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It's sweater, pumpkin spice and Halloween season. If you're already starting to feel the autumn chill but don't want to crank up the heat just yet (or don't have control over the heat in your apartment), a space heater might be your new best friend.
So how do you pick a safe yet powerful space heater? We turned to Lou Manfredini, TODAY contributor and host of "HouseSmarts," and Randy Light and Chad Hyland, portable heating merchants at The Home Depot.
They outlined a few of the most important things to look for when picking a space heater.
- Think about what type of room you're trying to heat. Light and Hyland explained that space heaters come in a variety of sizes for different spaces — including large room heaters, desk heaters and outdoor heaters. Narrow your options down for the space you're looking to heat to find a product specific for your needs.
- Consider the amount of energy it uses. Look for a heater that uses 750 to 1,000 watts. "All heaters claim to be the most efficient, but most all use the same amount of energy," Manfredini cautioned.
- Settle on a style for your heater. Do you want the heater to fit in nicely with the room's decor, or are you buying it purely as a functional appliance? Light said style has become more important as a decision-making factor in the past few years, and many heater brands have updated their looks.
- Choose which extra features you must have. Certain units come with remote controls, thermostats and the ability to oscillate, Hyland said.
- Keep fire safety in mind. If used incorrectly, heaters can pose a fire-safety risk. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission advises to always keep heaters at least three feet away from flammable objects, such as curtains or bedding, and to refrain from plugging portable heaters into an extension cord or power strip, to reduce fire risks. Also, make sure units have either a safety rating from UL or ETL, Manfredini said.
Here are a few of the best indoor and outdoor space heaters, according to experts.
Best small space heater
Lasko Ceramic Heater with Adjustable Thermostat, $28, Amazon
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With self-regulating thermostat controls, three settings (high heat, low heat and fan) and safety features such as automatic overheat protection, Light and Hyland suggested this nine-inch-tall heater for small rooms or a desk area.
Best baseboard heater
Lasko Low Profile Silent Room Heater, $60 (usually $70), Amazon
Also available in white for $66 at Walmart.
"Electric baseboard heaters are great supplemental units that can be placed under windows where the heat loss is the highest," Manfredini said.
Best indoor/outdoor heater
Mr. Heater Buddy Portable Propane Heater, $70 (usually $75), Amazon
Also available at Walmart.
Although most propane heaters are made to be used outside, this is one of the only gas heaters that is safe to use indoors, Hyland and Light said.
It doesn't require electricity because it runs on a one-pound propane tank, so it's ideal for someone who has an indoor area to heat that doesn't have electricity. It can also serve as personal heating during outdoor fall and winter activities.
Best design heater
Lasko Air Logic Bladeless Electric Tower Space Heater with Remote, $101 (usually $170), Walmart
“I actually have (this heater) in my master bedroom. I think it’s the best-looking heater that we carry,” Hyland said. Not only is this heater stylish, it also oscillates to evenly distribute heat throughout the room.
Best Fireplace heater
Crane Fireplace Heater, $79 (usually $90), Amazon
"Crane Fireplace Heater offers electric space heat but with the realistic look of a small fireplace. The best of both worlds and can take the chill out of a living room, bedroom or family room," Manfredini said.
Best oil heater
Pelonis Oil Filled Heater, $70, Ace Hardware
Also available for $90 at Amazon.
"Oil-filled space heaters offer residual heat and can actually cost less to run. They use the same wattage as most other heaters, but once the oil heats up and the temperature is reached, the unit shuts down but the heater oil in the unit continues to give off heat," Manfredini said.
Best value heater
Hunter Oscillating Ceramic Tower Heater, $73, Houzz
This tower heater may not look as pretty as some others, but it easily heats medium-to-large rooms for a fraction of the cost, Light and Hyland said.
More best-selling space heaters
If none of the heaters above fits what you're looking for, we've found few of Amazon's best-selling space heaters to choose from using the experts' guidelines.
1. Lasko Oscillating Ceramic Tabletop/Floor Heater with Thermostat, $36 (usually $42), Amazon
Also available at Walmart.
2. Dr Infrared Heater Portable Space Heater, $118, Amazon
3. Lasko Designer Series Ceramic Oscillating Heater with Remote Control, $75, Amazon
4. Vornado MVH Whole Room Vortex Heater, $60 (usually $80), Amazon
5. Lasko Oscillating Ceramic Tower Heater with Remote Control, $59 (usually $61), Amazon
Also available at Walmart.