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Contrary to one’s initial expectations, a space heater can be essential during the winter and the summer — and pretty much every other month of the year, depending on your circumstance. The mercury might be soaring outside, but at some office environments, that simply means you drop the AC to the mid-60s. And during the winter, that perfect view out the window from your desk can become an annoying source of cold air, perpetually bleeding into your office 24 hours a day. Space heaters change all that. Simply put, they give you control of your climate.
In general, heater models vary mostly by their heating element. Fan-forced heaters push air from the blades over a wire heating element, ideal for smaller rooms and instances when you want soft, cozy heat. Others use a ceramic heating element, also distributed by a spinning fan, which typically heats up more quickly and can deliver more focused heat to medium- and large-sized rooms. Bigger heaters — for larger open-office spaces or conference rooms employ other technologies (like infra-red) to warm up the area.
When evaluating the right heater for your office, consider whether it’s heat just for you or if you’re trying to warm up a larger room; the wattage powering the heaters are a good barometer for the unit’s overall heat output. Most also come with basic safety features like overheat shut-off and cool-to-the-touch casing, but some layer in additional elements like motion sensors or climate control, technology better suited for rooms with more than one person.
Want some help deciding which one is right for your workspace? Keep reading to see our picks for the best space heaters to bring to the office. Take a look at some of the best desk fans If you are interested in keeping cool.
Best Overall: Vornado AVH2 Plus Whole Room Heater
To heat an entire office — including larger spaces — the Vornado AVH2 Plus Whole Room Heater delivers, thanks in large part to the company’s vortex technology, which fully circulates the warmth throughout the room without making anyone feel like they’re in a heated wind tunnel. It also controls the climate by regulating the temperature automatically to eliminate hot and cold cycles. A host of other features — including push-button controls and a digital display, an easy-to-set timer, a cool-to-the-touch case and a narrow grill — hit the sweet spot, offering what you need without overloading you with things you’d never use. And it also comes with an automatic safety shut-off system if excessive heat is detected. The reasonable price point is further buoyed by a five-year warranty, a detail your office manager will certainly appreciate.
Best Value: Lasko #100 MyHeat Personal Ceramic Heater
Small enough to work as an on-the-desk heater, the Lasko #100 MyHeat Personal Heater runs on a modest 200 watts of power while still churning out satisfying warmth via a ceramic heating element and fan-powered delivery. While it won’t warm an entire room, it’s quite adept at keeping your personal space evenly heated. It weighs a modest 2.8 pounds and comes with overheat protection, as well as a cool-touch exterior. It may not have features that come with more expensive models like oscillation, a timer or pre-sets, but a single on/off button makes it easy to get the heat cranking.
Best for Quiet Offices: Honeywell HZ-7300 Deluxe Energy Smart Cool Touch Heater
Nothing against the atmosphere of a roaring fire, but the trend toward open offices mean your private space is basically public. In those circumstances, the whisper-like performance of Honeywell HZ-7300 Deluxe Energy Smart Cool Touch Heater excels. Ideal for heating larger, wide areas, this heater also employs a number of energy-saving features, including EnergySmart Technology to regulate power consumption; an indicator even spells out how much energy you’re using. The programmable thermostat comes with two separate heater settings and includes smart safety features like a grill that stays cool even when the heat is cranked, as well as a tip-over switch that will shut down the heater if it gets knocked off its wide base. The LED display makes reading the controls a breeze, and it oscillates to distribute the fan-forced heat evenly.
Best Design: Comfort Zone Oscillating Space Heater
Comfort Zone’s oscillating space heater is a safe and energy-efficient addition to your office. It takes advantage of forced-fan circulation to heat as it rotates from side to side, evenly warming up your room at a consistent temperature. It has an overheat protection sensor and an automatic fail-safe that cuts power from the unit if it’s tipped over, keeping your workplace safe from fires. While it’ll keep you warm, the space heater won’t make you feel stuffy. Its digital thermostat avoids overheating and comes with an eight-hour auto-shutoff. The energy-saving ECO mode adjusts heat output so that your energy bill stays low, and the ceramic build keeps the product from generating too much heat. Weighing just over seven pounds, this heater isn’t a struggle to move from room to room or transport to different offices.
Best for Busy Spaces: Bionaire Office Heater
As with all the products on this list, the Bionaire Office Heater does a commendable job of heating a room, with 800 watts of targeted heat output, high and low heat settings and solid heat distribution. But its a smart motion sensor lets it stand out from the pack. This lets the device automatically turn off the heat after 30 minutes of no detected motion, and shuts the system down after two hours, offering a worry-free way of heating a room that’s used by lots of colleagues. That sensor can also be easily de-activated with the flip of a switch. The chord can also be coiled under the base of the unit, to keep excess cord out of the way.
Best for Versatility: Lasko CD09250 Ceramic Heater
Sometimes you want to heat an entire room. Other times you just need something to keep your feet from feeling like they’re frozen in an ice block. The Lasko CD09250 does both. The self-regulating ceramic element comes with a robust range of heating options, from blaster 1,500 watts to a low 900-watt setting as well as a fan-only option; just adjust the thermostat (conveniently illustrated from modest to hot) to set your desired heat distribution. The recessed handle on the back also lets you easily transport from under your desk to your desktop or (if you’re feeling generous) to a place where the high setting can push out heat to warm an entire room.
Best Mini-Heater: Brightown 400-Watt Portable-Mini Heater Personal Ceramic Space
You can station this brightly colored space heater at your desk to keep you warm and toasty, whether you’re in your office, dorm, or home. The portable unit measures less than seven inches tall and wide, which means that it won’t take up too much precious real estate on your desk. Plus, it’s light, weighing less than two pounds. The heater also doesn’t make too much sound so it won’t be a distraction. It uses 400-watts and like most heaters, has overheat protection when its internal components reach a certain temperature. Just don't use it in wet or damp areas like bathrooms since dampness and humidity can cause its internal workings to corrode and stop working.
Best for Big Spaces: Dr Infrared Heater
With a potent 1,500 watts, this portable space heater is ideally suited for larger spaces like big open-office environments or larger conference rooms. It’s big — and weighs 24 pounds. With that, you get a dual heating system to rapidly raise the temperature with an infrared quartz tube as well as a ceramic unit, both distributed by quiet, high-efficiency, seven-inch blowers. With three power settings (low at 1,000 watts, high at 1,500 watts and an energy-saving low), you can set the desired climate from 50 to 85 degrees. Safety-wise, you get tip-over and overheat protection. And you also get something that looks transported from the arcade game heyday of the 1980s, with an IR remote to keep one foot firmly planted in the 21 st century.