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Which space heater is best?

Even the dead of summer can be too cold if your office blasts the air conditioner. That’s where a space heater can come in handy. Some space heaters can also double as fans if you get too hot.

The best space heater is the Dr. Infrared Heater Portable Space Heater with Humidifier. It gets decently hot and the humidifier prevents health issues caused by dry heat.

What to know before you buy a space heater

Outdoor vs. indoor space heaters

Space heaters are usually designed with a location in mind, be it outdoors or indoors, though some can be used in either situation.

  • Outdoor heaters tend to be on the smaller side, contrary to what you would expect. They are usually designed to be as portable as possible and focus on heating the area directly in front of them or the air in the immediate vicinity.
  • Indoor heaters are more varied. They can be ultra-portable, big enough to require installation or somewhere in between. Most heat the air in front of or around them like outdoor heaters, but a few are able to heat nearby objects directly instead.

Power source

Both indoor and outdoor heaters can be powered by electricity or fossil fuels.

  • Electric heaters require a nearby outlet, making the majority of them designed for use indoors. Some are still designed for outdoor use, including those meant for use on your patio. They are safer thanks to their lack of emissions.
  • Fossil-fueled heaters typically run on propane, kerosene or natural gas. They are typically used outdoors as using them indoors can be dangerous without access to proper ventilation since their burning fuel emits dangerous vapors. Some are still designed for use indoors, again with proper ventilation, in case of emergency power loss.

What to look for in a quality space heater

Heat output

Space heaters denote their heating ability using either wattage or British thermal units. Bigger equals hotter, but also requires more energy. Fuel type also affects heat output. Electric heaters tend to heat quickly but won’t last if switched off. Fossil-fueled heaters are the opposite, heating up slowly but providing lasting heat once switched off.

Energy efficiency

Space heaters of any kind are one of the most energy-efficient heat sources you can use. They heat up rapidly and maintain heat well. Any heaters with some kind of help moving air, such as those with built-in fans, are even more efficient. However, this efficiency drops off the longer you use them as their fuel consumption rates eventually outpace their heat generation.

How much you can expect to spend on a space heater

Space heaters usually cost roughly $30-$150. The $30-$50 budget models still output plenty of heat for one person while the $75-$150 models can heat up small- to medium-sized rooms.

Space heater FAQ

What are the benefits of using a space heater?

A. Their biggest benefit is the ability to quickly heat a room to your preferred temperature with less energy consumption than your central heating would require. This then allows you to switch to your central heating with a minimal increase in your energy bill while continuing to use the space heater on lower settings to maintain your comfort. Space heaters are also quieter than most central heating units, and they can be moved from room to room as needed.

What are the downsides of using a space heater?

A. The biggest downside is their maximum efficacy is typically limited to small-to-medium homes. Larger spaces simply can’t be comfortably heated as most space heaters only effectively heat the areas in their immediate vicinity. Trying to use one in a large space, or using one as your central source of heating rather than a heating supplement, is energy inefficient and can noticeably raise your energy bill. Their exteriors can also become dangerously hot, even if used for a short amount of time. This makes them difficult to safely use in homes with pets and young children.

What’s the best space heater to buy?

Top space heater 

Dr. Infrared Heater Portable Space Heater With Humidifier

Dr. Infrared Heater Portable Space Heater With Humidifier

What you need to know: This humidifier is large and in charge, and it has some great features.

What you’ll love: It has 5,200 BTU of heating power that directly heats objects rather than the air around it. The built-in humidifier adds enough moisture to the room to prevent dry-heat-related problems like nosebleeds and dehydration. Expert assembly is offered, though it can double the total cost.

What you should consider: It’s among the largest, and most expensive, space heaters. Some consumers had issues with the humidifier tank leaking. There are rare reports of melted outlets.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Home Depot

Top space heater for the money

Black Decker Desktop Heater

Black and Decker Portable Space Heater

What you need to know: This is surprisingly effective for its small size.

What you’ll love: It’s small enough to be inconspicuous while still providing plenty of heat. Its heat comes from two power modes, 900 and 1,500 watts, plus it has a heatless fan-only mode. It has good safety features, including auto-shutoff if tipped over. 

What you should consider: Some consumers had issues with overheating, which led to burning and smoking smells as well as damaged outlets. The carrying handle is uncomfortable.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

PELONIS PHTPU1501 Ceramic Tower

Pelonis Ceramic Tower Indoor Space Heater

What you need to know: This midrange heater is powerful enough to heat a small room.

What you’ll love: It has many heating modes, including a programmable thermostat, multiple heat settings, an oscillation mode and an economy mode. It also has a timer setting and includes a remote control. It heats up to 70 degrees in three seconds and maintains a steady temperature.

What you should consider: Temperature settings can only be changed 5 degrees at a time. Some consumers were concerned with how hot the front of the heater can become.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

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Jordan C. Woika writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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