Finding The Safest Space Heater

As the weather gets cooler and heating bills go up, space heaters are a popular purchase to keep offices and homes comfortable. But with the introduction of an appliance like this, there is added risk to the homeowner. The United States Consumer Product Safety Committee estimates that about 22,000 residential fires are caused by space heaters annually. So choosing a great space heater isn’t just a matter of getting warm enough, it’s a matter of keeping you and your loved ones safe. The team at recently released a guide to finding a safe and effective space heater to help you determine what’s best for your needs. They recommend asking yourself the following questions below when finding the “safest space heater” that will meet your specific needs:



Is there really a “best” space heater?

All space heaters on the market will achieve virtually the same temperatures. So in terms of function, there isn’t really a “best” space heater. However, this question is more complicated as it seems because space heater models disperse heat in vastly different ways. The most important factors are whether or not the heater will do what you need it to do (and do it well), all while keeping your space and loved ones safe.


safest space heater


What type of heat do I need?

To narrow down your options and be able to look more closely at safety features, you’ll first want to determine what type of heating you need from your space heater:

Convection heaters are the most common type of space heater. They produce warm air, and because warm air rises, the heat will circulate up toward the ceiling and gradual spread out. Typically these models also come with fans to help disperse the warm air quickly and evenly

Radiant heaters emit heat waves, which quickly warm objects right in front of them (but not the air itself). Think of this type of warmth as similar to sitting in front of a campfire or sunlight: they won’t heat the entire room but are great for a quick pick-me-up. In other words, they won’t effectively improve the environment of a room, but they’re good to heat individuals or things for a short period of time.

Micathermic heaters combine convection and radiant heating to deliver both types of heat. They use a sheet of mica, giving them a long, flat design like a small TV. The advantage here is that the heat they emit is more steady than a typical convection heater, and more enveloping than a radiant heater (though Micathermic is less common and bulkier).


What safety features should I look for?

Small batches of hand-testing can’t actually tell you whether or not a space heater is safe, so this question should be addressed at a higher level. Because space heaters can be so hazardous, reduce your risk by only considering space heaters that feature an automatic shut off if they overheat or are knocked over. This feature is absolutely essential for fire prevention. 

Another important indicator of safety is third-party certification. Look for a heater that has been certified by Electrical Testing Laboratories (ETL), Underwriters Laboratories (UL) or the European Union (CE) as proof for electrical safety and to give homeowners peace of mind.

You also want to avoid overheating the area or a specific object, depending on the heat disbursement method. To avoid this, look for a model with an adjustable thermostat that shuts off when the area is warm enough. As an added bonus, this will reduce the electricity consumption of the appliance and ensure you’re using it in the most cost-effective way.

After you find the space heater that best suits your needs, it’s crucial to follow common space heater safety practices. Did you know that it’s not safe to use space heaters with an extension cord? For this and other safety tips, check out our guide to space heater Dos and Don’ts here:

To learn more about how to find a great space heater for your needs and to see which models recommends, you can see the full article here:


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