Best desktop heater

Computer Accessories & Peripherals

Desktop heaters are not just for colder seasons — many people use them in the summer when office air conditioning can make for an arctic work environment.

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Which desktop heaters are best?

Desktop heaters have gained popularity as a way to keep warm at the office, a co-working space, or a home office. These cost-efficient devices are designed to rest atop desks or tables and heat up your immediate workspace.

Of course, not all desktop heaters are created equal. When selecting a heater, there are several elements to consider. Our buying guide covers all you need to know before making a purchase. We’ve also recommended some desktop heaters, like our top pick by Lasko, which is tiny but mighty.

What to know before you buy a desktop heater

Types of heaters

  • Radiant desktop heaters use infrared heat that immediately warms the bodies or objects near them. While they’re not that great at heating up a room, they provide immediate warmth and comfort to those sitting nearby. This is a popular heating type for desktop units as they’re designed to warm you up where you’re sitting.
  • Convection desktop heaters work by raising the temperature of the room by warming the air. Often using a ceramic heating element, they employ a fan to blow heat into a space. These may not heat you up immediately, but they don’t leave the room cold when you’re not in it. Convection heaters are better if you want to heat larger spaces.

Output

The amount of heat a desktop heater generates is called its output, and it’s measured in watts. A lower wattage means less heat and a lower energy bill. However, for the purposes of a desktop heater, you don’t need a high wattage — 200 watts is enough for direct personal heating. If you’re looking to create a zone of warmth around your desk, 400 to 500 watts should suffice.

Size

Desktop heaters have a compact design with small dimensions. On average, they’re only six inches tall and shouldn’t take up much desk space. That being said, consider a desktop heater’s footprint if you have a crowded or very small desktop space.  

Noise/volume

When you’re working, the last thing you want is an annoying noise to distract you or your coworkers. It’s a good idea to investigate how noisy a heater is before buying by reading consumer reviews. Some units even provide their decibel output. On the flip side, some users find the white noise soothing.

What to look for in a quality desktop heater

Temperature

Desktop heaters typically don’t have a thermostat or a way to control the temperature, they just have an on/off switch. However, if temperature control is important to you, some advanced models offer two or more temperature settings such as low, medium, and high.

Oscillation

If you’ve opted for a convection heater, an oscillation setting sweeps the fan back and forth across a space so that you’re not always in the direct line of heat. Some people find this more comfortable. An oscillation feature also helps to better heat the room.

Dual function

Some desktop heaters offer a fan function to alternatively cool a space when the heater isn’t running. Look for a desktop heater that features a “fan only” mode. This function only appears on desktop heaters with temperature settings.

How much you can expect to spend on a desktop heater

You can buy a basic desktop heater for as little as $20. For a greater range of settings and safety features, expect to pay between $25-$40.

Desktop heater FAQ

What safety features should I look for in a desktop heater?

A. Overheating protection is an important safety feature, meaning the unit will automatically shut off if it gets dangerously hot. A tip-over safety feature automatically turns the unit off if it gets knocked or tipped over. In addition, an ETL or UL certification indicates that a unit has passed national safety standards.

My new desktop heater is emitting a bad smell. Is that safe?

A. New heaters or heaters that have been unused for a while can emit a smell as dust particles are being burned off. However, if the power cord heats up or the smell persists, discontinue use immediately and get your unit checked out by a professional.

What are the best desktop heaters to buy?

Top desktop heater

Lasko MyHeat Personal Ceramic Space Heater

Lasko MyHeat Personal Ceramic Space Heater 

Our take: This is a perfectly compact desktop heater that provides ample heat without taking up space.

What we like: It comes in four colors to match your décor. The ceramic heater warms up fast, but isn’t hot to the touch. It is budget-friendly and energy-efficient, as well as small.

What you should consider: The 200-watt unit only warms you up if you’re right next to it.

Where to buy: Sold at Amazon

Top desktop heater for the money

Brightown Personal Ceramic Mini Desk Heater

Brightown Personal Ceramic Mini Desk Heater

Our take: This is an affordable, but powerful, 400-watt desktop heater in flashy orange.

What we like: Its small dimensions fit in tight spots. It provides powerful heat. It has both overheating and tip-over safety features. Users also like it to warm their toes.

What you should consider: The unit can get hot, despite being advertised as “cool-to-touch.”

Where to buy: Sold at Amazon

Worth checking out

Brightown Ceramic Space Heater

Brightown Ceramic Space Heater

Our take: For heating a bigger space, this model is more powerful, but just as portable.

What we like: It offers low and high heat settings, plus fan mode. It offers powerful heating capacity at 1,500 watts on its highest setting. There is an oscillation function and an overheating safety feature.

What you should consider: This is louder and bigger than other models, so it may not be appropriate for all workspaces.

Where to buy: Sold at Amazon

 

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Ana Sanchez writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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