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Cheap Space Heaters Buying Guide

Our front-runners for best space heater in the budget price range are the Lasko 754200 (starting at $25), which online reviewers deem powerful and efficient, and the Holmes HCH5250B-TG (starting at $30), which is super light and portable. Reviewers say it's ideal for an office in the winter -- or in the summer, when the air conditioning is cranked up too high.

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We also like two other models: the small but mighty DeLonghi DCH1030 (starting at $30) and the Honeywell HZ-0360 (starting at $30) with its child-resistant safety knob and 360-degree heat delivery. We aren't so crazy about the Heat Runner 33551 (starting at $26) or the Honeywell HZ-315 (starting at $29). Reviews of both models report problems maintaining power and general durability issues.

There are dozens of pricey space heaters to choose from if you prefer fancy features. Many high-end and mid-range space heaters, such as the Soleus Air HM2-15R-32 (starting at $75), offer digital displays and remote controls that allows users to manage their heaters from a distance. More expensive space heaters, such as the Vornado TVH 600 (starting at $171), feature touch-screen controls. The Honeywell HZ-385BP (starting at $80) has digital controls and a motion-sensor safety feature that turns off the unit if an object comes too close to the heating element.

Higher-end space heaters are also powerful enough to heat large rooms and open interior spaces. If you're on a budget, however, you'll find that a no-frills model will do a fine job heating up a relatively small room, warming an office cubicle, or taking the chill out of a frigid bathroom. (Although safety experts warn against using space heaters near water, many frugal consumers nonetheless do just that.)

Features favored by experts and users include portability and an adjustable thermostat. Safety features available on cheap space heaters include automatic shutoff if the unit gets too hot and a tilt switch that turns off the heater if it tips over.

Cheap electric space heaters break down into two basic types -- convection and radiant -- based on how they deliver heat. A convection space heater warms the surrounding air with a heating element such as an electric coil or ceramic disc and often uses a fan to disperse the hot air. This is effective and recommended for warming up an entire room, although the fan can be noisy. Radiant space heaters these days typically use quartz tubing to create heat. You must stand or sit near this type of cheap space heater to feel its warmth. We found little feedback on inexpensive radiant models, so the cheap space heaters we recommend are all convection models.

by Raechel Conover (Google+ Profile)

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Filed in: Appliance, College, Furnaces,
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