Best Treadmills For Seniors Home Fitness

Best Treadmills For Seniors Home Fitness

 

 

 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that older adults complete at least 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity or 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity each week. Walking is one of the safest ways to fulfill this requirement because it’s a functional activity that is gentle on the muscles and joints.

Treadmills allow you to fulfill your daily activity goal year round, but how do you select the right treadmill for your needs? You can start by considering the size of the treadmill because you must make sure that it fits comfortably into your living space. The width of the walking belt is also important because you need room to hit your natural walking stride comfortably.

If you want to enjoy interval training and other walking exercises for seniors, the range of speed available on your treadmill is also important. While most seniors aren’t up for a treadmill run, it is reasonable to assume that you will want to pick up speed as you become more physically fit. Many seniors are surprised at how fast they can walk once they get accustomed to their treadmill.

Finally, look at the advanced features offered on some treadmills. You may want a built-in heart rate monitor to ensure that you’re working within your target heart rate zone, or you may prefer a console with pre-programmed workouts to ensure that you don’t get bored during your workout sessions. You may also look for a machine with a well-lit console to ensure that you can easily see the feedback delivered throughout your workout.

 

 

How to Choose the Right Treadmill For Your Needs

 

When used frequently, an electric treadmill is a wise investment that will help you fight against disease and illness while managing your mood and increasing your ability to continue daily activities without depending on your loved ones. While you may start shopping with your maximum budget in mind, it’s more important to find a machine that safely accommodates daily exercise and rehab for the elderly.

The treadmills recommended below are all suitable for older users because they have extra cushioning on the walking belts and safety features like the red key that locks the belt between workout sessions.

In addition to those basic features, you may want to consider the location of the speed controls and the start/stop button for added safety.

You should also think about the number of pre-programmed workouts that you will use and what type of programs will best fit your needs.

Some advanced treadmills now offer pre-programmed heart rate workouts that require you to walk with your hands covering the pulse sensors in order to create workouts based on your pulse. You may not need this type of advanced programming if you just want a basic treadmill to increase your daily activity level, but those interested in improving their cardiovascular endurance may consider investing in a treadmill with this capability.

Every senior will select a different treadmill based on their unique needs, so start by identifying what you want to accomplish with your machine. You can then match the available features to your needs and budget to select the best treadmill for your healthy lifestyle.

 

 

Treadmills I Recommend for a Senior

 

 

 

The ProGear HCXL 4000 Electric Treadmill

 

 

The ProGear HCXL 4000 Electric Treadmill is a good pick for heavier users or any senior searching for a wider belt to ensure comfort while exercising at higher speeds.

The ProGear HCXL 4000 is approved for users up to 400 pounds, and the extra-wide walking belt measures 20 inches. It’s also equipped with a 1.5 HP motor that is designed to operate quietly.

The maximum speed for this treadmill is 4 mph, and that is adequate for most seniors walking at moderate to fast speeds. For an added challenge, you can manually incline the walking belt.

The 18-inch safety handles contain speed controls, and a key lock system secures the belt until you’re ready to begin your workout.

 

 

 

 

The Exerpeutic TF1000 Walk to Fitness Electric Treadmill

 

 

Whether your goal is to get your heart rate up for weight loss or to just add more physical activity into your daily life, the Exerpeutic TF1000 delivers adequate speed and walking space to meet your needs.

With a maximum speed of 4 mph, pulse grips to monitor your heart rate and a 20-inch wide walking belt, this is a treadmill that you aren’t likely to outgrow as your fitness abilities increase over time.

 

 

This is also a wise choice if you’re concerned about safety during your walks. The extra-long safety handles extend along each side of the machine, and a bright red button on the console allows you to stop the belt at any moment. A safety key is also offered to secure the belt between workouts.

 

 

 

 

Weslo Cadence R 5.2 Treadmill

 

While this is one of the most affordable treadmills available to seniors today, the Weslo Cadence R 5.2 treadmill is far from lacking in advanced features. This includes a large console loaded with six workouts designed by personal trainers.

 

 

The walking belt is 16 inches wide and 50 inches long, and the belt is cushioned for added protection of your joints and muscles. That cushioning is important if you plan on speed walking or going for a light jog, and with a maximum speed of 10 mph, the machine is suitable for high-intensity workouts.

If you’re concerned about the amount of space a treadmill may consume in your home, note that this is a folding model. Some seniors may need help raising and lowering the walking platform, but you can fold it up against a wall or roll it between rooms as necessary.

 

 

 

 

Sole Fitness F80 Folding Treadmill

 

The Sole F80 is a mid to high range item. It comes with a powerful 3.5 CHP motor and a two-ply walking belt designed to reduce the impact on your muscles and joints for a safer walking experience.

The large console is equipped with an advanced sound system that allows you to connect an MP3 player for entertainment. You can walk at your own pace or select from eight pre-programmed workouts, two of which are based on your heart rate.

 

 

The belt on this treadmill is a generous 22 inches wide, but it is a larger treadmill that will consume more space in your home. The manufacturer warranty is also quite impressive with lifetime coverage for the frame.

 

 

 

LifeSpan TR1200i Folding Treadmill

 

 

The LifeSpan TR1200i Folding Treadmill is a mid-market electric treadmill. It’s suitable for users up to 300 pounds and features a 20-inch walking belt, well-lit color console and speed controls conveniently located on the handlebars.

 

 

If you’re concerned that you’ll get bored walking on a treadmill, you’ll appreciate the 17 pre-programmed workouts and your complimentary membership to the online LifeSpan Fitness Club.

 

You can walk or jog up to 11 mph, and there are 15 incline levels to ensure that your body is continuously challenged over time.

With a 2.5 CHP motor, this is a high-quality treadmill that will keep up with most seniors.

 

Thoughts, questions, tips?  Feel free to comment below.

 

 

 

 

 

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Organize Your Senior’s Home For Winter

Organize Your Senior’s Home For Winter

 

 

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George & Martha built their split-entry style home in the suburbs in 1964.  They raised 4 children in their home.  Their oldest daughter, Julie, was in her teens when they moved in.  Julie is in her 60s now and has her own home a few streets away.

George & Martha are in their 80s and want to stay in their home, but can no longer manage the upkeep and seasonal maintenance. With the impending change of seasons, Julie wants to help her parents get organized for the winter. 

 

Here are some things Julie (and you) can do to help elderly loved ones stay safe in their home during the colder months.

 

 

 

  • Schedule a furnace check: HVAC System Maintenance is important, especially for at-risk populations like seniors.  The last thing we want to happen is for the furnace to go out in the middle of the night when it’s below freezing outside!

 

  • Make sure all seasonal clothes and coats are accessible: If your loved one changes out their clothes with the seasons, you’ll want to be sure that all of their fall and winter items are unpacked and accessible. Make sure their coats, hats, gloves, etc. are easy to find and in good condition.

 

  • Stock the Pantry: An extra reserve of canned goods and other non-perishable or frozen foods is good to have on hand when inclement weather is in the forecast. This is also a good time to check existing items in the pantry and fridge for freshness If food is running low during an episode of bad weather, we don’t want our loved ones to get sick from eating expired food stores.

 

  • Stock the Medicine Cabinet: This time of year marks the beginning of Cold & Flu season. Make sure your loved ones have current basic medications in their cabinet in case they need them, but of course be sure to check all over-the-counter medications with their doctor/pharmacist to be certain they are safe to take.  If you help your loved one manage their medication, you may want to be aware of the weather forecast and portion out their medication in advance in case you are not able to travel to see them.

 

  • Check their emergency kit: Now is a good time to make sure they have plenty of blankets, flashlights, bottled water, batteries and other emergency items that are in good and working order in case of a power outage.

 

 

 

  • Arrange for leaf & snow removal: Falling leaves and icy sidewalks both create major slipping hazards for seniors. This can be a difficult conversation to have, especially with seniors like George & Martha who are striving to maintain their independence, but paying for leaf & snow removal will ensure that driveways and sidewalks are cleared. If your loved one can’t afford to pay for the service, you might investigate volunteer services in your area. Check with your local resource on aging (State Departments of Aging, Area Agencies on Aging, etc.) for more information.

 

  • Purchase sand or salt to have on hand: As snow melts and refreezes, it’s always a good idea to have these items at home to treat icy spots.  Try Safe Paw Non-Toxic Ice Melter

 

 

  • Prepare the car: If your loved one is still driving, make sure to have their car checked for winter and stock it with all the winter necessities (ice scraper, blankets, etc.).

 

  • Winterize the home: Gathering the family for a weekend or hiring a handyman to put in storm windows, clean the gutters, and check for roof leaks will help make sure your loved ones are safe and warm all season.

 

 

Consider the following checklist from Bob Vila (before the first frost) when preparing the home for winter:

 

Windows and Doors

 

  • Check all the weatherstripping around windows and doorframes for leaks to prevent heat loss. Replace weatherstripping, if necessary.
  • Replace all screen doors with storm doors.
  • Replace all window screens with storm windows.
  • Examine wooden window frames for signs of rot or decay. Repair or replace framing to maintain structural integrity.
  • Check for drafts around windows and doors. Caulk inside and out, where necessary, to keep heat from escaping.
  • Inspect windows for cracks, broken glass, or gaps. Repair or replace, if needed.

 

 

Lawn, Garden, and Deck

 

  • Trim overgrown branches back from the house and electrical wires to prevent iced-over or wind-swept branches from causing property damage or a power problem.
  • Aerate the lawn, reseed, and apply a winterizing fertilizer to promote deep-root growth come spring.
  • Ensure rain or snow drains away from the house to avoid foundation problems. The dirt grade — around the exterior of your home — should slope away from the house. Add extra dirt to low areas, as necessary.
  • Clean and dry patio furniture. Cover with a heavy tarp or store inside a shed or garage to protect it from the elements.
  • Clean soil from planters. Bring pots made of clay or other fragile materials indoors. Because terracotta pots can swell and crack, lay them on their sides in a wood carton.
  • Dig up flower bulbs, brush off soil, and label. Store bulbs in a bag or box with peat moss in a cool, dry place for spring replanting.
  • Remove any attached hoses and store them away for the winter to prevent cracks, preserve their shapes, and prolong their life. Wrap outside faucets with covers to prevent water damage.
  • Shut off exterior faucets. Drain water from outdoor pipes, valves, and sprinkler heads to protect against pipe bursts.
  • Inspect decks for splintering, decay, or insect damage and treat, if needed, to prevent further deterioration over the winter.
  • Clean leaves, dirt, and pine needles between the boards of wooden decks to thwart mold and mildew growth.
  • Inspect outdoor lighting around the property. Good illumination will help minimize the chance of accidents on icy walkways at night.
  • Check handrails on exterior stairs to make sure they’re well secured.

 

 

Tools and Machinery

 

  • Bring all seasonal tools inside and spray them with a coating of lightweight oil to prevent rust.
  • Weatherize your lawn mower by cleaning off mud, leaves, grass, and debris.
  • Move your snow blower and shovels to the front of the garage or shed for easy access.
  • Prepare the snow blower for the first snowfall by changing the oil and replacing the spark plug.
  • Sharpen ice chopper and inspect snow shovels to make sure they’re ready for another season of work.
  • Make sure you have an ample supply of ice melt or sand on hand for steps, walkways, and the driveway.

 

 

Heating, Ventilating, and Air Conditioning

 

  • Inspect the firebox and flue system to ensure that they’re clean of any soot or creosote and that there aren’t any cracks or voids that could cause a fire hazard.
  • Check fireplace for drafts. If it’s cold despite the damper being closed, the damper itself may be warped, worn, or rusted. Consider installing a Chimney Balloon into the flue to air seal the area tightly.
  • Clean or replace the air filter in your furnace for maximum efficiency and improved indoor air quality.
  • Clean your whole house humidifier and replace the evaporator pad.
  • Bleed valves on any hot-water radiators to increase heating efficiency by releasing air that may be trapped inside.
  • Check that smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are in working order.
  • Remove air conditioners from windows or cover them with insulated liners, to prevent drafts.
  • If you have an older thermostat, replace it with a programmable unit to save on heating costs.
  • Install foam-insulating sheets behind outlets and switch plates on exterior walls to reduce outside airflow.
  • Make sure fans are switched to the reverse or clockwise position, which will blow warm air down to the floor for enhanced energy efficiency and comfort.
  • Flush a hot water heater tank to remove sediment, and check the pressure relief valve to make sure it’s in proper working order.
  • Examine exposed ducts in the attic, basement, and crawl spaces, and use a sealant to plug up any leaks.

 

 

Gutters, Roof, and Drains

 

  • Check for missing, damaged or warped shingles and replace, as necessary before you get stuck with a leak.
  • Check for deteriorated flashing at the chimney, walls, and skylights and around vent pipes. Seal joints where water could penetrate, using roofing cement and a caulking gun.
  • Check the gutters and downspouts for proper fastening, and re-secure if loose or sagging. The weight of snow and ice can pull gutters off the house.
  • Clean gutters of any debris. Make sure downspouts extend away from the house by at least 5 feet to prevent flooding of the foundation and water damage from snowmelt.
  • Clean leaves and debris from courtyard and pool storm drains to prevent blockages.
  • Ensure all vents and openings are covered to prevent insects, birds, and rodents from getting inside to nest in a warm place.

 

 

By staying organized in advance of the changing weather, you’ll have peace of mind that your loved ones are safe in their home – even if you can’t get over to help due to road conditions.

 

 

 

 

Based on an article by Vickie Dellaquila, Western Pennsylvania’s first Certified Professional Organizer in Chronic Disorganization and owner of Organization Rules® Inc. Organization Rules provides compassionate organizing services for every stage of your life®.

She is the author of Don’t Toss My Memories in the Trash: A Step-by-Step Guide to Helping Seniors Downsize, Organize, and Move.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Caregiver’s Guide to Assisting With Open Enrollment

Caregiver’s Guide to Assisting With Open Enrollment

 

 

 

It’s that time of year! From October 15 until December 7, Medicare beneficiaries will be able to change their choices for Part D (prescription drug) coverage, enroll in or change a Medicare Advantage plan, and (in certain circumstances) possibly change Medigap plans.

 

 

 

 

Just writing that sentence can give one a knot in the stomach. Too many choices, not enough information. Where should you begin?

 

 

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The Medicare Open Enrollment Period is an annual period of time (October 15 through December 7) when current Medicare users can choose to re-evaluate part of their Medicare coverage (their Medicare Advantage and/or Part D plan) and compare it against all the other plans on the market. After re-evaluating, if you find a plan that is a better fit for your needs, you can then switch to, drop or add a Medicare Advantage or Part D plan. Medicare Advantage is also known as a “Part C” plan.

 

 

Medicare Advantage plans are private health plans that have contracts with Medicare. When you join one, you get your Medicare-covered healthcare services through the private plan.

 

 

 

 

If you join a Medicare Advantage Plan, you still have Medicare. You’ll get your Medicare Part A (Hospital Insurance) and Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance) coverage from the Medicare Advantage Plan and not Original Medicare.

Medicare Advantage Plans must cover all of the services that Original Medicare covers except hospice care. Original Medicare covers hospice care even if you’re in a Medicare Advantage Plan. In all types of Medicare Advantage Plans, you’re always covered for emergency and urgently needed care.

 

The plan can choose not to cover the costs of services that aren’t medically necessary under Medicare. If you’re not sure whether a service is covered, check with your provider before you get the service.

Medicare Advantage Plans may offer extra coverage, like vision, hearing, dental, and/or health and wellness programs. Most include Medicare prescription drug coverage (Part D). In addition to your Part B premium, you usually pay a monthly premium for the Medicare Advantage Plan.

 

First, your care recipient should have received an annual notice from the companies that are supplying their coverage. Some of the packages look overwhelming and one just longs to discard them. But wait. At least take out the thinner booklet–the Annual Notice of Change (ANOC)–and look at the first few pages.

 

Is the plan premium going up? If so, is it going up a LOT? If the increase is 10% or higher, that indicates that there may be a better alternative out there.

 

What about the deductible? If it used to be zero, and now it’s not, that’s another indication that you may want to think about changes. The more difficult information to assess is changes in the drug premiums.

 

When you opened your packet, you saw the company had added another “tier” to the generic drugs. Your care recipient takes generic drugs. How will this affect them?

 

 

 

Is your loved one in a Part C/Medicare Advantage/ Managed Care plan? Do you have any idea what you paid out in copays this year? Were there unexpected expenses that the plan did NOT pay? Are they likely to recur? You may want to consider changing to a Medigap plan with fixed costs.

 

Conversely, are you paying for a Medigap plan, but your loved one has few, if any, physician visits, except annual wellness checks and preventive benefits? If your relative lives in the same area year-round, you may want to investigate Medicare Advantage plans with lower premiums and possible additional benefits like hearing and vision assistance.

It is wise to assess these things each and every year. But if you haven’t reassessed in at least three years, you need to think about having a “checkup.” A number of options exist:

 

  • Access free professional advice about Open Enrollment from a licensed benefits advisor.

 

  • Find a State Health Assistance Insurance Program (SHIP) counselor in your region. SHIP provides free, federally funded one-on-one Medicare counseling. You can visit the SHIP website or call their toll-free number at 1-877-839-2675. However, be forewarned—it is often difficult to access this program during the Open Enrollment period. This is a particularly busy time of year for SHIP so be patient with the office and be sure to call as early as October 1 for an appointment. You can also call your local “Area Agency on Aging” and ask if they are hosting any public information sessions about Open Enrollment that you can attend. This will provide you with a helpful intro to the topic, and you may even be able to ask questions publicly and privately.

 

 

SHIP volunteers and staff provide free, objective information and assistance to people with Medicare and their families, by telephone and sometimes in face-to-face sessions. If you are likely eligible for extra assistance such as Medicare Savings Programs or Medicare Part D Extra Help, the SHIP is often particularly helpful because they may be able to help you apply for these extra benefits.

 

Your SHIP can help you:

 

  • decide when and how to get your Medicare coverage
  • compare various options for receiving your Medicare benefits
  • review situations involving both Medicare and your state’s Medicaid program
  • decide if you need additional coverage or different coverage
  • determine if you already have other health benefits in addition to or instead of Medicare
  • compare various ways for you to supplement your Medicare benefits and, in some states, help you compare benefits and costs of specific plans

 

You can also call  1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227), the Medicare program’s toll-free number. You may have to wait. Try to call during “off hours.” Once you get an advisor, make sure that they tell you what your loved one’s “saved drug ID” and “password date” are so that you can use this information to do your own research on whether their drug formulary has changed.

 

*In most cases, you won’t have a right under Federal law to switch Medigap policies unless you’re eligible under a specific circumstance or guaranteed issue rights or you’re within your 6-month Medigap Open Enrollment period.

By law, when you buy a Medigap policy, you have a 30-day “free look” or trial period. If you change your mind within 30 days of the day your policy started, you can cancel it and get a refund.

If you are switching Medigap plans, do not cancel your first policy until after your free look period is up. You may have to pay two premiums for 1 month. But you will be able to change back to your first plan if you need to.

Your state may, however, have expanded these rights.  Consult your state health insurance department to learn the rules in your area.

 

 

 

 

Recommended: Medicare for Dummies, 2nd Edition

In plain language, the new edition explains:

  • How to qualify for Medicare, according to your personal circumstances, including new information on the rights of people in same-sex marriages
  • When to sign up at the time that’s right for you, to avoid lifelong late penalties
  • How to weigh Medicare’s many options so you can be confident of making the decision that’s best for you
  • What Medicare covers and what you pay, with up-to-date details of the costs of premiums, deductibles, and copays—and how you may be able to reduce those expenses

 

 

 

 

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Space Heaters – Buyer’s Guide and Reviews

 

Space Heaters – Buyer’s Guide and Reviews

 

When the weather outside is frightful, a fire certainly would be delightful — but not everyone is lucky enough to have a fireplace. Instead, a space heater can offer a supplemental heat source in your home or office. It’s important to note that space heaters aren’t recommended as your only heat source, but they can be a great way to increase a room’s temperature a few degrees or provide warmth in a drafty space without overheating the entire home. Some owners say they also use portable heaters to lower utility bills, but this depends on many factors, like your fuel costs, insulation, how often your space heater is used and more.

 

 

 

 

Space heaters are useful for warming individual rooms or small areas. While they aren’t a good replacement for central heating, they can help raise the temperature a few degrees in a cold or drafty room, and can even lower your heating bill by a few dollars in some situations.

Chosen wisely and used properly, space heaters are also safe. In this, report I present the best performing space heaters as identified by expert reviews and user feedback, as well as what you need to be aware of to find the perfect space heater for your not-so-perfectly warm space.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Note that this report covers electric space heaters intended for use inside the home.

You can also find space heaters fueled by kerosene, natural gas and other combustible fuels. However, those are generally not recommended for use inside the home unless some type of venting to the outside is provided, and many states have banned unvented kerosene heaters for indoor use.

 

 

 

 

Scroll down for full reviews on the 7 best space heaters

 


 

 

 

Things You Need to Know About Home Space Heaters

 

 

 

 

What Every Good Space Heater Has

 

  • The right heat for the job. In most cases, the best heater will be one that heats up fast and distributes the heat quickly, using a fan — meaning a convection heater with fan such as a ceramic space heater or a forced air heater. Oil-filled radiators take a different approach; they are slow to warm and most lack a fan, but they retain their heat long after they are turned off making them a good choice for sleeping areas (where normally having an operating space heater is not advisable, experts say). Infrared heaters are best for quick heat, and many include a fan so they can cover a large space. However I recommend you ignore some manufacturer claims and keep expectations reasonable.

 

  • Easy-to-use temperature settings. Nearly all owners agree they need some control over heat output; the best heaters give you the option to set either a specific temperature (i.e. in degrees Fahrenheit) or a relative temperature (i.e. high, medium, low), which helps save energy.

 

  • Safety features: Most experts agree that the best space heaters include adequate safety features. Tip-over sensors are advisable, and an overheat cut-off is essential. Other things to look for in a space heater is a case that stays cool to the touch, heat exhausts that don’t become excessively hot, and nice, tight grills that keep the curious fingers of little ones away from heated elements.

 

 

 

Will a Space Heater Work For You?

 

In reading user reviews, one of the most-often cited disappointments is that one space heater or another failed to heat a space adequately. However, that’s often the result of unrealistic expectations — or inflated marketing claims — rather than a failure of the appliance.

Space heaters are designed for spot heating or supplemental heating for a small to standard-sized room. Seamus Bellamy at TheSweethome.com points out that the largest electric space heater you can buy for use in the U.S. tops out at 1,500 watts, which is sufficient to heat up no more than a room of 150 square feet (10 by 15 feet) or less.

A fan can help spread that heat out in that space faster and more completely, but can’t help a space heater cover a larger area. Performance can also be affected by external factors such as inadequate insulation or drafty windows or doors. Most of the heaters covered in this report are rated at 1,500 watts, though some also have lower-power settings for smaller rooms.

 

 

Does Noise Matter to You?

 

Reports indicate that most modern space heater are very good or excellent when it comes to keeping noise-levels reasonable, and that includes models with the most powerful fans. Still, if you will be using the space heater in an area where quiet is important, look for models that have the best feedback regarding noise.

 

 

Do You Need Consistent Heat?

 

Many owners rely on a space heater to deliver consistent heat, oftentimes while sleeping at night. However, experts from the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) strongly recommend that you never go to sleep with a space heater still operating.

For bedrooms, that makes oil-filled radiator space heaters a better choice; they are slower to warm up than other types of space heaters, but they retain heat much longer — hours after they are turned off. Models with timers that turn the heater on and off at preset intervals (such as in the morning or at bedtime) provide added convenience.

 

 

Do You Care What the Heater Looks Like?

 

If a space heater is used only occasionally or in private areas of the home (or office), appearance might not matter much. For some, though, an unattractive heater isn’t ideal. For aesthetes, design may be worth a higher price.


 

Types of Space Heaters

 

There are two basic types of electric space heaters: radiant and convection. Convection heaters — like convection ovens — move hot air around to create warmth. A fan blows air across internal heating elements and out into the room. This makes convection units especially effective for warming entire rooms or many people.

 

Ceramic space heaters are the most popular type of convection space heater. Electricity flowing through wires heats a ceramic element, which in turn heats the air. Almost all ceramic heaters include a fan to distribute the warmed air most effectively.

Some forced air heaters use a non-ceramic heating element to warm the air, and then use a larger, more powerful fan to spread that warmed air over a large area. Their fans can also pull double-duty to help cool rooms in the warmer months.

 

Convection also comes into play when liquid moves across a heating element. That’s why, while it might seem counter-intuitive, oil-filled radiator style space heaters are considered to be convection heaters, even though they lack a fan.

Oil filled radiators are slow to warm up, but they keep giving off heat long after they are turned off, making them a good choice for sleeping areas. Some radiator-style heaters use mica panels instead of heated oil to produce heat. These warm up faster than oil-filled designs, are lighter, and are flat enough to mount on a wall. However, they also cool down quickly, losing one of the key advantages of oil-filled radiators.

 

Radiant heaters, on the other hand, warm people or objects, not the air around them. The heat from these heaters doesn’t circulate well and can’t be used to warm a whole room, but for fast heat for a short time, they’re more efficient than convection heaters. Traditional radiant space heaters are a bit more “old-school” than convection heaters and seem to be falling out of vogue. However, infrared space heaters with quartz elements still have a place where the primary goal is heating a person or a smaller area, and some can do a lot more.

 

 

Finding the Best Space Heaters

 

To find the best space heaters, this report considered professional tests, expert reviews and user feedback. ConsumerReports.org has the most comprehensive coverage. Though not completely up-to-date, most of the space heaters covered there remain either current or available at retail.

TheSweethome.com’s coverage is a little more limited, but it looks at popular and well-reviewed space heaters, then tests to find a couple of top choices. I also rely heavily on user reviews, looking at feedback posted at Amazon.com, HomeDepot.com, Lowes.com, Walmart.com and elsewhere. These reviews provide an up-to-date snapshot of how space heaters perform, and touch on long-term factors, such as the reliability of a specific model, that are beyond the scope of most expert testing.

Using this feedback, I consider performance, safety and reliability to name the very best space heaters, along with some choices that could be worth considering for some buyers.

 

 

Important: Staying Safe With Space Heaters


Every winter, we hear of at least some space-heater related accidents, sometimes with tragic results. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), and based on statistics compiled from 2007 to 2011, one-third of home heating fires and four-fifths of home heating fire deaths involve space heaters. However, when selected wisely and used correctly, space heaters can be quite safe to use.

This report only covers portable electric space heaters, which, according to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), are the only type of unvented heater that’s safe for use inside the home. Combustion space heaters work by burning fuel, be it kerosene, gas, wood, etc., which results in having the byproducts of combustion, including carbon monoxide, enter your home if they are not effectively vented to the outside. According to the DOE, most states have banned the use of kerosene heaters in the home, and some states have banned the use of unvented natural gas heaters. Vented combustion heaters are safer, but since those are designed to be used in a permanent location next to an exterior wall (to allow for a vent to the outside), they are not exactly portable.

However, while there’s no carbon monoxide risk, electric space heaters still can be a safety hazard if used improperly. The best space heaters are designed to minimize those risks.

 

Things to look for include a tip-over sensor and switch that will turn the heater off if it is accidentally knocked over. Many heaters have tight grates to keep small fingers from reaching the heating element. Some have sensors that will turn the heater off if it detects an “object” (such as an infant or pet) sitting too close to it for too long. Many also have cabinets that stay cool to the touch. Only buy a space heater that carries UL (Underwriters Laboratory) or similar certification, indicating that it meets current safety standards.

 

Buying a safe space heater is only half the battle, using it safely is the other half. I found a number of solid, easy-to-follow recommendations from a number of authorities. Those include the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI), the NFPA, the DOE and others.

 

Finding the right place to put your space heater is the first step:

Space heaters should be located on a level, hard and nonflammable surface — a ceramic tile floor is ideal. Don’t put a space heater on a piece of furniture. Keep it well away from the normal paths of foot traffic in your home to prevent it from being accidentally knocked over. Keep combustible materials at least three feet away in all directions. Typical combustibles found in your home include draperies, rugs and bedding. Except in cases where a space heater is designed for bathroom or outdoor use, do not use it in damp areas.

Space heaters should only be used under the direct supervision of a responsible adult. Children and pets should be kept away. Turn off the space heater every time you leave the area. Don’t go to bed with the space heater on, and don’t use it if there’s a person sleeping in the room.

 

There are electrical considerations as well: Avoid the use of an extension cord if at all possible. If an extension cord is absolutely needed, use the shortest length that works and choose a cord designed for high current draw (14-gauge or heavier wire). That said, “Always check and follow any manufacturer’s instructions pertaining to the use of extension cords,” the DOE advises.

Check the condition of the space heater’s cord on a regular basis. Look for tell-tale signs of a hazardous cord, including fraying or burnt or otherwise damaged insulation. If the cord doesn’t check out 100 percent, do not use the space heater.

 

 

The 7 Best Space Heaters

 

 

Best Ceramic Space Heater

 

Lasko 754200 Ceramic Heater with Adjustable Thermostat

 

The diminutive Lasko 754200 delivers big-time performance, warming up a small room or office in no time flat. Value is appreciated by owners and experts, and helps the Lasko 754200 edge out other, pricier and more feature-rich ceramic space heaters in reviews. The lack of a tip-over sensor is a concern, but this space heater has other crucial safety features including an overheat cut-off and a case that stays cool to the touch.

Pros
  • Heats well
  • Small
  • Good value
Cons
  • Lacks a tip-over sensor
  • Some say it is loud

 

For a small, inexpensive space heater, the Lasko 754200 often exceeds the expectations of experts and users. It heats quickly and effectively, and its 1,500 watt rating puts it at the top in terms of heat output among all electric space heaters — though its small size makes it better for a bedroom or an office rather than a large family room. Some owners say it’s a bit loud, but experts and other owners say it’s no louder than any other space heater equipped with an effective fan — a plus for better heat distribution. The lack of a tip-over sensor is a major omission, but that’s offset by other effective safety features.

 

Performance

Packs heat for a petite unit. For a heater of this size and price, the Lasko 754200 ceramic space heater is very effective, according to reviewers. The heater puts out a good deal of heat, and its powerful fan circulates the warm air quickly. Testing at TheSweethome.com put it in first place among tested space heaters of all types in heating an 11- by 13-foot room in the least amount of time. We see some durability complaints, but these are in line with what we see with almost all space heaters of all types.

 

Ease of Use

Not advanced, but straightforward controls. Though the Lasko 754200 has an effective thermostat, it doesn’t offer the digital display, remote control, or timer of some pricier models — which may be a good or bad thing, depending on your perspective. Owners say they find the two knobs (one for temperature, one for fan) to be very intuitive and simple to use. The heater is also lightweight and easy to move. A long cord (six feet) makes placement without resorting to an extension cord easier.

 

Safety

No tip-over switch. A tip-over switch is often recommended for safer operation of space heaters, and the lack of one on the Lasko 754200 is a concern, but one that doesn’t bother experts and many owners it seems. There is an overheat sensor that will cut-off operation if the heater’s temperature exceeds a safe level. Reviews indicate that the case stays relatively cool during operation.

 

Noise

Noisy fan. We did see some complaints about fan noise, though not very many more than we see with other space heaters equipped with a reasonably powerful fan. TheSweethome.com tests the Lasko and says that its noise level is the equivalent of a refrigerator compressor running at a distance of six feet away. Seamus Bellamy adds that this is about in the middle of the pack among the space heaters the site has recently tested.

 

Best Oscillating Ceramic Space Heater

 

Lasko 6462 Full Circle Ceramic Heater with Remote

 

The Lasko 6462 is packed with features, including oscillation, which some experts hold is most effective in uniformly distributing heat. Controls are simple and intuitive, and a remote control lets you operate this space heater from your easy chair. The 6462 has a tower design, making tip-over a concern in light of the lack of a tip-over sensor, but other safety features, including overheat cut off, are present and accounted for.

Pros
  • Effective heat distribution
  • Oscillation to heat a space more uniformly
  • Lots of features
Cons
  • Not the best value
  • Thermostat might be inaccurate
  • No tip over sensor

 

The Lasko 6462 delivers ample features and ample performance, earning it respect from users and some expert reviewers. The oscillating unit covers a full 360 degrees, or can be set to swing over a smaller arc if it’s set against the wall or in a corner. This ceramic space heater is as feature packed as any, with digital controls and readouts and a remote control. Safety is good, but would be better if there were also a tip-over sensor.

 

Performance

A circle of heat. While a fan is important to spread out the heat in a room, oscillation distributes that heat out more evenly  — and the Lasko 6462 has both. This ceramic space heater is billed as being able to swing its heat over a full 360 degree circle, and the sweep can also be adjusted for maximum effectiveness when placed near a wall (180 degrees) or in a corner (90 degrees). The 1,500 watt maximum heat setting is the highest you can get with an electric space heater, though some other space heaters are judged to be a little more effective in heating a whole room or a nearby person in expert tests. Users seem plenty pleased, however. Reliability and durability are factors that typically pull down user ratings, but we spotted fewer complaints on that regard with the Lasko 6462 than with some competing space heaters.

 

Ease of Use

No sweat. The Lasko 6462 has digital controls on the unit and comes with a functional remote control. Some users say that the touch controls could be a bit better, but with the remote, you don’t ever need to actually touch them. Others welcome the fact that the remote is not a must to set up and use the heater — especially since many remotes sometimes go missing at the most inconvenient times. Testing reveals that the digital thermostat might not be accurate — and we saw a handful of user reviews that say the same thing — but most owners either don’t see the same problem, or consider it to be too inconsequential to comment on it.

 

Safety

No tip-over sensor. This is a tower heater, a type more prone to accidental tip-over than other types. That’s why we consider the lack of a tip-over sensor to be disappointing. However, the Lasko 6462 is otherwise well covered on the safety front. There’s an overheat cut-off that will turn the heater off if it becomes dangerously hot. In one professional test the surface is found to be cool to the touch when the heater is operating.

 

Noise

Powerful, yet quiet. Users report that the fan on the Lasko 6462 is pretty powerful. That’s why it’s notable to see relatively few complaints when it comes to fan noise. One expert test rates the 6462 excellent when it comes to keeping noise highly in check.

 

 

 

Best Decorative Ceramic Space Heater

Crane Mini Fireplace Heater, White

 

 

No one will confuse the Crane Mini Fireplace Heater with a real fireplace, not even if they squint real hard, but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t impart a nice aesthetic anyway. Users appreciate the warm glow that the mini ceramic fireplace gives off. Some like that you can use the fireplace effect without also bringing up the heat. Aesthetics aside, it’s an impressive performer heating-wise according to tests and user reviews.

 

 

 

 

Best Oil-Filled Radiator Space Heater

 

 

DeLonghi EW7507EB Oil Filled Radiator Heater Black 1500W

 

If you want heat that lasts, even hours after the space heater is turned off, the DeLonghi EW7507EB oil-filled radiator is your best bet. It’s a great choice for a bedroom, where experts recommend against having an operating space heater while you sleep. The dual-event 24-hour timer will let you warm things up well before bedtime and again before  your alarm goes off in the morning. The design keeps the sides cool, and a remote control adds convenience.

Pros
  • Efficient
  • Quiet
  • Programmable timer
  • Long lasting heat
Cons
  • Slow to heat
  • No battery back up

 

The DeLonghi EW7507EB oil-filled radiator heats a room by electrically warming an internal supply of oil. The results closely mimic those of a traditional hot water radiator. That means that the DeLonghi doesn’t give off much heat at first, but given time, it can warm a large room with ease, according to experts and owners. Also, like a traditional radiator, the heat lasts a good long while after the electricity is turned-off, making it ideal for use in a bedroom, where experts suggest going to sleep with an operating space heater isn’t such a hot idea.

 

Performance

Slow starts, but exceptional staying power. Experts recommend oil-filled, radiator-style heaters for well-insulated rooms where the heater will be on for long periods. Like similar models, the DeLonghi EW7507EB oil-filled radiator takes quite a while to initially heat up, but it then provides steady, warm heat, even long after the power is turned off — and enough of it to earn at least one expert recommendation as a good space heater for larger spaces. Still, if you want spot heating or fast heating, a ceramic space heater like the Lasko 754200 is a better, more economical choice.

 

 

Ease of Use

Digital controls a plus … and a minus. The DeLonghi EW7507EB features an all-digital control system. Most reviewers find it easy to use, but some bypass the extra features and programming capabilities and just use the manual controls.

For others, the dual event 24-hour timer lets you raise and lower temperatures in up to two cycles of up to eight hours each over a day. That means, for example, you can set the radiator to turn on and get the room toasty before you awake, then turn off later in the morning, only to repeat the cycle before you turn in for the night.

There’s also a remote control for added convenience, but what’s not convenient is that the heater’s LCD display is judged hard to read by some. The timer also lacks  a battery backup — unplug the heater or lose power and you’ll need to reprogram the timer. Like all oil-filled radiators, the DeLonghi EW7507EB takes a while to warm up a room — one reason that the timer is such a nice plus. There are three output levels (700, 800 and 1,500 watts) so you can scale the heat output to the size of the room.

 

 

Safety

Stays cool to the touch. Touching a standard radiator when it’s hot is not a pleasant experience. However, the DeLonghi EW7507EB oil-filled space heater features a design that directs heat upwards, out of reach of children and pets, keeping its sides cool to the touch. There’s no tip-over sensor — but toppling this weighty radiator is something that’s unlikely to happen by accident. There is an overheat cut-off for added safety, and the remote control means you never have to touch the radiator at all to set or adjust it.

Oil-filled radiators sometimes draw complaints over operating odors, but the majority of user reviews that comment on the EW7507EB’s odor either marvel that it’s not an issue, or say that smells that can be detected when new are banished forever after a few hours of use.

 

 

Noise

A silent operator. Unlike other types of space heaters, oil-filled radiators lack a fan so they are among the quietest whole-room space heaters you can buy. Professional testers and owners agree, the DeLonghi EW7507EB is very quiet. We did see a few comments that noted a clicking sound when the heater cycled on or off, but most did not find it objectionable.

 

 

Best Forced Air Space Heater

 

Vornado AVH2 Whole Room Vortex Heater, Automatic Climate Control

The Vornado AVH2 is a forced-air space heater that can warm large or small rooms, and it does a good job at spot warming — when you want to warm an individual person rather than a larger space. It lacks much in the way of extras, but it’s judged to be easy to use. It’s also relatively safe around kids and pets with a cool case and exhaust outlet during operation. It can double as a cool-air fan in warmer months.

 

 

 

 

 

Best Designer Space Heater

 

 

Dyson AM09 Fan Heater, Iron/Blue

 

 

 

If style is more important than price, no space heater makes more of a statement than the Dyson AM09.

Reviews reveal that it’s also among the most effective space heaters for the cold months, and an outstanding fan for the cool ones. The bladeless design and cool case are pluses if young ones are around. But look elsewhere if value is a concern as you can find space heaters that are nearly as good for hundreds less.

 

 

 

Best Infrared Space Heater

 

 

Honeywell HZ-980 MyEnergySmart Infared Whole Room Heater

 

Most space heaters work by heating up the air, but infrared space heaters like the Honeywell HZ-980 work by heating up people and objects in the room. Many infrared heaters are cheap, lower power affairs, but the HZ-980 is quite different.

With a rated power of 1,500 watts, and aided by a powerful fan, this Honeywell infrared heater is judged by reviewers to do a great job of heating up a person, and a very good job in heating up a standard room.

 

Pros
  • Efficient
  • Great spot heating
  • Good safety features
Cons
  • Large
  • Plain aesthetics
  • Pricey

 

Plain and unassuming in its black plastic case, the Honeywell HZ-980 quietly racks up some of the better reviews among larger infrared space heaters. It’s feature packed, including digital controls and readouts, an energy usage indicator, a limited but useful timer, and a remote control.

 

Performance

Have reasonable expectations. Some competing infrared space heaters are victims of their own marketing, promising better energy efficiency and heating performance than they can reasonably deliver under most circumstances.

The Honeywell HZ-980 (made under license by Kaz), largely avoids most of that. Instead, testing reveals it to be a competent space heater that does a great job in spot heating, and a very good one in heating up even a reasonably large room. The manufacturer claims that the HZ-980 saves 35 percent in energy costs compared to a standard 1,500-watt heater, but that has not been independently verified. However, there is a built-in energy use meter for owners to monitor consumption for themselves.

 

Ease of Use

Digital simplicity. The clean, digital controls on the Honeywell HZ-980 are judged to be very good when it comes to ease of use, and we saw no notable user complaints in that regard. There’s a top-mounted control panel with digital readouts as well as a remote control. There’s also a built-in 8-hour timer, but it is adjustable only in one-hour increments — adequate but certainly not very flexible.

 

Safety

Strong safety features. The Honeywell HZ-980 is equipped with most of the safety features experts recommend. Those include a four-way tip-over sensor and overheat protection. The case stays relatively cool to the touch, but one expert testing organization comments that the area right around the heat exhaust can get a little toasty. Mommy blogger Cindi Riley notes the same thing, but adds that things don’t get hot enough to cause serious worry of a child being burned.

 

Noise

In the ear of the beholder. One independent testing organization rates the Honeywell HZ-980‘s noise levels to be excellent. Most of the limited user reviews we spotted agree, or are silent themselves on the issue.

 

 

 

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