The Best Space Heaters

A space heater needs to keep you warm and safe. The best space heaters are easy to move and operate, disperse heat rapidly without wasting energy, and come with safety features like tip-over protection, automatic shut-off timers, and adjustable thermostats. To find our top picks, we consulted firefighters, engineers, and consumer reviews to discover reliable brands, then gathered 13 highly regarded models for testing.

The 3 Best Space Heaters

Best for
Large Rooms
Lasko AW300
Lasko
A slim and effective convection heater for large spaces
Pros
Unobtrusive design
Oscillating fan
Remote control
Cons
Fan always active

Why we chose it

Unobtrusive design

For a floor-standing heater, the Lasko has a small footprint. Its tower shape means it fits easily into the corner of a room, unlike the bulkier design of other heaters that we tested. It’s also light enough to move one-handed.

Oscillating fan

The Lasko is a convection heater and spreads warm air quickly thanks to a fan that can oscillate up to 180 degrees — or remain locked into a stationary position if you want more targeted heat. The fan was strong enough that we could feel warm air wafting toward us from about 16 feet away as soon as we turned the heater on, and we preferred the efficiency of this design to the Delonghi Flat Panel Convection Heater and the Crane Flat Panel Convection Heater, which had stationary heat vents that sent all of their warm air straight up toward the ceiling.

Remote control

It was a close competition between the Dyson AM09 and the Lasko when it came to the convenience of remote controls. Both came with a remote, but the Dyson had the disadvantage of having its extra features — adjustable angle airflow, fan-only, etc.— only accessible via the remote. A real problem if you happen to lose it. All of the Lasko’s controls — setting a target temperature, setting a timer, changing the fan settings, and activating oscillation — were accessible through buttons on the tower itself.

Points to consider

Fan always active

The one potential downside is that you can’t turn the Lasko’s fan off without turning the entire heater off. If you want heat but want the option of a break from air blowing in your face, we’d suggest the Honeywell UberHeat, below.

Best for
Small Rooms
Honeywell HeatGenius HCE840
Honeywell
A compact and portable heater that’s great for small areas.
Pros
Portability
Fanless setting
Cons
Minimal controls

Why we chose it

Portability

The true strength of the Honeywell comes from this portability. Compared to every other heater we tested, the Honeywell was the most compact: a little larger than an alarm clock with a handle at the top for easy transport. If you’re not trying to heat up an entire living room, but want extra warmth for, say, an office cubicle or small bedroom, the Honeywell is a portable source of reliable heat.

Fanless setting

The Honeywell does offer one function we didn’t get from the Lasko: You can turn the heater itself on without turning the fan on. We liked this fanless setting as a way to accumulate heat in a more targeted area — your favorite reading chair, for example — and the heater is totally silent in this mode (otherwise, you’ll hear a faint but noticeable background whirr).

Points to consider

Minimal controls

The tradeoff with any small heater is that controls tend to be minimal, and the Honeywell is no exception. The heater has two wattage settings, two fan settings, and a dial-based thermostat. Be warned that the thermostat takes more work to figure out than the Lasko’s digital display: To set your desired temperature on the Honeywell, you’ll need to turn the heater on, wait until you’re comfortably warm, then turn the thermostat dial slowly down until the heater shuts off.

Best for
Drafty Rooms
Pelonis HQ-1000
Pelonis
A radiant heater that provides quick and immediate heat for you without warming the air.
Pros
Quick, targeted heat
Larger heating panel
Cons
Bulky design

Why we chose it

Quick, targeted heat

If you need temporary warmth in rooms like attics, basements, or garages — spaces where you don’t spend a lot of time, and which tend to be drafty — a radiant heater is your most efficient option. It lets you stay warm without wasting energy heating the surrounding air. And of the radiants we tested, the Pelonis is our favorite. It was so effective at putting out targeted heat that testers reported it felt uncomfortably warm indoors, but that same heat output will leave you feeling toasty in a cold basement.

Larger heating panel

Other radiant heaters like the Dr. Infrared and Lifesmart infrared heaters had smaller heating panels which would only warm up our legs while working in cold environments. The larger heating panel of the Pelonis managed to heat a wider area, with our tester comparing the experience to sitting near a warm fireplace.

Points to consider

Bulky design

If we had to name one drawback to the Pelonis, it would be its slightly bulkier design. While the other radiant heaters we compared—the Dr. Infrared and the Lifesmart—were boxier, they had wheels for easy transportation. The Pelonis lacked these wheels, featuring instead a reasonably grippable handle.

Guide to Space Heaters

How to find the right space heater for you

Assess areas that need heating

Knowing the size of the area you’re trying to heat will help when deciding on the right space heater for you. If you’re living in a small studio apartment, you can probably get away with something like the Uberheat. However, if you want to heat a larger area, in a house or townhouse, for example, the Lasko is the better choice.

Focus on safety features

You want a space heater that comes with safety features like auto-off and tipping switches. These features can help prevent a fire in the event that you forget to turn off the heater or it happens to fall over. Each year, tens of thousands of residential fires are caused by heaters. To reduce the risk of fire in your home, it’s important to choose a space heater with safety features, and making sure everyone in the home understands how to safely operate and shut it off (and that children know to only use it with adult supervision).

Look at precision controls

Some space heaters, like the Lasko, have a digital display that makes it easier to set the desired room temperature. Controls with this level of precision are ideal if you want a more exact room temperature and you don’t just want to eyeball it. This way, you aren’t playing around with vague temperature thresholds of hi and low and waiting to see what comes out in the power bill.

Space Heaters FAQ

What’s the burning smell coming from my space heater?

If you smell burning when using your space heater after long periods of inactivity, chances are the heater is simply burning off dust. No need to worry: This is normal and the smell should disappear within a few hours. Next time, you can avoid it by wiping down your heater before turning it on. In fact, some manufacturers suggest cleaning it every two weeks when it’s in use. That said, if you smell burning, it’s always worth double-checking to make sure nothing has been placed on or too close to the heater.

Will a space heater save me money on my electricity bill?

Using a space heater in place of your central heating can sometimes be an energy efficient choice — but only if you limit yourself to a single room, and turn down the heat in the rest of the house. If you want to keep your entire house warm, placing a space heater in every room can actually use more electricity.

For the most part, no single heater will be more energy efficient than another. Since all of our heaters have the same 1500-1575 upper wattage range (the highest for most space heaters), they will all use virtually the same amount of energy.

Are oil space heaters safe?

As with any space heater, the measure of a heater’s safety is largely dependent on your diligence and responsible use. However, compared to the heaters in our top picks, oil heaters were far more dangerous. In some rare cases, oil heaters have even been known to explode if the thermal fuses fail to shut off.

Can a space heater produce carbon monoxide?

Space heaters that rely on kerosene or natural gas must be vented or else they can produce carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide or CO is a colorless and odorless gas which can prevent the body from using oxygen properly, leading to CO poisoning. Our top picks are electric-powered and therefore do not burn fuel or produce CO.

The Best Space Heaters: Summed Up

Lasko AW300
Honeywell UberHeat HCE200
Pelonis HQ-1000
Best for Large Rooms
Best for Small Rooms
Best for Drafty Rooms
Price
$100
$35
$56
Heat Settings
2
2
2
Automatic shut-off timer
Adjustable thermostat
Tip-over safety switch
Remote control