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Consumer Reports: Best Space Heaters of 2022

CR's tests reveal the speediest and safest models
Chris Regan, who leads CR's tests of space heaters, measures how hot a model's surface gets during use.
Chris Regan, who leads CR's tests of space heaters, measures how hot a model's surface gets during use.John Walsh/Consumer Reports
/ Source: Consumer Reports

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Space heaters provide that extra warmth you want in a drafty room or chilly office. It’s a product category that hasn’t seen much innovation over the past few years, but in Consumer Reports’ space heater tests, we found many models that look good and work well. You’ll find many good choices in our ratings that cost $100 or less.

Before you buy, ask yourself what you want the space heater to do: heat just you—or warm up your family room? Our tests have found that not all models do both well.

Another thing space heaters don’t do well? 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 while a space heater is relatively small, it can leave you with a big utility bill if you don’t use it wisely.

Think twice about turning down your thermostat and using a space heater to warm certain areas. You may see modest savings by supplementing the heat in just one room and keeping the others cooler, but that could be impractical.

Safety is another consideration. It’s safest to keep space heaters on the floor rather than 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). Then there’s noise. A machine that makes a racket can be annoying if you’re running it while trying to watch TV. Most of the space heaters in our ratings earn a Very Good or Excellent rating in our noise test, and those that did worse typically had other shortcomings.

How We Test Space Heaters

We test space heaters for 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 test engineer Chris Regan, who oversees our space heater lab. “We want to know how your body will feel when you’re sitting within 4 feet of the appliance.”

We also test space heaters for safety, including how hot the surface gets (so that you don’t burn your fingers) and whether they get so hot 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.

Below, grouped alphabetically by task, are ratings 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. For more choices, see our full space heater ratings.

Space Heaters for Overall Heating

Comfort Zone CZ499R

CR’s take: A small heater that makes a big impression, the Comfort Zone heats you and a room equally well. It earns an Excellent rating in our fire safety test, meaning that the chance it will ignite nearby materials is low, but it isn’t as cool to the touch as other models in our tests. It weighs 6.4 pounds and comes with a fan, timer, and remote control.

Dyson Pure Hot+Cool (HP04)

CR’s take: The Dyson Pure Hot + Cool HP04 is by far the most expensive space heater in our ratings. For that price you get a stylish lightweight heater that’s packed with bells and whistles, including WiFi connectivity. Dyson claims it heats and cools the air as well as purifies it (we tested it only as a space heater). In our tests it earns Excellent ratings for room and spot heating, and gets top marks in our ease-of-use test, which assesses how simple the controls are to use and how easy the unit is to move. The Dyson gets middling scores on both our noise and hot-surface tests, so if those are concerns, you can find a model that heats just as well, costs less, and doesn’t have those shortcomings.

Honeywell HZ-980 (unavailable)

CR’s take: The large Honeywell HZ-980 is equally capable of bathing you in direct heat and warming up a room quickly. It aces our fire safety test, which means the potential for igniting nearby fabrics is low. But its score on our hot-surface test is only so-so, meaning you’ll want to keep kids and pets at a distance. The Honeywell weighs 17 pounds but has wheels, making it easier to move from one room to another. It comes with a remote, so you can adjust the heat from afar.

Lasko AW315 Bladeless Tower (Home Depot)

CR’s take: The Lasko AW315 is equally adept at heating a room and directing heat at one person, earning Excellent ratings on both tests. Its slim profile sets it apart from many space heaters, and it has a small footprint, so you can put it almost anywhere. It scores very well on our fire safety and hot-surface tests, meaning it’s not likely to ignite nearby fabrics and stays relatively cool to the touch. It doesn’t have a tip-over switch. This model comes with a remote, so you don’t even have to move from the couch to control the heat.

Space Heaters That Heat a Room Quickly

Atomi Smart AT1481

CR’s take: Do you really need to set the temperature of your space heater with a smartphone app? Maybe not, but add the Atomi Smart AT1481 to the number of smart home appliances. As a space heater, it heats a room quickly and evenly and is okay at spot heating, too, although other heaters do better on that test (see below). While the likelihood that it will ignite nearby fabrics is low, it didn’t fare well on our hot-surface test, scoring a Poor, meaning you can get a serious burn if you touch it when it’s on. It does have a tip-over switch, which is important.

Honeywell HCE311V

CR’s take: This Honeywell HCE311V earns an Excellent rating for heating a room but only a Fair rating for spot heating, so it can’t do the double duty that some space heaters can. And it’s mediocre for noise. But it weighs a scant 3.4 pounds, so it’s easy to move from one spot to another. It comes with a fan and timer.

Honeywell Thermawave 6 HCE870W

CR’s take: You can tuck the unobtrusive Honeywell Thermawave 6 HCE870W away from the main traffic patterns in your room and be assured that it’ll keep you cozy. It’s top-notch at heating a room, earning an Excellent score, but only so-so at spot heating. It gets a middling score of Good on our hot-surface test but came out of our fire safety test with flying colors. It features a tip-over switch, a must if you have pets running around.

Lasko Designer Series 6435

CR’s take: A far cry from the basic black box, this eye-catching Lasko Designer Series model resembles an antique urn. It aces our room-heating test and gets a Very Good rating for spot heating. However, it’s mediocre for noise. It has handy controls on top, weighs 6.9 pounds, and comes with a fan, timer, and remote control.

Lasko FH500

CR’s take: The Lasko FH500 is a champ at keeping a room warm, but it’s not the best at spot heating. With its tall, slim profile, this space heater fits nicely where boxier models might not. This Lasko space heater has a tip-over switch that automatically shuts off the unit if it gets knocked over. However, it earns only a Fair rating on our hot-surface test, which means that touching the area where the heat exhausts can cause a burn. It weighs 13 pounds and comes with a remote control and timer.

Lasko T22840

CR’s take: The Lasko T22840 might not be as slim or pretty as its brandmates on this list, but when it comes to heating a room quickly it holds its own, earning an Excellent rating on that test. Our testers found the Lasko a cinch to use, and at 5 pounds, it’s easy to move from room to room. Its score for direct heating was only so-so, and it’s a bit noisy. We found the potential for this heater to ignite nearby flammable materials to be low, though the surface gets hot enough to cause a burn if you touch it.

Space Heaters for Direct Heating

Heat Storm Mojave

CR’s take: With a name like Heat Storm you expect a lot, and both the Heat Storm Mojave and the Sahara below are impressive in our spot-heating test. The Mojave also earns a Very Good rating for room heating and noise. It weighs 9.5 pounds and comes with a fan and remote control.

Heat Storm Sahara

CR’s take: Like its brandmate but named after a different desert, the Heat Storm Sahara earns an Excellent rating for spot heating and a Very Good rating for room heating. It runs relatively quietly, weighs 8.8 pounds, and comes with a fan and remote control.

Vornado VH200

CR’s take: Though the Vornado VH200 is super-quiet and a good choice for spot heating, it does have some drawbacks. It doesn’t fare well in our hot-surface test, which means it can be hot enough to cause a burn if touched when on the highest setting. It does have a tip-over switch and, at 4 pounds, is very lightweight.

Vornado VMH600

CR’s take: The Vornado VMH600 has the best Overall Score of all the space heaters in our tests. It tops our spot-heating test while falling just a bit short in room heating. It’s one of the quieter heaters in our tests, if not the quietest, and sports smart safety features. It weighs 10 pounds and has a fan and remote control.

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