Let’s cover the best space heaters under $50!
Everyone who’s new to space heaters knows this feeling. You want to finally get a new heater and you want to get it NOW! But there’s one thing holding you back: Your budget.
This article is just for you. We’re going to cover absolutely everything you need to know about cheap space heaters:
Personally, I own a cheap heater well below $50 and it’s running reliably for months now. I’ll answer your questions:
Which ones do the best job for under $50? What are the long term electricity costs for them? Can you afford one? Will using a space heater save you money or will it be a money pit? Where do you start?
All these questions need an answer BEFORE you purchase a new space heater model. Only then can you pick a space heater that fits your needs and reliably keeps you warm.
Additionally, I’ll give you helpful financial principles for saving money on space heaters. We’re going to cover how to troubleshoot a space heater yourself before calling an electrician (to save money).
We’ll also discuss whether used space heaters are worth getting. And how to make sure you get your money’s worth.
What to buy
Do you need Brands?
Do you actually need to buy space heaters of known and popular brands such as Dyson, Dr. Heater, or De Longhi? At first, this might sound like a reasonable idea. Popular brand models are oftentimes better in terms of quality and durability. Right?
Well, not really. In fact, there’s evidence that the quality you get from expensive brands does not always match what you pay.
In my experience, popular brands oftentimes really have better quality, look and feel. Their models seem like they are better than cheap alternatives.
However, there have been several scandals around popular brands like Phillips that artificially limit their product lifetime to two years (right after the warranty). That’s called “planned obsolescence”.
Even if you spend only $50 on a space heater, you need to get your money’s worth. And you don’t even need to worry about quality in this price range because expensive products are not necessarily better.
From what I have seen, brand models appear better at first. But in the long run, they do not perform any better than other models.
Sometimes it’s even the other way around: I switched from brand products to non-brand products which appear to last a lot longer.
That’s why we’ll look out for reliable products, with great customer ratings and the best bang for your buck, instead of just brands.
Get rid of the idea that you need to get a Dyson heater: You have $50 to spend – that’s your limit – and regular heaters will heat just as well.
Best Space Heaters under $50 for each occasion
To get the most for your money you have to know what you want to use your heater for. It makes a difference whether you want to heat a children’s room or a wood workshop in a garage. Actually, it makes a really big difference!
For each occasion, a different heater is best. and to maximize the value you get for your money you have to pick the heater according to what you want to use it for.
Let’s take a look at reliable indoor and outdoor heaters.
Indoor heaters are usually suited for heating closed rooms. They come with various safety features such as knock-over protection and overheat-protection to prevent accidents.
Here are the best indoor space heaters you can get for under $50.
Best Indoor Space Heaters under $50
|PELONIS PH-17P (Amazon link)||$36|
|multifun Space Heater (Amazon link)||$34|
|noname portable space heater (Amazon link)||$37|
|Lasko Tower (Amazon link)||$45|
- Pelonis PH-17P: Pelonis is a great brand and one of my secret tips! They offer lots of security features with their heaters and are safety certified. I can’t recommend this brand enough.
- multifun Space Heater: Don’t let the small size fool you. This little buddy is very powerful! Even if it looks unsuspicious, it can easily keep large rooms warm. For under $50, that’s incredible! Additionally, it has by far the most positive user ratings. From heating trailers to living rooms: This space heater is your best choice under $50.
- noname portable space heater: I just had to include this one because it’s one of amazon’s absolute bestsellers. It has over 13,000 user ratings! Still, some ratings are not very positive and I’d personally stick to other the other models.
- Lasko Tower: One of the few tower heaters you can get for that price! An absolute must if you prefer the tower-look.
My recommendation: The multifun Space Heater is by far the best-rated model among our four candidates. It looks cool, even a little industrial. Because of its heating power, reliability and because it’s ETL safety certified, I’d definitely get this model!
However, that’s just a personal preference. The other models are good as well. Check all of them out before you make a personal decision!
You want to heat a garage or a greenhouse? In this section, you’ll find the best cheap outdoor space heaters under $50.
The differences between outdoor heaters and indoor heaters are simple:
- Design: Outdoor heaters often look more industrial and simple.
- Power: They can produce a lot more power than regular heaters.
- Safety: They have fewer safety features. Outdoor heaters oftentimes get hot to the touch for example.
- Fuel: Outdoors you don’t always have access to electricity. That’s why they’re often powered by propane, kerosene or diesel.
My favorite outdoor heaters run on propane gas. Usually, they are best to use when you need lots of heat in cold locations without insulation.
Here are the best outdoor space heaters for under $50:
Best Outdoor Space Heaters under $50
|ProCom Tanktop Heater (Amazon link)||$36|
|Texsport Portable (Amazon link)||$50|
|Dyna-Glo Tanktop Heater (Amazon link)||$45|
Propane outdoor heaters are usually in higher price categories. That’s why all you get below $50 is simple tanktop heaters. Even though they provide lots of heat, they are not really aesthetically pleasing.
These 3 heaters are all just fine for keeping garages and greenhouses warm. My recommendation is the Texsport Portable, which is the most reliable and durable model.
Used Space Heaters
As you see, you don’t get to buy the “Walk of Fame” of space heater brands if you want to stay below $50. However, there’s something you can do:
I found that you can get incredible deals on used space heaters. Even brand products like DeLonghi or Dr. Heater.
Space heaters are one of the few things I have never seen anyone buy used. For some reason, everyone buys them new.
Here are a few reasons for and against getting a used space heater to save money
- Supply and demand: Think about how many garages there are with unused, lost space heaters people forgot about. The supply of used heaters is MUCH bigger than the demand. Especially when you buy anti-cyclic, meaning you buy them in summer when the demand the lowest.
A simple search on craigslist or eBay will reveal some hidden gems. I found heaters for as low as $10 that worked perfectly fine.
On craigslist, there’s a chance that you get to pick one up for free. Chances are the seller just wants to get rid of it.
- Access to brands: Under $50, you’re having a hard time finding products of popular brands. When you look for used heaters, you have a much bigger chance to get one!
- Age: Most heater types don’t age. Even if they were decades old. That’s why you’ll find dozens of infrared or propane heaters that you can buy for cheap. They don’t have any moving parts and there’s nothing to wear down. So, there’s no difference between new and used heaters. Space heaters are very durable. Back in the days even more than today.
Nothing stops a 10-year-old heater from running another 10 years.
- Noise: Old heaters with built-in fans can make a rattling noise because they are worn down. That’s why you should rather get space heaters with built-in fans new. Oftentimes, but not always, new heaters are quieter than old heaters.
- Old-fashioned: Used heaters oftentimes are several years old and therefore oftentimes appear old-fashioned. You will find lots of them when you browse for used heaters. Just skip them. You can still find recent products that are just a year old and look modern.
- Faulty electronics: When somebody keeps his heater in a storeroom or a garage for years (or decades), there’s a chance that electronics are faulty. Usually, sellers tell you in the product description. However, I would prefer getting a heater that the seller used and now sells, because he wants a newer model.
What to look out for when getting a cheap used heater
I think the pros of getting used space heaters outweigh the cons. Especially if you just want to heat and you don’t care about having the newest model.
But before you buy a used heater, here’s what you should look out for:
- Too old models: Don’t get too old models. They simply lack safety features. Instead of looking for 10 or 20-year-old heaters, I would rather prefer heaters that are 1-5 years old. This way you make sure you don’t buy a potential hazard.
- Product description: Read the product description. Why is the seller selling? Does his heater make noise? Is it a model that you really want? Remember what we discussed before: Each type of space heater is useful for a certain application (indoor, outdoor). Make sure you find one that suits your purposes.
You can also ask the seller questions about noise, energy usage, etc. if you’re not sure.
- Budget: Don’t exceed your $50 budget. Even if it’s an awesome deal, stick to it.
Know your budget
Budgeting is extremely important in all areas of your life. Especially when you buy something that will not only cost you money once but also long term (electricity bill). That’s why you have to check the cost of your heater carefully.
If you set yourself an upper boundary of $50, stick to it. There are dozens, if not hundreds of space heaters below $50 that will suit your purpose. For each scenario, there’s one space heater that suits you best. You can find a suitable space heater in absolutely any price range. You don’t need to exceed your budget to find a good heater.
Here’s a rule I found very helpful:
“If you can’t buy it twice, you can’t afford it.”read it somewhere – can’t remember where
That does not only apply to heaters, but also to hiring electricians, buying a car, a TV and everything else.
Don’t let the purchase of a space heater drain your money. A common mistake is to think “I buy it only once, so it has to be the best model”. This mindset leads to over-purchasing: Buying things that are way beyond your budget. A house that’s too big, a car that’s too fast, or a space heater you can’t afford.
Do not buy a space heater on credit card
Don’t let the purchase of a space heater drain your money. If you have nothing left for the month, shift your purchase to next month. Save your money and buy it once you can afford it.
Never let your bank account reach zero. And never ever take on credit card debt for a space heater.
It’s one of the worst things you can do.
Not only will you have to pay monthly interest for your heater. Space heaters (like other products) lose value over time. They need electricity to run and cost you monthly.
It’s like paying more for something that’s worth less with time and on top of that it increases your electricity bill.
If you’re looking for a space heater for under $50 because you’re broke, the best way to afford a heater is to save money and spend it afterward
Electricity costs of a space heater: Can you afford it?
Even if you can pay for a space heater upfront, you shouldn’t forget about the monthly electricity costs of a space heater.
The electricity cost is defined by three variables:
Your personal electricity rate (how much electricity costs in your area), the power usage of your heater, and the time you use your space heater every day.
In another article, where I calculated the electricity cost of 21 different space heater models, I found that a space heater with 1500W of power will cost you $40 each month. Assuming you run it for 8 hours every day.
Accordingly, if you cut your usage time in half, the costs halve as well. Running a space heater for 4 hours every day would add $20 to your electricity bill each month.
To check whether you can afford it, you can create an excel spreadsheet and list all your income vs. your expenses. Does the additional cost fit in?
I found this rule of thumb very helpful for deciding whether you can afford to buy something:
“As long as you’re buying it in cash (aka not putting it on your credit card unless you pay that sucker off in full right after) and it doesn’t compromise your ability to handle your regular bills and your other commitments, go for [it].”thefinancialdiet.com
It takes into account the upfront cost (“buying it in cash”), but also the long term regular costs (“ability to handle regular bills”).
Running a space heater is not as expensive as you think
Space heaters increase your electric bill. That’s out of question. But if you use a space heater, you generate heat which your home heating unit doesn’t need to produce anymore.
So, while your electric bill increases, your heating bill (fuel, oil, gas) decreases.
Think of it as cutting expenses from one bill and moving it to another.
Two scenarios are theoretically possible:
- The space heater you buy is more efficient than your heating system. Meaning that your heating bill (oil, fuel or gas) will decrease more than your electric bill increases. This effectively saves you money.
- Or your space heater is less effective than your heating system. This will increase your electric bill by more than the amount you save on your heating bill. This costs you money.
Which of these two scenarios applies to you is very hard to guess. It depends on how you use your space heater: How often you turn it on, how efficient it is, and whether it is the right heater for your needs.
But no matter whether you save money or pay money: A space heater will move a part of the costs from your heating bill to your electric bill. That’s why it is not as expensive as it appears when you calculate your electricity usage.
How to check the space heater yourself and save money
For safety, it’s always a good idea to check your space heater and make sure it’s running properly.
Hiring an electrician to check your space heater regularly is out of your budget.
Electricians usually charge a high hourly fee. Even if it’s just a space heater check, it gets costly quickly.
You can also save the money by checking & troubleshooting your space heater yourself
I’m an electrical engineer myself, so here’s what I suggest to look out for when checking your space heater.
- Screeching noise: Does your space heater make unusual noise when it’s plugged in? A screeching noise is bad. It’s a sign of a faulty transformer or broken wires.
- Tip-Over Protection: Turn your space heater on and tip it over. Does the tip-over protection work?
- Timer: Set a time (if your heater has a built-in timer) and check whether your space heater automatically shuts off.
- Power cord: Does the cord heat up? If yes, that’s a potential fire hazard. A cord should always stay cool.
- Overheating: Does your space heater get unusually hot?
- Smell: Does your space heater smell? Burnt or gassy smell is always a bad sign.
In case your heater shows one of these bad signs replace it. Fixing space heater yourself is dangerous. And having an electrician fix it is more expensive than buying a new heater.
Space heaters are high power devices, which you shouldn’t attempt to fix yourself.
Good signs / Signs not to worry about
- Clicking noise: Space heaters oftentimes make clicking sounds. These sounds come from expanding and contracting surface material or the thermostat that switches power. They are nothing to worry about.
- Humming noise: A humming noise is fine as long as it’s not overly aggressive. A calm humming noise (like the silent humming of a light bulb) is okay.
- Working safety features: Perfect!
Check your space heater for these signs regularly. This way you save tons of money by not needing an electrician!
Are cheap Space Heaters safe?
When you’re looking for the best space heaters under $50, you might also wonder about whether cheap heaters are safe as well?
Yes, cheap space heaters are safe. They have exactly the same conditions to enter the market as expensive heaters. Some cheap space heaters are even safety certified (like the one I recommended in the list above).
Certifications prove that the space heater you are about to get is safe to operate. Even under absurd conditions like running it in unusual positions or knocking it over regularly. A certified heater is a good heater.
In fact, there’s no difference in safety between cheap and expensive heaters
What makes expensive heaters more expensive is not safety, but better materials, advanced temperature control, and other fancy extras.
By saving money, you don’t risk safety.
When NOT to buy a Space Heater under $50
Here are some reasons not to buy a space heater under $50 and save money instead.
- Materials: Space heaters under $50 are often made of cheaper materials than their expensive competitors. If you like better materials, save your money.
- Thermostat: This one is not true for all heaters. But oftentimes expensive heaters have better thermostats that balance the temperature more accurately.
- Optics: Higher-priced models look better than cheap models.
- Noise: If you prefer smooth, balanced noise an expensive fan heater MIGHT sound better than a cheap heater. Of course, there are exceptions and this point is not always true.
- Money: Don’t buy a heater at all if you don’t think you can pay for electricity.
- Electronics: If you don’t feel confident with electronics, you might worry too much about your heater.
- Safety: You worry about safety. With more expensive products, you buy the feeling of safety (although there’s no evidence that they are safer).
Best price range for space heaters
From what I’ve seen, you can get very good space heaters in the $50-$100 range – and you can get lifetime buddies from $100 and above.
Usually, you can tell how good and reliable a space heater is by the ratings online.
However, sticking to space heaters under $50 is fine as well if you can’t afford expensive ones yet. I’m running a $25 heater every day and didn’t have any issues whatsoever.
There’s no difference between heat from an expensive heater and heat from an inexpensive heater.