If it's been a while since your last space-heater purchase, be prepared to spend time perusing the market. Gone are the days when shoppers popped into their local home-appliance store to choose between the regular and deluxe model. Today's portable electric heat sources come in five categories---convection, fan forced, radiant, oil filled and mica panel---and often boast a dizzying array of features. Here, based on safety, design, energy efficiency and value, are 10 of the best products as rated by leading media outlets.
Touchstone Vornado TVH 500
The New York Times has singled out the TVH 500 for its ability to quickly warm a room via "tornado-like circulation" while taking up very little space. The energy-efficient, remote-controlled heater, though encased in steel, also remains cool to the touch, and features a digital timer and thermostat.
Soleus Air HGW-308
In 2010, the Good Housekeeping Research Institute reported that the HGW-308 "used about 25 per cent less power" than the 30 other space heaters it evaluated. GHRI also gave the product, which can be wall mounted and combines radiant and convection heat, a thumbs-up for being the quietest among the test group.
DeLonghi Mica Panel HHP1500
"Quiet, effective and economical" is how TreeHugger.com has described the HHP1500, which uses mica sheets to heat without a fan. Complete with wall-mounting option---and safe for bathroom installation---this unit almost instantly heats a room, then automatically maintains desired temperatures.
Honeywell HZ-7200 Cool Touch Oscillating Heater
"For the money, this thing cooks," Slate has said of this convection heater, which sports a "frost-watch" mode that turns it on when room temperature falls near 0 degrees C. Other features of the HZ-7200 include digital control panel, oscillation setting, automatic "tip-over" shut-off and "cool-touch" housing to prevent accidental burns.
DeLonghi Tower Ceramic Heater
When it comes to space-heater design, "slim is in," The New York Times has written. That before talking up DeLonghi's 30-inch-tall unit. Operating via ceramic elements that safely provide "fast and powerful spot heat," this versatile tower oscillates, too, while sporting a fan-only setting for use during summer.
Holmes Quartz Tower HQH319
The primary benefit of the HQH319, as TreeHugger.com has noted, is that it "immediately radiates sun-like warmth to whoever is within the path of its glow," to say nothing of offering "a lot of heat for the money." Among the radiant heater's other features are a heavy-duty fan for maximum room penetration and a "one-touch" thermostat for setting desired temperatures.
DeLonghi's oil-filled TRD0715T is extremely economical. How come? Once the oil is heated to its set temperature---which can be within minutes---the silent unit maintains that temperature for just pennies per hour. Better yet, its diathermic oil is permanently sealed and never needs refilling. Couple that with an adjustable thermostat and timer and you've got one hot product.
Fujitroni TaiChi Bio-Flame
If it's serenity---and salubrity---you value, then the TaiChi Bio-Flame may be just your thing. In addition to its lighted base that mimics a fireplace, this ceramic space heater features an ionic air purifier that eliminates airborne dust, mould spores microorganisms and other contaminants. For added serenity, the unit comes with a one-year warranty.
Pelonis Four Disc Furnace VHC-461
Consistently rated one of the safest, most effective fan-forced heaters on the market, the VHC-461 brandishes five ceramic discs that, according to TreeHugger.com, "offer a huge amount of heat using your standard 120 volt line." Also featured are an ambient temperature sensor, washable dust filter and safety "tip-over" switch.
Reiker Legend Room Conditioner
Speaking of versatility, this clever unit does what The New York Times calls "triple duty." Reiker's aptly named room conditioner fits a space heater in a ceiling fan---which houses a florescent light as well. Mounted flush to the ceiling or suspended six inches therefrom, the remote-controlled mechanism features walnut blades and a nickel finish.