If you live in a house with an older central heating system that struggles to heat the whole home, or share your living space with a non-cold-tolerant spouse or significant other, a portable room heater can be a godsend. They’re compact, relatively inexpensive and can be moved from room to room when you change the seating arrangement or need to move around the house.

The best space heaters offer features that make them safe and convenient to use, such as a shut-off switch that turns off the unit when it tips over or overheats. Look for a timer that lets you set the desired temperature and then keep it at that setting, rather than switching it on and off every few hours.

Electric heaters also have to pass safety tests. They should have a “UL” mark (Underwriters Laboratories) or another nationally recognized independent safety certification label. They should plug directly into a wall outlet, not into an extension cord or power strip, which can cause overheating and lead to fire.

Lastly, the heater should have a sturdy base to keep it from tipping over. It should be placed on a stable, level surface, away from curtains or other flammable material and never left unattended, particularly when kids or pets are in the room. If you decide to purchase a space heater, read the manufacturer’s instructions and use it according to its specifications. Set up a 3-foot kid- and pet-free zone around the heater, and be sure it is always on a stable, well-ventilated surface and not within reach of water or other liquids. space heater

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