A person reaching down to a space heater on the floor

Space heaters provide that extra warmth you may want in a drafty room or a chilly office. It's a category that hasn't undergone a lot of innovation over the past few years, though in Consumer Reports' space heater tests we found some nonboxy models from Lasko and Dyson that look good and work well.

You'll find many good choices in our ratings that cost $100 or less, though you can spend a lot more. But before you choose, decide what you want the space heater to do—heat just you or warm up your family room. Not all models do both well.

More on Space Heaters

Another thing space heaters don’t do well? Save you money. Most models are unlikely to produce the cost savings that some manufacturers claim. In fact, they’re less efficient than central heating systems, so while they’re small, they can leave you with a big utility bill if not used wisely. So think twice about turning down your thermostat and using a space heater to strategically warm areas. You may see modest savings by supplementing the heat in just one room and keeping the others cooler, but that may be impractical.

Safety is another consideration. It’s safest to keep space heaters on the floor rather than on a table. That means a remote control can come in handy, especially if the knobs and dials are on the bottom of the unit (less stooping over and squinting at the settings). Noise is also a consideration and can be annoying if you’re running the heater while trying to watch TV. We judged most of the space heaters to be Very Good or Excellent in our noise test, and those that did worse typically had other demerits that would steer you away from them.

How We Test Space Heaters

We test space heaters for heating a standard-sized room in 15 minutes and directly heating a person—spot heating—in the same amount of time. “Our spot-heating test uses a mannequin wired with sensors,” says Chris Regan, who oversees our space heater tests. “We want to know how your body will feel when you’re sitting within 4 feet of the appliance.”

For room heating, we gauge how quickly the heater warms up a typical room. “We take the temperature of the room after 15 minutes,” Regan says.

We also test space heaters for safety, including how hot the surface gets (so you don’t burn your fingers) and whether they get so hot that they can ignite a piece of fabric (imagine your curtains). In the past, we’ve called out space heaters that did poorly on our fire safety test, but we’re happy to report that none of the heaters failed the test this time around.

Our tests of more than 40 small and large space heaters include models made by Comfort Zone, DeLonghi, Dyson, Heat Storm, Honeywell, Lasko, Lifesmart, and Vornado. Check out CR’s Space Heater Buying Guide for more on the different types.

Below, grouped alphabetically by task, are ratings and reviews of space heaters that excel at heating a room and directly heating a person, as well as models that aced either one task or the other.

Space Heaters for Overall Heating

Quick Take

Comfort Zone CZ499R

Price: $70

Room heating
Spot heating
Fire safety
Unlock Space Heater Ratings
Quick Take

Dyson AM09

Price: $450

Room heating
Spot heating
Fire safety
Unlock Space Heater Ratings
Quick Take

Lifesmart ZCHT1001US

Price: $95

Room heating
Spot heating
Fire safety
Unlock Space Heater Ratings

Space Heaters That Heat a Room Quickly

Quick Take

Honeywell HCE311V

Price: $42

Room heating
Spot heating
Fire safety
Unlock Space Heater Ratings
Quick Take

Lasko CC23160 Motion Heat Plus (Costco)

Price: $65

Room heating
Spot heating
Fire safety
Unlock Space Heater Ratings
Quick Take

Lasko Designer Series 6435

Price: $45

Room heating
Spot heating
Fire safety
Unlock Space Heater Ratings
Quick Take

Lasko 755320

Price: $55

Room heating
Spot heating
Fire safety
Unlock Space Heater Ratings

Space Heaters for Direct Heating

Quick Take

Heat Storm Mojave

Price: $130

Spot heating
Room heating
Fire safety
Unlock Space Heater Ratings
Quick Take

Heat Storm Sahara

Price: $130

Spot heating
Room heating
Fire safety
Unlock Space Heater Ratings
Quick Take

Vornado VMH600

Price: $150

Spot heating
Room heating
Fire safety
Unlock Space Heater Ratings