“a consumer reports for the cheap” — the new york times
In this review:
  1. Best Cheap Space Heaters
  2. Space Heater Reviews
  3. Electric Space Heater Types and Safety
  4. Portable Space Heaters, Energy Efficiency, and Heat Settings
  5. Discount Space Heaters Features Comparison Table

Cheap Space Heaters Buying Guide

Smart bargain hunters can save some money on energy bills this winter with a little help from a strategically placed electric heater. A cheap space heater is just the right size to make a small room toasty, allowing you to lower the temperature elsewhere.

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(That last part is key; otherwise an electric space heater will only add to your utility costs.)

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. 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.

Review continues below

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.) The low-cost segment is full of portable, effective models that can warm you throughout the winter without putting your budget on ice. DeLonghi, Honeywell, Lasko, Bionaire, and Holmes dominate the market for cheap space heaters with a bevy of choices for less than $35.

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.

Review continues below

by Raechel Conover (Google+ Profile)

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Filed in: Appliance, College, Furnaces,

Best Cheap Space Heater

Lasko Ceramic Heater 754200
Gold Medal

Lasko Ceramic Heater 754200

Reviewers are impressed with the Lasko 754200, saying it easily heats up small and moderately large spaces -- even the lowest setting is powerful and efficient -- runs quietly and has a long lifespan. This convection space heater comes with automatic shutoff, two heat settings, a fan-only setting, and an adjustable thermostat.

Read Full Review and Compare Prices »
Holmes HCH5250B-TG
Gold Medal

Holmes HCH5250B-TG

This oscillating space heater propels warm air in many directions and impresses reviewers with its ability to heat a room fast and efficiently. One user even documents a decrease in heating bills. This portable space heater features an automatic thermostat, a fan-only setting, and overheat protection.

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Good Cheap Space Heaters

DeLonghi Ceramic Heater DCH1030
Gold Medal

DeLonghi Ceramic Heater DCH1030

Users are quick to compliment the DeLonghi DCH1030, saying it may be small, but it puts out lots of heat in no time. The fan on this convection space heater is a bit loud for some, but the low price tag and generous heat output offset this minor irritant. This ceramic heater features high, low, and fan-only settings and an anti-freeze feature that turns on the unit if the temperature drops below 40 degrees.

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Honeywell HZ-0360
Gold Medal

Honeywell HZ-0360

The Honeywell HZ-0360 gets positive reviews based on its ability to heat small rooms. Users seem to appreciate the 360-degree design, which sends out heat in all directions. This model comes with two heat settings, one fan setting, and an adjustable thermostat. Safety features include automatic shutoff and a tilt switch.

Read Full Review and Compare Prices »
 

Don't Bother

Honeywell Ceramic Heater HZ-315

Consumer reviews include reports that this convection space heater emits sparks and won't stay on or work properly.

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Heat Runner Portable Heater 33551

This convection space heater comes with four heat settings, including one fan-only setting, and automatic shutoff, but users say it just doesn't last. Many report that, after several months or even days of use, the Heat Runner 33551 turns itself off and never comes back on.

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