Most Energy-Efficient Space Heaters13 min read

by Ben | Last Updated: March 1, 2022

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A space heater is a practical electrical appliance to have in your house or apartment, particularly when you don’t always have to keep several rooms warm simultaneously or when there’s a room that your main thermostat can’t reach.

Using this machine can help protect your entire home from overheating. It also allows you to bring the temperature of your central heating system down and lower your electric bill.

When deciding which space heater to buy, you must note the following:

  • Space: determine where the heater will be placed and measure that room. This will help you streamline your selection based on device size and heating capacity or coverage.
  • Safety: choose heaters that are approved by authorized entities like the Underwriters Laboratory and the Electrical Testing Laboratories. Look for units with safety features such as an overload shut-off sensor and tip-over switch.
  • Noise Level: go for machines that can operate quietly, especially if you’re getting a heater for your bedroom or your home office.
  • Efficiency: If you want to avoid spending too much on heating, carefully gauge a product’s energy efficiency before buying it. Find space heaters that distribute hot air quickly and evenly. Heaters with timers, programming capabilities, and handy thermostats can allow you to manage your heater’s energy expenditure.

To help guide you further, we’ve scoured the market for some of the best space heaters available today.

Recommended Space Heaters

Are you ready to jump into the reviews? First, let’s briefly review all the top choices, in case you are in a hurry. After that, you can check out the full reviews.

Most Energy-Efficient Space Heaters

🔥 Most Energy Efficient Space Heater: Presto Heat Dish

  • Wattage: 1,000 watts
  • Estimated Cost per Hour: $0.13 (This is based on the current daily average electricity rate in the US, which is $0.13/kWH)
  • Room Heating Size: 200 square feet
Our Pick
Presto HeatDish Plus Parabolic Energy Saving Direct Heater 120v AC, 1000 Watts
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Built with a ceramic cone with coiled wiring that powers the heat from this device, the Presto Heat Dish is a directional heater that emits hot air towards the occupants of a room.

This heater, which is no bigger than a mid-sized desk fan, has three heat settings: low, medium, and high. It generates three times the heat produced by 1,500-watt heaters, although its actual consumption is only 1,000 watts.

This 3.7-pound appliance bears an Underwriters Laboratory (UL) certification. It’s equipped with a warning sound that buzzes and a safety switch that is programmed to turn off if the machine tips over. It also automatically shuts down when it overheats.

The Presto Heat Dish can be plugged into a standard 120-volt outlet and has a built-in cord wrap at the back. It’s best for heating small spaces.

Several users love the heater’s portability. They do wish, however, that the head of the heater could turn, just like a regular fan. Some are also bothered by the clicking sounds they hear or the “flash of light” they see whenever they raise the heater’s temperature setting.

👉 Looking for more details on this heater? We have a full in-depth review on Presto Heat Dish.

Want to look at more space heaters before buying? We have
other micro-options available below

Most Stylish Heater: Lasko 6405 Designer Oscillating Heater

  • Wattage: 1,500 watts
  • Estimated Cost per Hour: $0.195
  • Room Heating Size: 300 square feet
Most Stylish Heater
Lasko 6405 Designer Oscillating Heater

Widespread oscillation. Adjustable thermostat with automatic shut-off timer. Fully assembled. 10" x 10" x 16" tall.

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04/29/2022 03:57 pm GMT

This stylish vase-like heater with a faux-stone design and a scrollwork base has two heat settings: low (900W/3070BTU) and high (1500W/5118BTU). It features a cool-touch exterior, an adjustable thermostat, and an anti-overheating automatic shut-off feature. The product is recognized by the Electrical Testing Laboratories (ETL).

You can turn on its oscillator, which can swing back and forth from 60 to 85 degrees, to spread the heat more evenly throughout your room. It also has a timer that you can set up to a maximum of seven hours.

Buyers of the product are surprised by how quickly it can warm a room despite its size.

However, some owners have noted the damage to devise parts after repetitive use. One user complained about his heater’s power cable melting.

Best for Living Rooms: Duraflame 3D Infrared

  • Wattage: 1,525 watts
  • Estimated Cost per Hour: $0.198
  • Room Heating Size: 1,000 square feet
Best for Living Rooms
Duraflame 3D Infrared Electric Fireplace Stove

5,200 BTU heater provides supplemental zone heating for up to 1,000 square feet to help you save money.

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04/29/2022 03:56 pm GMT

This Duraflame3D’s antique design can add a rustic charm to your living room. Its infrared heat can generate warmth while maintaining the room’s natural humidity. You can easily adjust the temperature using its remote-controlled thermostat. It also has an auto shut-off feature that protects the product from overheating.

The heater is made of solid metal, while its door is beveled glass, which helps enhance the product’s highly realistic 3D flame effects. You can still enjoy the heater’s flame effects, which have five brightness settings, even without turning the heater on.

For customers, the only thing that the heater is missing to match a real fireplace is the “crackling sound” from the latter.

Some buyers have shared that the electric fireplace is noisy and that it takes a while to heat rooms, which can be typical of radiant devices.

Best Box-Type Space Heater: AirNmore Comfort Deluxe

  • Wattage: 1,500 watts
  • Estimated Cost per Hour: $0.195
  • Room Heating Size: 1,000 square feet
Best Box-Type Space Heater
AirNmore Comfort Deluxe - 1500 Watt

DELUXE HEATING - Two power choices: High 1500 Watt and Low 1000 Watt. The perfect space heater for small or large rooms in your home or office.

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04/29/2022 03:57 pm GMT

The AirNmore heater is powered by a copper PTC (positive temperature coefficient) heating element, instead of bulbs and traditional coils, resulting in lower maintenance costs. It also has a cleanable, heavy-duty filter that prevents dust and small particles from entering and bogging down the device.

The remote-controlled heater, which is ETL-listed, has a tip-over switch and a “self-limiting” feature that keeps it from overheating. It has an auto-reboot memory that allows the heater to revert to your last temperature settings in case it shuts off due to a power outage.

Because the product comes with casters or wheels, you can easily move it between rooms. It also comes with a five-foot-long, 14-gauge power cord.

Some users, however, have complained about the heater’s noise and how it lacks the power to heat even just a 300-square-foot room.

Best Ceramic Space Heater: Comfort Zone

  • Wattage: 1,500 watts
  • Estimated Cost per Hour: $0.195
  • Room Heating Size: 300 square feet
Best Ceramic Space Heater
Oscillating Space Heater – Ceramic Forced Fan Heating with Stay Cool Housing

LOWER ENERGY COSTS: Frostbite weather shouldn’t take a bite out of your paycheck. Our energy-saving ECO mode adjusts heat output to lower costs, while its ceramic build prevents producing too much heat.

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04/29/2022 03:55 pm GMT

This sleek, tower-type ETL-certified heater by Comfort Zone has an oscillating fan that can rotate for up to 70 degrees, warming your space fast and evenly. It has an adjustable thermostat and an LED display. It has three heat settings: low (800 watts), medium (1,000 watts), and high (1,500 watts).

Its ceramic build, eight-hour timer, and “eco” mode control the product’s heat output and help keep energy costs minimal. It also shuts off automatically when it tips over or overheats.

Customers are impressed with the product’s “eco” mode, a setting that lowers the heat from the device when the air inside a room reaches the temperature you select. However, some buyers have reported that their heaters “melted” when they overheated or burned wall plugs.

📚 Recommended reading: Ceramic vs Radiant Heater [Which One’s Better & WHY]

Best Oil-Filled Heater: COSTWAY Radiator

  • Wattage: 700 watts
  • Estimated Cost per Hour: $0.091
  • Room Heating Size: Variable (some say 100 square feet, others 400 sq ft)
Best Oil-Filled Heater
COSTWAY Oil Filled Radiator Heater - 700W

Intelligent Power-Saving Mode - Once the room temperature drops below the set temperature, the unit will automatically turn on and stay on until it reaches the set temperature again. This method keeps the room temperature constant and is the most economical way to use electricity.

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04/29/2022 03:55 pm GMT

This oil-filled heater looks like your old-style radiator heater, but the oil inside it is permanently sealed so you won’t need to worry about refills or leaks.

It features an adjustable thermostat dial and, like the products listed above, an anti-overheating auto-shutoff feature.

The 8.6-pound heater has a front-carry handle, which makes it easy to move around. Meanwhile, its wide “feet” provide stability for the accordion-like machine.

Since it’s not fan-operated, it’s very quiet, which some customers like. They also praise how the machine prevents air from becoming humid, making it ideal for buyers who have sinus problems. However, users lament that the product lacks a timer and a digital temperature display.

Best Infrared Space Heater: Dr. Infrared Heater

  • Wattage: 1,500 watts
  • Estimated Cost per Hour: $0.195
  • Room Heating Size: 1,000 square feet
Best Infrared Space Heater
Dr. Infrared Heater Portable Space Heater - 1500-Watt

Can heat up a large room with Auto Energy Saving Model With High and Low Feature. Tip-over protection and Overheat protection.

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04/29/2022 03:56 pm GMT

The dual heating system of this portable heater runs on long-lasting infrared quartz tubing and PTC element.

Bearing a wood-like finish, the product features an LED display, an automatic thermostat, and three heat settings: low, high, and auto. The auto setting allows you to adjust the temperature from 50 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit.

You can use the remote control to adjust the timer of the heater, which can be set up to a maximum of 12 hours. Moreover, it has a high-pressure fan that produces a low noise of 39 decibels.

Recognized by the UL, the product has tip-over and overheat protection mechanisms.

It comes with caster wheels, a 72-inch power cord, and an electrostatic filter at its rear, which needs cleaning at least once a month.

Several buyers say that this product is comparable to Eden Pure heaters in terms of superior airflow and heat output. However, some complaint about rattling sounds from the heater and plugs melting.

Best Heater for Small Spaces: Honeywell UberHeat

  • Wattage: 1,500 watts
  • Estimated Cost per Hour: $0.195
  • Room Heating Size: Variable (one site says 150 square feet, another says 300 square feet)
Best Heater for Small Spaces
Honeywell UberHeat Ceramic Heater

ENERGY EFFICIENT HEAT: The UberHeat Ceramic Heater offers powerful, 1500 watt heat in a compact, modern design. The Low setting does not require as much electricity to operate, so it is more energy efficient and a better option for saving energy.

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04/29/2022 03:56 pm GMT

The Honeywell heater, with its round head and legs, looks like an alarm clock and is just as small as one too. It features a plastic, cool-touch, heat-tolerant housing, non-slip rubber feet, and a wire kickstand.

You can choose between low (personal heating) and maximum (whole room) heat using the rocker switch on top of the heater. Below is a dial for thermostat adjustment.

The unit’s auto shut-off function kicks in when it tips over, overheats, or reaches a targeted temperature. It also comes with a six-foot-long cord.

Customers are impressed by this powerful compact heater. It can, surprisingly, adequately heat a room with a floor area of 12 x 17 feet. However, some users have complained about its noisy fan and its short product life (two to six months).

Best Convection Wall Heater: Convectair Allegro II 18

  • Wattage: 2,000 watts
  • Estimated Cost per Hour: $0.26
  • Room Heating Size: 400 square feet
Best Convection Wall Heater
Wall Heater by Convectair
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This heater features surface-treated aluminum alloy for optimal heat transfer.

It also has a thermal sensor, which detects cold air, at the bottom, and an ultra-sensitive thermostat, which allows you to turn up the heat to accurate levels. Its digital controls are found beneath a lockable safety lid so you can keep it from children’s reach.

With its wall-mount design, you won’t need to provide space between the device and the wall to ensure proper airflow. It’s installed at least 4 inches from the base of a wall.

Users mostly praise the machine for its clean look and quiet performance, but a few customers have noted that it’s not compatible with app-based thermostats like Nest and Ecobee.

Space Heater Illustration

How Do Space Heaters Work?

Space heaters produce heat in different ways, but their energy production usually follows three stages:

  • Generation: Heat is produced through the burning of oil and fossil fuel, or, in electric devices, current passes through coils and other conductors of energy. Heaters consume the “fuel”—whether gas, fuel oil, or electricity—that powers it.
  • Distribution: Heaters distribute heat either through the use of small fans or through the convection process. In the latter, the oil or water surrounding the heating element is heated first before heat warms the ambient air. Heating systems operate based on the principle that heat transfers from a warm object to a cooler one.
  • Control: Features such as thermostats and timers serve as heat control, regulating the amount and duration of warmth that heaters produce in a room.

How to Calculate the Efficiency of Space Heaters?

You can use the formulas below to ensure that the heater you’ll choose has enough wattage or BTUs to warm the area where it will be used.

First, determine your room’s surface area by using this formula:

length (feet) x width (feet) = area (square feet)

a) If your room has a ceiling with a “regular height” (up to 8 feet high): calculate the kilowatt-hour you need by multiplying the room area by 10. You’ll need 10 watts per square foot of floor area for this type of room.

Ex. 132 sq. feet x 10 = 1,320 watts or 1.32kW for every hour of heating.

b) If your room has a ceiling higher than 8 feet: multiply the surface area with the ceiling height, then by 1.25. Each cubic foot needs 1.25 watts.

Ex. 132 sq. feet x 9 feet (ceiling height) x 1.25 = 1,485 watts or 1.48kW for every hour of heating.

Additionally, you can convert the calculated wattage to British Thermal Units (BTUs) by multiplying the number of watts by 3.41. Examples below:

a) Ceiling up to 8 feet high: 1,320 watts x 3.41 = 4,501.2 BTUs

b) The ceiling of 9 feet high 1,485 watts x 3.41 = 5,063.85 BTUs

How to Choose the Most Energy-Efficient Space Heater?

Consider these factors when buying a space heater:

  • Heat Capacity: choose a space heater with a wattage that matches the size of the room where it will be used.
  • Heat Distribution: look for heaters that can warm the room quickly and evenly.
  • Programming Capabilities: select a heater with a programmable thermostat that cycles on and off upon reaching your desired temperature. A heater with multiple heat settings is also a good alternative.
  • “Eco” and “Auto” Mode: these preset programs mechanically raise or lower the temperature level (or, in some devices, turn the heater off) depending on your selected heat setting.
  • Timer: can help you automatically limit the length of time the heater will be used.
  • Auto-kill Switch: it’s important to get a heater that shuts itself off once it gets too hot or accidentally gets knocked over.
  • Type of Heater: petroleum-based space heaters are considered the most energy-efficient because fuel burns entirely and most of it turns to heat. However, since they produce smoke, these heaters need to be linked directly to an exhaust vent.

📍 Note: Electricity-based space heaters are not as energy-efficient as petroleum-run ones, but they are smoke-free and can be used in enclosed rooms.

How to Calculate Heating Cost?

To estimate how much your electric heater will cost you monthly, multiply the following together:

  1. Electricity charge per kilowatt-hour (this varies from state to state)
  2. The average number of hours the heater will be used per day
  3. Maximum wattage of the heater, divided by 1,000
  4. Number of days in a month

Ex. $0.149 per kilowatt-hour (the rate in California) x 8 hours x (1,500 watts per hour / 1,000) = $1.78 per day or $53.64 per month.

Or you can also use this calculator below:

Electricity Cost Calculator

How to Use your Space Heater Efficiently?

  • Unless your space heater is wall-mounted, leave at least a one-foot gap between your heater and the wall because its air intake and output areas must be clear of obstruction. It should also be kept three feet away from anything flammable, such as paper, rugs, and clothing.
  • Check its air intake vents regularly and clean them whenever necessary. Don’t forget to unplug the heater when you clean it.
  • Read the manual for the correct positioning, especially for directional or radiant heaters that are fan-operated.
  • Set your thermostat to the Department of Energy recommended 68 degrees Fahrenheit during daytime or when you’re awake. Lower it when you’re about to sleep.
  • Insulate rooms. Use curtains. Install double glazed windows, if possible. Use weather-stripping, caulk, and other sealants for covering cracks and small airways in windows and doors to prevent heat from escaping. Keep doors closed while your heater is on.
Benas Leonavicius
Hey there! I am Benas, the founder of Home Caprice. Thanks for reading the article, I hope you were able to find what you were looking for. Me together with my team, are here to simplify heating and cooling for everyone. If you want more details about the website and our team, please check the about page.