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Time to put on socks and get out the space heater.

Time to Cozy Up to a Space Heater

Put on your wool socks and plug in one of these top-performing space heaters

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 in the same amount of time—spot heating. “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. “Then 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 includes 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. And read on for scores and reviews of space heaters that excelled at both heating a room and directly heating a person, as well as models that aced either one task or the other.

Best Space Heaters for Overall Heating

The five space heaters featured here earned Excellent scores for both heating a room and heating a person directly. Other pluses include smart safety and convenience features.

Dyson AM09
Price: $450
Overall score: 85
Ranking: 2 of 30 small space heaters
CR’s take: With its upscale design and high price, the Dyson isn’t your ordinary space heater. It aced our tests for both heating a room and heating you directly. It has smart safety features and stays cool to the touch. The only drawback is that it can be a bit noisy. The Dyson weighs 5.92 pounds and comes with a fan, timer, and remote control.

Comfort Zone CZ499R
Price: $70
Overall score: 83
Ranking: 3 (small)
CR’s take: Another small heater that made a big impression, the Comfort Zone heats you and a room equally well. It scored Excellent on our fire safety test, meaning chances that it will ignite nearby materials are low, but it wasn’t as cool to the touch as other models in our tests. It costs much less and is also less noisy than the Dyson. It weighs 6.4 pounds and comes with a fan, timer, and remote control.

Lifesmart ZCHT1001US
Price: $95
Overall score: 81
Ranking: 1 of 7 large space heaters
CR’s take: This large model can heat a room and directly heat a person equally well. It’s not the quietest but has Excellent fire safety features. The Lifesmart weighs 14.1 pounds and comes with a fan, timer, and remote control.

Honeywell HZ-980
Price: $170
Overall score: 77
Ranking: 2 (large)
CR’s take: The Honeywell also aced both the room-heating and spot-heating tests. Fire safety features were Excellent, and its score for noise was Very Good. It weighs 17 pounds and comes with a fan, timer, and remote control.

Heat Storm Logan
Price: $130
Overall score: 72
Ranking: 3 (large)
CR’s take: The fifth space heater in this group to score Excellent on both the room- and spot-heating tests, the Heat Storm is also relatively quiet and scored Very Good for safety features. It weighs 21.2 pounds and comes with a fan and remote control.

Space heaters in Our Ratings.
Current Space heater Ratings

Recently Tested Space heaters

See our full list of Space heater Ratings