Best Space Heater Review – Top 5 Hottest List for Jan. 2020 with Buying Guide
Gas and electricity prices seem to increase every year, driving heating bills through the roof. Solar is a complicated solution to the problem, and it’s not even a possibility unless you own your own home.
Often, the best – and most budget-friendly – way to heat your home or apartment is to supplement your central heating system with space heaters. After all, there’s no sense spending a fortune to heat the entire house at night when you can turn the thermostat way down and turn on a space heater in your bedroom.
Space heater technology has come a long way since the days of inefficient and ugly plug-in mini-radiators that sat low to the ground. Here’s what you need to know about today’s space heaters, in order to make the right choice for your living spaces.
Heating Technology – Convection, Radiation, and Micathermic
Space heater models fall into three general groups, differentiated by the way they generate heat: radiant, convection and micathermic.
Electric radiant heaters are the old-fashioned type we mentioned earlier. They work by bringing their heat source to a very high temperature (just as in an ordinary toaster or oven) and then using a reflector to focus the heat in a particular direction.
Since they’re relatively simple devices, small radiant heaters usually aren’t a good choice to heat an entire room since they don’t circulate heat – they just direct it at a limited area. That makes them an energy-efficient option for heating an office desk and chair, or the area where you sprawl out to watch TV, but that’s about it. Many older models are also potentially dangerous because of their exposed heating elements.
There are two kinds of radiant space heaters, those which use heating elements (usually ceramic) and more modern models which generate heat with infrared quartz light bulbs. They each provide the same type of localized heat. Mini-radiators filled with oil are also considered to be radiant heaters.
There are a few good reasons why some opt for radiant heaters. They heat up quickly and are quieter than the alternatives we’ll discuss shortly. And since they don’t circulate air they also don’t circulate allergens, making them the number-one choice for many allergy sufferers.
Convection heaters operate by circulating air across their heating elements and then using either natural airflow or a fan to send the warmed air out into the room. The warm air rises, forcing the cold air downwards where it can be heated by the unit. This creates continuous circulation of warm air throughout the room; that’s why people often say that radiant models only heat people, while convection units heat rooms.
Most of today’s convection heaters rely on internal ceramic plates and aluminum baffles to generate heat and don’t have exposed elements, so they are only warm to the touch, not hot. They can take some time to initially heat up a room because they rely on air flow rather than direct, radiated heat, but these models do a much better job of heating large spaces.
Convection models can be inefficient and even ineffective if a room is poorly insulated, as the warm air will simply escape. They’re the most popular type of space heater, though, because in most cases they’re the best way to keep a room nice and toasty.
Micathermic heaters combine convection and radiant heat, typically in an 80%/20% ratio. They provide a quick burst of radiant heat while the convection system slowly warms up the room; these units are often mounted on the wall where the fact that they’re hot to the touch doesn’t endanger children or pets.
Factors to Consider When Buying a Space Heater
Key factors to consider when deciding which space heater is right for you are; the size of the room (or rooms) it will be used in, noise output, portability (storage) and built-in safety functions.
Space Heaters and Room Size
Needless to say, you’ll need more power to heat a room as its size increases. In general, expect that you’ll need 10 watts for every square foot that you want to heat. For example, you should look for a model with a capacity of 1000 watts to heat a 100-square foot room.
Other factors come into play as well; if a room isn’t well-insulated or contains a lot of furniture, you’ll need extra power to compensate.
A space heater isn’t best utilized as the only heat source in a room. Instead, it is intended to supplement a central heating system and raise the area’s temperature by a few degrees, allowing you to save money and energy by turning your home’s thermostat to a lower setting. If you’re planning to use your space heater as a replacement for traditional heating, however, you’ll need to buy a unit with even more power than 10 watts per square foot.
Space heaters with fans can be somewhat noisy. They won’t be annoyingly loud – unless you’re using them in the bedroom while trying to sleep, or in the living room while watching TV. In that case, a micathermic or radiant heater, or a convection heater without a fan, would be your best choice.
Simple radiant space heaters won’t offer much in the way of extra features. As you move up in price range or opt for a convection or micathermic heater, though, you’ll be able to buy units with digital thermostats, timers, multiple fan settings, oscillating functions to better disperse heat, and remote controls. In most cases, the importance of these extra goodies will depend on how much you’ll be depending on your space heater and how much use it will see.
Portability and Safety
All of the space heaters on Groom+Style’s list are portable and relatively lightweight, so they can easily be moved around the house. However, if you have younger curious children or pets you should look for a heater with that will automatically turn the device off if knocked over, and be wary of radiant heaters which could present a burn hazard.
Here’s Groom+Style’s list of the top 5 best space heaters.
This is a relatively-small convection space heater, (less than a foot in width, length and height) that packs a big punch at a very reasonable price.
It uses a very quiet oscillating fan and proprietary blade design to effectively circulate the room’s air across the ceramic heating elements and out into the open, heating a complete room more evenly and quickly than any of the competitors that Groom+Style’s review team has checked out.
There is a graduated thermostat dial and are three power settings on the MVH, with the lowest running at 750 watts and the highest at 1500 watts, more than enough power to comfortably heat almost any moderately-sized room in your home but letting you dial down your power consumption if desired.
We also like this unit because it’s one of the safest space heaters you’ll find. It uses plastic instead of metal for the grill over its heating elements, so there’s no chance that a child or pet could be burned. It also has a tip-protection feature that shuts off the heater if it’s tipped over, and an internal shutoff that prevents overheating in the event of an air blockage.
Its small size also lets you place it almost anywhere in the room, and still stay nice and toasty.
The Vornado MVH Vortex is a lot of space heater for the cost, with more control and better safety features than the other whole-room convection heaters on the market.
Facts and figures for the Vornado MVH Whole Room Vortex Heater:
SUMMARY: For the person who wants a small but powerful convection space heater that can handle almost any normal-sized room.
PRO: Three power settings, adjustable thermostat, very quiet and effective, reasonable price, 5-year warranty.
CON: No fan-only setting, not powerful enough for extremely large rooms.
2. Lasko 754200 Ceramic Heater with Adjustable Thermostat
The Lasko 754200 Ceramic Heater is a sleek little machine that does a nice job in smaller rooms, at a smaller price.
This convection space heater has two heat power settings, 900 watts and 1500 watts, but it’s smaller than the Vornado and doesn’t circulate hot air as efficiently; that’s why Groom+Style recommends it only for small office spaces, bedrooms, and bathrooms with room sizes of 100 square feet or less.
This model heats up quickly and is best used to heat areas close to the unit. It’s not whisper-quiet, but the fan noise is more than acceptable. There is a dial to adjust the thermostat as well as the two power settings, so it’s easy to customize the room’s warmth level to your preferences. There is a fan-only setting, too.
The Lasko’s small size makes it extremely portable and will fit in out-of-the-way corners if you choose. The front of this heater does get quite hot so it should be kept away from small children, but there’s a tightly-woven grill covering the elements so they can’t stick their fingers inside and get into real trouble.
There’s an automatic switch-off feature which prevents the 754200 from overheating.
For the price, this Lasko model is a bargain – and it still compares favorably with higher-priced space heaters as long as you’re not trying to keep a large room warm.
More details on the Lasko 754200 Ceramic Heater with Adjustable Thermostat:
SUMMARY: For the person who wants an inexpensive convection space heater that pumps out a lot of heat from a small machine.
PRO: 1500 watt high power settings, adjustable thermostat, inexpensive, fan-only capability.
CON: Directs heat straight out instead of around a room, won’t heat large rooms well, gets hot to the touch.
Here is the only space heater on our list that uses infrared quartz tubes as a heat source, and it does a fabulous job of warming up even large spaces.
Don’t let the 1500 watt power rating fool you into thinking it’s going to produce the same amount of heat as our first two models; the infrared power source and high-efficiency fan in this monster generate and circulate a lot of heat, making it our choice for use in large rooms.
You’ll also find additional features on the Dr. Infrared, like a remote control, a 12-hour auto-shutoff feature, and most importantly, the high-pressure blower that’s extremely quiet but distributes the warm air throughout the room quickly.
There are two power settings and an electronic thermostat, plus overheat and tip-over protection safety features, but the front grate does get extremely hot.
The Dr. Infrared space heater is nearly twice the size of the Vornado and Lasko, weighs a great deal more than either of them, and costs a lot more. But it’s a terrific choice for heating large spaces if you don’t mind the size and price.
Looking closer at the Dr. Infrared Portable Space Heater:
SUMMARY: For the person who wants a larger space heater that can handle larger spaces.
PRO: Very effective fan distributes warm air extremely well, can heat big rooms, adjustable thermostat, very quiet.
CON: Expensive, large, front of unit gets quite hot.
Number 4 on our list is an oil filled portable radiator that’s the only radiant space heater on our list.
It emits heat slowly and steadily to warm up a large room. The oil in the radiator is permanently sealed and does not need refilling. The DeLonghi TRD40615T is ideal for larger spaces like the living room or master bedroom where you would want to maintain steady temperatures while keeping noise levels low.
This heater won’t get to temperature as quickly or deliver heat as evenly as ceramic or infrared models, because it takes time for the oil to heat up. However, it will steadily blow warmer and warmer air until it reaches the set temperature, at which point it can automatically turn itself off with the help of a built-in thermostat and timer.
This is a heavy and sturdy unit and unlike most oil-filled models, it doesn’t get overly hot to the touch. Its construction, however, allows it to hold the heat a much longer time than a standard, small convection space heater, so it’s a good choice for medium-to-large sized rooms that require constant warming. It comes with patented wheels that make moving this somewhat-heavy unit from room to room.
The DeLonghi has an adjustable thermostat and three heat settings, as well as a safety control which shuts the device off if it overheats. There’s also a 24-hour programmable feature that allows you to set the best times for the space heater to turn on and off automatically.
The TRD40615T radiant heater looks and acts somewhat like a radiator, but while it’s large, it’s not bad-looking. It’s also a good source of constant heat for rooms up to 250 square feet, at a reasonable price.
More info on theDeLonghi TRD40615T Full Room Radiant Heater:
SUMMARY: For the person who wants a maintenance-free radiant space heater that can accommodate a large room.
PRO: Long-lasting heat generation, energy-efficient, 24-hour timer, completely quiet.
CON: Slow to heat up, no fan, no remote control.
Groom+Style’s final pick is the DeLonghi HMP1500 Mica heater – this is a micathermic model which uses a combination ofconvection and radiant heat generation. This means the heater can provide an instant source of warmth (radiation) while slowly but efficiently warming up the room (convection).
This panel heater is sleek and stylish, very efficient and a good value for the money; although more expensive than smaller convection-only models, it’s rated to heat rooms as large as 300 square feet.
The panel can be wall mounted or you can keep it on the wheels provided with the base unit. If you decide to keep it portable it’s fairly lightweight at 10 pounds.
It has a power capacity of 750 to 1500W and an adjustable thermostat, and has safety features like overheating protection and auto-tip shut-off. It’s sleek and attractive, too.
The HMP1500 is a nice choice for those who want a permanently-mounted “extra” heat source, although it’s convenient enough to be taken anywhere in the house as desired.
More info on the DeLonghi HMP1500 Mica Panel Heater:
SUMMARY: For the person who wants an efficient space heater that can be mounted on the wall or transported throughout the house.
PRO: Micathermic model that delivers initial warmth and then more consistent heat, ideal for large rooms, attractive.
CON: Unit can get hot, large size, no fan, no remote control.
Wrapping It up and Safety Pointers for Space Heaters
As mentioned earlier space heaters are ideally used to supplement the central heating system in your house and not to be used as a primary source. You need to make sure the space heater you opt for is appropriate for the size of the room.
These are great devices that can provide much-needed warmth, however they need to be used sensibly – please adhere to these safety tips below.
That is it for our updated list of the top 5 best space heaters for Jan. 2020 – if you are curious about our choices from previous years then continue reading.
Lasko 755320 Ceramic Tower Heater with Digital Display and Remote Control
The next in our list is a tall oscillating tower heater – the Lasko 755320 Ceramic Tower Heater with Digital Display and Remote Control will deliver heat evenly to larger rooms than the Lasko 754200. It is packed with 1500 watts of power, a cool digital display and push-button controls. The wide angle of oscillation helps it to spread the heat evenly throughout the room while minimizing hot and cold spots, while maximizing comfort.
The oscillating feature is a big plus for those who are part of a family as the heat can be shared – rather than only the person in front of the heater benefiting from the heat.
It has a programmable thermostat feature where you could set the desired temperature for the room. Normally heaters come with low/high settings where you have very little to choose from. But with the thermostat feature, the heater toggles between on and off states to keep the room at the desired temperature.
It is also packed with a timer option that can be set for up to 8 hours. So for example, you can set the thermostat to a comfortable temperature and instruct the timer to operate for the stipulated number of hours and peacefully go to bed. The device will then automatically switch off after the timer runs out so that you don’t have to wake up to manually turn it off. It also has a remote control for easy operation.
One drawback might be that it does not have a fan only option – but other than that this is a fully featured space heater at a great price.
Regal Electric Fireplace
The compact, traditionally curved, stunning design of this fire place is sure to be an eye-catcher in your living room. If your living room is big or has high ceilings and you tend to get cold spots, then this heater could be an elegant solution.
The Regal Electric Fireplace can even be used with the lights on without heating. The synthesized flame is so realistic that it gives you the feeling of sitting in front of a traditional fireplace. The whole unit has a mesh enclosure and is totally safe for children and pets – the outside stays cool to the touch even when in operation. It is light weight and has a clever design which keeps things in place if it is transported.
The Regal electric space heater comes with a 1500W power capacity and is capable of heating an area of about 400sqft. Although it does not come with an oscillator, the heat is forced out by a very effective and quiet fan that is attached to the underside of the device, enabling the heat to be evenly distributed throughout the entire room.
As the fan will be blowing out hot air near the ground, if you are using this heater in a carpeted room (and it is not going to be fixed to a wall), Groom+Style would recommend that you sit the heater on a wooden plank or other insulator material. In theory, there is no fire risk, but you probably don’t want to chance it.