The 9 Best Space Heaters of 2022, Tested and Reviewed

We love the adorable and functional Better Homes & Gardens Freestanding Fan Forced Portable Fireplace.

We independently research, test, review, and recommend the best products—learn more about our process. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.

3 of the top space heaters sitting on a table

Real Simple / Rachel Marek

Space heaters are a cold weather hero when you need extra warmth in a pinch. Whether your home’s heat suddenly goes out, or you live in a drafty apartment, a space heater will keep your space warm and comfortable. To help you choose the best and safest space heater for your home, we tested 31 popular space heaters and assessed them on heating performance, design, safety, and value. 

We also interviewed three space heater experts: Gary McCoy, a store manager for Lowe’s; Jeffrey Edwards, Regional Chief Engineer, Home Appliances & Electronics, at Intertek; and Randy Light, Senior Merchant at Home Depot

Our top overall recommendation is the Better Homes & Gardens Freestanding Fan Forced Portable Fireplace for its impressive heating capabilities, important safety features, easy portability, and the fact that it doubles as a fireplace. (Better Homes & Gardens is owned by Real Simple’s parent company, Dotdash Meredith.) Read on to learn more about our top picks and how to choose the best space heater to keep your home warm this winter.

Best Overall Space Heater: Better Homes & Gardens Freestanding Fan Forced 1500W Portable Fireplace

4.9
Better Homes & Gardens Freestanding Fan Forced 1500W Portable Fireplace

Walmart

Who it’s for: People who want a portable, attractive space heater with an easy-to-use handle.

Who it isn’t for: People who want a larger space heater. 

The folks at Better Homes & Gardens have managed to create a functional space heater that is also cute and provides a cozy ambiance. The Freestanding Fan Forced Portable Fireplace is refreshingly retro with its wood paneling, honeycomb grill, and old-fashioned dials, which allow you to control the temperature of the heat and flickering flames. There are several high and low heat settings to choose from, giving you the ability to get warm at your desk on the low setting (750 watts), or heat up your entire room on the high setting (1,500 watts). Plus, with its included leather handle, it’s much easier to take your heater from room to room as needed.  

As for its performance, we found this heater warmed up quickly, taking our 70-degree room up to 73 degrees in just 30 minutes. We also tested this heater’s anti-tipping feature, which started to shut off before the machine even reached the ground. Our tester was also pleased to discover that this heater is quiet. They ended up rating it a five (out of five), and when asked what their least favorite part of the space heater was, they told us that they had “really no objections” about the product. “It's quite an attractive design and has an impressive number of settings for ~$50,” says our tester. “It seems great for a small office, or bedroom.”

Price at time of publish: $47

Product Details:

  • Heat Settings: High and low with adjustable thermostat
  • Wattage: 750-1,500 watts
  • Heat Type: Convection
  • Safety Features: Tip-over protection, overheat protection
  • Testing: Power cord tested by UL and ETL
Better Homes & Gardens Freestanding Fan Portable Fireplace sitting on the floor next to a chair

Real Simple / Rachel Marek

Best Budget Space Heater: Kismile Portable Electric Space Heater

4.6
Kismile Small Space Heater for Indoor Use

Amazon

Who it’s for: People who want a space heater that has a high wattage for the low heat setting. 

Who it isn’t for: People who want a quiet space heater.

If you’re in a bind and need a temporary space heater, or simply don’t want to make a big investment on a space heater in general, consider this low-cost option found on Amazon. Our tester found this space heater to be “a good value for the price,” telling us that it “put out a good amount of warm air for its size” and was able to heat up our room by 4-5 degrees in less than 30 minutes. Our tester also really liked the anti-tipping feature, telling us that “the heater shut off over the slightest nudge.”

 The heater has an adjustable thermostat with high and low settings, with the lowest producing 950 watts and the highest 1,500 watts. Although 1,500 watts is technically enough to heat up a small room, our tester said based on its performance, they didn’t believe this could be achieved. When we ran this heater, our tester said the heat was very concentrated right in front of the heater, and as such, felt like it “would be a good model for under your desk to keep you warm in the winter months.” And although this is advertised as being quiet, our tester did not find this to be the case, saying their least favorite thing about it was “the fan noise.”

Price at time of publish: $27

 Product Details:

  • Heat Settings: High, low, and fan mode with adjustable thermostat
  • Wattage: 950-1,500 watts
  • Heat Type: Convection
  • Safety Features: Overheat protection, tip-over protection
  • Testing: ETL
Kismile Portable Electric Space Heater sitting on a table

Real Simple / Rachel Marek

Best Small Space Heater: GiveBest Portable Electric Space Heater With Thermostat

4.8
Givebest Portable Electric Space Heater with Thermostat

Amazon

Who it’s for: People who want a powerful space heater that isn’t large in size. 

Who it isn’t for: People who want a space heater with an oscillating feature. 

 Our tester told us that this small space heater made them “feel toasty after just a few minutes of having it on.” They were also delighted to discover that the space heater, which measures 9.2 inches high and 7.2 inches wide, was able to change the room’s temperature from 69 degrees to 72 degrees after 30 minutes. This heater is designed to heat rooms up to 200 square feet, which is an added bonus considering that the average size room is 132 square feet. You can put this atop your desk to keep you warm while working, or heat up your bedroom before you go to bed.

 Despite increasing the heat in our room considerably, the heater wasn’t too hot to the touch, and the cord wasn’t hot at all. The anti-tipping feature works well too: Our tester told us that the slightest tip caused the machine to turn off immediately. This GiveBest model has two heat settings and a thermostat to allow you further adjust the temperature within those heat settings.

Price at time of publish: $36

 Product Details:

  • Heat Settings: High, low, and fan mode with adjustable thermostat
  • Wattage: 750-1,500 watts
  • Heat Type: Forced air fan
  • Safety Features: Overheat protection, tip-over protection
  • Testing: ETL
GiveBest Portable Electric Space Heater sitting on a table next to a chair

Real Simple / Rachel Marek

Best Large Space Heater: Honeywell ThermaWave 6 Ceramic Technology Space Heater

4.8
Honeywell ThermaWave 6 Ceramic Technology Space Heater

Amazon

Who it’s for: People who want a space heater with multiple settings and safety features. 

Who it isn’t for: People who want the ability to direct the space heater’s airflow.   

This Honeywell space heater is a great option for people who want to heat up larger areas of their home, such as their living room or dining area. Although this heater boasts the same wattage as some of our smaller models, it's better equipped to handle large rooms because of the location of its vents. Our tester told us that these raised vents made heating up a larger space easier, as opposed to a smaller unit that is sitting on the ground. When atop our table, we measured that the ThermaWave 6 Space Heater increased our room’s temperature by 4 degrees.

What our tester really liked about this space heater is all the safety features available. In addition to shutting off when tipped over, this Honeywell model has two overheat shutoff protections in place. Our tester also said the fan’s outer plastic was cool to the touch, making it a great option for people with kids or pets who have a tendency to touch everything in the house. You can also set a timer for it to go continually for two, four, and eight hours. The one thing our tester didn’t like, though, is that you cannot adjust the lever in the fan downward, which would be ideal for warming your feet and legs if they’re cold.

Price at time of publish: $91

Product Details:

  • Heat Settings: High, low, and fan mode with adjustable thermostat
  • Wattage: Up to 1,500 watts
  • Heat Type: Convection
  • Safety Features: Two overheating sensors, tip-over protection, auto shut off
  • Testing: UL
Honeywell ThermaWave 6 Ceramic Technology Space Heater sitting on the floor next to a chair

Real Simple / Rachel Marek

Best Tower Space Heater: Pelonis Ceramic Tower Space Heater

4.7
PELONIS PTH15A4BGB Ceramic Tower

Amazon

Who it’s for: People who want a large space heater that oscillates.   

Who it isn’t for: People who want a more discreet space heater.

Tower space heaters are extra effective at heating due to their oscillating abilities and height: The oscillation helps spread heat around the room faster and the height allows it to cover areas high and low in your room. The Pelonis Ceramic Tower delivers exactly all that and more—including a remote and a suite of safety features, like overheat protection and anti-tipping that kicks in as soon as the product is sitting at a 30-degree angle (way before it hits the ground).

Our tester told us that this space heater was effective at producing heat, but it took longer to feel it than others we tested. “I don’t feel as warm as fast, but over the period of time, I do feel a more consistent heat,” they told us. This Pelonis model has three heat settings, including low, high, and eco. The eco option helps conserve energy based on your ambient temperature. This feature is great for people who are committed to conserving energy, even with a product that is known for using up a lot of energy. What’s more, this product has a timer that can be scheduled for up to eight hours.

Price at time of publish: $75

Product Details:

  • Heat Settings: High, low, and eco mode with adjustable thermostat
  • Wattage: Up to 1,500 watts
  • Heat Type: Convection
  • Safety Features: Overheat protection, tip-over protection
  • Testing: ETL
Pelonis Ceramic Tower Space Heater sitting on the floor next to a chair

Real Simple / Rachel Marek

Best Fan Space Heater: Vornado VHEAT Whole Room Vintage Heater

4.7
Fan electric heater

Amazon

Who it’s for: People who want a fan space heater that is also stylish.

Who it isn’t for: People who want a heater with the control panel on the front of the machine.

Fan space heaters are known for producing heat the fastest. This model from Vornado not only accomplishes that, but thanks to its eye-catching design, it also manages to not be an eyesore in your home like many other space heaters are. Another distinct feature is the metal exterior, which our tester told us was not hot to the touch while running. The control panel is in the back of the machine, where you’ll find a switch for low and high heat, and a knob below that to further customize those heat settings. You can also have the option to adjust the fan’s direction by 47 degrees. 

The Vornado VHEAT also includes safety features like anti-tip, which our tester said worked, and a safety shut off if excessive heat is detected (for example: if a blanket accidentally falls on top of the machine). Our tester told us this space heater heated up quickly, and compared to other heaters they tested, didn’t feel uncomfortably hot when placed close to them. They enjoyed the “gentler” heat that emitted from the heater and also liked how “super quiet” it was on the low setting.  

Price at time of publish: $170

Product Details:

  • Heat Settings: High and low with adjustable thermostat
  • Wattage: 750-1,500 watts
  • Heat Type: Forced air fan
  • Safety Features: Overheat protection, auto shut off
  • Testing: ETL
Vornado VHeat Whole Room Vintage heater sitting on a table

Real Simple / Rachel Marek

Best Panel Space Heater: De'Longhi HMP1500 Mica Thermal Panel Heater

4.4
De'Longhi Mica Thermic Panel Heater

Amazon

Who it’s for: People who want a space heater that can be mounted to the wall.  

Who it isn’t for: People who have children or pets at home.

Our tester told us that this De’Longhi product is a “winner” and that they “liked everything about this heater,” including the heating capability, size, and safety trigger. Compared to other space heaters, this De’Longhi model features a lot more surface area, which allows it to heat up rooms up to 300 square feet. 

Our tester told us that just at the minimum heat setting, the space heater “gave a pleasant warmth to the space.” What they didn’t like though was that the metal grill on the front of the machine was super hot to the touch, to the point where they’d be concerned someone would get burned. Considering this, this space heater wouldn’t be a safe option for homes that have kids and pets running around.

The machine has a thermal cut off for safety and an anti-tip feature. Our tester said that when they tipped it, the machine did not completely shut off but the heat did stop. This product has wheels so you can move it more easily around your home, and unlike many other space heaters we tested, can be mounted onto a wall.

Price at time of publish: $239  

Product Details:

  • Heat Settings: High and low with adjustable thermostat
  • Wattage: 750-1,500 watts
  • Heat Type: Micathermic
  • Safety Features: Overheat protection, thermal cut off (auto shut off)
  • Testing: ETL
De'Longhi HMP1500 Mica Thermal Panel Heater sitting on the floor next to a chair

Real Simple / Rachel Marek

Best Smart Space Heater: Atomi Smart Wireless Tabletop Heater

4.6
Atomi Smart Smart Wi-Fi 1500-Watt Electric Personal Portable Ceramic Oscillating Table Top Space Heater with Digital Touch Screen

Amazon

Who it’s for: People who want to be able to control their space heater from their smartphone.

Who it isn’t for: People who don’t want any extra features.

We were very impressed with all of the cool extra features that come with this smart space heater. The Atomi Smart Wireless Tabletop Heater connects to WiFi and can be controlled via a corresponding app on your smartphone, which allows you to set the temperature, turn the device on and off, and set heating schedules. You can also link up your Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant to use voice commands to operate the Atomi. This space heater is also so smart that it’ll send you a notification to your phone if it tips over. This is in addition to the device’s anti-tipping feature, which our tester said worked great (it shut off immediately when we knocked it over).

Our tester also told us that the heat from this Atomi model “kicked in quickly” when they first turned it on. They also appreciated the oscillation feature, how quiet the machine was, and the cool touch screen on the control panel. What they didn’t like, however, was that this space heater is only compatible with 2.5 GHZ Wi-Fi and that there was a smell that lingered around a little too long after they turned the machine on for the first time.

Price at time of publish: $90

Product Details:

  • Heat Settings: High, low, and eco with adjustable thermostat
  • Wattage: 1,000-1,500 watts
  • Heat Type: Convection
  • Safety Features: Tip-over protection
  • Testing: ETL
Atomi Smart Wireless Tabletop Heater sitting on a table next to a chair

Real Simple / Rachel Marek

Best Electric Fireplace Space Heater: Duraflame 3D Infrared Electric Fireplace Stove

4.6
duraflame-3d-infrared-electric-fireplace-stove

Amazon

Who it’s for: People looking for a space heater that looks like a real fireplace. 

Who it isn’t for: People who want a space heater with safety features.

This Duraflame electric fireplace gives you an incredible two-in-one deal: a space heater and a faux fireplace. So on top of providing warmth, this space heater also allows you to create the distinct cozy atmosphere that flickering flames bring. Our tester liked how decorative the space heater is and liked even more that you can turn on the fireplace without also needing to turn on the heat. They told us the heat worked well during testing and, according to the manufacturer, is equipped to heat spaces up to 1,000 square feet. 

It’s important to keep in mind though that this is an infrared space heater, meaning that it is designed to heat up objects (aka you) rather than change the temperature of the air. On the flip side, it won’t dry out the air space it’s occupying, which can happen with other space heaters that aren’t infrared.

One big downside to this space heater is that it has no safety features in place. The only thing that comes closest to a safety feature is that the body of the device (excluding the grill), does not get hot to the touch, according to our tester. On the plus side, this space heater weighs 28 pounds, so it is less likely to tip over. Still, having this will require extra supervision that you wouldn’t need with other space heaters that do have safety features.

Price at time of publish: $300

Product Details:

  • Heat Settings: High, low, and eco with adjustable thermostat
  • Wattage: Up to 1,500 watts
  • Heat Type: Radiant
  • Safety Features: None
  • Testing: UL
Duraflame Infrared Electric Fireplace sitting on the floor next to a chair

Real Simple / Rachel Marek

Final Verdict

Overall, we recommend the Better Homes & Gardens Freestanding Fan Forced Portable Fireplace. It heated up our testing space quickly, bringing the temperature up 3 degrees, and possessed important safety features such as overheat and tip-over protection. We also liked that it was easily portable with its included handle and that its unique design allows it to double as a faux fireplace and a piece of home decor.  

Our Testing Process

We tested 31 space heaters in our Lab and assessed them on heating performance, design, safety, and value. Before we tested the performance of each space heater’s heat output, we recorded the surface temperature of our testers’ bodies as well as the temperature and humidity level of the room we tested in. We also added P3 Kill a Watt monitors to the plugs that we used to power our space heaters so we could measure energy usage. We then turned our space heaters on to their highest settings and used a decibel reader to read the noise output of each heater. After that, we had our testers sit three feet away from the machines and record their thoughts on each heat setting, including if the heat generated felt consistent and if it matched the labeled setting.

Every five minutes, we had our testers measure their body temperature and read the humidity and temperatures from our two in-room thermometers. During this time we also evaluated additional features, including oscillation, portability, and, if applicable, ease of using the app. After 30 minutes we turned the heaters off, checked the thermometers, and measured our testers’ body temperatures again. We also did a temperature check of the front grill/opening of the heater, the housing at the back of the heater, and the top of the heater. We did this again 15 minutes later to see how much the device cooled down after it shut off. Our last test involved testing out the tip-over protection to make sure that once knocked over, the machine turned off as advertised. We used all of this data to come up with the best space heaters.

Person tipping over the Atomi Portable space heater with their foot

Real Simple / Rachel Marek

How to Shop for Space Heaters Like a Pro

Heat Type

You might think heat is heat and it’ll warm you up regardless, but there are different types that will give you different experiences with your space heater. “Convection means the heat circulates around the room, while radiant heat is directional and heats the things quickly in front of or around it,” says Light. That might be confusing, but think of radiant heat as a campfire. Campfires will heat up the people closest to it, not necessarily all of the air that surrounds it. So if you have a radiant heater set up in your room, you will get warm fast, but the further away you are from it, the less warm you will likely be. Because convection works to heat up the air, it will take longer to reach your desired temperature, but the warmth will be the same in every part of the room. 

However, Light does tell us that space heaters with radiant heat do retain heat longer. That’s because you, an object, are receiving the warmth instead of the air around you. When you open the door to a room that is being warmed by a convection heater, that warm air will escape and the room will get cooler if the air on the other side of that door is not the same temperature as your room. As such, drafty homes or apartments may benefit more from radiant space heaters. Light was keen to point out that radiant heaters, though, are usually hotter to the touch compared to convection, which won’t be ideal for people with children. 

Another heat type you’ll see is forced air fan, which, like radiant heat, is known for providing warmth fast. Space heaters with fans or oscillating mechanisms distribute heat more evenly, and in the process, save energy. But because of the noise of the fan, they can be loud. Finally, micathermic heating is a combination of convection and radiant and is usually only found on wall-mounted space heaters. 

Person taking readings from the Kismile Space Heater while turning a knob

Real Simple / Rachel Marek

Wattage

Wattage matters because it indicates power. The amount of power a space heater has tells you how much space it can heat. Space heaters running at 1,500 watts generate enough power to heat your average size bedroom, which is 132 square feet. All of our top picks use 1,500 watts as their maximum wattage, so you’ll be able to easily heat a room with them. If you find space heaters with wattages that are lower than this, especially those who have a max of 750 watts (this was the starting point for all of the heaters we chose), then they would be better suited as a desktop heater.  

Safety Features

Space heaters can cause fires if you’re not careful, so it’s super important that you buy a space heater with dedicated safety features. Light told us that the biggest mistake he sees people make is not doing enough research on safety features space heaters should have. All of the space heater experts we spoke to emphasized the need for tip-over protection. Tip protection, also referred to as an anti-tipping feature/switch, means that if the device accidentally falls over, it’ll automatically turn itself off. Light and McCoy also recommended getting space heaters with overheating protection, which activates when the machine detects that it’s too hot. When that happens, the space heater works to cool itself down or shuts off completely.

Edwards adds that space heaters should also have an indicator light that confirms that the machine is on or energized. You should also purchase a unit that stays cool to the touch, even when it's on. Brands frequently advertise that their products have this feature, but it isn’t a guarantee until you try it out yourself. Having a cool exterior is especially important if you have kids in the home. Unsupervised, curious kiddos could approach the heater, touch it, and either experience discomfort from the hot exterior or worse, get burned.

Another marker of safety is if the product says that it was tested by UL (UL Solutions) or ETL (Intertek’s certification). These are third-party organizations that test products for safety, including space heaters. Edwards, who works for Intertek, tells us that their in-depth testing could take several days to weeks to complete. And in order to obtain the right to use their certification mark, a space heater must have met relevant safety standard requirements. Intertek is actually accredited by OSHA for movable heater testing and certification. Because of Intertek and UL’s good reputation, we actually only tested products that received a certification from one or both of the organizations. 

More Space Heaters to Consider

Vornado VH203 Personal Space Heater: Compared to other heaters we tested, this one only emits at most 750 watts. Because of this, our tester said it’s a great option for people who want a small amount of heat directly in front of them as opposed to a mechanism that could heat a room.

Heat Storm Phoenix Infrared Space Heater: Our tester thought this space heater was a “deal” for its versatility and modern design. However, they said they didn’t feel like the heater emitted much warmth on the low setting, and when tipped over during our safety check, the heating element turned off but the unit kept running. 

Person taking a temperature reading in front of the Heat Storm Phoenix Infrared Space Heater

Real Simple / Rachel Marek

Questions You Might Ask

Are space heaters safe to use?

Yes, when handled correctly. We cannot stress this enough: A space heater is the kind of product where it is imperative you read the entire instruction manual. Not doing so could result in a dangerous situation. “Space heaters are one of the most common things that lead to fires in the home,” says Light. So much so that Edwards told us that if you own a space heater, you also need to have a fire extinguisher in your home. Not only that, but even when they are not being used, you should store them in non-flammable, metal containers, according to Light. 

Safety precautions you should take include not plugging a space heater into an extension cord or power strip and keeping the cord completely unobstructed. And if at any time during ownership you notice a cord has frayed or become damaged, get rid of the machine. Placement is also very important. “Make sure it is not in direct contact with any other materials, such as furniture,” says Edwards. “Additionally, ensure proper clearance. This means that the space heater is not against a wall or other objects and there is sufficient space around it as identified by the manufacturer,” he says. Other materials that space heaters should not be close to include bedspreads, draperies, or clothing, which, according to Light, are all flammable. He actually recommends placing space heaters three feet away from “anything that can burn.” 

“Space heaters should also be kept on flat, stable surfaces only,” says McCoy. “And remember to never leave a space heater turned on when unattended.” Edwards says this also includes while you are sleeping. If you need warmth while sleeping, run the space heater before you go to bed and then turn it off when it reaches the warmth of your liking. Keep the door closed and bundle up under the covers.

Can I save money on my utility bills using a space heater?

Both McCoy and Light agree that you can save money on your utility bills by using a space heater. This can be done by turning down the temperature of your central heating system, or turning it off completely, and using a space heater only in the room you are occupying. 

Another way you can save on energy is getting a space heater with specific features. McCoy told us that heaters with an eco mode and/or ones with a fan or oscillating mechanism save on energy. Eco settings are great to have in general because space heaters are known for using a lot of energy. In fact, the reason why it’s not recommended to plug them into extension cords or power strips is because those items are not built to accommodate the amount of energy space heaters burn. 

It’s important to keep in mind, though, that space heaters aren’t meant to be used as your only heat source, but rather a supplemental tool. If you think this strategy can work for your lifestyle, try it out for a month to see if there’s a difference in your bills. Otherwise, there are plenty of other ways you can lower your heating bill in the winter. 

Is it normal for my space heater to give off a burning smell?

It can be. Edwards tells us that your space heater can emit this smell during “break-in of the product,” or when you first start using it. This isn’t unsafe nor is it uncommon. Another reason for the smell is if there are dust particles inside, which usually collects if the space heater has been in storage for a while. He suggests cleaning it before use, which can be done by wiping down the machine with a microfiber cloth. If the smell still persists for a week after buying the space heater, or cleaning it, there may be another problem and it’s best to stop using the product altogether. 

Take Our Word for It

This article was written by Rachel Center, a product reviews home writer for Real Simple. We researched the best space heaters and tested 31 of the most popular in our Lab, evaluating them on heating performance, design, safety, and value. We also sought the advice of three space heater experts: Gary McCoy, a store manager for Lowe’s; Jeffrey Edwards, Regional Chief Engineer, Home Appliances & Electronics, at Intertek; and Randy Light, Senior Merchant at Home Depot

What Is Real Simple Selects?

Next to each product on this list, you may have noticed a Real Simple Selects seal of approval. Any product appearing alongside that seal has been vetted by our team—put through tests and graded on its performance to earn a spot on our list. Although we buy most of the products we test, sometimes we do get samples from companies if Purchasing a product ourselves isn't an option. If that's the case, we test the product just like we test anything we buy, but we also disclose that we received it for free to be as transparent with you as possible.

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