The best space heaters can keep your rooms warm through the winter, and are small enough to be stored through the summer months. We’ve found the best propane and electric space heaters from some of the top brands such as Dyson, Pelonis, De’Longhi, Lasko, and more, to bring you our complete guide.
Propane space heaters are typically more powerful than their electric counterparts, making them more suited to large spaces that need a lot of heat to stay warm. Opting for an electric heater can keep a smaller space such as your office or bedroom nice and cosy, and some even come with fans to distribute the hot air through the room.
Most space heaters are highly portable, which makes them a great alternative to the best baseboard heaters. Some can even be used outdoors, making them a suitable substitute for the best patio heaters if you’re only dealing with a small space such as a porch or balcony.
Space heaters require specific safety features to keep them running for long periods of time. You want to be able to use these heaters for prolonged periods of time without having to worry about any accidents, so many of the heaters in our guide come with automatic shutoff when the heater falls over, to prevent any scorching of your carpets. If you want something to coax you to sleep, we’ve also included space heaters that shut off after an allotted period of time, meaning you won’t have to get out of your warm and toasty bed to shut them off before falling asleep.
Some of these space heaters double up as air purifiers or even tower fans in the summer months, making them brilliant investments to see you through every season. Keep reading for our pick of the best space heaters 2021.
1. Pelonis NY1507-14A space heater: Best space heater overall
If you like optimized temperature in an energy-efficient, stylish indoor space heater, the fast-heating Pelonis NY1507-14A is the ideal option to keep you warm this winter. This space heater offers efficient radiant heat, and it comes with an energy-saving function that automatically changes the space heater’s power settings to achieve the desired room temperature.
It’s set on wheels that rotate, so it’s easy to move it from room to room. Another plus point for this space heater is that the heat it gives off rises, so you can sit close to the radiator without overheating, as the radiator itself doesn’t get too hot.
The Pelonis NY1507-14A is also a very safe space heater. There’s no fire or exposed flammable surface, and it gives off an even, comfortable heat. Its user-friendly design features include a 10-hour digital timer and remote control, so you can set it to your desired temperature and settle on the couch for the evening without having to monitor the temperature.
- Read our full Pelonis NY1507-14A Oil Filled Radiator review
2. De’Longhi Capsule Compact Ceramic Heater (HFX30C15): Best small space heater
De’Longhi is famous for designing functional, super stylish products, and the De’Longhi Capsule Compact Ceramic Heater – a ceramic, compact space heater – is no exception to that. It’ll blend with most interiors, thanks to its simple, retro design, and its compact size means you can walk around the house or office with it in one hand and your phone in the other. It also delivers fast, direct heat in small spaces, so you don’t to wait long for your room to be comfortably warm, either.
The De’Longhi Capsule Compact Ceramic Heater has a summer ventilation mode – a fan – and an adjustable thermostat. There are two power settings on this space heater, which means you’re able to optimize energy consumption depending on the size of the room being heated. It’s equipped with a 24-hour digital timer and multiple heat settings including Eco Plus to save energy. There’s also an automatic shut-off safety feature should the device tip over, as well as a thermal shut-off to prevent overheating. For smaller rooms – like bedrooms, living spaces, offices and dorm rooms – the De’Longhi Capsule Compact Ceramic Heater is one of the best space heaters around.
3. Dyson Pure Hot + Cool Link (HP02): Best space heater for large rooms
The Dyson Pure Hot+Cool Link (HP02) is a sleek, powerful, multi-functioning beast of a machine that heats a big room effortlessly and evenly. It's expensive, but it isn't just a space heater: it's also a cooling fan and air purifier, giving you three products in one – and making it a great value purchase, because you can use it all year round.
One of the greatest features of this machine is its Night Mode setting. You can set it to work at a certain temperature while you sleep, then wake up to a warm house. The Dyson Pure Hot+Cool Link (HP02) also has a seven-day schedule that you can set up without any problem. It comes with a remote, but, brilliantly, it also works through voice control and Amazon’s Alexa, too. Plus, this model has been awarded the ‘Quiet Mark’ accreditation – so you can sleep soundly even if you leave it on at night.
- Read our full Dyson Pure Hot+Cool Link (HP02) review
4. Mr Heater F232000 MH9BX Buddy: Best space heater for safety
The Mr Heater F232000 has two heat settings and can efficiently heat a room of up to 225 square feet. Its low-oxygen safety shut off also means can leave the heater on overnight in a bedroom and sleep soundly and safely.
The Mr. Heater is a slick, compact model with a smart, retro look so it won’t stick out like a sore thumb like many outdoor heaters do.
The Mr Heater F232000 is approved for both indoor and outdoor use, with many customers choosing it as a safe, efficient camping heater. It’s ideal for camping trips or RVs as it’s not in the least bit noisy, so you can leave it on overnight. It’s clean-burning and nearly 100-percent efficient, runs for three hours at maximum output, and heats up the coldest spaces quickly and cost-effectively. With a six-hour run time on its low setting, that’s an impressive little heater.
- Read our full Mr Heater F232000 MH9BX Buddy review
5. Rinnai FC824P: Best space heater for garages
The Rinnai FC824P is one of the best space heaters you can buy for hard-to-heat areas like basements and garages. It doesn’t need electricity to run, which is a particular bonus if you live in a place with frequent power outages. Propane is also one of the cleanest burning fuels, which is a huge plus point, as you won’t have to deal with any toxic emissions.
This particular space heater offers two fan speeds – low and high – and the body is made from steel, with covered vents at the bottom. It boasts a powerful heat rating of 22000 BTU/hour, but the heater itself stays cool to the touch, so it’s a good choice if you have children or pets at home. Its onboard self-diagnostics check that your heater is performing exactly as it should do, too, and will alert you if maintenance or servicing is needed. The thermostat on the Rinnai FC824P is also is very responsive, so your room stays at your desired temperature level without your intervention.
Bear in mind that this space heater isn't suitable for use in bedrooms or bathrooms. But if you need a space heater for your basement or garage, it's an excellent choice.
- Read our full Rinnai FC824P review
6. Lasko 6462: Best value space heater
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. It's an older model, now, but we still think the Lasko 646 is excellent, and deserves a spot in our best space heater guide.
- Read our full Lasko 5586 Digital Ceramic Tower Heater review
How to choose the best space heater
Not sure where to start when it comes to choosing a new space heater? Here's what you need to know...
The different types of space heater
Energy Source 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.
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.
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.
Tips for using your space heater
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.