Space heaters can be a great addition to help heat cold spaces for a relatively little cost. But, unfortunately, they do come with some safety issues, especially if you are looking for a product that is child-friendly and safe for pets.
Luckily, some companies are producing excellent devices with advanced safety features, making them some of the safest types of space heaters you can buy. To help keep your family safe (and warm), we have found the heaters that are the best options for households with children and pets.
Dr. Infrared Heater Portable Space Heater with Humidifier
Heats room quickly
It has a nice look to it
Some users find it doesn’t work for the advertised 1,000 square feet.
In addition, the controls on the heater are not hidden, so children may try to play with them.
This wildly popular heater is an excellent option for anyone looking for a safe and effective heater. It is especially great for pets, mainly due to its overheating and tip-over safety features, which are a must for pets and kids. In addition, it heats most spaces in a short amount of time, with a minimum amount of fan noise.
This design combines a PTC and Quartz Infrared Element, so it’s not a stand-in-front-of-and-get-warm type of heater, but instead, it heats objects in the room, instantly making you feel warm, while other heaters work by heating the air in the room.
Some of the other notable things about the Dr. Infrared are that it comes with a three-year USA warranty and has a low noise blower with a noise level of only 39 dB. It uses a standard 110v three-prong outlet and is listed by Underwriters Laboratories (UL) USA & Canada.
What reviewers love:
Reviewers love that it works well and doesn’t cost a fortune to run. It also does not frighten pets, which can be a concern with louder units. Many users mention that they are impressed by the unit’s small size and the heat it delivers.
What could be improved:
The only downside that some reviewers mention is that the fan turns on and off every few minutes to check the room temperature. As a result, it can take some time to get used to.
Some users find it has a clicking sound when it is running.
This model is specifically designed for baby nurseries, so parents can rest assured that they are getting a device with the best safety features for children’s curious fingers. It uses a particular type of vortex airflow system that heats all the air around a room, so you can put it anywhere in the room and keep your baby or child warm.
The Sunny CS is made to stay cool to the touch, and it will shut off automatically if excessive heat is detected or the heater is tipped over. The automatic climate control adjusts the heat output and airﬂow to deliver the perfect amount of heat.
It also has hidden and covered cord storage and locking controls to keep children from tampering with the settings. In addition to the great features mentioned above, the Sunny also has a programmable timer that can automatically turn the heater off.
What reviewers love:
There is a lot to love about this heater; one of the best features is that once the temperature is met, the fan continues to move air to regulate the temperature and avoid hot spots even on the highest heat setting. The company Vornado has excellent customer service, according to many users. The heater is quiet and efficient. It’s small and doesn’t take up lots of room.
What could be improved:
Some users have found that the heater makes a clicking noise that may disturb users who are very sensitive to sound.
Duraflame 9HM8101-O142 Portable Electric Infrared Quartz Heater
Pros: Powerful, wheels on it make it easy to move around, heats up fast.
Cons: It only comes in the Oak color.
This infrared heater from Duraflame has some great safety features, like a safer plug that monitors the plug temperature and shuts off if it gets too hot. It also has a timer and remote control that work well. It always stays cool to the touch no matter how hot it gets in the room, so it is safe for everyone.
What do people love: Users love that it works well, heats up quickly, can get a cold room hot, and isn’t as expensive as the Edenpure Models.
What could be improved? Some users don’t love the oak wood and want other color options.
Even in heating mode, the thermoplastic that surrounds the dock’s buttons is cool to the touch. If kids or pets knock the device over while running around the house, the machine automatically turns itself off. No blades also mean there is no way for kids to get their hair tangled or fingers caught in the grille.
What do people love: Users love the sleek design and the efficiency and effectiveness of the heater to heat (or cool) a room quickly.
What could be improved? The remote control is a little bit small and is easy to misplace.
The fan can be a little bit too loud for some users.
If you are looking for an inexpensive option that is child and pet safe, the Comfort Zone Oscillating Space Heater not only does it have cool to the touch technology, but it also has the all-important tip-over off switch.
What reviewers love:
Users love that they can safely use this heater around a child or a pet and don’t have to worry about anyone getting burned on it or starting a fire since it mostly just blows out warm air.
What could be improved:
Some users have found that the temperature isn’t always precisely the same as the setting, so you may have to mess around with the settings a little bit to get a comfortable temperature for you.
Room heaters can be hugely beneficial if you live in a colder climate and spend a lot of money to heat your whole house. While these types of heaters can be a fantastic investment, they do come with their own set of safety concerns.
Most shoppers will be looking for something that won’t burn their house down while quietly and efficiently heating a room. If you have pets or small children, there are a few other essential features that you will also need to look for.
Features to Look for
When you have a small child or a pet, your number one priority will be safety. Because of curiosity, kids and pets love to investigate any new appliances they come across, so it is in everyone’s best interest that these devices have a couple of essential safety features.
Must-Have Safety Features:
Roughly 25,000 house fires and something like 300 deaths are caused by space heaters yearly, often because a heater has been put too close to curtains, bedding, or upholstered furniture. When shopping for a pet-safe and kid-safe space heater, there are a couple of specific safety features you are going to want to make sure any product you buy has:
Cool Touch Surface – First and foremost, any child and pet-friendly heater MUST be cold to the touch. Something like 6,000 people a year end up in the hospital with burns from touching radiators. You should look for a device that is cool to the touch since no one wants their child or pet to end up with injuries from an exposed heating element.
Automatic Overheat Protection — This is another must-have feature that helps to ensure your family’s safety by shutting down if the unit gets too hot. A sensor detects when the heater’s internal components reach an unsafe temperature and switches off if it does. If you forget to turn off the appliance or don’t realize it is overheating, this is another potentially life-saving feature.
Tip-Over Protection Switch– Tip-over protection turns the unit off if it is knocked over. It is especially important if you get one of the taller/tower styles and have children or pets.
Certification –Make sure the heater you buy carries a safety certification label from an independent testing organization, such as the UL (Underwriters Laboratory), ETL (Intertek), or CSA (Canadian Standards Association), verifying that the unit meets all voluntary safety standards.
Other Features to Consider:
Thermostats: There are two types you can get: programmable thermostats or adjustable thermostats. If you get one with a programmable thermostat, you can program the room temperature to keep the temperature steady, while adjustable thermostats don’t maintain a set temperature but stay at the setting you entered.
Programmable Timers: Timers are a great option to help save energy since it allows you only to use it when needed or in situations where you want to warm up a room before using (i.e., shortly before waking up).
Wheels and Handles: If you are planning on using the heater in different areas of your house, you will want to look for a design with either wheels (depending on the size) or a comfortable grip handle to make it easy to move the device to different areas.
Energy-Saving Modes: If you are looking to save money on your energy bill, some models have energy-efficient operating modes to help reduce energy usage.
Multiple Heat Settings:It is useful to have various heat settings to control the temperature of a room more effectively and allow you to heat different-sized rooms.
Long Sturdy cord. Generally, space heaters come with a wire that is 6-feet long. For some users, it is handy to have a long cable because you NEVER want to use an extension cord with an electric heater.
Noise Level- If you are worried about the heater being too loud, most models give their decibel ratings in the unit’s specs. The higher the rating means, the louder the heater. If you are concerned about noise levels, micathermic heaters are some of the quietest models, so you may want to look into those types of heaters.
AC and Fan-only modes: Some models offer AC and fan-only modes so you can use the product year-round.
Remote Control: A nice to have, but not essential, feature is a remote control that lets you quickly change modes or adjust settings from anywhere in your room.
Safe Operating Instructions
If you are looking for a heater that is safe for your child or your pet, you are concerned about safety. There is quite a lot of basic safe operating instruction that you MUST follow when using a space heater, especially around children and pets.
Ensure you keep a 3-foot zone around the heater, and also keep it away from combustible materials such as furniture, bedding, and curtains.
Cords can be dangerous for kids and pets. Keep cables away from high-traffic areas where they could become a tripping hazard.
If you have young children or pets, place the heater where they cannot reach it.
Be sure to plug your heater directly into a wall outlet. Never plug your heater into an extension cord, or power strip, as it could overheat and cause a fire.
Place the heater on a hard, level, and non-flammable surface. They are supposed to sit on the floor and not on a table or a countertop.
Turn the heater off when you leave the room or go to bed.
Don’t plug another electrical device or an extension cord into the same outlet as the heater, as it can cause overheating.
Install smoke alarms on every level of your home and test them monthly.
Do not place heaters under desks or enclosed areas.
Never leave your heater unattended.
Before using any space heater, read the manufacturer’s instructions and warning labels carefully.
Inspect heaters for frayed, worn, or damaged plugs or loose connections every time you use it.
Always unplug and safely store the heater when it is not in use.
Are space heaters safe to leave on all night?
Generally, most space heaters should not be left running while you or your child are sleeping or put into a colder room that houses pets overnight. They are intended only to be used as supplemental heat while supervised. It may be tempting to leave a heater on all night, but there are other options you may want to consider first, such as a baby sleep sack or a Grobag for children, or a heated pad for pets.
Realistically, many people still run space heaters all night, but you should also remember that they are a leading cause of house fires, and you need to consider whether it is worth taking that risk. If you choose to run a space heater overnight, ensure you only buy products with advanced safety features (overheat protection, tip-over switch) to reduce the risk of fires and overheating.
Since portable heaters are responsible for a high number of house fires, before using any of these types of appliances, you should go over your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy to make sure it won’t become invalid in the case of a fire caused by one of these units.
The other thing to keep in mind is that you can get very cheap options on sites like Amazon that are imported from China that may seem to have all of the safety features you should look for, but sometimes the wiring or the plugs can be a bit wonky and perhaps lead to electrical fires.
Make sure you are buying from a reputable brand that has a good safety record. If you do end up going for a cheaper option, please make sure you never leave the heater unattended and follow all safety steps.
Space heaters are an excellent investment to help keep your house warm and to help you save money on your energy costs. When looking for a heater that is safe to use around children and pets, you must spend some time researching any appliance you are thinking of getting.
Ensure that the heater you purchase has all of the extra safety features mentioned above to minimize the risk of burns and fire hazards. There are many great options to choose from to keep your family warm and safe, but they must be used with a bit of caution.