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It's time to get cozy
Whether you want to bring a little extra coziness to your feet or are decking out a man cave or she shed, space heaters are a great way to stay warm as the weather cools without heating an entire room.
“When you’re choosing a space heater, you’re trying to heat a volume of air, so you’ll typically want 10 watts for every square foot of space,” says Darren Hudema, Director of Training and Technical Services at PuroClean. He adds that you should plug a space heater directly into an outlet (never an extension cord). On top of the correct wattage and safety features, you want style along with function, right? The best space heaters look great in your space while also keeping it warm.
After putting more than 30 space heaters through one of the coziest tests we’ve ever done, we found the best space heaters for every home, including options that heat large spaces, electric fireplaces, and more. Our 10 winners earned the PEOPLE Tested seal of approval, so get ready to heat up small to large spaces with these cozy picks.
Check out the best space heaters PEOPLE Tested.
Best Overall: Better Homes & Gardens Freestanding Fan Forced 1500W Portable Fireplace
Heats efficiently and auto-adjusts based on set temperature
Cozy, fireplace-style aesthetic
Anti-tip safety shutoff feature automatically turns off heat if device falls over
Doesn’t produce enough heat to thoroughly heat larger rooms
Louder than some other models we tested
Editor's Note: Better Homes & Gardens is owned by PEOPLE's parent company, Dotdash Meredith.
The adorable vintage fireplace look of the Better Homes & Gardens Freestanding Fan Forced 1500W Portable Fireplace will have your space looking as great as it feels. This space heater comes in two finishes, has an optional flame visual behind the decorative screen, and can be carried by a handle that is both decorative and functional. It is cool to the touch, even when on, so you never need to worry about burning your hand when you have it nearby. It also has a safety shutoff so that if tipped over, the unit automatically turns off.
The space heater has two heat modes, multiple fan speeds, and multiple temperature settings. We noted that it started heating right away and shut off automatically when the room reached the set temperature. When it started to cool again, the space heater kicked back on. For such an affordable price, this auto feature is a fantastic value.
During testing, this space heater did register a few decibels louder than comparable heaters of the same size. The difference was not enough to notice during use, but it may not be the right option if you want something that is whisper quiet.
Price at time of publish: $49.62
Heating Element: Wire | Wattage: 1500 watts | Power Source: Electric | Dimensions: 11.91 x 6.87 x 14.71 Inches | Weight: Not listed
Best Budget: Amazon Basics 500-Watt Ceramic Small Space Personal Mini Heater
Compact and lightweight design is easy to carry from room to room
Entire front is heated grill that emits a cozy warmth
Automatically shuts off when tipped over
Small size won't heat up entire rooms
Only one heat setting to choose from
If you want a small space heater that can provide directed heat for personal use, this affordable option from Amazon Basics is a good choice. It has a cube design and comes in four different colors. It’s ideal for a small desk area in an office setting, where it will heat the surrounding few feet but not measurably change the overall temperature of the room.
The Amazon Basics heater only has one setting but is very intuitive to use. Just press the on button and it starts to heat immediately. If the unit tips over, it shuts off and cools, avoiding fire hazards. Because the heating element takes up the entire front face (delivering a surprising amount of heat for such a small unit), it is crucial that these safety measures are included. While it is budget-friendly, this is a bare bones space heater that doesn’t have a lot of extra features.
Price at time of publish: $19.50
Heating Element: Ceramic | Wattage: 750 watts | Power Source: Electric | Dimensions: 5.87 x 3.2 x 6 inches | Weight: 1.43 pounds
Related: The 10 Best Throw Blankets Under $50
Best Portable: Aikoper 1500W Space Heater
One of the most portable space heaters we tested, thanks to a small handle on the back of the device
Heats up instantly and made us feel warmer within seconds of turning it on
Doesn’t produce enough heat to drastically change the temperature of a room
This little space heater instantly brought the heat — and we mean that literally. As soon as we turned it on, the Aikoper electric heater made us feel warmer. It has three different heat settings to choose from and an automatic shut-off feature that instantly switches the heater off if it tips over.
Our favorite thing about this space heater is its portability. A small handle on the back makes the lightweight device easy to carry with you from room to room, so you can bring the warmth with you wherever you go. We think this heater would be a great device to keep at your desk or by your bedside. Although it was very effective at warming our body temperature, it didn’t warm our test room up by much, so we wouldn’t recommend this as a full-room heating device. But, for the price and size, this small heater packs a warm punch (and makes for a great holiday gift for your chilliest coworker).
Price at time of publish: $23.99 (orig. $39.99)
Heating Element: Ceramic | Wattage: 1500 | Power Source: Electric | Dimensions: 6.4 x 4.8 x 9 inches | Weight: 2.7 pounds
Best Tower: Better Homes & Gardens 23-Inch Electric Ceramic Tower Heater
Offers a large temperature range that makes the heat level super customizable to your needs
Oscillating tower sweeps to direct heat across the room
Multiple safety features, including an automatic tip-over shut off and a timer that can be set to automatically turn off at night
User manual wasn't helpful for figuring out settings
Editor's Note: Better Homes & Gardens is owned by PEOPLE's parent company, Dotdash Meredith.
The Better Homes & Gardens 23-inch tower heater can be set between 41 and 95 degrees, an impressive range that is sure to suit every preference. The tower is taller than most other cube-shaped space heaters but can oscillate to circulate heat throughout the room efficiently. We found that the automatic tip-over safety shutoff activated within five seconds of the tower falling over, a key safety feature if you are using a tower heater. You can also set a timer in night mode, turning off the heater after you have fallen asleep.
There are multiple heat settings that all work well, even in cold rooms. Unfortunately, the display is not intuitive, and it may take some trial and error to figure out which settings are which. The user’s manual does not explain what all of the settings are, either, but once you get this one going, you'll be cozy in no time.
Price at time of publish: $55 (orig. $66.74)
Heating Element: Ceramic | Wattage: 1500 watts | Power Source: Electric | Dimensions: 6.89 x 7.67 x 23.20 Inches | Weight: 9 pounds
Best for Small Spaces: GiveBest Portable Electric Space Heater With Thermostat
External surfaces do not get too hot, making it safer to bump against
Automatically shuts off if device is tipped over
Built-in handle makes this heater very portable and easy to take with you on-the-go
Requires an outlet for use, so despite being very portable, it’s not suitable for all outdoor activities
We set this compact, portable space heater up in a camper, and it got the small space toasty within just a few minutes. You can choose between a high and low setting using a dial on the heater. Fortunately, the front and rear of the space heater don’t get too hot to touch, and it has a safety shut off if it tips over.
The heat output is ideal for smaller rooms, around 200 square feet. Because it is portable and includes a built-in handle, this heater is great for camping or RVing. It does require power, however, so make sure you have access to an outlet. Just don’t expect to be pumping out enough heat for an entire meeting space or campsite.
Price at time of publish: $29.99
Heating Element: Forced air | Wattage: 1500 watts | Power Source: Electric | Dimensions: 6.2 x 7 x 9.2 inches | Weight: 3.2 pounds
Best for Large Spaces: Honeywell ThermaWave 6 Ceramic Technology Space Heater
Able to heat up even large rooms efficiently, raising the temperature of our test room faster than any other device we tested
Four temperature settings makes the heat experience very customizable
Multiple safety features, including an auto shut-off if device gets too hot
Uses a lot of power compared to other units we tested
The heating output of this affordable space heater is impressive. We found that it heated up the testing room a full 4 degrees within just 30 minutes. It has two settings as well as four additional temperature settings and a fan-only option. The grill on the heater is at the top of the large unit, which helps the heat circulate into the room rather than just on the floor.
The safety features of this space heater are some of the best we’ve found. It has an auto shut off if the unit overheats but keeps the fan running to help it cool down even faster. If it tips over, the unit shuts off. You can also set a timer for it to start and a timer for it to turn off. As well as keeping you safe, this saves power, which is good because it does draw a bit more than some smaller units.
Price at time of publish: $90.99
Heating Element: Ceramic | Wattage: 1500 watts | Power Source: Electric | Dimensions: 18.5 x 8.43 x 18 inches | Weight: 13.17 pounds
Best Safety Features: Pelonis Ceramic Tower Space Heater
Small tower heater can warm up small to medium-sized rooms yet stays externally cool to the touch, making it safer than others we’ve tried for households with pets and children
Anti-tip safety feature automatically shuts off if heater falls over
70-degree oscillating tower spreads heat evenly across the room
Taller and bulkier than others on the list
Not powerful enough to heat spaces larger than 160 square feet
The Pelonis ceramic tower heater has anti-tip over protection that shuts the unit off if it tips more than 30 degrees and an auto shut-off feature. Plus, it is also very cool to the touch — making it a a good option for those with pets or kids who may brush against or even touch the heater.
The heat moves through the room via a 70-degree oscillating tower. This makes it a bit louder and bulkier but helps with overall heat output. It might be too big for small spaces, although the tower design allows it to take up minimal floor space. It works best in rooms up to 160 square feet and may not be powerful enough to heat the largest of spaces. It is a good mid-size tower heater and fan.
Price at time of publish: $74.99
Heating Element: Convection | Wattage: 1500 watts | Power Source: Electric | Dimensions: 26 x 7.6 x 17 inches | Weight: 6.29 pounds
Best Electric Fireplace: Duraflame 3D Infrared Electric Fireplace Stove
Multiple settings allow you to customize the heat to your liking, and it can be set to heat rooms up to 1,000 square-foot in size
This decorative fireplace is one of the most visually beautiful space heaters we’ve tested
One of the most expensive space heaters that we tried
Not the quickest device to get started with, especially setting up the remote control
This Duraflame space heater mimics a real wood-burning fireplace and even has the flickering flame of burning “logs” inside. We loved that we could turn on the flame for a cozy look without using the space heater. It comes in seven colors to suit your style and only requires minimal assembly of attaching the legs. When used as a heater, the front does get hot, but the sides and back stay cool enough to touch.
This is another expensive space heater if you are just looking for function. The benefit comes from the added style as well as the way that it warms the space, with multiple settings available. It heats larger spaces, up to 1,000 feet. You can adjust the settings using a remote control. However, we found that it was a bit tricky to use, and the included instructions weren’t very helpful, so be ready to peruse FAQs online if you have trouble with the remote.
Price at time of publish: $229.99
Heating Element: Quartz | Wattage: 1500 watts | Power Source: Electric | Dimensions: 12.9 x 24 x 23.4 inches | Weight: 34.35 pounds
Best Energy-Saving: andily Electric Space Heater
Uses the least amount of energy compared to all of the other space heaters we tested
Small, portable design is simple but works as promised
Automatically shuts off when tipped over
Though it made us feel warmer, it wasn’t strong enough to heat up the entire room
This small space heater has two settings, low and high, and did exactly what we needed it to do: It made us feel warm and cozy. The features are pretty simple, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing if you’re looking for a basic heater that warms up quickly without using a lot of energy. In fact, compared to all of the other space heaters we’ve tested, this one uses the least energy to power (a big win for your electricity bill and the environment).
This space heater may be simple, but its safety features work surprisingly well. As soon as we knocked the device over, it instantly went into its auto-shutoff mode. Though it definitely made us warmer, this portable space heater didn’t do much to heat up our test room. But, for the size and price, we wouldn’t really expect it to.
Price at time of publish: $21.99
Heating Element: Ceramic | Wattage: 750W/1500W | Power Source: Electric | Dimensions: 4.74 x 6.2 x 8.3 inches | Weight: 2.64 pounds
Best for Cold Feet: Kismile Portable Electric Space Heater
Directs heat straight out rather than to the side, so you can aim the heat exactly where you want it
Multiple heat settings makes it very customizable
Anti-tip safety feature automatically shuts the device off if it falls over
One of the louder space heaters we’ve tested
Its light weight and small size makes it easier to accidentally knock over
This portable space heater won’t help with relationship cold feet, but it will get your toes nice and toasty. The heat is directed in front of the unit rather than to the sides. This means that it heats up that small area quickly and efficiently. You can put it under your desk or work table in the winter months to keep your feet from getting cold. (Just don’t expect it to heat the rest of you or your room.)
It has good safety features, which is important if it is out of sight. It can be easy to kick over the unit, but it will shut off if tipped over. There are high, low, and fan settings, as well as adjustable temperature within each. The fan is a bit loud, especially considering it is a small unit and a small fan. For such a small, affordable heater, it really does come with a lot of features to get a custom comfy space.
Price at time of publish: $25.99
Heating Element: Convection | Wattage: 1500 watts | Power Source: Electric | Dimensions: 7.28 x 6.5 x 9.65 inches | Weight: 3.47 pounds
Best Smart: Atomi Smart Wi-Fi Electric Personal Portable Tabletop Space Heater
Digital touch screen display is easy to use with multiple customizable heat settings
Compatible with smart devices and app, and can connect to an Alexa or Google Home for hands-free temperature adjustments
Heats up very quickly compared to other space heaters we’ve tested
App can be a little buggy and didn’t work 100% of the time during our test
Meet the space heater of the future. This heater has a touchscreen digital display that you can easily adjust between high, low, and auto heat settings. You can also control it from Alexa or Google Home devices. It does have an app that allows you to change settings and monitor it for tipping when you are away, although we weren’t able to get the app to work in our testing lab. Even without it, we think this space heater is a great value and is intuitive to use.
This heater uses ceramic and heats up very quickly: It increased the heat in a standard room by almost ten degrees in just five minutes on the high setting. There is a slight smell, which is most noticeable on the high setting, but it didn’t impact the heater's output and went away quickly.
Price at time of publish: $94.98
Heating Element: Ceramic | Wattage: 1500 watts | Power Source: Electric | Dimensions: 7 x 6.3 x 16 Inches | Weight: 4.6 pounds
Best Splurge: De'Longhi HMP1500 Mica Thermal Panel Heater
Offers multiple settings that can be changed with a handy remote control
Decorative fireplace style looks visually beautiful sitting in a living room
Heats spaces up to 1,000 feet, which is one of the largest coverage-areas of any space heater we’ve tested
One of the most expensive space heaters on our list
Remote was a bit tricky to use and instructions weren’t very helpful in figuring out how to use it
For a space heater that uses minimal power and is ultra quiet, the De’Longhi Mica Thermic Panel Heater fits the bill. It uses a mica stone to transmit heat into the room via electromagnetic rays. Yes, that sounds futuristic, but it’s actually quite simple and uses a fraction of the power and time that heating coil space heaters use for the same output. In testing, this space heater worked for large rooms on all settings. The company recommends it for rooms up to 300 square feet, and because it doesn’t use a fan, it is also one of the quietest on our list.
You can keep the heater freestanding and use the built-in wheels to move it around. It can also be wall-mounted: Just be sure to watch the front grill, which gets extremely hot. (If you touch it while the heater is on, you’ll likely get burned.) Fortunately, you can set the thermostat for a minimum temperature — we recommend using it in a garage or shed to keep the room from freezing in the cold winter temps since it will turn on automatically when needed.
Price at time of publish: $119.99
Heating Element: Mica thermic | Wattage: 1500 watts | Power Source: Electric | Dimensions: 27 x 10 x 22 inches | Weight: 15.43 pounds
Other Space Heaters We Tried
Heat Storm Phoenix Infrared Space Heater: This $120 space heater is super versatile, and we love that it has the unique ability to hang up or sit on the floor with foldable feet. On the highest setting, it provided some nice warmth and was able to moderately heat up the room and our body temperature. It’s also pretty quiet compared to other space heaters we’ve tested. But, for its price (which is higher than a lot of our winning space heaters), we’d expect this unit to have the ability to heat up a room more substantially. We also don’t love that it uses more energy than almost any other space heater we’ve tested. But those things aside, this is not a bad space heater if you want one that can hang or sit on the floor.
Things to Consider Before Buying a Space Heater
The main thing that you want out of a space heater is heat, so it’s important to find one that has the right output for your space. Larger space heaters are not always hotter, although larger fans can move the heat throughout larger spaces. Ceramic is an efficient heating method that works quickly.
Do you want something that is futuristic, such as the smart-home compatible Atmoi heater, or one that works in a small space like the Kismile small space heater? Consider the size of your space, if you want an oscillating unit or directional heat, and how you want to be able to adjust the heater. Some are available in multiple colors, although most lean more utilitarian in style.
This is one of the most important considerations for most space heater users, including our testers. All of the top-rated space heaters on our list have safety features that automatically shut them off if they are tipped over as well as auto-shut off timers. Also, think about how hot the sides, top, front, and back get, especially if you have children or pets who may brush up against the heater.
When to Buy
Space heaters are often marketed heavily leading up to the colder months but that doesn’t mean that they are actually a better deal. Instead, look for retailer promotions, such as Amazon’s Prime Day, when they mark down popular items or offer lightening deals and special pricing for just a short time.
How We Tested
We tested 31 space heaters of all sizes and outputs. After inspecting the parts and safety certifications of the heaters before turning them on, we took temperature and humidity recordings in opposite corners of the testing room and measured our body temperatures.
We then tested each heater individually by turning it on, measuring the noise level, and recording changes in temperature at 5-minute intervals. After that, we put the heaters through additional testing on the high setting, noting the changes in temperature and humidity after 30 minutes of use.
Safety features were also put through the wringer to see if they were as effective as needed. Testers tipped over the space heaters to test the shut-off, noted hot surfaces on each heater, and tested connectivity via apps or smart devices when applicable. Each heater was scored based on heating performance, design, safety, and value.
Frequently Asked Questions
What type of heater is cheapest to run?
Each heater on our list uses corded electric power. Larger heaters with higher heat outputs tend to use more electricity, increasing overall energy costs. Units that have fans can also use more electricity because they need to power the fan as well as the heating element. Ceramic can heat up faster and more efficiently, making it one of the more economical choices.
What is the lowest temperature you should keep your house at?
Most people like to keep their homes between 65 and 75 degrees, and the World Health Organization recommends 64 degrees Fahrenheit as a safe indoor temperature. To keep your pipes from freezing, most heaters with an auto-turn on function, such as the De'Longhi Mica Thermic Panel Heater, heat rooms to keep them above 41 degrees Fahrenheit.
Does running a fan next to a space heater heat the room faster?
The heat output will remain the same, but you can move heated air through the room more efficiently by using a fan. Many space heaters have a built-in fan to push the warm air away from the unit and into the space. You can add a fan to further this, but it may not be necessary. You may also cool the air with a fan, defeating the purpose of the space heater.
Why Trust Us?
Katie Begley is a freelance writer, covering all things home-related. Katie has also written for The Spruce, At Ease Magazine, Legacy, and more. Katie wrote this story based on results from tests conducted in the PEOPLE Testing labs that aimed to discover which space heaters performed the best across a number of categories, including their ability to heat up rooms, the amount of energy they used, and the cost. Katie also spoke with Darren Hudema, Director of Training and Technical Services at PuroClean, who provided insights on safety. This story was most recently updated by shopping staff writer Cai Cramer, who added more products to this list based on recent tests conducted in the lab.
What Is PEOPLE Tested?
We created the PEOPLE Tested seal of approval to help you find the very best products for your life. We use our unique methodology to test products in three labs across the country and with our network of home testers to determine their effectiveness, durability, ease of use, and so much more. Based on the results, we rate and recommend products so you can find the right one for your needs.
But we don’t stop there: We also regularly re-review the categories in which we’ve awarded the PEOPLE Tested seal of approval — because the best product of today might not be the best of tomorrow. And by the way, companies can never buy our recommendation: Their products must earn it, fair and square.
In short, PEOPLE Tested provides recommendations you can trust — every day, every purchase.
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Read the original article on People.