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Portable Space Heaters
Space Heaters Features (continued)
Portable Space Heaters.Space heaters are useful primarily because they're a cheap and portable alternative (or complement) to central heating.
Energy-Efficient Space Heaters.Most portable space heaters are highly efficient at converting electricity to heat and can be a money-saving alternative to heating up a whole house or apartment. The trick is to use an energy-efficient space heater only where and when you need it and close off the rooms you're not using. Radiant space heaters with quartz tubes are efficient for heating people sitting or standing in front of them but not particularly efficient or effective at warming an entire room. Convection space heaters use a lot of energy and can run up your electric bill, but if you use one for spot or supplemental heating you should realize some overall savings. The energy-efficient Optimus H-4110 Dish Heater uses only 300 watts -- less than all the other discount space heaters we researched even at their lowest settings.
Safe Space Heaters.Space heaters can be hazards, so be sure to choose one that includes critical safety features. The first thing to look for is a label certifying that the product meets voluntary safety standards set by the U.S. government; the most common label is UL, from Underwriters Laboratories. A safe space heater will also have an automatic shutoff feature, which turns off the heating element if it gets too hot. Most portable space heaters, including all those on our list, have this feature, so there's no reason to buy one that doesn't. Another key safety feature found on many low-price models is a tilt switch, which shuts off the heating element if the unit falls over. Safe space heaters such as the DeLonghi DFH132, Optimus H-5210, Optimus H-4110, and Honeywell HZ-0360 include this feature.
Make sure a cheap space heater has a grate or some kind of guard to protect against direct contact with the heating element. And follow general safety guidelines: Read the owner's manual, don't put a space heater near anything combustible, don't leave it near children or water, unplug it when it's not in use, and pay attention to the cord so you don't trip.
Don't Bother Cheap Space Heaters
Heat Runner Portable Heater 33551
Users say the Heat Runner 33551 just doesn't last. Many report that, after several months or even days of use, it turns itself off and never comes back on. This convection space heater comes with four heat settings, including one fan-only setting, and the automatic-shutoff safety feature. Read more »
Honeywell Ceramic Heater HZ-315 Review
Heat Runner Portable Heater 33551 Review
DeLonghi Ceramic Heater DCH1030 Review
Honeywell HZ-0360 Review
Lasko Ceramic Heater 754200 Review
Optimus Infrared Quartz Heater H-5210 Review
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