Low kilowatt-per-hour reading
Good heating power
Not cool to touch
Heat at downward angle
The andily Space Heater Electric Heater for Home and Office is our favorite eco-friendly option because our P3 Kill a Watt monitor measured it to only use 0.35 kilowatt per hour, which was the lowest KWH measurement among all the space heaters on this roundup, and it has a handy energy-saving mode that is supposed to use 30 percent less energy. Aside from these great energy-related features, this ETL-tested unit is well-equipped with safety features. The heater has a tip-over auto-shutoff feature, and during our tip-over test it shut off automatically. Our tester says this is especially a “must-have” feature with this heater since it is “small and could easily be overlooked.” However, we found that the exterior of this heater does get quite warm, so you will want to let it cool down after it's been running, before moving it.
You can choose between using a low or high heat setting, or a fan-only setting that does not produce heat. Please note that the heat does seem to be directed at a downward angle. It was quiet while operating but, oddly enough, we found it to be louder while operating on the low setting. The base temperature of the room in which we conducted our test measured 64 degrees on one thermometer and 66 degrees on the other. After operating on the highest setting for thirty minutes, the thermometers’ readings bumped up to 67.6 degrees and 69.4 degrees, respectively. We had a base body surface temperature reading of 81.2 degrees, and that temperature increased to 88 degrees after running the heater on its highest setting for five minutes. Our tester says the “high heat was great” and “pretty impressive,” considering the compact size of the heater and recommends using it in the office or bedrooms.
Price at time of publish: $23
Best Portable: GiveBest Portable Electric Space Heater With Thermostat
Sturdy carrying handle
Front grill gets quite warm
The GiveBest Portable Electric Space Heater is our favorite portable option because it’s lightweight, weighing only 3.2 pounds, and has a large handle for carrying. It has a tip-over auto-shutoff feature, which works well as the unit turned off automatically after we knocked it over, and it will also automatically shut off to prevent overheating. Its side and exterior didn’t get too hot, which our tester appreciated, since they wouldn’t be too afraid of their dogs accidentally running into it. The cord didn’t get hot either, though the front grill was a bit warmer than the other parts of the exterior. Our tester notes, “This is a great model for our camper area, and the safety features are nice.”
You can choose from two different speed settings, and then you can adjust another dial to increase or decrease the warmth of your chosen setting. The base temperature of the room was 69 degrees on both thermometers. After operating on the highest setting for thirty minutes, one thermometer’s reading bumped up to 72.5 degrees, and the other bumped up to 71.2 degrees. We had a base body surface temperature reading of 79.7 degrees, and that temperature increased to 82.9 degrees after running the heater on its lowest setting for five minutes. Our body surface temperature increased more significantly after running the heater on its highest setting for five minutes, as it ended up measuring 93.9 degrees. Overall, our tester said they “felt toasty after just a few minutes” of running the heater and that they were “impressed with the heat it produced while keeping the surroundings a touch-friendly temperature.”
Price at time of publish: $30
Best Budget: Kismile Portable Electric Space Heater
Tip-over safety feature
Good for warming small spaces
Top gets hot
The Kismile Small Space Heater offers a good amount of heating power and a number of features at a more budget-friendly price than other heaters we tested. This model is better suited for heating personal and smaller spaces, rather than entire large rooms, as the heat it produces tends to be concentrated in front of the heater. Our tester thinks it makes for a good under-desk option, and that it could also serve well in an office or camper. There are two control dials at its top, and both operate smoothly and are straightforward to use. One of the dials lets you choose among three settings: high heat, low heat, and fan-only. The other dial lets you set the power level of each of those three settings from minimum to maximum.
We found it to be quite loud while operating. While on its highest mode, this unit had a noise rating of 67.7 decibels, which was the highest noise rating of all the units included on this list. We also found that its top housing gets considerably hotter than that of other heaters in this list. Those cons aside, this ETL-tested space heater effectively warmed us up. We measured the base temperature of our testing room to be 66.4 degrees on one thermometer and 67.8 degrees on the other. After operating this unit on the highest setting for 30 minutes, the thermometers’ readings increased to 72.5 degrees and 71.2 degrees, respectively. After running the heater on its highest setting for just five minutes, the heater increased our body temperature from its base temperature of 80.4 degrees to 81.9 degrees. Our tester said that it “heats up fast for its size,” and they also expressed appreciation for its safety features, noting that the unit “shut off with the slightest nudge” during our tip-over test.
Price at time of publish: $27
Best Safety Features: Honeywell ThermaWave 6 Ceramic Technology Space Heater
Plenty of auto-shutoff features
Handy cooling features
Great heating on low and high mode
Can’t angle airflow downward
The Honeywell ThermaWave 6 Ceramic Technology Space Heater is a feature-packed, UL-tested heater offering an array of well-functioning safety features. It has tip-over auto-shutoff, so it will stop operating once knocked over and will need to be manually turned back on after being resituated. This model also has two built-in heat sensors, which will cause the heater to automatically shut off when it’s overheating and require it to undergo a 20-minute cool-down period before resuming its operation, and it’s designed to automatically shut off after eight hours, too. The exterior doesn’t get hot, and once you shut the heater off, a fan will run for one minute to help it properly cool down. There’s even a handle on the back of the units that stays particularly cool and is easy to grip, which makes for easy carrying. But please note that the heater will not automatically turn off if carried upright, so you will want to turn it off before adjusting its placement.
Overall, we were pleased with the warmth this unit provided on both its highest and lowest setting. The base temperature of the room we used measured 68.6 degrees on one thermometer and 69.1 degrees on the other. After operating on the highest setting for thirty minutes, the thermometers’ readings jumped up to 70.3 degrees and 70 degrees, respectively. You will be able to angle the airflow straight or upward, which is nice, though we wish there were also a way to adjust the angle of the airflow downward, and our tester also noted that the “grill part is located at the top of the unit” and is “therefore better equipped to heat an entire room as opposed to directing towards the bottom floor.” Our tester was also disappointed that “the watts per hour of use was higher than the general 1.5 threshold.” Otherwise, we liked most aspects of the heater’s design, including its easy-to-operate and easy-to-read controls.
Price at time of publish: $86
Best Personal: Vornado VH203 75 Square Foot Personal Space Heater With Vortex Circulation
Compact and lightweight
Great warming power
Exterior stayed cool
No oscillation feature
Not for large spaces
The Vornado VH203 75 Square Foot Personal Space Heater is compact enough to sit on top of a desk, measuring 7.82 x 7.05 x 7.85 inches, and at a little over two pounds it is light enough to move around easily. There’s even a built-in handle, so you can effortlessly tote it to and from an office if you want to stay extra-toasty at your workplace. Our tester even says it looks like it can “blend in in an office setting” and that “for the size, I think it does a good job at heating whatever is right in front of it.” In other words, given its small size and that it’s meant to be used as a personal heater, you shouldn't expect this heater to warm up a large amount of space, but if you're close enough to the unit, you will be able to feel the nice warmth it provides. This is an especially positive aspect of the heater if you plan to use it in an office setting, since the heat is unlikely to affect other people’s space.
The base temperature of the room where we tested this heater measured 69.6 degrees on one thermometer and 69.4 degrees on the other. After operating on the highest setting for thirty minutes, the thermometers’ readings bumped up to 70.3 degrees and 70 degrees, respectively. We had a base body surface temperature reading of 78.3 degrees, and we noticed a jump in our warmth while using the heater on both the low and high setting. Our body temperature increased to 86 degrees after running the heater on its highest setting for five minutes, and to 81.7 degrees after running it on its lowest setting for five minutes. Despite warming us up, the heater’s exterior managed to keep cool. This is an ETL-tested unit, and the tip-over safety feature worked properly, as the heater turned off after we knocked it down.
Price at time of publish: $38
Best Smart: Atomi Smart Wireless Tabletop Heater
Alexa- and Google Assistant-compatible
Great features and digital display
Quick to heat up
Produces a smell on highest setting
Finicky app setup
The Atomi Smart Smart Wi-Fi 1500-Watt Electric Personal Portable Ceramic Oscillating Table Top Space Heater with Digital Touch Screen is a feature-packed, ETL-tested space heater that’s Alexa- and Google Assistant-compatible, works with app-controls, and has a user-friendly display. We found this unit quickly heats up and that all of its features work well. We measured our base level surface body temperature to be 82 degrees, but after having this heater operate on its highest setting for five minutes, our body temperature increased to 84 degrees. While the heater’s exterior did warm up while it was operating, it didn’t get too hot, and it has a red light that makes it easy to indicate when it’s on, as well as when it is still cooling down. Its other safety features functioned properly too, as it turned off right away after being tipped over. Overall, our favorite feature was its digital display, which allowed us to easily read and adjust the temperature and had very responsive touchscreen controls. There are also eco-mode, timer, and oscillation settings which are useful.
In terms of design, this space heater is medium in size and modern in appearance. It’s light and has a handle on its back, so it's easy to tote around, and it operates quietly, even on its highest setting. We noticed a slight smell while using this unit on its highest setting, but since the smell wasn’t too strong, we didn’t think it was enough of an issue to negate all of this heater’s other positive features. Also note that the app is only compatible with 2.4 GHz WiFi, which means its connectivity isn’t the fastest, but it does have better range in terms of distance and can operate better across potential WiFi impediments, such as walls. We struggled to connect this unit to its app, but once the app is all set up, you can easily control the heater remotely from your phone. We think this heater is even a good option for people who would rather forgo using its app controls.
Price at time of publish: $90
Best Quiet: Vornado VHEAT Whole Room Vintage Heater
Quick to warm up
Pleasant heat distribution
Effective safety features
Switch would shock our hand
We love that the Vornado 1500-Watt Fan Utility Indoor Electric Space Heater with Thermostat effectively kept us warm, all while operating quietly, allowing us to adjust the angle of its airflow, and having an exterior that didn't grow too hot. The unit was especially quiet while operating on its lowest setting, during which we measured it to have a noise rating of just 54 decibels. Our tester notes that “even though the heater has metal parts and looks metal, it does not get hot to the touch on the main parts of the fan” and that they “could touch it to adjust the tilt angle without a problem.” And as for its heating powers, our tester described this unit’s heat distribution as feeling “gentler” and “more even” than other models, and they noted that they felt nice and comfortable with this heater three feet away from them.
Overall, we found this space was quick to heat up on its highest setting. The base temperature of the room where we tested this heater measured 70.9 degrees on one thermometer and 71.4 degrees on the other. After operating on the highest setting for thirty minutes, the thermometers’ readings increased to 71.8 degrees and 72.3 degrees, respectively. After running on its highest setting for just five minutes, the heater increased our body temperature from its base temperature of 74.7 degrees to 79.2 degrees. The room’s humidity levels were not affected by this heater. Fortunately, this EL-tested model’s controls are user-friendly, and the tip-over safety feature functioned properly, as it turned off immediately when we tipped it over. The main pitfalls of this heater are that our tester would shock their hand slightly on the metal switch when they used it and that it's quite expensive. On the plus side, it has an attractive retro design and a sturdy build, with our tester dubbing the unit “cute and effective.”
Price at time of publish: $170
After thoroughly testing each heater's settings and features, the Better Homes & Gardens Freestanding Fan Forced 1500W Portable Fireplace is our top choice, because it warmed our space and bodies well, has useful safety features, and has an aesthetically pleasing design. If you’re looking for a model that has special eco-friendly features, we recommend the andily Space Heater Electric Heater for Home and Office, because, according to our P3 Kill a Watt monitor, it has the lowest KWH measurement out of all the other space heaters included in this roundup, and it has an energy-saving mode.
How We Tested the Heaters
The Spruce tested 31 space heaters in The Lab. We followed a meticulous testing methodology in order to thoroughly test and accurately evaluate each product’s heating performance, design, safety features, noise levels, portability, and value. We provided ratings for each attribute based on our first-hand experiences setting up and using each space heater, and we included our favorites in this roundup.
In order to test heating performance, we relied on two thermometers in our testing rooms to quantify how effectively and quickly the heaters warmed up a room after five minutes on each of its settings and after 30 minutes on its highest setting. We also measured changes in our body surface temperature and considered how each heater’s warmth made us feel. When we rated design, we considered how easy the displays were to read and how easy the controls were to use. We also considered the space heaters’ noise levels, relying on a decibel meter to measure the noise that each unit produced. To judge the portability of portable heaters, we carried or wheeled them across the room, noting how comfortable they were to handle and how easy they were to move. When it came down to value, we considered all of the positive and negative aspects of each unit in relation to its price point.
We started our test by using an IR thermometer to measure our bodies’ surface temperatures. In each room where we conducted our test, we also set up two thermometers—one closer and one farther from the heater being tested. We recorded the base temperature and humidity readings on each thermometer before using the heaters.
Once we had all our base readings recorded, we plugged the heater into the outlet, which was equipped with a P3 Kill a Watt monitor so we could measure each space heater’s electricity usage. We made sure to place the heaters in a clear, open space and at least three feet away from any flammable materials. We turned the space heater onto the highest setting and then started a timer. We ran each setting for at least five minutes. For each setting, we sat three feet away from the heater and recorded how the heat (or lack of heat) made us feel. At the end of each-five minute interval, we used the IR thermometer to measure and record the surface temperature of our bodies again; we also recorded the temperature and humidity readings on both thermometers in the room again.
Once we tested each setting for each heater, we ran each heater for at least 30 minutes on its highest setting. After 30 minutes passed, we once again recorded the temperature and humidity readings on both the thermometers in the room. Relying on the P3 Kill a Watt monitor, we also recorded how much energy each heater used in kilowatt-hours. We used the IR thermometer to measure the temperature of the front grill/opening of the heater, as well as the housing at the back and the top of the heater. We measured these same parts of each space heater once they had been turned off for 15 minutes.
When applicable, we tested the functionality of other features for the heaters. For oscillating heaters, we turned them on to their highest mode, turned on the oscillation feature, and noted how smoothly they moved and how much area they covered. For heaters with app control options, we noted how easily we were able to connect the heater to the Wi-Fi and set up the app, as well as whether the in-app controls were user-friendly. For heaters with a tip-over shut-off safety feature, we turned the unit onto its lowest setting and nudged it with our foot to gently tip it over. We waited 30 seconds and noted whether the heater automatically turned off or not.
What to Look for in a Space Heater
There are many types of space heaters, but the most common—and often least expensive—models are compact space heaters with fans. Biermeier says that “fan space heaters are excellent for supplying heat directly where you need it” and that they are best used for “supplemental heat when remaining in the same spot for a while.” Our top pick for space heaters, the Better Homes & Gardens Freestanding Fan Forced 1500W Portable Fireplace, relies on a fan design.
Other relatively safe compact space heaters have ceramic plates or coils. Models with ceramic plates are self-regulating to avoid overheating. Models with coils are often exposed and get very hot, posing a safety risk, especially to children and pets. Biermeier lists energy-efficiency and an ability to quickly produce a large amount of heat as being the typical benefits of a ceramic heater. The Kismile Small Space Heater for Indoor Use, which we love for its budget-friendly price, uses ceramic heating technology.
Some floor-standing space heaters run off infrared heat or oil. Infrared heats up very quickly but does not stay hot. Biermeier says that “infrared space heaters provide heat that's similar to radiant style HVAC boiler systems. It's a comfortable warmth that heats the room objects, including you, instead of the air in the room.” The Duraflame 3D Infrared Electric Fireplace Stove, which is our pick for the best splurge-worthy space heater, is an infrared model. Oil models are very effective but large, heavy, and expensive. Biermeier also notes that “oil space heaters are slower to heat up, but maintain their heat between cycles, which makes them very energy-efficient.”
Heat output refers to the amount of heat produced by a given unit. Thus, the higher the heat output, the greater the warmth being produced. Heat output is typically measured in BTUs per hour, but it can also be converted over into watts, with one watt being equivalent to 3.41 BTUs per hour. Biermeier notes that “space heaters aren't designed for use as a primary heat source, so you shouldn't need more than a 1500-watt space heater.” He adds that “1500 watts is the largest heater that you can safely plug into a standard 15-amp electrical circuit without tripping the breaker.”
The Better Homes & Gardens Freestanding Fan Forced 1500W Portable Fireplace uses 750W on its low setting and 1500W on its high setting. Out of all the space heaters in our roundup, our favorite personal space heater, the Vornado VH203 75 Square Foot Personal Space Heater with Vortex Circulation, has the lowest heat output, using 375W on its lowest setting and 750W on its highest settings. None of the heaters in our roundup is listed as using more than 1500W.
Look for models with automatic shutoffs or temperature regulators, particularly if your space heater will be running frequently or overnight. Biermeier recommends that you look for a space heater that “has a tip-over switch that turns the heater off if it falls down, a thermostat to control the temperature, and an automatic overheating sensor and auto switch.”
Always buy models that meet U.S. safety standards. Look for labels indicating that the unit has been tested by recognized labs like UL, ETL, or CSA. And never use an extension cord with an electric heater—choose a model with a long power cord if proximity to an outlet is an issue. The Honeywell ThermaWave 6 Ceramic Technology Space Heater, which we love for its array of safety features, is UL-tested and has overheat protection, a tip-over auto-shutoff, and temperature sensors.
What kind of space heater is best?
That will depend on the space you plan to heat, your budget, and your individual needs and preferences. To choose a space heater, you first need to decide whether a convection, radiant, or combination model is right for your space. In general, convection heaters are most suited to heating entire rooms; radiant heaters warm up quickly for spot heating; and combination models are a good bet for everyday use. Biermeier notes that “for the best features in the most categories, ceramic heaters provide a nice heat that warms quickly and operates efficiently.”
Do space heaters use a lot of electricity?
Yes. Space heaters might be small and are often marketed as being energy-efficient. However, most space heaters use 1,500 watts to power up, meaning that running them regularly for many hours a day will increase your energy consumption and electricity bill. Biermeier adds that “despite being considered energy-efficient, the size of the area that they can effectively heat is small for the amount of electricity used.”
Can you keep a space heater on all night?
Overheating is a primary safety concern when using a space heater. As a general rule, space heaters should never be left unattended, making it a bad idea to leave one on all night. If you plan to keep a space heater on while you sleep, it is imperative that you choose a model that is equipped with automatic temperature regulators and shutoff features designed to protect the space unit from overheating. To eliminate risk, heat your bedroom before you go to sleep, turn off the space heater, and tuck in under a warm comforter and plenty of blankets instead.
Biermeier warns that while “in theory, the safety functions on a space heater would allow you to run one all night,” there is always the risk of a safety function failing, which could cause a house fire. He adds that “the only truly safe time to operate a space heater is when a human is awake and in the same room as the heater.”
Why Trust The Spruce?
Sarah Toscano is a freelance writer for The Spruce, specializing in all things related to home tech and smart home gadgets. All of the space heaters included in this roundup were tested in The Lab, where product testers followed a detailed and rigorous testing methodology to properly evaluate and score each unit. The information in this article is based on our testers' feedback after gaining first-hand experience using each unit.
Sarah also consulted with Deane Biermeier, a member of The Spruce Home Improvement Review Board and a Certified Lead Carpenter who has been working as a contractor for nearly 30 years and has experience with HVAC and appliance repair.