Best Space Heater 2019 - Reviews of Portable Electric Heaters
We've reviewed space heaters since 2014 and have looked at models from 15 manufacturers to find the best ones. Our evaluation uses manufacturer-provided specifications and looks at each unit’s features, value and weight. We chose the Lasko 6462 as the best electric space heater for most people because it can rotate a full 360-degrees to heat the room around it. It also has an excellent warranty and a built-in thermostat.
The Lasko 6462 is a great option for heating most rooms thanks to its 360-degree oscillation, built-in thermostat and excellent warranty.
Mr. Heater Portable Buddy MH9BX
The Mr. Heater Portable Buddy MH9BX propane heater is compact and portable, making it an excellent option for outdoor heating during camping trips and other activities.
This small space heater can warm up a room quickly and is lightweight, so you can move it from room to room quick and easily.
The Lasko 6462 has a unique design that allows it to oscillate 360 degrees, which means it can effectively heat an entire room without being repositioned.
This 1,500-watt heater can heat most bedrooms, though it can take a while to heat the entire room, as with most space heaters. In addition to high and low heating modes, this model has a built-in digital thermostat that lets you set your preferred temperature.
Lasko covers this unit with a three-year warranty, which is much longer than the one-year warranties most space heaters carry. The heater’s fan puts out about 62 decibels or noise, which is normal for this type of product. Its case is made of plastic, which makes the unit light and easy to lift.
Although this space heater has many useful features, it's missing a few things that would make it even better. In particular, it lacks a fan-only mode, which means you can't use it during the summer to help you cool off. The Lasko 6462 also doesn't have a tip-over sensor to turn the unit off if it's knocked over. However, it does have an overheat sensor to prevent it from getting too hot. Lastly, this model doesn't have a shut-off timer. The built-in thermostat can perform a similar function, but it's no substitute for an actual shut-off timer.
Best Propane Space Heater
The Mr. Heater Portable Buddy MH9BX runs on propane, so it avoids many of the problems you might have with an electric space heater.
In particular, it's a better outdoor heater than electric models because it doesn't need power cords or protection from moisture.
The heater produces 4,000 to 9,000 Btu, which is enough to warm spaces up to 225 square feet. Because it uses small 1-pound propane tanks, this unit is quite portable and is a good option for camping and hunting trips. You can use larger propane tanks as well, but you need to buy an additional accessory. To start the heater, you only need to connect a propane tank, turn on the regulator and push it in to set off the built-in ignition.
There are a number of safety features built into the Portable Buddy. Since it’s a propane gas heater, the unit comes with an oxygen depletion sensor that turns it off if the oxygen supply becomes limited. However, this model isn't rated for indoor use unless you have plenty of ventilation. It also has sensors that turn off the unit and propane supply if the pilot light goes out or the heater tips over. It comes with a one-year warranty.
Unlike electric space heaters, this one doesn’t have a thermostat, though you can adjust the regulator to fine-tune the temperature. The Portable Buddy can get hot to the touch and doesn't turn off automatically if it overheats.
Despite its small stature, the DeLonghi DCH7093ER has a lot of heating power.
This little fellow can up the temperature of a 150-square-foot room by 5 degrees in less than 15 minutes. It also has a freeze prevention setting so it automatically turns on when the temperature drops lower than 44 degrees Fahrenheit. The entire unit weighs a little less than 5 pounds, so it’s easy to cart around from room to room using the built-in handle. The square design is functional yet discrete, so it doesn’t detract from your décor. The four heat settings are easy-to-use and it even converts into a fan during warmer months. It also automatically turns off if it gets too hot, making this portable little heater worth checking out.
Whether you go with the older Dyson AM05 we reviewed or the new Dyson AM09, you get a unique and modern heater.
The AM05 stands about 2 feet tall. Unlike traditional fans and heaters with blades, this space heater is a beautifully royal blue oval with an empty center. The whole thing stays cool to the touch when it’s on and the base oscillates 75 degrees to circulate heat better. It only has one heat setting but can still heat a room by 5 degrees in 15 minutes. This fan is much more expensive than the other space heaters we tested but it’s also a lot more stylish. It comes with all the bells and whistles like a tip-over sensor and automatic shut-off function in case it does overheat, making this space heater undeniably cool and functional.
Why Trust Us
Since 2016, we've tested programmable thermostats and fans in-house at Top Ten Reviews. We apply strict standards to test each product’s performance and user-friendliness. This experience has helped inform many of our conclusions about other heating, ventilation and air conditioning products. When we don't have the extensive equipment necessary to perform industry-standard testing, we also consult with knowledgeable experts at regulatory and industry associations to find comparative, objective information about the products we test. When we test products in house, we strive to gather data that matters to a typical consumer.
When, as in the case of space heaters, we haven't yet tested the physical products ourselves, we apply the same due diligence to make sure our information and conclusions reflect the mission of Top Ten Reviews.
How We Tested
As we researched and evaluated space heaters, we looked at the specifications provided by the manufacturers to get a general idea of each model's capabilities and performance. We also looked at each product’s price to determine if it's a good value for the money. Finally, we looked at how much each space heater weighs to see if it can be easily carried between rooms or put into storage during warmer months.
How Much Do Space Heaters Cost?
The space heaters we evaluated cost an average of $93, as we included some fancy models in our research. If you need something basic to keep a room warm there are many options available for around $50.
What to Look For
Space heaters come in two main types: electric and propane. Electric models are the best choice for indoor heating and don't require you to buy any fuel canisters. In contrast, propane space heaters are better suited for outdoor environments and are much more portable. Be aware that you shouldn't use propane space heaters indoors without adequate ventilation to prevent the dangerous buildup of carbon monoxide.
Heating Power & Energy Consumption
A space heater’s energy source, heating power and energy consumption indicate whether it’s powerful enough to warm a given space effectively. Electric models list power in watts, while propane heaters use British thermal units, or Btu. In general, you need 10 watts or 34 Btu per square foot in a room. This means a space heater rated for 1,500 watts or 5,100 Btu can effectively heat a room around 150 square feet.
If necessary, you can convert watts to Btu to get a better idea of how much space a heater can heat. Multiply the watts by 3.41 to get a Btu rating. For example, a 1,500-watt space heater can produce around 5,100 Btu. However, remember that heating power and energy consumption are linked, so larger, more powerful heaters cost more to run than smaller ones.
Space heaters pose a higher risk for fire than a home furnace. Although these heaters are designed to sit on flat surfaces, their lightweight designs make them prone to falling over, which can put them in contact with flammable materials. For this reason, choose a space heater with a tip-over sensor that shuts the device off if it's knocked over. The best space heaters also have other important safety features such as an overheat shutdown, which turns the unit off when it gets too hot, and a cool-touch exterior, which prevents accidental contact with the heating element.
Some propane heaters have a feature called an oxygen depletion sensor, which turns them off before the volume of breathable air in a space reaches a dangerously low level. However, this isn’t a complete replacement for good ventilation and a carbon monoxide detector.
Here are some tips to keep in mind when using your space heater. By following these precautions, you can stay warm and safe:
- Don’t Set It and Forget It – Space heaters aren't meant to be left unattended. As such, you shouldn't leave one running in an unoccupied room or use one while you sleep.
- No Extension Cords – Space heaters tend to draw a lot of power, so it's best to plug them directly into a wall. If you use an extension cord and it's the wrong gauge, your space heater can melt the cord's shielding and potentially cause a fire.
- Give Me Some Space – Space heaters are not clothes dryers. It is never safe to drape clothing or other items, especially if they are wet, on a space heater. This can cause the heater to overheat, short out and burn the items you set on top.
Choosing a space heater with a built-in timer or thermostat makes it easier to get the perfect heat settings for your needs. If the heater comes with a fan, as most electric models do, it can usually be used without the heating element to help cool you down during warmer months.