Safety is at the top of the checklist for wise homeowners shopping for the best space heater.
That’s probably why you’re here, so we’ll get right to the list of safest space heaters for those that want to find the best model for their use, purchase it and get on with their day.
Our Space Heater Safety Guide to what to look for in a safe space heater and how to use it without risk of injury or fire is below.
If you’re looking for general information on space heater features, options and prices, see our comprehensive Space Heater Buying Guide.
The Safest Space Heaters Summary Table
Opolar Ceramic Heater
- 1000 & 1500W settings
- for Small and Middle Rooms
- Overheating and Tip-over protection
Dyson Hot + Cool AM09
- Heater + Fan
- Tip-over shut-off. No exposed heat element
- Remote control + Timer
Opolar Small Heater
- 1000 & 1500W settings
- overheating & tip-over protection
- Oscillates 70 degrees
Safe for Nursery
- 3 Heat Settings Up To 1500W
- Shut Off and Overheat Protection
- GFCI Plug, Safe for Bathroom
Electric Ceramic 1500W/750W
- High (1500W) or Low (800W)
- Overheating & Tip-Over Protection
- 70 Degree Oscillation
- High (1500W) or Low (750W)
- Overheating & Tip-Over Protection
- wall mountable option
COSTWAY Ceramic Infrared
- 1000 & 1500W settings
- Overheating & Tip-Over Protection
- Remote Control & 12h Timer
Lasko CA20100 Fireplace
- High(1500)+ Low + Flame Only
- Tip-over Switch, Cool-touch Window
- GFI safety plug
Reviews of The Safest Space Heaters Review
Here are our top choices and why they make the list.
Overall Safest Heat & Cool Space Heater -
#1 OPOLAR 1500W Digital Ceramic Space Heater
You’ll enjoy rapid, safe heating with this well-built, digital space heater. It has two heat settings, 1,000W/1,500W.
- Safety Features: Overheat shut-off, Tip-over shut-off.
- Pros: Oscillating for even heat distribution. Digital/LED, 8-hour timer. Fan-only mode.
- Cons: Not for use in a bathroom because it doesn’t have a GFCI plug.
- Best Use: Home office, den, small bedroom (up to about 12x15)
Safest Luxury Space Heater -
#2 Dyson Hot + Cool Jet Focus AM09 Fan Heater
This is a premium space heater with advanced features for safety and performance.
- Safety Features: Tip-over shut-off. No exposed heat element, and it doesn’t burn as hot as most. No fan blades.
- Pros: Remote control. Timer. Powerful fan projects heat to all areas of a large room. Very precise thermostat.
- Cons: Higher cost.
- It’s the Best If: You want a dual-purpose space heater that both heats and has a strong fan – and you’re willing to pay for Dyson quality and features.
Safest Space Heater for Nursery -
#3 Space Heater for Small Room from Opolar
Every parent wants the nursery to be the safest, most comfortable room in the house. This 1000/1,500 watt space heater is the safest space heater for nursery use. It ensures baby’s safety and comfort.
- Safety Features: Shuts off if tipped over or it overheats.
- Pros: Highly rated by users. Oscillates 70 degrees. Ceramic element gets hot fast.
- Cons: The thermostat isn’t digital, so you’ll have to experiment with the heat dial to get the amount of heat you want.
- It’s the Best If: You’re looking for a combination of safety and affordability.
Safest Space Heater for Bathroom -
#4 DeLonghi HVF3555TB Bathroom Safe Fan Heater
This is the safest space heater for bathroom use because it has a GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter) plug that will shut off in 1/30th second if the unit falls into water.
- Safety Features: GFCI plug. Shut off and overheat protection.
- Pros: Oscillation is turned on & off with a convenient foot pedal. Versatile use with 3 heat settings up to 1,500 watts. 24-hour timer.
- Cons: Heat settings are on a dial, so aren’t quite as accurate as digital settings.
- It’s the Best If: You need a bathroom space heater you can trust to be safe. Just a reminder: This unit should ONLY be set on the floor, well away from a tub or shower.
Safest Space Heater for Bedroom -
#5 Electric Ceramic 1500W/800W Safe Oscillating Heater with Adjustable Thermostat for Small Room
800W setting is perfect for use under a desk or in a confined space. The 1,500W setting is the right size for most bedrooms, dens and home offices.
- Safety Features: Tip-over protection, and it shuts off if it gets hot enough to cause a fire. It will cool off and restart automatically.
- Pros: Ceramic heater gets warm fast. Compact size. Thermostat control.
- Cons: Oscillates just 70 degrees.
- It’s the Best If: You have a bedroom or other small room that is often chilly, and you want to heat it quickly and safely.
Pet Safe Space Heater -
#6 DeLonghi HMP1500 Mica Panel Heater
This panel space heater can be set on the floor near a wall or mounted to the wall. Mounting kit and wheels included.
- Safety Features: Overheating shut-off and tip-over switch. Mounting it on the wall or setting it on the floor close to a wall eliminates or reduces trip and fall risk.
- Pros: Attractive and very slim design. 750W/1500w settings.
- Cons: Not digital.
- It’s the Best If: You or anyone in your family is older and/or at risk for tripping and falling. Or if floor space is limited and you want to mount the unit on the wall.
Safest Infrared Space Heater -
#7 COSTWAY Ceramic Infrared Space Heater Tower
Infrared heaters are the most energy efficient type of space heater. They send out infrared beams that only heat what the beams touch, a little like the rays of the sun.
- Safety Features: Overheat and Tip-over shut off.
- Pros: 1000/1500 watts. 12-Hr timer. Remote. Very quiet. Digital LED.
- Cons: A very small percentage have issues out of the box, but Amazon has a no-cost replacement policy. The unit has excellent overall ratings.
- It’s the Best If: You want the most efficient space heating possible in a room up to 150 square feet.
Safest Fireplace Space Heater -
#8 Lasko CA20100 Ultra Ceramic Fireplace Heater, Black
Enjoy the ambience of a fireplace! It’s even safe for a bathroom because it is equipped with a safety plug.
- Safety Features: GFI safety plug. Tip-over switch. Cool-touch window.
- Pros: Attractive. Compact. 3 heat settings. 3-year warranty (most are 1 year).
- Cons: The fireplace design makes it a little more costly.
- It’s the Best If: You’ll enjoy the beauty of a fireplace but don’t want the cost of installing a gas or wood-burning fireplace.
If you skipped to this heading and want to know what the safest space heaters are, here is our list. Reviews and an opportunity to get the best price on the one you want is found above.
What to Look for In a Safe Space Heater
The safest type of space heater has these four features: Tip-over shutoff, overheating shutoff, GFCI plug and certification from an independent testing agency.
#1 Tip-over Shut Off
Every space heater manufactured for sale in North America must have a shut off feature. It’s usually a spring-loaded post on the bottom of the heater. When the space heater is set on a hard floor, the post is pushed in, and the unit will heat. When the unit is tipped over or picked up, the spring pushes the post out, and this triggers the shut-off mechanism.
Pro tip for carpet: If you have thick carpeting, the shut-off post might not depress. Do Not tape the post down.
Our suggestion is to place something hard and fireproof on the carpet, and then place the space heater on that. For example, a flat baking sheet works great. We don’t recommend wood, even though you can use a space heater on a wood floor. Just to be on the safe side, nonflammable material like metal is better than wood.
#2 Overheating Shut Off
Not all space heaters have this function, but most do. Only consider space heaters that have overheating protection!
Units with overheating shut-off protection are equipped with a temperature sensor. If the sensor reaches a temperature that is too high for safe heating, the sensor automatically shuts down the space heater.
When would a space heater get too hot? There are two common scenarios.
1. When it is covered. Who would cover a space heater? Nobody would on purpose. However, some people place the space heater too near their bed, for example, and in the night a blanket is accidently draped over the heater or falls off the bed onto the heater. Before the temperature can reach hot enough to catch the blanket on fire, the sensor shuts down the unit.
This cartoon video from the National Fire Prevention Association illustrates this danger in a comical way, but it makes important points.
2. When the thermostat doesn’t work. Most good space heaters have thermostats that regulate the heat. If the thermostat stops working, the unit might simply keep heating until it becomes hot enough to cause a fire. This scenario is less common than the first.
Pro tip on overheating: If you sense that your space heater’s thermostat is no longer working – the unit just keeps heating well after the space is very warm – then stop using the heater.
#3 GFCI/GFI Plug
A Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) or simple Ground Fault Interrupter (GFI) plug is one with extreme sensitivity to changes in the electrical current. Coming in contact with water, for example if the unit falls into a full bathtub, will affect the current, and the plug will immediately turn off the heater. It can react within 1/30 of a second.
Pro tip about GFCI plugs: They only work if the outlet is on an electrical circuit equipped with GFCI protection. If your home is less than 20 years old or has been remodeled, your kitchen and bathroom probably already have GFCI circuits. However, many older homes have outdated wiring without GFCI circuits in rooms where water spills or a heater becoming immersed in water are possible – the kitchen, bathroom and laundry area. If you’re unsure whether you have GFCI circuits, contact a local electrician.
Here is what a GFCI outlet looks like:
#4 Safety Certification
The space heater should be certified by an independent testing agency with a good reputation. The testing demonstrates that the product is built to North American safety standards and should be safe for use (when directions for use are followed).
Look for one or more of these certifications.
How to Safely Use a Space Heater
You’re reading this because you’re likely aware of the dangers of space heater fires and injury.
However, this information from the National Fire Protection Association is worth mentioning: “According to NFPA’s latest U.S. Home Fires Involving Heating Equipment report, heating equipment is the second-leading cause of U.S. home fires and the third-leading cause of home fire deaths. More than half (53 percent) of all home heating fire deaths resulted from fires that began when heating equipment was too close to things that can burn, such as upholstered furniture, clothing, mattresses or bedding. Stationary space heaters accounted for 43 percent of U.S. home heating fires and 85 percent of home heating fire deaths.”
Those are sobering statistics. So choose your space heater wisely using the criteria we’ve listed above. And see our list of Safest Space Heaters for excellent, safe options.
And be just as smart about the way you use a space heater in your home and around children and pets.
We gathered information from the National Fire Prevention Association, the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers and other top sources and summarized the results for you.
General Space Heater Safety Tips
These tips apply wherever you use a portable space heater.
1. Surface: Set the heater on a level, hard surface. Non-flammable surfaces like concrete and tile are preferred.
2. No Tables: Do not set a space heater on a table or stand. The heater falling or tipping can cause injury, burns or a fire.
3. Distance: Keep the heater at least 3 feet from anything that will burn such as furniture, bedding and curtains. See our safest space heater for bedroom option in the Safest Space Heater guide at the top of the page for a bedroom-safe unit.
4. Use: Turn off the space heater when you leave the room.
5. When not in use: Unplug the heater when not using it. Grasp the plug, not the cord, and pull it directly out.
6. Cord safety: Examine the plug and entire cord up to where it enters the heater. If the plug or cord show damage or excessive wear, have the cord repaired or discard the heater. Using electrical tape on a cord is not enough to prevent potential fires. The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) offers this useful tip: “If the cord is frayed, throw it away.”
7. Tip-over post: As we noted, never tape the post in the depressed position. That would be like taping your gas pedal down and hoping for the best as you drive.
8. Extension cords: Do not use them with a space heater. Extension cords are prone to overheating, and they present a trip hazard.
9. Other devices: Do not plug anything else into the same outlet as a space heater. This can also cause overheating.
10. Smoke alarms: Install smoke alarms on all levels and outside each bedroom. Check smoke alarms monthly. If dealing with smoke alarm batteries is a hassle you don’t want, Kidde’s new line of products has a 10-year battery.
Space Heater Safety Tips for Kids and Pets
In addition to the General Rules, these will help keep kids safe.
1. Kids and heaters: Never leave a child unattended in a room with a space heater. The safest space heater for nursery use will only protect the child if it is too little to climb out of its crib or bed.
2. Kids’ rooms: Never use a space heater in a child’s room if the child is old enough to crawl or walk. Kids are curious, and could easily get burned or cause a deadly fire by sticking their hand or something flammable into the heater. If you’re in the market for the safest space heater for baby room use, we’ve listed a great option in the Safest Space Heaters list that begins this page.
3. Safety zone: Establish a 3-foot safety zone around the heater using gates or other safe devices. The only truly kid-safe or pet safe space heater is one they cannot reach.
Space Heater Safety Tips for Garages and Work Areas
1. Gasoline: Do not use a heater in a workshop or garage where gas is stored. Gas vapors are highly flammable.
2. Other Flammables: Check labels on all chemicals, and if the label says the contents are flammable, do not store them where you might use a space heater.
3. Personal heaters under a desk: Make sure your desk heater is a small one. The new AmazonBasics 500 watt personal space heater is an excellent size for under desk use. Using a large heater raises the risk of burns and a fire.
4. Safety tips for desk use: A personal heater beneath a desk is a comfortable and cost-effective way to stay warm. However, it can also be easily forgotten when you leave work or your home office. This will waste energy to heat space that isn’t occupied. At worst, it can overheat or heat furniture or paper in a waste basket and cause a fire. Leave yourself a note and the exit door to turn it off when you leave the desk.
Final Word on the Safest Space Heaters
The reality is that most space heater fires and injuries (more than 80%) are cause by misuse rather than by mechanical failure (less than 20%). Using these safety tips will protect your household and property from danger.
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