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Which is the best portable heater?

As we get closer to the winter months, a space heater can really make a difference when it comes to staying warm. Choosing a smaller, portable model can allow the heat to move with you within your home. It can also be very aesthetically pleasing. 

Our top choice, the LIFE SMART Large Room Infrared Quartz Fireplace is not only a quality portable heater, but also resembles a realistic fireplace. To choose the right one, be sure to consider all of the key features and functions of the models on the market.   

What to know before you buy a portable heater

Convection vs. radiant heating

When buying a portable heater, the first big decision to make is the type of heating technology that would best suit your needs. A convection heater is a good choice for a model that is going to stay in one space for a period of time. In comparison, radiant heaters tend to heat up smaller spaces quickly. Finally, there is the option to use a micathermic heater, which uses elements of both the convection and radiant types. 

Types of heaters

Portable heaters can use a number of different heating elements to function. Along with ceramic and oil-filled heaters, there is also the option of an infrared heater, which uses quartz tubes to heat a space. Oil-filled heaters, where oil is warmed to create the heat, are best suited for smaller spaces. A larger space would be best served by an infrared heater.

What to look for in a quality portable heater

Shape and size

Portable heaters can come in a number of styles. Some have simpler, sleeker designs, such as a cube or a tower, that can blend into the background of a space. Others can resemble fireplaces or stoves, creating more of a cozy atmosphere. Be aware that the smaller a portable heater is, the easier it will be to move it around a space. 

Heating area

To figure out if the portable heater will be able to adequately warm your space, make sure you know the square footage of the room. Also keep in mind that drafts and other factors can affect the heater’s ability to create a comfortable temperature.


Portable heaters often use a programmable or adjustable thermostat to adjust the temperature. Programmable thermostats allow you to choose a specific temperature, while adjustable thermostats have heat settings to choose from. Some portable heaters also have a remote control that allows you to both turn the heater on and off and control the temperature. 


For a portable heater to be truly portable, you should be able to move it around fairly easily. Some have handles or indents built into the side of the heater to allow it to be lifted and moved. Others may have casters to roll the heater to new places.

How much you can expect to spend on a portable heater

On average, space heaters will fall within the $20-$40 range, with some going as high as $100 or more.

Portable heater FAQ

How do I figure out the right portable heater size for my space?

A. To find out how much space your heater can cover, find out the square footage of the area you will be using it in. Then, take note of the wattage size of the heater you are considering. For each square foot of space, the heater will need 10 watts of power. 

What safety features should I look for in a portable heater?

A. The safety features for each model will not all be the same. A cool exterior is a good feature if there is a chance you might touch the portable heater while it is running. Tip-over protection and overheat protection — which will automatically shut off the space heater if it is accidentally knocked over or becomes too hot — are also useful features. 

Are portable heaters noisy?

A. The noise coming from a portable heater depends on the model. If you are looking for a silent heater, oil-filled radiant heaters will be the best choice. However, if the heater has a fan, expect some noise. While there are some portable heaters that can create an annoying level of noise, most of them will be on a more palatable, moderate level. 

What’s the best portable heater to buy?

Top portable heater

LIFE SMART Large Room Infrared Quartz Fireplace

LIFE SMART Large Room Infrared Quartz Fireplace

What you need to know: With its pleasing fireplace design, this space heater can heat larger rooms while creating a cozy ambience.

What you’ll love: This quartz infrared portable heater emulates an oak fireplace, creating a realistic glow that can heat areas up to 1,000 square feet. It is easy to move and can be adjusted via remote control.

What you should consider: It can be a bit pricier than the average model. Some customers have received damaged units.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top portable heater for the money

Aikoper Ceramic Tower Space Heater

Aikoper Ceramic Tower Space Heater

What you need to know: This space heater’s tower design and features make it easy to control the heat in your space for an affordable price. 

What you’ll love: This oscillating model has multiple heat settings, including an ECO setting that allows the heater to turn off automatically once the room reaches the desired temperature and back on if it gets too cold. The temperature can go as high as 95 degrees Fahrenheit. A remote control and handle make it easy to use from different places in the home. It also has overheating and tip-over protection.

What you should consider: The remote needs to be aimed directly at the model to work properly. It can also be too loud for some people.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

LASKO Designer Series Ceramic Oscillating Heater

LASKO Designer Series Ceramic Oscillating Heater

What you need to know: If you have a small space, this heater is both functional and aesthetically pleasing.

What you’ll love: This quiet and affordable model works well in small to moderate spaces. It has an elegant design that fits with multiple interior styles. The oscillating feature and metal scroll base allow it to effectively heat the space.

What you should consider: This model will not be able to adequately heat larger spaces. Some customers also have indicated there is a plastic smell that fades with time.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Macy’s


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Catie Curry writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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