How to Pick the Best Space Heater For Your Heating Needs

ConsumerSearch

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It's winter — that means you're probably piling on your blankets and turning up the thermostat. But if you're looking to reduce energy bills and heat specific areas of your home, consider a space heater. ConsumerSearch recently complied a great space heater report — here are their tips on how to select a space heater, and their top four picks:

ConsumerSearch pulled from great review sources like Consumer Reports, Good Housekeeping and This Old House, as well as user reviews from sites like Amazon.com.

Types of heaters

Radiant Space Heaters
Advantages: Good for spot heating, quick heating; most efficient for short periods; quiet
Disadvantages: Not good at heating rooms; heat dissipates quickly; orange glow is distracting and/or annoying to some

Convection Space Heaters
Advantages: Best for heating rooms; variety of shapes and price ranges; some have fans
Disadvantages: Models without fans are slow to heat; models with fans can be noisy; can be expensive

Questions to ask yourself before you buy:

  • What kind of heating do I need?
    Specifically, are you looking for a heater that will heat a room (like a convection space heater) or are you more looking for a personal heater that will just warm you up (in which case a radiant space heater might work best)?
  • How safe do I need this space heater to be?
    Obviously, all space heaters should be relatively safe to use before buying, but parents in particular might want to consider other safety issues before purchasing a heater, like considering how hot the materials get and whether materials are protected from curious kids. Also look for tip-over sensors and an overheat cut-off.
  • How much noise can I handle?
    Some folks find the ambient noise of a heater to be soothing, others find it annoying. Know which camp you're in before you choose a heater type to purchase.
  • Do I care if it looks good?
    Chances are if you're reading a design website you care about aesthetics, and yes, if you're looking for a space heater for a public space in your home and happen to entertain a lot, you might want to spend a little extra dough on models that also sport sleek design. But if you know you'll be the only one seeing it or have a spot you can stow it out of sight when guests come over, consider saving some money.
  • What's my budget?
    If this is a temporary solution or you're not sure how long you might need a space heater, consider budget options that still rate highly. But if you know this is a tool you'll be using to keep your home warm for years to come, you should take that into consideration and invest in a high-quality one.

4 ConsumerSearch top picks:

  1. Lasko 754200 Ceramic Heater with Adjustable Thermostat, (Around $25).
    It heats well for the price, and its small size would work great in small spaces. It doesn't have a tip-over sensor and some users complain that it's a bit too loud.

  2. DeLonghi TRD0715T Oil-Filled Radiator, (Around $85).
    Consistent heat output and quiet operation. Performs reasonably well in comparative tests, scoring excellent ratings for temperature control and noise. Users agree, saying the DeLonghi radiator runs quietly and has a convenient programmable timer. Like most radiators, it does take awhile to heat a room.

  3. Vornado TVH500 Whole Room Vortex Heater, (Around $155).
    Good for warming a person that's seated next to it, this heater has been reported to do well at warming rooms, too. It has good safety features and isn't very loud, but some users have complained that the heat distribution is uneven.

  4. Honeywell MyEnergySmart Infared Whole Room Heater (Around $180).
    With lots of safety features, this heater is efficient at heating small spots well, but doesn't exactly scream high design. But, it what it lacks in looks it makes up for in convience, offering lots of function and even a remote control.

See more top picks here.

*Updated from a post originally published 1.9.2012 - AB

(Image credits: Lasko 754200 Ceramic Heater with Adjustable Thermostat via Bootic)