Picking a space heater for your poorly-insulated home or apartment isn’t as easy as tracking down the best Amazon reviews, because your perfect heater differs from everyone else’s. Do you need a desk ornament that warms you directly but doesn’t use much electricity? A powerful tower that’ll heat up a living room in 30 minutes while hidden in the corner? A combination heater, fan and designer furnishing that can sit out in the open around your children because it has robust safety features?
This guide will lay out our picks for the best options for whatever your preferences may be. TechRadar hasn’t reviewed each of the options on this list directly, but we’re using our experience with home appliances to review the top market options, based on these criteria: price, size, energy use, noise, aesthetics, remote control options, safety features and (if applicable) how long it takes to heat a room.
With autumn giving way to winter faster than anyone expected or wanted, it’s truly the best time to upgrade whatever old fire hazard you’re currently using to keep warm, and consider these top-of-the-line options for keeping your space heated.
These are products that we haven't had in our test labs, but based on our experts' opinion and knowledge of the most reputable brands around, we think these are worth looking at.
Our selections takes into account online reviews, brand reputation, product capability or unique features, to help you pick through the maze of choices available to you.
Dyson AM09 Hot + Cool fan heater
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You’ll hesitate when you see the price tag, but consider that you’re buying a space heater, fan, air conditioner and humidifier all in one package, and it becomes more reasonable. Capable of blasting any temperature from 0º to 37º C, it’ll sit out year round. It automatically turns off if it tips over, shuts off once it hits the desired temperature, and was designed so it can’t overheat and melt like many other heaters. At just over 2 feet it’s a bit too big for a desk and kind of short for the floor, but its sleek design will make it fit in wherever it ends up. Just don’t lose the remote, because you can’t change the temperature without it. If you can afford it, there’s no other option that comes close.
Duraflame 3D Infrared Electric Fireplace Stove
A wonderful middle ground between a real fireplace and a Netflix fireplace stream, this 5,200 BTU infrared heater can heat up 1,000 square feet without the hassle of buying real logs. Its 3D fire effects get rave reviews, but you can turn the visuals and generated crackling noises and just enjoy the zone heating, which does still generate a subtle but potentially annoying fan noise. The top is safe to touch, but still too warm to put any knick-knacks on it, where similar models have fully-insulated material. Other heaters will warm up the space for cheaper, but infrared heaters like the Duraflame tend to keep the air moist and to be quieter and safer.
DeLonghi Mica Thermic Panel Heater
If you'd prefer a non-flashy heater that doesn't stand out or make a sound, this DeLonghi model fits the bill perfectly. Generating heat without a fan, it's basically silent except at full power, and it shuts on and off automatically to maintain your temperature. Its lightweight frame makes it easy to carry or roll around until you find a quiet corner, or you can even mount it on the wall. Along with tip-over and overheating protection, it also automatically stays above 41ºF so its internals don't freeze. While it isn't particularly powerful, it's an excellent option for smaller rooms and apartments.
Lasko 754200 Ceramic Portable Space Heater
Lasko tends to be the most popular and highly reviewed ceramic heater company on most online stores, and the 754200 tops the lineup. For an affordable price and reportedly low energy usage, you get a powerful directional heater (and fan) that's perfect for sitting on a desk or end table, especially for a cash-strapped college student. Unfortunately it has some drawbacks: beyond its rather boring design, it has no tip-over protection and no timer, meaning anything from an earthquake to a stray cat tail can turn it into a potential fire hazard. If you do buy this, we can't recommend you use it while you sleep, which may be a deal-breaker for some.
Lasko Designer Series Oscillating Heater
This heater is a great rebuttal to our criticisms of the 754200, though not a perfect one. With a much classier design and an oscillating feature, you have more options for where to place it where the room will heat up evenly. It also includes a timer, a remote control and three different quiet settings. Unfortunately Lasko still did not bother to include tip-over protection or plug protection, which means you should still be careful about leaving it running overnight or for too long, and be sure to give it its own dedicated outlet.
Honeywell Home - Ceramic Tower Heater
If you're willing to have a large squat heater sit out in the winter and gather dust in the summer, the Honeywell Home outperforms most of its competitors in pure performance. It offers different settings for various intensities of heat (from high to gentle), size of the room, direction of the flow ("personal" or floor), desired temperature before it shuts off, and level of noise. And it oscillates to spread the heat throughout the room, which reviewers say will heat it up in a matter of minutes. It's just unfortunate that there's no fan setting, which most competitors have, even if they don't have a "cool" setting like the Dyson AM09.