The most efficient space heater you can get depends on what you're trying to heat (what will get the job done?) as well as the cost and longevity of the heater itself. Let's take a quick look at that:

Radiant Heaters
If you're only trying to heat yourself, perhaps in a cold garage or even in a cold room, you can often stick with a simple radiant heater. These are not terribly safe because they get extremely hot. But if they're placed above you or out of the way so no one will touch them or knock them over, they can keep you plenty warm at as little as 400 watts of energy. (Around 4 cents an hour to run.) So in certain circumstances, radiant heaters can be very efficient. Also, since they don't have moving parts like a fan, there is less to break down. So they're not only inexpensive, but they can also last.

Non-Electric Heaters
Not efficient these days. Propane and oil are not only less convenient and in our opinion more dangerous and less healthy, they're also far more expensive than electricity for heating. So these are really only useful when electricity isn't available.

Electric Convection Heaters
These produce heat like other electric space heaters but rely on a room's natural convection to move the air. This can be efficient, but can take longer to heat a room initially. These are also quiet heaters, and without a fan, have one less thing to break.

Electric Forced Convection Heaters
Most space heaters people are familiar with fall into this category -- electric heat with a built-in fan to move the air. They heat more quickly than those without fans, but make more sound. From our testing, all will heat a room at approximately the same speed if when run at the same power level.

Infrared Space Heaters
These do NOT heat more quickly than other electric space heaters we've tested, but we like their other benefits. We think EdenPURE is about the quietest you can find when fun at the same wattage; that it has a nicer, broad warm wind; and that it may have other subtle health benefits. We avoid some brands altogether, and ask people to stick with the EdenPURE models we recommend for best results.

We strongly recommend the EdenPURE Gen2, because it costs just $197, which is one of the lowest prices you'll find on infrared heaters, and not that much more than the best conventional electrics. It also has a quiet mode when it runs at about 1100 watts, so you have an option. It also includes a thermostat and timer -- see below why this is important. It also has PTC heating elements -- this is critical, because these elements last about 4 times longer than quartz infrared bulbs. The cost, features, and longevity of the EdenPURE Gen2 make it our favorite, efficient space heater.

Small Areas
When heating a small area, you can save money by using a smaller unit that consumes less power. However, keep in mind that it will take longer to heat up that area. So this is most useful if you're using a heater WITHOUT a thermostat and/or you're just trying to point the heat at yourself to warm up.

Thermostats & Timers
These are an important because they let you run a heater only when you need the heat, and this is critical to efficiency. If you leave a heater running all night, for instance, you'll probably heat a room too much, which costs too much and is uncomfortable. With a timer, you can set a heater to turn on an hour before you wake up or turn off an hour after you fall asleep. A thermostat of course helps to regulate temperature where you set it. Both options get the heater turning OFF when it's not needed.

Other Options
Besides all the items mentioned above, keep in mind that some heaters have other features built in and can act as more than one device in your home. This creates efficiency in a different way. Our recommended EdenPURE Gen2 has an optional air filter than can run with or without the heat and includes a timer to let you know when the filter needs to be cleaned. Some heaters include humidifiers and ionizers as well.

We hope this gives you a better sense about the most efficient space heater for your needs. There's no one answer to the question until you know what is most important for you.


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