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Space Heaters - Expert Analysis and Advice

Best Space Heaters:

When the colder weather of winter comes blowing in, homeowners prepare for higher heating bills and try to cut back where they can to save money. Energy is getting more expensive than ever so space heaters have become an economical choice when trying to cut back on energy usage. There is really no reason to heat an entire house if you only spend time in a certain room or area of the house. Space heaters are efficient and consistent at heating small areas for much cheaper than it would take to run a furnace. Experts say you should stay away from the propane and kerosene fueled heaters since they can a fire hazard when used indoors. There is also the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning when using these types of heaters indoors. There are 3 major space heater types - convection (natural and fan forced) and electric radiant. Which type is best for your home? Keep reading below to find out.

Best Electric Heater:

The electric convection heaters are becoming the most popular models on the market with Honeywell and Delonghi leading the way. The natural air convection space heaters are rated the highest at heating a whole room and not just spot heating like the radiant models. Even the fan forced convection heaters score well for temperature control and noise levels. Safety remains a key issue with space heaters and each year 1000's of injuries and deaths are directly related to their use. Models that switch off when tipped over or ones that shutoff when the unit overheats are safe to purchase. Never leave a space heater on when unattended and always keep them at least 3 feet from objects like furniture. The electric convection (natural air) are quieter than the fan forced convection heaters which can run noisy. Space heaters with thermostats are the most efficient since you can set it and not have to keep turning it on or off to maintain your desired comfort zone. Look for a heater with multiple heat settings, but make sure they have a 1500 watt output rating. Keep in mind that space heaters only save you money on energy bills if you are willing to keep most of your house fairly cold and use the heater in a room or two where you are actually sitting. Some high priced models like the EdenPure Quartz Infrared 1000 at $400 make some pretty big claims that are not backed up per Consumer Reports on owners. Even other expensive space heaters like the Fujitronic TaiChi Bio-Flame ($130) and the Vornado EH1-0028-06 DVH Digital Vortex Heater ($150) get less than stellar reviews in head to head comparisons with other, lower priced models. The shapes of the space heaters vary widely as well with baseboard looking models, small towers, disc/fan shaped, and boxy heaters. Some heaters will oscillate to put out heat to multiple people sitting in the same room. Expect to spend around $40 to $80 for a good space heater that is safe and efficient. The top brands are Honeywell, DeLonghi, Pelonis, Vornado, Holmes, Lasko, Bionaire, Fujitronics, SoleusAir, and EdenPure. We found some excellent reviews from Good Housekeeping and Consumer Reports (CR) and several online owner reviews at Amazon.com and Epinions. CR did the most comprehensive testing we could find with 16 models in their survey comparing brands for output (watts), noise, temperature control, ease of use, safety, and other features. I was also able to talk with several homeowners in my community to see which style of space heaters they use. The feedback was excellent and we have put together a quick 'top picks' section below. Many space heaters are sold seasonally in stores like Home Depot, Lowes, Target and Sears. Keep your eye open for them in the offseason as prices are drastically reduced to get rid of inventory. Also, be sure to check with the Consumer Affairs website to see which models have been recalled as this can be a cause for concernt too. You can see the best selling space heaters online here.

RECOMMENDED - Heating your house doesn't make sense if you are usually in one room or area each night after work. A space heater will easily provide whole-room heating if you buy the right kind. The Honeywell Low Profile Convection Heater HZ-519 ($60) is very affordable and remains out of sight as it resembles those old baseboard heaters we grew up with. This Honeywell space heater is safe, quiet to operate, easy to use, and does a great job with temperature control. We really appreciate the safety features this unit offers with a tip-over switch and overheat protection shutoff function which makes it family safe. At 1500 watt output levels, the HZ-519 should be able to keep everyone in a room warm. You can find this heater online at Amazon.com or Comforthouse.com. Another good choice would be the DeLonghi HMP1500 Mica Panel Heater ($80) which is slightly more expensive than the Honeywell but just as quiet. The DeLonghi is a flat-panel heater and very lightweight. The HHP1500 is wall mountable which some reviewers note is important if you have smaller kids or pesky pets. Comes with 2 heat settings and does a very good job with temperature control. You can find this model online at Amazon.com.

Fan forced convection space heaters are much like their natural air counterparts, but they tend to run noisier since they have a fan forcing the hot air around. The Vornado Vortex at $150 is not a bad purchase since it offers everything you would want, but it received some durability questions online in customer forums for space heaters. The best selection would probably be the Pelonis Disc Furnace VHC-461($110) which offers a safe and reliable option to the Vornado. At $30, the Honeywell Mini Tower 360 Surround HZ-2200 has lots of features but consumers say this unit runs too loud. If you can put up with the noise, then this bargain priced space heater will save you lots of money.

For years I have used electric radiant heaters since I am usually the only one in the room and want direct heat on me. Radiant space heaters are excellent at warming up you, but not entire rooms. The Holmes Quartz Tower HQH319 ($60) will heat things up by using the quartz-tube elements in the tower. The two temperature settings of 750 and 1500 watts are sufficient and if anything it can make things too hot if you sit too close. Reviews on Amazon say great things about this heater - "sun-like warmth" and "best quartz heater money can buy". The Holmes space heater is louder than the whole-room convection heaters. You can find it online at Amazon or in Sears stores.

Top Selling Space Heaters:

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