The right way to use a space heater in this cold season

The right way to use a space heater in this cold season

Avoid these disastrous mistakes that could cause a home fire

by John Curtis

As we head smack dab into the depths of a bone-chilling winter, we all look for ways to stay warm.  One of the most popular ways to stay warm in a small space is to invest in a space heater.  They can take the edge off a super cold season.  All types of space heaters can be safe if used properly.  Faulty design and poor placement are two reasons things can go terribly wrong when trying to warm up with one.

Space heaters cause the most fires in December, January, and February

Only trouble is that they are also the cause of an estimated 56,000 residential fires in the most year reported according to the National Fire Protection Association.

Many fires start from problems including old heaters, no automatic safety turn-off, no tip-over switch, and poorly placed heaters that are either prone to tip over or placed too close to items that can catch fire.  That’s why you’ll want to know the safest ways to prevent trouble and what to look for when buying a space heater.


Most important things to look for when using a space heater

Despite the shockingly high number of fires caused by space heaters every year, there are things to consider before turning one on that can significantly reduce the risk of fire.

  • Pick the safest type of heater that is Underwriters Labs (UL) rated and certified
  • Look for an automatic shut-off feature that turns it off after a certain period of time
  • A tip-over safety switch is also at the top of the list. If your old heater does not turn off if it tumbles over, it is time to stop using it.
  • A built-in thermostat can help it from overheating
  • Keep anything flammable or that can easily burn at least 3 feet away from space heaters
  • Never leave them running unattended, always turn them off when leaving the room or when going to bed
  • Always keep space heaters on a flat, level surface on the ground where they are less likely to tip over
  • Never use a space heater with a visibly damaged cord
  • Always follow manufacturer instructions and warnings


Our Recommendations for the best space heaters

When shopping for a space heater, it’s always wise to make sure it includes a safety certification label from an organization such as CSA International if you live in Canada or Underwriter Laboratories (UL) in the U.S.

Lasko Electric Ceramic Space Heater

Lasko Electric Ceramic Space Heater/Amazon

  • Price: $39.99 (at time of publication)
  • 2, 483 global ratings / 4.5 out of 5 stars / 74% 5-star ratings
  • Built-in safety features, including automatically shutting off if tipped over, and automatic overheating protection
  • Always remains cool to the touch
  • Features 2 heating settings (900w and 1500w) as well as a cooling fan
  • 8-foot-long chord, allowing you to plug it in from anywhere



Vornado MVH Vortex Heater

Vornado MVH Vortex Heater/Amazon

  • Price: $69.99 (at time of publication)
  • 7, 547 global ratings / 4.2 out of 5 stars / 67% 5-star reviews
  • Unique vortex air circulation provides heat in a similar way as a furnace
  • Remains cool to the touch.
  • Tip-over protection and automatic shut-off system
  • 3 quiet heat settings
  • Internal thermostat with seven settings
  • 5-year warranty



Lasko Oscillating Digital Ceramic Tower Heater

Lasko Oscillating Digital Ceramic Tower Heater/Amazon

  • Price: $57.02 (at time of publication)
  • 23,862 global ratings / 4.6 out of 5 stars / 76% 5-star reviews
  • Adjustable thermostat settings
  • Hi and low heat
  • Remote control
  • Lightweight
  • Overheat protection features
  • Remains cool to the touch



Dyson Pure Hot + Cool Air Purifier, Heater

Dyson Pure Hot + Cool Air Purifier, Heater/Amazon

  • Price: $764.88 (at time of publication)
  • 1,310 global ratings / 4.3 out of 5 stars / 73% 5-star ratings /
  • All-in-one space heater and fan
  • Includes an air purifying mode that neither heats nor cools
  • Long range heating
  • Connects to Wi-Fi



Do Atom One Space Heater

Dreo Atom One Space Heater/Amazon

  • Price: $59.99 (at time of publication)
  • 9,670 global ratings / 4.5 out of 5 stars / 74% five-star ratings
  • Fast heating, reaching the desired temperature in a matter of seconds
  • Tip over and overheat protection, and enhanced safety plug
  • Smooth airflow and soft warmth
  • 70-degree wide angle oscillation, providing wide reading heat
  • Built-in digital thermostat


More ways to keep cozy:

Best gifts for keeping cozy all year long



Related Articles

Subscribe to receive my latest Tech news, tips & tricks, and deals newsletter. (We won't spam or share your email with anyone else.)

By signing up, you agree to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. You may unsubscribe at any time.

Tips to avoid our newsletters going to your junk folder