May 30, 2023

The 9 Best Space Heaters of 2023

In response to reader comments, we’ve updated this guide to add some clarity around our descriptions of heating efficiency.

To offset the chill in a drafty room or to give your home’s heating system a little boost, you may need a space heater. We’ve researched more than 100 models and tested 75 since 2011, and the Vornado VH200 is the best space heater for most people. A lot of space heaters can make you feel like you’re sitting in front of a hair dryer, but our picks can warm an entire room faster and more comfortably than other models while still offering plenty of reliable safety features, just in case.

The Vornado VH200 heated a room faster and more evenly than other models we tested, offering the best combination of power, comfort, and quietness.

The Vornado VH200 has been our top pick since 2018 because it has consistently surpassed nearly every other space heater we’ve tested in speed and overall effectiveness, delivering an immediate temperature increase that builds steadily and evenly across the room over time. The VH200 is also quieter than most other ceramic heaters we’ve tried, emitting only a soft, fanlike whir, and it’s compact enough to tuck away in a corner. It’s one of the safest heaters we’ve tested, featuring overheating and tip-over protection, as well as a plastic exterior that stays relatively cool to the touch—so you can warm yourself without having to worry. The VH200 does get mixed reviews from some owners who find it slow to heat a particularly cold space or have problems with the directional airflow, which relies on air circulation rather than an oscillating fan. Fortunately, Vornado tends to respond to such critical reviews more reliably than other manufacturers do.


The Vornado AVH10 was the most powerful space heater we tested, and it has a few thoughtful details that set it apart from others. But it tends to cost more.

The Vornado AVH10 is a lot like the VH200, with a few added features such as a digital display, a convenient cord-wrapping post for easy storage, and, for extra safety, a countdown clock when you turn it off. In our tests, the AVH10 was the absolute most effective room heater we tested, warming the room more quickly and to a higher temperature than the VH200 managed. However, the AVH10 didn’t distribute its hot air as evenly throughout the space as the VH200 did, and it also tends to cost $30 to $50 more. Still, it’s a great alternative to our top pick if you find it for a good price, or if you prefer its extra features.

This effective portable heater works quickly and lasts for years. But its narrow stream of hot air doesn’t feel as comfortable as the heat from models that warm a whole room, and it lacks some safety features.

We’ve recommended the Lasko 754200 Ceramic Heater since 2013, and it’s still one of the cheapest and most reliable space heaters you can find. It warms up faster than most fan heaters we tested, and it has a compact, lightweight body that’s about the size of a loaf of bread. The heat is a focused stream of hot air, which warms the area directly in front of the space heater, but it isn’t as comfortable as the broad, room-filling heat we prefer from the Vornado models. This Lasko heater struggles in larger spaces as a result, but it’s perfect for warming a home office or for quickly heating up a small bedroom. The 754200 has had consistently positive owner reviews for years, and many Wirecutter staff members have owned one for multiple winters with few complaints. It lacks an automatic tip-over kill switch, a safety feature included in our top pick, and it’s not the best-looking option, but it does have overheat protection.

Oil-filled radiators are silent but slow. The TRD40615T is the best of its type because it’s sturdier than competitors, with an exterior that stays cooler to the touch.

Most space heaters can deliver quick heat to a single person, but oil-filled radiators are better for heating a whole room for a longer duration, and the De’Longhi TRD40615T is the best of its kind. Like most oil-filled radiators, the TRD40615T warms up much more slowly than a ceramic heater, but it also retains its heat for a longer period. This results in a cozier, more ambient warmth throughout the room than what you typically get from a directional space heater with a fan. With a burly, all-metal construction that’s more durable than the builds of our other, plastic-clad picks, this De’Longhi model is sturdier and more attractive than any other oil-filled radiator we’ve tested, and it’s also cooler to the touch.

This model is an attractive obelisk with the ability to oscillate, which helps to spread the heat quickly and evenly around the room.

The Dreo Solaris Slim H3 (DR-HSH003) stands out not only for its stylish appearance but also because it’s the rare oscillating heater that actually succeeds at spreading the warm air evenly around the room. It can’t warm you up quite as quickly as some of our other picks can, but its steady arc of motion creates comfortable and uniform heating throughout your space. It also just looks great, with a sleek design and simple controls that let you choose between basic heat settings or a specific, dialed-in temperature. Plus, it’s quiet and easy to clean, and it has all the safety features we usually look for, such as a tip-over switch and overheat protection.

The Lasko FH500 towers above its competition both in features and in stature, providing an even, vertical distribution of air. It definitely stands out in a room, but at least it looks good.

The 3.5-foot-tall Lasko FH500 All Season Comfort Control Tower is easily the tallest space heater we’ve tested—but it doesn’t actually take up that much floor space for a room heater. In our tests, it warmed the room swiftly and consistently to the temperature we dialed in on its digital display, and then it steadily held that temperature until the end of the hour. The FH500 is full of thoughtful details, including an easy-to-navigate control panel and a matching remote control. It also has a medium heating option (in addition to the standard high and low settings found on most other space heaters), as well as a timer and an “auto eco” setting to help maximize your energy use. Although we’ve had concerns about the longevity of tower fans in the past, this Lasko tower heater has held up well after several years of continuous use. Speaking of fans: The FH500 also has a built-in cooling feature, which is a nice bonus.

The Vheat’s solid heating performance is secondary to its delightful design, which makes it a great choice if you’re more concerned about aesthetics.

The Vornado Vheat vintage-style heater heats well enough and looks good doing it. With a solid metal construction and wonderfully retro knobs, it’s simply the best-looking electric space heater we’ve found that doesn’t sacrifice (too much) functionality. Though the Vheat delivers a steady stream of air that quickly heats whatever is right in front of it, during our tests it wasn’t as good at spreading that heat around the room, producing a 10-degree difference in the temperature measurements we took in different parts of the room. The fact that it was able to heat part of the room enough to create a 10-degree difference was still pretty remarkable, however, as some other space heaters we tested couldn’t even warm the room by 5 degrees. Overall, the Vheat is a great choice for anyone interested in aesthetics as well as comfort.

If you need an electric heater in the bathroom, the Lasko CD08200 and the Dreo DR-HSH004A are the ones we recommend to do the job safely.

May be out of stock

If you need an electric heater in the bathroom, the Lasko CD08200 and the Dreo DR-HSH004A are the ones we recommend to do the job safely.

The Lasko CD08200 Ceramic Bathroom Heater and the Dreo DR-HSH004A are the most effective and—more important—safe ways to bring some infrared warmth to your bathroom. Generally speaking, you should try to keep an electric appliance (especially something as powerful as a space heater) far, far away from any situation where it might get wet. Though you may be tempted to bring any of our other picks into the bathroom with you, these models are two of the few we’ve found that are equipped with the proper safety features to mitigate the risk of electrocution (though you should still try to keep either heater far away from the water). In our tests, the CD08200 and the DR-HSH004A warmed the room at about the same speed, providing the same even heating from 3 feet away and 6 feet away. We slightly preferred the controls on the CD08200, which has just one large button on the top that lets you cycle through the timer, high, and low settings; by contrast, the DR-HSH004A has six buttons that let you control more settings, and it was noticeably quieter than the CD08200 (although the sound of a running shower is likely to drown out either one). Either model is a fine choice. Most important, they both come with ALCI safety plugs, as well as overheat protection, in case anything goes awry.

Whichever space heater you choose, there are some common safety concerns that many people overlook: You can’t use any space heater with an extension cord, and you shouldn’t leave any heater unattended. And most heaters can’t be used in a bathroom, unless they’re specifically designed for it. We go over these and other considerations in detail in our section on space-heater care, maintenance, and safety.

The Vornado VH200 heated a room faster and more evenly than other models we tested, offering the best combination of power, comfort, and quietness.

The Vornado AVH10 was the most powerful space heater we tested, and it has a few thoughtful details that set it apart from others. But it tends to cost more.

This effective portable heater works quickly and lasts for years. But its narrow stream of hot air doesn’t feel as comfortable as the heat from models that warm a whole room, and it lacks some safety features.

Oil-filled radiators are silent but slow. The TRD40615T is the best of its type because it’s sturdier than competitors, with an exterior that stays cooler to the touch.

This model is an attractive obelisk with the ability to oscillate, which helps to spread the heat quickly and evenly around the room.

The Lasko FH500 towers above its competition both in features and in stature, providing an even, vertical distribution of air. It definitely stands out in a room, but at least it looks good.

The Vheat’s solid heating performance is secondary to its delightful design, which makes it a great choice if you’re more concerned about aesthetics.

If you need an electric heater in the bathroom, the Lasko CD08200 and the Dreo DR-HSH004A are the ones we recommend to do the job safely.

May be out of stock

If you need an electric heater in the bathroom, the Lasko CD08200 and the Dreo DR-HSH004A are the ones we recommend to do the job safely.

We’ve been covering space heaters since 2011, and in that time we’ve considered more than 150 models and tested more than 75 of them. We’ve interviewed experts on heating, including Joel Hawk, principal engineer manager at the global safety certification company UL; Linda Hotz, category director, and John Mayer, associate category manager, for the Home Comfort team at De’Longhi; a team of representatives from Vornado; and Gary McCall, former fire adviser to the Office of the Fire Commissioner for British Columbia’s Vancouver Island Region.

In the earliest versions of this guide, we relied on the testing expertise of physicist Jim Shapiro, who tested heaters at his home in the high desert of Colorado and also served as an expert source during our research. Since 2017, we’ve focused more on real-world testing, running the heaters under controlled conditions in cramped apartments in Boston and New York.

We’ve pored over independent testing data and scientific research from Good Housekeeping, the U.S. Fire Administration (PDF), the U.S. Department of Energy, the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers, and the National Fire Protection Association. The single most important takeaway from this research is that space heaters are one of the leading causes of house fires in the US. As such, we place heightened importance on each portable heater’s safety measures and track record.

The current version of this guide was written by staff writer Thom Dunn, who has written Wirecutter’s guides to portable air conditioners and window air conditioners, as well as guides covering emergency weather radios, Bluetooth car kits, hose-end sprinklers, and more. He also learned the hard way that plugging a space heater and a half-stack Marshall guitar amp into the same power strip can cause some pyrotechnics (and not the cool, rock ’n’ roll kind). His work on space heaters builds on previous research and writing by Sabrina Imbler, who wrote the 2018 update; Tyler Wells Lynch, who wrote the 2017 update; and Séamus Bellamy, who wrote this guide from 2011 through 2016.

Although space heaters generally shouldn’t be used to heat an entire building, they are a great way to supplement the warmth in specific rooms. Perhaps there’s an area of your home that has noticeably poorer heat distribution. Maybe your office is too cold, and you want a small, personal heater to keep at your desk. Or maybe you want to save money by spot-heating a room (or yourself) instead of wasting energy by filling the entire space with hot air or pumping heat into a room with no one in it. A typical 1,500-watt space heater costs about $1.50 to run for a full eight-hour workday, assuming average US electric rates for fall 2022. Although that cost could add up over time, it’s still preferable to the soaring price of natural gas.

If you think you may need a new heater, don’t wait for the cold weather to hit. Retailers usually stock space heaters seasonally, so prices and availability can fluctuate over the colder months. If you’re not sure whether a space heater will work for your specific situation, our section on space heater care, maintenance, and safety could help you make your decision.

Space heaters can be dangerous—we combed the manuals and spoke to experts to get advice on using them safely.

We’ve updated this guide every year since 2011, building on our knowledge of and experience with the features that set a great space heater apart from the rest. We start by researching all of the new space heaters released in a given year, along with popular competitors, whether or not we’ve previously tested them. Our research has led us to focus on two prominent types of space heaters: compact electric heaters with fans and oil-filled radiators.

While most electric space heaters technically put out the same amount of heat—typically 1500 watts on high, or 750 watts on low—there’s a wide range of difference in how effectively different models move the heat around the room and actually warm you up.. Some of the more effective heaters we’ve tested have also been infuriatingly difficult to clean, have nonsensical interfaces, or sound like wasps. Others are easy to clean, intuitive to use, and silent, in addition to their quick and effective heating capabilities. So we take careful notes on what it’s like to rely on and work alongside these heaters. We also factor in buyer reviews, especially those from people who have owned a particular space heater for an extended period of time. We pore over space heater reviews on the Amazon, Walmart, and Home Depot sites, hunting for any patterns of defects or longevity issues.

With all of that in mind, we prioritize the following features and performance criteria:

We follow a similar testing procedure for space heaters every year: We place each space heater in the same location in a 200-square-foot bedroom, with the doors and windows closed. Since 2019, we’ve tested 20 different models in a Boston apartment. In order to track the conditions in the room, we place a Lascar data logger directly in front of the heater at a distance of 3 feet and place another diagonally, at a distance of 6 feet, to see how well the heat moves around the room. We run each heater for an hour; each Lascar logger measures the temperature and humidity every five minutes. We focus our data on the overall changes in our measurements, rather than on specific temperatures—noting that a model raised the temperature by 15 degrees, for example, instead of noting that the room reached a temperature of 95 degrees Fahrenheit (it’s difficult to perfectly control the conditions in our test room in the middle of August). In an additional test new to our 2022 round, we collect data from an anemometer measuring the wind speed and temperature of the air coming out of each heater.

After running each space heater for an hour on its hottest setting, we use an infrared thermometer gun to measure (on ceramic heaters) both the plastic casing and the grille covering the main heating element, to see how hot they are. With radiators, we take readings of the radiator fins and the plastic control panels. We also measure the noises that the heaters emit, taking readings with a decibel meter from distances of 3 feet and 6 feet. For this assessment, we note both dBA and dBC weightings—the former cuts off the lower and higher frequencies that most people can’t hear, and the latter picks up higher frequencies. In addition to collecting this objective data, we take extensive subjective notes on how warm each electric heater makes us feel. Even the most perfect, lablike conditions can’t reveal what it’s like to operate the knobs on a heater, how its heat feels, or what it would be like to live with a particular heater over the winter.

The Vornado VH200 heated a room faster and more evenly than other models we tested, offering the best combination of power, comfort, and quietness.

Of all the space heaters we’ve tested, the Vornado VH200 offers the best overall combination of heating speed and distribution, safety features, easy operation, and affordability. Plus, it’s just generally pleasant to live with. The VH200 was quieter than every other fan-based heater we tested, emitting a soft whir that was barely noticeable—even on high—and generating a comfortably focused blast of heat that evenly dissipated into a room-filling, ambient warmth. It’s simply the best space heater we’ve tested, which is why it’s been our top pick since 2018. We found the VH200’s analog dials easy to handle and intuitive to master, and we appreciate that it has a medium heat setting, whereas most heaters have only low and high settings. And although the VH200 is not particularly attractive, it’s definitely not ugly—a big win in a crowded field of unappealing design. Even its negative owner reviews are less of a red flag than those of some competitors, with reports of responsive customer service from the manufacturer, something you rarely see among reviews of other brands.

The Vornado VH200, as well as other Vornado models we tested, proved significantly more effective at warming up the room than most other space heaters in our evaluation. After running on high for 15 minutes, the VH200 raised the temperature by 6 degrees Fahrenheit at 3 feet away and by 3 degrees at a 6-foot diagonal; after an hour, the VH200 had increased the temperature by 17 degrees at 3 feet away and by 11 degrees at a 6-foot diagonal. This resulted in a 6-degree difference across the room. Other Vornado models we tested (including our runner-up pick, the Vornado AVH10, and the also-great Vornado Vheat) produced more heat more quickly, but none of them distributed the hot air as evenly as the VH200 did, with differences of 8 to 10 degrees throughout the room. Other models, including the Lasko 754200 and the Vornado OSCTH1, warmed the room more evenly than the VH200 but didn’t get nearly as hot in the same amount of time.

In spite of the hotter temperature readings, the heat billowing from the VH200 also felt significantly more comfortable to sit beside than that of the other heaters we tested. That’s because its fan design—what Vornado calls a “circulator”—distributes a gentle, even heat to every corner of a room, similar to what we observed in our testing of Vornado room fans. The result: an all-encompassing and diffuse heat that felt natural, not forced. Multiple Wirecutter staffers own the VH200, and all have reported the same satisfaction with its powerful, even performance. By contrast, the ceramic-plate models we tested (such as our budget pick from Lasko) delivered a narrow beam of heated air that made sweat trickle down our necks when we sat directly in the line of fire. Most of the oscillating models we tested couldn’t compare with the VH200, either, as their arcs of movement typically ended up being too gradual or too slow, resulting in a few random splotchy messes of hot air. The VH200, on the other hand, did it just right.

The Vornado VH200 has every safety feature we look for in a space heater, including overheat protection, a tip-over switch, and UL certification. Though the tip-over switch on the VH200 might seem overly aggressive to some people, it’s ultimately for the best—that mild inconvenience will help remind you that there’s only one safe positioning for your space heater, and that’s with all four of its corners touching the floor. Other electric heater models, such as the De’Longhi TCH7915ER, have tip-over switches that activate only when they are perfectly horizontal, which means they could possibly fall or lean over and continue running. Some less expensive heaters, including our budget pick, the Lasko 754200, don’t have a tip-over switch at all. Every model we’ve tested has overheat protection built in, but some, like the Vornado Glide and the Vornado MVH, were too aggressive in this regard during our tests, shutting down for hours on end when they reached temperatures in the mid-80s. The VH200’s plastic casing also remained relatively cool, measuring around 95 degrees Fahrenheit, with the grille over the heating element topping out at around 140 degrees; it’s one of the coolest models we’ve tested. Although space-heater safety largely depends on using the heater correctly, all of these features are still reassuring.

Despite its abundant heating ability, the VH200 operated with a quiet murmur that we didn’t find distracting or unpleasant. We recorded a decibel level of 45 dBA at a distance of 3 feet and 44 dBA at 6 feet at the heater’s highest setting, levels that are quieter than those of a fan on its lowest setting. And if you use the VH200 at any fan setting below 4, the fan switches off and the machine emits a near-silent heat. But even on high, the Vornado VH200 is significantly quieter than the Lasko 754200, which in our tests had decibel measurements of 52 dBA at a distance of 3 feet and 51 dBA at 6 feet. This Vornado model is not as quiet as a radiator, but no other kind of space heater is, and it’s still quieter than a household refrigerator (PDF).

The VH200 has a slim, lightweight design that makes it easy to tuck under a desk or in a corner. It’s also pleasantly pear-shaped (bottom-heavy heaters are harder to tip over). It’s certainly bigger than most of the personal heaters we’ve tested, but it’s dwarfed by any radiator. Weighing about 3.5 pounds, it’s about the size of a coffee maker.

The controls on the VH200 are simple, straightforward, and durable. The space heater offers three power settings—one more than the usual low and high—and a thermostat dial with seven settings. It has a red LED indicator that remains on when the heater is on and turns off when the heater is powered down but still plugged in, such as when the heater is automatically maintaining the desired temperature of a room. This behavior can be a little confusing, leading you to wonder whether your heater has stopped working. But in our tests we still preferred it to the Lasko 754200’s crimson indicator light, which blared bright even when the plugged-in heater was turned off. The VH200 also has an internal thermostat that can automatically turn on and off to maintain temperature. To activate it, simply turn the knob past your ideal temperature setting and then turn it back until you hear a click, and the VH200 will self-regulate to maintain the room temperature where you want it, within about 1 degree. This feature worked successfully in our testing, keeping the temperature steady within about 1 degree from 3 feet away for more than six hours. You might find the results disappointing, however, if you’re hoping to keep the room at a specific temperature; you can set the knob to “4” because it’s comfortable, for example, but you can’t make that translate directly to 72 degrees. But overall, it’s still a nice feature to have.

The Vornado VH200 comes with an impressive five-year warranty, two more years of coverage than the Lasko 754200 has. In our research into owner reviews of the VH200, we noticed that Vornado representatives responded to most of the negative Amazon reviews of the VH200 and offered to replace broken or malfunctioning fans; reviews were also updated to reflect positive experiences with Vornado customer service.

The Vornado VH200 is more than twice as expensive as other portable ceramic heating options, such as the Lasko 754200, but it tends to cost less than other comparable Vornado models. We believe the VH200 is worth the price due to its pleasant, even heating and the fact that it can raise the temperature of a room so much more effectively than the other models we tested. It does lack a fan-only mode, however (which is really a bummer only because room fans are Vornado’s primary area of expertise).

One minor complaint: The grip on the back of the VH200 is a bit shallow and has neither a lip nor a grippy texture, and the heater itself tends to tip forward in a front-heavy imbalance when you pick it up. This means it’s pretty easy to lift the heater and immediately drop it—maybe on your foot. You can work around that by hooking your thumb around the front side of the heater or supporting it from below with a second hand.

The Vornado AVH10 was the most powerful space heater we tested, and it has a few thoughtful details that set it apart from others. But it tends to cost more.

The Vornado AVH10 has a digital display, which delights some people and frustrates others because you have to manually tap a button numerous times to reach your desired temperature, up to 90 degrees Fahrenheit. (On the VH200, all you have to do is turn a knob, which is convenient, even though you have no way to know the exact temperature.) Luckily, the buttons on the AVH10 are large and easy to locate, even in the dark. It comes with a convenient cord-wrapping post for tidier storage. When you turn off the AVH10, a countdown appears on the digital screen, reminding you to wait 10 seconds for it to cool down before you unplug or move it.

In our portable heater tests, the AVH10 was able to make the room much warmer than the VH200, and did it much more quickly, too. However, it didn’t distribute that heat as evenly as the other Vornado model. After just 15 minutes, the AVH10 increased the room temperature by a whopping 18 degrees from 3 feet away, with a total improvement of 24 degrees after an hour. However, the difference between our measurements was noticeable: The temperature from 6 feet away on a diagonal increased by only 3 degrees after 15 minutes and by 7 degrees total after an hour, resulting in a temperature range of 16 degrees across just a few feet of the room.

The other big difference between the VH200 and the AVH10 is the price: The digital display and the cord-wrapping feature on this model add a premium of about $30. Still, if you’re willing to pay that much for similar (albeit less even) heating performance, the AVH10 is a fine alternative.

This effective portable heater works quickly and lasts for years. But its narrow stream of hot air doesn’t feel as comfortable as the heat from models that warm a whole room, and it lacks some safety features.

The Lasko 754200 Ceramic Heater is a small, budget option if you’re looking to warm just your body—not the room as a whole—while you’re sitting on the couch, say, or in the office. It was our top pick for years, and although we’ve now found other space heaters that are more powerful, or quieter, or just more comfortable, the 754200 remains a steadfast competitor and a solid choice. However, this Lasko model lacks a tip-over switch, a reassuring and basic safety feature that automatically powers down the machine if it falls over. Also, unlike the Vornado VH200’s soothing, ambient heat, the 754200’s heat feels more like that of a supersize hair dryer—and if you sit close enough, it sounds like one, too. But the 754200 is smaller than the VH200 and therefore easier to store or tuck away. It’s not much to look at, unless you’re really into fencing masks, but it is powerful and affordable, and that’s really all you need.

As is the case with all ceramic heaters, the 754200 creates a concentrated jet of warm air that you can feel almost immediately, especially if you’re sitting right in front of it. After running on high for an hour in our tests, the 754200 raised the temperature of our room from 6 feet away by 10 degrees Fahrenheit, a performance close to that of the VH200. Though the 754200 raised the temperature by only about 7 degrees when measured from 3 feet away, the overall temperature in the room remained fairly consistent across both measurements, fluctuating within about 2 to 3 degrees. This result actually came as a surprise when we looked at the data, as our initial gut check had left us feeling like the heat had not been evenly distributed. Your best bet is to place this Lasko space heater right in front of you and enjoy the direct blast of hot air—and then be pleasantly surprised when you find that heat filling the rest of the air around you.

The 754200 is also appealingly simple to use. In addition to its molded-plastic carrying handle, it has intuitive controls consisting of two physical dials that are easy to grasp and manipulate. One dial controls the power output, the two heat settings (high and low), and the fan-only option, while the other controls the thermostat. Weighing a little over 3 pounds and measuring about the size of a loaf of bread, it can stash pretty much anywhere, too.

The 754200’s biggest failing is its lack of a tip-over kill switch, which is a pretty standard safety feature for portable space heaters. (The model is ETL certified.) Tipped-over heaters tend to overheat, and this Lasko model’s upright stance is not the most stable. In contrast, we found the squat, pyramidal Vornado heaters much harder to knock over. Although we recommend that you not leave any space heaters unattended in a room at any time, especially with pets or small children, we must stress that advice when you’re living with this Lasko heater. It does come with overheat protection, which cuts power to certain areas of the heating element if they get too hot.

Despite those safety concerns, this Lasko space heater is relatively cool to the touch—or at least not as hot—topping out at around 100 degrees Fahrenheit on the plastic casing after running for an hour in our tests. The grille directly in front of the ceramic plate reached about 160 degrees, still hot enough to burn skin but cooler than the grilles of some of the other ceramic models we tested (and many that we didn’t test). Fortunately, the molded-plastic carrying handle is built in to the backside of this Lasko heater, far away from the grille, so you can transport it without the risk of getting burned.

The Lasko 754200 was one of the loudest electric heaters we tested—about 7 dBA louder than the Vornado VH200 but still quieter than the Vornado Vheat or our previous pick, the Honeywell UberHeat HCE200W. The sound it emits is not unpleasant, per se, but it is gravelly enough that you might find it irritating after a while.

The 754200’s biggest selling point is that it’s frequently one of the cheapest space heaters you can find. Prices for space heaters can shift dramatically from season to season, but at Amazon, Home Depot, or Walmart, the 754200 rarely exceeds $30—about half the price of the VH200. The 754200 is consistently one of the most popular space heaters on Amazon, with largely positive customer reviews. We found similar, if not better, levels of satisfaction at the Walmart, Home Depot, and Best Buy sites. But a quick dive into the negative owner reviews reveals a number of incidents where the heater overheated even when plugged directly into a wall outlet.

We’ve been recommending the Lasko 754200 as a pick since 2013—first as our top pick, and later as a runner-up—and we have extensive notes that can attest to its long-term durability. Several Wirecutter staff members have owned the 754200 for a few winters now and have next to no complaints about its long-term operation.

Oil-filled radiators are silent but slow. The TRD40615T is the best of its type because it’s sturdier than competitors, with an exterior that stays cooler to the touch.

Although oil-filled radiators look classic, they are not as effective as ceramic and open-element heaters at distributing heat throughout a room. They’re bigger, more expensive, and slower to heat up, and most of them are bracingly hot to the touch. But they are better at holding heat than ceramic models, their heat can feel more comfortable than heat directed out by a fan, and some people prefer their all-metal construction to plastic, since they are small machines reaching high temperatures. If this kind of room heater sounds like something you might prefer, our favorite oil-filled heater is the De’Longhi TRD40615T. It’s sturdier and easier to clean than any other radiator we tested, with a shell-like exterior that remains relatively cool to the touch (for a radiator) and is easier to wipe down than those of most radiators, which typically feature bare fins that gather dust in hard-to-reach depths. We also love its simple, manual controls.

Like any oil-filled radiator, the TRD40615T does not provide instantaneous heat for the room. It takes about half an hour to warm up at all, and even after running on high for an hour in our tests, the TRD40615T raised the temperature of our room by only 2 degrees Fahrenheit from 3 feet away and 3 degrees from 6 feet away—significantly less than the Vornado and Lasko models. But unlike ceramic heaters, which cool off immediately after powering down, oil-filled radiators like the TRD40615T are designed to retain enough thermal mass that they keep emitting heat even after you turn them off. In our tests the TRD40615T did this well—starting at 80 degrees Fahrenheit and then building up to 89 degrees over two and a half hours, without dropping back to 80 degrees for almost four hours after that. Though these exact measurements shouldn’t be taken as gospel—we were testing in a cool basement room, but it was the middle of August and already hot and humid outside—they do demonstrate the value and function of an oil-filled radiator.

Another benefit of oil-filled radiators is that they make absolutely no noise, unlike ceramic, open-element, or micathermic heaters. If, like me, you ever find yourself needing a space heater in a music recording studio, this is the one to go with—although you shouldn’t plug it into the same outlet as your Marshall half-stack, unless you really want to see that outlet explode. (You don’t.)

Like any radiator, the TRD40615T is larger than our other space heater picks. It occupies 16 by 6.6 by 25 inches of space, about the same volume as a full-size suitcase. If you live in a cramped space, this heater may take up room you can’t spare.

All radiators are hot to the touch, and this De’Longhi model is no exception. However, its flat, articulated exoskeleton helps ensure that the exterior is much cooler to the touch than the exposed fins inside. It still gets to about 180 degrees Fahrenheit on the outside, but that’s much cooler than the 230 degrees we measured on the inside. That doesn’t mean the TRD40615T is safe to touch—any object with a temperature above 160 degrees Fahrenheit burns skin upon contact, so you still need to be careful. But at least this heater is moderately safer than traditionally designed radiators like the Pelonis NY1507-14A and the De’Longhi EW7707CM, both of which have reached exterior temperatures of 225 degrees Fahrenheit when we’ve tested them in previous years.

The TRD40615T has manual controls that are intuitive to use, as well as a 24-hour programmable timer, which comes in handy. The electric heater has three heat options and a thermostat dial that ranges from 1 to 6. This model is also easy to move, since you can roll it around on four retractable wheels. We liked that we didn’t have to install or screw in the wheels on this De’Longhi model, unlike on the Pelonis NY1507-14A. You can also move the wheels underneath the unit to prevent it from rolling; though this does make the TRD40615T a little top-heavy, it was much more stable than other radiators we tested, including the De’Longhi KH390715CB.

Some Amazon customers have complained about the radiator giving off an unpleasant smell upon initial use, and the company has acknowledged this issue, too. We recommend running the TRD40615T outside to let it off-gas before bringing it inside (keep it dry and away from dirt or grass while you do this). Most other oil-filled radiators initially emit this noxious stench because some of the oil remains on the surface of the heater after manufacturing; once the oil has evaporated, the smell disappears. A few space heater reviews have complained that the timer makes an audible ticking noise, but we did not encounter this issue in our testing. If the problem crops up for you, we recommend contacting the manufacturer. The De’Longhi TRD40615T has a warranty of one year, so it should be covered if the ticking emerges early on.

This model is an attractive obelisk with the ability to oscillate, which helps to spread the heat quickly and evenly around the room.

If you want to feel a directional heat blast waft across the room, the oscillating Dreo Solaris Slim H3 (DR-HSH003) is a great choice. In our tests, it heated the room almost as quickly as our top pick did, and with its steady 70-degree oscillation arc, it’s a good alternative overall for smooth, gradual whole-room heating. It has six simple haptic controls, including a timer and an “eco” option that lets you dial in a specific temperature of your choice rather than relying on the more general high and low settings. The LCD is big and easy to read, and it automatically turns off after about a minute, so you don’t have to worry about that bright glow in the corner of the room keeping you up all night. In addition to the standard safety features that we look for, such as overheat protection and a tip-over switch, the Solaris Slim H3 has a Cool Down feature that counts down from 15 when you turn it off to make sure you don’t touch it while it’s still hot (the surface temperature doesn’t get nearly as hot as the interior heating element, but still—you can never be too careful).

The Solaris Slim H3 is a black and gold tower about 15 inches tall, a sleek spinning pillar with a slightly sci-fi vibe. It has six buttons on top, with the first row controlling the power—an “M” button that switches between heating modes, along with a plus and minus to change the temperature—and the second row controlling the power, timer, and oscillation settings. Like most heaters we’ve tested, the Solaris Slim H3 has standard high and low settings that run at 1,500 watts and 900 watts, respectively. But it also has an “eco” mode that lets you dial in a specific temperature; ideally, once the room hits that target, the heater uses less energy to maintain the temperature than it would by just pumping out heat ad infinitum. The digital thermometer goes only up to 95 degrees, but—as with the Lasko FH500 tower heater and others we’ve tested that have two-digit cutoffs on their LCD screen—we don’t think you’ll need any more heat than that. (You can also turn the temperature down to 45 degrees, using the Solaris Slim H3 as a fan for cooling instead; this is a nice touch, although it’s also a little annoying to have to manually tap the plus or minus button to scroll through the temperature one digit at a time.) The Solaris Slim H3 also comes with a remote, if you don’t want to tap on the heater while it’s running.

In our tests, the Solaris Slim H3 was surprisingly good at maintaining the temperature after warming the room. Over the course of the first hour, it raised the ambient room temperature from 76 degrees Fahrenheit to 88 degrees, and then it spent the next hour slowly creeping up toward and hovering around 90, the target we had set. If we were playing by The Price Is Right rules of closest-without-going-over, the Solaris Slim H3 would easily win.

Unlike other oscillating heaters we’ve tested, the Solaris Slim H3 distributed the heat uniformly around the whole room, too. We measured an average of less than 1 degree of difference in room temperature from the monitors we placed at 3 feet in front of the heater and 6 feet diagonal from it. In other words, when it came to air circulation, the oscillation feature of this Dreo heater was comparable to the trademark fan of Vornado models. The Dreo Solaris Slim H3 was almost as quiet as the Vornado VH200, as well, measuring around 47 decibels on high. This is about average for room noise, and it’s quieter than most casual conversations. The white noise this heater emits should be easy enough for most people to ignore (we found it rather pleasant ourselves). Other oscillating models we tested—including the Vornado OSCTH1, which we previously recommended—made low grinding noises as the rotating gears moved the heater around. The gears were also prone to breaking over time, and in general we prefer heaters with fewer moving parts for this exact reason. But we recognize that some people prefer to feel that occasional warm gust from an oscillating heater, and so far we haven't encountered any such problems with the Solaris Slim H3 (though we will continue testing it, just to be sure).

In addition to the complications of a broken oscillation mechanism, keep in mind that the Solaris Slim H3 is technically a tower heater, which means you’ll occasionally need to vacuum up or blow out the dust that gathers in the filter over time, as well. Such filters are a large part of why we don’t recommend tower fans for cooling; although we’ve found the cleaning experience less frustrating with heaters, it’s still not ideal. Fortunately, the crevices on this model are pretty easy to access and clean, even without removing the back panel. But if you do have to take the panel off (which is a fairly simple process), make sure to unplug the heater first. If the filters do get blocked, or if anything else goes wrong, the Solaris Slim H3 has a built-in automatic shutoff system, so the hot air and dust won’t combust into bigger problems. In addition, it comes with a one-year warranty—which is nice, though not as good as the five-year protection that covers all of Vornado’s heaters.

The Lasko FH500 towers above its competition both in features and in stature, providing an even, vertical distribution of air. It definitely stands out in a room, but at least it looks good.

The Lasko FH500 All Season Comfort Control Tower is the best tower heater we’ve tested, as it directed a vertical column of warm air evenly throughout the room. At 3.5 feet tall, it’s also the largest such model we tested, although it’s nice enough in function and appearance that we wouldn’t mind having it stand out in our home. And despite its height, the FH500 has a footprint of only about 13 by 13 inches, which makes it a great space-saver.

In our tests, we set the FH500’s bright, easy-to-read digital display to 90 degrees Fahrenheit, the highest possible setting (you can also set the thermostat to display in Celsius). According to our measurements at both 3 feet and 6 feet, the FH500 took about 45 minutes to raise the temperature the 8 degrees necessary to reach our target. Though this was a slower temperature increase than some of our other picks achieved (including the Vornado VH200 and AVH10), we were impressed by how evenly the temperature rose across the room. What was even more remarkable was that as soon as the room reached 90 degrees, the FH500 kept the temperature there for the rest of the hour. As the tower heater oscillated, it emitted a low, gentle whooshing sound that was too quiet for us to measure beneath the hum of the urban streets outside. Unlike most of the other models we tested, the FH500 has three built-in heating settings, so it offers more heating flexibility for maximum comfort. It also has four fan modes (including fan-only).

The FH500 comes with a large remote control that you can store in an attached pocket on the back of the tower. The buttons are clearly marked, matching the controls on the tower itself, including the digital temperature display, the timer, and the Auto Eco setting.

The FH500 was the only electric space heater model we tested that necessitated some minor assembly of the base. Fortunately, the process doesn’t require any tools—although the size of the tower can make it a bit difficult to balance while you attach the two pieces, which are held on by thumb screws.

All that being said, the FH500 is still technically a tower fan, which means it can be difficult to clean. We’re reassured by the fact that Lasko covers the FH500 with a three-year warranty, and we’re optimistic that the dust and dirt factor won’t be as much of a problem for a heater because you’re more likely to be using it indoors with the windows closed. We’ve been long-term testing the FH500 since 2019, and it’s still holding up impressively well in both heating and cooling capacities.

The Vheat’s solid heating performance is secondary to its delightful design, which makes it a great choice if you’re more concerned about aesthetics.

The Vornado Vheat vintage-style heater is an all-around decent heater, but what really sets it apart is its delightful aesthetic, inspired by the original Vornado design from 1945. At nearly 9 pounds, the Vheat’s metal body is noticeably heavier than the plastic Vornado models we tested, and its seafoam-green finish (also available in white) makes it feel like a deliberate choice of home decor rather than, well, a small plastic space heater that you bought out of necessity.

In our heating tests, the Vheat performed near the top of the pack, even if it wasn’t quite as good as the VH200 or the AVH10 space heaters or any of our other, non-Vornado picks. The Vheat was able to raise the temperature in the room by 11 degrees in just 15 minutes, as we measured from 3 feet in front of the fan. But when we measured the temperature at 6 feet away, out of the fan’s direct line of sight, it had risen by only 4 degrees in that same amount of time. By the end of the hour, we saw a 10-degree difference between our measurements at 3 feet in front of the fan and at 6 feet on an angle. This uneven heat distribution shouldn’t be a problem if you plan on placing the Vheat directly in front of you.

Despite its metal exterior, the Vheat also remained surprisingly cool to the touch, reaching only about 100 degrees Fahrenheit on the sides and 140 degrees on the grille and cooling down even further within minutes of our shutting it off. And though its low, gentle humming sound is louder than the sounds of some of our other picks—about 56 dbA from 3 feet away or 57 dbA from 6 feet away, about the same as a refrigerator’s noise levels—it was still pleasant enough that we didn’t mind.

If you think it sounds silly to sacrifice some heating prowess for a pleasing retro aesthetic, the Vheat may not be the choice for you. But we found ourselves so utterly charmed by the plastic guitar-amp knobs and solid metal construction that we think this could be a fair trade-off for some people.

If you need an electric heater in the bathroom, the Lasko CD08200 and the Dreo DR-HSH004A are the ones we recommend to do the job safely.

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If you need an electric heater in the bathroom, the Lasko CD08200 and the Dreo DR-HSH004A are the ones we recommend to do the job safely.

Placing high-voltage electrical equipment where it can get wet is generally something that’s frowned upon. But if you’re tired of facing freezing bathroom tiles when you step out of the shower in the morning, the Lasko CD08200 Ceramic Bathroom Heater and the Dreo DR-HSH004A are the best choices to warm your water closet while mitigating the risk. These 1,500-watt heaters performed equally well in our tests, providing fast, even heating along with the right electrical protections to keep your bathroom both snug and safe. The biggest difference between them is whether you want one big button or six small ones.

The CD08200 has a design similar to that of our long-standing budget pick (also from Lasko). Instead of a tall, thin rectangle, this bathroom heater has a thicker, more-cube-like shape. It’s surprisingly simpler to control than the other Lasko model, with just one large, circular button on the top of the unit. This button is literally the only thing you need to hit. The button cycles the heater through three settings, namely a one-hour timer mode, an always-on high mode (1,500 watts), and an always-on low mode (750 watts). The delightfully uncomplicated user experience here: You walk into the bathroom, absently smack the top of the unit as you rub the sleep from your bleary eyes, and then shower without dreading entering a cold room when you’re done. This could be particularly helpful for those with low vision who would rather not have to grab for their fogged-up glasses before they fumble with electronic equipment. Even if you forget to turn the heater off afterward, the default one-hour heating mode means the unit will automatically shut itself off soon enough.

The Dreo DR-HSH004A, on the other hand, looks like a more rectangular version of our other Dreo heater pick. Like that model, it has six buttons on the top—three to control the power settings and three to cycle through the oscillation, timer, and power. If you’d rather not get too close to a 1,500-watt heater while you’re wet, this one comes with a remote control, as well. Unlike the CD08200, which revels in simplicity, the DR-HSH004A lets you choose between high and low power settings or an “eco” mode that allows you to dial in a specific temperature. Neither heater is necessarily better than the other in this regard; it just depends on what you want to use yours for.

The CD08200 and DR-HSH004A bathroom heaters performed comparably in our tests, as well, with the CD08200 raising the temperature by about 12 degrees over an hour, and the DR-HSH004A adding about 10 degrees of warmth in that same time. Both heaters struggled to get the room warmer than 80 degrees—though, to be fair, you probably don’t need it to be much hotter than that anyway. And once they raised the temperature to that 80-degree threshold, both heaters did a great job of maintaining that target temperature throughout the room, with only about a 1-degree difference between the two sensors in the room (one at 3 feet directly in front of the heater, the other at 6 feet away on a diagonal). Although the CD08200 doesn’t oscillate like the DR-HSH004A does, either one will warm you up regardless of your bathroom layout.

The CD08200 did stand apart from the DR-HSH004A in a few other ways during our tests. It noticeably reduced the humidity in the room, burning off most of the condensation that otherwise tends to form while you shower. Whereas most of the other heaters we tested (including the DR-HSH004A) caused the humidity to drop by only a few points, the CD08200 essentially traded one percentage point of humidity for every one point of heat. This might not be a boon in every situation, but it was a pleasant surprise in the windowless bathroom where we performed our tests (which otherwise has to rely on a single overhead fan for venting and dehumidification). The CD08200 was also slightly louder than the DR-HSH004A—though you probably wouldn’t notice either one with the shower running, anyway.

Last but absolutely not least, the Lasko CD08200 and the Dreo DR-HSH004A are unique among our picks in that they’re each equipped with an ALCI plug. This type of plug works in conjunction with a GFCI outlet (which you hopefully already have in your bathroom, if it’s up to code) to prevent the electrical current from going somewhere it shouldn’t—like, say, into a puddle of water. This safety feature is what specifically sets these heaters apart for low-risk bathroom usage. The ALCI plug should sense when there’s an abundance of electrical heat (if, for example, you accidentally splash the heater while it’s plugged in and running) and then automatically cut off the current. Both the CD08200 and the DR-HSH004A have built-in overheat protection, as well. The DR-HSH004A also has a tip-over switch, which the CD08200 lacks. In this case, we think that’s okay; the CD08200 is not tall or likely to tip over, and if anything does go wrong, the ALCI plug should catch the problem before it turns into something worse.

Even though the two heaters have these important safety features, the Lasko model’s instruction manual (PDF) also makes something explicitly clear, stating that “this product should never be used near water.” The manual doesn’t define “near,” but point taken: Just because this model may be safer in the case of an accident, that doesn’t mean you should willingly expose it to water. Unlike some outdoor patio heaters we recommend, these heaters don’t even have Ingress Protection ratings for water resistance. Don’t even splash them, if you can avoid it.

We previously recommended the Vornado OSCTH1, a tower fan that looks sort of like the obelisk from 2001: A Space Odyssey, as an oscillating heater pick. It’s still a great choice for even, powerful heat distribution. However, it’s more expensive than our current pick from Dreo, and it takes a little while longer to build up the heat in the room. We also heard from several readers, Wirecutter staffers, and Amazon reviewers who complained that the oscillating gears would sometimes get stuck, or worse, start making an annoying mechanical grinding sound. Like other Vornado products, the OSCTH1 is covered by a five-year warranty, but we’d rather recommend something that doesn’t require you to rely on that warranty.

The Atomi Smart Tower Heater is the first space heater we’ve tested with built-in smart-home capabilities. Unfortunately, those don’t really add anything to the user experience that you can’t get just as easily by pairing the Vornado VH200 with one of our smart plug picks. We found that it was pretty easy to set up and integrate into our phone and Alexa Routines, and it performed pretty well as a heater in our tests, raising the temperature of the room by 8 degrees over the course of the first hour. That heat was fairly evenly distributed, with just a few degrees between our two temperature sensors, thanks to its oscillation. As with our Dreo picks, you can set this Atomi model to run more generally at a high or low setting or use the “eco” mode to dial in a specific temperature. Overall, it’s a decent tower heater, but you can get a similar (and slightly better) experience for much less money with one of our picks.

If you want something that looks like a cheap Dyson knockoff but still costs about the same amount of money as a Dyson, you could get the Westinghouse 2-in-1 Digital Bladeless Fan with Heater WSFBLA018BK. But that’s about the only circumstance where it would make sense for anyone to buy this heater. In our tests, it was quiet enough, and it did a decent job raising the temperature in the room, although the onboard thermometer was about 8 to 10 degrees off from what our sensors were reading at any given time. But the most frustrating feature (other than the price) is that you can’t change the settings without the included remote control. The heater offers no place to store the remote control, either—which means, if you lose the remote, you’re left with a useless $300 piece of furniture that resembles a tacky plastic vase. Pass.

The neat part about the Honeywell VersaHeat HHF260 bathroom heater is that you can position it horizontally or vertically depending on how you want the heat to spread. Unfortunately, the orientation doesn’t make that much of a difference, especially in a bathroom; the two positioning options also mean that this heater lacks a tip-over switch, which is otherwise a pretty standard safety feature on heaters (though it does still have an ALCI plug). Its haptic controls aren’t as user-friendly as those on our other bathroom heater picks, either, and the controls are particularly difficult to use when the heater is lying on its horizontal side. It does a decent job of heating, though, if you can get past the weird sucking sound it makes as it does its impression of a black hole in a sci-fi movie.

We also tested several newer Lasko heaters in 2022, including the Lasko CW210 Oscillating Bladeless Ceramic Heater, the Lasko FHV820 Oscillating Hybrid Fan and Space Heater, and the Lasko CC23630 Elite Collection Revolution Ceramic Heater, all of which were perfectly mediocre in their own slightly distinct ways.

“Personal-size” space heaters, which max out at 750 watts—half of our typical power threshold for space heaters—have grown increasingly popular on Amazon in recent years. We’ve been hesitant to even try them, as their costs are rarely good enough to justify their compact power. In 2020, we finally decided to make an exception for the desktop-size Vornado Velocity 1—which was fine but mostly justified our prior assumptions about personal-size space heaters. The Velocity 1 had tremendous warming power at 3 feet, raising the temperature by a whopping 16 degrees in just 20 minutes, but from 6 feet away it increased the temperature by 2 degrees. This is by far the worst heat distribution we’ve seen in our tests. Although the Velocity 1 might seem fine as a little brick of heat to aim at yourself in the office, it’s also the loudest small heater we’ve tested, with a sound like that of a model rocket about to backfire and explode. If you want something cheap, you’re better off with our budget pick from Lasko—it’s the same price, but it’s quieter and hotter, and capable of better heat distribution.

Our former upgrade pick, the Dyson Hot+Cool Jet Focus AM09, was one of the most quickest and most consistent space heaters we tested and also doubled as a cooling fan, so it was a great option for year-round climate control. Sadly, the manufacturer has discontinued it.

We also tested the Amazon Basics Portable Ceramic Tower Space Heater, shortly before the news broke that various Amazon Basics electronics devices had been exploding with concerning frequency; by the time we were finished testing, it had already been discontinued. Fortunately, we didn’t experience any pyrotechnics ourselves. But we were disappointed with it in other ways, including its maddeningly confusing controls and the 15-degree temperature difference between our measurements at 3 and 6 feet. It was interesting that the Amazon Basics heater could be positioned as a tower or on its side like a log, and that it could point the heat upward on an angle; unfortunately, this feature also meant that it lacked a tip-over switch, which made it concerning to use even if it didn’t explode on us.

We also tested the Amazon Basics Portable Digital Radiator. It was cooler to the touch than our current oil-filled radiator pick from De’Longhi, but that’s because it raised the room temperature by only 4 degrees after two hours. Disappointing performance and safety concerns made this model a quick dismissal.

For our 2020 tests, we also looked at the De'Longhi HSX4315E Slim Style Digital Space Heater. Such heaters are a different style than those we’ve previously tested, with floor- and wall-mounting options that make them similar to the built-in electric radiators you might find in some homes; if you’ve ever seen or used a Rinnai unit, that’s probably a good comparison point. We’d seen a lot of these convection-style panel heaters popping up in our research, so we wanted to see how well they would hold up. This particular De’Longhi model looks nice, and it heated our room well enough, but we don’t think it would be a good substitute for a Vornado heater or a Rinnai-style installation. In addition, the controls are confusing—they look like toggle switches, but they’re not, so you might find yourself instinctually trying to flip the switch instead of tapping the button to make anything happen, every single time.

The Vornado MVH, our previous runner-up pick, is mechanically almost identical to our top pick for the best space heater, the VH200. In previous years, this model was slower to warm the room in our tests, and the case was hotter to the touch after an hour. In 2019, our test model overheated when the room was only 82 degrees—and though the built-in safety feature did switch the MVH off automatically, as it was supposed to, we weren’t able to get the MVH to work again after that. The indicator light would turn on, and the fan would run, but the MVH simply wouldn’t put out any heat. Some Amazon reviewers have reported a similar problem, and even though the manufacturer has typically been responsive and helpful, you’re better off going with a more reliable Vornado pick.

We tested the Vornado VH10, which is a glossier, newer generation of the VH200, but nothing set it apart from our less expensive top pick. It recorded similarly quiet decibel levels and performed just as well in heating our room. The VH10 offers a few other perks, such as a ledge to coil the cord around on the bottom of the heater, but we actually found this feature more annoying than helpful because our cord kept falling under the heating unit and activating its tip-over switch. The VH10 also has only two temperature settings (the VH200 has three), and it has a concave dial, which we found much harder to manipulate than our picks’ raised dials. It’s still a decent option overall, if our other Vornado picks are unavailable.

We previously recommended the Honeywell UberHeat Ceramic Heater HCE200W as an also-great pick. We still think it looks nice, and it usually works pretty well for a loud, cheap fireball, but you can find better options out there without the same drawbacks—the most troubling of which have been reports of failures within the first few months, on top of the usual complaints of units arriving damaged or inoperable from the start.

The Vornado Glide reminded us aesthetically of Prince Robot IV from the comic book Saga. Like Prince Robot IV, the Glide took a while to warm up, and it was just kind of fine overall, with decent but uneven heat and very basic functionality. Instead of a standard tip-over switch, the Glide relies on a level indicator inside the unit. This actually makes it easier to tip the Glide halfway over or lean it on two legs—but please don’t, because that makes it a safety concern (also like Prince Robot IV).

At first glance, the De’Longhi Comfort Temp Full Room Radiant Heater KH390715CB looks like our oil-filled radiator pick (also from De’Longhi) with updated controls and without the protective case around it. In practice, however, this model was purely frustrating—we found it difficult to move around on its clunky wheels without tipping it over or burning ourselves. It’s also confusingly designed, with “Min” and “Med” switches that somehow add up to Max power when they’re both flipped on, and a ComforTemp button for an “ideal” setting, with no information about what that setting is. We had previously tested the oil-filled De’Longhi Silent System EW7707CM as well, but we found it also lacking in comparison with the TRD40615T.

De’Longhi makes a ceramic tower heater that we looked at, the De’Longhi TCH7915ER. It worked well enough in our tests, steadily building up 10 degrees of heat across the room over the course of an hour. It also has built-in settings for an “eco” mode and an “anti-freeze” mode, which could be good for keeping sparsely used parts of a house from getting too cold in the winter. However, the grille reached 240 degrees Fahrenheit after an hour (even as the plastic sides of the case remained at a cool 85 degrees). This model also made an obnoxious high-pitched whirring sound, and its tip-over switch activated only when it was fully horizontal, which is hardly safe.

Although most space heaters with a digital display that we tested could get up to either 90 or 99 degrees Fahrenheit—practical restrictions, considering how the lights work on such displays—the Honeywell Slim Ceramic Tower Heater HCE317B goes up to only 85. And in our tests, it failed to change the room temperature, even though its grille reached a whopping 170 degrees.

We also dismissed several models without testing them in 2020, including the Andily Space Heater, the Black+Decker BHDC500B46, the Brightown Handy Space Heater, the Moonflor Ceramic Space Heater, and the Vornado VH2. These models either had questionable (read: probably fake) reviews or were too weak to meet our power standards.

In previous years’ tests, we dismissed the Crane Digital Ceramic Tower Heater EE-8079, the micathermic De’Longhi HMP1500, the De’Longhi HVY1030, the Dr Infrared Heater (a strange faux-fireplace), the Honeywell HeatGenius Ceramic Heater HCE840B, the Lasko 5409 Oscillating Ceramic Heater, the Lasko 5160 Digital Ceramic Tower Heater, the Lasko 6462 Full-Circle Warmth Ceramic Heater, the oil-filled Pelonis NY1507-14A, and the Vornado ATH1 and VH202.

We cannot stress this enough: Space heaters can be dangerous. Even if you follow all of the instructions—and even if you buy one of the models we recommend, all of which boast certified safety features—it’s all too easy to make a mistake that leads to catastrophic consequences. According to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, portable heaters are involved in about 1,700 fires per year, resulting in an annual average of about 80 deaths and 160 injuries. The data from the National Fire Protection Association is even more dire, attributing space heaters to 14% of all home fires between 2014 and 2018, causing more than a billion dollars in property damage and claiming more than 500 lives.

I tell you this from a personal perspective based on a particularly fiery experience involving a Marshall amplifier, an old power strip, and a space heater. Don’t worry; no one was hurt, and nothing was damaged except for the power strip and my pride. But it still goes to show how quickly things can turn disastrous. Although modern space heaters are generally much safer than older models with open heating elements, they’re still not without risk.

The first way to prevent a fire is to never leave a space heater running in a room unattended. Instructions often mention not to sleep with one on overnight. Even if you don’t leave the house for several days, you shouldn’t let your space heater run the whole time, as the electrical current can build up and cause serious problems. If you have pets or kids who could knock the heater over or accidentally drape fabric over it, keep a very close eye on its operation. We personally don’t leave any space heater in a room or closet within reach of young kids, even if it’s unplugged. Since a heater is a 12- to 15-amp appliance drawing considerable current, the heater’s plug and cord, combined with intuitive on/off switches, pose a major electrical hazard to any curious toddler. Most kids back away from heat, but very few would anticipate an electric shock.

That high current is why you should never use an extension cord with a space heater. Many of the pictures you see in critical reviews claiming that a space heater “caught on fire” appear to be from people overloading an extension cord by plugging a space heater into it. The instructions for every space heater we’ve ever seen warn against this. Don’t use a power strip, either—we’ve seen negative reviews complaining of a heater breaking and ruining a power strip in the process, but the thing is, most manufacturers state that you can’t use heaters in a power strip at all (as we learned the hard way).

There are a lot of warnings most manuals tend to include:

In addition to following these overall rules—keep your heater on the floor, away from everything, with an unobstructed cord and plug—you should also read your heater’s manual for any additional warnings specific to that model. In case you need them, here are the instruction manuals for the Vornado VH200 (PDF), the Lasko 754200 (PDF), and the De’Longhi TRD40615T (PDF). We also found the AHAM’s illustrated heater-installation tips to be helpful.

For more detailed tips on determining space heater locations, dealing with cords that are too long or too short, and safely adding smart controls, check out our blog post “How to Not Burn Your House Down With a Space Heater.”

This article was edited by Harry Sawyers.

U.S. Home Heating Equipment Fires fact sheet (PDF), National Fire Protection Association, December 1, 2017

Stay Warm and Safe This Winter With These Portable Heater Safety Tips, Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers, October 26, 2015

Fire Risk in 2019 (PDF), U.S. Fire Administration, October 1, 2021

How Do Heaters Work? Your Crash Course in Heaters 101, Newair, January 11, 2018

Energy Saver: Small Space Heaters, U.S. Department of Energy, September 4, 2018

Portable Space Heater Safety Tips, Sylvane, September 4, 2018

Portable and Safe Heaters: What you need to know, Lasko, October 18, 2019

Marina Oster, Space Heaters vs. Central Heating: Essential Question, Stanford Magazine, March 1, 2010

Rosalind Jackson, How Infrared Heaters Work, HowStuffWorks, March 10, 2009

Thom Dunn

Thom Dunn is an associate staff writer at Wirecutter reporting on HVAC and other home improvement topics. Sometimes his curiosity gets the best of him, such as when he plugged a space heater and a Marshall guitar amp into the same power strip. Pro tip: Don’t do that.

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The AZ Patio Heaters HLDS01-SSxxx packs 48,000 BTUs of heating power for cool-weather outdoor socializing.

Adequate safety features:1,500-watt output:Ability to heat up quickly: Quiet operation:A (relatively) cool exterior:Intuitive controls: Compact size: Not ugly: Carrying handle:Fan-only option: