The Best Cheap Space Heaters
Cozy Up With Cheap Heat
Sometimes even the best furnaces don’t quite cut it during the coldest winter months. If you don’t want to waste energy or money with a thermostat that’s constantly cranked up to the max, a personal space heater can make all the difference and provide enough warmth in a small room, bedroom, or office to help you keep utility costs down. After comparing specifications and reviews from consumers and experts, Cheapism has recommended the best cheap space heaters under $50. Most of our selections are ceramic space heaters that use fans to disperse warm air, and all are designed to be easily portable and weigh only a few pounds. We’ve also included a few alternative options if you need coverage for a larger area, or if you’re willing to spend just a bit more for an infrared model or an oil-filled, radiator-style heater. Our full buying guide explains what to look for in a space heater, as well as important safety measures to keep in mind.
Prices and availability are subject to change.
Our Top Pick
- Oscillating fan warms up sizeable rooms quickly, reviewers say.
- Easy-to-use controls, including a digital thermostat and 1- to 8-hour timer.
- Quiet operation, according to users.
- Built-in safety features include overheat and tip-over protection; cool-touch housing and handle.
- A few reports of malfunctions within the 3-year warranty period.
- No fan-only setting.
Takeaway: Users and consumer product experts vouch for the Honeywell HCE311V as an excellent cheap ceramic tower space heater. The oscillating design and features such as the adjustable digital thermostat and timer are uncommon at this price (which, although it tends to go up in season, usually falls close to $40). This heater is available in two larger sizes, but several owners say that even this small model is effective at keeping a bedroom or moderately-sized living room warm. It’s also nice and compact enough that many claim it’s a perfect solution for cold and drafty bathrooms.
- Quickly and effectively heats small spaces, according to online reviews.
- Tip-over protection and cool-touch case.
- Lightweight (about 2 pounds) and compact, at less than 8 inches square.
- No thermostat.
- Some users wish it generated a little more heat.
- Mixed reviews for noise.
- Some reviewers say the heater stopped working after a few months.
Takeaway: This Vornado space heater is an excellent choice for a workspace, with a strong fan to quickly circulate warm air. It's small enough to sit on a tabletop and stays cool to the touch. It also uses considerably less power (750 watts) than most cheap electric heaters do. A fan-only mode extends its use value, as it can keep air circulating during warm months, too. There's an updated version, the VH203, but reviews for that model are still fairly sparse. Shoppers who need a space heater to cover a larger room size might consider the more powerful Vornado VH200 whole room heater. Although you'll pay about twice as much for that model, you'll get a few more features and a five-year warranty for the money. It's Wirecutter's top pick for best space heater.
- Longtime top seller on Amazon with an average of 4 out of 5 stars and more than 17,000 reviews.
- Heats up small spaces quickly, experts say.
- Fan-only setting makes it useful in summer as well.
- Wirecutter, Popular Mechanics, Good Housekeeping, and Digital Trends have all named it best space heater for shoppers on a budget.
- Mixed reviews for fan noise; not the quietest appliance.
- Some buyers report that the heater broke down after about a year of use, but it has reliably served others through several winters.
- Some users have detected a burning smell.
Takeaway: This Lasko electric ceramic space heater is one of the cheapest models around, and most experts agree it's an excellent purchase for the price. With an adjustable thermostat, high and low heat settings, and a fan-only mode, this unobtrusive and portable heater keeps small rooms comfortable. The Lasko 754200 also has a fan-only mode to keep air circulating. It's an incredibly popular choice with consumers, and feedback at Amazon and Home Depot is generally quite positive, with just a handful of unhappy owners. The Lasko CD09250 electric ceramic space heater, a slightly newer model that is mechanically similar to the Lasko 754200, gets similarly positive consumer reviews. It’s a few dollars more and available in black.
- Designed to be portable, with a carrying handle on the back and weight of less than 3 pounds.
- Effectively heats small rooms, users report.
- Anti-freeze setting.
- Fan-only mode.
- Overheat protection and power indicator light for safety.
- Available in blue, orange, or gray.
- Mixed reviews for fan noise.
- Some buyers say the heater isn't very durable.
- A handful of owners describe a burning plastic odor that goes away after a while.
- 1-year warranty vs. 3 years for our other picks.
Takeaway: In addition to standard features such as thermal cut-off to prevent overheating, this DeLonghi space heater offers an anti-freeze setting, which automatically turns on the unit when the temperature falls below a certain level, and three color options. A few people say the "handle," which is actually an indented grip area in the back, is poorly designed, and some owners complain this 1500-watt fan heater is louder than they expected. But, aside from these minor gripes, the short warranty is the only thing that cools our enthusiastic endorsement of the DeLonghi HVY1030.
- Provides a lot of heat for a small area such as a desktop or bathroom.
- Stylish, compact design with brushed-aluminum housing and a black or white faceplate.
- Quiet operation, according to users.
- No adjustable thermostat, just a two-speed fan.
- Housing can get hot to touch, some reviewers say.
Takeaway: This Crane ceramic space heater is a basic but stylish model that appeals to design-conscious consumers. Most user feedback indicates that the Crane does a great job of cranking out heat quickly and is an excellent choice for keeping small spaces like offices warm. However, a word of warning: Several owners say the “cool-touch” housing and front grille can get dangerously hot. Also, a few purchasers wish this heater had a carrying handle, but the majority of reviewers maintain it’s easy to tote from room to room.
- Designed to heat a whole room efficiently.
- 3 power settings, anti-frost function, and 24-hour timer.
- Built-in handle, wheels, and cord storage make it easy to move around.
- Whisper-quiet operation.
- Struggles to warm basements and other larger spaces, according to feedback.
- Controls aren’t very user-friendly.
- A handful of owners complain of a burning plastic odor while the heater is operating.
Takeaway: Radiator-style, oil-filled space heaters are more expensive than ceramic space heaters and other convection space heaters, but some users prefer them because they are more energy efficient. Unlike forced-air space heaters, oil-filled heaters like the DeLonghi TRD4-0615T don’t use fans to circulate heat; as a result, this model is nearly silent when on, owners say. On the other hand, that lack of a fan means that the DeLonghi takes longer to heat a room, something a few owners point out.
- Heats rooms up to 1,000 square feet and effectively maintains the temperature, users say.
- Very quiet; rated only 39 dB by the manufacturer
- Digital thermostat and remote control.
- 12-hour automatic shut-off timer.
- Weighs 25 pounds, heavier than most portable space heaters, but has wheels to make moving easy.
- A few buyers say it broke down after a year or so.
Takeaway: Some consumers prefer infrared heaters like the Dr. Infrared DR968 because they don’t dry out the air like many other electric space heaters can. This model —which actually uses two types of heating technologies and includes a fan to circulate heated air — can warm up a room quickly, according to the reviews we consulted. It also includes extras such as a remote control, and several owners also praise the built-in safety features, like automatic overheat protection. Consumers aren’t the only satisfied reviewers; Popular Mechanics named the Dr. Infrared heater to its list of the best space heaters.