The 6 Best Energy-Efficient Space Heaters of 2022

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Best Energy-Efficient Space Heaters

Treehugger / Chloe Jeong

The cold winter weather can lead to drafty homes and high heating bills, so to help stay warm, many consumers utilize portable space heaters. Although both affordable and convenient, space heaters aren’t known for being environmentally friendly and can pose a fire risk if not used properly. The good news is that many companies are rising to the challenge to produce safer, more energy-efficient space heaters using convection heating as well as radiant (infrared) technology.

When strategically used in occupied rooms (and not as an attempt to heat an entire house), they can be an effective way to stay warm without excess energy waste. If your home uses renewable energy, they can also be operated without the use of fossil fuels, which is better for the climate than using a furnace powered by heating oil or methane (natural gas).

There are no Energy Star ratings for space heaters, however the Department of Energy does recommend purchasing newer models that have advanced safety features like automatic shut-off switches and built-in thermostats to get the most efficient results. 

Here are the best energy-efficient space heaters to consider:

Best Overall: De'Longhi 1500-Watt Ceramic Tower Heater #TCH7915ER

De'Longhi Ceramic Tower Space Heater

Courtesy of Amazon

This ceramic space heater from De'Longhi takes our top spot thanks to its "ECO" energy savings mode, which automatically adjusts the temperature settings to save energy. Heaters that have thermostat settings tend to be the most efficient, because they make it easy for you to pick the right temperature for you and will shut off when they reach the right level of heat.

This model also comes with a remote control, so you can adjust the temperature from across the room. It comes with a three year warranty, and the base oscillates to heat a broader swath of the room. It's suitable for larger rooms, up to 150 square feet.

Price at time of publish: $120

Safety Tip

The Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that space heaters contribute to more than 25,000 residential fires every year. Before purchasing and using space heaters in the home, take a look at these safety guidelines and energy-saving advice from the Department of Energy. 

Best Budget: Honeywell 360 Degree Surround Heater

Honeywell HHF360V 360 Degree

Courtesy of Amazon

If a low price is a priority when shopping for a space heater, the small—but mighty—Honeywell 360 Degree Surround Heater is a good choice. The "360 Degree Surround" heat means that this space heater radiates heat in a full circle all the way around the unit. It's best suited for smaller spaces; but it's easy to move, weighing in at just 5 pounds and with a handle on top.

Although this is a lower-cost option, it still features robust safety features. That includes overheat protection, a shut-off switch if the unit tips over, and a case that remains cool to the touch.

Price at time of publish: $40

Best Splurge: Dyson Hot + Cool AM09 Fan Heater

4.7
Dyson AM09 Fan Heater, Iron/Blue
Courtesy of Amazon.com.

Dyson’s futuristic-looking, bladeless fan and space heater is one of the more expensive heaters on the market, but its two-for-one function and advanced energy features make it a worthy splurge that can be used year-round. The remote-operated system has two modes: jet to focus on one area or diffused for a wider range. The company’s Air Multiplier technology allows for quick and even heating, plus there’s a sleep timer and thermostat, so energy isn’t wasted.

The fan mode is ideal for extra air flow during the summer, however, it does not function as an air conditioner. The Dyson AM09 was also awarded with Quiet Mark accreditation (for technologies reducing unwanted noise). As an engineering company, Dyson emphasizes sustainability in innovation, or what it calls “lean engineering.”

Best for Small Spaces: Vornado VHEAT Whole Room Vintage Heater

4.7
Fan electric heater

Amazon

If you’re looking for a space heater for a smaller space, the Vornado VHeat supplies a tremendous amount of heat. It has a vintage look and comes in several finishes. Vornado’s history dates back to the 1940s with its first line of personal fans that utilized vortex air circulation.

The VHeat space heater builds off this concept and has a similar, all-metal housing design (that remains cool to the touch), plus modern safety features such as an automatic shut off and tip-over protection. Available in retro green or white, the space heater has a pivoting head (47 degrees), a low or high setting (750 or 1500 watts), plus an adjustable thermostat. The VHeat also includes a five year warranty.

Price at time of publish: $165

Best for Larger Spaces: Dr. Infrared Heater Portable Space Heater

4.9
dr-infrared-heater-portable-space-heater

Amazon

Most space heaters are designed for use in smaller rooms (250 square feet or less), but a few, like the Dr. Infrared Portable Space Heater (DR-968), can handle larger spaces (although for the average home, claims it can heat 1000 square feet are a stretch). The heater uses PTC (positive temperature coefficient) and a quartz tube for dual heating capability.

At 24 pounds, it’s one of the bulkier options but comes with the built-in wheels for mobility. The temperature can be set from 50 to 85 degrees using a remote, tip-over and overheat protection are built in, plus there’s a handy 12-hour timer. Dr. Infrared is designed and engineered in the United States.

Price at time of publish: $130

Best Ceramic: Lasko 5775 Electric 1500-Watt Ceramic Space Heater

Lasko 5775 Electric Ceramic Space Heater

Courtesy of Amazon

Ceramic heaters are a popular style that refer to a ceramic heating element that then uses a fan to disperse heat throughout the room (it doesn’t mean the entire heater is made of ceramic). They are often considered safer than some other heaters because the ceramics pose less of a fire hazard.

This ceramic heater from Lasko is more affordable than our Best Overall pick, but still features a built-in thermostat that allows you to choose your preferred level of heat. It also has an auto shut-off safety feature, and can be run at either the 1,500-watt setting or the 900-watt setting. However, it doesn't have a remote control.

Price at time of publish: $64

Final Verdict

Our top pick is the De'Longhi Ceramic Tower Heater, because it has a number of energy-saving features. However, if you’re willing to splurge, the Dyson Hot + Cool functions as both a heater and a fan for year-round use. 

What to Consider When Shopping for a Space Heater

Do You Need One?

Before buying a brand new space heater, there are some easy, energy-saving ways to cut costs and stay warm by maximizing the heat in your home. This includes adding thermal curtains to your windows, draft guards to your doors, wrapping heating ducts, and placing rugs on hardwood or tile flooring, and sealing up any cracks in the walls to the outside. You might even consider if an extra layer of clothing would do the trick. If you’re still feeling a chill indoors, an energy-efficient space heater might be the way to go. 

However, if you’re you're willing to install a hardwired climate control, a mini split heat pump can provide both heating and cooling. In the past few years, heat pump technology has vastly improved, and can now provide heating in very cold climates that regularly experience below freezing temperatures during the winter. 

Safety

It’s extremely important to get a space heater with safety features. Heaters should have an automatic shut-off feature that prevents the device from overheating. Another good safety feature is a shut off sensor that will turn the device off if it tips over or falls. 

Additionally, look for labels that indicate the heater has been tested by a third-party safety organization like CSA, UL, or ETL. Never plug a heater into an extension cord or surge protector, always connect them directly to a wall outlet.

Size

Small space heaters are generally better for pointing directly at a person, perhaps while they work or relax in one spot. Larger space heaters are better at heating whole rooms, particularly if they have features like an oscillating base or fan. 

Other Features

  • If you want to be able to turn your heater on from across the room, you may one with a remote control. 
  • For a more precise control of the temperature, you may want a heater with thermostat and timer settings. 
  • If you plan on moving your heater from room to room, a handle will give you a safe way to carry the device. 

Why Trust Treehugger?

Originally from Western New York’s snow belt, Amber Nolan knows the importance of a quality, safe space heater to take the chill out of a drafty home. To make this list, she reviewed dozens of heaters available on the market, and analyzed their ratings, third-party reviews, safety features, and energy saving features.

View Article Sources
  1. Small Space Heaters. United States Department of Energy.