What Are Your Safest Space Heater Options?
What exactly is a space heater and how do you know which heating method to choose? Space heaters are supplemental units designed to warm an individual room and space. Most of them plug directly into a standard outlet. They're basic and simple to use.
Many people use them to help reduce energy costs in the wintertime. Using a space heater can help prevent overuse of a central heating system or wall furnace. They allow you to heat one room at a time, and are usually portable.
Space heaters employ a variety of heating methods. Basic types of heating include: fan-forced, convection, infrared or radiant, ceramic, and oil filled.
Fan forced heaters are typically used for quick bursts of heat in areas that normally become cool are that need a little temporary warmth. Typical fan-forced heaters are ceramic.
Convection heaters are quiet and typically used in the bedroom. These heaters use natural air currents to circulate heat throughout the room without any moving parts. Types of convections heaters are oil-filled and micathermic flat panel heaters. These heaters use a type of heat liquid transfer that gently warms and radiates heat without the use of a fan. These are ideal for well-insulated areas.
Infrared heaters provide quick spot heating. These work by sending electricity through a ribbon heat element or quartz tube. They are ideal for personal spaces. They can't distribute heat far from the element so they're not good for heating large areas, but they can create a cozy work space or reading area.
When it comes to space heating consumers are concerned with two things: effectiveness and safety. Space heaters account for a large percentage of winter house fires; however, in most cases this is due to improper use. For the most part, manufacturers are doing their best to develop safe and effective products to keep you warm during the colder months.
As a consumer, you have to follow safety guidelines and use the heater as directed by the manufacturer. That being said, we review our top 5 space heater brands below. Recommended for effectiveness and safety, these brands are a great way to fight winter chill.
Brand: Vornado SKU: iControl
About Vornado: Since 1945, Vornado has sought to develop new ways to keep homes comfortable. Through advanced aerodynamics, this product is engineered using unrivaled quality and performance.
Vortext Technology: Vornado heaters use vortex action to circulate heated air around the room. Automatic climate control regulates heat output and fan speed, provides even room temperature without consistently cycling on and off.
- Tip Over Safety Shut Off: Shuts the heater off if accidentally knocked over.
- Automatic Shut Off: Shuts the heater off if it gets too hot. Helps prevent overheating.
- Cool Touch Exterior: No glowing heat elements so it stays cool to the touch.
Brand: Lasko SKU: 758000
About Lasko: Innovators in home comfort, Lasko pride themselves on developing a modern product using the most advanced heating technology. Safety and reliability are their top priorities.
Ceramic Technology: Combining fan-forced & ceramic heat technology, Lasko heaters are self-regulating so they don't overheat. When the heat element gets hot, it shuts off.
- Built-In Thermostat: Regulates heat output to provide temperature control.
- Automatic Temperature Control: Operates on high heat and cycles the heater on and off to prevent overheating.
- Thermal Overload Protector: If an overheat temperature is reached, the unit shuts off automatically. It must be reset to start heating again.
Brand: Stadler Form SKU: ANNA
About Stadler Form: Featuring contemporary lines and unique designs, the Stadler Form company makes designer products that are practical, too. All Stadler Form products are engineered in Switzerland.
Fan-Forced & Ceramic Technology: Using fan-forced heating with PTC element made from self-regulating ceramic, this space heater warms an area quickly and evenly without overheating.
- Built-In Thermostat: Provides automatic temperature control to cycle the heater on and off as set.
- Automatic Shut Off: Shuts the heater off should the unit get too hot.
- Tip Over Safety Switch: Automatically turns the heater off in the event is its accidentally knocked over.
Brand: NewAir SKU: AH-450
About NewAir: The NewAir brand designs efficient, functional, and effective heaters. They create products to fit your busy lifestyle. They pride themselves on designing heaters that are safe.
Convection Technology: Using a convection heating method, this heater gently radiates warmth through heat liquid transfer.
- Tip Over Safety Shut Off: Shuts the heater off should it accidentally get knocked over.
- Automatic Shut Off: Automatic shut off keeps the heater from overheating by shutting it off if it gets too hot.
- Self Contained Heat Liquid: Oil filled heat liquid is completely enclosed. It will not leak or spill during transfer or while in use.
Brand: Duraflame SKU: 10HM2273-W505
About Duraflame: Duraflame is an innovative company consistently researching and developing new heating technologies to improve not only your personal comfort but also efficiency.
Infrared Quartz Technology: This heater uses infrared heating technology. Room air moves over copper heat elements, which is then pushed through vents to circulate around the room.
- Built-In Thermostat: Shuts the heater off when the room temperature is met.
- Thermal Cut Out Switch: Shuts the heater off if it gets too hot.
- Cool Touch Exterior: Stays cool to the touch so its safe around kids and pets.
Below is a table comparing the products reviewed.
|Brand & SKU||Safety Feature||Safety Feature||Safety Feature|
|Vornado iControl||Tip Over Safety Shut Off||Automatic Shut Off||Cool Touch Exterior|
|Lasko 758000||Built-In Thermostat||Automatic Temperature Control||Thermal Overload Protector|
|Stadler Form Anna||Built-In Thermostat||Automatic Shut Off||Tip Over Safety Switch|
|NewAir AH-450||Tip Over Safety Shut Off||Automatic Shut Off||Self Contained Heat Liquid|
|Duraflame 10HM2273-W505||Built-In Thermostat||Thermal Cut Out Switch||Cool Touch Exterior|
In additon to the safety features described, listed below are a few safety conditions to consider as suggested by the U.S. ConsumerProduct Safety Commission:
- Don't operate a damaged heater
- Keep it away from furniture, drapes, bedding, clothes, or papers
- Keep clear a 3 ft. circumference around the heater
- Never leave the heater unattended
- Make sure the plug is secure in the wall outlet
- Don't overload the plug
- Place the heater on a stable, level surface
Moreover, don't use the same circuit as other high wattage appliances to prevent overheating. Plugging too many high wattage appliances into one circuit outletcan cause overheating, a fire hazard that can be avoided.
In addition to observing the safety tips above, choose a space heater withthe built-in safety features described. Many space heaters offer numerous safety features designed to eradicate potential accidents.
A Harvard University study indicates that "space heaters present the greatest potentialfor human errors such as leaving them too close to combustible materials or failing to install, fuel, operate and maintain them properly." As in all electrical appliances, safety must be a top priority.
The CPSC or the U.S Consumer Product Safety Commission indicates that more than 25,000 residential fires are caused by space heaters. Misusing heating equipment results in life threatening accidents that had safety directions been observed could have been avoided.
So what should you do?
- Read manufacturer installation instructions thoroughly and abide by manufacturer guidelines.
- Choose a space heater with safety features.
- Consider the CPSC safety guidelines and create a safe environment to use the space heater.