Many space heaters are advertised as “whole room heaters” – but exactly how big is a whole room? One possible answer can be found in the Vornado heater manual which describes a whole room, relative to the consumer reports space heaters capacity, as 16′ x 16′ with an 8′ ceiling. These dimensions work out to 256 sq. ft. and 2048 cu. ft. respectively – easily the size of most family rooms, kitchens, or living/dining spaces.

Over the last year a major shift in space heater technology has re-shaped consumers’ taste in whole room space heaters. Among the winners are those that employ ceramic or quartz infrared heating elements.

Among whole room heater manufacturers, Lasko holds the number two spot for bestselling heaters with its model 755320 tower heater with digital display ($45). (Number one is Lasko’s 754200 compact heater $20).

Ceramic heaters have gained wide spread popularity for a number of good reasons. One is reliability. Speaking from personal experience, our Lasko 5141, no longer available, refuses to give up the ghost after 6 or 7 birthdays – or approximately 52.4 space heater years.

A few more reasons behind the popularity of ceramics for heating are quick heat-up and safe operation. Ceramic heaters are also relatively quiet and produce an even heat which is often described as “soft.”

Radiator Space Heaters
A radiator will always be a radiator so there isn’t much you can do with it. Despite the lack of any game changing technology, the radiator type heater remains one of the safest. Among radiator heater makers, Delonghi dominates the market with its model D0715T Safe Heat Oil-Filled Radiator ($55).

Micathermic Heaters
Micathermic heaters are basically radiator heaters enclosed by mica panels for enhanced heat distribution. Since they depend on convection for heat distribution they are fan-less and noise-free. Designed for versatility, they can be mounted on casters or hung on a wall, and are said to be a good bathroom heater – which I don’t recommend for any portable electric heater.

Once all the rage, micathermic heaters have all but fallen by the wayside. Maybe it had something to do with a customer complaining about sparks shooting from his DeLonghi HHP1500 Mica Panel Radiator. So it’s interesting to note that the Kenwood HHP 1500, also made by Delonghi and strongly resembling the original, is one of Consumer Reports’ highest rated heaters.

However, all is not lost. The Bionaire BH3950-U micathermic heater ($85) rates 4 out of 5 stars from its users for silent operation, portability, and whole room, non-drying heat.

Convection Heaters With Fans
Fan-forced convection heat is the M.O. of most whole room space heaters. The top rated heater makers in this category are Lasko and Delonghi, mentioned previously, along with Holmes, Honeywell, and Vornado.