Photo-illustration of a space heater in a home office
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 far-flung nook or previously unused space. But even as temperatures start to warm up in early spring, your work spot can be drafty—or downright cold. 

Want to know whether a space heater can help? 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 at top) 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

Quick Take

Comfort Zone CZ499R

Price: $55

Room heating
Spot heating
Fire safety
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Lasko AW315 Bladeless Tower (Home Depot)

Price: $100

Room heating
Spot heating
Fire safety
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Best Space Heaters for Room Heating

Quick Take

Lasko Designer Series 6435

Price: $45

Room heating
Spot heating
Fire safety
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Quick Take

Lasko FH500

Price: $100

Room heating
Spot heating
Fire safety
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Best Space Heaters for Spot Heating

Quick Take

Vornado VMH600

Price: $160

Room heating
Spot heating
Fire safety
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Quick Take

Heat Storm Mojave

Price: $130

Room heating
Spot heating
Fire safety
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Editor's Note: This article also appeared in the February 2021 issue of Consumer Reports magazine.