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 chilly office. It's a product category that hasn't seen much innovation over the past few years, though in Consumer Reports' space heater tests we found some nonboxy models 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.

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 a space heater is relatively small, it can leave you with a big utility bill if you don't use it wisely. Think twice about turning down your thermostat and using a space heater to strategically warm certain 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). Then there's noise. A machine that makes a racket can be annoying if you’re running the heater while trying to watch TV. Most of the space heaters in our ratings earn a 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 test engineer Chris Regan, who oversees our space-heater lab. “We want to know how your body will feel when you’re sitting within 4 feet of the appliance."

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.

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

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Comfort Zone CZ499R

Price: $70

Room heating
Spot heating
Fire safety
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Heat Storm Logan

Price: $150

Room heating
Spot heating
Fire safety
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Honeywell HZ-980

Price: $170

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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Space Heaters That Heat a Room Quickly

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Honeywell HCE311V

Price: $42

Room heating
Spot heating
Fire safety
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Lasko CC23160 Motion Heat Plus (Costco)

Price: $70

Room heating
Spot heating
Fire safety
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Lasko Designer Series 6435

Price: $45

Room heating
Spot heating
Fire safety
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Lasko 755320

Price: $55

Room heating
Spot heating
Fire safety
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Space Heaters for Direct Heating

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Heat Storm Mojave

Price: $130

Spot heating
Room heating
Fire safety
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Heat Storm Sahara

Price: $130

Spot heating
Room heating
Fire safety
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Vornado VMH600

Price: $150

Spot heating
Room heating
Fire safety
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