Best Space Heater of 2020
Best Tower Space Heater
When it comes to tower-style space heaters, the Lasko 755320 is at the top of the pack. From the moment you turn this model on, it quickly starts delivering hot air. We like the controls and the user interface on the device itself as well as the remote control. It is tall, but the small footprint means that you can tuck it into small spaces.
The Lasko 755320 also has some shortcomings. It doesn't have a setting to use the fan without the heating capabilities engaged, so it won't be of any use in the warmer months. It also lacks a sensor to shut it down if it accidentally gets knocked over. However, all things considered, this is the model that we would turn to for most of our space heating needs.
Read Full Review: Lasko 755320
Best Personal Heater
Dr. Infrared Heater DR-968
If you are searching for a space heater that pumps a lot of heat but gives off a more even, organic thermal experience than ceramic fan-forced versions, we suggest the Dr. Infrared DR-968. Not only is the included remote simple and easy to use, but the convenient user interface and digital readout on the unit itself are very clear. The Dr. is powerful and would be a good choice for a shop or a larger room.
There are a few drawbacks that come along with the design of this model. It is a bit bulky with its box-style design that does not oscillate. Although, its wheels do help with mobility — provided you are using it in an area that has a wheel-friendly surface. Also, unlike many models, you have to press the power button to switch the Dr. Infrared from "off" to "standby" mode before the remote control will function.
Read Full Review: Dr. Infrared Heater DR-968
Best for Luxury
Dyson Hot + Cool Jet Focus AM09
For those that are looking for a model with a unique style and that offers a variety of settings, we recommend the Dyson Hot + Cool Jet Focus AM09. This heater tilts so that you can focus the warmth right where you want it. We love that it doubles as a fan too. The Jet Focus comes with a remote that magnetically sticks to the top of the body, and we found the remote to be intuitive to use. The digital display on the heater remains hidden until the Dyson is turned on and is easy to read from a fair distance. This model comes with a variety of settings in 1-degree increments, an oscillation setting, and two different widths of air diffusion.
This device isn't without its flaws. The remote controls all the functions, and without it, you can only adjust the temperature. The other big downside to the Dyson Hot + Cool Jet Focus AM09 is the price. If you're shopping on a budget, we recommend looking elsewhere.
Read Full Review: Dyson Hot + Cool Jet Focus AM09
Best Bang for the Buck
If you like the tower-style but you don't want a model that's going to break the bank then we recommend the Lasko 5775. This device warms the surrounding area almost instantly, and the oscillation setting does a fairly good job of distributing air evenly. The temperature controller on this heater is easy to use and has a 7-hour timer.
The Lasko 5775 does have a few shortcomings. It doesn't come with a remote, which is a typical inclusion with these units. This model scored decently during our timed temperature change trials, but we had to be very close to it to really feel the heat.
Read Full Review: Lasko 5775
Great Value for Compact Size
If you're looking for a small, basic personal heating device, we think the AmazonBasics 1500W Ceramic is a great option, especially considering how low the price is. It's very compact, making it perfect for use under an office desk or any other small space. An additional bonus feature of the AmazonBasics model is that it doubles as a fan, so it can be used all year long.
When it comes to bells and whistles, the AmazonBasics 1500W Ceramic falls a bit short and is about as basic as they come. The temperature settings are controlled by a dial with no way to select an exact target temperature. This model also lacks a remote and a timer, and it does not oscillate.
Read Full Review: AmazonBasics 1500W
Why You Should Trust Us?
Here at GearLab, we purchase all of the products that we test at full price from the same retailers as our readers. This is to ensure that we don't have any bias caused by accepting promo or demo models from manufacturers. Our testing team is comprised of Austin Palmer and Ross Patton. Having spent his entire life in the snowy mountains, Ross is no stranger to the various ways that people keep their living and workspaces warm. That, coupled with his formal training in environmental science and more than 15 years of product testing experience has honed his skills for creating in-depth side-by-side tests. In addition to Austin's extensive experience performing hands-on tests for more than 500 products, he spent time working on an oil rig where the crew would huddle around a space heater when temps were so low that running water would freeze. To verify our results, we consulted our resident mechanical engineer, David Wise who has a background in heat transfer.
These models were tested during a winter cold spell at Lake Tahoe, a place where the record low temperatures are below -20 degrees Fahrenheit. We tested the heaters inside the lab but wouldn't run any experiments if the outside temperature reached more than 38 degrees. We came up with four different sets of experiments to determine how well each heater worked under a desk, in a living room, what kinds of extra features are included with each model, how much heat they could add to a small room, and how much each one costs to run. We ran each model for several weeks in the office, in the lab, and in our homes.
Related: How We Tested Space Heaters
Analysis and Test Results
In order to determine which units are truly the best, we conducted dozens of hours of research to ascertain the specifications and details of more than 50 models. After much deliberation, we narrowed it down to a select group of models, then purchased them to be put through a gauntlet of uncompromising tests. After a long list of experiments and measurements, we were able to group our results into four individually weighted metrics — personal heat, convenience, small room heating, and power consumption.
Related: Buying Advice for Space Heaters
Space heaters vary greatly in price and performance, and a higher cost doesn't necessarily equate to a better product, especially for certain applications. The AmazonBasics 1500W Ceramic is a great choice if you aren't looking to spend much and all you need is a compact heater with basic heating functions. If you'd like an oscillating style tower heater, but you don't need extra features like a remote, the Lasko 5775 would make a good fit. Another Lasko model, the Lasko 755320 was our highest scoring machine but it costs much less than the models it outperformed. The Dr. Infrared is a bit more expensive than many heaters in our review but is affordable for this heater type. Finally, if you want all of the bells and whistles you can get out of a heater from a designer brand, the Dyson Hot + Cool Jet Focus AM09 might be the one for you — but be prepared to drop a lot more cash for the sleek looks and extra features.
Most people are in the space heater game primarily for… heat. Accordingly, we allocated 40% of the overall score for this metric. For personal heat, we began by putting each heater under a standard sized office desk to see how they fit, then we judged which models were the best at making the office space cozier and more comfortable. Then, we used each heater in a living room and employed a panel of judges to poll the overall feel of how well each model was performing.
Warming up the area under the desk noticeably faster than the other models was the Lasko 755320, scoring a hot 9 out of 10. In fact, its heat was actually a bit intense. The airflow feels a little more direct than some models, but if needed, the oscillation setting helps disperse the heat.
When we moved to the living room the Lasko 755320 impressed us even more than at the office — this model produces a warm breeze better than any other model in our review.
Not too far behind the Lasko 755320 for personal heating was the Comfort Zone CZ523RBK, which earned an 8 out of 10 for this assessment. The Comfort Zone is fairly tall, and the controls are on top of the unit, so if your desk is a bit shorter, they can be a bit difficult to reach — but the remote takes care of that problem.
The Comfort Zone does a fantastic job of quickly producing heat, but the oscillation is a bit slow for underneath a desk if you want constant hot air blowing on you. When we tried the CZ523RBK 5 feet away from a piece of furniture we could really feel the heat, but the breeze wasn't quite as strong as the Lasko 755320.
Several models were awarded a 6 out of 10 for this metric. Both the Lasko 5775 and the Dyson Hot + Cool Jet Focus have small footprints which helps them fit nicely under a desk.
The Lasko 5775 and the AmazonBasics 1500W both heat a desk area up very quickly, but unfortunately their blowers aren't quite strong enough to be practical for use in a living room.
Even though it takes the Dyson a little longer to warm up than some models, it's still great for use near living room furniture thanks to its oblong design and tilt option that directs air in a greater vertical gradient than the other models in our review.
The overall convenience of using a home appliance such as a space heater can be a deciding factor when it comes time to purchase for many people. These devices have an array of controls, temperature displays, remotes, and even the option to use the heater as a fan with the heating element disengaged. Here at GearLab, we love bells and whistles, so we dedicated 30% of the total score to convenience.
It's hard to beat the Dyson Hot + Cool Jet Focus AM09 in the convenience department — it earned an 8 out of 10 for this metric. The Dyson comes with a number of innovative features including tilt, a remote that magnetically attaches to the top of the unit, and a "focused" mode which allows for the diffusion of the air to be narrowed to a more direct path.
The timer on the Jet Focus goes up to 9 hours, but the first hour increases in increments of 15 minutes. The thermostat on this model goes up to 99 °F, and the digital readout is invisible until the Dyson is turned on.
This space heater also has the option to function as a traditional fan when running on "cold" mode, which turns the heat off. The Dyson Hot + Cool Jet Focus AM09 also comes with an oscillation setting and has an internal sensor that shuts the power off in case the device ever gets knocked over.
The Lasko 755320, Comfort Zone CZ523RBK, Dr. Infrared Heater DR-968 and COSTWAY HT1195 were all given a score of 7 out of 10 for the convenience metric. Each one of these space heaters comes equipped with a digital readout and a thermostat that goes up and down in 1-degree increments.
All of these models come with remote controls, but we found the Dr. Infrared to be the most straightforward to use because, unlike the remotes for other models, the buttons on the Dr. are labeled with words instead of symbols. Out of the remotes that use symbols, the Lasko 755320 controls were the most intuitive to decipher and this model's controller fits comfortably in your hand.
Both the Infrared and the COSTWAY HT1195 are great for those that need to feel the heat for extended periods of time, given that both have timers that go all the way up to 12 hours with one-hour increments.
Of the models that scored a 7 out of 10 for convenience, the COSTWAY is the only one that comes with the option to turn the heat off and use the unit as a fan.
The Lasko 5775 has similar controls to its cousin, the Lasko 755320, but since it lacks a remote, we were only able to give it a score of 5 out of 10 for this metric. Coming in near the back of the pack is the AmazonBasics 1500W with a score of 4 out of 10 — this bare-bones model has minimal settings and features, although we like that it can be used as a fan without the heating element engaged.
We ran each individual device in the same room for a set amount of time at the highest setting and then measured how much of a positive temperature change each heater was able to cause. Over the course of an hour, we took readings every 20 minutes. At the start of each trial, to ensure that our data was accurate, we made sure the inside temperature of the test room was as close to 64 degrees Fahrenheit as possible. We even took it a step further and only ran the assessment when the outside temperature was in the low 30s. We dedicated 20% of the total score to this metric.
Some of the heaters did fairly well, but because we feel as though there is vast room for future improvement in the overall performance of space heaters we didn't give out any high scores for this assessment. Our three highest-scoring models, tying for a 6 out of 10, are the Lasko 755320, Dyson Hot + Cool Jet Focus AM09, and Vornado VH200. The Lasko 755320 was able to raise the temperature in the room 6.4 degrees in the first 20 minutes, 2.2 degrees in the second 20, and another 2.2 degrees in the third for a total of 10.8 degrees after an hour. After an hour, the Vornado increased the temperature of the room 11.2 degrees with a 7.5-degree increase in the first 20-minute interval, a 2-degree jump in the second interval, and 1.7 degrees in the third.
The Dyson was the most impressive — it was able to get the room temp to rise by 7.8 degrees in the first 20 minutes. During the second and third intervals, the room temp increased 2.3 and then 2 degrees. This model produced the greatest warmth upsurge over the entire hour at 12.1 degrees.
Each earning a 5 out of 10 for this test was the Lasko 5775 and the AmazonBasics 1500W. The AmazonBasics was able to increase the temperature by 10.1 degrees after an hour while the Lasko 5775 was able to raise it 9.9 degrees in the same amount of time.
For the final 10% of our total score, we assessed power consumption. Even though each of the devices in our review is 1500 watts, they actually use surprisingly different amounts of energy. You could easily drive your power bill through the roof if you aren't careful with your use of the heater. To assess this metric we ran each heater on high for two hours and took readings with a wattmeter.
From this data, we were able to see the power consumed by each model in kilowatt per hour (kWh). We looked up the current national average of cents per kWh and were then able to calculate the cost of running each device for ten hours, 1 day, 1 month, 3 months, 6 months, and a year.
None of these models were especially efficient, and we feel as though there will be a vast improvement in space heater efficiency in years to come. That said, we concluded that four of the models in our review earned a 6 out of 10 for this metric. At its highest setting, the COSTWAY HT1195 will run you $4.05 per day, using 30.72 kWh in 24 hours.
The Vornado VH200 and the Lasko 754200 will both burn through 30.48 kWh in a 24 hour period, which translates to a forecasted cost of $4 per day with the heater running around the clock.
The Dyson Hot + Cool Jet Focus AM09 is the most efficient space heater that we've reviewed to date — it consumes 30 kWh in 24 hours, which correlates to a cost of $3.95. The Lasko 5775 earned a 5 out of 10 for this metric — it costs $4.20 to run for around the clock for a day. Bringing up the rear for this assessment is the Lasko 755320 and the AmazonBasics 1500W which each earned a 4 out of 10 thanks to their high power consumption. The Lasko 755320 costs $4.30 to run for 24 hours, while the AmazonBasics costs $4.39.
It is our hope that after reading this review, you will be confident enough in our processes to purchase the best space heater for your individual needs. Stay warm out there.
— Ross Patton and Austin Palmer