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Quietest Space Heaters From Consumer Reports' Tests

These space heaters are quiet enough to share a room with

A person turning a dial on a quiet space heater

Of all the appliances that might be in your home, a space heater is probably among the least noisy. Even so, some are quieter than others. That's important because a space heater is an appliance that may be running constantly, adding to the background noise in your home.

Consumer Reports tests two dozen products for noise, from the obviously loud, such as lawn mowers and leaf blowers, to quieter appliances that can still be a bother, such as humidifiers and space heaters.

CR engineers measure sound by positioning a sound meter at a “working distance” from the source of the noise, which varies from product to product.

For space heaters, we clip a microphone to a test dummy and place the appliance 4.5 feet away on the floor. We take two noise measurements with the heater running on its highest setting, says Chris Regan, who oversees our space heating tests. For the 40 models in our ratings, the decibel readings range from about 30 dBA to 56 dBA. But most have a dBA in the low- to mid-40s.

“That’s a huge range,” says Les Blomberg, director of Noise Pollution Clearinghouse, a nonprofit that works to reduce noise pollution. By comparison, he says, the level of background noise of the typical house ranges between 25 dBA and 40 dBA. “The quietest heaters fit into that background noise, but anything above that will be the dominant sound of your environment.” 

Highlights From Our Tests
One of our top-scoring space heaters, the stylish Dyson AM09, aces both of our heating tests but is also one of the noisiest. In fact, only two space heaters rate worse in our noise test: the Dyson Pure Hot+Cool Link and the Honeywell HHF360V.

The quietest space heaters are the radiator-type, which have no fan. You won't find any of these oil-filled heaters on our recommended list because they heat up slowly, causing them to fall short of CR's benchmark of warming a room in 15 minutes. "Still, if you’re using one in a guest room and can turn it on an hour or two before bedtime, the room will eventually get warm," Regan says.

Here are the five quietest space heaters from our tests that earn at least a Very Good Overall Score. They're listed in order of their noise rating.

1
Quiet Space Heaters
Vornado VH10
Vornado VH10

    Vornado VH10

    Noise rating: Excellent
    CR’s take: This space heater is a champ at heating a room and almost as good at bathing a person in direct heat. It gets top marks in our fire-safety test but can be a little warm to the touch, so it's not the best choice if you have young children or pets. It does have a tip-over switch, which automatically shuts off the heater if it's knocked over—a great safety feature.

    2
    Lasko 5307
    Lasko 5307

      Lasko 5307

      Noise rating: Excellent
      CR’s take: Whisper quiet, the Lasko 5307 heats a room and directly heats a person equally well. It performs nicely on our fire-safety test, but the surface can get hot enough to cause a burn when it’s on the highest setting. It lacks a tip-over switch, so there are safer choices, although they may not be as quiet.

      3
      Vornado VH200
      Vornado VH200

        Vornado VH200

        Noise rating: Excellent
        CR’s take: Though this Vornado is super quiet and a good choice for spot heating, it does have some drawbacks. It does not fare well in our hot-surface test, which means it can be hot enough to cause a burn when on the highest setting. It does have a tip-over switch and, at 4 pounds, is very lightweight.

        4
        Vornado VMH600
        Vornado VMH600

          Vornado VMH600

          Noise rating: Very Good
          CR’s take: This Vornado tops our spot-heating test while falling just a bit short in room heating. It sports smart safety features that help it earn impressive marks in our fire-safety and hot-surface tests. The squat heater is stable and has a tip-over switch, so it's a good bet for a house with kids or pets. It weighs 10 pounds and has a fan and remote control.

          5
          Comfort Zone CZ499R
          Comfort Zone CZ499R

            Comfort Zone CZ499R

            Noise rating: Very Good
            CR’s take: This space heater gets top marks for both room heating and spot heating, and its fire-safety features are top-notch. However, it’s another model that does not do well on our hot-surface test, so you may want to look elsewhere if you have young children. It does have a tip-over switch and a handy remote control.

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            Mary H.J. Farrell

            Knowing that I wanted to be a journalist from a young age, I decided to spiff up my byline by adding the middle initials "H.J." A veteran of online and print journalism, I've worked at People, MSNBC, Ladies’ Home Journal, Good Housekeeping, and an online Consumer Reports wannabe. But the real thing is so much better. Follow me on Twitter.