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Space Heater Performance

Space heater reviews are no doubt influenced by users' success in matching their heating needs with the right space heater. Inexpensive electric heaters are intended for targeted warmth in small, enclosed areas.

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Consumers who try to use even the best small space heater in a large, open space will wind up disappointed and cold. When used as intended, our top picks provide a much-appreciated temperature boost.

An overwhelming majority of users posting space heater reviews on Amazon praise the ability of the Lasko 754200 (starting at $25), one of the best options we found. Reviewers say it heats entire rooms quickly, quietly, and without the burning smell that cheap space heaters sometimes emit. Many express pleasant surprise at the heat output given its size, although a few say the fan could be stronger. Consumers posting reviews of the Holmes HCH5250B-TG (starting at $30) on the Target website report similar experiences with that model, our other top pick. Some use the tiny heater in bedrooms, living rooms, and offices almost 24/7 and several users marvel that the small heater warms up entire rooms. One reviewer who has a smart meter installed can see the savings that result from using this space heater in the bedroom instead of heating the whole house at night. The bill amounts to one-third the amount it would normally be in the winter.

The DeLonghi DCH1030 (starting at $30) is a winner with numerous consumers who say they would otherwise freeze in under-heated and over-air-conditioned offices. In space heater reviews on Amazon, they note that the little DeLonghi DCH1030 fits easily under a desk and delivers copious amounts of heat in seconds. Users also note that it's powerful enough to warm bedrooms and small cabins. Despite some mixed reviews on the subject of heat output for the Honeywell HZ-0360 (starting at $30), many reviewers seem satisfied and comment on outlets such as Target.com and the manufacturer's website that this model, with its 360-degree design, is most effective in smaller rooms.

Then there are budget space heaters that don't fare so well with consumers. One satisfied bargain hunter writing on the website of J&R uses the Honeywell HZ-315 (starting at $29) to prevent water pipes in the basement from freezing. But others posting space heater reviews on Amazon report major problems, such as sparks flying out and blackening the front on the unit's first run, random starts and stops for no obvious reason, and premature failure. Users ding the Heat Runner 33551 (starting at $26) in space heater reviews on Amazon for reliability problems, as well, although one says it helps moderate temperature swings at the office.

Space Heater Durability.

Cheap electric space heaters require little maintenance, save for a light dusting from time to time. However, they are not built to be repaired. There really aren't any disposable or replaceable parts, so when something breaks, you just have to buy a new heater. Reviews indicate that the best models provide consumers at least a couple of years of service -- four seems to be realistic with fairly heavy use -- although we did read scattered reports stating that some models have given out within weeks. Relative to the number of reviews posted for each of the space heaters we researched, the most negative comments pertain to the Heat Runner 33551 and Honeywell HZ-315. The former seems to lack staying power altogether and the latter seems to suffer from electrical malfunctions and a thermostat that cycles on and off and then resists starting up again.

Most models we researched come with three-year limited warranties. The exception is the DeLonghi DCH1030, which has a one-year limited warranty.

Review continues below

by Raechel Conover (Google+ Profile)

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Filed in: Appliance, College, Furnaces,
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