Best 5 Space Heaters For Asthmatics and allergies 2020 – With Medical Research

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For anyone who is suffering from asthma or knows a close family member who suffers from asthma, you will know that fall and winter is also known as asthma season. September is usually the worst and hospitals typically see a sharp increase in asthma admissions. 

Don’t let yourself or your loved ones become part of the statistics! It is not difficult to mitigate the effects of fall and winter and reduce the chances of an asthma attack. You just need to control the temperature and humidity of your home well to prevent insults on your airway. 

Sometimes it can be as easy as getting a space heater as long as you know what to watch out for. To help you with that, we went ahead to do the homework for you and it will be presented to you in the Buyers’ guide later on.

Below you will find a list of five space heaters from reputable international brands, all geared towards asthmatics with their pros and cons clearly listed.

HeaterHumidificationAir purificationSafety
Rating
Heat Delivery
Dr Infrared DR998Yes Yes 4/5Combination
Dr Infrared DR968HYes No 4/5Combination
Wiland heater with humidifierYes No 4.25/5Fan-forced
DysonNo Yes 4.5/5Fan-forced
CostwayNo No 4/5Oil-filled
Comparison of the best heater for asthmatics and allergies

You’ll also find a buyers’ guide where you can read our rationale when deciding how to rate these products, and hopefully you can use it yourself when making future purchases.

In a Hurry? This Is Our Winner!

Dr Infrared Portable Space Heater Elite DR998

Best Overall Space Heater For Asthmatics And Allergies

The Dr Infrared Portable Space Heater Elite DR998 measures 16 x 11 x 16″ and weighs 26 lbs. Like its predecessor the DR968H (featured below), the Elite DR998 also features a dual heating system of infrared radiation and convection, making it a natural choice for heating in large rooms. In addition to the functions already present in DR 968H, this heater added on two new awesome applications; air purifier and oscillation fan. It is now 4 different appliances all rolled into one: heater, humidifier, air purifier and oscillation fan. The new oscillation mode enables this heater to now distribute heat throughout the entire area evenly and faster.

In terms of the humidification capabilities, it uses a built-in silent ultrasonic humidifier that can add much needed moisture into the winter air. The water source is in the form of a water bottle that can be attached to the rear side of the heater. The maximum capacity of the water bottle is 500ml and humidification can last about 8 hours. 

For the functionality, the humidifier can be turned on and off at user discretion so it allows for energy savings when you don’t require the humidification. Also, the humidifier shuts off automatically when the water bottle is empty. In addition to that, the air purifier and oscillation fan can also be used separately on their own.

In terms of ease of adding water, the humidifier is attached to the rear of the heater and it might be a little difficult to reach for when you would like to change water. You would also need to remove the whole humidifier unit and unscrew the bottle to add water. I would say it does get a little fiddly for the water change. 

This is the perfect heater for an asthmatics or anyone with a sensitive nose and allergies. You will never have to suffer cold, dry and polluted air with this heater+humidifier+air purifier around.

Pros

  • Has air purification capabilities
  • Has an oscillation mode
  • Long duration of humidification up to 8 hrs
  • Humidifier can be turned off if not required
  • Contains in-built humidifier to prevent drying of skin during winter
  • Blower is whisper quiet at 39 decibels
  • Programmable timer with up to 12 hour duration
  • Great safety features with tip over and overheat protection
  • Fast at heating up 
  • Can create up to 60% more heat than other models on the market

Cons

  • Front grate do get pretty hot to touch as the heated air circulates through there
  • Remote can only be used once you manually turn on the heater
  • Changing and adding water is quite troublesome due to position of the humidifier

What their fans love: “When you buy a heater like this, you are in an entirely different league of quality when it comes to space heaters. I have no idea how they get a fan so quiet to push so much air either and the oscillation feature is so quiet as well.”


Best Heater For Asthmatics and Allergies Buyers’ Guide

What is the best room temperature for asthmatics

According to research, the most ideal room temperature for asthmatics and people suffering from respiratory diseases is between 64.4°F / 18°C to 68.8°F / 21°C. Studies show that people who lived in homes in which the ambient room temperature was at least 68.8°F / 21°C for at least 9 hours per day had significantly better respiratory health. There were lesser flare ups of asthma and other respiratory diseases.

“…increasing warmth leads to improvements in health for most respiratory disease … warmer temperatures improves the respiratory symptoms of children with asthma”.

Philippa Howden-Chapman, director of the Housing and Health Research Programme at the University of Otago, New Zealand

In the depths of winter, this temperature of  64.4°F / 18°C to 68.8°F / 21°C can be hard to maintain and we see as many as 50% of households being colder than the recommended temperature. However, raising the temperature should not be this difficult. Sometimes all you need is a space heater!

Key Considerations When Choosing A Space Heater For Asthmatics

Types of Heaters

Heaters may be heated up with many different methods. Some are more suitable for asthmatics while others are not. We will run you through the different types of heaters so you know which to choose. Broadly speaking, heaters may be categorized into electric heaters and non-electric heaters. 

Non electric heaters use fuel sources from natural gas, propane, wood and fuel oil to name a few. Non electric heaters are not recommended for asthmatics because these heaters may produce volatile by-products that are hazardous to humans and even more so for asthmatics. Such compounds include carbon monoxide and other toxic fumes. 

Therefore, always go for electric space heaters because there is no risk of toxic emissions in these heaters. However, there are still many varieties of electric heaters to choose from. Which one should I go for?

Convection 

Convection heater works by heating up the air around it via a heating element. The hot air rises and creates a vacuum for cool air to be sucked in and warmed by the heating element. This continued flow creates a circulation of warm air that helps to heat up the room. As such, convection heaters work best in closed spaces. It is worth noting that all convection heaters come with an in-built thermostat for regulation of ambient temperature. In essence, convection heaters work within the framework of “Hot air rises and cold air sinks”.

Fan Forced

Convection heaters may come with a fan that helps to speed up the convection process. These are also commonly known as fan forced heaters. These heaters are good at heating a room evenly. Also, by aiming the fan directly at yourself, you can quickly enjoy a stream of hot air when required. However, the disadvantage of having a fan is that it causes drying of the room air by removing the moisture via the rapid air movements. 

Oil Filled Radiators

Some convection heaters do not come with a fan. Examples include the oil-filled radiators. These heaters contain oil that is sealed permanently in the heater and it gets heated up by electricity. The heated oil then heats up the exterior of the heater which goes on to heat up the air in contact with the heater. 

Without a fan, this type of convection heater does not cause drying of air and may be more suitable for asthmatics. However, this also means that these heaters take a much longer time to heat up the room

Radiant Heaters

Radiant heaters work by infrared radiation which travels out in waves to heat up the object in front of it. It does not heat up the surrounding air at all. If you have ever sat in front of a campfire, you have experienced radiant heat. Because radiant heat does not require any medium, it can heat up the object in front of it very rapidly. 

In contrast to convection heaters, they are poor at heating up large spaces as their beams tend to be more concentrated on the object ahead and they do not heat up the surrounding air. They are very good at zonal heating and they excel in spaces where people remain still (like the bedroom).

This is a good fit for asthmatics because there are no fans to dry up the air and they get to enjoy the heating almost immediately. However, once the user leaves the zone of heating, they also lose the heating. Therefore, a radiation heater might be a good idea in rooms where the user does not move much, such as the bedroom.

Combination Heaters

For combination heaters, they attempt to combine the features of radiant heaters and convection heaters together to get the best of both worlds. A good example of a combination heater would be the micathermic heaters. These heaters use a heating element known as mica which produces electromagnetic rays. Like infrared rays, these electromagnetic rays produce radiant heat. However, unlike infrared rays which will only heat up the object nearest to it, EM rays can heat up all the objects in an area as the rays are more widespread. As the objects heat up, the air warms up. Since each object in the room is being heated up at the same time, the ambient air warms up quicker.

Another type of combination heaters make use of infrared rays to heat up an element and then have a fan to warm the air above the heated element. Therefore, the heater can produce both radiant and convective heat.

Humidification Feature

The main job of our nose and airway is to humidify and warm the inhaled air. During the colder seasons, inhaling the cold and dry ambient air causes the surfaces of our airway and nose to lose moisture and heat more easily due to the temperature and humidity differences.

Cold dry air leads to dehydration at the surfaces of our respiratory systems and surface dehydration causes a wide range of harmful effects to our airway. These effects include degeneration of cells and over-stimulation of the immune system leading to heightened responses to the cold dry air. These heightened responses manifest as asthma. 

When the airway surfaces are dry, it also increases the adherence of bacteria to the surface and allows greater penetration of foreign particles. All these further contribute to more symptoms of asthma or other respiratory disease.  

Arundel’s study in 1986 on indirect health effects also tells us that there is increased incidence of respiratory distress in winter. This is especially so when the humidity level goes below 20%

Therefore, having a humidification feature on the heater would be extremely useful as it can correct the humidity levels during the colder months which are also drier usually. Of course, you can always buy a separate humidifier but having a heater with a humidifier is definitely more cost and space efficient.

Be sure to check out this great article on how poor humidity level at home can wreck havoc on your health

Air Purification Feature

Air purifiers have been found to help in relieving asthma symptoms in children. They can do so by removing the allergens from the air. Such allergens include pollen, dust and smoke. By removing these potential allergens there are less triggers for the homeowners who may be suffering from asthma. 

Same as the heater-humidifier combo, manufacturers have also gone on to combine air purifiers with heaters to make life more convenient for us. Instead of getting two separate appliances, homeowners can just spend on these combo machines.

If you are a pet owner as well, then this feature is crucial to remove pet fur, dander and odor. Check out our guide on the best space heaters for pet owners to find out more!

Safety

Young children are probably the group who are most prone to asthma. Their respiratory and immune systems are still immature and not as robust as adults. Therefore, many of them frequently suffer the effects of asthma during the colder months when the temperature drops and the air gets drier. Many parents then rightfully proceed to purchase a heater for their children’s room to ease the symptoms of asthma. Therefore, it is crucial to consider the safety ratings of these heaters as well when choosing them.

Cool Touch Exterior

A heater equipped with cool-touch housing can prevent burn injuries from accidental contact with a heater. This is especially important in households with young toddlers and pets who may wander around and touch the heater unknowingly. This feature is present in almost all heaters but some heaters may still have small areas at the heat outlet where it can become quite hot to touch.

Tip Over Protection

The tip over protection usually comes in the form of a kill switch at the base of the heater. When the heater is placed upright on a hard surface, the hard surface will depress this switch and allow the heater to function properly and generate heat. If the heater is knocked over, the kill switch is no longer depressed by the hard surface and hence breaks the circuit. This shuts off the heater and prevents it from burning anything else.

The issue comes when the heater is being placed on a soft surface such as a carpet. Because the carpet is too soft to depress the tip over switch, the heater does not turn on. Some homeowners then decide to go around this by taping the tip over kill switch down. Therefore, the kill switch is perpetually depressed now and even if it tips over the circuit would not be broken. The heater would continue to run and a fire could start.

Hence, the heater must always be placed on a hard surface for the tip over kill switch to work. If you really need to place it on the carpeted ground, it would be wiser to place a metal tray below it to act as the hard surface. 

Overheating Protection

Space heaters with overheating protection have a temperature sensor installed internally. These sensors detect when the internal temperature reaches a dangerously high level and then proceed to shut down the heater automatically.

There are a couple of situations when space heaters may overheat. The first situation is when the space heater is covered up. This frequently happens when homeowners try to use the heaters to dry their laundry by placing it over the space heater. Using a space heater for any other purposes not specified is always a dangerous move. 

A second possible reason would be a faulty thermostat. In order for space heaters to function efficiently, an accurate functional thermostat is essential. If the thermostat is faulty then the heater may continue to provide heat even after the desired temperature is reached.  This causes overheating and overheating protection would kick in.

Nationally Recognized Safety Certification

Space heaters that have attained safety certification from nationally  recognized testing laboratories are determined to have met North American Safety standards and should be safe to use when directions for use are followed properly. Some common testing laboratory certifications to look for include:

  • UL (Underwriters Laboratories)
  • CSA (Canadian Standards Association)
  • ETL (Intertek Group)

Safety Grille

For the heaters that use a fan to blow air over a heating element, it should contain a grille that prevents wandering fingers from interfering with the fan. Therefore, the gaps on the grille should be small enough such that a young toddler’s fingers cannot go through it. In addition, the grille itself should be made of materials that remain cool to touch. The grille is constantly in contact with the hot air that is blown out so it tends to get hot quite easily and may cause accidental burns if it is touched. 

Wide Base  

The base of the heater should be broad and wide so that the heater is steady and does not fall over easily even if it is being pushed by a wandering child. This is where oil filled radiators do not perform as well. Oil filled radiators are usually bulky and tall with a narrow base. The centre of gravity is high and has a high chance to tip over when pushed.

Child Lock

Children are some of the most curious creatures ever. They will touch anything and everything that is new and shiny. The buttons or LED display on a heater totally fits that bill. Having a child lock on the heater would prevent most young children from meddling with the predetermined settings on the heater. Using the wrong settings may lead to overheating and home fires especially when no one is paying attention i.e. during bedtime.

Space Heater Care and Maintenance

Over the summer, our neglected heaters tend to sit in storage collecting dust on the air filters and the duct system. Therefore, when fall and winter comes around, it is important to run some basic maintenance to make sure your space heater is going to be ready. Neglecting this step might make your asthma worse as dust gets circulated around the house and into your airway. Here are some tips to get your heater in shape

  • Do a visual inspection to ensure no loose connections and faulty parts
  • Clean around the heater to remove visible debris and dust
  • Inspect accessible air ducts for damage and debris
  • Clean or replace air filters 
  • Review the thermostat and check that it is working properly
  • Test it out!

Best Heater For Asthmatics and Allergies Product review

Dr Infrared Portable Space Heater with Humidifier DR968H

Best Space Heater With Humidifier For Asthmatics And Allergies

The Dr Infrared Portable Space Heater with Humidifier 968H measures 13 x 11 x 16″ and weighs 24 lbs. It features a dual heating system of infrared radiation and convection, making it a natural choice for heating in large rooms. With tip-over and overheat protection, this heater also delivers on the safety aspect. It also has an in-built thermostat that allows for temperature ranging from 50 to 86 °F.

What we love about Dr Infrared is the awesome humidifier that comes inbuilt into the heater. This is a great feature for people suffering from asthma as the moistened air is gentler and kinder to their airway. Their heat output is also top range and has been shown to be 60% more powerful than other similar models of similar wattage. Dr Infrared’s advanced heating system enables greater heat production without using any more power with a high-efficiency blower.

In terms of the humidification capabilities, the water source is in the form of a water bottle that can be attached to the rear side of the heater. The maximum capacity of the water bottle is 500ml and humidification can last about 8 hours. The manufacturers have recommended that users only use this 500ml bottle that is provided but we have tried using a larger 1 litre bottle and it worked out fine as well. It doubled the humidification duration we got but try this at your own risk! 

For the dual functionality, the humidifier can be turned on and off at user discretion so it allows for energy savings when you don’t require the humidification. Also, the humidifier shuts off automatically when the water bottle is empty. 

In terms of ease of adding water, the humidifier is attached to the rear of the heater and it might be a little difficult to reach for when you would like to change water. You would also need to remove the whole humidifier unit and unscrew the bottle to add water. I would say it does get a little fiddly for the water change. Also, distilled water is required for the humidification according to manufacturer’s recommendation.

Pros

  • Long duration of humidification up to 8 hrs
  • Humidifier can be turned off if not required
  • Contains in-built humidifier to prevent drying of skin during winter
  • Blower is whisper quiet at 39 decibels
  • Programmable timer with up to 12 hour duration
  • Great safety features with tip over and overheat protection
  • Fast at heating up 
  • Can create up to 60% more heat than other models on the market

Cons

  • Front grate do get pretty hot to touch as the heated air circulates through there
  • Remote can only be used once you manually turn on the heater
  • Changing and adding water is quite troublesome due to position of the humidifier

What their fans love: This unit does a great job of heating AND humidifying, although you can run the heater alone if you wish. It warms up fast and holds the temperature you set. It looks nice in any room, too.”


Wiland Ceramic Space Heater With Humidifier

Best Ceramic Space Heater For Asthmatics And Allergies

The Wiland ceramic space heater with humidifier measures 17.2 x 9.4 x 8.8” and weighs 8.2 lbs. It comes with two heating modes: 750 watt which will get you to about 86-104℉ and 1500 watt which can then be cranked up to 104-122℉. Using ceramic heating and a fan to speed up the convection, this heater is able to heat up a large room fairly decently and rapidly. It also comes with oscillation that allows it to turn 90 left and right to ensure even distribution of heat within the room.

Other features include a programmable timer from which you can set it to run from 1 -12 hours, overheat protection, tip over protection and a fireproof exterior. Shaped like a tower heater with a sleek outline, this heater is also quite efficient in terms of space usage in the house. 

In terms of the humidification capabilities, it comes with a water tank which can hold 1 litre of water and provides about 6 hours of humidification. Unlike the Dr Infrared heater, there is no way to increase the amount of water as the water tank is built into the heater with a fixed space. 6 hours of humidification may be slightly insufficient in terms of overnight use so be sure to top it up right before you go to bed.

Changing and adding water is a breeze for this heater as you just slide the water tank out from the base of the heater and slide it back in after you have added the water. Washing is also quite straightforward due to the ease of removal of the water tank.

In terms of functionality, the humidifier may be used on its own or together with the heater. Something to note when using the humidification function is to ensure all of the louvers of the air outlets are placed to the highest point.

Pros

  • Has an oscillation mode
  • Humidifier can be turned off if not required
  • Contains in-built humidifier to prevent drying of skin during winter
  • Fan is virtually silent
  • Programmable timer with up to 12 hour duration
  • Great safety features with tip over and overheat protection
  • Fast at heating up 
  • Easy to add water

Cons

  • 6 hours of humidification at a time may be too short for overnight use
  • Does not come with remote control

What the fans love: “Finally found a heater that won’t dry the hell out of me. It heats the room very quickly and I can see the water vapor coming out of the vent with the hot air. The unit also have a timer function where you can set to let it run for an hour and go to bed without the need to turn it off manually.”


Dyson Pure Hot + Cold HP04

Best Space Heater With Air Purifier For Asthmatics And Allergies

The Dyson HP04 measures 9.8 x 8.1 x 30” and weighs 19 lbs. It runs on 1500W power and comes with a 2 year warranty. This is a space heater, air purifier and fan all rolled into one single appliance. Using the fan, this heater is able to project long-range purified heat and hence it is able to heat up the whole room evenly. Coupled with the 350 deg oscillation which is a lot more than other heaters on the market, this heater is able to heat up your room fairly fast as well.

With regards to its air purification properties, it comes with an inbuilt sensor that can automatically detect airborne particles and gases. It then diagnoses what the pollutant is and reports them in real life on its LCD screen. After it makes the diagnosis and identifies pollutants in the air, it automatically turns on and starts capturing these pollutants. 

The air purification unit contains activated carbon filters and sealed HEPA filters. Having these 2 layers allow the device to capture 99.97% of fine particles as well as remove odor from the room. This is especially important to keep your home feeling fresh and clean.

Any good combination appliance would have the option of running the different function on its own and this Dyson heater is no different. If you prefer to run the air purifier on its own, that is entirely possible. The unit would just divert the purified air through the back of the machines and it will continue to purify without cooling or heating you.

Convenience wise, it is the best out of the heaters discussed here today. It can be connected to your mobile phone via Wi-Fi and gives you real time reports on the indoor air quality. Your mobile phone can also act as the remote control once it is connected to the heater via Wi-Fi. It is also Alexa enabled so you can use your voice to switch on or switch off the heater.

One limitation is the lack of humidification in this unit. Combined with the high speed fan that delivers heat, this heater might cause drying of the air which might be uncomfortable for people with asthma.

Pros

  • Contains air purifier 
  • Contains an inbuilt air sensor
  • Oscillation fan allows rapid and even heating of the room
  • Fan is quite silent. Has Quiet Mark Accreditation
  • All season – Can heat and cool
  • Can be controlled via Wi-Fi or Alexa

Cons

  • Has the highest price out of all the heaters discussed in this post

What their fans love: “One of the best things I’ve purchased. Your lungs will thank you!”


Costway Oil Filled Radiator

Best Portable Space Heater For Asthmatics And Allergies

The COSTWAY Oil Filled Radiator Heater measures 5.5” x 12” x 14” and weighs 8.6 lbs. It runs on 700 watts and comes with a 3 years warranty. What sets this apart from the rest of the heater in this review is the portability of this heater. It is meant as a personal heater where you can bring along to different rooms or even to your office. It is extremely lightweight and comes with a built in carrying handle for easy handling. It can be slotted easily under the desk to provide warmth to your legs as required.

This is an oil-filled radiator heater and it heats up the room via natural convection. Therefore there is no fan involved which may potentially dry up the air in the room. This is great for asthmatics as their airway is especially sensitive to dry and cold air

In terms of safety, this heater does quite well and comes with overheating protection and tip over protection. The surface of the heater does get hot as with all oil filled heaters but it is rarely hot enough to cause any burns. Nonetheless, it is still wise to keep this out of reach of your children and pets.

The limitation of this heater is the lack of humidification and air purification features but it is also because of that which makes it so light and portable. The other units in this review are much less portable because they are much heavier after incorporating so many features. 

I would still recommend this heater if you are looking for something to use under your office desk or just between rooms to supplement the main space heater with humidification or air purification feature.

Pros

  • All rounded safety features
  • Compact and lightweight 
  • No fan hence won’t cause drying of air
  • Space efficient 
  • Has ECO mode for energy savings

Cons

  • No humidification and air purification features
  • Not meant for room heating, would do best for personal heating

What their fans love: “I get cold very easily, and so far, this works perfectly for the relatively small room I’m using it in. It definitely makes the room warmer, and I love that it does it without all the noise and blowing air of other heaters.”


Recap Of The Best Heater For Asthmatics and allergies

HeaterHumidificationAir purificationSafety
Rating
Heat Delivery
Dr Infrared DR998Yes ✅Yes ✅4/5Combination
Dr Infrared DR968HYes ✅No ❌4/5Combination
Wiland heater with humidifierYes ✅No ❌4.25/5Fan-forced
DysonNo ❌Yes ✅4.5/5Fan-forced
CostwayNo ❌No ❌4/5Oil-filled
Comparison of the best heater for asthmatics and allergies

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: What climate is good for asthma?

A: Fairly mild climate, like what you have in San Francisco and Seattle, are the best for asthma. Extreme weather conditions are definite causes of non-allergic asthma.

Q: Is cold air good for asthma?

A: No. Cold air can worsen asthma symptoms.

Q: Why is my asthma bad or worse at night?

A: There are many possible reasons that include increased exposure to allergens, hormonal patterns and reclining positions. A very plausible factor could also be the cooling of air at night. Having a space heater would help tremendously in this aspect to keep the air warm and moist.

Q: Is it safe to have a heater on all night?

A: The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommends that a heater should never be left unattended so it should be turned off when going to sleep. However, we know that totally defeats the purpose of the heater then! Therefore, we advise that homeowners apply some safety precautions if intending to leave it turned on overnight.

  • The heater should be kept 3 ft. clear of any flammable objects
  • Do not hang any cloth over the heater
  • Ensure heater comes with overheating and tip-over protection
  • Plug portable space heaters directly into an outlet; do not use an extension cord

Wrapping it up

Of the 5 products we reviewed, the Dr Infrared DR998 Space Heater was our favorite heater for asthmatics. First and foremost, the heating capability is excellent, putting out 60% more heat than other heaters of the same wattage on the market. Secondly, we are quite impressed with the amount of humidity it can put out. Having 8 to 10 hours of humidification without adding water allows us to use it during our workout without any disruptions. The icing on the cake got to be the air purification. Asthmatics will not need to suffer from cold, dry and polluted air with this all-rounded heater around.

If you are looking for something more affordable then the Dr Infrared DR968 would be a great alternative as well. Although it does not have any air purification feature, this heater would still be great if you are not dealing with air quality issues like smoke, mold or pollen.

Click here to get one now!

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