While there is no such thing as an ‘all-in-one’ heater, we’ve put together a list of the best space heaters for a living room so you can get warm and cozy without breaking the bank. These come pretty close to the ‘all-in-one’.
Choosing the right space heater for a large room can be a challenge as there are many factors to take into account.
Not only do you need it to heat up your entire room, but think about choosing one that’s energy efficient and fits into your budget as well.
The best space heaters for a living room are going to have a high wattage and produce a large amount of BTUs.
A powerful space heater will get warm fast, and keep it warm. They come at a higher price point but are a worthwhile investment if you plan on using them every day.
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Types of Space Heaters
There are three main types of space heaters to choose from when you’re stocking up on heating equipment for your living room this winter –they are gas, infrared and electric.
A gas heater provides the best balance between speed and power. If you don’t have a gas supply installed in your home, then an electric heater is a good choice due to its convenience and safety features.
An electric heater can come with a standard heating element and a blower, where an infrared unit will radiate heat which will heat objects in the room, rather than the air.
For in depth information on the different types of heaters, click the links below to be taken to the bottom of the page. Otherwise, continue on for the important features you should look for and the full list of the 12 best heaters for a large room.
The long and short of this is that at the time of writing I’m stuck between two great options.
I love the ambiance of a heater that has flames, especially the modern ones like the wall mount electric fireplaces.
The cost for that type is about 3 times the price of many of the other options on this list.
UPDATE 2023: We purchased the wall mount infrared Heat Storm. It has the option to come as a freestanding unit as well.
After extensive research, it met all of our requirements and appeared to be the best space heater for a living room. Mostly I am happy with the decision.
For this large space, it will heat it to my desired temperature, as long as I the door to the room isn’t wide open. Although on cooler days, it can take a while.
One negative is that even though it is infrared, it has a blower and does tend to dry the air in the room out quite a bit, so I have needed to purchase a humidifier.
Please read on to learn about the different features to consider when shopping for a space heater in a large room.
I discuss the requirements we had, and the factors that came into play when deciding.
Features to Shop For In A Living Room Space Heater
There are several features to consider when you’re choosing which space heater is best for your living room.
Personally, when it comes to living rooms (that double as a TV room), I believe there are special requirements a space heater will need to meet.
First, my research includes space heaters that can heat large rooms as a supplementary heat source or can heat a small to medium sized room as the main source.
In our case, we need more heat in our TV room/living room in part because it’s a terrace level room.
It also faces the north and is located on the east side of the house. This makes it the coldest room in the house. And even though it has large windows, it never gets direct sunlight.
And if your builder wasn’t the brightest engineer, he may have specified that your thermostat be located on the highest level upper floor.
We have a multi-split with 3 levels and on the southeast side where all the windows are located. We’re working on relocating it.
With all the sunlight and due to heat naturally rising, it ends up being the warmest spot in the house.
So the heat rarely comes on during the daytime, especially if it’s a sunny day. Don’t get me started on how cold the TV room gets in the summer with the AC constantly running. 🙄
It’s also important to know that the TV room is where my office is located, so I’m in there every day, all day.
Although this large room has central heating, it clearly needs more heat for me to be comfortable.
And if you’re like me, you’re not crazy (yet) so you’re not going to crank the heat to 80 in the rest of the house, just to get the TV room to a comfortable 70.
Okay, I’m fibbing a little. I don’t have a great internal body thermostat and I tend to run cold. So in all honesty, I’d like the room to be a cozy 72-73 degrees. Okay on to the features.
Amount Of Heat A Space Heater Produces and How Fast It Can Heat, vs. Cost
When looking for space heaters, you’ll come across wattage as a useful indicator of performance.
Most models have an output capacity that can be measured in watts –although there are some exceptions.
In general, a higher output heats up a larger area more quickly so higher wattage space heaters are the best option for large rooms.
If a space heater is used as a primary heating source, then it’s going to take longer to heat a large room than if it’s being used as a secondary heating source.
This is where you can sometimes get away with using a heater that is specified for a smaller amount of square footage.
Built-in Adjustable Thermostats
A thermostat is very useful because it automatically switches the heater on and off depending on the temperature in the room.
Typically these models will give you the ability to set the temperature to where you want it, rather than just offering a high and low setting.
There are even some space heaters that only turn on or off and have no settings, so check carefully.
All the heaters in my list have at least two setting options–most have an adjustable thermostat.
A thermostat on the unit itself is also helpful, especially for large rooms where heat will naturally escape more quickly.
With an adjustable thermostat, you can set it to the perfect room temperature and the heater will shut off once it reaches that point.
A heater with a fan will likely be louder than one that doesn’t. Many infrared models don’t use a fan.
Noise level is another important factor for me. If you have to turn the TV volume up higher because of the fan’s blower, then it may not be the greatest choice for the space.
You can see the trouble that will ensue when I’m reading upstairs and my husband has the TV cranked because he can’t hear it over the space heater. Nope, it’s gotta be on the quiet side.
Remote Control or Wifi Capability
A remote control is especially helpful with a space heater because it will allow you to keep your living room toasty without having to get up.
It’s a TV room, so if I gotta get off of my duff in the middle of some amazing moment of Mare of Eastown to adjust the temperature or turn it on or off, then it’s going out the window. Nothing’s ruining a good night of a TV marathon. 😉
It needs to have some sort of aesthetic value. It can’t look like it belongs in a garage workshop, and I’d personally prefer that it look representative of the modern era.
My style tastes are not everyone’s, so while I’d love to have nothing but a list of the most minimal or space-agey looking space heaters, most people wouldn’t read this. So, I concede.
There’s plenty here to suit a variety of design styles. Just as long as it doesn’t look like it was dragged out of Uncle Jimmy’s ice fishing shack.
Other features you may want to consider when shopping for the best living room space heaters.
Some come with built-in timers so that you can ensure your room is warm when you want it to be.
Timers are handy for turning the heater off automatically after a certain amount of time has passed.
Or they might have a built-in function that allows them to switch off before overheating becomes an issue.
An oscillating fan can spread heat more evenly throughout the room if there are no objects blocking its path.
Not all models will have the same safety features but most of them will include some built-in protection. Look for heaters that have automatic tip prevention.
This feature will cause the space heater to automatically switch off if it’s tipped over.
Another important safety feature is overheat protection. A heater with overheat protection will automatically shut off once it hits a certain temperature.
Portable Space Heaters
Tower Style Heaters
Compact Portable Space Heaters
Wall Mounted Electric Fireplace Style Heaters
Electric Space Heaters
Electric space heaters are one of the best ways of warming up small areas quickly in winter.
They come in different sizes with different wattages. Which one you choose will depend on the square footage of your living room.
Electric space heaters can be a cheaper option than oil-filled radiators and are less cumbersome to install.
They tend to be cheaper than other models but may be less powerful when it comes to heating up larger spaces quickly.
For that reason, it might be worth investing in a low-wattage infrared model for your living room if you don’t want to spend a lot of money.
Natural Gas Heaters
Natural gas heating can really be the best space heater for your living room to heat it quickly and efficiently.
It’s ideal if you don’t want the cords of electric heaters to cramp your movements around the room.
Just make sure you have a gas supply installed by a professional before buying one.
If you want gas heating then look for an ‘open vent’ model. These are designed to be used without any flues or chimneys attached.
While gas heaters provide one of the most efficient ways to keep your living room nice and warm all winter long, it’s important to have a supply installed by a professional.
This is because this type of heater emits carbon monoxide and needs to be ventilated. With a professional installation, you can take comfort that it’s reliable and safe.
Radiant Infrared Heaters
If your living room gets very cold in winter, consider investing in a radiant space heater. Infrared models are among the best space heaters for quick heating because they emit radiant energy.
They warm objects and surfaces, rather than the air itself. Although it’s a quick way to heat a space, the heat will dissipate as soon as it’s shut off.
Infrared heating can come from any fuel source, but if an area isn’t directly open to the heater, it won’t receive any heat. The heater needs to be relatively close to anything it heats.
One especially great benefit to infrared heating is that they don’t dry out the air like other types of heaters.
Ceramic and Quartz Space Heaters
Ceramic and Quartz heaters are usually used with infrared heating. They use either ceramic or quartz heating elements.
Ceramic heaters have a lot of benefits that make them an excellent choice for heating your living room quickly and efficiently.
A ceramic element can be found in regular electric heaters that blow hot air, as well as in infrared.
They’re also very easy to use with simple on/off buttons and adjustable temperature controls on many models.
Also, these tend to be less of a fire hazard. This is in part because the case stays cool so the heater itself doesn’t get as hot as other types.
Quartz heaters use infrared. The benefit of a quartz heater is how energy efficient it is. They can come at a higher price point, but in the long run, may save you less.
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