When cold weather happens, we’ll do anything to warm up. Space heaters provide direct and immediate warmth, making them really popular. I scoured Amazon for three of the top-selling space heaters to see what each is like to use, and if they’re worth the money.
When it comes to many types of home appliances, spending more is usually better. For space heaters, however, I’d argue you don’t actually need to spend more than about $60US. While there might be a few rare exceptions depending on your specific needs, many space heaters cost more for fancy features and technologies that don’t contribute to any real-world benefits. Efficiency is one common example since the sole purpose of heaters is to convert electricity into heat and any “wasted” electricity comes in the form of heat anyway which helps the heater which your desired temperature. But don’t just pick a random budget heater as it might lack safety features and instead, go for any of these models that are TechGadget-certified to provide the best bang for your buck.
Best all-around Pick: GiveBest Portable Electric Space Heater with Thermostat
The GiveBest Portable Electric Heater (available on Amazon and Walmart) is a terrific budget pick that doesn’t sacrifice on the most important features – safety and performance.
The space heater’s design isn’t anything to write home about and is the noisiest heater in this list but for those with a small budget, this is the one to get, since the $60 regular price is quite often slashed by half.
Features & Specs
Being a portable space heater, the GiveBest heater isn’t very heavy weighing about 2.64 pounds. The heater offers two heating modes; Low and High – 750W and 1,500W as well as a fan-only mode allowing you to use it during the summer to stir the air around.
There are two dials on top of the machine one of which lets you choose your setting, and the other lets you adjust the level of heat. There’s a built-in carrying handle and a 6-foot-long cable. This space heater works best for rooms less than 200 square feet large.
Heat Throw distance
When it comes to how far this heater is going to push out warmth, it was actually the best of each of the heaters I tried; I could feel the air and the heat as far as about 2 feet away, and I found it was quite good at heating up my small office.
For safety features, the GiveBest portable space heater has a built-in thermal overload protector that automatically shuts off the heater upon overheating. It also has tip-over protection which will trigger a shutdown whenever accidentally knock it over. This heater was also the only one of the ones I tried that actually shut down when it was just beginning to tip over, not just when it had fully faceplanted. Putting the heater back upright after a trip-over also automatically switches the heater back on. If safety is one of your primary concerns then I would definitely recommend this one.
The GiveBest heater comes in Black and Silver variants along with an upgraded version which has a digital display and a timer feature if you’re willing to pay a little more.
With a noise level of about 45-50 dB, this is the noisiest heater I tried. Even so, it’s not loud enough to be distracting, and I think it would be possible to sleep with this running.
- Good heat throw distance
- Simple controls
- Carrying handle
- Outstanding safety features
- Long cord
- Dull design
- Noisiest pick
Chic and Quiet Pick: Dreo Space Heaters for Indoor Use
If your primary need for a space heater is rock bottom noise levels, but also something that won’t offend your design sensibilities, the Dreo Space Heater for Indoor Use (available on Amazon and Walmart) has got your back.
Features & Specs
Dreo has a wide selection of space heaters, but the 10-inch $40 model works just fine and boasts the same 1,500-watt specification as the other space heaters in this list. This option doesn’t offer a whole bunch of bells or whistles or features, but what it does do it does reasonably well.
Dreo also has a sleeker and more compact cylindrical design while still having a handle for better portability. It also has a built-in screen showing the current temperature Other nice extra features you’ll get with the Dreo include a 12-hour auto-shutoff timer.
While this sets up a good case to just go for the GiveBest, the Dreo space heaters operate at a much lower noise level. (The GiveBest space heater’s noise level averages about 52 dB while the Dreo hovers slightly about 40 dB and can dip to the mid-30s if you reduce the heat setting.) Unless you are penny-pinching, the lower noise level of the Dreo is a nice little extra to enjoy even if you don’t think you need it.
This Dreo heater offers three different quick-heat settings; essentially high medium and low, or swap modes and get a thermostat to dial in your temperature a little better (from 41-95 degrees F).
Settings are adjusted using the flat touch controls on the top of the device. The buttons on this one range from a timer, to temperature down and temperature up, as well as a mode button which allows you to swap between quick heat or the thermostat, as well as a setting that simply allows you to use the fan only. Finally a child lock setting means you can keep the kids from making any adjustments.
Heat Throw distance
Perhaps it is due to the size, but this heater is really only able to throw out direct heat within about 8 to 10 inches of the front grill. Anything further away than that and you’re only getting ambient air feel. Even so it seemed easily able to heat up the area around me, in my small office.
This Dreo has the full stack of safety features from tip-over protection which not only turns the device off, but emits a series of beeps to warn you. Once the heater has tipped over it will automatically cycle itself off within about 30 seconds. The delay is a bit concerning but it does power down on time. The overheat protection kicks in when the heater’s internal temperature warms up to 122°F.
- Compact: Great for under a desk
- Super quiet
- Appealing design
- Use quick settings or adjust thermostat
- Decent safety features
- Small heat throw distance
- Delay in shut off when tipped
Feature-packed Pick: Lasko Oscillating Digital Ceramic Tower Heater
When it comes to features, the Lasko Oscillating Digital Ceramic Tower Heater towers (available on Amazon and Walmart) over the rest. The two big features of this 1,500-watt space heater are the included remote control and oscillation option which will help distribute the heat across a wider angle. Measuring 23 inches high, the Lasko tower heater is the largest in the list and also the heaviest at 7.29 pounds.
Features & Specs
It comes with a handle in the back though so you can bring it to another room, but the placement of the handle makes it almost impossible to grip securely without using another hand to steady it. I’d send this feature back to the designers.
The Lasko tower heater has six buttons on the top of the heater, which match the buttons on the remote control: There’s a shutoff timer, the oscillation button, power is in the centre, a heat mode option which lock the heater on high power, and finally the plus and minus buttons allow individual temperature adjustments.
If you want to run this heater at a specific temperature, you can choose your setting and then once the room temperature reaches 2° above that set temperature the heater will power off. When the room reaches 1° below that set temperature the heater will turn back on automatically, cycling on and off to maintain your set temperature. If you choose the heat mode button instead, the heater will stay in high heat mode and run continuously.
Heat Settings: Adjust temperature, not airflow
Worth noting is that there are no different fan speeds; there is only one setting for airflow, so the only thing you can adjust is temperature.
Because of that, the distance at which you will be able to feel the heat is quite short. I’d say within approximately 12 inches of the front of the heater you can feel the warmth substantially. Beyond that the heat and airflow dissipates quite rapidly. For that reason you may want to sit rather close to this heater to get a warm up. Or you can simply count on it to heat the overall room rather than relying on it for directional warmth.
Moving on to the safety features, the Lasko Tower Heater is possibly the most unsafe option of all three I tested. This heater does not shut off on its own if it tips over, and has no fabric detection. I’d be very concerned about running this in my home unless I was there with it.
This heater is actually extremely quiet for the power it puts out. I think it would be extremely easy to sleep next to this and not be disturbed.
- Heats up quickly
- Adjustable thermostat/temperatures
- Heat dissipates further than 12 inches away
- Only one airflow level
- Safety concerns/tipping
- Batteries for remote not included
All three heaters rely on a ceramic heating element which means they all heat up pretty quickly with great efficiency. While none of the heaters have any smart features or fancy wireless technologies to open up home assistant integration, they all provide decent overall performance for the money without sacrificing the all-important safety features. When it comes to which one I’m buying for my own use, I’d say all have their merits, but my top 3 in order are the GiveBest, which I’d say is best overall, then the Dreo, mainly for its design and simplicity, followed by the Lasko tower.
You can find each of these on Amazon and Walmart.
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