Top 6 Most Energy Efficient Space Heater 2020 – Save Money & Stay Warm

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Whenever winter and fall comes around, our electrical costs invariably goes up due to the increased heating needs in the house. One way is to crank up our central heating but that will almost certainly burn a hole in your pocket. Another more affordable way is to invest in a electric heater to act as a supplemental source of heating.

If your intent is to maintain a comfortable temperature while still keeping electrical costs at bay then you will need to find a space heater that is energy efficient. 

Choosing an energy efficient space heater can be difficult when every heater is touted as energy efficient. However, true energy efficiency boils down to only a few key factors and we have already done the research for you. 

Below you will find a list of the six most efficient electric heater from reputable international brands, all geared towards energy efficiency with their pros and cons clearly listed. 

HeaterECO ModeProgrammable ThermostatProgrammable TimerEffective Heating Source
BovadoYes Yes (41℉ – 90℉)Yes (8 hrs)Yes – Ceramic
Lifesmart Element Yes Yes (60℉ – 90℉)Yes (12 hrs)Yes -Infrared
Pelonis 1501Yes Yes (40℉ – 95℉)Yes (8 hrs)Yes – Ceramic
AmazonBasicsYes Yes (65℉ – 85℉)No (12 hrs)Yes – Infrared
Dr InfraredNo Yes (50℉ – 86℉)Yes (12 hrs)Yes – Infrared
Lasko 754200NoNot applicableNoYes – Ceramic
Table of comparison for the most energy efficient space heater

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!

Bovado USA Oscillating Space Heater

Best Overall Energy Efficient Space Heater

The Bovado USA Oscillating Space Heater measures 25.15 x 9.55 x 8.9” and weighs 7 lbs. It runs on 1500 watt, 110 volt power. The mode of heating is mainly convection with forced-fan circulation. It also comes with oscillation features that allows the heated air to circulate throughout the room resulting in an even distribution of heat.

In terms of energy efficiency. It possesses numerous features that we really like. There is an ECO mode where the heater will adjust the power automatically to maintain the room temperature at a comfortable level. It has a digital programmable thermostat which allows the homeowner to adjust the heat output accordingly so that they don’t waste energy overheating the room.

This heater uses ceramic heating as its main source of heating which is extremely energy efficient due to the ease of heating up the ceramic heating element. It also has a programmable timer to facilitate auto shut off to reduce heating costs.

In terms of convenience, the Bovado heater is lightweight and extremely portable around the house. A single person will be able to transfer the heater with ease between rooms. The tower design also does not take up much real estate on the floor, allowing you more living space. When the heater is not needed during the warmer seasons, it can be slotted neatly into a corner in your storage as well.

For safety, the stay cool housing helps prevent burns In cases of direct skin contact and the digital thermostat prevents overheating. This makes it great for homes with children and pets who may accidentally come into contact with the heater. Additionally, it comes with a built in cutoff switch in the event the unit is accidentally tipped over.

Pros

  • Comes with oscillation which ensure even heating throughout the room
  • Cool-touch exterior prevent accidental injury to children and pets
  • Has overheating and tip-over protection
  • Has an energy efficient ECO mode to adjust heating to lower cost
  • Programmable timer for auto shutoff
  • Programmable thermostat for greater temperature control
  • Lightweight and portable

Cons

  • Fan can get noisy and may not be suitable for bedrooms

What their fans love: “I can’t recommend this heater enough. The price point is right for the quality and features. It works. It heats a large space FAST. It’s safe to use. It doesn’t guzzle electricity AT ALL, and I can set it and let it do its job with ease and without worry.”


Most Energy Efficient Heater Buyers’ Guide

Key Heater Features To Consider

When choosing a heater for its energy efficiency, these are the features that you will need to keep a lookout for.

Programmable Thermostat

A thermostat is essentially a device that regulates the temperature in your room by switching heating or cooling devices on and off when a certain temperature is reached. 

Having it programmable or adjustable gives you great control over your desired temperature and you will be able to set these temperature thresholds according to your needs in different situations. 

For example, on a warmer day, you can set your thermostat lower so that your heater won’t be wasting energy by heating up the room to a temperature that is too hot for your liking. In the long run, this presents tremendous savings both in terms of energy and heating costs. 

Therefore, when purchasing an energy efficient space heater, it is important that it comes with an inbuilt thermostat that is accurate and allows precise customization. Higher quality thermostats will give the user more control and flexibility by offering temperature settings that are more specific and more sensitive.

Eco Mode

Eco mode on most heaters is a predetermined program or heat setting that attempts to keep the temperature strictly at a specific temperature. A common figure is 68° F which is considered by most homeowners to be warm and comfortable. In contrast to the thermostat which turns the heater on and off to maintain a set temperature, Eco mode changes the wattage of the heater to maintain the targeted temperature. For example, if the temperature drops below 64° F, the heater will increase the wattage to push out more heat and as the temperature approaches 66° F, the wattage is gradually reduced.

In heaters without Eco mode, a homeowner may also achieve this by switching the heater between high heat and low heat settings but you can imagine how tedious and inaccurate that would be. Eco mode takes the guesswork and the hassle out of this. 

With Eco mode, homeowners can expect improved energy efficiency which will translate to actual savings in the heating bills. 

Programmable Timer

One of the easily overlooked features that will contribute to energy efficiency is the presence of a programmable timer. Having a programmable timer on the heater gives us the ability to shut off the heater automatically without us actually doing it ourselves. This is more applicable to the heaters that we use in our bedroom during our sleep. By programming the heater to switch off about one hour before we wake up will save us a whole hour of heating cost while still keeping the room nice and toasty by the time we wake up. 

Conversely, the timer can also be used to turn on the heater automatically. An example where this might be useful is switching on the heater about 30mins before you reach home from work. In comparison, if there is no timer on the heater, some homeowners may be tempted to leave the heater on while they are out so that they do not have to contend with the cold when they get home.

Beside taxing the energy bills, that is also a very dangerous practice as overheating may happen and cause a fire in your home.

Type Of Heating Element

When choosing an energy efficient space heater, the type of heating element being used to generate heat is critical. Generally speaking, ceramic heaters, infrared heaters and oil-filled heaters are considered to be energy efficient.

The ceramic heating plates in ceramic heaters warms up very rapidly and efficiently with little power and a forced fan then circulates the heated air into the room. The disadvantage of this is the sometimes noisy operation of the fan in a ceramic heater.

An infrared heater emits electromagnetic rays that can heat up an object or person in its direct path rapidly. This extremely targeted form of heating saves energy by not wasting it on other parts of the room where it is not needed. The disadvantage is that an infrared heater won’t be so proficient at heating up a large room.

Oil-filled heaters work by radiating heat from the heated metal surface and this heated surface continues to emit heat via convection even after the heater is turned off. Heating without energy usage is a sure win in terms of energy efficiency. The disadvantage is the reduced safety from the heated metal surface that makes it unsafe around pets and children.

key features of energy efficient space heaters

Key Room Features To Consider

Size Of The Room

This is the first question you need to ask before purchasing any heater. You need to size your heater accordingly to the size of your room. If you have a small room, having a large and powerful heater is basically overkill. This increases your energy needs and heating costs while not giving you additional benefits.

On the other hand, if you have a large room and a small heater then your poor heater needs to work significantly harder to warm up the space. Despite that, there might still not be any appreciable improvement in your room temperature. Ultimately, this wastes energy and drastically increases your energy bills.

A good rule of thumb to follow when sizing heaters is 10 watts of heating power for every square feet of floor space. For example, a room measuring 150 sq feet would do well with a heater that has a 1500 wattage. However, this can be affected by ceiling height, room insulation and outdoor temperature. 

You can check out our review of the best space heaters for large rooms to find out more on how to size a heater.

how to size space heater

If Math is not your favorite subject in school, go on ahead to use our Space Heater Sizing Calculator to determine the exact wattage you need!

Insulation Of The Room

In order for your space heater to work efficiently, it is important to provide it with the optimal conditions to function at its best. By this, I mean the insulation of the room in which the heater is used. In a poorly insulated room that has wall cracks and leaky windows, there are bound to be cold drafts during the colder seasons. In these situations, your heater will perpetually be fighting an uphill battle against these cold drafts. This raises your energy consumption significantly and increases your heating bills considerably as well.

To maximize your heater efficiency, there are some simple and easy tips you can use to insulate your homes. 

These simple and actionable tips include

  • Closing the windows and doors 
  • Repairing cracked walls
  • Weatherstripping windows
  • Caulking gaps in windows and doors
  • Keep curtains open to let in more sunlight

For video tutorials on how to do the above, you can visit our guide here which brings us through how to dehumidify a room for under $10


Most Energy Efficient Heater Product review

Lifesmart Element Large Room Infrared Heater

Best Energy Efficient Space Heater For Large Room

The Lifesmart Element Large Room Infrared Heater measures 16.2 x 13 x 17.5” and weighs 24 lbs.  It runs on 1500 wattage and has 6 quartz infrared elements that are actually wrapped in a metal heat exchanger coil. In terms of style, it may not be the most outstanding but it does retain it’s own unique charm with the wooden cabinet finish.

What we appreciate is the 3 energy savings settings that we can choose from. This includes an Eco Setting that will heat smaller areas to 68 degrees using only 500 watts making it a natural choice for users who are more energy efficient. 

Other energy saving features include the inbuilt programmable thermostat that allows you to adjust to the temperature you want, and the heater will cycle on and off to maintain the desired room temperature. There is also a programmable timer with a maximum duration of 12 hours that gives you the flexibility to turn off the heater earlier in the morning and saves you some energy and money. 

Lastly, it is an infrared heater which means it is excellent at zonal heating. By situating it properly, you will heat up the desired area without wasting energy on heating up unnecessary places in the room.

Pros

  • Features an ECO energy mode for energy and cost savings
  • Easily portable with glide caster wheels
  • Has a large remote control to operate the digital thermostat
  • Programmable timer to facilitate early shut off in the morning
  • Has tip-over and overheat protection

Cons

  • Contains an air filter which will need regular cleaning
  • Fan tend to get slightly noisy

What their fans love: “We have several of these heaters and have had them for just a few weeks over 3 years now. I can say I’m very happy with them, we’ve never had a scare, they’ve never malfunctioned and they’ve helped keep us warm!”


PELONIS PHTPU1501 Ceramic Tower 1500W Indoor Space Heater

Best Energy Efficient Ceramic Space Heater

The Pelonis PHTPU1501 ceramic space heater measures 7.2 x 7.2 x 23″ and weighs 6.6 lbs. The maximum energy usage is 1500 watts and it comes with a 1 year warranty. The main heating element is a ceramic coil in the heater and ceramic heaters are generally the most effective type of electric resistance radiant heaters with great energy efficiency.

There are three heat settings (High, Low and Eco mode) which allows the homeowner to customize the temperature to suit their needs. Having the ECO mode automatically adjusts the energy usage of the heater to suit your heating needs so that you can save money while still remaining comfortable.

There is a programmable timer that allows customization up to 8 hours and a programmable thermostat which you can adjust between 40℉ to 95℉ using their fully digital display. Other features include a remote control for convenient handling and oscillation fan.

Safety wise, they come with overheating and tip-over auto shut off protection. The exterior is also made of cool touch flame resistance material ensuring that the heater remains cool to touch and hence safer for pets and children. An unique feature to them is the close grille fan heater which dissipates heat energy evenly and prevents children from putting their fingers into the heater. With this, this is the safest space heater in this review.

What we did not enjoy about this heater is the noise level of the fan. It measures at about 52 dB which is relatively loud compared to many other models on the market. This makes it less suitable for use in the bedroom but it is still a great choice in other living spaces.

Pros

  • Has ECO mode 
  • Programmable timer with up to 12 hour duration
  • Programmable thermostat
  • Fast at heating up 
  • Digital display allows easy reading and change of settings
  • Good safety features
  • Comes assembled

Cons

  • Fan is noisy at 52 dB
  • 1 year warranty

What their fans love: “This heater is perfect for us. It is easily moved from one room to another and does a great job. We like that it is versatile with different settings and we also like the remote control. Highly recommend it.” 


AmazonBasics Portable Eco-Smart Space Heater

Best Energy Efficient Infrared Space Heater

The AmazonBasics Portable Eco-Smart Space Heater measures 15.7 x 12.7 x 15.1” and weighs 23.6 lbs. It can run on a maximum of 1500 watts and comes with a 1 year limited warranty. Although it is an infrared heater, it contains a blower which helps to distribute heat to the whole room. This feature makes this a versatile heater which can deliver targeted heat rapidly and also provide general heating to the whole room. The blower is also very quiet at 39 dB making this a suitable addition to your home office or bedroom. 

There are three power settings on this heater; Low (1000W), High (1500W) and Eco-mode. Eco-mode cycles between Low and High power to maintain energy efficiency and yet also keep you warm and toasty. The inbuilt thermostat allows you to adjust the temperature from 65 – 85℉ in intervals of 5℉. Although it is not fully programmable it still gives you good control over your heating needs. An added convenience is the remote control which you can use to adjust the temperature across the room. 

What we love about this heater is how much they value safety. Designed without any exposed heating elements, this heater makes a great choice for homes with pets and kids. For safe operation, this ETL-certified electric heater also shuts off if it starts to overheat.

Perhaps one aspect which it needs to improve on is its portability. Weighing at almost 24 lbs, it can be a challenge to move around for some. Thankfully, it comes with four rolling casters that allows for movement between rooms. However, this only applies for transfer between rooms of the same level. If there are stairs, you might need 2 people to carry it comfortably.  

Pros

  • No exposed heating element so safe for kids and pets
  • Contains inbuilt thermostat
  • Quiet blower at 39 dB 
  • Covers a large room size
  • Can distribute heat well throughout the room due to the fan blower
  • Has Eco-mode for better energy efficiency

Cons

  • Not exactly very portable due to its weight but does come with four rolling casters for wheeling

What the fans love: “No more ice fingers! Even with all the drafty areas, it’s been a big help. I highly recommend this one. I’ve purchased probably 6 different heaters in the last 5 years. This one is the best, hands down.“  


Dr Infrared Portable Space Heater, 1500 Watt

Best Energy Efficient Space Heater With Humidifier

The Dr Infrared Portable Space Heater measures 13 x 12.5 x 17” and weighs 19 lbs. It runs on 1500 watt power and comes with a 3 years warranty. It also features a dual heating system of infrared radiation and convection, making it a natural choice for heating in large rooms. It also has an in-built thermostat that allows for temperature ranging from 50 to 86℉.

What we love about Dr Infrared is the awesome humidifier that comes inbuilt into the heater. This prevents our poor skin from drying out during the harsh and dry winter season. 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.

In terms of safety, there is tip-over and overheat protection. However, the front grate on the exterior can get pretty hot to touch as the heated air circulates through.

Pros

  • Contains in-built humidifier to prevent drying of skin during winter
  • Blower is whisper quiet at 39 decibels
  • Easy portability with wheels
  • High and Low setting allows for better energy efficiency. More savings!
  • 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

What their fans love: “I love this little heater. Cranks out the heat. Quiet and easy to use. Looks good and operation costs are hardly a blip on my electricity bill”


Lasko Ceramic Portable Space Heater 754200

Best Portable Energy Efficient Space Heater

The Lasko 754200 Ceramic Heater measures 6 x 3.7 x 9.2” and weighs about 3.5 lb. It runs on 1500 watt power and comes with a 3 year warranty. This small and lightweight heater has been in the market since 2010 and yet still remains one of our top picks. This is due to its reliability and its affordable price range. These 2 properties combine to give us the best value for our buck. 

In terms of convenience, this heater comes fully assembled and ready for use once you get it out of the package. The handling is also superb with a carry handle that makes carrying this heater a breeze. The heat from the ceramic is carried out by a fan so there might be some noise generated by the fan.

With respect to its energy efficiency, although it does not have a fully programmable thermostat, it does come with an adjustable thermostat that has a total of 11 different temperature settings to choose from. With such a wide range of temperature to choose from, the homeowner will still be able to find a temperature that is comfortable enough without using up too much energy. In addition, it uses a ceramic heating element which is one of more energy efficient heat sources in the heater market.

Pros

  • Extremely compact and lightweight
  • Great affordability 
  • Wide range of temperature setting to choose from
  • Cool-touch exterior prevents accidental injury
  • Has overheat protection
  • Comes fully assembled

Cons

  • Fan may be noisy at the highest setting
  • More suitable for a small room

What their fans love: “My wife and I are extremely pleased with this heater. It is attractive, has a very small footprint and great safety and adjustability features. And does it ever put out the heat!”


Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Q: What are the most energy efficient space heaters?

A: By our definition, the most energy efficient space heaters will allow you to achieve the same level of warmth/temperature with less energy or power used. In order to achieve that, a space heater will require a very accurate programmable thermostat so that it knows exactly when the desired temperature is reached and can adjust the power need accordingly. Having an ECO mode also enables it to reduce power accordingly to suit the heating needs.

Therefore, whether a heater is energy efficient is not so much about what type it is but what features it has and how accurate the features are.

Q: What type of electric heater is the cheapest to run?

A: The straightforward answer is the heater with the lowest wattage. For example, a 600W heater would be cheaper to run than a 1500W heater. However, there are other factors to consider such as the size of the room. If you use a 600W heater in a large room, you may not be able to heat it up well and you end up using the heater for twice the amount of time to achieve the same heat or you resort to buying 2 units of the 600W heater. In such a situation, a 1500W may then be “cheaper” to run.

However, if you are in a small study room, then a 600W heater would work fine and it is cheaper to run that.

Q: Do ceramic heaters use less electricity?

A: The amount of electricity used by a heater is dependent on it’s wattage and not on it’s heating element. For example, a 1500W ceramic heater will use the same amount of electricity as a 1500 infrared heater. A low wattage space heater will use less electricity than high wattage space heater.

Recap Of The Heaters’ Energy Efficiency

HeaterECO ModeProgrammable ThermostatProgrammable TimerEffective Heating Source
BovadoYes Yes (41℉ – 90℉)Yes (8 hrs)Yes – Ceramic
Lifesmart Element Yes Yes (60℉ – 90℉)Yes (12 hrs)Yes -Infrared
Pelonis 1501Yes Yes (40℉ – 95℉)Yes (8 hrs)Yes – Ceramic
AmazonBasicsYes Yes (65℉ – 85℉)No (12 hrs)Yes – Infrared
Dr InfraredNo Yes (50℉ – 86℉)Yes (12 hrs)Yes – Infrared
Lasko 754200NoNot applicableNoYes – Ceramic
Table of comparison for the most energy efficient space heater

Wrapping it up

Of the 5 products we reviewed, the Bovado USA Oscillating Space Heater was our favorite most energy efficient space heater. It checked all the boxes for Eco-mode, programmable timer, programmable thermostat and efficient heating element.

However, it was a very close fight between Bovado, Lifesmart and Pelonis but Bovado had the edge because a ceramic heating element is slightly more efficient at heating up a room evenly and it is also the quiestest.

Click here to get one now!

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