Finding a safe space heater to do the job
You may find yourself feeling a bit chilly now that fall is well underway and winter is approaching. Even if you have central heating, some rooms just don't warm up properly. Space heaters can help fill the gap but you need to beware. Find a good space heater to do the job and one that is safe is important.
Consumer Reports tested portable space heaters to find some that will measure up.
“We run a series of safety tests to identify heaters that may pose a burn risk. The safest space heaters shut off automatically if they become too hot or if they’re knocked over,” explained Paul Hope, Consumer Reports home editor.
Testers ran trials to see how hot the space heaters would get of if they would have the potential to ignite flammable fabrics.
In addition, choosing the right space heater for your house depends on what you want it to do.
“You need to consider if just want to warm yourself up or are you trying to heat the entire room. Our tests have found not all models do both well," said Hope.
Consumer Reports equipped a mannequin with four temperature sensors to record and measure how well a heater could spot heat - that is, heating a localized area or you.
A special testing chamber determined how well the heaters could warm up a standard sized room.
The Vornado VMH 600 at $190, scored excellent for spot heating and did well on the safety test.
For heating a whole room The Comfort Zone CZ499R, delivered and got an excellent rating in the safety test. However, it's hotter to the touch than other models. Still, it's a Consumer Reports best buy at $80.
If you have kids or pets and are concerned about hotter surfaces, the Lasko AW315 Bladeless Tower is a good alternative at $120. It did well heating a whole room and spot heating.
Consumer Reports cautions against buying lower cost personalized space heaters. Even the best performing personal heater scored just so-so for spot heating.
In addition, don't neglect safety precautions. Never use extension cords with portable space heaters and keep your heater on the floor, at least three feet away from anything that can burn.
Wtih files from Consumer Reports