Freezing your toes off? The winter months sure seem to drag on and on, and with heating bills soaring, many people are turning to space heaters in an effort to stay toasty while saving some dough. Though they’ve gotten a bad rap on the safety front in the past, today’s space heaters are safer than ever. Still, it helps to still have a lay of the land before you shop.
Most heaters on the market fall into this category. Convection heaters work by blowing air over a heater surface. The result is a diffuse heat that’s best if you’re looking to warm an entire room. Convection heaters are available at every price point and come with and without fans, though ceramic heaters are your best bet because they’re energy efficient, powerful even when compact, and quite safe- since even though the plates heat up quickly, the plastic grate stays cool.
These are the other main type of heater on the market. They use a metal element (coils or wires) and heat up quickly making them best for heating a specific area for short-term use. One of the pros of radiant heaters is that they’re quiet.
Depending on your needs—like whether your space heater is for home or office use, a big or small space, long or short-term use—you should think about the kind of features you’ll want your heater to have. For example: opt for oscillation, thermostat control for energy-saving benefits, or a handy remote control.
Follow these rules of thumb and you’ll be just fine:
- Only purchase newer models.
- Coordinate the power of the heater with the size of the room it will serve.
- Keep heaters away from foot traffic, children and pets. And if you do have kids or pets, be sure there’s a plastic grate on the front of the heater that stayes cool to the touch.
- Plug heaters directly into a wall outlet rather than an extension cord to avoid overheating.
- Buy a unit with a tip-over safety switch that will automatically shut off the unit should it be tipped over.
- Dust the insides periodically.
Proof that it is possible to stay cozy without breaking the bank.