LAST UPDATED: November 1, 2020
The Best Portable Heaters (Review & Buying Guide) in 2021
Consider these portable heaters to keep you warm and comfortable in the event of an equipment malfunction or breakdown
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PUBLISHED ON November 1, 2020
Few things in this world are worse than being too cold. Whether it’s due to a power failure, equipment malfunction or breakdown, or just poor preparation, being cold and not having enough heat to get properly warmed up isn’t just uncomfortable, but it’s also dangerous. That’s why having a good, reliable, and powerful portable heater is a smart idea.
Portability of heat sources is key to comfort and survival in many situations. With recent advances in technology, more and more options are becoming available for portable heaters in the marketplace. Here, we’ve come up with a comprehensive list of some of the best portable heaters currently available. Take a look to see if any of them are ideal for you or a friend or family member.
Sleek and cleverly designed ceramic space heater is self-regulating and reliable. Can quickly heat up to 300 square feet with 1,500 watts of power.
- Oscillating mechanism spreads heat to all corners of a room
- Heating element is safely protected behind a substantial heat-safe grid
- Automated overheat-protection mode
- Not as durable as other options
- Motor and fan have been known to stop working sooner than expected
Offered in black, white, or gray and comes equipped with three heating modes: High delivers 1,500 watts, low delivers 750 watts, and fan mode is for cooling.
- Ceramic heating element can provide quick and sustained warmth
- Measures only 6.2 x 4.74 x 8.3 inches
- Convenient carrying handle
- Trouble distributing heat evenly at times, even in smaller areas
Propane-powered heater quickly and effectively heats up to 225 square feet of space. It provides an impressive range of 4,000 to 9,000 BTU of radiant heat.
- Auto shut-off feature in case the heater gets tipped over, low oxygen levels are detected, or the pilot light goes out
- At altitudes of over 7,000 feet above sea level, the heater may shut off due to its low-oxygen sensor
Why Trust Us
All of our reviews are based on market research, expert input, or practical experience with most products we include. This way, we offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.
Benefits of Portable Heaters
- Easy installation: Most portable heaters are extremely easy to use, unlike other types of heaters available on the market. Simply plug in your heater and it should start working immediately.
- Efficient: Portable heaters are known for their efficiency and are an environmentally friendly option. Electric portable heaters are 100 percent energy efficient, meaning that all the electricity used is converted directly into heat.
- Versatile: Portable heaters are an extremely versatile product. They’re great to use in a variety of situations and in several different areas of your home. Electric heaters can be used for emergencies, but they can also be used to heat up small rooms like your office, basement, den, garage, or shed.
Types of Portable Heaters
Fan portable heaters feature electric coils that are used to generate heat. The warm air is then blown across the room via a fan. This type of portable heater is ideal for small rooms such as offices, bedrooms, dens, basements, sheds, and garages. One downside of this type is that the heat can easily be lost if you open a door or let a draft into the room.
Convector portable heaters, also known as convection heaters, feature an internal heating element similar to fan heaters. But instead of circulating the warm air via a fan, they wait for hot air to rise and be replaced by cool air, which then gets heated. They’re much slower to heat up than fan heaters, but convector units distribute heat more thoroughly.
Oil-filled portable heaters use an electrical current with thermal oil, heating the oil and circulating it around the heater, similar to water in a radiator. Oil-filled units are heavier than other types of heaters, so they’re probably the least portable of the three types. But overall, they’re the most reliable portable heaters and stay warm for the longest time, even after they’re turned off.
Lasko is an extremely reputable company, founded more than 100 years ago in Philadelphia, Pa. It specializes in manufacturing a variety of home products that are distributed all over the world. In addition to heaters, Lasko makes fans, air purifiers, humidifiers, and more.
Founded in 1957 and based in Cleveland, Ohio, Mr. Heater has been an innovator in infrared combustion technology for more than 60 years. The company specializes in consumer heating products as well as heavy-duty commercial and construction heating products. In addition to portable heaters, Mr. Heater makes burners, fans, camping accessories, and more.
Pelonis Technologies has more than 25 years of experience in product development and manufacturing. It has developed long-term partnerships with customers across the globe. In addition to portable heaters, the company sells blowers, motors, and other heating and cooling products.
Portable Heater Pricing
- Under $30: Portable heaters in this price range are an excellent value purchase. They are often a small, compact size, but will deliver a sufficient amount of heat for small rooms like offices, bedrooms, dens, sheds, garages, and more.
- Between $30 and $70: This is the most common price point for portable space heaters. Products in this price range usually have enough heat to warm small to medium-sized rooms. They often come with additional features like remote controls and safety modes.
- Over $70: Portable heaters in this premium price range are of the highest quality. They typically can heat larger rooms or areas, and feature high BTU. These heaters contain a number of safety features and LED indicators, and can be used in both indoor and outdoor spaces.
Heating capacity is one of the most important considerations when shopping for a portable heater. It’s important to know the size of the space that the heater will cover before making your purchase. In general, the higher the wattage rating, the greater the heating power. This is not true of all models, so make sure to check the specifications before buying if you’re looking to use it in a certain area of your home.
Although many portable heaters are quite energy efficient, it’s important to check and compare efficiency ratings before making your final purchase. It's necessary to choose the proper heater for your home and space so that you don't see a spike in your electric bills. Some models are even available with special features such as energy-saving modes, adjustable thermostats, low wattage, and programmable timers.
If left unwatched, portable heaters can be a fire hazard. Many heaters feature cool-to-touch surfaces and include automatic shut-off modes in case the heater is accidentally tipped over. Overheat-protection mode is another important feature that’s included with many portable heaters. Always read your product's instruction manual and make sure you take all safety precautions before using it.
- Warranty: The type of warranty is an important consideration when purchasing a portable heater. A longer warranty shows that the manufacturer has faith in its product and stands behind its services. Most portable heaters come with some type of warranty. It’s recommended to at least have a limited warranty, but make sure to double-check the warranty information before buying.
- Noise Level: As with most electrical appliances, portable heaters will emit some type of noise while in use. But some models will be much louder than others. Take into consideration the reviews and ratings before making your purchase. If you’ll be using it in your bedroom or office, you may want to opt for one of the quieter options available. Some portable heaters include quiet modes that can be switched on with the touch of a button.
- Size: If you’re going to be transporting your portable heater to various rooms around your home, then size is an important consideration. You want to make sure to buy a model with wheels, or one of the lightweight options with convenient carrying handles, if you’ll be moving it often.
Best Portable Heaters Review & Recommendations 2021
Our choice for the best overall portable heater is the Lasko 5538 Ceramic Tower Heater with Remote Control. This sleek and cleverly designed ceramic space heater is self-regulating and reliable. It can quickly heat up to 300 square feet with 1,500 watts of warmth. This tall, yet compact space heater comes equipped with an oscillating mechanism that spreads the heat and evenly distributes it to all corners of a room, allowing everyone to share in the warmth. For added convenience, this heater can be remotely controlled so you don’t have to worry about getting out of your seat to operate it.
For extra protection, the heating element is safely protected behind a substantial heat-safe grid, and the heater has an automated overheat-protection mode that shuts it down when it senses too much heat. A handy timer allows you to control the heat while sleeping.
One downside of the Lasko portable heater is that it’s not quite as durable as other options at the same price point. The motor and fan have been known to stop working sooner than expected. If it does break down while still under warranty, the company has great customer service and will offer a full refund or replacement.
Our pick for the best portable heater for your office space is the TRUSTECH Space Heater. This tiny heater can quickly and efficiently heat up to 200 square feet, taking your office from cold to cozy in just a few minutes. With three power modes, you can be in control of how much or how little heat you want. The high-heat setting delivers 1,500 watts of warmth, low heat gives 750 watts, and natural wind mode will allow you to circulate the air without emitting heat.
This compact heater comes equipped with overheat and tip-over protection, which senses a problem and shuts the heater down to avoid fire or damage. This is a very quiet heater, and its operation won’t distract you from being productive at work or prevent you from hearing what colleagues have to say.
One downside of this portable heater is that the thermostat control is not very user-friendly. Some users complained that they could only adjust the temperature in the room by manually turning the thermostat on and off.
The award for the best portable propane unit goes to the Mr. Heater Indoor-Safe Portable Propane Radiant Heater. This propane-powered heater will quickly and effectively heat up to 225 square feet of space. It provides an impressive range of 4,000 to 9,000 BTU of radiant heat using a compact 1-pound propane cylinder, or you can connect it directly to your propane tank.
It’s ideal for camping, cabins, RVs, motor homes, or anywhere that doesn’t have electrical power. It’s approved for both indoor and outdoor use, making it a very versatile heat source. For added safety, it’s equipped with an auto shut-off feature that activates if the heater gets tipped over, low oxygen levels are detected, or the pilot light goes out on the unit.
One thing to note with the Mr. Heater portable unit is that at altitudes of over 7,000 feet above sea level, the heater may shut off due to its low-oxygen sensor.
If you want a more substantial portable heater on wheels, consider the Pelonis Electric 1,500-Watt Oil-Filled Radiator Heater. This portable, oil-filled device is equipped with four caster wheels that allow you to move it from room to room easily, without having to pick it up off the ground.
It has three heat modes of high, low, and eco, and five temperature options of 65, 70, 75, 80, and 85 degrees Fahrenheit for versatile and customizable heat control. Its handy LCD screen makes this heater easy to read and easy to use, whether it’s day or night. It also comes with a programmable thermostat and a 10-hour timer, all of which can be operated by the convenient remote control that’s included. Super-quiet operation and built-in safety features make this heater a great purchase.
One issue with this portable heater is that the thermostat has been known to be inaccurate at times, which means it may turn on at times when it should not be running if the automatic feature is set.
Our award for the most budget-friendly portable heater goes to the andily Electric Heater for Home and Office. This little unit is one of the least expensive heaters on the market, but it still delivers strong amounts of heat, making it a great overall product. It’s offered in black, white, or gray and comes equipped with three heating modes: High delivers 1,500 watts, low delivers 750 watts, and fan mode is for cooling.
Its controls are straightforward, making operation of this portable heater a breeze. Its ceramic heating element can provide quick and sustained warmth. Measuring at only 6.2 by 4.74 by 8.3 inches, and with a convenient carrying handle, this portable heater can fit just about anywhere and is a great option for your home, dorm room, office, bathroom, and much more.
A common problem with the andily portable heater is inconsistent heat distribution. This product has been known to have issues distributing heat evenly at times, even in smaller areas.
The Dr. Infrared Heater DR-978 1,500-Watt unit can warm rooms up to 1,000 square feet in size in a matter of minutes. This portable heater features a dual heating system. It has a PTC heating mechanism built from advanced ceramic materials, and also uses a quartz element to produce infrared heat.
Despite its strong heating power, this product produces very little noise. It has no exposed heating elements, making it a safe option to use in your home, even around pets and children. An advanced thermostat regulates the heating cycle on or off, while maintaining a temperature anywhere between 50 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit. The thermostat also includes a 12-hour timer and automatic shut-off safety feature.
One downside of the Dr. Infrared portable heater is that it can use a lot of electricity. Users have reported major increases in their electric bills, even when just using this heater for three to four hours per day.
The Vornado VHEAT Vintage Metal Heater weighs less than 10 pounds and is only about 14 inches tall, but it still provides a lot of heating power. By using vortex air circulation, this product can gently heat the air in small to medium-sized rooms. It works similarly to a forced-air furnace, only on a smaller scale.
It has a classic design, available in color options of green or vintage white. It’s on the rather expensive side for such a small heater, but it’s a very durable option backed by five years of customer service support. Your bedroom, office, den, basement, and more can be heated efficiently with two heat settings: low setting at 750 watts, and high setting at 1,500 watts.
One downside of the Vornado portable heater is that many customers don’t feel it’s worth the price for heating just small areas of your home. But if you’re looking for a fashionable option for your office or den, this is a great product well worth its price point.
The De’Longhi Comfort Temp EW7707CM Space Heater is filled with oil, which makes it an excellent conductor of heat and an energy-efficient way to warm up any room. The completely closed system requires no maintenance, and the oil never needs to be replaced. As this portable unit heats the oil, warm air is released into the room.
The heating element only has to operate intermittently, which makes this unit a very environmentally friendly option. The easy-to-use controls allow you to manually adjust the heating power, which includes settings of 700 watts, 800 watts, and 1,500 watts. There is no assembly required for this portable heater. The SmartSnap pre-assembled wheels make it easy to move this heating unit from room to room throughout your home.
One downside of the De’Longhi portable heater is that it’s significantly louder than many of the comparable products on the market. While it keeps the oil securely inside, this unit has been known to make loud gurgling noises that can be heard throughout your home.
- To avoid fire hazards, always make sure to unplug your portable heater and store it away when not in use.
- It’s recommended to avoid plugging any other electrical devices into the same outlet as your portable heater, in order to avoid overheating.
- Many portable heaters are meant for use in small rooms or areas of your home. If you need to heat a larger area, consider a model with a higher BTU rating.
- Always keep anything that can burn—like beds, furniture, rugs, and curtains—at least 3 feet away from the portable heater as a safety precaution.
- Make sure to test your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors monthly to ensure they’re working as an added precaution when using a portable heater in your home.
Do portable car heaters really work?
A: Yes, portable car heaters work by providing heat in poorly insulated areas. Keep in mind that these heaters can be dangerous to use in confined spaces, so never leave your heater unattended.
Can a portable heater cause a fire?
A: Yes, portable heaters can be a fire hazard if not used properly. They can ignite flammable objects like furniture, rugs, and curtains within a 3-foot radius if left unattended.
Are portable heaters dangerous?
A: Portable heaters can be dangerous if left unattended or used improperly. Always follow your instruction manual and follow all safety precautions when using your heater to avoid any type of fire hazard or damage.
Can I leave my ceramic heater on overnight?
A: You should never leave your ceramic heater on overnight while sleeping. Leaving your heater unattended is a safety risk and can result in electrical fires.
For a high-quality portable heater, consider the Lasko 5538 Ceramic Tower Heater with Remote Control to quickly heat up to 300 square feet with 1,500 watts of power, or the andily Electric Heater for Home and Office, an excellent compact option.