As the weather gets colder, space heaters become more important than ever.
A good space heater warms a small or large room. Some people use space heaters in a small space – like a bedroom or office. Others use it for larger spaces – like a basement room or a cabin.
However you use a space heater, you have more options than ever. Today, you can buy effective space heaters at all different prices – from budget options to higher-end choices.
Struggling to decide which heater to buy? We want to help. Today, we’re ranking the best space heaters available from Amazon and other major marketplaces.
Ranking the Best Personal Space Heaters of 2021
After much deliberation, our editorial team chose the following personal heaters as the best space heaters available today.
LifeSmart 6 is one of the most popular space heaters on Amazon. Priced under $100 per unit, LifeSmart 6 isn’t the most stylish option on this list, but it certainly heats a room.
LifeSmart 6 looks more like an old tower PC than a sleek space heater. It features a square design with an LC display on the front. Under the basic design, however, you get a powerful space heater that uses infrared light to warm a room.
The space heater has other features we appreciate, including 3 heat settings, an eco-friendly 500 watt setting, a digital thermostat with remote, and a quiet scroll fan that circulates heat. There’s also a lifetime air filter on the unit, allowing you to enjoy cleaner and warmer air for the life of your unit. It might not be the most stylish or powerful space heater on this list, but it’s a reliable heater ideal for safely heating smaller spaces.
Dr. Infrared Heater DR-978
Dr. Infrared Heater’s DR-978 is another popular space heater on Amazon. And, like the LifeSmart 6 above, the DR-978 uses infrared to heat a room. Unlike the LifeSmart 6 and other infrared heaters, however, the DR-978 uses a dual heating system with both PTC heating and infrared heating, allowing the unit to output much higher heat than normal.
Other key features on the DR-978 include a large blower for pushing out larger air volume with low noise, multiple heat settings (low at 1,200W and high at 1,500W), a 12 hour timer, and a thermostat that goes from 50 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit. With no exposed heating elements, the DR-978 also has all of the safety features we expect from a mid-range device.
Some like the classic appearance of the DR-978, while others think it looks awkward. If you like a vintage or retro look and appreciate the reasonable price, then the Dr. Infrared Heater DR-978 may be the right choice for you.
AmazonBasics Infrared Quartz Heater
Amazon has built a reputation for its AmazonBasics lineup for offering high-quality products at a reasonable price. The AmazonBasics Infrared Quartz Tower Heater is no exception.
At $110, this space heater is available in two stylish colors, including brown or grey. You can also buy it in two designs, including the Tower Heater or Cabinet Style. Pick the Tower Heater for a more vertical design and the Cabinet Style for a more squarish design.
With 1,500 watts of infrared quartz heating capacity, the AmazonBasics Infrared Quartz Heater is ideal for small spaces, bedrooms, cabins, offices, and more. There’s a high/low heat setting, a fan-only mode, oscillator function, a 9 hour timer, energy saver mode, sleep mode, and overheat protection, among other features we appreciate in a good space heater. It also comes with a convenient remote control.
Dr. Infrared Heater Portable Space Heater
This is the second Dr. Infrared Heater on our list, after the DR-978 above. The Dr. Infrared Heater Portable Space Heater is one of the most popular options on Amazon. As of 2020, the space heater has 7,700+ reviews with an average rating of 4.5 stars out of 5, making it one of the best-rated options on our list.
And, with a 1,500 watt heater, the Dr. Infrared Heater Portable Space Heater can heat up a large room using its dual heating system with an infrared quartz tube and PTC system. We also appreciate the tip-over protection, automatic shut-off, and other safety features.
At 24 pounds, the Dr. Infrared Heater Portable Space Heater is one of the heftiest options on this list. It comes with rolling wheels allowing you to easily move it around a room or home. At 39 decibels on its lowest setting and with a temperature range of 50 to 85 degrees, the Dr. Infrared Heater Portable Space Heater is one of the best space heaters you can buy today.
LifeSmart 6 with Wood Cabinet
This is the second LifeSmart 6 unit on our list of the best space heaters. This LifeSmart 6, however, comes with a wood cabinet at a slightly higher price, giving you a much more stylish unit with the same heating capacity as the LifeSmart 6 above. At $137, it’s one of the pricier options on our list. However, the LifeSmart 6 with Wood Cabinet is fashionable, effective, and efficient.
If you like the appearance of a classic wood fireplace in your home, then you might appreciate the LifeSmart 6 with Wood Cabinet. Made from genuine wood, the unit features a grill on the front that makes it look like a glowing fireplace inside.
Like the LifeSmart 6 above, you can expect effective heating and a stylish design from the LifeSmart 6 with Wood Cabinet space heater.
Bimonk Oscillating Bathroom Space Heater
Bimonk’s Oscillating Bathroom Space Heater is one of the few major space heaters available with IP21 “waterproof” protection. This waterproof protection is slightly misleading: the unit is nowhere near waterproof, despite the fact that the Amazon listing says “waterproof.” Instead, the unit can survive a few drops of water without short-circuiting, which is why the company recommends using it in a bathroom.
The Bimonk Oscillating Bathroom Space Heater has three settings, and the unit starts to heat the room within 3 seconds of turning it on. With 750W and 1,500W modes, automatic turn-off, an easy-to-adjust thermostat, and other features, the Bimonk Oscillating Bathroom Space heater is a bargain at under $75 per unit. It’s not as large and powerful as some of the space heaters further up this list, but it’s ideal for smaller offices, bedrooms, and other spaces.
TaoTronics Space Heater
The TaoTronics Space heater is a dual ceramic and PTC heating system in a small frame. The system oscillates automatically, distributing warm air throughout a room.
Although the TaoTronics Space Heater isn’t powerful enough to compete with the top-ranked options on our list, it provides effective heating for smaller spaces, offices, bedrooms, and similar areas. It’s not designed to heat an entire cabin or basement: it’s designed for small areas. And, with a large handle on the top, it’s easy to carry the TaoTronics Space Heater between rooms as needed.
At under $70 per unit, the TaoTronics Space Heater is priced similar to other mid-range options listed here. It’s not the cheapest option you can buy, but it provides reasonable heating at a competitive price. TaoTronics is also one of the most reputable brands on this list, which helps push this space heater further up.
Techvilla Space Heater
Techvilla’s Space Heater uses a 1,500W PTC and ceramic heating system to heat a small or medium-sized space quickly. At $68 per unit, Techvilla’s Space Heater is one of the best-value options on this list.
Despite the reasonable price tag, the Techvilla Space Heater has features we see on higher-end units, including an LED digital thermostat, wide angle oscillation, maximum power output of 1,500W, extensive safety features, and a quiet design (under 50 decibels when running).
Overall, the Techvilla Space Heater is one of the best sub-$70 space heaters you can buy today. And, with a nearly perfect 4.8 star out of 5 rating on Amazon, it’s also the best-rated space heater on this list (although it has only 230+ reviews, fewer than others listed here).
Air Choice Space Heater with Remote
Air Choice’s Space Heater with Remote is similar to the Techvilla Space Heater above. At $70 per unit, the Air Choice Space Heater comes with a small, portable fan, automatic oscillation, temperature control, a remote control, and other features we see on higher-end units.
The system also has a timer that can be customized anywhere between 1 hour and 12 hours. With 120 degree oscillation and a huge grill and heater on the front, the Air Choice Space Heater with Remote is one of the larger units available today – especially at the sub-$70 price range.
With a large handle at the top, the Air Choice Space Heater is easy to take from room to room as needed. It also features a one-hand design, letting you easily control the unit without much effort. For all of these reasons and more, the Air Choice Space Heater is one of the best space heaters available today.
Blaux’s Heater is arguably the best-looking portable heater on this list, featuring a stylish and futuristic design that won’t look out of place wherever you place it – from your home to your office.
The Blaux Heater also has a feature we rarely see with other space heaters: an antimicrobial filter that kills bacteria and odors. You not only get warmer air – you also get cleaner air by running the Blaux Heater.
The Blaux Heater, like other units listed here, as convection ceramic heating technology for maximum energy efficiency and heating. It also has tip-over protection and other safety features. Overall, the Blaux Heater won’t heat a medium or large-sized room, but it’s ideal for small offices and bedrooms – especially if you’re willing to pay a premium price for better design.
EcoHeat S claims to be the world’s most complete portable heater fan. It’s one of the few space heaters on this list with three settings, including natural wind (10W), low heat level (512%), and high heat level (1,200W). The goal of EcoHeat S is to heat up any space quickly while still being energy efficient.
EcoHeat S has many of the same features we like to see on competing space heaters – like customizable settings, automatic oscillation, and safety features. There’s also a handle for easy portability, an LCD display for easy controls, and a stylish design to make EcoHeat S look right in any room or setting.
The space heater works like most other budget space heaters on this list, using a ceramic heating plate to efficiently heat any room.
HeatBuddy is a portable personal heater that aims to keep you warm all winter long. The space heater uses an energy efficient, 400 watt system to heat rooms up to 250 square feet – enough to comfortably heat a medium or large bedroom or office.
HeatBuddy is designed to be as easy to use as possible. Just plug it into a wall outlet, and it starts to warm the air immediately. The compact design, 12-hour timer, automatic shut-off, digital temperature display, two-speed design, and other features are also useful regardless of your heating needs.
The main drawback of HeatBuddy is the price. At $90 per unit and with a limited warranty and refund policy, HeatBuddy is more expensive than competing space heaters with similar features and heating capacity. HeatBuddy is also one of the least aesthetically-pleasing space heaters on this list, and it lacks the sleek and modern appearance of competing units. If you don’t mind the high price or ugly design, however, or if you can take advantage of bulk discounts, then HeatBuddy could be the right option for you.
How We Ranked
We weighed different characteristics in different ways. Based on the following metrics, our editorial team ranked the best space heaters above:
Heating Capacity: Some space heaters simply heat a home better than others – even at similar levels of electricity consumption. Some distribute the air more efficiently. Others heat up more rapidly. You’re buying a space heater for effective heating, and that’s why we ranked the best space heaters based on their heating capacity.
Heating Efficiency: You might buy the world’s most effective space heater – but the space heater adds $500 to your electricity bill every month. The best space heaters efficiently heat your home, allowing you to enjoy a warmer home without a high electricity bill.
Ease of Use: Some space heaters have a one-button design, making them ridiculously easy to use. Others have complicated timers, poorly-designed interfaces, and other UIs that make them difficult to use.
Transparency & Measurements: Some space heaters disclose exactly how large of a room they can heat. Many space heaters also disclose the specific wattage or electricity consumption. Other space heaters are vague with this information: they don’t want you to know how large of a room they can heat, because they’re so much weaker than competing space heaters. We considered transparency and measurements in our space heater rankings.
UL Certification: Underwriters Laboratories is a non-profit organization that certifies space heaters and other consumer products. UL certification is crucial for separating safe and unsafe space heaters.
Automatic Oscillation: There’s a big difference between space heaters that automatically oscillate – and space heaters that stay in one spot. Some of the cheaper space heaters don’t oscillate, which means they only blow heat in one direction. Even in smaller spaces, oscillation is useful, so we preferred space heaters with automatic oscillation over those without it.
Customizability & Settings: Many space heaters have a timer, allowing you to schedule heating for certain times of day. If you want your heater to heat to 72 during the day, for example, and then 66 at night, then you can customize this setting using your heater. Many heaters also have multiple speeds, letting you choose between a low or high speed based on your needs. People have different heating needs, so we appreciated space heaters with multiple customization options and settings.
Advanced Features: Modern space heaters have Bluetooth, mobile apps, and other advanced features. While these features aren’t useful to everyone, we considered advanced features when they significantly added to the convenience, ease of use, or heating ability of the space heater.
Safety Features: Thousands of people have lost homes due to space heaters. Today, most space heaters have tip-over protection, automatic shut-off, flat surface detection, and other safety features. We preferred space heaters with safety features to protect consumers, as it’s literally a life or death concern for you and your family.
Benefits of a Space Heater
The benefits of a space heater are obvious: a good space heater warms an area – like a bedroom, office, or an entire home.
Some people use space heaters because they don’t have central heating. Others have central heating, but they spend most of their time in a single room, so they use space heaters for convenience.
Others use space heaters to save money. Instead of heating an entire home, for example, you might just heat your bedroom and office.
Space heaters are safer than ever. Today, most space heaters have tip-over protection, which means they automatically shut off when bumped. If a pet knocks over your space heater in the middle of the night, then you won’t burn your house down: the space heater turns off immediately to reduce the risk of a fire.
Many space heaters also have flat surface detection. The space heater will only run when positioned vertically. You cannot run it on a diagonal surface where it could tip-over, for example.
Other space heaters have automatic shut-offs, which means they turn off after reaching a certain heat.
Modern space heaters have many advanced features.
Some space heaters have Bluetooth, for example, allowing you to easily control heat using your smartphone. Some even come with mobile apps, letting you customize settings and timing from your phone.
Many space heaters also have remote controls. These basic remote controls let you control heat, fan speed, and other settings without getting off the couch.
Even cheap space heaters have timer functions. You can set your space heater to a certain schedule, choosing to heat during the day while setting a cooler temperature at night. When setup correctly, you may never have to touch your space heater again – just plug it in and let it run.
Space heaters have also made leaps and improvements in terms of efficiency. Old space heaters were horribly inefficient, with people spending hundreds of dollars per month on added electricity costs just to heat one room. Today, even cheaper space heaters are more energy efficient, allowing you to easily heat a home without spending a fortune.
What’s the secret to modern space heaters? Many use ceramic heating technology, where electricity heats a ceramic plate before distributing warm air around the space heater. It’s a cheap, basic, and efficient technology superior to older space heaters.
Some space heaters require an electrical outlet and constant electric supply. Other space heaters, however, have a small battery, allowing you to carry them anywhere.
Even if you’re outside, however, any space heater works with an extension cord. If you’re camping outside, for example, you can run an extension cord outside your tent, using a space heater to warm your tent. Others use space heaters for garages, decks, patios, and other outdoor settings. Some manufacturers recommend against using extension cords for safety reasons, so be sure to check the instruction manual.
Whether heating a home or office, a bedroom or an entire room, modern space heaters are easier to use than ever.
Where to Use a Space Heater
You can use space heaters anywhere. Some of the most popular places to use a space heater include:
Outdoors, like for decks, patios, backyards, and camping
Offices, bedrooms, dorm rooms, and other small spaces that may need extra heating
Cabins, small homes, and other large indoor spaces without central heating
Larger rooms and homes with central heating, but where you want to save money by only heating one or two rooms
Most space heaters are extremely portable. Even larger space heaters have handles. You can easily carry a space heater from your office to your living room to your bedroom throughout the day, for example, to enjoy whole-home heating without the high electricity bill.
FAQs About Space Heaters
Q: What is a space heater?
A: A space heater is a portable device designed to warm a small or medium-sized space.
Q: What’s the best space heater available today?
A: Any of the top-ranked space heaters on our list are among the best space heaters available today. Amazon, Walmart, and other major retailers all sell highly-effective space heaters at a reasonable rate.
Q: What’s the difference between a space heater and a personal heater?
A: Space heaters and personal heaters are the same thing. The terms are used interchangeably.
Q: How do space heaters work?
A: Most space heaters use ceramic convection technology or PTC heating systems to warm the air. Then, they use fans to distribute warm air throughout a space. Some space heaters oscillate (spin left and right). Others blow air in one direction.
Q: What is PTC heating?
A: Positive temperature coefficient (PTC) heating involves heating specialized heating discs with electricity, then distributing warm air throughout the space. Many space heaters use PTC heating to warm a space.
Q: What is ceramic convection heating?
A: Ceramic convection heating is a heating technology where space heaters use electricity to heat ceramic discs, then spread the warm air throughout a space using fans or other systems.
Q: Are space heaters a waste of money or electricity?
A: If you’re using a space heater to constantly heat a large space, then you could be wasting money or electricity. Most space heaters are not designed to heat an entire home, for example. However, they can be very effective when heating a bedroom, office, or other small space
Q: Are space heaters good for a garage?
A: Many people use space heaters to heat garages, enclosed patios, sheds, and other outdoor spaces. They work well in areas without central heating – especially if the area is closed off or insulated.
Q: Are space heaters safe?
A: Modern space heaters have tip-over protection, automatic shut-offs, and other features to enhance safety. Decades ago, space heaters were responsible for countless house fires. Today, most space heaters have extensive safety features by design.
Q: How do I choose the right type of space heater?
A: Some space heaters are designed for small or medium-sized spaces, while others are designed for larger spaces. Choose a higher powered space heater (1,200W or higher) for medium and larger spaces, or choose a well-rated low-power option for offices and bedrooms.
Q: Which features should I look for in a space heater?
A: Some space heaters have a one-button design and zero customization options. Others have extensive customization options, remote controls, and other features. Depending on how you use your space heater, you can choose the right one for your unique needs.
Q: What’s the difference between a radiant and convection heater?
A: A radiant heater emits heat directly at you. A convection heater heats the air around you. If you want to warm an area occupied by several people, then you want a convection heater. If you are just using a heater to warm yourself – say, when sitting at your desk – then you can use a radiant heater. A radiant heater can warm you up without warming the entire room, which could make the unit more energy efficient.
Q: Can I use an extension cord with my space heater?
A: Yes, you can use an extension cord with any space heater. However, most manufacturers do not recommend using extension cords with space heaters due to safety risks.
Q: How do I make my space heater as safe as possible?
A: To keep your space heater area safe, keep children away from the unit, keep the space clear of any flammable items (like curtains), never leave a space heater unattended, buy a space heater with additional safety features, and only run the heater on flat surfaces.
Q: Are space heaters more energy efficient than central heating or HVAC systems?
A: Generally, space heaters are less energy efficient than HVAC systems or central heating systems. However, if you only need to heat one or two rooms in your home, then you might ultimately spend less on electricity with a space heater than by running your entire HVAC system.
Q: What is a conductive space heater?
A: A conductive space heater is a space heater that produces heat via heating elements. Electric space heaters are conductive.
Q: Why does my space heater smell funny?
A: A space heater may smell funny after a few days or weeks without use. Dust and other particles fall on the space heater over time, creating a burning smell when you turn the heater on.
Space heaters can heat a bedroom, office, or other small space. Today, many space heaters can effectively heat medium or even large-sized spaces.
As the weather gets colder, space heaters sell out quickly. Buy one of the space heaters listed above today and enjoy one of the best-rated space heaters available today.