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The 7 Best Energy-Efficient Space Heaters to Combat Cold Rooms

If you have a drafty home, are always cold or just want to add some supplemental heat, there's an energy-efficient space heater fit for the job.

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The 7 Best Energy Efficient Space HeatersVIA MERCHANT

When the temperatures drop, sometimes your furnace just doesn’t cut it. No matter your room size, an energy-efficient space heater is a smart way to warm up a cold space and help cut down on those high winter heating bills. Plus, today’s models are often much safer than those you may remember from decades ago.

These are some of the best energy-efficient space heaters on the market that will surely succeed at keeping you toasty and warm inside when the cold air is working overtime outside.

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Best Overall Space Heater

Best Overall

Vornado MVH Vortex Heater

Introducing our top pick: the Vornado MVH Vortex Heater. It not only has three heat settings, an adjustable thermostat and an auto safety shutoff function, but this portable heater won’t make you feel like there’s a furnace pointed right at you. It uses vortex air circulation—similar to that of a forced air furnace—to warm up rooms on a smaller scale. It works best to heat up bedrooms, home offices and living rooms.

Pros

  • Has three heat settings
  • Features a unique airflow pattern
  • Includes automatic shutoff for safety

Cons

  • Not meant for large spaces

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Best Budget Space Heatervia merchant

Best Budget

Aikoper Space Heater

For a budget-friendly option, consider the Aikoper convection space heater. It has multiple heat settings, distributing heat evenly to a small living room, bedroom or home office. Plus, it has a compact design and is lightweight, making it an easy-to-move energy-efficient space heater. It also has a built-in fan option, so you can distribute the heat where you need it most.

Pros

  • Won’t break the bank
  • Produces low noise levels
  • Fan-only option can be used in the summer
  • Automatically turns off if overheats or gets knocked over

Cons

  • Not meant for large spaces

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Best Space Heater For Large Spacesvia merchant

Best for Large Spaces

Dr. Infrared Space Heater

If you need to add heat to a bigger room, the Dr. Infrared space heater heats spaces up to 1,000 square feet. It has an electronic thermostat that ranges from 50 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit, and can be controlled via remote control. This model uses infrared heat, and has a 12-hour timer that automatically shuts this energy-efficient space heater off.

Pros

  • Covers spaces up to 1,000 square feet
  • Has a remote control and timer
  • Features wheels to move around

Cons

  • Pricer than other models
  • Bulky

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Best Wall Mounted Space Heatervia merchant

Best Wall-Mounted

Heat Storm Wall Mounted Space Heater

If you’re short on floor space, this Heat Storm 1,500-watt space heater is a convenient option for bedrooms and living rooms up to 300 square feet. This infrared heater, complete with a remote control, is safe to the touch, so it’s ideal for homes with small children and pets. There’s no installation required, and it features a digital display. If you don’t have a wall to hang it on, this energy-efficient space heater can also be used on the floor.

Pros

  • Can be mounted or placed on the floor
  • No installation required
  • Available in white and gray colors

Cons

  • Pricer than other models
  • Not meant for large spaces

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Best Space Heater For Ambiancevia merchant

Best for Ambiance

Style Selections Fireplace Space Heater

Add warmth and ambiance to a room with the Style Selections infrared space heater, which mimics the look of many electric fireplaces. This infrared model throws out 5,200 British Thermal Units (BTUs) to heat up to 1,000 square feet, making large rooms feel more comfortable when the temperatures drop. This energy-efficient space heater features a 3D realistic flame effect, which can be used with or without heat, and has five adjustable brightness settings. It can be controlled with the included remote, and has a programmable shutoff and digital thermostat readout.

Pros

  • Doubles as a fireplace
  • Covers up to 1,000 square feet
  • Produces low noise levels

Cons

  • Doesn’t have a tip-over safety switch

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Best Space Heater For Stylevia merchant

Best for Style

Isiler Portable Space Heater

Add style and warmth to your space with the Isiler portable space heater. This ceramic model comes in four colors to match your room’s decor, and works best in small spaces, such as a bedroom or playroom. The heater has a self-regulating element and automatic overheating protection for safety, as well as an easy-to-use temperature control dial. It weighs under 3 pounds and offers a powerful heat output for its small size.

Pros

  • Available in gray, yellow, green and pink colors
  • Includes a handle for portability
  • Has overheating protection and tip-over function

Cons

  • Not meant for large spaces

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Best Space Heater For Garage Workshop And Outdoorvia merchant

Best for Outdoor Use

Mr. Heater Propane Radiant Space Heater

For those looking to take the chill out of their workshop or garage—or warm up an outdoor party this winter—the Mr. Heater portable space heater will get the job done in even the coldest of conditions. This energy-efficient space heater gives off up to 9,000 BTUs, and heats spaces up to 225 square feet. It is safe to use indoors as well, and automatically shuts off if tipped over, if the pilot light goes out or it detects low oxygen levels.

Pros

  • Heavy-duty design meant for the outdoors
  • Runs up to 5.4 hours on low and 2.4 on high
  • Features low-oxygen safety shutoff system

Cons

  • Propane tank not included
  • Should use a carbon monoxide detector when using

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What to Consider When Buying an Energy-Efficient Space Heater

When looking for an energy-efficient space heater, you’ll need to consider the space you’ll be heating. Some portable heaters work best in small rooms while others are better suited to heat large ones. Also, look at additional features, such as whether it’s programmable or controlled via remote, and safety functions, such as automatic shutoff and how hot it gets during use.

Consider the space heater’s BTU, which tells you how much energy a heater uses to warm up a room, and watt ratings. The higher the BTUs, the better equipped the heater will be to bring the heat to larger spaces.

Watts measure the rate of energy transfer. In simpler terms, how much you run the space heater determines how much electricity it uses over time. When determining what space heater to choose for your space, on average you’ll need about 10 watts for every square foot of floor space. So a 1,200 watt space heater will cover about 120 square feet.

Types of Energy-Efficient Space Heaters

There are four main types of energy-efficient space heaters:

  • Ceramic space heaters: These work when electricity passes through coils, allowing the ceramic plates to heat up.
  • Infrared space heaters: Infrared options warm a room by emitting electromagnetic waves that heat up physical objects in the room, such as the floor, furniture and you.
  • Fan space heaters: These use a metal coil that heats up and transfers warmth to the space via a fan. Keep in mind that these can be noisy compared to other models.
  • Radiant space heaters: With radiant options, they convert energy to heat via the use of an oil. If you’re looking to heat an area, like a garage, at a slow and steady rate, consider this type.

How We Found the Best Energy-Efficient Space Heater

As shopping experts, our only job is to help you find a winning product. We start with the research and reporting basics—what products are made of, what they look like and how much they cost—to ensure that we’re only recommending the buys that are worth your time and money. Then, we research the features that speak to the product’s quality, taking advice from industry insiders and subject matter experts on what makes a product a smart value (or worthy of a splurge). Finally, we do the work of combing through user reviews to see how real people interact with the product, and if it stands up to the test.

FAQ

What type of space heater is most energy efficient?

Infrared space heaters are largely considered to be the most energy efficient. These heaters don’t lose heat to air movement and heat up a space extremely fast.

Is it cheaper to turn up the thermostat or use a space heater?

It depends. If you’re looking to warm up your entire home, turning up the thermostat and using your central heating source is the most efficient. However, if you’re just looking to warm up a smaller space, such as a bedroom, playroom or home office, a space heater is the way to go since it’s only heating the room in use.

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Rachel Brougham
Writer and editor with a background in news writing, editorial and column writing and content marketing.