To offset the chill in a drafty room or to give your home’s heating system a little boost, you may need a space heater. We’ve researched more than 100 space heaters and tested 62 since 2011, and the Vornado VH200 is the best space heater for most people. A lot of space heaters can make you feel like you’re sitting in front of a hair dryer, but our pick (and other Vornado heaters we tried) warmed an entire room faster and more comfortably than everything else we’ve tested.
1. Vornado VH200
In our tests, the Vornado VH200 surpassed almost every other space heater in speed and total power, delivering an immediate temperature increase that built steadily and evenly across the room over the course of an hour. The VH200 is also quieter than most other ceramic heaters we’ve tried, emitting only a soft, fan-like whir, and it’s compact enough to tuck away in a corner. It’s also one of the safest heaters we tested, featuring overheating and tip-over protection, and a plastic exterior that stays relatively cool to the touch—so you can warm yourself without having to worry. The VH200 does get mixed reviews from some owners—those who find it slow to heat a particularly cold space or who have problems with the airflow from the fan—but Vornado tends to respond to critical reviews more reliably than other manufacturers do.
2. Vornado AVH10
The Vornado AVH10 is a lot like the VH200, with a few added features, such as a digital display, a convenient cord-wrapping post for easy storage, and a countdown clock when you turn it off, for added safety. In our tests, the AVH10 was the absolute hottest room heater model we tested, warming the room more quickly and to a higher temperature than the VH200. However, the AVH10 didn’t distribute its hot air as evenly throughout the space as the VH200, and it also tends to cost between $30 and $50 more. Still, it’s a great alternative to our top pick if you find it for a good price, or if you prefer its extra features.
3. Dyson Hot+Cool Jet Focus AM09
The Dyson Hot+Cool Jet Focus AM09—one of the most efficient space heaters we tested—also doubles as a cooling fan, making it a great option for year-round climate control. The Dyson allows you to choose between a “focused” or “dispersed” airflow (along with oscillation), so you can use it as a personal heater or to warm an entire room. We were impressed by how consistently and steadily it dispersed heat throughout our test room, and we were even more impressed by how cool it remained to the touch after an hour of continuous heating. And it was one of the only space heater models we tested that significantly dehumidified the room. You do need to use the remote control to access all of the Dyson’s features, such as cooling and timer settings. But the remote conveniently attaches via magnet to the top of the unit for safe keeping, and you can still access the Dyson’s basic heating abilities with the single button on its base.
4. Lasko FH500 All Season Comfort Control Tower Fan & Heater in One
The 3½-foot-tall Lasko FH500 All Season Comfort Control Tower Fan & Heater in One is easily the tallest space heater we tested—but it doesn’t actually take up that much floor space for a room heater. In our tests, it warmed the room swiftly and consistently to the temperature we dialed in on its digital display, and then it steadily held that temperature until the end of the hour. The FH500 is full of thoughtful details, including an easy-to-navigate control panel and a matching remote control. It also has a medium heating option (in addition to the standard high and low settings found on most other space heaters), as well as a timer and an “auto eco” setting for better energy efficiency. This is a newer product, and though its test performance was impressive, we plan to watch it long-term to see if it develops the dust and cleaning issues that incapacitated other tower fans we’ve tested. Speaking of fans: The Lasko also has a built-in cooling feature, which is a nice bonus.
5. Vornado VHEAT Vintage Heater
The Vornado VHEAT Vintage Heater heats well enough and looks good doing it. With a solid metal construction and wonderfully retro knobs, it’s simply the best-looking electric space heater we’ve found that doesn’t sacrifice (too much) functionality. Though the VHEAT delivers a steady stream of air that quickly heats whatever’s right in front of it, it wasn’t as good at spreading that heat around the room, resulting in a 10-degree difference in the temperature measurements we took from different parts of the room during our tests. The fact that it was able to heat part of the room enough to create a 10-degree difference was still pretty remarkable, however. Some space heaters we tested couldn’t even warm a room by 5 degrees. Overall, we think the VHEAT is a great choice for anyone interested in aesthetics as well as comfort.
Whichever space heater you choose, there are some common safety concerns that many people overlook: You can’t use any space heater with an extension cord, and you shouldn’t leave a heater unattended. And most heaters can’t be used in a bathroom, unless they’re specifically designed for it. We go over these and other considerations in detail in our section on space-heater care, maintenance, and safety.