Best Space Heaters for a Home Office

Working in a drafty attic or basement? Here's how to stay warm.

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space heater in a room Illustration: Rodrigo Damati

Fifty-four percent of people didn’t have a home office before the pandemic, according to a recent survey of more than 2,000 consumers conducted by YouGov, in partnership with USA Today and LinkedIn.

Since then, many remote workers have carved out new office spaces at home, perhaps in a secluded nook or previously unused space. At first, it may have seemed temporary. But as many workers who are still working remotely learned, that wasn’t the case.

If you’re still working in a drafty place, you can make it more comfortable with a space heater. In our tests, we’ve found many stand-alone heaters that work well and kick off a good amount of heat—if you choose wisely.

More on Space Heaters

First, decide whether you want the space heater to heat just you or warm up the whole room. Our tests find that not all models do both well. The Comfort Zone model (shown above) is a champ at keeping a large room warm and making a person feel toasty—also known as spot heating. We test space heaters by evaluating how well they warm a standard-sized living room in 15 minutes and how well they spot-heat in 15 minutes. “Our spot-heating test uses a mannequin wired with sensors,” says CR engineer Chris Regan. “We want to know how your body will feel when you’re sitting about 4 feet from the appliance.”

It’s safest to keep heaters on the floor rather than on a table, and away from upholstered furniture, curtains, and anything else flammable. Look for models with auto shut-off, so if the heater gets knocked over, it turns off automatically. And always plug a heater directly into a wall outlet, not an extension cord, and never leave it running unattended.

Below are some of the top-performing models from our space heater ratings. For more choices, see our full space heater ratings and recommendations or read the Best Space Heaters of the Year.

Best Space Heaters Overall

Best Space Heaters for Room Heating

Best Space Heaters for Spot Heating

Editor's Note: This article also appeared in the February 2021 issue of Consumer Reports magazine.