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The Best Space Heaters


We put nine of the top portable heaters to the test and found that the Vornado – Vortex Heater is the best space heater out there. The Vornado spreads heat evenly using its patented Whole Room Vortex Heat Circulation system. On top of that, it’s equipped with the most up-to-date safety features — a great precaution, considering over 30% of home heating fires are caused by space heaters. The Honeywell – HCE311V is our cost-effective pick.

Our Top Choices

The Best Space Heater


Vortex AVH10

Also Great



Best for Small Rooms



Most Cost-Effective



We put nine of the top portable heaters to the test and found that the Vornado – Vortex Heater is the best space heater out there. The Vornado spreads heat evenly using its patented Whole Room Vortex Heat Circulation system. On top of that, it’s equipped with the most up-to-date safety features — a great precaution, considering over 30% of home heating fires are caused by space heaters. The Honeywell – HCE311V is our cost-effective pick.

Table of Contents

Compare the best space heaters

ProductPriceTypeIdeal for Room SizesWeight (lb)Power Cord (ft)
A. Vornado - AVH10$$$$FanMedium / large5.46
B. Vornado - VH10$$$FanMedium / large5.16
C. Honeywell – HCE311V $$FanSmall3.266
D. Honeywell - HCE 200B$$FanSmall3.9N/A
E. Dr. Infrared Heater - DR-968$$$Infrared / fanMedium / large23.56
F. Mr. Heater - F232000$$$GasMedium / large9.5N/A
G. Lasko - 6435$$FanMedium / large86
H. Holmes - HFH131-N-TG$FanSmall2.25
I. Lasko - 754200 $FanSmall3.56
J. DeLonghi - TRH0715$$$Oil-filledMedium / large23.47
K. Holmes - HQH341-NUM (discontinued)$$FanMedium / large76

1. Best overall: Vornado – Vortex AVH10

Vornado Vortex

In determining the best overall space heater, we mainly looked at how well it heated the room. Because space heaters are highly associated with house fires, we also focused on its safety functions. Safety is vital so we gave it much weight when determining the best space heater. After over two years of using the Vornado, we still love it.

When it came down to it, there was only one space heater that had it all: the best safety functions, a reliable thermostat, could be used for bedrooms, small rooms like bathrooms and large rooms…and heat them up quickly! It was none other than the Vornado – Vortex Heater.

Top Pick: Vornado - Vortex AVH10

The Vornado - Vortex Heater has top-of-the-line safety features, is clean-looking and uses a patented Whole Room Vortex Heat Circulation method, making it our most effective electric heater. In our testing, the Vornado proved it can heat up a 900 cubic-foot bedroom over eight degrees Fahrenheit in an hour.

We like safe space heaters, especially the tip-over protection feature. The Vornado has a spring-loaded sensor that will turn it off completely if any edge is lifted less than an inch. So if you have kids, pets or are otherwise super busy, the last thing you want to have to worry about is your space heater causing a fire. We have a cat, so this provides extra peace of mind even though our cat doesn’t tend to knock things over.

The higher price of the Vornado is worth the added safety in our minds. It is worry free and is backed with the longest warranty of the machines we tested — a five year warranty. Even more, it can be touched or held anywhere even after having been on for an hour on full blast without burning you.

In terms of heating capability, it was the quickest at heating rooms, small and large, of any electric space heater, coming in second in the 900 cubic feet heat only behind the propane-fueled Mr. Heater. We often use this to warm up the bedroom during showers, and this gets it to toasty levels in a flash.

The Vornado came in first in the bathroom test. It didn’t perform the best with giving immediate direct heat (it came in fifth), but it didn’t matter in actual use. That’s because it’s specialty is not in how hot it gets directly in front of the heater, but in the way it spirals the air to generate an even spread of heat throughout the room — they call it the ‘Whole Room Vortex Heat Circulation’.

As far as looks go, this is the best looking space heater that actually looks like a space heater. The others that scored higher on the aesthetic tests (like Dr. Infrared and the Lasko 6435) only did so because they look more like pieces of art or furniture.

Vornado - Vortex Thermometer

The Vornado looks like a high-tech and futuristic heater, clean and sleek. And it is easily mobile so it becomes no burden to place away in the closet during the day or move to the bathroom for a shower. The Vornado is almost unbeatable in every category, and in the categories in which it really counts, it blows the others out of the water — or, if you prefer, it heats the others out of the room!

The only downside for the super picky is, the mode selector button is slightly loud and can disturb a light sleeper if you’re changing from high to low heat mode for bedtime.

Key takeaways:

  • The Vornado – Vortex AVH10 has state of the art safety precautions — very acute tip-over protection and overheating protection — that allow you to enjoy the heat instead of worry about it.
  • It’s precise digital thermostat is top of its class and provides the easiest room-temperature control.
  • It spreads the heat better than any other electric room heater and is the second most efficient (though the difference is pennies on the hour).
  • The direct heat output is not incredible, but definitely still feels good on a cold body.

2. Also great: Vornado – Vortex VH10

Vornado - VH10 space heater

The Vornado – VH10 is our runner up pick for an all-around heater if your budget is more limited or simply when the Vornado – AVH10 is out of stock, which has been the case for the past few months. The main things you need to know about this heater are it heats the entire room quickly and evenly with the big fan circulating large volumes of air. In our opinion the only downsides are that there’s no fan-only setting, and that the unit completely turns off causing an abrupt change in volume (instead of ramping down like the higher priced unit), but if those don’t matter to you then you’ll save about $20 and get the same performance with this unit.

Vornado AVH10 vs VH10

side by side vh10 vs avh10

We’ve been using the AVH10 for years inside our home after naming it the top pick so have really been able to discern any differences with other units within Vornado’s line. Both units are identical in outer casing design, including the tip over protection on the bottom and overheating protection such as if the unit happens to get covered with a blanket. The only visual difference is of course the color, but the control panel up top. The white AVH10 has a dedicated power button, heat toggle button (high, low, fan only), and up/down selector for precise temperature control in the room with a thermistor.

The black VH10 model has a rotating dial for temperature control, which is what you see often on lower priced heaters, and it’s much like way many non-auto climate car dashboards design their temperature control. It also has a rocker switch for on/off and one for high or low (1500W/750W) heat.

Also Great: Vornado - Vortex AVH10

The Vornado - VH10 Heater has same top-of-the-line safety features as the pricier AVH10 and the same capability to heat an entire room quickly. If you don't need a fan-only or fan-speed ramping features, you'll appreciate the price savings here.

The main difference when comparing the lower priced VH10 vs the AVH10 is that this lower priced unit uses a thermostat to periodically measure the room temp to maintain your setting vs a thermistor in the AVH10 that continuously and more precisely hits your desired room temperature. During our testing, in terms of how fast the room heated up it didn’t matter as much as Vornado made it out to be.

What mattered more to us was that the black VH10 completely shuts off once it hits the target temperature causing an abrupt change it fan volume. But we also sleep with a white noise machine so under normal circumstances it is not a huge deal. Oddly enough it does better in noise on one front: switching from high to low heat is much easier to do quietly on the rocker switch of the VH10 without waking our partner like the impossible-to-quietly-press toggle on the AVH10.

The VH10 works great to quickly heat large rooms, or to use nearby as a personal space heater with great build quality we’ve come to expect from Vornado. There are a ton of other space heaters on the market at lower price points, but if you have the budget for it, the large and powerful fan makes the speedy even heating worth it.

Key takeaways:

  • The Vornado – Vortex VH10 is very similar to the AVH10 but without a fan-only setting, and without a numerical readout for temperature control.
  • Heats large or small rooms quickly and evenly
  • Has effective tip-over and overheating safety features
  • A dial for temp control only, but once you find the setting you like it’s fine.

3. Best for small rooms: Honeywell

Honeywell Ceramic

When you get out of the shower in the morning there are really only a couple things you would like: a warm bathroom and a mirror that you can see yourself in (not including that cup of coffee you wish was already made). Without a space heater you can usually only have one of these two things, heat or mirror.

As many of you may be looking for something cheap and cheerful that will give you both heat and a useful mirror, we’ve compared three smaller heaters that were chosen specifically for bathroom heating and for small rooms. They all differ in their abilities — fan or no fan, low and/or high heat output — but all three give off a similar maximum heat.

Although we would suggest the Vornado, due to its air circulation ability and temperature precision, we know that may be a bit excessive in cost and perhaps a bit larger than most folks might want for a small room heater. So the three small options we chose are all under $30. The best small space heater is the Honeywell – Ceramic Heater as its tip-over protection is on par with that of the Vornado and has multiple heat settings.

Unfortunately the Honeywell Heater doesn’t have a fan, which many people would like in a bathroom heater — if that’s the case for you the Lasko 754200 has a fan, but no tip-over protection. So in the end we want you and your family to be safe and worry-free when enjoying a bath or shower.

Key takeaways:

  • The Honeywell – HCE200B Ceramic Heater has an incredible tip-over protection function.
  • It provides enough heat for a bathroom or small bedroom.
  • There are two different heat settings but no fan.

4. Most cost-effective: Honeywell – HCE311V

Honeywell value pick heater

Most of us like saving money, and the Honeywell – HCE311V is one of the more affordable space heater options at just over $40. It offers most of the features of our top pick, without some of the refinements of Vornado’s quiet-but-powerful fan technology.

As far as efficiency, Honeywell pumps out the same 1500 watts as our top pick, and its side-to-side oscillation spreads that heat around quite well, but it couldn’t move as much air as the Vornado to fill a room as quickly. The Honeywell also won’t work as a no-heat fan.

Most Cost-Efficient: Honeywell - HCE311V

This heater came in first in our overall heat-per-dollar rating system. With 1500 watts of heat and an oscillating fan, It definitely has the best cost-to-effectiveness ratio.

This space heater has many of the advantages of the Vornado, including the safety-shut-off switch that kills the power if it falls over — or if you try to move it while it’s running. The Honeywell is less than 4 pounds, though, so it’s a bit easier to take with you to work on cold mornings.

If you like the digital thermostat and 1500 watts of heat on the Vornado, but aren’t ready to pay full price for the quiet, room-filling fan, the Honeywell is an excellent alternative. If you’re only looking for cozy warmth in a small area, you should also take a look at our review of the best electric blankets.

Key takeaways:

  • The Honeywell – HCE311V has the same heating power and safety features as our top pick.
  • While it doesn’t have the powerful and versatile fan of the Vornado, this model is about half the price.
  • The side-to-side oscillating motion keeps a small space warm evenly.

5. Most powerful & portable: Mr. Heater

Mr. Heater

Sometimes we don’t want to work indoors. It’s also nice to be able to feel the fiery warmth of heat right after that chill. And for this type of heat, that is both direct and permeating, you need propane power.

The Mr. Heater – Portable Buddy is propane-fueled and it brings the heat. This cordless space heater beat its competitors flat out in our heating competition. When we conducted the three-foot direct heat test, it increased the temperature by 35 degrees in five minutes! That’s almost ten degrees higher than the next best (the Holmes – Quartz Tower Heater did 26 degrees). This type of raw power heat is needed when you’re working outdoors or on a camping trip.

Most Powerful: Mr. Heater - Portable Buddy

The Mr. Heater can provide hours of heat in an outdoor setting where an electric heater might just not cut it.

It is very easy to use, no special tools or knowledge required. It’s very similar to lighting a barbecue, just screw in the propane tank, press the knob halfway down on “pilot” and hold for 30 seconds, then press all the way down and it will light. Viola. Heat by the push of a button.

Mr. Heater with Gas

And if you’re wondering, it is indoor-safe but because it uses oxygen you’ll want to use it in an area with airflow or for short periods of time inside. It does, however, have a built-in oxygen depletion sensor that will shut off the gas upon detection. The gas will also turn off automatically if the pilot flame goes out or if the space heater falls forward or backward. So you can rest assured its power is tamed, so if you want to use it in your RV or similar space, this works great.

The downside to this heater, of course, is the extra danger involved. Whenever you have flammable gas and open flame in the picture, things tend to be more dangerous. But if they are handled with care, and you can handle the heat, feel free to take on the Mr. Heater.

Key takeaways:

  • It heats up quick! All other things aside, Mr. Heater – F232000 was by far the best at heating.
  • It uses propane which means the area needs ventilation, but there is no cord to trip over.
  • The Mr. Heater is unfortunately very expensive to use when compared to its electric competitors. It costs about two dollars an hour on full blast as opposed to about twenty cents.

Other heaters we tested

Other Finalists

Dr. Infrared

Dr. Infrared is a high-end heater that looks like a small piece of furniture. At 24 lbs it has the tip-over protection we’re looking for, it stops after a 45 degree angle is reached and has no exposed hot-spots. It provided great direct heat and pretty good room heat although that is most likely because there was no furniture in the room for it to heat up, which is how infrared heaters are designed to work. It’s a tough asterisk for this one to take.

One of our favorite parts of this heater is that it has so many settings and modes — and a very reliable thermostat — so it was customizable heat, and you don’t even have to leave the couch to change it because it comes with a remote. This is luxury heating, perfect for a larger room where it would have a semi-permanent spot. Dr. Infrared does have wheels so you can easily move it if you wish.

Lasko – 6435 Oscillating Heater

Also Great: Lasko - Oscillating Heater

The Lasko 6435 looks like artwork, heats up a room quickly with its unique oscillation technique and has a price that is tough to beat.

This space heater is like a miniature Athenian ceramic fountain masterpiece and it is a great room heater. Due to the oscillation technique it was almost as effective as the Vornado at dispersing heat throughout the room and it’s even small enough to put in a bathroom. It too comes with a remote and has the ability to be put on a timer of up to eight hours.

The thermostat options range from 60 to 85 degrees in increments of five. And although it doesn’t have any tip-over protection, this heater is on a stand that is very sturdy and the temperature of the grill doesn’t get hot to the touch. So it’s about as safe as it can be without tip-over protection.

DeLonghi – TRH0715 Oil Filled Radiator

Classic oil-filled radiator, it’s old-school. And it is definitely not good at heating up a room quickly. But once it achieves the heat desired it can hold it steady very nicely. Also, because it’s not a fan it doesn’t have that warm air feel, it was one of the coziest feeling heats experienced and would surely keep your room toasty during the winter months.

This would be a nice choice for a bigger room or garage as the type of heat if provides is slow and steady which is exactly what you need if you’re curing things in the shop. So if you want complete silence and have the patience to wait, the DeLonghi Radiator is a fine choice.

Holmes – Compact Heater HFH131-N-TG

Good for Bathrooms: Holmes - Compact Heater

The Holmes Compact Heater HFH131-N-TG is a classic simple, work-hard little heater that provides the body and bathroom with ample heat.

In terms of heating, the $20 Holmes Compact Heater powerhouse was better than the other two bathroom heaters at room heating and absolutely crushed them in direct heating. Unfortunately there is just one setting and only a gradual thermostat. So there are not too many choices with this one, but if you care about a fancy fan space heater then this small space heater is a steal.

Lasko – 754200 Ceramic Heater

The Lasko 754200 Ceramic Heater almost won the top spot for a bathroom heater because it was the only one with a fan and multiple heat settings. It is also an Amazon bestseller for around 25 bucks. But because it is not equipped with up-to-date safety precautions and because the heat it provided was the worst of the three it did not deserve the top spot.

How we selected

After nine hours of researching top products on Amazon, going through the depths of Reddit and checking out multiple other review sites, it became clear what to look for. We knew that safety was key, so tip-over protection and auto shut-off settings were high on the list (but we know there are some daredevils out there so we threw in a couple dangerous and very affordable heaters).

Then, with both consumer and professional advice in mind, we selected a variety of space heaters under $100 (because who wants to spend more than that on a space heater, we’re trying to save money right?).

Knowing there are different purposes for the heaters, like direct heat or whole-room heat, we put them through a multitude of tests and rating systems. These ranged from heat efficiency to thermostat reliability, mobility to safety precautions. The nine top space heaters were then judged on their performances with an appropriate value attached to each category.

In 2020, we looked for a replacement for our old value pick, the now-discontinued Holmes – HQH341. We set our sites on a low-cost heater with full 1500-watt power, and found a few very strong recommendations for the feature-packed Honeywell – HCE311V.

How we tested


Almost all the items we chose claimed to have both tip-over protection and overheating automatic shut-off. So, for all the space heaters that had tip-over protection, we checked the point at which each one was considered “tipping over”, most of them were past a 45-degree angle.

safety feature comparison chart

We used a surface thermometer to determine both the surface temperatures after 15 minutes and the temperatures of the plugs after 30 minutes and an hour. We also checked for any smell of burning throughout all the testing (there was none!).

Heating times

Our heating tests were divided into three categories. Well, really two categories and one of those had two sub-categories. We tested both localized heat and whole-room heat. For the room sizes we used 400 cubic feet to mimic a bathroom and 900 cubic feet for a bedroom.

Localized heat: To simulate someone trying to get warm quickly, we used a standard 100% cotton t-shirt and recorded its heat over the course of five minutes with the space heaters three feet away on full blast. We used a closed environment with no drafts or cracks for heat to easily escape or enter through. And with a starting temperature of about 69 degrees Fahrenheit we placed each space heater exactly three feet away and aimed them right at the target.

direct heat chart @ 3 feet away

We then took the temperature of the specified location every minute so you could see the progress. Once the data was recorded the initial settings of the room temperature and the shirt temperature were restored.

400 cubic feet: For this test we placed four heat sensors evenly around the bathroom with differing heights and distances from the space heater. We also used the Vornado’s thermostat because it is incredibly precise and easy to move. We placed the space heaters on a countertop three feet off the ground in one corner of the bathroom (with a standard eight foot ceiling height). This was to replicate how it would be placed if you were about to shower.

We used a starting bathroom temperature of about 70 degrees and then took temperature readings of the room for 10 minutes in order to depict the trends of the heat. Because the starting temperatures were not exactly the same, we recorded all the sensors’ temperatures and created multiple data points and averaged out the readings. This both reveals the trajectories and show us the beginning and end points which can be easily compared to the others.

900 cubic feet: This was conducted in a very similar manner to the bathroom test. Only this time we used five heat sensors in the room (again with varying heights and distances from the space heater being tested) as well as the thermostat readings from both the Vornado and Dr. Infrared, which were at opposing areas on the floor of the room.

The space heater being tested was put on the ground at the same spot near the corner of the room. Once the room’s average temperature was around 67 degrees, data was collected for an entire hour. Again the room temperature was taken intermittently so we could evaluate the heat trends of each space heater.

heat testing data chart


We checked the wattage for the space heaters to see if the company claims were accurate. They weren’t spot on but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The heat output was still fairly good even with less than the 1500 watts most of them claimed. We tested the watts on all settings using a Kill A Watt monitor.

Using the amount of watts and a combination of the data from the heat output tests, we calculated which space heater was the most effective at turning your money into heat. Which essentially tells us the most efficient space heater (it’s the Holmes – Quartz Tower Heater).

We also tested the sound output of all the heaters. For this we used a sound decibel meter and recorded the amount of decibels, with a baseline of around 36.5 decibels, so we had something to compare to. We’ve categorized and ranked all the heaters in terms of their sizes, weights, cord lengths (if applicable), ease of use and even reliability and precision of their thermostats. See tables for easier information.

Update tests

After purchasing the new Honeywell oscillating model, we used it in our tests of new portable air conditioning units the same way we had used the Vornado and Lasko space heaters in previous years. The Honeywell didn’t fill up the room as quickly as the Vornado, and it wasn’t as quiet, but we were very impressed by the range of features and the portable design.

Why a space heater?

Ever feel the cold creep up on you no matter how many blankets you put on? And maybe you want to heat the room for more folks than an electric blanket can cover. Or get that unwanted post-shower chill? Well, space heater to the rescue! If you don’t want to spend the average annual cost to heat up your whole house in the U.S. — $700 using natural gas — or want to keep your room warm during the night or simply feel some direct heat to get rid of that internal shiver then a space heater is what you’re looking for.

It is pretty well known that keeping your thermostat lower saves you money (they say roughly one to three percent of your heating bill is saved per degree lowered). That said, natural gas is a very low cost energy and a good way to heat up your whole house in general. But if you don’t need to heat your whole house then a space heater for a single room ends up being the cheapest option.

Electric space heaters are nearly 100% energy efficient and very cost-effective forms of heat but will lose their cost-effectiveness if you try to heat more than one or two rooms. To make a comparison using the $700 annual average for home heating, you can heat a living room of around 150 square feet for five months around the clock on full blast using the most cost-effective space heater, the Holmes Quartz Tower.

Here’s the easy rule of thumb, if you only need one or two rooms heated, then a space heater will be best. But if you need more, stick with central heating. If you are willing to lower your thermostat, only keep the rooms warm you really want and would like to save money by doing so, read on.

Types of space heaters

The Four Types

Fan: Typically used for smaller rooms. They use electricity to heat up a wire element and then use a fan to spread the hot air evenly throughout the room. They provide quick and even heat.

Infrared: Typically used for larger rooms. They use infrared heating to heat up objects in the room so as to keep the heat from rising to the ceiling and maintain a nice temperature where it will be felt. They provide quick and sustainable heat.

Gas: Typically used for outdoors or ventilated rooms. It uses natural gas, liquefied petroleum gas, butane or propane as the energy source. They usually provide quick, intense heat.

Radiator: Typically used for larger rooms. They use electricity to heat the oil which causes the hotter oil to run through the cavities — this process is called convection. Once the oil is heated up it then heats the metal, which in turn heats up the room. They provide slow and sustainable heat.

Important features to consider

Safety: With out-of-date space heaters being such a liability when it comes to house fires, you should look for space heaters that have both tip-over protection and overheating auto shut-off mechanisms.

Most space heaters have the overheating precautions but only a select few have tip-over protection — and that’s the important one. Imagine the heater’s been on for an hour and your dog knocks it over on the carpet unbeknownst to you. With tip-over protection, everything’s fine. Without it, not so fine. You should also pay attention to whether the actual heater gets hot to the touch or the outlet or plug overheat.

Reliable and precise thermostat: A machine that holds true and remains consistent is nice, but being able to measure the temperature in the room is even nicer. Check if the temperature gauge’s precision is to the degree, five degrees or lacks numerical values entirely.

Heat output: You’re most likely going to want to use this heater for whole-room heating and direct heating so the ratio will help you decide what matters most. It’s odd to think, but there are different types of heat, some space heaters are better at heating specific areas and some are better at creating an even spreading temperature. It’s also worth considering the lingering heat, which most fan heaters lack but oil-filled and ceramic heaters hold.

Efficiency: Of course you want to have a high price-to-performance ratio. So, the lower the wattage and the higher the heat output for the same price is where we’re looking. (Spoiler: propane costs a lot more than electricity but is more effective at both direct and room heating.)

energy efficiency chart

Noise: If a space heater is annoyingly loud, nobody is going to want to use it. Then again, some people enjoy the low white noise certain fans can give off so that’s up to you.

Size and portability: If you want something easily portable, then smaller is obviously better. If you want it to stay put, then you may not mind the 25lbs (though most all heavier models have wheels which allow for easy mobility).

Aesthetic: If nobody’s going to see it, you may not care. But if you want the space heater to stay put and not stick out like a sore thumb, then you’re going to want something that doesn’t even look like a space heater, but more like a piece of art. And we’ve got a couple that fit the bill (the Lasko 6435 and Dr. Infrared).

The bottom line

When we look at what matters it comes down to effectiveness, efficiency and safety. The Vornado – Vortex Heater is our top pick because it has the best safety precautions: both overheating automatic shut off and stellar tip-over protection — plus the best heat-distributing technology for overall room heating.

Other electric heaters like Dr. Infrared and Honeywell – HCE311V came close to winning top spot, but when the product was looked at in total, the Vornado – Vortex Heater was the clear choice.

Best Overall: Vornado - Vortex AVH10

The Vornado - Vortex Heater is incredibly safe and its thermostat with automatic climate control is precise to the degree. And due to its ‘Vortex Action’ airflow technology it is the quickest electric room heater and proved incredibly energy-efficient.

Bryan Vu, Editor

Bryan is our cooking and kitchen expert, with more than 15 years of experience of cooking and testing kitchen products. When outside of the kitchen, he enjoys woodworking, photography, videography and figuring out how to live a more eco-friendly lifestyle. He thoroughly enjoys discovering the best, whether it’s ingredients or equipment, and finding products that can stand the rigors of daily use.

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