Top 6 Best Safe Heaters For Seniors And Elderly 2020 – In-depth Analysis

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Do you have elderly parents who are living alone? Are you worried about their home heating in the winter? Well, you should be! More home fires occur during the colder winter months than at any other time of the year. These fires are the second leading cause of fire casualties among seniors and the elderly.

Many people turn to space heaters to supplement their central heating in the winter and improper use can lead to fires and accidents. This is even more crucial for our seniors who may be slower to react in a crisis. Therefore, when choosing space heaters for them, safety consideration must take precedence. To help you with your decision, we’ve already done the homework on just that.

Below you will find a list of the 5 safest space heaters from reputable international brands, all geared towards senior and elderly use with their pros and cons clearly listed.

HeaterSafety
Rating
PortabilityRemote
Control
Humidification
Air Purification
Asterion Ceramic4.5/5Good  Yes No (Both)
Honeywell HZ-7894.5/5Heavy Yes No (Both)
Bovado Ceramic4.25/5Good Yes No (Both)
Pelonis Ceramic4.25/5Good Yes No (Both)
Dr Infrared 9984/5Heavy  Yes Yes (Both)
Wiland Heater4.25/5Good No Yes (Humidification)
No (Air Purifier)
Comparison of the Best Space Heater For Seniors and Elderly

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!

Asterion Ceramic Space Heater

Best Overall Space Heater For Seniors And Elderly

The Asterion Ceramic Heater measures 8.9 x 6.8 x 13.3” and weighs 3.4 lbs. This is a ceramic heater that uses convection to heat up the room. It does this by having a fan blow air over the heated ceramic to warm the air which then goes into heating up the room.For heating purposes, there are three heat settings; 1500W (High) and 900W (Low) and ECO mode. These allow you to adjust your heat according to the needs of the room. Other functionalities include a freeze mode that runs at 45℉ to prevent freezing temperatures. There is also a fan-only mode which gives you more flexibility during the warmer seasons.

On the safety aspect, this heater comes equipped with tip over protection which turns the heater off automatically when knocked over by pets or children. There is also an overheating protection which guards against fires that arises from overheating. The heat dissipation and exhaust design of this heater prevents the exterior from becoming too hot which may then cause accidental burns. Approved by ETL certification, you can be assured that this heater has met all the stringent safety requirements imposed by North American authorities.

In terms of portability, one can’t argue with how compact this heater is. Weighing just under 4 lbs, this heater can be carried easily by a single person between rooms and even between levels. It also helps that there is a convenient carrying handle that facilitates the handling. This heater is also our best portable heater in this review!

When judging the convenience, this heater comes with a remote control that allows you to make adjustments from the comfort of your couch or bed. This is great for seniors who may have mobility issues and find it difficult to make changes physically. Having an oscillation feature also greatly improves the score of this heater. The 72 degrees oscillation gives user the flexibility they need and allows this heater to heat up the room evenly. 

Pros

  • Multiple heating modes to suit different conditions
  • Eco-mode for energy savings
  • All rounded safety features
  • Compact and lightweight 
  • Can be controlled remotely
  • LED display makes for easy reading and adjustments
  • Oscillation improves heat distribution

Cons

  • Has a strong pungent odor when using for the first time
  • Tip over switch is not so sensitive on carpeted floors

What their fans love: “Wow, for its size, this heater is amazing. I’m using to heat a small bedroom. It’s able to keep me really toasty when I’m at my desk, but it also heats the rest of the room really well since it rotates! Honestly, I have no complaints about it. I would highly recommend!l” 


Best Safe Space Heater For Seniors and Elderly Buyers’ Guide

Key Consideration For Choosing Heater For Seniors And Elderly

Safety

More home fires occur during the colder winter months than at any other time of the year. These fires are the second leading cause of fire casualties among seniors and the elderly. Therefore, when choosing space heaters for our seniors, safety is the foremost consideration. There are a number of safety features that should be present in a space heater to ensure it can be used safely at home.

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.Therefore, heaters with automatic shut off is a must.

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)

Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter plug(GFCI) / Appliance Leakage Current Interrupter (ALCI)

The GFCI plug is a safety precaution on the appliance which cuts off the power supply when it detects a huge difference between the power it supplies and the power it receives. They act to prevent short circuits and dangerous shocks. However, the GFCI plugs only work if it is plugged into a GFCI outlet. The GFCI outlet can be recognized by their red reset button and black test button.

If your home is less than 20 years old, you probably already have GFCI outlets in places like your bathroom and kitchen. However, there are still some outdated old homes that do not have GFCI outlets. If you are unsure about the GFCI wiring in your homes then you should contact an electrician.

Similar to GFCI plug, the ALCI is a circuit breaker on the appliance itself that will detect large differences in the power it supplies and receives. Once detected, they will break off the circuit almost immediately and prevent electrical shocks. 

These special features are usually not present in most heaters as they are generally applicable to heaters that may be exposed to water or moisture. These are commonly heaters that have been specified for use in the bathroom. Check out our guide if you are looking for the best heater for bathroom use.

Watch this video below to understand how to handle your space heater properly and safely

Portability 

As space heaters are meant to be supplemental to central heating, we frequently find that we have to move them around the house so that we can reduce the reliance on central heating. When choosing a space heater, it is important to select a heater that is portable and easily moved between rooms. This is especially so when selecting the heater for our seniors who may have mobility issues or just generally weaker physically. 

Features that contribute to good portability are ergonomic carrying handles, light weight, caster wheels to name a few. Having these features would allow our seniors to carry the heater easily between rooms to suit their heating needs.

Remote Control

Remote control of the heater is something that may sound superfluous but is actually a very important consideration when choosing heaters for our seniors. Some seniors may be suffering from mobility issues such as osteoarthritis that severely limit their movement. They may need either mechanical or human assistance to move between places and having a remote control to adjust their heaters would be such a great help for them. 

Besides the conventional remote control, some heaters now can also be controlled with mobile phones via Wi-Fi. This might be even better because we may lose the remote controls but we rarely lose our phones.

Humidification and Air Purification Features

Good air quality is important to anyone but even more so for our seniors who may be suffering from respiratory ailments such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or asthma. If the air quality is compromised by dust or allergens, our seniors would also get a heightened response to it than the younger folks. 

Therefore, they may benefit from having air quality control appliances like humidifiers or air purifiers in their homes. Traditionally, these appliances would need to be purchased separately but now some heaters also include these applications as well. By combining these appliances into a single unit, users can save money, save space and save energy. 

Check out our guide to read about the best heater-humidifier combo as well! They are amazing for hot yoga at home!

Safety Tips When Using Space Heaters At Home

Home fires can be prevented as long as we follow some easy fire prevention tips. We looked through the guidelines suggested by National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and Electrical Safety Foundation International (EFSI) and we have summarized them for your reference below.

  • Keep your space heaters at least three feet away from anything that is flammable
  • Use heaters only for their intended purposes i.e. they should not be used to dry wet laundry
  • Get your heating system inspected by a qualified service personnel at least once a year
  • Keep intake and output vents clean and clear of debris
  • Install and maintain carbon monoxide alarms to avoid risk of carbon monoxide poisoning
  • Purchase space heaters that have the certification label of a nationally recognized testing laboratory.
  • Inspect heaters for cracked or broken plugs or loose connections before each use.  If damaged, do not use the heater.
  • Place space heaters on level, flat surfaces, but never place on cabinets, tables or other furniture.
  • Keep space heaters out of high traffic areas and doorways where they may pose a tripping hazard.
  • Plug portable space heaters directly into an outlet; do not use an extension cord.
  • Do not use a space heater in wet or damp areas unless it is specifically designed for use in wet locations
  • Never leave a space heater unattended.  Turn it off when you leave the room or go to sleep.
  • Never use a space heater or any appliance with a damaged cord

Best Safe Space Heater For Seniors and Elderly Product review

Honeywell HZ-789 EnergySmart Oil Filled Radiator

Best Oil Filled Space Heater For Seniors And Elderly

The Honeywell HZ-789 EnergySmart Oil Filled Radiator measures 13.7” x 9” x 24.4” and weighs 19.7 lb. It has a 1500W wattage and comes with a 3 year limited warranty. This oil filled heater is constructed with solid, heavy gauge steel for increased strength and durability and a rust free enamel finish on the exterior to improve the longevity of the heater.

For functionality, there are two heat settings; High (1500W) and Low (900W) to suit your heating needs. It also comes with a programmable thermostat that allows you to adjust the temperature between 65℉ to 80℉. For homeowners who might not want to run the heater the whole night, there is a 1-12 hour auto-off timer. However, the timer only works in intervals of 2 hours i.e. 2,4,6,8,10,12. For those who value convenience, you will be pleased to know it comes with a remote control that has a digital temperature display which enables easy control.

In terms of safety, this oil filled space heater comes with the usual 360° Tip-Over protection and overheating protection. Besides that, it also features thermal insulated wiring with reinforced wire connection for improved electrical wiring safety. Despite its tall height, the base of the heater is very stable and does not tip over easily when knocked by your cat or dogs.

If you are worried that the exterior of oil filled radiators would be too hot for your pets, you can rest assured that the exterior of oil filled radiators do get warm but never get hot enough to cause injuries. This is to the design of their fins which increases surface area for heat dissipation and is a common feature of all oil filled radiators.

When judging the portability, this heater does not disappoint. It comes with easy glide wheels and a luggage style handle that makes transferring this heater between rooms a breeze. 

What is unique about this heater is the patented EnergySmart technology which automatically regulates power consumption and the energy usage indicator displays the amount of energy used in operation. For those big on energy efficiency, this is a major selling point as this heater can help you to cut energy and heating costs with this feature.

Pros

  • Easy portability with wheels and luggage handle
  • High and Low setting allows for customizable heating
  • Great all rounded safety features 
  • EnergySmart technology
  • Has a remote control 
  • Cord wrap for off season storage

Cons

  • Programmable timer can only be programmed at intervals of 2 hours
  • Wheels does not run smoothly on carpets

What their fans love: “My favorite features of this product are that it’s silent and self-regulates temperature. I currently live in an apartment complex without a thermostat, so this product is perfect for me.”


Bovado USA Oscillating Space Heater

Most Energy Efficient Space Heater For Seniors And Elderly

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 makes it one the most energy efficient space heater in the market.

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.”


Pelonis NTH15 Ceramic Tower Heater

Best Value For Money Space Heater For Seniors And Elderly

The Pelonis Vertical and Horizontal Ceramic Tower Heater measures 22.5 x 7.25 x 7.25” and weighs 7.1 lbs. It runs on 1500W and comes with a 1 year warranty. This is a ceramic heater that uses convection to heat up the room. It does this by having a fan blow air over the heated ceramic to warm the air which then goes into heating up the room. The sound of the fan goes up to 52 dB which may be considered fairly noisy for some who are more sensitive to noise.

For heating purposes, there are three heat settings; High, Low and ECO mode. These different temperature settings allow you to achieve your desired heating with maximized efficiency. The built-in thermostat is accurate and allows adjustments between 40 to 95°F but the increments come in intervals of 5°F so you might not be able to set it at the exact precise temperature that you like.

What sets this heater apart is that it can be used vertically or horizontally depending on your needs. This is a rare feature that is not commonly seen. Therefore, there is no tip over protection as it can be used when it is tipped over. There are, however, overheating protection and the grille is made of a material that can dissipate heat rapidly. This prevents accidental burn injuries from touching the grille. The grille also prevents wandering pets and children from sticking their hands/paws into the heating element. Approved by ETL certification, you can be assured that this heater has met all the stringent safety requirements imposed by North American authorities.

Weighing just a little over 7 lbs, this heater is light and easily portable between rooms and between levels. It is designed with a carry handle on the back of the heater so you can maneuver it with great ease.

For convenience, this heater comes with a remote control that allows you to make adjustments from the comfort of your couch or bed. This is great for seniors who may have mobility issues and find it difficult to make changes physically. There is an oscillation feature which allows for 70 deg rotation and this helps to spread the heat evenly throughout the room.

Pros

  • Multiple heating modes to suit different conditions
  • Eco-mode for energy savings
  • All rounded safety features
  • Compact and lightweight
  • Has a carrying handle
  • Can be controlled remotely
  • Can be used vertically or horizontally
  • Oscillation improves heat distribution

Cons

  • Fan can be noisy at 52 dB. Not suitable for light sleepers
  • Thermostat adjustments in intervals of 5°F

What their fans love: “Here in the high desert, the outside temperature dropped to below freezing but my bedroom was a delightful 72 degrees thanks to this heater. The rest of the house was set to a nighttime 65 degrees, which is just fine for the rest of the family. My Arthritis likes it just a little warmer. So I can be very comfortable without having the rest of the house feeling it’s too hot.”   


Dr Infrared Portable Space Heater Elite DR988

Best Heater With Air Purifier For Seniors And Elderly With Asthma

The Dr Infrared Portable Space Heater Elite DR988 measures 16 x 11 x 16″ and weighs 26 lbs. The Elite DR998 is both a radiator heater and a fan forced heater with a dual heating system of infrared radiation and convection, making it a natural choice for heating in large rooms. In addition to the heater and humidifier 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. It also comes with a remote control to add to the convenience.

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. 

For safety, this heater comes with tip over protection and overheating protection so that it can shut it self off automatically when it is knocked over or overheated.

One limitation I feel is the weight of the heater. Although it does comes with caster wheels for easy movement between rooms, the weight may prove to be too heavy for seniors if they need to carry it up a level or two. Most likely, it will require two person move it together.

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

  • 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
  • A bit on the heavy side for movement between levels

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.”


Wiland Ceramic Space Heater With Humidifier

Best Heater With HUmidifier For Seniors And Elderly

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.

Weighing at just 8 lbs and designed as a tower heater, this heater is compact and light, allowing users to shuttle it between rooms with ease. Storage is also not a major issue due to the tower design which takes up very little space on the ground.

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.

One thing we would like to see added in future would be a remote control. Currently, it does not come with a remote control so seniors with mobility issues may find it difficult to make adjustments if required.

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.”


Frequently asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: Can you use a humidifier and heater at the same time?

A: Yes. Many heaters use fan-forced convection as it’s main mode of heat delivery but this will dry out the air in the room. Using a humidifier at the same time as the heater will prevent this from happening. This is best for users who suffer from dry skin and dry eyes.

Q: Will Humidifier Make The Room Feel Warmer?

A: Yes. The more moisture in the air, the warmer it feels. When the air is saturated with moisture, there is less potential for evaporation from your skin. Evaporation removes heat from your body.

Q: Do humidifiers help with pneumonia and asthma?

Yes. The symptoms of pneumonia and asthma may be aggravated by dry air as the nasal passages get irritated more easily if they are are not kept moist. Humidifying the air appropriately would help relieve these symptoms of pneumonia and asthma.

Recap Of The Best Space Heater For Seniors And Elderly

HeaterSafety
Rating
PortabilityRemote
Control
Humidification
Air Purification
Asterion Ceramic4.5/5Good ✅ Yes ✅No (Both)
Honeywell HZ-7894.5/5Heavy ❌Yes ✅No (Both)
Bovado Ceramic4.25/5Good ✅Yes ✅No (Both)
Pelonis Ceramic4.25/5Good ✅Yes ✅No (Both)
Dr Infrared 9984/5Heavy ❌ Yes ✅ Yes (Both)
Wiland Heater4.25/5Good ✅No ❌Yes (Humidification)
No (Air Purifier)
Comparison of the Best Space Heater For Seniors and Elderly

Wrapping it up

Of the 5 products we reviewed, the Asterion ceramic space heater was our favorite heater for seniors and elderly. Although there is no air purification and humidification feature, it checks the rest of the other features we would like in a space heaters for seniors and elderly. It is safe and most portable heater out of all the reviewed heaters. It can be controlled remotely which is a plus for seniors with mobility issues. Bovado and Pelonis both came close but got edged out because they were not as portable.

If you are looking for a heater with air purification or humidification due to respiratory symptoms then Dr Infrared DR998 or Wiland Heater would be a perfect fit.

Click here to get one now!

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