Choosing the Best Space Heater for Your Home – 2020

It’s that time of the year. The temperature is starting to drop and you’re feeling a little nippy. Perhaps your heating system isn’t quite cutting it or you have a room that only gets periodic use. Whatever the case may be, a space heater is a practical and easy solution for heating up your home quickly and efficiently. In fact, space heaters are often more efficient than built-in heating systems. Using one can actually cut down your heating costs and save you money in the long run. The key is choosing the best space heater for your specific needs.

How can a Space Heater be More Efficient than Your Heating System?

There are 2 reasons why space heaters can be more efficient than home heating systems.

  1. Space heaters often have built-in fans that help circulate warmth whereas most heating systems do not: A standard heating system will just let heat radiate from one spot, such as a baseboard or radiator. Since heat rises, much of the warmth generated by standard heating systems will simply float to the top of the room. So, unless you spend a lot of time on the ceiling, then a lot of that hard-earned money you put towards your heating bill is literally vanishing into thin air! A space heater, on the other hand, can push out warm air horizontally so that it covers more area. This results in an extended distribution of heat around the room.
  2. A space heater is portable and can be turned off whereas most standard heating systems have fixed components that stay on all the time. You can therefore use a space heater to warm up a room temporarily. When you’re not in the room, you can turn the space heater off, which will save you tons of money.

Features to Look Out for

  1. Safety: The 2 main safety features that come with space heaters are tip over protection and overheat protection. The former causes the heater to shut off automatically when it is knocked over and the latter causes the heater to shut off when it reaches a dangerous temperature. Most space heaters have either one or both of these safety features.
  2. Power source: 4 out of the 5 categories detailed below are electric space heaters. The 5th category consists of space heaters that run on fuel. Both have pros and cons, which are also discussed below.
  3. Wattage / BTU: For electric space heaters, more wattage generally means more heat. However, this is not always true since design can play a big role in how efficiently the electricity is converted into heat and then distributed. Space heaters that have built-in fans, for example, are more efficient at circulating warm air than those without fans. For flame space heaters, there is not wattage, so BTU is used to measure their heating capacity.
  4. Oscillation: This is a common feature with electric space heaters, especially personal and tower ones. When oscillation is turned on, the heater rotates, widening the area of coverage. This results in a more even distribution of heat.
  5. Special features: Among the special features that come with space heaters are remote controls, LCD displays, digital thermostats, and programable timers. Although these features are not necessary, they are nice to have and only come with certain electric models.

What Type of Space Heater Should You Choose?

Fortunately, there are many kinds of space heaters available for purchase. This can be confusing, however, as many buyers do not know where to begin. The goal of this article is to simplify the selection process for you. Here are the 5 main categories of space heaters to choose from.

1) Personal Space Heater

Personal space heaters are the smallest kind, but they often pack a lot of punch. I’ve used a personal space heater to comfortably heat a small room during the winter with no other heat source. If you let one run for a few hours, you’ll be surprised at how well it warms up the room. In fact, you’ll probably get too hot eventually! I’ve experienced this many a times. They are also a good option for bathrooms, home offices and studio apartments. Some people even like keeping them under their desks at work, a great way to keep your feet warm.


AmazonBasics 500-Watt Ceramic Personal Mini Heater

Givebest Ceramic Space Heater

AUZKIN Portable Space Heater

  • 500W
  • Ceramic heating element
  • Compact design great for small spaces
  • Tip over & overheat protection

    View on Amazon ➔
  • 750W / 1500W
  • Ceramic heating element
  • Adjustable temperature knob
  • Tip over & overheat protection

    View on Amazon ➔
  • Oscillation
  • 600W & 950W
  • Low noise < 45db
  • Ceramic heating element
  • Tip over & overheat protection

    View on Amazon ➔
  • 2) Tower Space Heater

    If you need to heat a medium size room or just want more functionality, the best choice may be a tower space heater. These heaters can generally cover a room as large as 300 square feet, which is larger than the average bedroom. You can just as well use a tower space heater for a small room too, which will give you the ability to warm it up faster and control the temperature more easily than with a personal space heater. Furthermore, the vertical design of these heaters increases the amount of warm air they can produce without taking up too much floorspace. They are perfect for placing in corners, but can actually be placed just about anywhere. These units often come with special features, such as digital thermostats, remote controls, LCD displays and programable timers.


    Lasko #5775 Ceramic Tower Heater


    VIPEX 1500W Electric Heater

    Pelonis Electric Space Heater
  • 1500W
  • Ceramic heating element
  • Oscillation
  • Auto-off timer
  • Electronic thermostat
  • 2 fan levels (high/low)
  • Tip over protection

    View on Amazon ➔
  • 900W / 1500W
  • Remote control
  • Ceramic heating element
  • Oscillation
  • Auto-off timer
  • Digital thermostat
  • Tip over protection

    View on Amazon ➔
  • Up to 1500W
  • 4 modes: high-low-ECO-fan
  • Remote control
  • Ceramic heating element
  • Internal oscillation for quieter operation
  • Programable 24 hour auto-off & auto-on timer
  • Digital thermostat
  • Horizontal placement feature
  • Overheat protection

    View on Amazon ➔
  • 3) Radiator Space Heater

    These types of space heaters are more powerful than the tower type, but they take more time to warm up and lack some functionality. Regardless, they are a reliable, noiseless, and work well for extended periods of use. However, they do not have built-in fans that circulate warmth like the previous 2 heater types. If you want to, you can place a fan behind one of these heaters to help circulate the heat. Doing so will increase its effectiveness. Be careful, though, because the surface of these heaters can get very hot. Hotness is good when you’re trying to heat up a room, but they are not the safest choice if you have active young children. Moreover, they are filled with oil and are not as light as other types of space heaters.


    COSTWAY Oil Filled Radiator Heater

    DeLonghi Radiator Space Heater

    Aikoper Radiator Space Heater
  • 700W
  • Adjustable temperature knob
  • Good for small rooms
  • Tip over & overheat protection

    View on Amazon ➔
  • Up to 1500W
  • 3 wattage settings (2 circuits can be used separately or combined)
  • Adjustable temperature knob
  • Good for small to medium rooms
  • Overheat protection

    View on Amazon ➔
  • 4 settings: 600W / 900W / 1500W / ECO mode
  • Digital thermostat
  • LED display
  • Remote control
  • 24 hour programmable timer
  • Good for small to medium rooms
  • Tip over & overheat protection

    View on Amazon ➔
  • 4) Infrared Space Heater

    One of the advantages of using an infrared space heater is that it’s quiet and powerful like a radiator, but it heats up instantaneously. They can be suitable for heating large rooms or garages depending on the wattage you choose. The science behind these heaters is actually quite interesting, moreover. They employ infrared technology, which does not actually heat up the air, but rather transfers energy to surrounding objects and people through electromagnetic radiation. The objects can then heat the air in effect. Their design also makes them virtually noiseless. As for their safeness, they are generally fine except for when foreign objects are placed inside their cages and make contact with the heating elements. If you have overly-curious children, an infrared space heater may not be the safest choice. Otherwise, they are extremely effective and especially popular for outdoor as well as indoor use.


    Trustech Infrared Radiant Heater

    Heat Storm Phoenix HS-1500-PHX

    TRUSTECH Indoor / Outdoor Heater
  • 500W
  • Low / high operation modes
  • Good for small rooms
  • Silent operation
  • Tip over & overheat protection

    View on Amazon ➔
  • 2 modes: 750W & 1500W
  • Built-in fan for superior circulation
  • Quiet operation
  • Good for small to medium rooms
  • Remote control
  • Digital thermostat
  • Overheat protection

    View on Amazon ➔
  • 3 modes: 500W & 1000W & 1500W
  • Silent operation
  • Good for large rooms our outdoor settings
  • Remote control
  • Digital thermostat
  • Convenient vertical design
  • 24 hour programmable on/off capability
  • Efficient, carbon fiber gold-coated tubes
  • Overheat protection

    View on Amazon ➔
  • 5) Flame Space Heaters

    The final category consists of space heaters that produce heat with an open flame. Within this category, we have the propane space heater, the natural gas space heater, and the kerosene space heater. The fact that they produce heat through fuel combustion makes them inherently more efficient and therefore more cost-effective to operate than electric space heaters. They also heat up instantly and do not need to be plugged in, making them portable and convenient to place. They are ideal for outdoor applications, especially camping and hanging out in the backyard, but can be used indoors as well. The drawback, however, is that they can sometimes produce toxic fumes if not designed properly. It is important to be extra selective if you plan to use one of these heaters indoors. Their heating capacity is measured in BTU; the higher the number, more powerful. 20,000 BTU is standard and suitable for medium size rooms. Finally, since these heaters produce an open flame, I do not recommend them for areas where small children will be playing.


    Mr. Heater Corporation Vent-Free Propane Heater

    Mr. Heater Corporation F299721 Heater, Natural Gas

    Dyna-Glo WK24BK Kerosene Convection Heater
  • Runs on propane
  • 20,000 BTU
  • Best for medium rooms or outdoors
  • Automatic low oxygen shut-off system (ODS). CSA Certified.
  • Adjustable intensity knob

    View on Amazon ➔
  • Runs on natural gas
  • 20,000 BTU
  • Best for medium rooms or outdoors
  • Automatic low oxygen shut-off system (ODS). CSA Certified.
  • Adjustable intensity knob

    View on Amazon ➔
  • Runs on kerosene
  • 23,800 BTU
  • Best for medium to large rooms and outdoors
  • Adjustable intensity knob
  • Tip over protection (safety switch)

    View on Amazon ➔
  • Conclusion

    Buying the best space heater for your needs is an important investment because it will consume resources every time you use it, be it electricity or fuel. Furthermore, if you’re going to spend the money, then you also want it to provide you with the most comfort possible. Otherwise, it wouldn’t be worth it. So, it’s best to spend a little more upfront in order to reap the long-term cost benefits. As a general rule of thumb, I recommend sticking with electric space heaters for indoor use and flame ones for outdoor or garage use. Personal space heaters are great for small rooms, towers space heaters are suitable for medium rooms, radiator space heaters best for long, quiet periods of use and infrared space heaters are great for all around use.

    I hope you found this article helpful. Good luck!

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