A person reaching down to a space heater on the floor

Now that it’s sweater weather in many parts of the country, it’s time to box up that box fan and make space for a space heater. In Consumer Reports’ latest space heater tests, we found several worth checking out, from models that cost $50 or even less to the wildly expensive Dyson AM09, $450.

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.

Another thing space heaters don’t do well is 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 although 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 put them 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 both 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.”

More on Space Heaters

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 about 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 scores and reviews of space heaters that excel at both heating a room and directly heating a person, as well as models that aced either one task or the other.

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Space Heaters for Overall Heating

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Comfort Zone CZ499R space heater

Price: $70.00

Room heating
Spot heating
Fire safety
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Dyson AM09 space heater

Price: $450.00

Room heating
Spot heating
Fire safety
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Lifesmart ZCHT1001US space heater

Price: $95.00

Room heating
Spot heating
Fire safety
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Space Heaters That Heat a Room Quickly

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Honeywell HCE311V space heater

Price: $40.00

Room heating
Spot heating
Fire safety
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Lasko Designer Series 6435 space heater

Price: $65.00

Room heating
Spot heating
Fire safety
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Lasko 755320 space heater

Price: $55.00

Room heating
Spot heating
Fire safety
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Space Heaters For Direct Heating

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Heat Storm Mojave space heater

Price: $130.00

Spot heating
Room heating
Fire safety
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Heat Storm Sahara space heater

Price: $130.00

Spot heating
Room heating
Fire safety
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Vornado VMH600 space heater

Price: $150.00

Spot heating
Room heating
Fire safety
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