Written By Nikola Petrovski
Published Nov. 2, 2020

Sometimes you need a little extra heat to keep you warm. Maybe you’re always cold, or perhaps you live or work in a drafty environment. If you can’t change the thermostat or are always clashing with those you live or work with about the ideal temperature, a portable heater is a great option for tailoring a space’s warmth.

There is nothing worse than being too hot or too cold. Portable heaters can provide comfort, safety, and peace of mind. Our list features some of the best portable heaters available. They are designed for any situation, so you can stay warm and comfortable no matter where you are.

The Best Portable Heaters

The Comfort Zone Ceramic Heater is our choice for top overall portable heater. This heater has three heat settings and an eco-friendly mode to help you find the right comfort level. This heater comes fully assembled, so you do not have to worry about any time-consuming setup. The ECO mode is useful for preventing your energy bill from being unnecessarily high and keeping warm and cozy during the wintry months. There is also an eight-hour timer and a remote control for your convenience. 

Overheating and tipping over will trigger an automatic shut-off to prevent fire hazards. While it is portable, this unit can be bulky due to the tower design. For best results, check that it fits beforehand.

Key Features
  • Includes crisp LCD display
  • Timer works up to eight hours
  • Lower settings to minimize power use
  • Oscillates to spread heat
Specification
  • Brand Comfort Zone
  • Model Bovado-HS1
  • Weight 7.19 pounds
PROS

Powerful heat with stable design

Easy-to-read temperature settings

Useful remote controls

Eco-forward settings

CONS

Height can restrict storage and placement

Plug can overheat

Prone to tripping breakers in unit

If you have to deal with an icy cold workplace, the Kismile Small Ceramic Space Heater can help you stay toasty. All it needs is a standard wall outlet, and you can quickly get up to 1500 watts of heating power. The small structure makes it ideal for on top of desks or the floor. Since it incorporates protection against tipping over, you don’t have to worry about safety. The thermostat is adjustable, letting you choose between full or half power. To circulate the air, there is also a fan. The silver exterior gives it a sleek edge, making it both stylish and functional decor. In terms of portability, it is lightweight and features a distinct handle at the top, which lets you take it to and from the office effortlessly. 

Bear in mind that while the ceramic exterior tends to stay cool, the circuitry can overheat, leading to a premature shutdown. To help, leave it at the lowest possible setting and let it cool between uses.

Key Features
  • High, low, and fan-only settings
  • Offers up to 1500 watts of power
  • Multiple safety considerations
  • Stylish and compact design
Specification
  • Brand Kismile
  • Model B08G8BTR2T
  • Weight 3.42 pounds
PROS

Dual controls for precise temperature

Includes a fan for airflow

Fits on or beneath desks

Touts a low-profile design

CONS

The weight may cause tips

Handle is vulnerable to breakage

The fan doesn’t oscillate

If you’re looking for a product that is strong enough to tackle large areas, this portable propane heater is a good option. Unlike electrical options, this Mr.  Heater RV radiant heater runs entirely on propane. It can create an output of up to 9,000 BTUs, so it can quickly heat small areas. Since it burns cleanly, you don’t have to worry about taking it indoors. Ideal for situations where there is no electricity, this heater is a powerful option. It incorporates a grip-friendly handle that lets you take it around easily. Each propane tank offers three hours of steady heat (assuming it’s going at full power). 

Though it has safety features to prevent it from harm, propane is a flammable material. Still, if properly supervised, it is a solid choice, especially for camping.

Key Features
  • Propane-powered heater
  • Handle for simplified transportation
  • Includes safety features
  • Can provide 9,000 BTUs
Specification
  • Brand Mr. Heater
  • Model B002G51BZU
  • Weight 9 pounds
PROS

Powerful heater ideal for camping

Made of heavy-duty materials

Not prone to tipping over

Easy to refuel and control

CONS

Structure doesn’t oscillate

 Only three hours of function per tank

 No electrical charging option

The Lasko Ceramic Portable Space Heater has a reasonable price point and highly effective heating capabilities. This heater has three quiet settings to choose between: high heat, low heat, and fan only. As it is portable, it comes with a handle that makes taking it with you easier than other heaters like it. 

With 1500-watt ceramic heating power, this little heater can warm up to 300 square feet. Overheating protection helps regulate the heater’s temperature, preventing it from becoming a fire hazard. The exterior also remains cool to the touch even when it is on the highest heat setting. With no assembly required, you can start heating your space within minutes of unboxing it. Note: it does not have a remote control.

Key Features
  • 1500 watts of heating power
  • Three separate settings
  • Safety considerations in design
  • Heats up to 300 square feet
Specification
  • Brand Lasko
  • Model B006JV24IU
  • Weight 4 pounds
PROS

Functions quietly on all settings

Low-profile design

User-friendly thermostat

CONS

Only suitable for small rooms

Thermostat control can wear down

Exterior grate can be hot to the touch

The Honeywell Slim Ceramic Tower Heater comes with superior safety features compared to other heaters. Cool to the touch, this heater has thermal-insulated wiring and a carrying handle for added portability. There is an overheat sensor plus a backup fuse to protect you from overheating and a potential fire hazard. No matter if this heater tips over on its side, front, or back, the heater will automatically shut off due to its 360-degree tip-over protection system. 

This heater comes with two heat settings: a 750-watt and a 1500-watt setting. There is also a programmable thermostat with four different time increments ranging between one and eight hours.

Key Features
  • User-friendly interface
  • Dual heat settings 
  • Timer function for convenience
  • Tip-over and overheat fail-safes
Specification
  • Brand Honeywell
  • Model HCE317B
  • Weight 4.5 pounds
PROS

Stays cool to the touch 

Well-designed inner circuitry

Offers up to 1500 watts

Provides as little as 750 watts

CONS

Easily trips the overheat sensor

Can require multiple resets

Needs a perfectly flat surface

Are you dealing with a super-cold area? The Brightown Portable Electric Space Heater is a useful way to warm areas efficiently. It meets a strong base, meant to prevent it from tipping over or shifting. The ceramic design creates lasting benefits, including a cool-touch exterior for safety. The heater runs on 1500 watts, letting you quickly warm up to 200 square feet. It works either on the ground or the desk (provided there is an electrical attachment). Since it deals with heat, all components are made out of flame-repellent products. This, coupled with the protection against overheating and tipping, ensures that you stay safe. 

With a durable design, this heater is meant to last over the long haul. Of course, it can overheat if left on high for too long, causing wear and tear on the wiring, resulting in reduced functionality.

Key Features
  • Lightweight and portable design
  • Incorporates safety protections
  • Heats with 1500 watts 
  • Multiple warmth settings
Specification
  • Brand Brightown
  • Model B07S636JRK
  • Weight 2.55 pounds
PROS

Strong base to prevent falls

Handle for easy carrying

Quiet operation when heating

Small enough to place easily

CONS

Requires downtime between uses

Circuit breaker tripping can damage wires

Low profile controls can be hard to use

Need something that you can grab when on the go? The GiveBest Portable Electric Heater is a worthy selection. This ceramic heater is both powerful and safe to use. It features a prominent handle at the top, helping you move all three pounds of it to and from work. Since it has both a fan and a ceramic exterior, overheating isn’t a concern. You can use this heater to cut down on power expenses by heating only the area you need. Plus, it draws minimal power to enable you to maximize efficiency. With temperature settings that go as high as 158 degrees Farrenheit, you get the benefits of warmth without overdoing it. The knobs are easy to use, located at the top of the unit. Opt for either the medium setting (750 watts) or the fan. Of course, to blast heat quickly, you can choose the maximum power option. 

Though this heater is tough, the knobs can be tricky, and the circuit breakers can accidentally trip. For long periods, it works best in the moderate setting.

Key Features
  • Safety considerations for protection
  • Three different heating settings
  • Powerful warming abilities
  • Ceramic-based design
Specification
  • Brand GiveBest
  • Model PTC-905
  • Weight 3.2 pounds
PROS

Functions quietly when working

Low profile structure

Easy to store and tow

Lightweight yet powerful

CONS

Knobs can get sticky over time

Circuits may trip too easily

Requires cool down time

For those looking for a heater that works both at home and the office, the TRUSTECH Space Heater is a solid choice. It’s powered with 1500 watts, giving you more than enough strength to heat up to 200 square feet of space. Since it includes three settings, you can adjust the temperature accordingly. The hottest setting uses all 1500 watts, while the next down uses just half that. Need to cool off? The fan setting helps with this, too. By including overheating safeguards and an automatic shutoff should it tip over, you can safely keep it around. The heater is relatively low profile and lightweight enough to take just about anywhere.

While it is powerful, the circuit breakers inside the heater may switch off depending on the situation. To adapt, adjust the temperature controls accordingly for the best results.

Key Features
  • 1500 watt maximum power
  • Compact unit for desk and floor
  • Includes heater and a fan
  • Safe against overheating and tipping
Specification
  • Brand TRUSTECH
  • Model PTC903
  • Weight 2.97 pounds
PROS

Functions quietly when heating

 Lightweight and very portable

 Incorporates three heat settings

 Features multiple safeguards

CONS

Doesn’t oscillate the fan

Exterior subject to impact damage

Can overheat if used constantly

The De’Longhi Oil-Filled Radiator Space Heater touts a classic appearance, although it comes loaded with useful features. It offers a maximum power of 1500 watts, running quietly at all settings. By incorporating a thermostat, you can set the heater to the desired temperature. With slotted sides, it promotes the airflow without the need for an internal fan. Even though the element heats up quickly, the outside grates remain cool to the touch. 

In terms of security, this model includes an automatic shutoff in the event of overheating. At the base are four high-grade wheels that protrude slightly out of the sides, adding stability. This enables you to roll the heater around without a struggle. Even though it is powerful, it’s worth noting that this heater uses oil as a power source; this improves portability, although it requires routine replacement of the fuel.

Key Features
  • Powered by oil for portability
  • Crisp LCD screen on heater’s front
  • Includes four wheels for easy movement
  • Classic radiator appearance
Specification
  • Brand De’Longhi
  • Model TRD40615EBK
  • Weight 27.6 pounds
PROS

Thin design for easy placement

Slotted sides for optimal heat flow

Made of sturdy and durable steel

CONS

Can be too heavy for travel

Doesn’t have tip-over protection

Always runs on full wattage

The PELONIS 1500W Programmable Thermostat Heater is an excellent portable heater. This heater rotates from either side within an 83-degree range. Made with cool-touch ABS UL94 V0 flame-resistant material, this heater has overheating protection and a tip-over switch as an added safety measure. As a result, you can plug this directly into a wall socket without a surge protector.

The heating element is made of ceramic with a maximum of 1500 watts of power, so it heats up to 70 degrees within three seconds. Possibly one of its most desirable features, this heater has a programmable thermostat that can be controlled via the dial. Additionally, this heater comes in a compact size, despite its impressive wattage, as it measures 17.76 x 7.72 inches.

Key Features
  • Oscillates to spread out heat
  • Simple to program and control
  • Includes safeguards for protection
  • White structure with tower design
Specification
  • Brand Pelonis
  • Model PH-19J
  • Weight 5.84 pounds
PROS

Includes a stable base

Stays cool to the touch

Multiple warmth settings

CONS

Tower can tip over

Limited range of the cord

Not the best at heating larger areas

Best Portable Heater Buying Guide & FAQ

When you’re looking for an effective heater, there are a few key things to keep your eye on. Of course, you want to stay reasonably within budget and opt for a reputable brand and merchant. However, there are a few other things to be aware of when picking which one to buy. First, figure out what you plan to heat. Are you going to use it around the office? Is it meant to be a portable car heater? Depending on your priorities, you need a different type of portable heater.

From there, think about how much power you want. Consider the cold you’re fighting. If it’s intense, opt for a powerful heater that isn’t prone to accidental circuitry shutdowns. Bear in mind the size of the heater relative to the space you’ve set aside. Make sure you have access to an electrical outlet, too. After you’ve considered these buying requirements, you can look into features and benefits you desire most.

Benefits of a Portable Heater

Whether you’re using them in your RV or to heat your garage, the key values of portable heaters are temperature control. Instead of relying on built-in radiant or central heating, you can select a set area to warm. Portable heaters run on electricity, so wherever there is an AC outlet, you can stay in thermal control. The nature of portable heaters is to allow you to bring the system with you wherever you go. Lightweight and compact by design, many incorporate a handle for easy towing.

The low profile design, common among portable heaters, helps you fit the heater into any nook or cranny. It’s easy to use the controls and adapt to your environment to maximize your comfort. Since the heaters are designed to last for a long time, you can use them in all seasons. Of course, the advantages of portable heaters goes beyond that. Years of development in technology led to carefully considered features and even more benefits, such as:

  • Safety features ensure that you don’t risk fire, burns, or damage to the device itself. 
  • Fans help spread the air around, moving the heat or cooling down the environment. 
  • Multiple temperature controls let you opt for the most effective setting without wasting power.
  • By heating smaller areas instead of large, unnecessary spaces, you can cut costs on your power bill. 
  • Instead of relying on localized heating systems, you can bring a portable heater wherever you go. 
  • Quiet operation means you can keep the heater on while you work or during sleep.

The Most Common Types of Portable Heaters

There are several types of portable heaters, each better suited to different situations. According to your needs, you will benefit more from a specific type. Some are geared towards moving the air around, after generating heat with an internal element. These are suited to closed environments, where a heat differential won’t compel airflow. Others are focused on creating warmth and rely on the surroundings to pull the heat around. Most are electrically operated, though there are some which depend on alternate power sources. 

Convection Heater

This type of heater relies on a radiant element to create warmth. The internal circuitry draws power to a metal component that heats up. From there, the heat increases and moves outwards naturally. Depending on the wiring and the metal used in the element, you can get a significant amount of power. Usually, there is an overheating failsafe where the natural expansion of the metal forces a stop if too much heat results.

Ideally suited for larger spaces, these heaters rely on thermodynamics’ natural properties to create heat flow in the air. Since warmth rises, the heater is best when placed lower to the ground. It warms the base, this moves upwards, and the process repeats itself from there. 

Heaters with Fans

Running in a similar manner to convection heaters, this option uses a fan to force airflow around the room. The element heats up, and the fan channels the heat outwards. While the warmth is still subject to the natural flow of energy, the fan can channel the warmth more quickly. Provided the internal wiring places the fan a reasonable distance from the heating element, you can get lasting benefits while gaining maximum control over the temperature.

Best when used in smaller areas, the fan can waste heat if used in too open of a space. However, since the fan has naturally cooling properties, it is more difficult to cause overheating. You can place these heaters both on the ground and higher surfaces with equal success.

Oil-Powered Heaters

These heaters are unique in that they use oil to run the internal electrical components. Nowadays, in this category, there are also propane heaters. Both tend to be heavier due to the fuel source. However, since they do not rely on a wall outlet for power, it is easy to take them just about anywhere. The oil tends to cost a nominal amount, meaning you can operate one of these portable heaters fairly quickly.

These heaters are powerful, though they may take a longer amount of time to create the same heat. While they are reliable, the nature of the flammable material used as fuel adds a certain level of risk. However, to use off the beaten path, this is a reliable option that remains quite popular. 

Halogen Systems

Less common nowadays, this type of heater uses the warmth of lights to send heat in a focused manner. Bright and inexpensive to power, this type of heater tends to operate quickly. Essentially, you can achieve the desired level of warmth more efficiently. However, since the heating system relies on a bulb, this type is more vulnerable to wear and tear.

It is worth noting that the halogen system is also bright, meaning it is less well-suited to workplace settings and night use. However, for daytime, and when focused heat is necessary, this type of heater is helpful. Best for gardening or short-term use, halogen systems still appear on the market today. 

How We Tested Portable Heaters

During the assessment process, we considered a broad range of variables. After analyzing the types of heaters best-geared towards modern living, we broke down the top options. We looked for the most effective choices with benefits such as efficiency, power, and thermal control. From there, we weighed this against the potential disadvantages. These include fire risk, overall safety, the high cost to operate, and damage from impact. Taken together, this enabled us to assess what the best portable heater would be.

Another key to the judgment process is ensuring the overall user-friendliness of the heater. After all, if you cannot use the heater easily, it isn’t a viable option. This is both a matter of the controls and the heating options. Understanding how to use a heater in the best way possible helps reduce expenses and ensure the heater’s longevity. Due to this, we sought to find a heater that is both easy to control and requires limited attention and maintenance. 

The Most Important Features of Portable Heaters

While each heater is different, there are some standard features to be expected from each selection. By identifying the essentials, you can choose a more simple heater or one with all the bells and whistles. Certain heaters incorporate a lot of modern technology such as an LCD. Conversely, others run on a more analog function, using turn knobs to control the unit. In either case, the main feature is the ability to control the temperature of your surroundings. Naturally, a few other features play heavily in the ability to perform this task well. 

Power

This essential feature refers to both the energy used to run the heater and the wattage it supplies. In terms of the power source, most options on the market use an electrical connection. However, you can opt for propane or oil-based heaters for times that take you off the beaten path. Your heater should enable you to access the proper power source, based on where you plan to use it. It should be strong and reliable, letting you use it over the long term.

The other part of this feature deals with the actual wattage itself. While the industry standard is 1500 watts, some options draw more, and others pull less. Depending on the area you want to heat, and the amount of time you need to spend, this is more important. Options that feature multiple heat settings are more desirable since they offer a higher level of user control. 

Airflow

Another feature common to portable heaters is airflow. This refers to an internal fan that forces the heat outwards. Sometimes, the fan will operate simultaneously as the heater, circulating the thermal energy throughout the area. Conversely, there may be a fan setting to let you cool down the area afterward.

This feature has dual benefits. It facilitates the cooldown of the unit itself, preventing wear and tear on the internal electrical system. The fan also enables you to move air around the room. Important for places without windows, it lets you control the heat without needing to change the settings continually. 

Safety

Usually, the safety features on your heater consist of three applications. The first is overheating protection, which is essential to preventing the risk of burns and fires. Most ceramic heaters feature a grill that won’t easily overheat, meaning it stays cool to the touch. Rooted in the thermal expansion of metal, if the unit overheats, it automatically shuts off.

The other aspect of safety deals with the risk of tipping over. Especially in areas with a lot of foot traffic (pets and kids, mainly), your heater may get knocked over, which increases the risk of fire if it isn’t shut down immediately. To prevent this, there is a sensor that knows when the unit is upright. If it falls, the system shuts down automatically. Usually, this is controlled through a press button at the base.

Lastly, there is the timer which you can find on many heaters. It lets you program the heat for a set amount of time, running up to eight hours. After this (so long as it doesn’t overheat before then), the unit stops working automatically. It enables you to focus on other things while still reaping the benefits of warmth. 

Portability

Unless you want a heater to keep in one place, portability is key. Different aspects play into the ability to move the heater around. Consider whether the cord is long enough to offer good reach without getting bulky to ensure that you can take it wherever you go.

The other aspects deal with weight and the handle. A simple handle should enable you to carry the heater around. With a compact design, you can fit it into your vehicle effortlessly. You can place it in the garage in between uses for extra heat in an often cool area. So long as the unit is lightweight (usually less than five pounds), it is easy to take on the go.

Care and Maintenance of Portable Heaters

There are a few steps you can take to ensure the long-term use of your portable space heater. Some are relatively straightforward, while others are easy to forget. The key is finding the proper placement for your heater; choose somewhere that enables a good airflow. This prevents backup and can cut down on overheating. Additionally, you want to engage the sensor that lets it know the unit is upright. This relies on you keeping it on a flat surface that is entirely void of moisture.

The next steps are sensible, too. Don’t use the heater around the clock. Just like any system, the heater needs time to recharge. If you push it too hard, it will break. That means once you’ve achieved the desired temperature after blasting it on max, turn down the settings. Another good tip is to unplug the heater in between uses and store it responsibly. From there, as long as you can keep it free of dust and debris, you can benefit from the heater over a lengthy period.

  • Place the heater on a flat surface to prevent disruptions in heat and potential damage.
  • Allow the heater to cool down in between uses, especially if the overheat circuit breaker tripped. 
  • Keep the grill clean and free of debris to prevent odors and reduce fire risk. 

Best Portable Heater FAQs:

As with any tool for home and work, people always have questions. Whether this is about maintenance or responsible use, it is best to get information beforehand. By ensuring the proper care and appropriate application of the heater, you can get more lasting benefits. It’s a matter of finding the right heater for your needs—and, from there, to find a way to keep it working. Eventually, you will learn the ins and outs of your specific heater. For more specific questions, consult the user manual. Some questions, though, are general and apply to every heater. To help you along, we’ve addressed some of the more common questions out there. 

Q: How do you clean a portable heater?

Heaters require little maintenance. Do not use water, as they are moisture-sensitive. Instead, dust the grate before use to prevent particles from getting into the system. 

Q: How does a portable heater work?

The power source pulls energy to the (usually) metal element. This creates heat, which the system then pushes outwards, either with a fan or using natural thermodynamic properties.

Q: What is the best portable heater?

The best portable heater is long-lasting, powerful, and easy to control. With this in mind, the PELONIS 1500W Programmable Thermostat Heater is a good way to go. 

Our Top Pick

After lengthy consideration, we’ve decided that the Comfort Zone Ceramic Heater is our top selection because it has three heat settings as well as an Eco-friendly mode, which will save you money over time. In addition, it’s fully assembled, has an eight-hour timer, and there is also a remote control. It’s built to last, offering the benefits of durability and high-performance value.

Final Thoughts

Now that you’ve had a chance to learn the finer details about portable heaters, you can get started. Maybe you want to cut costs with our value pick: the Kismile Small Ceramic Space Heater. Perhaps you want something heavier-duty like the top option, the Comfort Zone Ceramic Heater. There are plenty of excellent choices to keep you toasty and cozy, all year long. 

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