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What Should I Consider When Buying a Space Heater?

When buying a space heater, prioritize safety features like automatic shut-off and tip-over protection. Consider the size of your space to ensure efficient heating. Look for energy-efficient models to save on bills. Noise level is also key for a peaceful environment. What other factors might influence your choice and comfort? Join the conversation and find out more.
A Kaminsky
A Kaminsky

Using a space heater is an economical way to warm up a room without installing heat in it. It is generally much less expensive than a kerosene heater, but does have its risks. When buying one, consider the size and location of the space that you want to heat, what the heater is made of, any safety features it offers, and what kind of current it uses.

The first thing to consider is the size of the space to be heated. A small space, such as a bedroom, does not require a large heater. The space heater will usually have a chart or size guideline to assist shoppers in purchasing an appropriate size.

An electric space heater is the only unvented heater that is safe to operate inside the home. Other types of heaters must be vented into the outside air, so if a vent is not practical, an electric appliance is your only safe option.

A space heater.
A space heater.

Most space heaters are safer than they used to be, but there are still risks. Many now have ceramic heating cores that do not get as hot as metal coils, and are much less likely to spark fires. A consumer should always keep a wide open space around the heater, and must not keep it near drapes or furniture. It's also important that you only buy a heater with a safety cut-off, which should be a standard feature. This will shut the heater off if it overheats or tips over.

A heater with a ceramic coil will probably have a multiple-speed blower, which is a feature that many people prefer. Look for one with an adjustable thermostat for the most efficient heating.

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Discussion Comments


Some of the space heaters discussed here can be outright dangerous to use. A much safer and healthier option is to use Natural Stone Heaters such as Leo de Piero. These are marble or granite stone panels with a heating element sealed inside them. They are mounted on the wall and radiate long wave heat radiation which is very safe and very healthy. It doesn't dry out the air, feels amazing and is great to look at. There are no hot heating elements or fire hazards, no tripping or tipping, and the whole thing can be controlled by thermostats. Great for people with asthma, dust allergies or respiratory problems. These heaters are silent, waterproof and very safe.


@lighth0se33 – Some space heaters are able to detect when something is lying on top of them or in front of them. If they sense that something is forcing the heat they are emitting back into the heater, then they automatically shut down.

You should find out if your portable space heater has this safety feature. If so, you would be a lot safer using it.

It's good that it already has the tip-over detection safety feature. Probably, if you put it in the center of the room, away from everything that could touch it, you would be all right. Still, it would be really great if it could shut off when something covered it up.


My grandfather gave me a portable space heater to use when I stay at the family's cabin in the woods, but I've been too afraid to use it. I have heard so many horror stories of people going to sleep and being burned to death in fires caused by space heaters.

He told me that this space heater would shut off automatically if it tipped over, but that's not enough for me. What if something fell off of a table onto it, or what if it somehow came in contact with fabric?

I just don't feel safe using it. Instead, I layer up with extra blankets and thermal underwear.


@seag47 – I'm guessing that you have the kind of space heater with adjustable settings. I have a really efficient space heater that keeps my huge bedroom warm at night, and it has a low, medium, and high setting for the blower. It also has a dial that I can turn to adjust the level of the heat from low to high.

The heater warms up the room quickly when I have it set on high heat and high air flow. I usually turn it on these settings to start with, and then I lower it to medium before going to sleep.

My heater shuts off automatically when it reaches a certain temperature based on how high I have it set. It doesn't run nearly as much on low as it does when I have it on medium, because it has to work harder to reach that medium heat point.


I have a ceramic space heater in my workshop, and it heats the place rather well. The floors are concrete, so I don't worry about the carpet catching fire.

The freestanding shop is in my backyard. I keep my computer and my music equipment out there, and in the winter, it is really nice to have the warmth from the small ceramic heater.

I had my doubts about how well it would work on really cold days, but I have been nothing but pleased by its performance. It's amazing to me that such a small cube of warmth can heat a space so much bigger than it.


What's a good place and brand to buy a reasonable 220V space heater?

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