Looking for one of the best ceramic space heaters on the market?
You’ve come to the right place! In this proHVACinfo guide, we’ll go over:
- What are ceramic space heaters (when should you buy one)?
- Different types of ceramic space heaters (which is right for you)?
- What to look for in the best ceramic space heater (know what to focus on)
- Best ceramic space heaters (2021 Review)
Before we jump in, let’s take a look at our top picks
1. Honeywell Slim Ceramic Tower Heater (Top Pick)
2. Honeywell UberHeat Ceramic Heater (Best Budget)
3. Lasko Tower Space Heater (High-End Pick)
What are ceramic space heaters?
Chances are, when you think “space heater”, what comes to mind is a ceramic space heater.
These are relatively small devices made mostly out of plastic (not ceramic!) that are plugged into a standard outlet in order to heat a targeted area.
If you’re wondering why ceramic space heaters are made plastic, you aren’t alone.
Ceramic heaters get their name from the components within the plastic casing that actually provide the heat, which are ceramic.
The ceramic components heat up, the fan blow air over them, and the heat transfers from the ceramic components to the air and out to you.
Quick note: the method of heating ceramic heaters use is called convection. For that reason, these heaters also fall into the category of “convection heaters”, and you might see “convection” listed as the heating method on packaging or on product descriptions.
There are a number of benefits, and some drawbacks, with ceramic space heaters. Let’s take a look:
Instant, accurate spot heating
One of the main benefits of ceramic heaters are how quickly they kick in.
Thanks to the combination of ceramic heaters and the fan, you can feel the heat almost instantly if you’re in front of the device.
This makes them ideal for heating targeted areas (like a desk area in a larger room).
Keep in mind, though, that it will take longer for a ceramic heater to heat larger areas or an entire room (this time will vary depending on how powerful a particular model is).
The flip side of this is that ceramic heaters are a bit less equipped to provide even, steady heat throughout a large room.
You can buy a relatively more powerful space heater to compensate, but if you have a room with particularly high ceilings, or one that is drafty or poorly insulated, a ceramic space heater might struggle to keep the entire room a consistent, warm temperature.
Any modern ceramic heater worth its salt these days should come with a range of safety features.
Ceramic heaters are widely used and generally considered safe, but the Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that space heaters account for over 1,000 home fires every year, so this is something to consider.
We go into more detail on these below. At the end of the day, the big takeaway is that ceramic space heaters are designed to give you maximum heat with minimal risk.
Unlike oil-filled heaters, the exterior of ceramic heaters stays cool to the touch even when they’re working at full steam.
This is an important distinction if you have pets or small children! Other types of portable heaters (portable radiators / oil-filled heaters, for example) generate surface heat while they’re in use, making them a burn hazard for pets and children.
Keep in mind too, that if safety is a top concern for you there are some basic steps you can take, such as allowing 3-feet of space between your heater and any fabrics, furniture, or fixtures.
Ceramic heaters are generally smaller and lighter than their oil-filled counterparts.
If you won’t want your heater sitting in the same spot all day (maybe you want to store it in a closet when you’re not using it), ceramic heaters are a great choice!
This is another benefit of ceramic space heaters over their oil-filled counterparts.
After unplugging, a ceramic heater can be picked up and moved almost immediately, whereas oil-filled heaters need time to cool off before they can be moved.
Different Types of Ceramic Space Heaters
Once you’ve narrowed your search down to a ceramic space heater, you’ve done a lot of the work already!
The next decision you’ll need to make is whether you want a tower heater or a more compact heater.
As their name implies, tower heaters are slim, vertically-oriented heaters that stand a few feet off the ground.
On the other hand, compact models are more square or round in shape and typically stand no more than one foot off the ground.
There are a few considerations when narrowing down your search further.
First is aesthetics. The look of a tower model vs. a compact model is different, so you’ll want to think through where you envision placing the device.
If you need a heater that will fit neatly next to a desk to keep you warm while working, a compact model might look better.
On the other hand, if you want something to fit discreetly in the corner of a room, a tower model could be a better fit for you.
Second is features. We’ll go into more detail in the next section, but generally you’ll find that tower models, because of their shape, have a bit more to offer in terms of features.
As an example, one popular feature for space heaters is an oscillating fan. That is, the fan rotates back and forth to increase area coverage.
This it tough to do with compact heaters due to their shape. While it’s true that some compact heaters have this capability as well, it isn’t as common as in tower heaters.
What to Look for in the Best Ceramic Space Heater?
While issues with a ceramic space heater aren’t common, having a solid warranty set in place can help put your mind at ease in the event there is a problem.
We have found that a 1-year limited warranty is standard for most ceramic space heaters, though longer warranties exist (generally, up to 3 years). The specific terms that dictate what exactly is covered vary by manufacturer, so we won’t cover them all here.
The other thing to consider when it comes to the warranty is the manufacturer itself. I
If the warranty is a top consideration for you, it might tilt your decision toward a very well-known manufacturer to ensure a relatively hassle-free experience in the event you do file a claim.
We touched on this briefly above. While ceramic heaters are generally safe, there is a small risk if not used properly.
Safety is partly by design with the plastic casing that covers the hot interior components.
Some models, though, come with additional features like a tip-over safety switch and automatic shut-off.
The tip-over safety switch shuts down the power to the heater if it’s knocked off its base, and the automatic shut-off does the same in the event the internal components of the heater get too hot.
At the end of the day, all safety features are designed to give you maximum comfort with minimal risk of burning or fire.
Modern ceramic space heaters have a generous suite of features for you to choose from. Let’s take a look at some of the most common:
- Thermostat controlled / digital thermostat: Built into the user interface, a digital thermostat lets you specify the amount of heat your device emits. It’s easy to see the advantage of this over less targeted controls
- Remote Control – A remote control can really add a level of convenience when it comes to operating your space heater. No longer will you need to get out from under the covers and scurry across a cold room to turn your heater up!
- Timer / Automatic Shut-off: Another popular feature is a timer, or automatic shut-off. The distinction here is that a timer simply runs at a pre-set level for a set amount of time (an hour, for example), while the automatic shut-off powers down the device once the internal thermostat detects that the environment has reached a desired temperature.
Note, the automatic shut-off we’re referring to here is different than the automatic shut-off we covered in the safety sections above.
Above, we referred to the unit shutting off if the internal components get sufficiently hot so as to pose a risk.
Here, we’re referring to a user feature where you enter your desired room temperature, the device provides heat accordingly, and then turns off.
This helps keep you comfortable and eliminates power waste.
- Oscillating Fan – As mentioned earlier, an oscillating fan spreads the heat from your device more evenly around the room. Ceramic space heaters are by their nature a bit less equipped to warm entire rooms, so an oscillating fan can help.
Best Ceramic Space Heaters (2021 Review)
Let’s take a look at some of our top picks!
Honeywell Slim Ceramic Tower Heater (Top Pick)
Our Top Pick is by the well-known brand Honeywell. It earned our top pick due to its appealing design, features and good price point.
It hits on almost all of the features we’ve discussed, from both a safety perspective (tip-over and shutoff protection) as well as user functionality. Its large font display is easy to use, and it also comes with a remote!
- Large Font Display
- Impressive features
- Trusted Name
- Good value
- Turns off after reaching desired temperature (doesn’t start again)
- Short warranty (1 year)
Lasko Tower Space Heater (High-End Pick)
This tower model by Lasko is our High-End Pick. It comes with a variety of fan and heat settings (up to 1,500 watts) to adjust to the size of your room and the temperature you want. This model also comes with an appealing LED display on the unit itself and the wireless remote.
All of this functionality comes in an exceptional design that you won’t mind having around the house!
- Digital thermostat, thermostat controlled
- Remote Control
- Timer / shut-off
- Some users reported problems with using the remote at a distance
- Can only set temperature in 5 degree increments
Honeywell UberHeat Ceramic Heater (Best Budget)
Our Best Budget pick is a compact design by Honeywell. This is a powerful unit, especially for the size, with good features at a price that won’t break the bank!
This model comes with two heat settings and an adjustable thermostat to keep you comfortable. Another reason this is our Best Budget Pick is that it doesn’t skimp on safety features. It has tip-over protection, overheat protection and a plastic casing.
- Safety features
- Lower coverage area
This ultra-compact model is another great pick at an affordable price point. It has two heat settings plus a fan-only setting.
It has easy-to-use knobs that let you quickly address the thermostat and fan power.
It includes tip-over and overheat protection, all in a compact package that weighs just a little over three pounds!
- Compact Design
- Two heat settings
- Safety features
- Less coverage area
- The fan was a bit noisy for some
Rounding out our top-five list is another compact ceramic space heater. This unit has “high” and “low” heat settings (operated with knobs on the top) in addition to a fan-only mode. It’s both compact and lightweight, and comes with a convenient carrying handle for easy transportation. Of course, it also comes with a tip-over switch and an overheat protection system!
- Compact size
- Safety features
- Basic controls
- Heavier than comparable units