Projects & Improvements

This $28 Amazon Item Is My Secret to Surviving Winter

updated Apr 30, 2019
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image
(Image credit: Esteban Cortez)

I used to be one of those people that always preferred being cold to being hot. “You can always put on more clothes,” I’d insist, “but there’s only so much you can take off.”

Then a few things happened, one of which was that I developed an auto-immune condition called Raynaud’s. As many as one in 10 people have this issue, which causes fingers and toes to overreact to cold, losing blood and turning white-blue. (Yes, it’s as painful as it sounds.) Now I’m a card-carrying member of the “I hate being cold” contingent.

Most homes have pockets of cold, including our 1890 pile of bricks, and, though we’ve made inroads against the elements (with spray foam insulation and a new roof), it’s still a behemoth that we simply can’t afford to actually ever make really warm all over.

Which brings me to my wintertime BFF: the space heater.

When we moved into the house, all the neighbors warned me of steep utility bills, so I was terrified to turn up the heat much past 60 degrees that first winter—even though the drafts were absolutely brutal, and the hardwood floor felt like an ice skating rink. I relied on two portable space heaters to get me through.

The first is a little ceramic space heater that I use in the bathroom. There’s no waiting period for it to heat up, so it quickly blows hot air into the frigid bathroom—a welcome thing when you stripping down to get into the shower in the middle of winter. It’s small enough, and stays cool to the touch, so you can easily pick it up and move it around to other parts of the house, as needed. If you live in an apartment, and just need a little boost of hot air—or, at the very least, to keep your feet toasty while you’re on the couch—it’s a great option.

If you want something a little more powerful, meet the DeLonghi Portable Oil-Filled Radiator. I first learned of this little tank’s powers sleeping in my unheated third floor studio (in a hoodie and gloves buried under piles of blankets and still freezing). The first night I went to bed, and found the room—well, if not blazing hot—at least a very livable temperature, I was sold. This guy puts out a slow and steady heat, so it’s the kind of thing to just keep on all the time to warm an entire good-sized room. I also sometimes park my rolling heater right next to my work space in the kitchen or dining room, and stay as close as possible to its warm glow all day.

Winter is here, but this year I’m prepared!