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Best Space Heater Reviews: Portable Convenience for Smaller Spaces

There is nothing worse than working in a space that refuses to warm to an acceptable temperature during the winter. This is especially true when taking advantage of outdoor buildings and sheds that need a little help to take the chill off and make your working experience that much more comfortable. You may also find that you need a space heater in order to provide enough warmth to greenhouse areas or to keep your vehicles in better working order.

If you only need to heat a small space, wonder what is the best space heater for a garage, or are simply looking to provide a bit more warmth to the area you are working within- then a space heater may be worth looking into. Although technically, by definition, a space heater could fall under the category of any type of heater that heats a specific space, this article is focused on more supplemental heating units. If you are wondering what sort of larger, garage (or other indoor space) heaters, or other gas or portable choices we recommend, follow the links provided!

5 Best Space Heater Comparison Chart

Model
          Features
Geek-2016 Portable Electric Ceramic Heater



  • Dimensions: 5 x 5 x 8 inches
  • Weight: 2.5 lbs
  • Heating Capacity: 50 to 125 square feet
  • Warranty: 1 year
Lasko Designer Series



  • Dimensions: 8.25 x 8.25 x 16 inches
  • Weight: 10 lbs
  • Heating Capacity: 175 square feet
  • Warranty: 3 years
DeLonghi Safe Heat ComforTemp



  • Dimensions: 14 x 6 x 25 inches
  • Weight: 23.5 lbs
  • Heating Capacity: ~400 square feet
  • Warranty: 7 years
Mr. Heater Buddy



  • Dimensions: 14 x 9 x 14 inches
  • Weight: 9.5 lbs
  • Heating Capacity: 225 square feet
  • Warranty: 1 year
NewAir G56 Garage Heater




  • Dimensions: 13.1 x 24 x 23 inches
  • Weight: 28.5 lbs
  • Heating Capacity: 100 square feet
  • Warranty: 3 years

What is a Space Heater?

For the sake of this article, I am going to focus on smaller, more portable choices that are not meant to be mounted into a permanent location or connected to a central gas or propane line.

As mentioned, a space heater aids in providing supplemental heat to your space. This may work as a stand-alone unit for small enclosed rooms, or even in conjunction with larger, more fixed units that are not quite powerful enough for what you need. Some may be the best space heater for a garage rather than investing in a larger unit, while another may be the best choice to keep your hands or feet warm when working at a workbench.

These are self- contained units that are often electrical in nature, but may also work with a fuel source as well. Plus, they can help cut heating costs in areas that are difficult to heat since you can control when they are on and off, and use them only when needed. Although there have been many safety concerns about their use in the past (described below), new models are sleek and safe in design- making them popular heating choices.

Why Would I Want a Space Heater?

Space heaters are affordable choices that help in areas that receive inadequate heat or provide a warmer space within which you can work in. Because they are usually smaller in nature, and often very portable, they are obvious choices for temporary heating solutions in a variety of different situations.

Space heaters can work in many different building types, and although some require better ventilation than others, are considered safe, efficient heat sources. They are built to be used for shorter periods of time, and therefore heat fairly quickly to provide you the comfort you need when you need it.

Types of Common Portable Space Heaters

There are quite a few different types of portable space heaters for you to choose from depending on both your needs and preferences. No matter whether you are looking for the best type of space heater for a garage, workshop, office, bedroom, or tent – there is literally one for every need. When making a choice it is important to consider what capabilities each has, and what you need it for in relation to where you plan on placing it.

Radiant and Infrared

Radiant heat uses the reflection of infrared wavelengths to warm the objects closest to the heater itself, rather than warming the air. These can be either run through a fuel source, or electric power. These are best for when you can remain in the line of sight of the heater but are extremely efficient and silent to run.

Convection

Convection heaters rely on the circulation of air within the room to heat the space it is within. Air is moved overheated elements and then dissipated back into the room. Fuel powered convection heaters rely on natural airflow, while electric usually rely on fans. These can be very effective for larger spaces, and work well for when you may need to be some distance from it.

Ceramic Fan-Forced Heaters

These are some of the most popular space heaters due to their easy use, and many additional perks included in the portable package they come within. Fan setting, oscillation capabilities, remote controls, and digital thermostats are all options that may be included in a model. These often have cool-touch surfaces, making them ideal for when children and pets are present.

Micathermic Panel Heaters

These are a hybrid heater that puts out 80% convection heat, 20% direct radiant heat and is considered highly effective. They are often lightweight as well and some even wall mountable, plus they are silent and put out no light. Since they recirculate the air within the room they are a good choice for allergy sufferers. They do get hot to the touch, however.

Fuel Burning Radiators/Heaters

Propane, kerosene, and diesel fuels are all used in various types of heaters for efficient outdoor heating solutions. Depending on the type of heater you choose you will need to consider ventilation and as well as the safety issues surrounding them. They are a great source of heat, however, and are well worth considering for outdoor spaces.

Concerns about Space Heaters

Various space heaters have different hazards to be aware of. Exposed heating elements, hot surfaces, and flame are the reason to provide plenty of room for your heater to sit within to avoid any sort of fire hazard.Fuel powered heaters also have the added concern of carbon monoxide and require good ventilation. Also – space heaters are only as good as the insulation of the room they are within. If a room is drafty, or poorly insulated, then they may not be as effective.

Despite this, space heaters are considered a safe heating choice with proper use and care. They are used in a variety of situations and are considered effective and efficient overall for heating small areas, or providing supplemental heat during cold winter months.

How to Choose the Best Space Heater

Since there is such a large variety of heaters to pick from, you should consider a few details when in your search for the perfect choice. Having an idea of what you need and want prior to delving too deep into research is a great way to start to help weed out those products that don’t fit your specifications.
Why do you want a space heater?

What exactly is your reasoning for a space heater? Are you looking to stay warm while you work, or do you need to supplement already existing heat? Do you need to provide added warmth to a greenhouse on cloudy days?

The reasoning behind your search for a space heater may be long and varied, but you need to consider its use in order to better gauge the effectiveness of the models you are considering, and the heating capabilities it has. An uninsulated garage, for example, will not heat as efficiently as an insulated one.

How much space do you want to heat?
Do you want a small room heated, or simply some directional heat in your space while you work? There are many choices of space heater models that can do either or, and if keeping your fingers and toes warm while you work is a goal, then you may not want to consider larger room heating units.
Where would you place your heater?
This is actually a very important question. You may think it doesn’t matter- after all these are portable correct? But if you are planning on getting an electric heater, you have to consider where you have outlets available. Not all outdoor spaces have the same amount of outlets your house may have, so take care not to plan on using a heater where a cord will not reach to a power source. If this is the case, you also have fuel powered heaters you can choose from as well.

Top 5  Best Space Heater Reviews

There are so many space heaters you can choose from that picking the top 5 was an extreme challenge. There are plenty of quality items from which you can choose, and the following provides an example of the styles and models available to you – so you are more aware of just how versatile both in use and design these products are.

Geek-2016 Portable Electric Ceramic Heater with Warm & Cool Fan

Quick Info

  • Dimensions: 5 x 5 x 8 inches
  • Weight: 2.5 lbs
  • Heating Capacity: 50 to 125 square feet
  • Warranty: 1 year

This portable heater is a classic electric ceramic that is so popular in small rooms, offices, and workspaces. The sleek design is a bit more advanced than more traditional styles, is only 5 x 5 x 8 inches in dimension, yet boasts a whole string of cool features to provide you with heat where you need it. Not only will it shut off if it becomes overheated at 235 degrees, it will switch to a lower setting at 140 degrees. Plus, it has an automatic shut off if tipped over.

Adjustable settings allow you to set the products specifically to fan only for cool air circulation, or either low or high heat settings at either 450 watt or 950-watt coverage. This has the capacity to heat approximately 50 to 125 square feet respectively. The heater also has a 60-degree oscillation setting you can take advantage of to better direct heat into the space you are working within.

Pros

  • Runs quiet
  • Works well to supplement heat in a small room
  • Safe to use on carpet

Cons

  • Button defects upon arrival in small amount of products – covered by warranty
  • Operator’s manual not helpful
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Pro tip

This is truly portable heater in all sense of the word and is made for easy transport and supplemental heating in small spaces. This is sufficient for small greenhouses or outdoor offices/workspaces that need something to take the chill off – but is not built to work alone to warm a room.

Lasko Designer Series Ceramic Oscillating Heater

Quick Info

  • Dimensions: 8.25 x 8.25 x 16 inches
  • Weight: 10 lbs
  • Heating Capacity: 175 square feet
  • Warranty: 3 year

As a ceramic heater, this product heats quickly and puts out consistent heat. The design is made to fit nicely into the decor of a room, office, or workspace, and provide a respective style as well as effective use. Like most heaters, this one also has some built-in safety features such as a 7 hour shut off timer and overheat shut off. It also has a few other neat features to make it convenient for your use.

High heat, low heat, and thermostat controlled settings are part of this heater, as are two quiet settings. It also oscillates to get more warmth to where you need it. It has an electronic touch operation, plus comes with a remote control for heat and fan settings, as well as oscillation control. The design is also sturdy as the unit sits within a wide base iron frame to warm up to 175 square feet with a 1500 watt output.

Pros

  • Very efficient and long lasting
  • Runs quiet
  • Much more powerful than rated

Cons

  • Sturdy, but no tip over shut off
  • Red light stays on when running
  • Plastic off-gassing from the unit in some cases
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Pro tip

Although this unit can heat a room up to 175 square feet easily, it can supplement heat in a larger room to keep it comfortable. Choose this unit to heat small offices or workspaces where heat is a problem, or to add additional heat a larger space for more comfort while on the job.

DeLonghi Safe Heat ComforTemp Portable Oil-Filled Radiator

Quick Info

  • Dimensions: 14 x 6 x 25 inches
  • Weight: 23.5 lbs
  • Heating Capacity: ~400 square feet
  • Warranty: 7 years

This electric, oil-filled hybrid radiator space heater takes the best of both world to produce an efficient, safe, and clean heat for medium to large rooms. The circulation of oil through the radiator provides a consistent, powerful heat, and since the oil reservoir is sealed, you never have to worry about refilling it. Because of this it is highly efficient and can warm a much larger room with a lower wattage than just an electric heater can.

With a built-in thermostat, adjustable settings, thermal cutoffs, and anti-freeze settings, this is a unit you can depend on for years to come. It also has a low surface temperature. Making it ideal to place in areas where you will be working and moving as it is not a hazard to brush up against, although it needs at least a 3-foot clearance from a surface when running on high. As a stand-alone heater or supplemental heater, this radiator stands only 25 inches tall, and 14 inches wide with a depth of 6 inches, making it compact enough for a variety of different spaces. Plus it has wheels for easy movement.

Pros

  • Helps save in heating costs
  • Runs very quiet and efficient
  • Very lightweight and portable

Cons

  • Off-gassing smell with initial use
  • Flimsy wheels
  • Hard to see thermostat in low light
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Pro tip

This is a powerful design that can provide much more heat than the 1500 watts it provides. It’s cooler surface and narrow design allows it to fit well in spaces that require consistent heat and is an excellent choice for anyplace you need safe, reliable heating.

Mr. Heater Buddy Indoor-Safe Portable Radiant Heater

Quick Info

  • Dimensions: 14 x 9 x 14 inches
  • Weight: 9.5 lbs
  • Heating Capacity: 225 square feet
  • Warranty: 1 year

This portable heating choice is powered by a 1 lb propane tank and provides consistent, clean, and safe radiant heat. With variable settings, you can either put out 4000 or 9000 BTU/hr to heat up to 225 square feet or larger depending on your needs. It has a low-oxygen shut-off, and tip over safety shut off to avoid fires, plus the high-temperature grill keeps the heating elements from coming in contact with any surfaces.

Fold down handles, a swivel-out regulator, and easy, leak-free connector to the propane tank makes this convenient and safe to use even within indoor spaces. It also can be hooked up to a larger propane tank for a longer run time if needed. Shock absorption construction makes this a true portable heater for easy transportation for durable use and long life, and since this can be used literally anywhere as it does not need an electrical source- which makes it handy in any situation.

Pros

  • Safe enough to use in a tent
  • Incredibly efficient
  • Great safety features

Cons

  • Exposed flame in an element, although well protected
  • May not work well above 7000 feet elevation
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Pro tip

Propane is very efficient and provides a clean, long lasting burn. This radiant heater is powerful and compact, and literally can be used anywhere to provide a strong, powerful heat.

Duraflame Infrared Quartz Fireplace Stove

Quick Info

  • Dimensions: 13.1 x 24 x 23 inches
  • Weight: 28.5 lbs
  • Heating Capacity: 100 square feet
  • Warranty: 3 years

It’s worth providing here another example of the technology behind space heaters. This electric powered infrared heater is styled to fit into your decor as a wood burning stove – a popular choice for garage workplaces, outdoor offices, and chilly sunrooms come the winter months. Although slightly larger than many others we showcased, this is wholly portable and weighs less than 30 lbs. All you need is a 120-volt electrical outlet to heat a room up to 1000 square feet.

Made to mimic the glow of natural burning logs, this infrared quartz heat helps maintain the natural humidity in the air to avoid the dryness often experienced in the colder months. Both temperature and flame can be adjusted manually or by remote, plus you can set a timer to have it turn off automatically after so long. It also is completely cool to the touch, making it perfect for when pets or children are present.

Pros

  • Structurally sound
  • Provides consistent heat
  • Quiet fan

Cons

  • Minimal difference between flame settings
  • Controls behind door
  • May not heat 1000 square feet effectively
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Pro tip

If you want to provide a heating source to space, but do not like the generic heater look so many portables offer, this is a powerful unit to consider. The wood burning stove style provides a rustic feel to many spaces and can heat up quite a large space with ease.

Conclusion

Hopefully, this article has provided a good example of the types of portable heaters you may want to consider if you have been looking for something dependable and useful for your smaller spaces. Whether it is an electric choice, fuel powered, or a hybrid of types, there are many styles from which to pick that fit your personal preferences and heating needs.

It was pretty difficult to pick a favorite from the above 5 as each presented in this article can have such a variable amount of uses, but the DeLonghi Safe Heat ComforTemp Portable Oil-Filled Radiator is a favorite since it is can be used in a variety of situations. It is limited to where you have electricity, but it is efficient, large enough to heat a good sized space, but also portable and compact to stay out of the way.

If you have any questions about any of the models presented or have a favorite you feel should be added to our list, please comment below! And, as always, please share!

About The Author

Danielle McLeod

Danielle McLeod cuts a tragic figure in the High School English classroom teaching literature by day, and moonlighting as a writer and graphic artist by night. Published in a variety of travel magazines, and now a blog, Danielle enjoys coming up with home and garden projects to complete with her two young boys. A native of Michigan, she resides in Southeastern New Mexico with her variety of horses, poultry, and variable mix of rescue dogs (there’s a cat or two in there as well). In her free time she enjoys travel, art, photography, and a good book!

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