The best energy-efficient space heaters to keep you warm in December 2020

Do you have chilly spots in your home? With more people working from home, many find that previously little-used spaces now in use aren’t as warm as the rest of the house. A new energy-efficient space heater could be the best solution for an unusually cold space in an otherwise comfortable building. Even if your smart thermostat was the head of the class, you can remedy cold spots quickly with an energy-efficient space heater. If you remember cold days last winter when you could have used a space heater, now’s also an excellent time to take advantage of off-season sales when manufacturers’ inventory is full.

Here are our top picks for energy-efficient space heaters:


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Vornado AVH2 Plus Whole Room Heater with Automatic Climate Control

$87 $90
The AVH2 has a patented air oscillating technology that ensures warm air will quickly and evenly circulate around the room. It boasts two heat settings to suit the size of room it's in.
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Honeywell 360 Degree Surround Heater, HHF360V, Black

$32 $40
The Honeywell 360 Degree Surround Heater has a thermostat with two heat settings and manual controls. Safety features include a tip-over switch, overheating protection, and a Cool Touch housing.
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Lasko 751320 Ceramic Tower Space Heater with Remote Control

$50 $65
The space-saving heater has as a built-in timer and oscillation settings with remote control and heats up to 300 square feet.
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PELONIS Portable 1500W Vertical and Horizontal Ceramic Tower Space Heater

$56 $70
Use the programmable Pellonis ceramic tower space heater either horizontally or vertically, controlled by a remote. 1500 watts with 24-hour time, and overheating protection.
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Lasko Oscillating Electric Ceramic Space Heater with Remote Control

$58 $70
This Lasko unit easily blends into any room. It may be small but it can pump out over 1,500 watts of heat. The unit also oscillates, guaranteeing heat will spread around the room efficiently.
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Costway 1500W Electric Oil Filled Radiator Space Heater

$60 $100
With four wheels and a handle, the Costway space heater is easy to move where needed. Three power settings let you find your perfect comfort level.
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Honeywell HCE200W UberHeat Ceramic Heater

$33 $40
This Honeywell offers 1,500 watts of heat. Fortunately, it also has both a high and low setting so you can get toasty and conserve energy as well.
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Lasko 755320 Ceramic Space Heater

$59 $70
This ceramic space heater uses an oscillating fan to distribute heat throughout the room. The 1,500-watt ceramic heating element has an adjustable thermostat with a digital display.
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Dr. Infrared Heater Portable Space Heater, 1500-Watt

$109 $250
This space heater smartly uses an infrared quartz tube to heat objects that are directly in front of it, while it relies on a PTC heating element to warm the surrounding air.
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BLACK+DECKER Energy Saving Function Electronic Heater

$31 $45
Portable 1500-watt Black + Decker space heater with three heat settings. Compact size and carrying handle add to portability. LEd display with digital control settings.
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NewAir Portable Ceramic Tower Heater

$71 $120
Is your home getting chilly? Let this ceramic heater warm up your space. It has a wide-angle oscillating fan that distributes heat equally, plus it runs quietly.
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AeroHome 1500W / 750W Ceramic Space Heater

$35 $49
The AeroHome Ceramic Space Heater has three settings: 1,500-watts, 750-watts, and Fan. Lightweight at just 3.5 pounds, the AeroHome has a convenient carrying handle. ETL-certified for indoor use.
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Garage Heater - Space Heater for Indoor Use

$30 $60
The Air Choice 1500-watt electric Garage Heater has an adjustable thermostat, plus tip-over and overheating protection.

How to Choose a Space Heater

Electric heaters are less efficient but typically safer and more versatile than petroleum-fueled models. Electric heaters can be further subdivided into convection heaters, radiant or infrared heaters, ceramic heaters, and panel heaters (also called micathermic heaters).

Convection heaters are generally the most energy-efficient electric heaters, especially for large, enclosed spaces. Convection heat works by warming the surrounding air. And though it can take a little while for a room to heat up, the warmth will linger even after you turn off the device.

Radiant or infrared heaters direct heat at specific people (or objects). They warm up rather quickly, but the hot air dissipates just as fast the minute you turn off the heater.

Ceramic heaters circulate air while focusing the heat where it’s most needed. And they can remain cool to the touch.

Finally, you can also purchase panel (or micathermic) heaters which combine both radiant and convection technology. These appliances often heat up rapidly and distribute warm air throughout the room.

Other factors to consider

Heat distribution — The best energy-efficient heaters distribute hot air around the room quickly and evenly. This means that they don’t just provide warmth to whichever people or objects are directly in front of them. They are designed to have a wider distribution and push air farther away. Space heaters made with oscillation systems are especially adept at even heat distribution, and since they are relatively fast at heating rooms, you don’t have to use them for as long a time.

Timers — Timers are a great way to conserve energy. You can set specific times/parameters for when your heater turns on and off to prevent running the heater unnecessarily.

Thermostats — Most energy-efficient space heaters have easy-to-use thermostats, so you don’t expend additional energy.

Programming capabilities — Some of the more high-tech heaters on the market are programmable so you can set temperatures for different times of the day. A handful of space heaters are smart devices you can control them via your phone.

Automatic shutoff — You don’t want a space heater to run indefinitely. Aside from being a safety risk, that is simply not efficient or cost-effective. The best heaters shut off automatically once they’ve been running for a while.

Overheating safety/kill switch — Overheating protection features cut power if your heater gets too hot. That way, you don’t have to worry about damaging electric circuits or starting a fire.

Portability — Portable space heaters, like patio heaters and garage heaters, can reduce the number of appliances you need. Many people only need one good device that’s capable of being moved from room to room. Be on the lookout for lightweight heaters equipped with handles or casters.

Room size — Select a space heater with power appropriate for the size of the room in which you will use it. The higher the heat output, the more energy used. A small space may require only 750 watts of power, while a larger area might need 1,500 watts. Choose a heater that provides enough warmth for the square footage and nothing more.

Fan-only option — Space heaters with fan-only options can be used as fans in warmer weather.

Size of heater — Size matters. Many people want relatively compact space heaters so they are easier to move and store and relatively unobtrusive whenever you use them.

Noise — Noise is another factor to consider. While most space heaters are relatively quiet, there is a range. Some might whir or click or hum. Make sure you find a heater that’s as quiet as possible or emits a white noise that you know you’ll be able to tolerate.

Intuitive Controls — As with any piece of technology, look for a space heater with simple controls. You don’t want to accidentally set your heater to the highest temperature possible and then not know how to adjust accordingly.

Safety matters, too

We want to mention safety issues. There are risks involved when space heaters are misused; they can lead to everything from burns to house fires.

    • Avoid leaving the heater running in unattended rooms.
    • Don’t leave a space heater running overnight while you’re sleeping.
    • Don’t place space heaters on a rug or near any object that’s combustible or flammable.
    • Space heaters should not be used with extension cords or power strips and avoid using your heater near anything wet.
    • Look for space heaters with a kill switch; these machines automatically turn off should they ever accidentally tip over.
    • Look for a space heater with a protective housing that remains relatively cool to the touch, even after the device has been on for a while.
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